Edit Blog Post
Published: August 5th 2019
This morning we set out heading east from Dubbo on the Golden Highway on another glorious blue sky day. Chilly again to start with, but the sky was absolutely cloudless and the sun was shining. Rather than taking us into Denman to cut across to the New England Highway at Muswellbrook the SatNav suggested a minor road to Muswellbrook from Sandy Hollow. This route took us via Castle Rock which was scenic and the Muswellbrook open cut mine area which was not. What a bloody big hole in the ground that is!! We learned later at the Tourist Information Centre in Muswellbrook that the mining activity is completely unrestricted these days and the tailings are getting higher and higher. Most of the old locals have moved out of the area so there is no-one left to lobby the council about the detrimental impact the mining is having on the area.
Ha, the plan was to visit the Big Blue Heeler which our map indicated was to be found at Aberdeen. However, upon arriving at Aberdeen, we discovered that the statue is actually in Muswellbrook. Oh well, it was only 11 kilometres back to Muswellbrook so we decided to double back.
Hmmn, maybe it wasn’t worth the effort as the Blue Heeler wasn’t really all that big! At least we were able to make use of the conveniences and the Visitor Information Centre both to be found in the library building.
Back through Aberdeen and on to Scone where we decided to stop for our lunch break. Bernie and I shared a BLT sandwich so that we could then justify eating a scone (with jam and cream) while we were in Scone!
At Wallabadah we saw a sign about the First Fleet Memorial Garden so we decided to make a quick stop to investigate how a memorial to the passengers on the first and second fleets comes to be over the Great Dividing Range in Wallabadah since it was about 25 years before any of the European settlers actually crossed the mountains. Simple explanation is that one man, Ray Collins, had a vision to create a memorial, but locales closer to Sydney Cove weren’t interested. However, the Liverpool Plains Shire stepped in to provide the support that Ray needed to bring his idea to fruition. Our five minute stop did not do justice to this memorial. It’s a site
that we need to plan to visit if/when we pass this way again.
Next stop the Big Golden Guitar at Tamworth which was followed by the Big Chook at Moonbi. Everyone knows that Tamworth is Australia’s home of country music hence the Big Golden Guitar. Moonbi, on the other hand has erected a large (not really all that large!) fibreglass chicken in recognition of the many large poultry farms and associated industries located around the area!
A few Ks further north we drove up to the Moonbi Viewpoint which provided us with a lovely late afternoon panorama out over the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. Completed by out-of-work construction workers during the Great Depression, the viewpoint celebrated its 80th anniversary at the end of 2018.
With the afternoon drawing to a close we stopped at the Big Soldier located at the front of Hassett's Military Museum in Uralla before making our way into Armidale where we will be based for the next three nights as we explore the ‘New England’ region of northern NSW.
Fortunately we made it into Armidale in the fading light without adding to the considerable amount of roadkill along the New
England Highway. Thank goodness! It’s a bit distressing seeing how much wildlife comes to grief by the roadside. On a more positive note, we saw five very much alive kookaburras perched on lines adjacent to the highway during our travels. We don’t think we can recall ever seeing five kookaburras in a single day before.
Tonight we played Bolivia with Cathy and Steve’s cards and still the ladies won! Bernie says that his luck has deserted him north of the Victorian border!
Steps: 8,339 (6kms)
Hmmn, too much driving and not enough walking today. I think all the BIG things were too close to the highway!
Tot: 4.113s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 32; qc: 127; dbt: 0.0812s; 3; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.6mb