Back to Budongo …

My bags are on the floor, packed and ready to go.

There are some Swamp Wallabies down by the creek. When I wake up in a couple of days time it may well be a Chimpanzee that will be walking past my window. Uganda here I come.

Part of the time will be at the Budongo Research Station and will be spent banding little birds in the rain forest.

I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and to sharing the experience with you. Broadband access will be intermittent so bear with me.

You can read about the last trip by winding the blog back to June and July 2017.

The Bright Lights of Bendigo …

Bendigo, another of Victoria’s gold rush towns, is just a little smaller than Ballarat but I think it offers a little bit more to the night photographer.

Sacred Heart Cathedral

The plans hit paper in the late 1890’s, consecration occurred in 1901, the building was finished in 1977. It is the second tallest church in Australia (86.64 metres or 284 feet 4 inches). It’s the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst.

Alexandra Fountain

The fountain is 8.5 m (8.5m) tall in a  15 m (50 feet) diameter pool. Do not dive in it’s only 61cm (2 feet) deep. The grand opening was in 1881 and was attended by Princes Albert and George, sons of Alexandra Princess of Wales in whose honour the fountain was named.

The Post Office

Opened for business in 1887, they knew how to build them in those days.

Shamrock Hotel

The Shamrock began life in 1854, as a small hotel known as The Exchange Hotel, servicing miners during the Victorian gold rush including a Cobb and Co. office and a concert hall known as the Theatre Royal.

The hotel’s patronage had grown quickly with the booming goldfields and it was renamed the Shamrock in 1855. The same year the Theatre Royal hosted Lola Montez, performing for the diggers who threw gold nuggets at her feet, many of which the Shamrock staff took as tips while cleaning.    Wikipedia.

A golden era indeed.

The Back of Bourke …

We passed through Bourke in the north-west of New South Wales fairly late in the afternoon and took the road less traveled to Shindy’s Inn at Louth. Population 35.

Like quite a few country pubs free camping brings in the grey nomads and sustains a business that could not survive on the local population alone. Indeed, at a pinch the entire population of Louth could fit in the dining room of Shindy’s Inn.

Shindy’s Inn

The small camping area overlooks the Darling River. Should there not be room at the inn there is plenty of free camping on the opposite bank of the river but no toilets or shower and a longer walk to the pub.

The pub is up for sale. Be quick.

All roads out of Louth are impassable after heavy rain. It was a warm evening with cloud building up. The prospect of a longer stay loomed.

The morning brought brought strong winds and a dust storm. We packed quickly and headed for Cobar under a threatening sky.

heading from Louth to Cobar, NSW.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos

A flock of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos was a welcome sight.

Rain came eventually but we’d made it to the bitumen by the time it caught up with us. Our destination was the Old School Caravan Park at Merriwagga. The hospitality here is almost embarrassingly good. Kel Fry is the man. He gets around the site on his quadri-cycle and makes sure everyone is happy.

It was cold, wet and very windy, the hotel was warm, dry and inviting. We succumbed. The wind died as the sun went down and the rain stopped soon after.

What a day … from the back of Bourke to beyond the Black Stump.

We pitched the tent after dark and it was dry in the morning.

And then we drove home.

 

Thallon …

If you turn right out of Nindigully on National route 46 Thallon is less than 34km away. You’ll know when you’re close …

Thallon silos, Qld.

The silos face east, so morning is a good time to photograph them. You can see from the long shadows that I’d made an early start.

This work really is a splendid piece. The artists were Travis Vinson and Joel Fergie who took inspiration from the work of three local photographers and discussions with local people.

Thallon silos

The scar tree and view of the Moonie River is based on a photographs by Lila Brosnan, the Pale-headed Rosellas on a photograph by Gary Petrie and the sheep Chantel McAlister.

detail – Pale-headed Rosellas after Gary Petrie
detail – after a photo by Chantel McAlister

The silos are very much in use and Grain Corp would be grateful if you stayed in the designated viewing area so as not to be flattened by a truck.

Camping is available at the site and is of a very acceptable standard. The Moonie River is not far away and apparently there is a very large wombat in the park in town.