Forbes Region

On Tuesday I decided to visit some silo and street art around Forbes so I headed off to Manildra where a small water tank and the base of a silo had been painted by Jimmy D’Vate, who has also painted silos at Goorambat, Rochester and Waikerie. His silos are among the best in my opinion and the artwork at Manildra was of the same high standard.

I visited the local cafe to buy a roll for lunch and was very happy with the loaded ham and salad roll that even included beetroot, I would enjoy that later in Nangar National Park. Next stop was Molong which is about 50 Km west of Orange, here a decommissioned water tank had been painted. The tank had been built around 1928 to provide water for steam engines on the nearby railway line.

The main artwork was of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell who traversed this area on his 4th expedition and was guided by Yuranigh a local Wiradjuri man. Mitchell was so impressed with Yuranigh and asked the Governor to organise a suitable headstone for him after he had died. Yuranigh was buried according to the local Aboriginal traditions with carved trees around his grave which indicated he was a significant person in his tribe.

The artwork on the rest of the tank focussed on Australian birds.

My next stop was Nangar National Park, I had visited here 15 years or so ago and had lunch with Marg at the same picnic table so it brought back lovely memories. The picnic and campground is a delightful spot with a creek curling around high hills with clumps of weathered rocks among the trees.

One feature of the park is Dripping Rock which drips throughout the year, but rarely has flowing water. This year is an exception with water flowing over the rock that usually drips. I seem to recall that on our last visit the rock was barely dripping. The road into the park had lots of potholes and numerous shallow creek crossings, not really suitable for a caravan.

From here I went to Eugowra where there was street art to view. This small town has few big buildings so all those that exist had artwork. The town lies on Escort Way named after a famous robbery of the coach carrying gold to Orange. In the attack the gold commissioner was killed by Gardeners gang of bushrangers who escaped with over $2M of gold. The attack is depicted on the right below and Gardners gang on the left under the Farmers painting.

Wednesday will be spent at Forbes with two Zoom crossword sessions to run and shopping to be done. Thursday will be my last day in Forbes and I will visit the rest of the Sculptures Down the Lachlan.

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Sculpture Down the Lachlan

Driving from Grenfell to Forbes was an easy trip with one aspect being quite amazing, something I had never seen in Australia before. Every creek, stream or river contained water and in a lot of them it was swift flowing water. What’s more, all the billabongs were full and most depressions in the paddocks carried water. Quite a wonderful sight, put that together with green grass everywhere, very healthy trees and bushes and it is like you are in another country, quite an experience.

Forbes is on the Lachlan River but I haven’t met Clancy yet! The river runs beside the caravan park and is carrying heaps of water and close to the top of its banks. After setting up I headed off to Condobolin down the Lachlan River where around 10 sculptures had been erected. There are more sculptures around Forbes which I will visit another day.

The first sculpture was a massive Goanna, I think everyone who has travelled in the bush or been camping has seen goanna. The lace monitor is the common one in Victoria and the second largest goanna, growing up to 2 metres in length. The goanna sculpture was probably my favourite and it is massive. Called Varanus, it stands 5.5 metre tall, 20 metres from tongue to tail, and was crafted from 3.5 tonnes of steel and took over 3,500 hours to construct.

Glen Star is the man behind Star Steel Artwhich is based in Alstonville NSW. Glen is a multi-award-winning sculptor renowned for his large-scale steel designs.

Nearby to the goanna was another sculpture called Hunter, it is of a bird getting ready to strike, with wings curved for flight. At 4.2 metre tall, 2.5 metre wide this Corten steel bird of prey won first prize in the 2016 Sculpture Forbes Acquisition Prize. The sculptor is Damian Vick is a leading Melbourne based artist.

?The next sculpture was called Road Kill and it depicts a role reversal where a rebellious kangaroo takes its revenge on a busy stretch of road. People often complain about the damage done to cars after hitting a kangaroo but what about the kangaroo? This sculpture reverses the normal, in it the kangaroo messes with the road.

