Here we are in ‘The Towers’ staying at the Oasis van park just outside town. They have a pool here which is great because its hot. There are no crocodiles in the pool just allthego.
This town has some great old Gold Rush days buildings, some about 140 years old. Most are made of bricks (from here in CT as I will call it) and rendered with quite a thick coating. They have been lovingly restored, but the trick is that it is thought the actual bricks are beginning to crumble (despite all the painting) and in another 30-40 years there will be a major restoration problem for the town. Not sure I will be around to see the outcome, but interesting problem anyway to solve (of course not on the scale of the salad dressing mystery).There are a few interesting places to see here, including an old gold battery stamping plant. This is where the ore was crushed and ultimately the gold extracted. It stopped working in the early 1970s, much of the machinery remains in place depicting how the process worked. The town plays strongly on its past and has ‘ghosts’ from the old days appearing in presentations of the town’s history.
In its heyday in the 1880s there were 90 hotels in the town, having a population of about 25,000. Today there are about 8,500 people and maybe 5 or 6 hotels, some still in their old surroundings. We dined one night in The Courthouse (renovated somewhat) on a couple of really good steaks.A few locals (really local and showing it!) were entrenched at the bar enjoying the band.
We had gone originally here to see a bull bucking contest. Unfortunately this had been cancelled due to an injury. I asked the bar girl whether the bull had been injured,she looked at me quizzically and said “No, the bull had speared the bloke doing the show”. Enough said!
A highlight of the visit to CT was listening to a ‘Foyer Recital’ in one of the old buildings. This was free and a part of the ‘Ten days at the Towers’ extravaganza of all things country, including music (its like a mini Tamworth Country Music Festival). The band playing were the ‘Gospel Gold Diggers”. The lead singer, Wiley, on guitair admitted to being 79. There was a girl Minnie Mina (not much younger or older than Wiley), on a double bass and clarinet. Last, but not least, was Kooki (on banjo and violin/fiddle) she was half their age. What a group! About 30 onlookers enjoyed the performance. The old C & W standard ‘This Old House’ (now who sang that on the top 40 way back when?) stood out as the song of the night. The band seemed to enjoy it as well!
Its been a great couple of days here looking around CT. We now continue heading 400k north on Monday to the Undara Lava Tubes.