Sunday, 31 March 2013

Towns of the Lachlan: Day 3

Actually this starts late afternoon on Day 2 when we arrived at the campground in Parkes, rented a site and got the tent out just as it started to rain.  So that is one tradition in hand.  The second tradition is that every peg seemed to hit a rock and bend as I tried putting them in.  Much bad language was used I am afraid.

We ate our evening meal sitting in the car munching on prawns, with me being very negative about the town of Parkes and its poxy weather.  We climbed into our sleeping stuff about 8:30 and found the rain stopped just about then.  We had a reasonable nights sleep until about 6am when we got up and made some coffee.    Apart from the crappy weather, days are now getting short so the sun didn't really rise until after 7 which made serious packing a bit difficult   However we had everything stowed away by 8am and headed for Memorial Hill.
Here is the view from the hill.  Rather flat isn't it!  That is why the Region is called the Western Slopes and Plains.
The Parkes area has two claims to media fame, both captured in this banner. Suggesting that the King is dead would get you in a lot of trouble around Parkes, especially in January.
Secondly click on the image to check his microphone.  It is The Dish: we have visited that in the past so didn't feel like adding another 25km each way to our trip.

In true tradition the Court House in Parkes is a very impressive building.
This church was impressive in a number of ways.  To begin with it is impressively maintained even to the presentation of Parkes Methodist Church on the RH doorway.  The sign at street level has a more up to date reference to the Uniting Church!
It being Good Friday a number of worshippers were gathering for a service but were very happy to let me in to photograph the Honour Roll. (an addition to the Register).
..  and the altar with excellent stained glass.
I do hope their expected guest - apparently one 'Trevor' - turned up.

Before leaving Parkes we visited one of their birding spots.  The sewage ponds.  This required a bit of initiative as the leaflet was a tad off in its directions but we added several species to the trip list here.
Having started off down Eugowra Rd we continued to that town.   The first place we spotted was the Anglican Church.  This was unusual in:
  • having a sign saying "This door is not locked"; and
  • the Altar being at the Western end so that the dawn light hit this great glass window.
The A-frame design was used very well with a wooden roof.
The honour roll for two unfortunate soldiers who died in the Boer War is an addition to the Register.  It seems that enteric fever (now referred to as cholera) was a major cause of death in that conflict.
Moving further down the Main Rd we found a very smart mural welcoming us to the town.
Note the bushranging in the background.  The next mural was more obvious with the depiction of historical, and thus romantic,banditry!


This mural tells the story of the Escort Robbery.  Not surprisingly gold mining seems to attract bushrangers the way a dead sheep attracts flies.
This is the schoolkids take on the bushranging story.  I think there is a great research project - too useful for a sociological PhD topic - into the use of dunnies as a site for community art!  (In the past rude verse was written inside them, now officially approved painting is applied to the exterior.  Purely in the interest of art I checked the inside of this one and it was devoid of reading matter - not even Kilroy had been here.)

Out this way no old metal is allowed to go to waste.  I don't think this bloke is doing as well as the kids on a trail-bike found yesterday.  I was tempted to say it was inspired by Frederick McCubbins painting "Down on his luck" but it may just be the way folks lok around gold mining areas.
Another mural!
A bronze plaque, announcing I cannot remember what, was covered in red insects.  I am pretty sure they are a nymph stage of Leptocoris sp. possibly L. mitellata as other members of the genus seem to exist only on vegetable matter..
Even the trash cans in Eugowra are covered in bushranger art!
The main War memorial in Eugowra.
The penultimate town on this trip was Canowindra (pronounced for some reason as Canoundra).  They had a well crafted War Memorial next door to their fish fossil museum.
The historic centre of the town was both central and old, but we were starting to get weary on it so just took a photo and moved out of town.
Just before we got to the 100kph zone a stall selling cucurbits needed some attention.  We passed on the hard looking specimens as I couldn't face the task of peeling one (although Frances reckoned they were softer - and prettier - than Queensland Blues) but some trombones and a water melon were acquired.
Finally we get to Cowra.  The town is most known for being the scene of "The Breakout" when several hundred Japanese PoWs broke out of their camp on 5 August 1944.  A large number of the Japanese were either killed in the ensuing trouble or committed suicide rather than be recaptured.  Their remains have been buried in a War Cemetery a few kilometres from the site of the former camp.
4 Australians were also killed in the Breakout and have also been buried here, together with other Australians who died on duty at the camp.  Two of the 4 were awarded the GC due to bravery.
The camp also held a number of prisoners of other nationalities including many Italians.  This memorial, adjacent to the site of the former PoW camp, has been erected by the Italian community but honours all nationalities.
From this area a clear view is obtained of this noticeable gap in a range of hills.  These days there is not a river flowing through the gap which makes me wonder if it is a trace of glaciation.
There were a few interesting older buildings in the main street, but we were more interested in the contents of the bakery.
Having acquired some buns, we took them off to a small park and were welcomed to Cowra as we left.
On home!

