Tag: Canberra

507. Sunday 28th August 2016. Where we spend time at home (planning a new trip) and a look at old homes…

Well, here’s another week where we did not go anywhere new, or explore or see something out of the ordinary. We still did our usual things which seem to take up our time. Things such as doctors appointments, Full body bone scan, a CPR course for Donnis, swimming, table tennis, Tai Chi, line dancing, lawn bowls, bingo, making Norri Rolls and the return of my Samsung A3 phone all fixed. I have not had a chance to fully test it but so far so good. Oh, by the way, the Samsung man told me about a new software release by Hyundai called Android Auto ( similar to Apple Car). The new upgrade allows things such as music, several Apps and Google Maps to be sent from the phone to cars fitted with Audio Display Screen. The Samsung man told me he uses the Google Maps as his GPS by sending via Bluetooth to the audio screen. I called Hyundai and they said the software is not released in Australia yet. What the!!! It seems there is quite a demand for the software and although Hyundai have been saying since November 2015 it will be released “next month” they issue a new notice saying the release is “close”. Grrr! The technology has been in use in Hyundai US and Canada since early 2015.

Because we had no other interesting things to share with you this week I thought it was time to have a look at some “old houses” we have seen in our travels.

001 ariah park nsw

Way back in October 2012 when I travelled slowly from Mt Beauty Victoria to Guyra NSW, one of the towns I stayed was Ariah Park (Pronounced Area Park) for a few days. The town which is basically in a period of decline is trying to attract people to town. One initiative is a camping area at the local sports park. For $10 there is somewhere level to park, power, toilets, laundry and showers. Admittedly there is only one shower and it shares with the laundry. So, if you want a shower you need to lock the door to keep laundry users out. For $10 nobody complains. In my exploration of Ariah Park and Temora,  I saw many old, abandoned or remains of houses after a fire or other disaster. This house just seems to have been abandoned. Not surprising really as many of the shops in town are also vacant and everything inside covered in a thin layer of dust. Prosperity went somewhere else and took people along with it. The railway line was closed some years ago so could be one of the reasons why the town is in decline. Population in 2011 was 264 and the district is dependent on wool and wheat, both of which requires only seasonal labour.

002 avondale nsw

While house sitting at Dapto NSW in July 2012 we took the opportunity to explore much of the foothills and lower escarpment to the west. Avondale area, was and to a certain extent, still is, dairy farming country. Some of it, on the flatland and low undulating hills, has been sold off in various large plots and turned into housing development . In the foothills some has been turned into 5 acre hobby farm lots while the remainder is simply pasture. As the foothills steepen into the sheer escarpment face, some of the old coal mines are still intact. Some are closed but kept maintained for some future project while others are simply closed until somebody figures out how to use kilometres of empty tunnels. The building in the photo was once part of a dairy but has long been abandoned like the mothballed Huntley Colliery across the road.

003 bee creek qld

In July/August of 2011 I was involved with the Census and my area was the difficult Eungella/Dalrymple Ranges area over the escarpment west of Mackay Qld. The area is an old dairy farming community but these days only a half dozen viable dairy farms still exist. Much of the rest of the town lives off welfare and is a good place to hide from the law and creditors. The area abounds with old homesteads long abandoned. Even temporary housing such as this shepherds caravan deep in a valley beside Bee Creek has long ago started to return to nature.

004 ben lomond nsw

Ben Lomond is located in the Northern Tablelands of the New England District of NSW. The village at the 2011 Census is reported as having 436 persons living there. The village has no shops, no Post Office and most of the houses, if not already abandoned are in the early stages of being taken over by moss, lichen and mould. The town survives only as a place for sheep and cattle farming and perhaps a little grain. The town is cold most of the year being at 1370 metres elevation. The two nearby peaks, known as The Brothers are at 1508 metres. Snow often falls even as late as October and November each year. Even December can produce a light sprinkling of snow. No wonder people have left the area. The railway line which ran through town was closed twenty years ago. The town was muted as an ideal place for a wind farm but financial difficulties put an end to that project in 2008. The local school has 12 students, down from 30 in the 2006 Census.

005 braidwood nsw

This house which is close to the town centre was the scene of a fire and the house was destroyed. This is all that is left. The house is in the small town of Braidwood on which sits about midway between the coastal town of Batemans Bay in NSW and Canberra, Capital of Australia in the ACT. The town is on the Kings Highway and is a busy road taking public servants and other residents of Canberra to the coast. The multitude of coastal towns is the holiday playground for the ACT and nearby Queanbeyan in NSW. Braidwood and the several old, destroyed or abandoned houses are on a windy plateau blasted by the cold westerly winds in winter and cold southerly winds blowing up and over the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range from the from the coast.

