Country towns: Crookwell
Crookwell is a small town with a population of 2641 as counted in the 2016 census. Claims to fame? Renowned for potato farming, and home to NSW’s first wind farm.
Just out of Crookwell is the old settlement of Binda, a few stone houses and a church with a lych-gate all that remains of a once-thriving gold-rush town.
Country towns: Gulgong
Gulgong, the Wiradjuri word for deep waterhole, is a nineteenth century gold-mining town about 300 km north-west of Sydney, and briefly the childhood home of Henry Lawson, bush poet and short story writer. It’s main street is narrow and windy, designed for the passage of bullock drays rather than modern cars.
Country towns: Bingara
Bingara is a quiet, historic, gold and diamond-mining town set in the Gwydir River Valley. Surrounded by cypress-covered mountains it is a popular with anglers and fossickers. Gold, sapphires and tourmalines are still occasionally found in the river and local creeks.
Country towns: Inverell
Inverell is the Gaelic word for the meeting place of swans. It’s is an elegant rural service centre located on a bend in the Macintyre River in a mixed farming district known for its wheat, grapes olives, maize, barley and oats as well as tin, sapphires, zircons and diamonds. It’s a popular haunt for fossickers who find topaz, quartz, silver, diamonds, agate, petrified wood, rhodorite, tourmaline and lead, as well as sapphires, diamonds and tin.
Country towns: Casino
The main street of Casino is wide, with a walkway along the middle if you don’t mind popping on and off around the plantings. The cement is decorated with an Art Deco design, marking it as an Art Deco town. It’s in the middle of beef and forestry country over 700 km north of Sydney. The story is that it was named after Monte Cassino, the Italian hill village where Poles fought in World War 2. Someone couldn’t spell and removed the second “s”.
After a few days on my son’s block, I need a return to the natural world, so I track down the Jabiru Geneebeinga wetlands and take a leisurely sun-soaked, slightly boggy stroll before heading down to the coast and time with my sister’s family: three nieces, two spouses, three great-nephews, and two great nieces.
I was inspired to record my road trip in haiku and tanka to record by Suzanne’s “on the road” challenge, although I haven’t followed her specific prompts. Thanks to her for suggesting a way to capture fleeting impressions as the road unwound over four days.
My tour guide, apart from following my nose, was http://www.aussietowns.com.au/, a wealth of information assembled by a retired journalist with the ambition to write about every Australian town that offers anything interesting.