?The artist drew inspiration for ‘Road Kill’ following a trip to Forbes in 2019, at the tail end of a three year drought. The 3.5 tonne reinforced Corten steel plate sculpture took six months to construct. The artist is Jimmy Rix whose sculptures often relate to personal experiences and familiar objects.

From here it was to an Amazing sculpture, literally. “Amazing” is spelt out in two and half metre high red letters and it was the first large scale sculpture to be installed on the Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail. The letters are made from eight tonnes of steel, sub-framed with heavy plate and a 3-millimetre powder coated outer skin.

“Amazing” is an example of community enthusiasm and energy. This sculpture was designed by local artist Rosie Johnston, and fabricated and installed by local farmers, tradespeople and engineers who volunteered their time. ??It took three years between the construction of the first letter, ‘a’, and its installation along the Lachlan Valley Way.

From here it was to the Tower a sculpture that represents our need to control our resources. In many towns the old water towers stand as sculptural relics and reminders of what we leave behind in our attempts to meet the challenges of life on earth.

The sculptor is Stephen King who is best known for his distinctive carved timber structures that have featured in Sculpture by the Sea both in Bondi, Sydney and Cottesloe in WA for the past 15 years. Stephen was awarded the Helen Lempriere Scholarship at the 2020 Sculpture by the Sea and first prize at the 2020 Wollombi Valley Sculpture Festival.

I’m getting hungry by now but I still have four to go before a counter lunch at Condobolin, so I push on to Bird in Hand. This piece represents our responsibility of environmental preservation, sustainability and development. “Bird in Hand” is about the importance of the wetlands to the Australian environment. Wetlands act as flood mitigators, recycle nutrients into the soil, filter water and most importantly provide a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.

The 6.5 metre, 3.5 tonne piece depicting a realistic hand cradling a great white egret was made from 1600 meters of 10mm, 316 marine grade, stainless steel chain, with 38 links per meter and 4 welds per link. This equates to just over 243,000 welds, taking eight months to complete.

Michael Van Dam is the Queensland-based sculptor of this piece, he is a well known for creating extremely strong and durable sculptures from marine grade stainless steel chain. Originally a Sheet Metal worker by trade, Mike was inspired to try his hand at sculpting in 2010 following a visit to Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast.

The next sculpture was Sonata depicting a girl playing a violin on the back of a large bull, it illustrates the delicate relationship between humans and nature. The bull represents the powerful forces of nature in contrast to the fragility of the child and her violin. It is as if the bull is held under a spell by her music.

Sonata expresses the need for an accord with nature; when properly appeased, the raging bull becomes surprisingly tender. It shows the delicate and careful balance required if we are to survive the challenges of climate change and a viral pandemic.

The figures were composed of hundreds of individual 3mm Corten steel plates which had been formed using blacksmithing techniques. Each panel was hammered or pressed to assume the desired form. The 800 kilogram piece took seven months to sculpt.

The artists Suzie Bleach and Andrew Townsend collaborate to make sculptures and installations in a range of materials featuring familiar animal subjects to explore themes of human history and the relationship between humans and the natural world.

The next sculpture was Within and Without and was my least favourite. There was no explanation of what it was about, maybe that says it all.

The next sculpture was called wandering and was a marvellous sculpture of an aboriginal warrior standing six metres tall. His stance and searching eyes cut a strong figure whilst suggesting that he is searching for something unseen, lost along the way, relegated to the past. ?

The one tonne Corten Steel sculpture explores the notions of strength, vulnerability and connection. The sculptor is Damian Vick who also sculpted the Hunter shown above.

Unlike the other sculptures that feature along the SDL trail, “Wandering” does not have a narrative. While the abstract piece was made in reference to the picturesque landscape in which it sits, it invites the viewer to create a narrative for themselves, so off you go!

It is interesting how the sculpture changes depending on which parts are in the sun and which ore in shadow. The sculptor is David Ball who was born into the Australian bush in 1958. The bush has provided him with everything he values as a sculptor.