006 collarenebri 1 nsw

This old house at Collarenebri NSW is neither a burnt out shell or abandoned. People are still living here. From the time I spent here it was apparent the town was in decline but holding on to something of its former glory mainly due to the local district hospital. The town was once the centre of sheep farming, shearing, wheat and cotton crops and whatever else can be thrown in to earn a dollar. The local pub and the Bowling Club are the busiest locations in town. Even the hospital comes in at third place.( Other reasonably well equipped hospitals are about 2 hours distant from here…Lightning Ridge, Moree, and Walgett) The small number of shops and local garage usually only open restricted hours because 1. The population is not large enough to support full time stores and 2, the heat at midday in the summer can be in the high 40’s. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go outside in the midday sun.

007 eungella qld


Here we are at Eungella once again and here you can see an abandoned house preparing to go back to nature. The ravages of time, mould, white ants, heat, wind and rain are taking their toll. The dreams of a dairy farmer once started…and ended here.

008 finch hatton qld

This old house sits beside the Pioneer Valley Highway at Finch Hatton Qld which lies in the shadow of the Great Dividing Range and Eungella, thirty Klms to the west. Look closely and you can see the damage mould can do in tropical regions. This house was probably once part of cane cutters accommodation back in the glory days when can was cut by hand. You can see sugar cane still grows in the background. The local sugar mill at Finch Hatton closed back in the early 90’s and as a result many people moved away. Further aiding the demise was the removal of the railway line at about the same time. Cane is cut and taken to the nearest mill at Marian about 40 Klms by road but most cane is transported via a myriad of cane railway lines snaking their way through hundreds of Klms of cane farms spread throughout the valley. It is not unusual to see a small cane locomotive pulling 200 or more cane bins on the way to the sugar mill.

009 guyra nsw

This old sheep herders overnight cottage is no longer in use. These types of huts can be seen in the hills around Guyra and Ben Lomond in NSW. Even here mould, lichen and moss are growing throughout the house, wearing it down to become one with nature.

010 hillgrove nsw

This house, leaning away from the prevailing wind is one of several in the NSW gold mining town of Hillgrove near Armidale. There are a few small villages sitting above a steep valley with Bakers Creek at the bottom, snaking its way along where the only industry was gold mining. Those glory days of pulling the gold out of them thar hills has gone. So have the residents. Gold is still extracted by one mine as well as a substance called antimony. The new high tech mine employs most of the 95 residents of the town in one capacity or another. The other nearby villages still struggle to keep people in their houses. Maintenance is no longer an option and soon even those houses will be no more. None of the half dozen villages in this area, dependant on gold, have any form of shop, post office, hotel or medical surgery.

504. Sunday 7th January 2016. A quiet week and home and a big Pub Crawl…

Not much happened this week.

Well, things did happen, such as visits to the doctors and skin specialists and a couple of biops for Donnis.

We played table tennis, bowls, Tha Chi and line dancing.

We went to hardware stores and bought stuff such as a new rug and a self-watering garden and overfilled it with lettuce, parsley, coriander, spinach, basil and tomatoes.

But we did not go anywhere for an adventure. We did not even go to the beach for a walk. Oh ummm I did go for a bike ride to visit a friend and still being ultra- cautious as I am, had a small fall and broke my…pride.!

Instead I have trolled through my collection of photos and have decided to show another ten of our collection of pub photos.

It’s time for a Pub Crawl!052 london ardlethan nsw

The London Pub at Ardlethan in south western NSW.

This pub caught my eye in 2012 as I was travelling in WWWGO from Mt Beauty in Vic to Guyra in NSW a distance of a bit more than 1,000 Klms by the direct route, a trip which would normally take 12 hours. I took 28 days meandering and criss- crossing NSW and visiting small towns along the way and staying a few nights here and there. My trip was during the month of October just as summer is approaching so there were hot days which suddenly became cold wet and windy days. Anyway, on the day of my visit to Ardlethan it was hot and the beer was cold.



053 mountain view hotel wanbiligong vic

Mountain View Hotel at Wandiligong Vic.

When house sitting in Mt Beauty Vic, I had the opportunity to take a drive around the various mountain towns and villages. Wandiligong is an Alpine village situated between Morses Creek and Growlers Creek about 6 Klms from the large alpine village of Bright. The area was the site of a small gold rush in 1850. The town has a National Trust certification. On my visit in September 2012 it was still early Spring with low snow cloud cover. Outside it was cold and damp. Inside the pub they had welcoming fireplaces and the beer was cold…



055 royal grong grong nsw

Royal Hotel Grong Grong NSW.

This was another location in my wandering in October 2012. Grong Grong is a town on the Newell Highway near Narrandera NSW. The hotel was built in 1875 to service the then Cobb & Co stagecoach route. The castle like turrets were added in 1923 and this date is proudly displayed on the new section. The old section has had no face lift and seems at odds with the new façade attached to it. As with many towns throughout all states, the railway no longer comes to this town. In fact the line has been dug up and removed. Only a small section of the station platform, with a sign saying, Grong Grong, still remains. Everything else has been removed. This town like many others is slowly dying. Is it dying because the railway no longer comes to town or is the railway no longer coming because towns are dying? The pub may or may not have had cold beer. On the day of my visit the pub appeared closed and uninviting.


