Saturday, March 31, 2012

The dying days of summer


This photo was taken in the dying days of our very wet summer and is published here just to let you know I am taking you off for a wet weekend camping in Blayney with the view to ticking off the historic towns around it. I hope you are not too tired of town spotting.

Blayney is to the west of Bathurst so the terrain is slightly less hilly and more open than the towns I have taken you to recently but not so far west as the big flat sheep and wheat country.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Drought breaking 3 of 3

Former Royal Hotel, Marulen

Ending another drought of sorts I have found a new Royal Hotel at last.  This one is at Marulen which is a small town bypassed by the Federal Highway to Canberra.

It looks a little sad, waiting for someone to buy it and restore it to life.  Looking through the windows the inside is worse.  Deep pockets will be needed.

I recently received the photos of the Royals at Cudal and Canowindra from Gordon at LookANDsee but I had already beaten him to them (just as Julie beat me to the one at Bungendore).  So I've decided that if you do double up I will acknowledge you with an also spotted by attribution.

Wondering what's happened to City Daily Photo and the next theme day?  Go to http://cdpbthemeday.blogspot.com.au/

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drought Breaking 2 of 3


In our attempt to find an alternate access to Whistlers Rest because of the flooding we passed Lake Windemere. It seemed a perfect opportunity to get a progress shot on the dam level. See it during the drought here.  It can still go higher, the water storage website says it is now 60% full.

Lake Windemere is at the location of the old town Cudgegong. It had me baffled for a while because a web search turned up photos of the stone church at Cudgegong taken in the 1960s and 1970s and stone churches don't disappear easily so I wondered if it was one of those sneaky nearly gone towns hiding in nook along some country road I had not yet travelled.  Then I found it had been drowned beneath the waters of the lake in the 1980s.  I guess that is another way for a town to die.

You can read a little of the history of Cudgegong which I've added to the localities over at 100 towns.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Drought breaking 1 of 3


It's been a bit wet lately.  A few weeks ago, after a particularly big deluge the creeks and rivers were breaking their banks. On our drive out to Whistlers Rest it was fascinating to see the landscape transformed by the water. Fortunately there were no big floods here in this area but there has certainly been major flooding elsewhere in NSW.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yetholme



Our last stop on this trip was to see if there was anything left of an old town once called Frying Pan which was later renamed Yetholme.  I knew Yetholme to be a roadhouse on the highway near the pine forests and didn't expect to find anything but again I was wrong.  There was a lovely little settlement  with homes, a neat community hall and a church still in use.  The perfect spot for the creatively inspired.

Apparently it was a tourist town back in the early 1900s and in more recent years was bypassed by the Great Western Highway leaving it to settle into its pleasant tranquil existence, hidden from the travellers speeding by.

I remembered it is Tuesday so have added a supplementary photo to participate in Taphophile Tragics this week.  This is St Paul's Anglican Church in Yetholme.  The burials in the church yard date from the 1873 to the present day.




Monday, March 26, 2012

Littleton at Napoleon Reef



Across the paddock from the hidden slab hut was this attractive old farm building. You never see places like this when zooming down highways, that's what's so wonderful about mooching along the side roads.

With a little bit of googling I discovered these old buildings are on a property named Littleton which was originally 10 acres and conducted as an orchard specialising in apples, pears and cherries. This is a packing shed from the orcharding days. Today is it part of a beef cattle stud.

I've added Napoleon Reef as a locality at 100 Towns.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Napoleon Reef






The sign said Napoleon Reef 2 kms.  With a name like that we couldn't resist going to find what was there even though it was not on my list of towns.  Well there was an old farm and a row of rural post boxes and nothing else of interest until I discovered this slab hut hiding behind some pine trees -- the real deal. I thought it an exciting discovery.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

George Fish


If there was any risk of the history of the region disappearing I am sure you could find it here.  George's was a huge steptoe of a place with clutter everywhere, and buildings tumbling down under the dank pine trees.  It looked so abandoned I wondered if George has passed on but the entrance certainly looked cheerful in a wild sort of way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hidden hamlets


On the way home from Bathurst we decided to tick off a few more dots on the map. Would we once again be surprised to to find hidden hamlets beside the highway we traverse so often?

