Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Tuesday7th November 2006 to Thursday 9th November 2006

Tuesday 7th November 2006

A Diarama of a WWI battle
A Diorama of a WWI battle
Display of a field gun and fighter aircraft
Display of a WWII field gun and fighter aircraft
Flying fighter from WWII
Flying fighter aircraft from WWII

This morning dawned without us and the sun had been up for a while before we were. As our first activity for the day was to visit the Canberra War Memorial and it didn't open until 10:a.m. we did not have to hurry to ready ourselves for that outing.

We left the caravan park at about 9:45a.m. and drove into Canberra where we parked beside the National War Memorial which is located at the top of Anzac Drive. We then entered the memorial and spent the next hour and three quarters browsing around the venue which gives it's visitors a real somber feeling and an appreciation of what our forefathers that volunteered to defend our country went through.

This is the fourth time Pammy has visited the memorial and for the 'Other One' it is now about the eighth visit and he still is in awe of this memorial, it's contents and what they stand for. There is so much that could be covered in this days journal about the displays, the amazing dioramas and the stories recounting so many heroic actions, but nothing would do any of it justice... it must be seen to be appreciated. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, it still amazes the 'Other One' what conditions these previous wars were fought in and the achievements made under those conditions.

Whilst there a visit was made to the wall of remembrance where an uncle, Lindsay Stirk has his name affixed as a casualty of the sinking of the HMAS Perth in the Sunda Straights in 1942. There was also a visit to a relative of daughter in law Lana who has a place on the WWI section of that wall.

After some quiet reflection in the memorial, we departed around 11:45a.m. and made our way up and down Anzac Drive a couple of times before heading off to the Canberra National Film and Sound Archives where there is a gallery where there were static and video displays of movies and radio since it's inception in Australia. We had only been in there for about twenty minutes when a school group came in and it then became very difficult to be able to activate the displays and spend the time needed to really soak up the history of it all.

From here we drove out to Belconnen where 'One of Us' had found out there was a large shopping centre, on arrival out there we spotted a very large Bunnings Warehouse so there was a brief stop there for a few minutes before moving on to the shopping centre. In the Centre we found the Food Hall first and satisfied the needs of 'One of Us' before making our way to the Coles store where we completed a little food shopping, then returned to the Patrol and started for the caravan. On the way we pulled in to a Coles Shell service station and filled the patrol up before arriving back at the caravan at about 3:30p.m.

Tomorrow we leave Canberra and head west for a way, but not really sure where we will stop for the night, however the following night we should be in Echuca.

Canberra War Memorial and Avenue
Canberra War Memorial and Avenue

Canberra National Film and Sound Archive
Canberra National Film and Sound Archive

Wednesday 8th November 2006

The House where Donald Bardman was born
The House where Donald Bradman was born
Lunch break at Berry Jerry Reserve
Lunch break at Berry Jerry Reserve
Fields of rice on the Riverina
Wheat growing in rice fields on the Riverina

Our days in Canberra are over this morning and we are moving on, but we didn't rush too much and it was about 8:30 before we had hitched up the caravan and were pulling out of the caravan park. We made our way to the Barton Highway and headed north through Hall and Murrumbateman before turning west on the Hume Highway.

Not far down the Hume Highway we turned off into the little town of Browning and then on through Binalong, Harden, Murrembarrah (twin towns) and on to Wallendbeen where we turned south west on the Olympic Highway through Jindalee and then into Cootamundra.

When we arrived in Cootamundra we followed the signs to the home in which Don Bradman was born. We parked outside the home and at a cost of three dollars each, we entered the home and were given a brief history of it and the birth of Bradman in that home. This was not his parents home, but was a home of a woman who was a midwife and brought many of the local people of the time into this world and this included 'The Don'. It appears he did not have any recollection of Cootamundra as his father moved to Bowral when he was only eighteen months of age. Pammy found a few souvenirs and then we were off again, on the road to Wagga Wagga.

This drive took us through Betnungra, Illabo, Marinna and Junee before arriving on the outskirts of Wagga Wagga. From here we turned off the Olympic Highway and headed west on the Sturt Highway through Collingullie before stopping at a rest stop at Berry Jerry Reserve. After lunch we continued along the Sturt Highway through Galore (only a small shop), Sandigo, Gillinbar, Waddi and the edge of Carathool (most of it on the other side of the Murrumbidgee) before arriving in Hay around 4:30p.m.and booking into the Hay Plains Caravan Park for the night.

After unhitching the caravan we drove into Hay and then out the other side about four kilometres where we visited the 'Marked Tree' which has been carved with the markings of explorer Sturt on one of his expeditions. We then drove back into Hay where we filled the Patrol up with diesel and then returned to the caravan for the night.

