We had family business in Sydney..
so did we fly there in an hour for a few dollars (or points)?
No, we decided to take to the highway -
the Newell Highway that is, 'Out West' at Goondiwindi, a four-hour drive inland from Brisbane.
Wide open spaces, cotton and canola fields...we headed South,
past rustic old inns and pubs, with towns slowly dying due to drought, and changing economics...
At Gilgandra, we popped in to their new museum, opened in 2015 to mark the centenary of the first Cooee March, a recruitment drive in World War I.
A local hero at this outback town had the idea of gathering a group of volunteers for the British Empire, to fight the war in Europe. A small group set out from Gilgandra in October, 1915, marching all the way to Sydney, 640 km.
Passing through towns and villages, they called 'Cooee! Come and join us!'
In all 263 men walked into Martin Place, Sydney, five weeks later.
The Cooee March was the first of about ten such drives in various regional Australian towns. Young men left the farms, their parents, wives and sweethearts. Ten per cent of Australia's population went to WWI, and many never returned.
A hand made flag carried on the original march.
At first glance it seems preposterous that these men were so easily persuaded to go to the other side of the world, of which they knew almost nothing, to fight for the Empire.
But the taste for adventure, a change from a hard and predictable life, money in the pocket and a uniform to wear - these things have appealed to youth throughout history. It was seen as their patriotic duty, and they went.
The map of the march showed us that we were taking the same route into Sydney, following in their footsteps.
At the start of our road trip it was hot -
very hot, in the high 30s C.
But then we hit rain, and as we headed South, so did the temperatures.
We turned East after Dubbo, heading to the pretty, leafy town of Orange.
It snows here, so I'm guessing it was named for its Autumnal colours, which must be spectacular.
Our B&B had a beautiful garden..
and there was excellent bird-watching too.
Next morning, in pouring rain, we approached the Blue Mountains from the West. Located on the Western edge of Sydney, the mountains are a popular tourist destination, with lots of old-world charm, spectacular scenery, bushwalking and enticing galleries and shops.
|Beautiful view from hotel, totally obscured!|
The mountains were wrapped in a thick, foggy mist. The rain poured down for the next two days. The beautiful scenery remained hidden. The temperature was around 10 deg C, and we were cold! The hotel had a log fire burning, and guests were drying out their sodden walking shoes on the hearth.
Much of the next two days, the fog came right up to the windows.
We spent our time in a few of these:
and I found a couple of budget additions to my milk glass collection...
No, not all this, just the fishy plate, a small white comport and the rustic wooden fox.
Mr Fox came from this gorgeous shop, Rick Rutherford's Country, in the pretty mountain town of Lawson. Always on my 'must see list' when in the Blue Mtns.
At last, on Day 3, the fog lifted and there was the view of The Three Sisters, most popular attraction in the area.
It is hard to pick the scale from this picture, but people were climbing on the left column, and they looked like ants!
A little patch of sunlight emerged, as we said goodbye to the mountains and headed down the motorway into Sydney.
During the next few days, I did many of my favourite things..
The lovely and talented Val, of Valerie's Sewing Blog, took me on a magical mystery tour of Sydney's best fabric bargain destinations, and what a day it was. I had a great day, and for the first time in my life, I now have a real 'stash' - enough fabric to see me sewing into my dotage. Well, eleven pieces anyway, and for less than $100. The prices were incredibly low.
I loved Pitt Trading best, a shop where attractive collectibles and antiques are scattered among the fabrics. So pretty.
For a lively account of our adventure, pop on over to Val's blog on the above link.
|Cabramatta, our final destination of the day|
Thank you both, ladies, you were highlights of my holiday.
Meeting a fellow blogger has always been such fun and rewarding for me, one of the pleasures of making friends via social media.
I will save the other Sydney activities for another post.
Hope you are all well, and that 2016 is proving to be a good year.