Well, I’ve made it to 60 and life is great! Mike had to work all day, but had given me a new camera and a macro lens. It was such a beautiful morning, I had brunch down by the Nepean River, Penrith, in one of the park areas and played with my camera.
Thanks to everyone who messaged and phoned me during the day.
After Mike returned to the motorhome in the evening, our family ‘skyped’ us, surprising me with a cake in front of them with ’60’ on it. Mike then brought me a cake they had sent me. A great end to a lovely day.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
Robert Laurence Binyon, Sept. 1914
This is not a day to commemorate or celebrate war, it’s resultant destruction and loss. Anzac Day is however a day when we can solemnly remember those who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp., the Army, Air Force and Navy services since and ongoing. These service men and women endured through sometimes unspeakable events and sights and without them, Australia could have been a very different place. Few could comprehend the difficulties these men and women faced, nor having returned to Australia, may still be facing. We owe it to those who have returned from service overseas on our behalf, to be treated with utmost respect not just by the wider community, but the Government who as our representatives, should be making sure our veterans are looked after better.
Here in Sydney, concrete bollards and extra security has been put in place for the Anzac Day Parade as I suspect has been done elsewhere in Australia. How awful it is that our peaceful Australia has to pre-empt and confront those who would attempt to disrupt our way of life – they are a blight on society and have no right to live here.
Two examples of Flabbits (flying rabbits) are exhibited at Windsor’s Information Centre, in the entrance to the Museum. The Museum has well-presented displays which include the history of flooding of the area. When viewing the measure of where the worst flood rose to, it is difficult to imagine how the water could rise so high.
We followed information from the Information Centre to do a couple of heritage walks around Windsor, the third settlement of the Colony in 1794, then known as Green Hills, and proclaimed the town of Windsor in 1810 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. There are a great many preserved buildings that makes Windsor such a picturesque town.
What used to be the centre of the town, is Thompson Square. It is the oldest public square in Australia, dating back to 1795 and surrounded by colonial Georgian buildings. One of them, the Macquarie Arms Hotel – the oldest pub (on the mainland) built in 1815 – has claims to ghosts there and “rum smugglers’ tunnels” to the river although the latter appears to be sewerage and drainage constructions made under Thompson Square.
This is our third Sunday visit to Windsor and it is obviously a popular meeting place. Restaurants and cafés spill over to the outdoors with families enjoying brunch. Historic and showy vehicles and motorbikes drive through the town and find parking in the street. Every Sunday is Market Day, held along the two-block mall in George Street. This day was the Annual Dog Day and there were plenty of dogs and their owners checking out all the ‘doggie’ stands.
The Hawkesbury River was important to the young colony, used for transporting produce from the farms to Sydney. Today, it is used for recreation. The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler passed by as we spent some time at Governor Phillip Park, one of several lovely picnic areas in Windsor.
Spoilt for choice of eating places, we enjoyed lunch at “Crepe Escape” and some cakes at Outback Bakery, near “The Waterwheel”. Recommend both!
Mike has been very patient while we went to the various historical places on “The Gold Trial” but he still wants to do some fossicking, so on leaving Forbes we travelled to Back Yamma State Forest. It is known as a great destination for bike and motorbike enthusiasts. It doesn’t appear to be a ‘working forest’ as the parts of the forest we saw, the trees weren’t in any rows or order. Young trees sprouted all over the place.
The tracks are wide for the most part, but Mike did have a little difficulty whilst turning at one point, trying to reverse the motorhome with the Suzi still on the caddy. Glad it was him and not me!
Mike was encouraged with the knowledge that there once had been a gold mine in the forest, but alas, he only contributed to his growing pile of scrap metal and we were soon on the road again, to return to Penrith for work on Monday. The scenery on the way back was awesome.
Forbes is an RV Friendly Town. There is a new dump point at the Lions Park where there is also public toilets. The original dump point is Forbes Shire Council’s sewer treatment works, located off the Newell Highway heading south from the CBD.
Further down Junction Road, alongside the Lachlan River, is a large area for RV free camping, with bins and water.