I should put in a summary of the trip.
  • The effort by the meteorologists was barely ordinary.  The weather was a lot more extreme than they suggested and had we known what was actually coming down the 'pike we would probably have stayed home.
  • El Camion Real was a great pleasure - fortunately.  It handled all the roads well, has plenty of power when the wellie needs to be applied, and gave us close to 10l/100km overall.
  • I added 5 new memorials to the NSW Register of War Memorials, and have suggested a new potential source of a bulk update to cover the Light Horse plaques that are sprouting like Amanitae after a storm.
  • We saw or heard 74 species of birds on the trip.  About 10 species were added to my year list and the Pied Honeyeater was a lifer!
  • Overall a good trip.
Here are links to other pages for this trip.
Day 1
Day 2

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Towns of the Lachlan: Day 2

The tempest died down about 11pm and the day that dawned was merely warm rather than broiling.  We had a relaxed breakfast and a good chat with Dennis a resident of the caravan park who knew a fair bit about the birds of the area.  We decided that a relaxed day going along the river to Condoblin and camping at Parkes was the go.

Our first stop was back at the hide overlooking the old poo-pits was the go.  Theer was a reasonable amount of action there with the old dead trees being an attractive perch for Darter, White-breasted Woodswallow and Red-rumped Parrot.
We then moved out further around the Lake to another hide where we could see astonishing numbers of Darters on the stumps in the water.
As with the venue, closer to town this was built by the local Men's Shed.  They have a logo, and deserve a pat on the back!!
A strange sight was visible in the distance.  The tops of the towers didn't look like floodlights for a sporting arena (and what sport could afford facilities like that at the Lake?).  Eventually we drove past and it turned out to be an experimental solar energy plant.  Well done those engineers!
Out on the Plains the dust was blowing as the horny handed sons of toil get the cultivation started,  Actually, driving a big John Deere in an air conditioned cab isn't going to cause keratin to build up on your palms, but I'm feeling traditional.
We pulled in to the river at one point to find it full of caravans,but also the best flowering shrubs - Acacia sp - of the trip.


After a few kilometres we visited Eubalong, which seemed to be the only possibility of a town between the Lake and Condoblin.  It had no War Memorial so earnt an award of NART: "Not A Real Town".  We were intrigued by this structure which seemed to look very like a memorial apart from not having any plaque or other commemorative material!  Some nearby graves dated from 1870 so there was clearly enough history for there to have been veterans from here.
This non-memorial was very close to a small church.  Someone must do something with the church as it had a new - and large - padlock on the door.  However there was not even an indication of the denomination whow worship (or used to worship) there.

This is the mighty Lachlan, just out of Eubalong.
A bit further down the road we met the end of civilisation (or at least the local water supply)!

For the first time I was able to get up close some growing cotton and take a snap of the bolls and the growing material.
There seemed to be a hall and an overgrown footy oval at Kiacatoo but little else.  Perhaps one has to time one's visit carefully?
An interesting daisy (OK it should be an Aster, following the work of the taxonomist-beasts).
The tussocks were in a straight row and rather restricted which caused Frances to wonder if they had been planted.  No answer available, but here is a close up.
Eventually we arrived in Condoblin where a Rugby League match was happening at noon on a Thursday.  Que?  Perhaps it was a school contest?

There was a nice memorial park along the River, where we ate our lunch.  This first memorial was forthe Boer war ....
.. and included this relief of a Lee-Enfield rifle.
The main memorial was very impressive.
This plaque is the first I have noted specifically referring to Women's service.  Indeed few memorials seem to list women at all, although I know many joined the services in WW2 in particular.
While we were admiring the memorial a cacophony was evident.  This resolved itself to a huge flock (at least 500 birds) of Little Corellas.  They seemed to land in some trees along the River, presumably as a change from trashing crops out on the Plains.

As with many of the towns on this trip there was a fairly high indigenous population evident.  The Aboriginal Health Service in Condobolin has certainly got their building looking well!
Focusing on the pillars beside the doors I reckon it is quite reasonable for a medical service to use the X-Ray style of art.
This impressive edifice is St. Josephs Catholic Church.  It is about 75 years old and seats 500 "at a pinch".

The interior is equally impressive.
I had a very pleasant chat with the priest who was getting ready for Easter Services but still found time to chat with a tourist!  He opined that the churches at Tullamore and Trundle were more modern but equally dramatic, especially in quite small towns.  They shall be visited.  I asked why there were few memorials in Catholic Churches, compared to Anglican churches, and he commented that it possibly reflected the formal links between the Anglican Church and the State.  A second reason was the Irish emphasis in Australian Catholicism - the views of Cardinal Mannix might be relevant.

Somewhere east of Condobolin we found the mailbox of the trip.  Other than the bike frame the main ingredients are gas cylinders!
The next town was the unforgettable Bogan Gate.  Perhaps this is where the Lock the Gate movement should be based?
The first War Memorial I noticed here was a small plaque for the Australian Light Horse.  They seem to have  had very strong support throughout this general area.
Here is the main memorial.
I am not sure whether this is a War Memorial or not.  The Breaker is certainly famous now, with many allegations that he was unjustly executed.
Another sign!
Somewhere along the way from Bogan Gate to Parkes we passed a paddock which boasted a sign about Mallee Carbon Planting.  Presumably someone has worked out how to get some tradeable carbon credits by planting mallee.  I haven't been able to locate anything about this on the web.

Links to other parts of this trip
Day 1
Day 3