This is the neat and tidy railway station at Rylstone. Like most of the stations on this line, no longer in use. In fact the line this far up is closed.
This railway station is special in two ways -- Henry Lawson's father helped build it. (Henry Lawson is a famous Australian bush poet). It's made of timber unlike nearly every other building of significance in the town which are built of local stone.
Rylstone is a really delightful town with lovely buildings.
Remember Portland, which we visited last week. It was a town built from the cement industry but the cement works closed down 20 years ago. Kandos is a similar town. It was started in 1915 when a group of men saw the advantage of limestone, coal and railway line to establish a cement industry. That industry has been the mainstay of the town.
Last year the cement works closed laying off 98 workers. Outdated equipment, the high Aussie dollar, distance from the market, problems getting skilled workers and carbon tax were listed as factors in its demise.
But all is not lost. The town has a population of 1300, potential new coal mines in the area and together with nearby Rylstone is attractive to tourists. Like Portland it will not die.
Just a 3.5 kms up the road from Clandulla is the village of Charbon and a few more kilometres and you reach the town of Kandos. With everything being so close you will understand why there is really no need for shops and most town amenities in these communities.
Charbon (home to about 150 people) is a mining settlement started in the 1920s. The neat grid of streets has tidy fibro workers cottages. Charbon colliery operates both underground and open cut mines digging coal mostly for export. A coal train departs each day destined for Port Kembla.
I declare in interest in this town. Off all of the 100 towns this is the one we have chosen as our own. Our rural block Whistlers Rest is in Clandulla and today's photo shows you some of it's attraction.
The town itself is a cluster of 30-40 houses, so bigger than some of the places we have visited on the way but in other aspects less of a town.
The little church at Running Stream is special in that is a non-denominational church and has been so for all of its 100 years of history. It's owned by the Running Stream community. Church services are still held there occasionally. They put a banner up the weeks it is on.
The community is tiny but has a great little cafe at Foxwood Farm making it a nice place to stop on the way to Mudgee.
The next spot is a small community of three or four houses rather than a town. The road takes an unexpected turn across the railway line at Ben Bullen and the derelict railway station is clearly visible from the road. In the vacant lot over the road from the railway station there is generally a fruit and vege seller who has recently been joined by people selling honey and other local produce. And the other recent addition has been the dog coats you can see hanging on the line.
I am bemused by the way the modern day dog is into fashion and beauty.
Cullen Bullen is another town that has been in the news lately. There is opposition to the expansion of the nearby open cut coal mine - dust, destruction of native forest, water quality and lifestyle seem to be the issues.
It's a small town (300 people) sustained by mining. I would have thought increased work opportunities would have been of interest. The owner of the Royal Hotel was certainly in support of the proposition on the TV the other night.
All down one side of the main street of Portland is closed off - industrial buildings, houses, parklands. It is the site of the once thriving Portland Cement Works which sustained the town for 100 years and shut down in the 1990s. It was essentially a company town.
Now Portland is a bit of a struggle town but is kept ticking by the nearby Mount Piper Power Station, mining and rural activities.
The previous government was going to expand Mount Piper Power Station which would have brought in an influx of 1000 or so workers into Lithgow and these surrounding towns during the construction phase. I'm not sure where that got to, being coal powered there was plenty of opposition to it. It will be part of the power sell off now.
Last year Julie wrote an interesting post on the Tidy Towns Awards (I can't find it to link to it). It mentioned that Lithgow was last year's winner among some controversy. That made me keep an eye out for the inevitable sign announcing this triumph.
My next trip is not a journey as such but rather a road we travel often. I am going to post from each of the towns along the route from our Blue Mountains home to our property at Clandulla and then go on to Mudgee.
The first town is Hartley, a historic town just west of the mountains. It is pretty much a ghost town, though there are some residents and the buildings are intact rather than ramshackle ruins because it's maintained as a historic site by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
It is a very attractive settlement because their are sandstone buildings dating back to the 1830s plus buildings of other materials built over the active life of the town.