Wednesday 19th March 2014:
In an aside to travelling country NSW roads – the man and I had a discussion last night, and we came to the conclusion that for him, food is fuel, whereas for me, it is an experience. If I see one more rump steak or chicken parmigiana on the menu, I will scream (or become a vegetarian). They come with chips and salad, or mash and veg – go figure. It was all right in the days when pubs and clubs were dirt cheap . . . but now they want to charge a decent price, then surely we should cast our net further . . .
Okay, now that I have that little vent off my chest, back to the travel adventures:
Inverell is a pretty town, with a lovely street scape, below are two examples of their fine civic buildings . . .
(When we were in Glen Innes, I met a ‘healer’ who told me that Inverell did not have the correct ‘energy’ and on arrival, I tried to detect her meaning, but in the short time that we were there, I did not lock on to it. Apart from an unsatisfactory meal at the local club, which in the case of an emotional eater such as I am, is probably the same thing . . .)
Installed in the footpath, outside the art gallery, is a mosaic that stretches to the next cross street, a distance of 94 metres (more than 300 feet). it is called the ‘Meandering Macintyre‘, in honour of the local river. Designed and installed by volunteers! Here is a small selection of the many photographs I took. For the “enjoyment” of my international readers, I have included the red back spider, made famous in the country song Redback on the Toilet Seat. (pay attention, ‘cos this turns up again in a coupla’ days).
There are many more things to do and explore in Inverell, but we have a deadline looming, so we leave town, and after a while, turn on to a minor road that winds through picturesque territory until we reach Copeton Dam. Now, I have already talked at length about the drought gripping this area, and if you wanted any further proof, take a look at this photo:
On checking Wikipedia, apparently the spillway end is meant to look like that, but definitely not the reservoir end. There were even wild mountain goats grazing on the sparse vegetation.
After following this remote road for another good while, we rejoined Fossickers Way and turned into the small vibrant town of Bingara (population circa 1200). They were in the process of reviving their Roxy Theatre. There was a time in country history when every town had a Roxy Theatre and an art deco milk bar attached. They were usually established and run by Greek immigrants, and a great many of them came from the islands of Kastellorizo or Kythera. According to Wikipedia, the 2001 population of Kythera is 3,354, which is less than the number who came to Australia. In Bingara, the milk bar next to the theatre has been revamped and re-opened. I ordered the drink of the time – a milkshake – and requested (nay, demanded) that it be properly served in a metal container. Baby boomer nostalgia. I can’t remember the last time I drank this much milk in one go, successive diets have just about obliterated it from my menu – (and of course, osteoporosis is now a looming threat).
A surprise discovery in this small town was their wall murals:
Less than an hour’s drive down the road, we reached Barraba. We didn’t stay long enough for me to explore the interesting dress and nick-nack shops, but we did spare half an hour for a museum you won’t see every other day. The Barraba Shearing Display has just about every style of shearing clipper and machinery known to man, plus a selection of stencils that identified from which sheep property each bale originated. (remember: you saw these photos here first 🙂 )
Within a couple of hours of this stop we pulled into Tamworth (city population circa 36,000), the major regional centre of the New England region, and famous as the “Country Music Capital of Australia”. More of that in the next post, but this is the night I face an ethical dilemma. And for all of those who are curious to know – yes, the housemaid/man let the water out; and no, the motel did not have a grey water recycle system 🙂