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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