Monday, December 10

Charleville to Bourke

Fred Hollows resting place at Bourke Cemetery


My next drive was Charleville to Bourke.  I could have gone further, but am keen not to get tired as I drive. That was a distance of some 450 kms.  Along the way there was little traffic – hardly any.  Quite funny really, as sometimes I think I am the only human on the road for miles in any direction.  Sharing the road with animals is a challenge, though no major event so far.  The goats, and there are many of them, tend to graze along the side of the road and virtually ignore the traffic.  The emus are different, often grazing, but occasionally will try to cross the road.  Cattle have been few and far between, but easier to see on the road ahead.  I am always on the lookout for animals.  I have only seen two live kangaroos – one happily grazing and another which looked as if it was resting on the side of the road.  I would suggest it has an injury but it looked happy enough.  If I had not been on my own I might have offered it water, but was not keen to wrestle with a kangaroo way out there on my own.

It is 43 degrees outside.  I passed a sign that says 260 kms before there is any petrol station.  Luckily I keep my tank filled up! There was a huge area of recent grass fire too, which was on one side of the road.  There were many bodies of kangaroos along the road, and one had to drive around them, as some of the bodies are huge and I don't want one caught up under my car.
Wildflowers roadside

I had been warned about staying in Cunnamulla and Bourke, so chose to drive through Cunnamulla and have a quick look.  There were few places open (certainly the Visitor Information was closed too), but I wandered around and took a few photos, including one of the Cunnamulla Fella, before travelling on to Bourke.  I purchased an icecream in a very amazing cafe, which was a huge hall really, complete with stage area, but with a nativity scene for all to see.


The Cunnamulla Fella

Bourke is a sad place – I could not help noticing the windows, even government buildings with timber replacing the broken windows.  Many of the old buildings are falling apart – there is no money in the town, and sadly the local indigenous people in particular, have money from Centrelink and nowhere to spend it apart from the pub – and anyone can guess what happens then. I stayed at a lovely motel, Bourke Riverside Motel with hosts Lillian and Roy Simpson, who are just caretaking. They are a lovely couple.  I was the only guest in this historic place – formerly an old hotel, but since added to with a lovely rooms full of antiques.  It is probably the only accommodation where the gates are locked at night to keep out the riff raff, something for which I was grateful for, as the stories from them and others were not nice.
Back of Bourke Visitors Centre

Bourke Riverside Motel

I went to the Diggers Restaurant for a meal – which was not too bad, but I long for a ‘decent meal’.  The food on the whole out here is good, but expensive.  Even in the clubs here the meals are almost twice the price of our city prices, which I understand of course.  It does cost more to bring the food in – shame they don’t grow more out in the country.

Bourke has a very interesting place though.  Historically it has some great stories, none other than about Fred Hollows, the late famous ophthalmologist who worked on the eyes of aboriginal people in the area, and is buried in the Bourke cemetery.  There is a wonderful suite in the Bourke Riverside Motel named after him, and another suite in the same motel is named after Nancy Bird Walton who started her flying career out of Bourke.

Again I took photos early in the morning, on the Darling River.  Funny, as Roy thought I had skipped out early, and actually checked the room.  I had paid, but he was a bit curious.  When I returned from my photo shoot I had my breakfast, which is usually Weetbix with apricot, yoghurt, and a coffee as soon as I have the car packed and ready to go.

It is a lovely motel, full of character and characters!

The stretch from Bourke to Cobar was uneventful – not much traffic.  I recall Cobar from our previous drives south/north Brisbane to Adelaide and return at times.  I remember the huge sign at the entrance to Cobar.

Historic frontage of Bourke Riverside Motel

My room was the one on the left



2 comments:

textilefiend said...

Wonderful to read your diary. Thanks for sharing.

Di Hill said...

Glad you enjoyed it textilefiend. I am really enjoying the journey. Di