The final artwork was “Utes in the Paddock” at Condobolin. Unfortunately there were earthworks in progress and I could only get within a couple of hundred metres. This photo from the brochure will give you some idea of the theme.

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There are some more sculptures in Forbes to explore on another day. Tomorrow I head off for some silo and street art.

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Grenfell

I had an interesting evening on Thursday. After a day and a half of steady rain things cleared up but I was a bit concerned that the creek next to the caravan park was starting to rise and my camp was only a couple of feet higher than the current level (I was the only person camped there). I had moved camp to get to a site that was a bit higher and not so soggy so I left the van coupled up and lowered the roof so if I needed to leave in a hurry I could. I talked to a couple of locals and they were reasonably confident I would be OK but no guarantees. So I kept checking the rising level each 1/2 hour from about 5 pm and the kept rising until the creek was well over twice as wide but still below the road level. I was very relieved when I checked at 10 pm and the water had dropped about a centimetre, phew I could get into bed and relax, which I did.

It reminded me of a time we were camped at Ulupna Island when I had done the same thing, checking the level each 1/2 hour. Around 10 pm the Murray started to over-run a bank at the start of a creek that flowed across our access road so we packed up very quickly and moved out to a safer spot. The water was about 30 cm over the road when we drove out, Adam was lucky as he has an all-terrain Sigma! When we checked in the morning the water was about 1.8 metres over our road, not sure what we would have done to get out if we hadn’t moved when we did.

I was heading for Forbes and called in at Collingullie water tanks again on the way, I just love those water tanks

The next stop was in Harden for a couple of disappointing silos. The artwork was not particularly noteworthy and the house owner had planted Cyprus trees along the boundary. Fortunately they were young trees so I could get photos in the gaps, in a couple of years this will not be possible.

From here I headed for Forbes, but as I drove through Grenfell I decided to stop there for a few days. Marg and I stayed here nine years ago when Marg tripped on a discontinuity on the path to the toilet and broke her wrist badly. We had to abort our holiday head for a hospital and then home. We did threaten to sue for negligence but eventually reached a good settlement with the insurance company. It was interesting to observe that every discontinuity in the paths around the toilets has since been ground absolutely flat, no trip hazards now.

There are a couple of National Parks nearby which I thought would be good to visit. They are located on the Lachlan Fold Belt which is a zone of folded and faulted rocks of similar age. It dominates New South Wales and Victoria, also extending into Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. It was formed in the Middle Paleozoic from 450 to 340 million years ago, so there!

The National Park to the east of Grenfell is Conimbla which is covered mainly by open forest of cyprus and gum trees. The park stands out above the mainly cleared surrounding plans having the highest peak in the area. The first road I went down ended in a locked gate not shown on the map, but I got a good view on the return journey.

I had a picnic lunch at the Wallaby Picnic Area the only developed area in the park. I was lucky that it was sunny at that time and enjoyed lunch in a very peaceful setting.

After lunch I walked for a bit up the Wallaby Walking Trail which I enjoyed. Not many flowers but I managed to find a couple. The one on the left is a creeper, it looks like a type of hardenbergia and the one on the right looks like a pale wattle

Next day was not a good one and I headed out in rain toward Weddin Mountains National park. Fortunately the rain cleared while I was at the park. The first place I visited in the park was Seaton’s farm, a small farm that Jim Seaton owned and farmed in what is now the National Park. Jim and his family lived in extremely rough circumstances, a house with unlined galvanised iron walls and roof, no windows except for a couple of shuttered small openings and all built with material recovered from the tip or discarded on farms.

Jim used to gather scrap discarded wire and twist it together to make his fences. He also had a problem with kangaroos so he added height to his fences with small cyprus branches and scrap wire, and he did this for the 3 Km boundary of his property. At the same time he was also working elsewhere as a farm labourer. He built a collection of farm machinery assembled from cast-offs from other farms. The machinery shed is very much the worst for wear today. Just click on the photo to see a larger image.

I then moved on to the picnic area for lunch which is also a camping area. Again I enjoyed a very pleasant picnic lunch in peaceful surroundings.

