Saturday, 15 October 2016

Home James

After Hay we were once again faced with some decisions on how to get home.  Travelling from West Wyalong to Grenfell and Cowra was not a option due to water over roads.

Our only option was to follow the Murrumbidgee River along to Narrandera.  We had never travelled this road and it was quite picturesque, particularly with so much water around and everywhere being so green.

We came across a rather large mob of cattle on the road.  They were all looking in pretty good nick.

We stopped at one place that would be ideal for free camping.  Lovely big gum trees by the river.......but they were in the river at the time, as were most of the facilities.

As we drove along we started to see some more orchards in one area.

Then a large group of farm buildings.  Very neat and tidy.

With a splendid shearing shed emblazened with "Tubbo". You can find everything with Mr Google these days, so I did a little search.  Firstly, an article on the sale of Tubbo Station in 2010 for $40 million.
Then there was a youtube clip of John Williamson singing a song "Tubbo Station" with the lyrics starting with "Never seen it so green round Tubbo Station".  It could have been written about the scenery at present.  Click on the link and have a listen.  We aren't country music fans but we used to have John Williamson cassettes in the ute when we went travelling about 30 years ago.  His music really do suit the wide open country.

I digress, back to our travels.....

Finally, the obligatory windmill photo. This one has seen better days.

Live Traffic had told us that there would be water over the road between Hay and Narrandera.  We came across a few places where it had been across the road but had since receded.  This was the first time we came across a sign, but it too had receded.  Happy dance.

We stopped for morning tea in Narrandera........only to then realise it was lunch time, so why not have cheesecake and coffee for lunch? Very nice it was too.

Another decisions was to be made on where to go next.  We decided to go to Grong Grong then to Junee and up to Cootamundra for the night.  The only problem was that when we got to Grong Grong we learnt that the road to Junee was closed at Ganmain, so Plan B had to come into play.  Our only choice was to turn north to Ariah Park, Temora, Stockinbingal and then back south to Cootamundra.  A bit out of the way but a nice drive all the same.

Eventually we came to the place where the Newell Highway was closed.

We even had a little water right across the road at one spot.

Stockinbingal had a rather cute old tin building.

We turned onto the road to Cootamundra only to see a sign "Road Flooded".  What did than mean? Was the road closed or not?  We found a local who told us it was open.  There was actually no water on the road all the way to Cootamundra.

Finally, we arrived at the Cootamundra Caravan Park.  It was rather full, with the Blue Mountains Caravan Club staying there on their way home from Canberra.  The owners of the park put on a sausage sizzle for everyone, which was really enjoyable.  We got chatting to one fellow and we ended up working out that he used to attend classic bike rallies in Bathurst years ago.  When he told us what bike he rode, we realised he had actually stayed with us once.  Then, another lady came up to us and asked if we came from Bathurst.  It tuned out that she and her husband attend the car rally that our club runs.  You can't hide can  you!  We then chatted to a couple who saw Mick's Isle of Man T-Shirt and wanted to know all about the TT, as they wish to go soon.  

Happy hour certainly beat sitting by ourselves in the van.  A great way to finish off our week away.

Monday was just a short trip back home to arrive in time for lunch.

The next big test was to see if the van fitted in the shed.  Mick was one very relieved man when he was able to back it in.

Now we have to find time to take our van for some more outings.  We're looking forward to it.

FOOTNOTE:  I've just had a look at Live Traffic.  The road west of Narrandera is now closed as a new flood peak moves down the Murrumbidgee, which is affecting roads we were on.  However, the road from West Wyalong to Grenfell and Cowra is now open. I've also had a look at the weather site to see that another flood peak is due to reach Hay on 20th October.  Here's hoping the levees hold.

Friday, 14 October 2016

More of Hay

After our visit to "Bishop's Lodge" we went for a wander along the river.

The water level was well up but the levees were holding.

The trees were reflecting in the water.

This old home really appealed to me.  It looked so fresh and the verandahs looked so cooling for the summer.

There is another section of the Long Paddock sculptures by the river, but most of them were well under water.  Another time.

We went for a wander along the main street, which has some lovely old buildings.

The Lands Office was built shortly after "Bishop's Lodge" using similar techniques.  It has stood the test of time well.

The supermarket is housed in a historic building too.

It was interesting that most of the old buildings had plaques attached to them telling of their history.  Very interesting.

The former fire station was a little cutie, next to the hardware store which used to be the cinema.

The chemist isn't as old.

But....look at those tiles.  Very patchwork like.

While I was taking these photos, Mick was sitting in one of the pubs watching the last quarter of the AFL Grand Final.  He wanted the Swans to win, but like most people was happy to see the Bulldogs get up after such a long drought of wins.

