The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

Utes in the Paddock, Ootha


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Utes in the Paddock

Every now and then someone comes up with a crazy idea that captures the imagination and becomes a reality. Utes in the Paddock at Ootha, New South Wales, is a typical example of this. Ootha is situated about 430 west of Sydney and boasts a population of 94!

Ootha

They are all Holden Utes – what could be more Australian than that – and several artists have displayed their own interpretation of the iconic ute! Unfortunately the paint work has deteriorated on several of them and they are fading away but I hope you can get an idea of this crazy initiative in the middle of nowhere.

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You’ve gotta love the Aussie sense of humour 🙂 Thanks Ootha for keeping it alive!

 

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Forbes New South Wales


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Fun at the Forbes Solos Rally

You’re probably thinking it’s taken me a long time to recover from our Forbes Solos Rally as it happened nearly 6 weeks ago, but truth is I have been enjoying my travels with some of the Solos since leaving there and blogging wasn’t on my mind. However, I’m now feeling guilty that I haven’t kept up to date so once again I’m playing catch up…..

Here’s where Forbes sits in the big Australian picture. And where it is in relation to more local landmarks.

My last blog told of how hot the weather was and it certainly didn’t cool off for the first week or so in Forbes. The temperatures were consistently up in the mid-30 degrees Celsius which made for very hot days and uncomfortably warm nights. I was lucky to get a shady parking spot at the Rally Site which I was most grateful for.

Rally site

This was the biggest Solos Rally I had ever been to, and I think it is the biggest ever held. There were around 320 motorhomes including 72 First Timers. When we left Forbes and our shopping dockets had been added up, we had spent nearly $100,000 in town – a massive boost to the economy of this country town.

This quick slide show is of a town tour we did that included an ‘art park’, some of the old buildings in town, our visit to the biscuit factory and then out to a local business, woolerina. ….

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Most of the activties  though were back at the rally site, where Dave Applegate, the Rally Manager, and his intrepid team made sure we were on the go both day and night.

Our traditional Pet Parade saw pet owners vying for prizes in lots of different categories, although I thought Phil’s cat needed a special mention for Bravery.

 

Great performances at out concert with demonstrations from our dancing groups as well

The Poet’s Breakfast saw a program of talented Solos both writing and reciting their poetry. We also had a local gent perform a poem on horseback..

Market Day was well attended and our two crazy solos, Hilly and Ros, stirred up the crowd with their antics

And of course, our Dinner Dance ….. the theme at this rally was to dress as something starting with “F”……. look what we all came up with …..

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Forbes used to be known as a quiet country town famous as the final resting place of the notorious bushranger, Ben Hall.  I think the 330 odd Solos that were welcomed to Forbes in March 2017 have left an indelible mark on this friendly town and they will be talking about us for a while to come….. perhaps not as long as Ben Hall but in a much more positive way!


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Wending our way to Wagga Wagga – Gooloogong to Bethungra Dam

Day 2 – Off to Bethungra Dam.

Today was going to be a little more straight-forward as we decided to camp at Bethungra Dam. We travelled through Young and Cootamundra to get there.

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When we left Gooloogong we travelled through Grenfell. I love the intro to their information site

What do notorious bushrangers, guinea pigs, great Australian poets and cricketers all have in common? Grenfell of course!

Click here to find out more!

Every year they have a Henry Lawson Festival to celebrate the fact he was born in Grenfell. It is quite an historic town, originally a gold mining town it was known as Emu Creek and renamed Grenfell in 1866.

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Young was our next stop so we parked the vans and visited the Information Centre to find out what we should see. The information centre is in the old Railway Station and the staff are really helpful.

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As Jack was ready for a run we decided to go out to the Chinese Tribute Gardens which were established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese gold miners during the gold rush – and probably to make amends for the terrible treatment they got at the Lambing Flat Riots. It was a beautiful and peaceful place – free to enter – and a lovely stopover for a picnic lunch.

Here’s Jack (and Marion) ready to enjoy a walk around the gardens.

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In November 1996 Rotary handed the project over to Young Shire Council. Encouraged by Mayor Tony Hewson the Council formally dedicated the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden “in recognition of the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860’s and the ongoing contribution of the Chinese community to Australia as a nation.”

You can read more about the development of the gardens here.

Young was originally called Lambing Flat and Aussies may remember learning about the Lambing Flat Riots when you were at school. This is a brief synopsis from the Young website, but you can find out more if you click here.

The site where Young now stands consisted of a well sheltered valley with good water and it was here that White built sheep yards and a shepherds’ hut. The area was reserved for lambing ewes, and therefore was in turn given the name of ‘Lambing Flat’.

The beautiful valley remained as such for 34 years until 1860 when White’s nephew Dennis Regan and Alexander ‘the Yankee’ found gold at the spot in the creek at the rear of the current Lambing Flat Folk Museum. Within 12 months some 20,000 miners were busy extracting the precious metal from the earth. Amongst them were some 2,000 Chinese miners.

The European miners deeply resented the Chinese and in 1861 riots began with the Chinese being forced from the fields time and time again. The Official Riot Act was read to the miners on the 14th July 1861, this being the only official reading in NSW history to rioting miners.

Today, Young is more famous for its cherries and they have a festival coming up in December that you can get more info about here. One of the locals told us that frosts and a dry winter have restricted the cherry crop this year, so if you thought they were expensive to buy before just wait until they hit the shops this year!

ImageWe didn’t stop in Cootamundra but drove through on our way to Bethungra Dam. I was looking forward to seeing the Cootamundra Wattle, which I thought would be flowering at this time of the year but it wasn’t noticeable.  When I started looking for info about this wattle it is described as a weed!

For more info about Cootamundra click here.

The camping area at Bethungra Dam was a good open space, lots of level ground – and not too many people. There were plenty of sticks so Jack was happy. We watched a storm rolling in as we ate dinner which didn’t arrive as bad as it looked, but before it came there were thick clouds of mosquitoes hovering, so it wasn’t the best night for sitting around for a drink and a yarn.

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The campsite is about 5 kms of dirt road in off the main road and you travel beside the railway line for a while.

When we got to Junee the next day they had some really interesting information about the 360degree spiral rail at Bethungra, the only one of its kind in Australia. All you rail enthusiasts can read about it here.

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Junee also has an amazing rail feature and they celebrate with a Rhythm ‘n’ Rail Festival each year. Here’s the link for the event in 2014.

The Junee Roundhouse is a massive rail turntable that was built during the war years.

Junee in southern New South Wales is home to one of few working Railway Roundhouses in the Southern Hemisphere. When built in 1942, it boasted the largest turntable at 100 foot. Since 1994, the Roundhouse has seen a new lease of life. Half is now used for the museum, whilst the other portion is used for its original purpose of re-conditioning and rebuilding locomotives and rolling stock.

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This is definitely an area that any train buff would love, what with the Bethungra Spiral and Junee’s Roundhouse you could see 2 amazing features so close together. There’s more information about the Roundhouse here, if you are interested, and also at this site of the Roundhouse Museum.