On heading back home it started to rain again, so I had been very lucky to have enjoyed the park in the dry. Tomorrow I’m off to Forbes for a few days.

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Lockhart # 2

Another beautiful day for sightseeing so I headed for Urana about 40 Km from Lockhart to the west. The water tower here has a sculpture on it rather than painted artwork, you wouldn’t need to be suffering from Arachnophobia. The spider is so realistic but fortunately it is about 6 metres above the ground. Urana is a tiny town with a pub and, strangely a pharmacy, and not much else.

My next stop was to Collingullie but I had typed the town as Cullingullie in my itinerary, both spellings were shown as incorrect in the spell check so I didn’t pick up the error. I have three navigation devices installed in my car – a built in GPS, a Garmin windscreen mounted GPS and an iPad with Hema and Mud Maps installed. None could find the town, but it also did not show it on any of the maps where I thought the town was located, so I headed off to where I thought the town should be. Along the way remembered my phone, so I used Google maps on the phone and found the town was shown on that app and then I could see the spelling error. The GPS bearing coordinates I had in my notes were correct so I should have trusted them.

Once I had the correct spelling, the other GPS’s could find the place even though it still wasn’t shown on their maps, not surprising as the “town” was a couple of houses and a rough looking pub. The artwork was on two water tanks at a roadside truck parking area, the tanks seemed to be for drinking purposes, but were labelled “not suitable for drinking”. They were located out of town near 12 Mile Road, 12 miles from Wagga Wagga. These tanks are my favourites so far on this trip and must have taken the artist ages to paint.

The two tanks were painted in May 2019 by Wiradjuri artist , Owen Lyons. It is understood that they were painted to encourage travellers to rest a while at these stops. The tanks were in full or part shade so they look a bit subdued, but well worth the visit.

Back to Lockhart where I made a hardboiled egg roll and headed for the picnic table at the sculpture walk set in bushland. It was a beautiful day and very relaxing sitting in the sun enjoying lunch in a very pleasant setting. The walk takes 15-20 minutes and starts with a passenger buggy, unfortunately they were not taking passengers!

The rest of the sculptures were made from corrugated iron or flat steel sheeting and were all very good despite the basic material used.

I made a quick visit to the Lockhart museum today, a great little museum with lots of interesting stuff. There was a gallery of portraits “painted” with wool by Doris Golder. She is a renowned local artist whose paintbox consists of one of Lockhart Shire’s most historical and important resources, wool.

The wool is washed and combed by hand and then twisted together into fine threads and then cut into tiny pieces which are then placed on the canvas. Doris uses naturally coloured wool to create a wonderful array of landscapes and portraits, from Slim Dusty and Greg Norman to Bob Hawke. The portraits are excellent and truely capture the image and personality of the person.

Outside the gallery was an array of farm historic equipment which I found very interesting. There was a good collection of vintage tractors including one owned by Tim Fischer, a deputy prime minister and a genuinely nice bloke. I have always wondered why Ford tractors were named Fordson. It turns out that when Henry Ford started making tractors in 1924 someone else had claimed the Ford name for tractors so he chose Fordson, I will be able to sleep tonight! There was also a 1946 teardrop camper, a bit more basic and smaller than the modern ones. I remember sleeping in one just like that around 1956.

The other two machines that I found interesting dated from a time when our brightest people stayed in Australia and when companies invested in Australian innovation and manufacture. The first machine was a Braybrook stripper developed in Australia the 1890s and it was the first mechanical means of harvesting wheat. It replaced the scythe and sickle and revolutionised wheat harvesting. It was pulled by horses and the wheels drove the machinery through connecting belts. Notice the pressed steel seat on the right of the machine, a bit different to the modern machines with air conditioned cabins, piped music and GPS guidance.

