Me, pa and the car

When my dad (who the kids call Pa) visits, I normally take that opportunity to do some sight-seeing. Often the sight-seeing includes trying to discover interesting railway related stuff (we are both quite interested in trains) where we are travelling.

So we filled the car up with fuel, and headed east. The plan was to explore Tumbarumba first, then travel through Batlow, Tumut and Gundagai, in New South Wales.

At Tumbarumba we found the Mannus Lookout. Rebecca, the kids and myself travelled through Tumarumba about a week ago, but we failed to find the lookout then. Today Dad and I found it! On a map it indicated that the lookout had a 360 degree view. And it would if it wasn’t for all the trees! But I did manage to get this picture of a snow capped mountain away off in the distance.

From Tumbarumba we travelled to Batlow. Batlow is a fruit growing area. Travelling from Tumarumba to Batlow we passed a number of orchards. The town itself is nestled into a valley. Very picturesque.

The main street was typical of small towns eveywhere, even down to the lack of traffic.

There were some old abandoned buildings in town, which I think were something to do with the orchards – maybe coolstores, or fruit packing? Seems the most likely. They were serve by the railway, when it was still operating as there were sidings near the buildings.

Then it was on to Tumut. Nestled at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, it was a bustling town, with industries dotted all over the place – there was a factory we saw in the distance at Gilmore, a sawmill at Gilmore, and a sawmill in Tumut. We stopped to have a look at the restored railway station, and the traffic along the road opposite it was fairly constant. Lots of trucks, busses, cars.

Following is a photo of the restored Buttery Factory (from the railway siding side of course), and the restored station.

Then we drove towards Gundagai, the town of bridges. Spanning the Murrumbidgee River flood plain, Gundagai has 3 notable bridges.

Two of them, the old road bridge and the railway bridge, are shown in the photo below.

  • The Prince Alfred Bridge, which today has seen better days, was the road bridge across the river at Gundagai. Before the 1970’s it carried all traffic across the river flats. Completed in 1867, it is the oldest still standing bridge of all bridges crossing the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and Murray rivers. The iron spans of the bridge were of unique design, the top chord was continuous and rested on roller bearings. The piers were made of 6 foot (2 metre) high by 6 foot diameter cast iron drums and were the first large iron castings made in Australia. The Timber viaduct there today was built in 1896 to replace the original bridge and is 921 metres long.
  • The next bridge, the railway viaduct, was built in 1903 so the railway could be extended from Gundagai to Tumut. It is the longest timber truss bridge ever built in Australia, at 819 metres length. This bridge is very interesting to look at but really needs some major work, and I wondered whether having the road go under it was really a good idea! I guess those in the know have some idea about whether it’s safe or not.
  • The road bridge that effectively bypassed the township, and today carries 4 lanes of traffic across the river flats, was built in 1977. it is called Sheahan Bridge, and is the second longest bridge in New South Wales being 5 metres shorter than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge is shown in the photo below (the ‘hump’ towards the right hand end is because of the camera, it’s not a ‘feature’ of the bridge).

Byt the time we had looked around the bridges at Gundagai it was 4:30 or so in the afternoon, so it was time to make a dash for home in time for tea.

Henty Field Days

Over the last few days the annual Henty Machinery Field Days (most people seem to shorten the name to Henty Field Days) has been on. For me it was the first time I had been to a ‘field days’ event anywhere, but I have been to a number of country town Agricultural Society Shows over the years. This year’s field days had around 800 exhibitors (according to their website), ranging from cottage craft industries to multi-national corporations. I think it is safe to say that it is ‘the’ event of the local calendar and I imagine it would have a good economic effect on the region.

When we arrived at Henty there was a long line of traffic north, south, east and west. We managed to park fairly close to the entrance (row 3), and when we left at around 3pm the casr were parked up to rows numbered in the 20’s. I don’t think I have ever seen so many cars for an event in the country, and that was only one of the 3 cars parks where visitors were parking.

The latest models of farm machinery was a bit of an eye-opener for me, the sheer variety of machinery available being a bit mind-boggling to me. I grew up on the edge of the ‘burbs so was not exposed to the variety of farming machinery when growing up. And even when I did live in country towns I didn’t move in farmer’s circles. The closest I came to most pieces of farm machinery was to see them in a paddock as I drove along the road.

The tractor above is a 2 axle model, with more than one rim / tyre on each side of the axles. I guess they do that for better weight distribution and better traction in wet paddocks? I am not sure of the exact purpose of the one below, but it obviously had such high clearance for a reason!