Walang turned out to have a modern real estate development but further down the road that rambles along beside the highway an older history could be found.  I think it is a while since this community hall has been used. In fact everything was old damp and mouldering down this road, more tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bathurst


At the heart of this gold mining region is the city of Bathurst, a bustling business centre today that has much of its rich history reflected in elegant old buildings thst appear throughout the city.

It is a lovely city, see more of Bathurst over at 100 towns.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some thoughts on the future of towns


From Peel we meandered around the outskirts of Bathurst taking in another town Duramana which turned out to be just a church and a house or two. Soon after the city of Bathurst began to materialise on the horizon.

I am optimistic about the future of rural towns in this age of the global network. There is a growing move for information workers to be able to work from anywhere. I myself work from home three days a week with just two in the office and am soon to make this five days a week. This means I could live and work anywhere there is network connectivity, far from commuting distance to the city. I believe this will catch on strongly over the next few years.

Right now land in the country is cheap and the NSW government is offering people a $7,000 relocation grant to move from the city to the bush. The time is ripe for people to make the move to freedom and fresh air and it doesn't have to be a move to a tiny hick town, out here there are vibrant cities like Bathurst which we will visit in tomorrow's post.

I've added Durmana as a locality at 100 Towns.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some thoughts on the death of towns


We spotted this couple of old girls on the way to the small town of Peel.

JM and Diane have made a comments recently about the high number of dead towns I am finding.  I have been thinking about that too. One reason is that all this area was gold mining country and they were gold rush towns. Some had thousands of residents during their brief history but the homes were usually of canvas that was packed up and moved when news of a better field spread. Some continued or revived when reef mining followed but that too dwindled. The more substantial settlements transitioned to supporting the local rural industry.

Another factor is that some of the towns were staging posts and inns during the horse and buggy days. These were quite close together, much closer than we need today. The car killed them. And some still struggling died when the highway bypassed them or the bitumen road never reached them.

Others sprung to life as railway towns when the railway came their way, again quite close together to facilitate taking on water and coal for the steam engines.  And if the railway didn't come to your town because of terrain or whatever that meant likely death because it could not establish itself as a hub for transporting rural produce.  And when the railway shut down the town began to shut down too.

Add to this consolidation of smaller rural properties into larger properties, mechanisation requiring fewer rural workers and no industrial base all leading to the drift from the country to the coastal cities where work could be found.  The older folk left behind die and the town dies with them.

And there is nothing much left because most of the buildings were of timber, not stone. This meant they could be easily transported, burnt down, or eaten by termites.  So unlike South Australia where you find stone ghost towns you don't find that here.

Drought, depopulation of youth due to the wars, and changes in fortune for particular rural produce such as wool would all have played their part.  And that is all I can think of right now.


You can visit Peel over at 100 Towns.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Limekilns



We reached Limekilns, another place that is no longer a town but at the edge of the road is a farmhouse that looked to me very much like it would have once been a wayside inn - it turns out to be the former Rising Sun Inn.  There was no sign of lime kilns, I think they went a long time ago.

See more photos of this building and some other things we found at Limekilns over at 100 towns.


I've also posted two new Royal hotels contributed by Red Nomad.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reserve


Mt Horrible road turns out to be dirt road in very good condition. It climbs and winds a little and we find ourselves moving from open pasture to heavily wooded country.  A sign informed us that it was Winburndale Nature Reserve and the Parks and Wildlife website lists quite a variety of different types of eucalypts in this area.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The oakey


This is the low level bridge, no problems at all.  And as it happens this is also the oakey.  The web tells me that back in the mining days they called creeks lined with she-oaks, oakeys.  There are lots of oakeys in this part of the world.

I asked Madam Tom Tom to guide me to Limekilns our next destination.  There was no way she was going to lead me over that bridge - her route took us back via Meadow Flat and Bathurst.  Maybe she was in dread of going on Mount Horrible road.   Let's go see what it is like.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Palmers Oakey


Well Palmers Oakey is another "was once a town". It apparently started as a gold town in the 1850s with a store and couple of hotels.  There is no obvious sign of them today but in a distant paddock there is a cemetery. This is the farm at the spot where Madam Tom Tom declared we had reached our destination.

I've added Palmers Oakey as a locality at 100 towns.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Open country


We are now heading towards the rather oddly named Palmers Oakey.  The pine trees have given away to open grazing country. The soft mounds of the hills - like the earth is loosely draped in a green cloth.