The other machine was a self driven auto header manufactured by H V McKay at their Sunshine works in 1924. It was the first self driven header in the world and the fundamental design is the same as used in the massive headers used on farms today. Before this machine was developed headers were pulled by horses. At this time wheat was transported in bags and the header had one man driving the header and another one or two men on the back of the header bagging wheat and sewing the bags closed. Modern machines move the wheat in a conveyer directly to a large bin. I had a drive of one of the modern ones a long time ago and the turning circle was massive and I was driving it from about 4 metres above the ground.

All the shops in the main street of Lockhart have traditional verandas so the town has been described as the veranda town. I’m not an early riser by choice and I have only been able to get a photo of one side of the main street with cars parked outside the shops so the effect of the verandas and posts are much reduced. All the shop fronts have been renovated and the signage appropriately subdued and sized.

I will be hunkering down tomorrow as we expect lots of rain. After that I will move on toward Forbes, not sure of the destination, it will depend on the weather.

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Barmah to Lockhart

From Barmah I travelled to Katamatite to see if the silo there had been painted, as proposed, but it was still bare concrete. So on to Walla Walla near Wagga Wagga as it happens, maybe they needed two goes to get the name right! I headed for the tower but lost sight for a minute and then found I was going down a dead-end street toward a mobile tower, I had thought the aerials I could see over the roofs were on the water tower. I was so lucky I could just manage a U turn at the end of the street as I had the caravan in tow. As usual there is something in the area to detract from the photo, this time bollards and warning tape.

The next water tower was in Lockhart Shire at Yerong Creek. The painting on this tower was a very new one and in a nicely landscaped area, once the plants grow. The tower depicted activities of the local population. It is the third tower painted in the Lockhart council area and was finished this year. I don’t especially like the deliberate blurring of the edges and cartoon like depiction of the main features in the artwork, but it is very colourful.

The next stop on the way to Lockhart was to Milburlong still in the Lockhart shire and this tower was the second one painted in the shire. The tower is a concrete tank positioned on tall concrete piles and depicts Eastern Rosellas.

I set up camp at the council run caravan park at Lockhart, a delightful caravan park on a small creek with a park on the other side of the creek. After setting up I went for a wander through town and found sculptures along the way. They were very well done and made out of scrap metal, bits of machinery, chains, wire, mesh, household appliances, basically anything that you could weld. The horse and wagon below won the National Farm Art Award in 2010. The wagon is planted with colourful annuals that are not yet in bloom. It would look great with them in flower.

At the entrance to the caravan park is a Murray Cod jumping after a small fish, but it’s hard to see the samll fish in the photo. On the edge of the is a mob of kangaroos and across the bridge is a monster.

Finally there was a sculpture made out of corrugated iron (except for the car) depicting a carload of people heading for a dance, you can see a couple dancing on the left of the building.

I enjoyed the stroll, not much traffic, lots of parks and tress and creative sculpture. I also called in at the water tower in Lockhart that I visited last time I was here, so I haven’t included a photo of that just the wagtails painted near the base of the tower and a horse sculpture in the garden next to the tower.

Tomorrow I will drive to a couple of water tower art sites and walk around sculptures in a bushland area in Lockhart.

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Mt Eliza to Barmah (Morning Glory)

I’m on the road again this time travelling through Victoria and NSW visiting silo and water tower/tank art, sculptures in the bush and some National Parks along the way. There are something like 30 silos and water towers that have been painted since my last big trip in 2019 so this trip will fill in the gaps. The first stop was at Redesdale between Kyneton and Heathcote. It was a small tank alongside a sports ground depicting farming scenes and a bushfire.

Next stop was at Colbinabbin 50 Km west of Murchison. This silo site had been well landscaped with a big viewing area, a car park and a picnic area with a few tables, a bit of an exception. There was also a cafe in town at the general store so the town was giving the visitors a chance to spend money. Many of the small towns I visit do not have even a general store let alone a cafe. The silo art across seven silos was excellent, but the sun behind the silos made photography difficult.

In painting the silos the artists used 360 litres of primer and 580 litres of matt finish coat plus 70 litres of anti graffiti paint.

