Camp # 49, Days 230 – 231, Gunnadah, NSW

“They’re burning off at the Rampadells, The tawny flames uprise” – ‘Burning Off’ by Dorothea Mackellar

Following the dramatic recovery of Droney the 3rd, it was a late start to the days travel. It seemed it was going to be a resonable days travel with just 409 km’s to cover. However what that time didn’t account for was the fact we would be, again, traversing that old foe, The Great Dividing Range. Ugh! It’s always pretty country but inevitably it’s a slow and windy crossing. And for those in the back seat, always accompanied by a sickly queezy feeling.

A brief distraction from a crow tormenting a goanna crossing the road offered a little light relief.

You don’t see this everyday.

Finally we crossed the ranges and popped out at Tammworth – Australia’s country music capital. In honour or this fact we had been listening to Aussie icon Slim Dusty. Ken and I enjoyed the pace of tunes, although the kids were mumbling something about bleeding ears.

It’s a classic – Slim Dusty and G’day G’day

Turns out Tammworth isn’t just a great place for country music but also home to the best playground we have come across in OZ.

Now, we have seen some awesome playgrounds and unique play equipment and this just had it all. Different levels of play ranging from toddlers to young adults. Large spaces all creatively linked with, tunnels, meandering paths and waterplay creek beds. On the excitement-a-meter it rated extremely awesome coolest playground ever!!!

Playground excitement-a-meter

It was now very late in the day so we had a picnic dinner at above mentioned playground and pushed on for Gunnadah for just the one night. It meant we would arrive in the dark but traveling through this beautiful farming land on dusk gave a gorgeous pinky golden glow to the country side.

Late afternoon drives always have the best colours.

We keep hearing about how hard the farmers are doing it at the moment and on the drive to Gunnadah we saw signs out the front of one property requesting help to feed their livestock and horses, desperate times for some of our farmers. Delivering the reality of the harsh beauty of our land. Which is what has brought us on this particular drive and part of the country.

Gunnadah is the place where Dorothea MacKellar lived, loved and inspired the great Australian poem “My Country”. I love the poem and wanted the girls to cover it as part of our schooling. It was amazing to be in the place and share the same landscapes that bought this poem to page. For those unfamiliar with it enjoy.

“I love a sunburnt country” – Dorothea Mackellar

We finally arrived in Gunnadah after dark and spent just the one night. In the morning we walked up and visited the memorial to MacKellar which displayed some of her poetry but the visitor centre was closed.

Today’s travel was only to be a few hours, delivering us to Parkes, NSW. We took a little short cut, traveling along ‘Black Stump Way’. Could resist the name and I’ve heard and used the phrase ‘beyond the black stump’ through-out my life and here was a chance to see it. If you find yourself wondering what I’m talking about, it is a colloquial saying meaning ‘beyond the limits of civilization’.

Turns out there are about 5 places in Australia that claim bragging rights to the original legendary Black Stump, and it’s anyone guess which one is actually it.

Turned out however the black stump had be blacken on too many times and turned to ashes in a fire that engulfed the Black Stump Wine Saloon, said to the be original location of this dark and mysterious stump. So, today, roadside at a rest stop a replica stump stands to mark it’s historic location.

‘The’ Black Stump – or is it?

I can’t claim this knowledge has enriched my life much, yet it did provided a point of interest on the journey and I am indeed wiser with regards to black stumps in Australia. Love ya Strays.

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