The road sign says that 30kms hence there is a low lying bridge that becomes impassible in the wet. Well it has been wet but we decide to take the risk. Meanwhile Madam Tom Tom bleats "Turn around."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dark Corner



Well here we are at Dark Corner which is not at all dark but there is nothing of note here either. Well who would choose to live in a dark corner when then is a sunny one up the road?

After our fruitless search for Yarrabin I have taken to getting Madam Tom Tom to tell me when I have reached my destination. She is very shy of dirt roads however so often has to be scolded strongly to take me where I want to go.

As it happens we could have found Dark Corner because there is a rural fire service shed and an old cemetery on a hill but no sign of any town that may have existed.

I've added Dark Corner to the localities at 100 Towns.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shady corner


On the road from Sunny Corner to Dark Corner there is a shady, mowed glen in the centre of the thick forest where graves struggle to hold their own against the encroaching trees.

The first burials date from the time of the mining boom 1885 and the latest 1950 (already 60 years ago)

The message on this gravestone says:
Time has passed and still we miss them
Words would fail our love to tell
But in heaven we hope to meet them
Jesus doeth all things well.

I say Amen to that.  

Today's post, artfully designed to fall on a Tuesday, is part of Taphophile Tragics.  Go visit an incredible range of graves from many places and many faiths other there.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I spy


I spy with my little eye a tall chimney among those tall trees.  I reckon there are some ruins over there, worth a side trip one of these days.

When I got home I googled and found that Sunny Corner had a a silver smelter.

Learn more of the history of Sunny Corner over at 100 Towns.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunny Corner



Here we are at Sunny Corner.  The dance hall looks a bit forbidding but what a lovely name for a town.

I would have predicted that somewhere in these hills would be a loggers camp but this is a reasonable sized town (population 170) that looks like it's been around a while. It is a bit of an artists colony today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Infested


I loathe blackberry, horrible prickly stuff that is a constant battle in my garden. The pine forests are infested with huge thickets of it which are in fruit at this time of year.  It might look yummy but don't eat unless you want a belly ache.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Look and you will see


I have driven the Lithgow-Bathurst road dozens of times and I would sworn there was nothing at Meadow Flat other than a big bank of speed cameras before the locality sign.  But, being diligent in my town search I decided to turn off the road to see what was there and found a cluster of houses, a community hall, war memorial, rural fire service and a school ... just shows you don't know what's anywhere until you go look and see.

I have asked previously in this blog whether they still have Arbor Day when kids go plant trees.  Diane assured me they do.  I found this outside the school, I guess Arbor Day just has a new name.

Visit Meadow Flat over at 100 Towns.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Town spotting


Well we are not going by train.  We are in the car on a new town spotting trip.  The area we are exploring is west of the mountains between Lithgow and Bathurst.  It's the hilly patch where dark pine forests cover the hills.

We are off into those forests to places with quaint names like Sunny Corner, Dark Corner and driving Mt Horrible road to Lime Kilns.  Let's go see what's there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Next Train




The information boards look as quaint and old fashioned at the engine but our station at Lawson still has them.

Today we are finishing this series, the next train is going to take us somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Repetition




I think repeating patterns are soothing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fit for purpose


There was this cute little pay van, quite different from the nearby carriage used for carting sheep.  There were lots of others too like the mail carriage, coal carriage, prison carriage, shipping container carriages, even one for transporting coffins.



I've added Ophir at 100 Towns pop over to visit the first paying goldfield in Australia

Sunday, March 4, 2012

1st class


This is a first class dining carriage but we also got to peep through the windows of other amazing carriages like the state Governer's carriage, the Premier's carriage and the Railway Commissioners carriage -- very classy indeed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Machines






All that heaving hissing metal, brings joy to the heart of the daughter of an engineer and the son of a train driver.

But none of it is actually heaving and hissing, the displays are mostly static, which you can no doubt tell from the pristine blackness and shiny brass bits.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Train spotting


We've done a couple more country town spotting trips since the one we have just finished.  But I thought perhaps you would like a short break to see something different.  We visited Trainworks at Thirlmere,  the  NSW Government's train and rail museum.

It has a stupendous collection of trains and railway memorabilia.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Collectors


Over the road from the monument at Larras Lee is a collector extraordinaire.  There were dozens of railway carriages mouldering the paddock, old trucks, old cars, a pile of huge tyres from those giant mining machines and heaps of other junk but I reckon having a spare aircraft in the yard takes the cake.