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carmel’s Travel Diary

Friday, 30 Sep 2005

Location: Mudgee, Australia

MapSaturday 24/9/05

I checked our e-mail today, the owners of the caravan park are really co-operative. When I offered to pay, they said ‘no’. We then did the Glen Innes historical drive. We had a drink at the old railway station which is now a pub; we also tried to have a Devonshire tea at Mel Leyland’s B&B/ café. But the café part has been moved into the town – for family reasons (whatever that meant).

Sunday 25/9/05

Went to Church this morning, and there was a ‘Beardie’ sitting in front of me. We then went to have a look at the Cooramah Aboriginal Cultural Centre. It was set up really well, and nobody tried to persuade you to buy something, although there was one painting there I really liked. We were also going to check out the saddler’s shop but it was closed. We’ll go there tomorrow. It’s not a nice day at all today, cold and windy, so we’ve spent most of the day in the camper. I guess we can’t expect beautiful weather all of the time.

Monday 26/9/05

Another miserable day, I even had to use the dryer to get the washing dried. We had lunch today at the Glen Innes RSL restaurant. It certainly wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Bribie one. In fact the most that were there while we were was 10, and it didn’t look as though any more were coming. The meal was excellent – a la carte at blackboard prices. We then went to the library, I wanted to check out some of the Tai Chi movement names, but when we got there, there was a whole bank of unused computers – and they were free (I love that word), so Tai chi was immediately put on the back burner. Barrie spent the afternoon reading Popular Mechanics magazines. When we went to bed, the sky was full of stars, so we thought the rain had gone – WRONG. It really poured almost all night. So we were not too sure whether we would be able to pack up and move on.

Tuesday 27/9/05

We woke up this morning to another perfect day, (and the camper was fine – good water-proofing) so headed off to the Warranbungles. However we decided not to stay there. The first mountain, which was only about 12 kms out of Coonabarabran, was, by far the most spectacular. I wish our camera was working. The mountain looked like a series of building blocks, only they were enormous rocks. We didn’t like the look of the caravan parks at Coonabarabran (maybe we are getting fussy), so came on to Gilgandra, we are staying at the Rotary park here. We didn’t get here till 5.30 pm, and had the camp fully set up by 7.00 pm – we are definitely getting better, I’m getting more helpful (I couldn’t have got worse). Then we went to the Bowls Club for dinner, and were the only ones there. It didn’t take long to find out why, a frightful meal at a la carte prices. Barrie didn’t even like the beer, so it must have been bad.

Wednesday 28/9/05

We haven’t done much so far today, just a walk around the town. Then Barrie had another go at the TV – and it works, we can get the ABC, plus ABC radio. I’m listening to the jazz station while I write this. We are going to check out the Gilgandra surrounds this afternoon. Gilgandra is a very interesting place. At the weekend they are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Coo-ee march. (Unfortunately, we won’t be here.) (For those like me - in 1915, 35 men from Gilgandra walked from there to Sydney recruiting people as they went along to go to war. 5 weeks and 320 miles later, they finished up with 263 recruits, 20 of whom died in the war. Gilgandra is also called the town of windmills. Until 1966, residents supplied their own water by use of windmills. In the 1950s, there were over 300 windmills pumping water. (I hope you are not bored to tears, but I found it really interesting.)

This afternoon we checked out the information centre which, like Bribie, is housed by volunteers – for the first time since Bribie. I have never seen one like it. Clare, Judy and Judith & David, you would be green with envy. They applied for a Federation Grant and received $1 million – not bad for a town of only 2900. As well as the information centre, there is a Coo-ee march museum, a large room filled with display shelves of shells, different mineral specimens and Aboriginal artefacts. And another room of quilts. There was also quite a display on the soldiers who had lost their lives during the different wars, even one from the Vietnam war. The building would have probably been 10 times the size of our information centre. Barrie and I were so impressed that we even went back and gave a donation – so it must have been good. You all know what I am like.

We then did a wider tour of the town, the main points of interest to us were St Ambrose Church, built with a donation from the town of St Ambrose in England in appreciation of Gilgandra’s was effort; and, needless to say, the RSL – Barrie was much happier with the beer there. We wish we’d gone there for tea last night.

Thursday, 29/9/05

After such a perfect day (temperature 26 ½o) and clear evening, the weather turned frightful – heavy rain and unbelievable wind. The annex got flooded (we hadn’t fastened it down properly). How does the weather know when we are due to pack up! So we packed up in what felt like a gale. Fortunately the rain held off most of the time. And we packed in record time - 1 ½ hours – AND, once we had finished, the weather came good again.

So we are now on our way to Mudgee. We arrived in Mudgee at about 9.30 am, and had breakfast at Maccas. We then booked in to the Mudgee Riverside Caravan Park, for another week. The staff here are fantastic. Once again, we had to set up in the wind (it definitely knows when to come and go). We then had a walk around the town. (The park is just nearby.) I had no idea Mudgee was so big!

Friday, 30/9/05.

Last night was the coldest we’ve experienced so far – and we were told it can get much colder. Today is another perfect day, so we went and visited a couple of wineries (surprise! surprise!). We only sampled the Muscat and Port at each, and even I liked them. We can get bulk sent home, so will probably do that at some stage. We have all of the details. One of the wineries had an animal farm, and the other had an art exhibition and a motorbike museum, so they were well worth the visit. And the people at both were really friendly.

Barrie has just asked the manager of the park if I can use my computer and he has said yes, so I’ll go on line now.