054 pow seymour vic

Prince of Wales Hotel, Seymour Vic.

Along with my friend Tony J and other Royal Australian Army Armoured Corps mates based at Puckapunyal, we visited this hotel during our corps training days. Probably the reason this pub was favoured was the fact that the Puckapunyal Armoured Corp was the Prince of Wales Regiment.I celebrated a beer based 21st birthday at this pub. Somehow all these years later it did not seem as inviting despite the possibility it had cold beer on tap. Seymour the town is well endowed with hotels especially as it services the nearby army base. The original hotel built in 1839 was on the Cobb & Co Stagecoach line. Extensions were made in 1848, 1853 and 1890. I guess business was booming then. The railway still operates in this town.



056 royal mail hotel braidwood nsw

Royal Mail Hotel, Braidwood, NSW.

Braidwood sits at the top of the Great Dividing Range, west of the coast town of Batemans Bay and is the gateway to the coast for residents of the national Capital, Canberra in the ACT. The town is small but has a big pub representation (as well as an equal number of churches). On the day Donnis and I visited it was bitterly cold with winds coming from the NSW Alps driven across flat plains. No way was a cold beer inviting on this day. In fact it was so uncomfortably cold (after all it was mid -winter and the alps were thickly coated in snow) and the only thing of interest to us was a hot pie and a hot coffee.



057 tattersalls armidale nsw

Tattersalls Hotel, Armidale NSW.

By the time I visited the Tattersalls it was November 2012 and despite Armidale being a cold town even in the summer, they had cold beer and good counter lunches. I was house sitting in the nearby town of Guyra (which has the distinction of being the highest point in NSW – except for the Alps of course – and for being the coldest location in NSW. It is more often colder, year round, than the Alps. In fact it snowed only two weeks before I arrived at the end of October) and visited Armidale every week for the next 5 months. I cannot find a build date for this hotel but do know it was on this location in 1896 when the newly formed Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived with their horse drawn fire engine and demonstrated climbing on nearby buildings for the crowd at the hotel. I guess the building must have undergone some facelifts as the modern façade would not have been in place in 1896.



058 union tumbarumba nsw

Union Hotel, Tumbarumba, NSW.

The town of Tumbarumba is called variously, by locals as either “Tumba” or “Tumby”. It all depends on which locals you speak with. The pub was built in 1867 and on our visit in March 2012 was looking somewhat tired and run down. The town is at the base of the NSW Alps and Mt Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia, can be seen from here. Even in March which is the beginning of Autumn it was very cold and damp and snow was threatening. The town has two pubs, both of which are popular with motorcycle riders who come to town to ride the winding and winding and winding up and up and up Elliot Way which links with The Snowy Mountain Highway and can be taken to locations higher up in the Alps or turn back to Tumut following Talbingo Reservoir, Blowering Reservoir and the Tumut River.



059 historic west wyalong nsw

Tattersalls (Historic) Hotel, West Wyalong, NSW.

The hotel was built in 1894 and despite the alternate name of Historic Hotel there is precious little information available to support the name. I note the town is located in the Bland Shire and so bland by name and bland by nature. West Wyalong like many towns was once the site of a gold rush. Gold is no longer found in the district. The railway which once upon a time brought people and prosperity to the town is now closed. I visited the town in October 2012 on my slow meander to Guyra.



060 dirranbandi nsw

The Dirran Pub, Dirranbandi, Qld.

Built on the site of the original Telegraph Hotel, date unknown, the Dirran also has an unknown build date. As well the locals call the pub, “The Old Moey”. Why? Don’t know, I’m not a local. These days the railway has been gone for many years, the population has declined but the town boasts a wonderful hospital and a caravan park which the owner was prepared to off load to us for a clean swap of our motorhome for the park. The caravan park came with a big old weatherboard two story house badly in need of paint and repairs. To me the house looked like the Bates House in the movie Psycho.  The main industry these days is cotton farming with the largest cotton farm in Australia, Cubby Station, just a few Klms out of town.



061 pow gulgong nsw

Prince of Wales Hotel, Gulgong, NSW.

Hotels in Australia often have the same name.

For example, Railway Hotel, Post Office Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel, Tattersalls Hotel, Royal Hotel and so on, throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth.

Here is yet another Prince of Wales with this one having been built in 1876 in yet another town kicked off by a gold rush. It has had basic improvements carried out over the years. On our visit it had been renovated to look old(ish)  A sort of 2016 version of what it could have looked like 140 years ago. The place was friendly with good cold beer and meal menu and comfortable accommodation. Gulgong itself is famous for, the gold rush of course and also being the home of a young Henry Lawson, arguably one of Australia’s finest writers, poet and balladeer. He is certainly my favourite author, not just of his poetry. Over the years I had collected many works by Henry Lawson but regrettably my books were stored when we went travelling for 4 years and the books became musty and smelly. I gave them all away.  It was a great opportunity to see the town where HL first went to school and grew up.