In the morning after we pull out of the caravan park with the caravan, we intend to visit the Shearer's Hall Of Fame before heading off south on the Cobb Highway through Deniliquin and on to Echuca, one of Pammy's favourite places. Who knows, they may even have teddy bears as well?????

The tree explorer Sturt marked near Hay
The tree explorer Sturt marked near Hay

The Mighty Murrumbidgee River
The Mighty Murrumbidgee River

Thursday 9th November 2006

Shear Outback  - The Australian Shearers Hall of Fame
Shear Outback - The Australian Shearers Hall of Fame
The shearing shed at Shear Outback
The shearing shed at Shear Outback

Having discovered that there is a Shear Outback Shearers Hall of Fame in Hay, we decided to call in and have a look around before we left for Echuca. As the Shear Outback did not open until 9:a.m. we took out time preparing to leave the caravan park and waited until just before then before we pulled out and drove the few hundred yards to the vehicle park out the front of the display building.

With the car secured outside, we made our way in the entry and paid our entry fee and had a good chat with Jill Chapman, the lovely lady on duty in the reception area. With advice from her we first visited a gallery where there were a large number of watercolour paintings of shearing sheds hanging on display. There were some really magnificent paintings and we would have been very happy to have any one or more of them hanging on our walls at home.

Next we walked through an area where there was a display of the top shearers who have received many awards for their shearing ability and their contribution to the industry. As a person who has shorn a sheep or two in his past, the 'Other One' felt rather in awe of these shearers who were capable of shearing almost three sheep to his one, and they could do it a lot easier as well and most likely a lot neater....

From here we entered a hall area where there was a great range of shearing equipment on display, from shearing hand pieces through the ages, shearing plants of the past and present and even one that was a robot arm prototype that was to do the job without the shearer, but this one has been shelved due to costs and economic downturn in woolen prices. There were numerous other items on display and it was a very interesting window into shearing in the past. Australia once was said to have 'Ridden on the sheep's back' and the only way to get the wool off those sheep was to employ a shearer to do the job.

At this time we thought it was time to head off but Jill suggested we stay to view the sheep shearing display in the shearing shed at 10:30a.m. so we took her advice again and headed over to the shearing shed. This shed which had once cost only a few thousand dollars (Pounds in those days) to originally construct when it was first build, but when it was moved to it's present site, cost over two hundred thousand dollars.

The shearer to put on this display was a fellow by the name of Keith and he provided a very comprehensive description of the origin of the wool shed, shearing in the area and the sheep he was about to shear, then he shore the sheep in front of us, describing what he was doing along the way. Although, as he said, it should only take a limited number of 'Blows' (stokes with the hand piece) he did take a few more than prescribed, however he also took a lot less that the 'Other One' used to take when he was shearing all those years ago.

After the wool had been removed from the sheep, Keith then showed the visitors how it was picked up and thrown on the table, then skirted and classed before being placed into bins ready for pressing into bales. Having been a farmer and a shearer many years ago, none of this was new to us but we still found the live shearing very interesting and the displays were great and gave a good insight into shearing through the ages. One very interesting point to come out was that the average age of shearers today is 55 years, which doesn't stand too well for the future of the industry as younger people can earn the same money with a lot less effort. Studies have shown that a shearer exerts around the same amount of energy as a professional rider in the Tour De France bicycle race. Now I know why it hurt so much when I was shearing!!!!

We left the shearing shed and returned to the Shear Outback building where after another short chat with Jill, Pammy visited the souvenir shop and then after purchasing a few items that we 'Had to have' we said farewell to Hay and at about 11:30a.m. we hit the road once more, on our way to Echuca.

Along the way we just past Booroorban we stopped at the Wanganella Peppin Ram Memorial which is situated at the home of the Peppin Merino sheep breed, which was developed on this sheep stud property way back in the 1860's. Then we continued south until we passed through Pretty Pine and the centre of the town of Deniliquin, then back onto the Cobb Highway through Mathoura, and Moama, then across the bridge over the Murray River and into Victoria and Echuca at about 2:p.m.

We booked into the Echuca Caravan Park which is situated on the side of the Murray River and after setting up for the next three nights, drove down the street where we visited the Coles store where we picked up half a trolley load of the store contents that we hope will last us a few more days.... Don't know what happens to it, it just seem to disappear every time we open a cupboard or fridge door.

Tomorrow we will visit the port area (about three hundred yards away) and check out the paddle steamers and other activities we may find ourselves involved in over the next two days.

This shearing thing is catching on
This shearing thing is catching on

Keith shows how it should be done
Keith shows how it should be done

The birth place of the Pepin breed of Merino sheep
The birth place of the Peppin Merino sheep

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