The next stop was Tatura where the single water tower was carefully positioned behind multiple power lines and buildings, making photography a bit of a challenge. It is very poetic that the tower that celebrates Sir John Monash with his image, is painted on a water tower he designed and was built in 1912. The tower has a water capacity of 364,000 litres and has remembrance poppies on the other side.

On to Picola where a small silo features the Superb Parrot, on a backdrop of the nearby Barmah National Park and some of the native flora and fauna found in the region. It was painted by Melbourne-based artist Jimmy D’Vate, whose work is also featured on the Goorambat Silos (a wonderful team of Clydesdales and a Barking Owl)

I stopped for the weekend at Morning Glory Resort on the Murray in NSW between Barmah and Echuca. My daughter Nadine joined me for the weekend and we had a relaxing but busy time planning a November group camping weekend, our 50th camp! We managed a BBQ in the Barmah national park at one of the few camping and picnic areas not under water. Campfire chats were enjoyed for three nights but rain forced us inside on Sunday where age triumphed in a few very enjoyable games of Risk Express. I was lucky, skill had no part of it. Tomorrow I head into NSW to Lockhart.

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Morning Glory

On our way from King River to Morning Glory we detoured a little to Kyabram to see the water tank there, the artwork is very good but it is fenced off so you can’t walk around it very easily. However there is an excellent viewing platform for you to view this side of the water tank.

The Major Mitchell Cockatoo was particularly well painted, I think the artist has captured the mischievous look, so typical of all cocky’s.

We did a bit of shopping in Kyabram so when we arrived at Morning Glory we made a fresh ham roll for lunch which was delicious. We love the Morning Glory campsite and have booked 12 power sites for November cup weekend; the photo below is of the area we have booked. We will be sending an email out in a couple of days inviting people to the November camp.

The amenities block (on the left of the photo) has a rustic appearance but is good and clean inside with amenities, a well equipped kitchen and a laundry around the back of the building. Tank water is available on the end of the building. Water is available at some sites but it is just river water and was quite muddy when we were there. Forty-four gallon fire drums are provided. The photo below is another view of the sites we have booked and shows the unpowered area which is passed the white caravan to the right, some power sites are on the edge of this area which are some of the sites we have booked.

There is a beach at Morning Glory about 1 Km drive along the river that is suitable for swimming and there is also a boat ramp.

One day we went to Cape Horn Winery but it was closed, it is usually open 7 days a week and advertises as such, you can buy platters and Pizzas to eat on a grassed picnic area on the Murray. The bend of the river here is the same as Cape Horn at the bottom of South America, hence the name, it is a great place for a relaxing picnic so we were disappointed that it was closed. On the way we passed Morning Glory which is on the other side of the river and could see our campsite as in the photo below.

We decided to stay an extra day at Morning Glory and visited Barmah National Park where lots of the roads were flooded from environmental water releases. We eventually found a dry picnic table in the shade near old mustering yards and enjoyed a BBQ using Deen’s new butane portable BBQ, this BBQ is next to Deen on the table.

The old mustering yard had been constructed hand hewn post and rail which would have been a massive job as the yards are quite extensive.

There was a very interesting bush gate at the mustering yards made from a log with a counterweight to balance the weight of the log. A forked branch held the end of the log gate when open and another forked branch had been provided for when it was closed. It is shown in the open position.

We enjoyed our visit to the National Park, it was good to see some tinges of green on the ground and all the red gums and grey box trees looking very healthy, they are all a very vibrant green rather than their usual dull grey green. Tomorrow we are off to Nug Nug Reserve, a small camping area near Myrtleford and Lake Buffalo.

When we arrived at Nug Nug we were surprised how many camps had already been set up, there were around 60 power sites already occupied but we were able to find a couple of vacant ones. Deen doesn’t have an inverter yet in her van so she needs power for her laptop, as she still has a few business meetings to attend. Her project goes live on Jan 17 and things are at a critical stage. The campground has lots of trees which is great as the day temperatures are in the low 30s.

