Have been in an internet black hole and have now returned to the task. We had an interesting morning in Gatton. It is the ‘capital’ of the Lockyer Valley, although Laidley is I think ‘nicer’! There are around 8500 people in this regional centre, providing services to the surrounding farms and grazing properties. A sign of the times is the local ANZ Bank branch, closed on Wednesdays and only open in the morning on the other weekdays. The NAB branch is full service as is the Heritage Bank, didn’t see the other banks. The main street though is quite busy, a few cafes, the pub and restaurants battling the COVID restrictions.
Dropped into the regional Cultural and Visitors Centre for a look at the Legends Wall, photos and stories of the legends of the Lockyer Valley. Quite an impressive line up of locals who have made it in the limelight. Andy Bichel, Qld and Australian fast bowler was a local Laidley lad. The only other character I recognised was Bill Gunn, the local member and a minister in the Joh Governments of the 70s and 80s. There is also an ANZAC Wall, with some of the local soldiers and their deeds highlighted. The visitors part of the Centre was being done up for the post COVID world, so no coffee available! Steered clear of the Art Gallery. Not far from the Centre is the Lights on the Hill Trucking Memorial to truck and coach drivers who have died while on the job. The memorial also recognises the work the truckies do in keeping the country connected. Quite an impressive symbol.
Back in the centre of town there are the usual murals which seem to be cropping up in most of our regional towns. Spent a while trying to find one in particular and finally worked out in was now invisible, on the wall of a building that had been demolished to make way for a park. A bit frustrating walking up and down this street looking for it! It was a mural depicting a local maths teacher who had spent 49 years teaching at Lockyer District High, now he deserved to be on that Legends Wall.
After the murals it was off to lunch, jAK & MO. Only small, but a very tasty lunch. Althego had a Greek seasoned chicken salad in a pita bread, looked a bit like an open oyster shell. Homealone devoured some Mexican soft shell tacos. All made with local produce it is claimed. Washed down with a blue lemonade from Crows Nest soft drinks. We had seen this factory in Crows Nest when were camping in the National Park. One of the few family owned soft drink factories left. Can thoroughly recommend this spot in the main street.
On our way back to Lake Dyer we stopped off to see the towns War Memorial and gardens, very picturesque spot, there is a weeping mother atop the memorial. Also the usual gun on display, maybe captured in some foreign battlefield and donated to Gatton after WW11. We now aim to complete the Cobb & Co Trail before heading home. This will take us down towards Ipswich.