Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Exploring Burra

Yesterday morning we headed off from Peterborough, but not before visiting the Town Hall to see the Centenary of Federation Quilt.  It is a wonderful pictorial representation of the town.  There is even a commentary that explains it all in great detail.  A wonderful contribution to the town by the many ladies who contributed towards it.

After getting out a map we had decided to head south.   As we drove along there were many more farmhouse ruins.  

We learnt about the Goyder Line yesterday.  (The blue line on the map above.)  Some more history.  Mr Goyder surveyed a line in 1865 which determined whether a location was suitable for cropping or only for grazing based on rainfall, vegetation and topography.  It has proved to be incredibly accurate.  However, in some good years settlers moved into the more arid areas to farm.  They sometimes had some good years, but eventually nature won and hence, lots of abandoned farms.

The first village we came across was Terowie.  This town was often mentioned in relation to the railways while we were in Peterborough.  It was where the broad gauge rail ended and narrow gauge went from there north, west and east.  Everything had to be transferred from one train to the connecting one - passengers, stock, ore from Broken Hill, and for a time coal from Leigh Creek, and everything heading north or south in WWII.  It had been a very busy centre.  We were quite shocked when we drove in off the main road.  It is basically a ghost town.  Most buildings are run down, empty and often derelict.

The Terowie Institute still looked not too bad.

As did the museum buildings, but they look a lot better in the photo than in real life.  There was a little postal agency cum corner store, but that was all.  Even the pub was closed.  Very sad to see.

Before long we started to see some wind turbines.  In one small township they have one blade on display in a park.  It is huge.  We didn't get a chance to stop, but it was much longer than our ute and van combined.

We started to notice something else as well.  Green crops and some growth in pastures and beside the roads.  We had just crossed the Goyder Line and it really did make a difference.  Of course, it was freezing cold, windy and we had sheets of steady rain blow across for most of the morning.  Nice and wintery.  Kind of what you expect at this time of year.

The next main centre we were going to come to was Burra.  We had thought we would have a look around before continuing on our way to Clare. We knew it was a historic copper mining town with plenty to see, and with the weather the way it was we didn't anticipate being able to be out and about too much, so, as time was not an issue, we booked into the caravan park.  We had travelled a whole 80kms for the day.

On the recommendation of a neighbouring camper we sought our a Tiddy Oggi for lunch.  We'd never heard of them.  

It is a form of Cornish Pasty.

Two thirds is savoury.

The other third has fruit, in this case apple, so it is a complete meal.  They were sealed with the ridge to use as a handle, so that they could be eaten with dirty hands and then the handle thrown away.

Apparently, "Tiddy" is a Cornish name for potato, as many of these pasties would have only had potato as the filling if times were hard.  "Oggi" means pasty.  What we learnt was that they are yummy, especially with the cream for the apple end.  I'm quite sure that the miners would't have had the luxury of cream with their lunch.

Burra was Australia's first major mining town, starting in the 1840s, before gold was discovered.  Fortunately, there is still much of that history remaining.  They have an ingenious way for you to visit the various sites.  You buy a "Passport", which is a information guide and the hire of a key, which unlocks the gates to the various places of interest.  We visited here in 1989, but being of a tight budget back then didn't get a key, so only saw a little of what is on offer.  Firstly, we saw the dugouts in the creek bed.  As there was a large influx of miners at the start of settlement, many dug out small homes in the side of the creek bed, complete with chimneys, windows, doors etc.  Only a couple remain, as funnily enough, most got washed away in floods.

Next on the list was the Police Lockup and stables.

Notice the interesting cobbled flooring.......and the moss.  Yes, the climate here is strikingly different from just up the road.

Mick was intrigued with the fence posts we had been seeing with built in wire strainers.

Redruth Gaol was another interesting site.

It was used as a gaol for many years.

Then as a girls reformatory, up until the 20s. 

The walls had broken glass embedded in the top.  Despite that, several girls escaped over the years. Finally, it was a family home, before becoming a museum.  Imagine what an inhospitable place it would be to live in.

Our final visit for the day was "Hampton Village", which is where a lot of Englishmen lived.  Each ethnic group seemed to have their own settlements.  This area gradually fell into disrepair after mining stopped in the 1870s, but the final house was lived in until the 1960s.

There are lots of blossom trees in bloom around Burra, mainly plum and almond.

We also notice lots of old olive trees, laden with olives.  What a pity they aren't being harvested and used.  Pepper trees are also very common, their berries smelling lovely and fresh.

And I had to take a photo of the patterns in this crop.

We had intended to spend another night at Burra, but a turn of events means that we have had to start heading back home, which we will do over the next few days, so we are now seeing some more unexpected countryside.  Hopefully I will get my blog back up to date tomorrow.

1 comment:

loulee said...

It is wonderfully green after the arid landscapes you have been showing.
Shame you have to turn about. Safe journey.