Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bourke - 10/11/12 to 12/11/12

After the longest drive of our trip (616 km) we finally reached Bourke at 3.30pm NSW time, once again having changed time zones. We were in the car for eight hours and the boys again showed themselves to be excellent car travellers. They read most of it and sometimes watch videos, but they are quite used to the travel and know sometimes we have to do some long days to get to our next stop.

Driving into Bourke was like driving into a ghost town, with all the shops closed and not a pane of glass to be seen. These were covered up with pull down shutters. There was nobody about, then I realised it was the weekend. Like most small country towns, Bourke’s shops close after 12 noon on Saturdays. Also lots of tumble weed/spinifex been blown across the road to add to the ghost town look.

The caravan park we are staying at has the most beautiful green grass, something we haven’t seen for a while so we put to good use playing cricket the days we were there. We took it pretty easy here as we’re all feeling a little tired and Jacob was a little unwell. So we didn’t get the real Bourke experience; for this you need to get out and about in the surrounding countryside to explore the national parks and other natural features. Also, we are now reaching maximum temperatures in the high 30’s and that is slowing us down a little. There seems to be a mini heat wave going through outback NSW and Queensland just now and there are some predictions of temperatures approaching 40 degrees coming up.   

When not relaxing at the park we spent our time checking out the old buildings in town and the nearby surrounding area. Most of the buildings in town date back to 1880’s. Bourke was settled along the Darling River as an important inland port in the days when paddle steamers travelled the Murray and Darling Rivers. We drove along the Darling River, on both sides, and checked out the old wharf and where they used to ferry stock across. There was also the remains of a paddle steamer, the P S Wave, which was stranded when the Darling River receded. Not much left now but the rusted metal paddles. We walked across the old North Bourke Bridge which was one of the few vertical lift bridges ever built. A whole section of the bridge was able to be lifted up in one piece to allow the paddle steamers to pass underneath. Amazing technology for its time. There was also a lock and weir further down the river to, first, control the flow of the river and then, to allow the boats to move upstream to the changing level. Once again, quite an engineering feat for its time.

Finally, we checked out Fred Hollows grave at the Bourke cemetery. Fred Hollows was not born in Bourke, nor did he live there at any stage of his life. However, he did a lot of work there and apparently felt a great affinity with the area and the people and his request was to be buried there. There was a bit of a story about his life and his work. A very impressive man.

Not much more to say here
Tumble weeds / spinifex blowing across the highway

Some of the beautiful old buildings in Bourke

Oldest standing building in Bourke. Western Herald Newspaper 

Darling River

North Bourke Bridge

Replica of old wharf

The lock and weir

A spectator in the stands at the locl showgrounds

Doug's collection of stubbie coolers, so far ....

At the caravan park

Jacob getting some coaching from a has been who never was

Is this what they mean by "throwing the bat"

Good action. Maybe we'll have a cricketer in the family yet

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