Once again, we have tried to pack too much into a short time and forced to bypass many places however as a reconnaissance mission, following one of “The Gold Trails”, it was successful in viewing enough to know we need to come back and stay much longer. But on to Forbes …
Since leaving the Yass Valley we saw vast areas of land parched from lack of water. In the distance, the wind was blowing dust up in the air. It’s been a very long time since there was any decent rainfall in the area.
We arrived in Forbes late in the day and camped in the RV Friendly free camping spot by the Lachlan River. By the time we got ourselves organised to drive to the Cemetery in Forbes, we were walking through the Cemetery as the sun went down. But that did not deter us in our mission to view bushranger Ben Hall’s grave!
Having escaped the very dark Forbes Cemetery, we went to the Forbes Showgrounds to see what all the noise was about, and bought tickets to go to the Forbes Annual Rodeo. A first for us.
Time for lunch at “twin town” Harden – Murrumburrah, home of the First Australian Horse Regiment, on “The Gold Trail” to Forbes, NSW. We stopped at Barnes Store Emporium and Cafe in the building photographed above in Murrumburrah.
Lunch was great and so was the building and its history. We looked through the historic exhibition there (currently under development) and read more about the discovery of gold in the area in late 1850’s, anti-Chinese riots in nearby Lambing Flat 1860/1861 and many stories about the bushrangers led by Johnny Gilbert and Ben Hall.
The original owner of the Barnes Store, John Barnes, and the story of how he came to die at the hands of bushranger Johnny O’Meally and what happened after, is set out on signage across the road from the building. John Barnes’ sons, Thomas and George operated and expanded the business and stores called “T & G Barnes’s” stores, massively expanding the original store over time, at Murrumburrah. Whilst enjoying our lunch there, it was obvious to us that this building/cafe serves as a major meeting place. Art and craft is promoted and plenty of paper and supplies for children to do their own contribution to the art on a wall.
The Harden-Murrumburrah Historical Museum is housed in the 1912 School of Arts building.
Nearby, a war memorial featuring a sculpture of “Bill the Bastard” with five men on its back. This war horse weighed 730 kilograms and stood at 17 hands and would only allow one rider on him, but in 1916, Bill and his rider saved four others. The full size bronze sculpture to be erected in Murrumburrah, is still being worked upon and is able to be viewed in the sculpture’s studio nearby on Bathurst Street. Progress on the statue is dependent upon donations.
Binalong – where well known Australian writer (and author of “Waltzing Matilda”), Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson went to school, purportedly with the sons of small-time bushrangers, and where the bushranger Canadian John Gilbert died – shot by police in 1865. Binalong was settled by squatters in about 1829 and gazetted as a town in 1850. It is a beautiful town, rich in history.
We arrived at Binalong by turning off Burley Griffin Way to drive down Fitzroy Street where we parked near the original train station (now a private residence) and explored from there. Many original buildings have been preserved and a walk around Binalong reveals much more by way of notices to read regarding the history of the buildings, people and events.
Pay your respects at the garden war memorial in the middle of Fitzroy Street and nearby, enjoy a picnic at Pioneer Park and check out the murals.
We visited Peter Minson Art Glass and watched while he plied his craft. There are many beautiful and useful creations on display and we couldn’t resist purchasing an early Christmas present there, which was beautifully gift boxed.
We tried to visit the Black Swan Inn which we think is now a gallery, but it appeared closed. Next time! This building was originally an old Cobb & Co Inn in 1847 on the Burley Griffin Highway.
Another example of the creativity of the people in Benalong: Bird house. Fantastic. (Yes, fake bird.)
And finally, after we had left the township, a stop at the infamous John Gilbert’s grave. Unlike the poem on the mural in town:
“There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head, There’s never a fence beside, And the wandering stock on the grave may treat Unnoticed and undenied: But the smallest child on the Watershed Can tell you how Gilbert died.”
John Gilbert’s grave does have fences and markings and is definitely noticeable once you follow the signs through a bush path, as part of “The Gold Trail”.