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Showing posts from July, 2012

Fred Hollows

Bourke is the final resting place of Fred Hollows.  Fred was an eye doctor who on discovering in the 1970s  that aboriginal people in the outback suffered eye diseases set about inspiring the medical community to perform thousands of operations to treat these preventable conditions. By 1980 Fred was travelling all over the world to help set up eye health programs in developing countries.  His work continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation. Participating in Julies Taphophile Tragics meme.

Port of Bourke

Bourke is on the Darling River.  We have visited this long River on other trips at Wilcannia, Pooncarie and Wentworth.  Back in the 1890s there were 80 riverboats plying their trade along this river.  But this was short lived when the river was found to be unreliable and the railway arrived. At the moment it looks so lovely. A few years ago parts of this river were just a chain of ponds and earlier this year became a raging torrent that engulfed the town.

Bourke Buildings

Bourke has a rather nice colonial river town feel.

Great, grey plain?

The straight road continues. Henry Lawson in 1892 described this area as the "great, grey plain" and wrote "The country looks just as bad for a hundred miles round Hungerford, and beyond that it gets worse: a blasted, barren wilderness that doesn't even howl. If it howled it would be a relief. I believe that Bourke and Wills found Hungerford, and it's a pity they did." That was during drought.  It doesn't look like that at the moment.  The land is lush with grass, looking little different from the lands less remote.  A bit of a disappointment really. Lawson also wrote "If you know Bourke you know Australia." Let's go find out if it's true.


We are out in the Mulga now.  I google, What's mulga? ... a type of acacia I find. Mulga also has literary connections.  How about this from one our bush poets Mulga Bill's Bicycle  by AB Paterson 'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze; He turned away the good old horse that served him many days; He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen; He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine; And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride, The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"   more

Country Places

I was very pleased because I thought we were going to pass through Gulargambone.  Why I want to see Gulargambone I don't know, I think it is because it has such a great name.  Perhaps one of our bush poets wrote about it.   AD Hope is not a bush poet but he did put Gulargambone  in his poem Country Places  which is about "weird names, some beautiful, more that make me laugh." Anyway, it turns out we were not a Gulargambone but at Giralambone -- which proudly announced itself as a Tidy Village winner.  It can't take a lot of effort to become a tidy village ... mow the front lawns of the one or two houses and take a beaten up car or two to the dump.  There is not a lot here, the general store and the skeleton of the old railway station which gave it birth. As it happens Giralambone does have a literary connection. It's the historic location of the incidents in the story "The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith"  by Thomas Kaneally.   [Opps wrong.  The schoolt


We're on the road from Nyngan to Bourke - the longest stretch of straight road in NSW.  Take a look at the map ... it's a couple of hundred kilometers with barely a twist or turn.

The dots

Out here the dots on the map are wheat silos beside the railway line.  Sometimes there is a small cluster of houses and shops, other times nothing more than a railway siding and a few sheds. These are the silos at Tullamore, a small town (population 200).


Did you watch "Country Town Rescue" on the ABC?  Having seen that show we decided to trundle through Trundle, the country town being rescued.  I wonder if others are doing it too, starting a mini tourist boom. It's a little down at heel but we enjoyed lunch at a local cafe. The websites say that Trundle's claims to fame are the long hotel verandah (80 metres) and the wide main street.  It sure is wide ... there is angle parking with a service road behind on both sides and a jolly big stretch of road between them.

Another Royal

Condoblin has a great little camping ground, the cheapest of the whole trip.  And the town has a Royal Hotel - one of the more ugly renditions on the theme. Don't worry, there will be fewer as we go along because we are heading up to Queensland and they don't seem to have same history of a Royal Hotel in nearly every town, either that or they have all burnt down or fallen down.


It's sheep sale day at Cootamundra.

A correction

I remember the pigeons were doing that at the Harden Railway Station last time we were here. And there is a Royal Hotel up the road which I had recorded as being in Boorowa instead of the nearby town of Harden ... ooops I had better go fix that.


We are travelling through sheep and wheat country, lovely undulating land before we reach the big flat plains. The fields are a patchwork of winter crops breaking through with a sheen of green, brown soil tilled for planting and straw coloured pasture.

I spy

The first Royal Hotel for the trip to add to collection .  What a great start.  May there be many more! I have also posted a new Royal from Rainbow, Victoria contributed by Red Nomad Oz who do amazing Australian adventures.


We've reached Yass in time for lunch at that nice little cafe.  Yass is a thriving town (population 4,500) and with a pleasant heritage feel. Let me hasten to add that I will not reporting on every town and dot on the map along the way.  These towns are outside the borders of my 100 towns project.  However, you are likely to see lots more wide shady iron lace verandahs because these places get very hot in the summer.  In winter we are experiencing a pleasant 14C.

Winter world

It's winter world around Canberra.  Escaping daytime maximums of 8C at home we're looking forward to warmer days, though we do anticipate chilly nights in the inland. The grass is wintery brown but there is lots of it after all the rain of recent months.

Bourke and beyond tour

I've wanted to visit Bourke.  And now 4,000 kms later we've been there and lots of other places.   View the map The tour is an experiment with working on the road,  doing 3 hours each morning and some catch up at night. This means moving off later each day and no morning strolls so photographically not up there with the best but a great trip nonetheless. That's the view from our caravan window on our first port of call Canberra, for Ian to do some business.  We start wayfaring in earnest tomorrow.