The road now leads us onwards towards Hay for the night, along the Murrumbidgee. We have not spent a lot time in this particular part of NSW. It is a region nomads seem to ‘pass through’ on their way either north or south. On reflection it is a pity because the environment is quite special. The famous Hay plain is really the bottom of the ancient sea that covered this area many moons ago. Now the irrigated farmlands of the Murrumbidgee are part of Australia’s great food and fibre bowl. Cotton is being ‘picked’ as we pass along. The roadside is scattered with tufts of the white stuff and cotton trucks fly past loaded to the brim. It seems to have been a good season. Sheep are everywhere, packed into green paddocks up to their knees in grass!
In Hay we stay at a pleasant little van park for the night. Beforehand we had caught some of the latest silo art, celebrating the roles of local WW11 veterans in large as life portraits. A bit different to seeing another Murray Cod! Down at Sandy Point the Murrumbidgee is submerging the shelter sheds along its grassy banks. We have camped here for a night on a previous trip, bit wet now and there are not many vans in residence!
Next morning we hit the road for Cootamundra, another longish drive passing through Junee. Now, I am sure dear readers that you would all know why one would want to divert a bit off a more direct path and travel through Junee? It is certainly the home town of Laurie Daly, famous NRL player. But it is also the hometown of Ray Warren, NRL broadcaster, horse race and Olympic swimming caller for absolutley ages. He has recently retired and I think is nearly 80? One either loves ‘Rabs’ or not, but he is certainly an icon. There is a bronze statue of him just off the the main street in Junee, unfortunately some pidgeons appear to have come past recently and left their mark. We stop for the required photograph.
Into Cootamundra eventually after driving through more magnificient countryside. It is cold and has been wet in Cootamundra. At Hay Mitchell and Piper started living it up in cabins instead of pulling out the tent for these one night stands. Unfortunately, there is only one caravan park in Cootamundra and their cabins were all booked out. The tent was thought about but Allthego weakened and lashed out for a motel for them after hearing that some puddles of water in the campground had frozen over the night before. On seeing the motel it crossed Homealone’s mind that we should all stay in it for the night! But, no the olds headed back to the van and the campground for the night.
Cootamundra is the birth place of Sir Donald Bradman, without question Australia’s greatest cricketer. Most people have heard of him even if they dont know of his accomplisments in any detail. I think one of our old Prime Ministers wanted to have a question in the Australian citizenship test about him. His birthplace (in 1908) was actually an early small maternity hospital. We were able to stand in the small room in which he was born surrounded by oodles of memorabillia of the great sportsman. Down the road a bit is Bradman Oval, a somewhat understated place except for the giant stumps near the boundary line.
Cootamundra has another cricket must see, the ‘Captains Walk’. Bronze busts of each of the men who were captains of the Australian cricket team, referred to sometimes as Australia’s second most important job after that of the Prime Minister. It starts with the Captain of the Indigenous team that went to England in 1868 and everyone of them since. A great walk down memory lane, Allthego remembers most of them from the early 1920s on (not that he saw them all play of course!), names and records from history.
Now to Queanbeyan, through the Yass Valley, and the Hayes/Bernard mob, Homealone’s sibling relos!