Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walgett 4 - 5 July 2014

Left in the morning after a 5 minute look at Gulargambone and headed for Walgett. Stopped at Coonamble for morning tea (missed the 10:30 slot) and picked up a few bargains at the Op Shops. Coonamble is another small town that is struggling against a declining population and a loss of jobs, but talking to the locals it seems to be just surviving and has a fine spirit. As we travelled north, the countryside became flatter and drier with large expanses of fenceless grey mulga, black soil and endless blue skies. The road became rougher with unexpected corrugations and bumpy bridges that spanned sandy creek beds. Heather had grown up in Walgett and she was keen to see it again after many years away. In contrast to other towns such Gilgandra and Coonamble, Walgett seemed desolate, dirty and depressing with featureless brick walls interspersed with shutters or steel mesh. Heather caught up with some of the older residents that still remembered her family, but it seemed that most families had moved on. Micky McPherson enjoyed exchanging memories and was amazed at how much Heather remembered. She sounded a bit sad about her tough life but glad to exchange memories. She use to deliver Mum’s fruit box to the kitchen table from her father’s fruit truck. Heather remembers Walgett as a vibrant pretty town with an active community life and was sad to contrast her memories with the reality of today. One old fellow, Barry McKenzie (not Bazza), had lived in Walgett 70 years and knew more about the people and history than Heather. He came to help his uncle, the blacksmith and stayed on as a mechanic. He reminded Heather that it was as wonderful a place as she remembered and the current situation bore no resemblance to the past. He recalled how wealthy everyone was and when it was an isolated town with no bitumen, the shops where awash with everything you could want. Lovely shops. It was based on the times when wool was king. The price of wool went from 6d/lb to a Pound/lb. People had Mercedes and private planes. So as the wool has gone the wheat and grains are more drought affected and the money limited. The Aboriginal community have all moved into town and are struggling socially with alcohol and drug problems. Unemployment must be extraordinary. Babies having babies. Looking around town we saw the remnants of so many homes and lovely buildings. You have to shut your eyes to remember the past to cloth the current skeletons still standing.


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