The sun was getting lower in the sky by the time we returned to our van.  The last evening before daylight saving returned.

Before long I returned to the bridge to try and get a sunset photo.  I wasn't the only one.  There had been quite a few people out and about walking.  Once again, being fine weather and warm (about 25 degrees) was such a nice change.

More soon.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Exploring Hay

We first visited Hay in the early 90s.  We really enjoyed travelling across the vast plains and then coming to a lovely town on the river in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere.  Our visit was in the spring time and we marvelled at the lovely gardens that were so much further advanced than ours.  
On that visit we heard about a historic home "Bishops Lodge".  That was right up our ally, so we spend a pleasant time visiting.

As we were not on a tight time schedule this time, we visited again.  It is still a lovely place to visit.

The main feature of this building is that it was built to suit the climate using some rather innovative ideas.  The building is on piers to avoid cracking from the reactive clay soil.  The frame is timber with the exterior walls clad with corrugated iron.  The roof is also corrugated iron with the ridge cap raised slightly to allow for ventilation.

The majority of the interior walls are clad with flat zinc and the cavities filled with sawdust for insulation.  The ceilings were also insulated.  There are large double hung windows and vents to allow for air flow and the entire home is surrounded by a deep verandah.

These features did not detract from the building being rather stylish.  

Being the home of the bishop there is a lovely chapel in one of the rooms.

Surprisingly, the bathroom still has its original fittings.

After World War 1 Hay built a high school.  This was the only high school in the south western region of the state and families from a wide area wished for their children to attend.  To cater for this, Bishops Lodge was used as a hostel for those children for many years.

The restoration of the property was a Bicentennial project back in the late 80s.  Part of that process was the restoration of the overgrown gardens.  In one corner of the garden a rose garden was located.  The names of the varieties have been lost in time.  The committee each year take budwood cuttings which are then sent to a rose growing firm to be grafted onto rootstock.  The sale of these roses are a major fundraiser for the property.  Unfortuately, we were a little too early to see them in bloom.  The grounds also have several heritage listed trees.

There are also quite a few roses from the breeder Alister Clark.  This arbor is covered with "Harbinger".

Isn't it lovely.

We noticed a bird we weren't familiar with flitting around.  We have since learnt from some twitchers we ran into later in the day that it is a grey fantail.

I wanted to bring home a little souvenir from Bishops Lodge and was delighted to see that they sell perennial sweet pea seeds from one of the plants they discovered in the garden all those years ago.  It is too late to plant this year, but will be nice to plant for next year.

Did you notice something unusual about this post.  It wasn't raining.  The sky was blue and it was even warm.  Glorious.

We'll continue our walk soon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Back to New South Wales

Saturday morning of our little adventure saw us having to make a decision, well a couple of decisions actually.

You see, the road we intended to return home on was cut by flood water.

Our grand plan was to visit Hay, which isn't on our direct route anyway, but was even a bit more out of the way due to the road detours.

First decision was made.  We would still continue to Hay.  We like Hay and wanted to visit again.

Second decision.  Would we go via Echuca or via Tocumwal?  We haven't bee through Tocumwal for a while, so lets go that way.  Decisions made.

The Murray, like all other rivers had plenty of water in it.

It was a bit early for morning tea, so we didn't stop in Tocumwal, but continued on to Finley.

Bonus!  Finley had its Farmers Markets on.  However, there wasn't really anything that we wanted to buy.  The bakery and the little fruit and vege shop did OK out of us, though.

There was some nice architecture too.

Our next via point was Deniliquin. Lots of people there, mostly wearing drizabones and gum boots.  You see, the annual ute muster was on.  Apparently it was so muddy that utes were being towed into the site.  Heaven knows what it would have been like by the time they were trying to get them back out of the site.

After Denni, the land really flattened out and you enter the plains.  

I'm never quite sure where the Hay Plains start and finish, but it is all flat and vast.  Certainly "big sky country".  Cloudy sky at this stage.

We stopped for lunch at the Black Stump Rest Area.

There was a great sculpture here.

It is entitled "The Headless Horseman", who is depicted above.  He reportedly taunted drovers in the area.

There is a range of sculptures all along the way from Moama to Wilcannia known as "The Long Paddock".

People say that the Hay Plains are deadly boring.  We never find that.  There are subtle changes all along the way, like a paddock of Patterson's Curse.

Then a paddock of some sort of white flowers.

At one point it was really hazy.  All we could put it down to was a cloud of pollen.  It was certainly too wet for it to be dust.

Eventually, by mid afternoon we arrived at our destination - the town of Hay, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee.  Funnily enough, last time we travelled through here the river was in flood.  That was back in 2012.

We set up camp at the caravan park ready to do a little exploring. 

More soon.