But the machine above was by no means the tallest thing on display. One of the taller things on display was the chutes shown below.

And there was a crane holding up some speakers used for announcements at the show that was maybe twice as tall again as the chutes shown above. But it wasn’t all new stuff on display. There was also some historical machinery on display as active exhibits. There was the wood cutter shown in the photo below, along with other historical machinery. Before we got close enough to see how it worked it through a belt, but we managed to see it working from a distance.

There was also sheep dog trials, which reminded me of the movie ‘Babe’. And there were other animals as well, sheep and cattle seemed to be the most common, with a small band of other animals such as Alpacas and some Alpaca cria (thats what pre-adult Alpacas are called).

We spent around 7 hours there all up, and by then the feet were starting to get a bit sore so we headed for home, about 20 kms away. it was certainly a most interesting day, and an event we are looking forward to next year.


A Sabbath of surprises

For Sabbath this week we decided that rather than go to church we would spend it exploring around the upper Murray region in New South Wales. The part of the upper Murray region which we chose to explore is about 100kms drive from where we live, and there were a few places we saw on the map that we thought would be worth a look.

So we left the flatlands where we live and headed east. Around where we live is a Canola growing area, and at this time of year the Canola is a brilliant yellow and stretches in all directions.

The first place we explored was the Woomargama National Park. A large park, with signs that say 4WD access, dry weather roads. Hmmm. I should have taken notice of that. We tried to find the North Lookout, but ended up turning back after getting about 10.5 kms from the bitumen. We estimated that it was around 12kms to the lookout. But we did find a place that had some great views. So we got out of the car and had a look around and could see over in the distance a chain of mountains and I reckon one of them might have been ‘The Rock’ – which was beleived to be an important Aboriginal site. So we headed back to the Bitumen and towards Jingellic. Where the dirt meets the bitumen we took another look at the map of the area at a picnic shelter, and we noticed a nest in the process of being built. And this bird was the builder.

I don’t know what sort of bird it is, but we watched it dart back and forth with things in it’s beak for a while, then continued on our way towards Jingellic. Between the Woomargama NP and Jingellic there is a place called Abrahams Bosom according to the maps we looked at. We are aware of another location in the same state with the same name – near Nowra about 2 hours drive south of Sydney. That Abrahams Bosom was easy to find, but the one we looked for today wasn’t as we arive at Jingellic without even a signpost or anything to indicate it. Oh well. There was a innovative water tank stand on the same stretch of road where the farmer had used an old gum tree trunk.

We had lunch at Jingellic, and then headed further east. And we came across this interesting rock formation.

Quite a few kms further on we found the Southern Cloud Memorial. It is a memorial to one of Australia’s earliest air disasters, and is perched on a high hill over looking the mountains where the aeroplane disappeared in the early 1930s. The country it crashed in is so inaccessible and remote that the wreckage wasn’t found until the late 1950s. It was a bit poignant looking out at such beautiful mountains and standing in a place marking a disaster in the same mountains which happened nearly a century ago. One of the snowy mountains on the right hand side of the photo below is Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain at 2,228 metres above sea level. It may not seem very high by most other continents standards, but Australia is the flatest continent on the earth!

But the highlight of the day was the Paddy River Falls. We stopped at the car park and opened the doors to get out of the car and we could hear a loud roar – obviously the water falls, but we have never heard a waterfall roar like that! Here are a few photos of parts of the waterfall…

And just to top it all off, God’s promise that there would never again be a flood over the whole earth.

The time capsule has been opened!

That’s what it feels like. After about 10 years I finished the film that was in the Pentax P30 and got the film developed. And so here a few of the photos, firstly a birthday cake from about 10 years ago.

We suspect this is Jesse’s 5th birthday cake, caken in Carisbrook in 2003. There was also a couple of photos from the house where we lived in Carisbrook, Victoria. The next photo shows Jesse today, with unruly hair and the ever present MP3 player, taken in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, a few days ago.

While in Wagga Wagga I spotted (actually it wasn’t that hard to see!) a very large almnost derelict looking building, labelled Murrumbidgee Flour Store., My guess is that it was flour mill / warehouse. It was adjacent to the railway, which suggests that at some time or other it was servrd by the railway.

And almost opposite it was a ‘plane on a stick’ – obviously hinting at some sort of link between the armed forces and the township of Wagga.

So there you have it – a 10 year old film, with photos on it spanning almost 10 years. And the P30 camera, with 10 year old batteries, still takes decent looking photos.