My camp is at the bottom centre of the photo; most of Deen’s is behind a tree but the white square across the road in the middle left of the photo is her kitchen awning.

Today, Thursday, is my last day away, the end of what has been a sort but very enjoyable holiday. We talked to the caretaker of Nug Nug Reserve and he mentioned that there could be 600 people here by the end of Boxing Day! My guess is that there would be 3 times as many camps here as shown in the photo, not a scenario I would like at all.

Deen has an infected toe so she went to the doctor this morning and he lanced and dressed it and put her on a course of antibiotics, it started feeling better as the day went by. After the doctors we headed to Milawa about 45 Km away and had lunch at the Milawa Kitchen, which is in the same building as the cheese shop. We chose a share platter which was excellent, a delicious beetroot and cherry relish, olives, a bread stick from the bakery (also in the same building), ham, three different salami, semi dried tomatoes, a piece of brie and butter for the bread. All delicious and accompanied with a Beechworth Pale Ale

A relaxing afternoon to follow will to wind up the holiday. Who knows where my next holiday will be and where I will be able to travel. I was thinking of going to WA but I think I will defer that to 2023. Best wishes for Christmas to you all.

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King River Valley

We have had a very relaxing week in a quiet bush camp right on the King River, very shady, which is just as well as it has been quite hot.

The facilities are basic with one long extension cord for power, no water and one combined toilet and shower, but it would be hard to beat the environment. Most of the time we are the only people camped here with occasionally only a tent well away from us. The day after we arrived we drove to Lake William Hovell which is at the end of the King Valley for a BBQ lunch followed by a bit of 4WD in Deen’s Jeep.

The next day we went to Paradise Falls for a picnic lunch followed by a 500 metre return walk to the falls. We had to use stools to sit on so to eat lunch we could be in the shade. Deen used a new portable gas BBQ she had just purchased and it worked a treat and was easy to clean. It was a delightful walk but the hundreds of steps were a bit tiring. In the photo below you will see two faint white lines in the centre of the photo, they are the falls.

The views along the walk to the falls were excellent, across the King Valley to the mountains behind.

Wednesday was a bit rainy so we went to the Mountain View Hotel in Whitfield for an excellent meal in very pleasant surroundings, well worth a visit. The weather was heating up so we mainly stayed around camp and relaxed but we fitted in a BBQ lunch at Moyhu in the Lions Park, it was disappointing that we missed the lions though.

Today we went to Gracebrook Winery for lunch and had the best sharing platter that either of us had been served before. There was heaps of food – four different cold meats, three dips, lots of bread and biscuits, olive oil for dipping, olives, apple (2 types), raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, watermelon, walnuts, pickled walnuts, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, celery, carrot, and lettuce. Most of the food was home made at the winery with the bread and cheese coming from the cheese factory at Milawa. The only reject was pickled eggplant which was a bit like eating rubber. We ate out on the lawn where it was cool under the trees with a wonderful view.

The Gracebrook wines that we tasted before lunch were very good and we both ended up buying a mixed dozen. Tomorrow is out last day here and we are thinking of going to the Brewery just down the road for a tasting and a meal. Then it will be off to Morning Glory on the Murray to see if it will be OK for the November camp, our 50th November camp.

There are still a few of us that can remember that first camp at Waratah Bay when it was just a bush camping spot. This is our camp in our first camper, a Sunwagon.

There were a lot of people at the first camp and we had a campfire each evening as has become our tradition. Not many photos were taken but this one survived, try to put a name to the people.

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Broken Creek Bush Camp

Sadly we had to cancel our planned trip to the Eyre Peninsula for the third time, I’m now on first name basis with the people at Lincoln National Park and they do the refund applications for me now. The SA COVID testing regime was just too onerous for us given the limited time we had to make the trip, but we will get there one day. So the hastily redrawn plans have us staying 3 days at Broken Creek Bush Camp near Benalla in Northern Victoria. It is a very relaxed camp with sites well spaced and basic facilities. It is Deen’s second trip with her new van and it is still performing very well.

You can see that it is very dry and also has the requisite fire place which we have used every night, firewood was $15 for a load delivered by front end loader. The host also cooks wood fired pizzas on Saturday night so we have one on order for tonight. Yesterday we went for a drive to see some of the silos in the area which I had visited already but it was good to do it again. The first was at St James a small village about 20 Km north of Benalla. I used the drone this time to give a different perspective

From there it was further north to Tungamah an even smaller village about 50 Km north of Benalla. Taking the photos in bright sun proved difficult as it was very hard to see the photo on the iPhone that controls the drone, even with the screen brightness at max.

Our next stop was Devenish where the silos had a military theme commeratting the contribution of people in the area to our armed forces.

The last silos on this excursion were at Goorambat another small village which is well organised and they have opened a cafe in town since the silos were painted. They have also set up a second viewing area for the second set of two silos. I liked these silos the best, the draught horses look like they are galloping toward you as you drive into town.

The other two silos are about 50 metres behind this one and I especially like the owl painting.

The evenings at Broken Creek did get cool so a fire was needed to keep us warm. Deen took this panorama photo one night.

There’s not a lot to do around Benalla but we did find Reef’s Hill State Park about 5 Km East of Benalla. It was a scrubby dry box forest with many small twisted eucalypts growing on a native grass forest floor. We found a fire BBQ and picnic table and enjoyed a peaceful couple of hours over lunch.

Tomorrow we head off to the King River Valley for a week.

Posted in 2021 | 2 Comments

Dunkeld Cup Camp

We met up at Dunkeld for our 49th Cup weekend camp and enjoyed a few days of relaxation in the company of good friends. We stayed at the Dunkeld Caravan Park where Deen set up her new camper for the first time and found the setup much easier than the Gidget she had owned previously. As usual lots of fellow campers wanted a guided tour of the new camper.

A lot of time at the camp was spent just sitting around chatting and relaxing

Peter G brought lots of fire wood as usual so we had a camp fire every evening and lots of good conversation. It was great to have Davo, Cheryl, Shelby and Maddie with us again plus Adam and Julie, Pete and Barb with Deen and I making up the numbers. Deen took a few photos around the fire without a flash, which proved a bit difficult.

Shelby, Adam and Julie around the fire

Deen also managed to catch one of me

And another of Maddie, Julie and Adam

Lots of our conversation was about where we would go for our 50th camp next year. It’s hard to believe that the camping group started by Eric in 1973 is still going strong, and that is something worth celebrating. Deen is doing some investigation into Morning Glory, a camping resort on the Murray near Echuca which may be suitable.

Within a short walk of camp was the Dunkeld Arboretum where there are some magnificent old Red Gums. We enjoyed the walk and watching Pete try out his new drone, he managed to have only one crash!. There is an old saw mill dating back to the 30’s in the Arboretum and it was interesting old building and equipment now run by volunteers.

A lady from the local community had used a chainsaw to carve some sculptures, I liked the black cockatoo the best.

On Saturday we all headed off to Cavendish and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Bunyip Hotel, excellent food and well worth a visit. Everyone except Deen and I went home Sunday so, after they had left, we headed off into the National Park for a very enjoyable BBQ in the camping area at Jimmy’s crossing. After lunch we had a drive around the park ending up at Mafeking where 10,000 people lived mining for there gold fortune in the early 1900’s, now just bush with no evidence of mining except the abandoned shafts.

After Deen left on Monday I went back into the National Park and enjoyed a delightful walk up Little Pickaninny. The bush was filled with a wonderful array of small native bushes, many in flower, and even a few orchids.

Along the way i met up with an echidna snuggled into a hollow, I stayed still for awhile and eventually the echidna moved off and gave me an opportunity to capture a photo.

The view from the top of Little Pickaninny was well worth the walk.

I also visited Freshwater Lake for a BBQ.

I had to run a couple of U3A Cryptic crossword Zoom sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday so I spent those days around camp relaxing before returning home on Thursday to Mt Eliza.

Posted in 2021 | 1 Comment