Outback Road Trips

Dunedoo to Rankins Springs

Wednesday 19 May 2021: Cassilis to Mudgee 195 km (continued)

Gulgong

Gulgong is 50km south from Dunedoo. The main roads in town, originally tracks for horses and bullocks, wind and meander through a picturesque and well-preserved settlement of single-storey weatherboard, iron, stone and brick buildings. It’s an attractive place full of character.

Commercial Hotel Gulong was built in the 1920s around the bend in the main street

Mudgee

Mudgee is a busy and prosperous town of 12,000 with many fine old buildings dating back to the 1880s. There are over 40 vineyards in the district so we had to try a few of the local wines.

Mudgee Railway Station built 1884 but is no longer used
We did our bit for the Mudgee wine industry at Roth’s Wine Bar
There’s a very nice 5km walk along the Cudgegong River which flows through Mudgee

Thursday 20 May 2021: Mudgee to Wallerawang 130 km

Portland

Portland is known as “The Town that Built Sydney”, producing high quality cement that was used all over Australia from 1889 until the factory closed in 1991.

Portland Silos: Whilst the artwork does feature specific people, it is representative of all the workers and the cement works. Use of sepia on the silos gives them an old and somber appearance.

Signs of Yesteryear: Since 2001 artists from all over the world have come to the town and reproduce, with meticulous detail, the old advertising signs which were commonplace from 1895 to 1945. There are dozens in the laneways of Portland.

Signs of Yesteryear painted on the buildings in the laneways of Portland
The old bottle kilns used to manufacture cement (circa 1888) still survive

Painting of the Portland Silos, now know as “The Foundations” were completed in May 2018 and depict five male and one female past Portland Cement workers. To gain an understanding of Portland inhabitants, the project began with a barbecue at the local RSL. This also helped identify characters and how the Cement Works has impacted their lives.

Portland Silos – Artist: Guido van Helten (2018)
Faces of the former Portland Cement workers on the Portland Silos tell their life stories

Lake Wallace (Wallerawang)

We free camped beside Lake Wallace near Wallerawang about 10km from Portland.

Warming up next to our fire pit at Lake Wallace

Friday 21 May 2021: Wallerawang to Cowra 170km

Bathurst

Bathurst is Australia’s oldest inland city and has evolved from a convict settlement to a service hub for the surrounding agricultural area and a major administrative centre. It has an impressive array of historic public and private buildings, probably the highest concentration in Australia, with wide streets from the horse and buggy days. Today it seems somewhat overwhelmed by a steady stream of cars.

Bathurst gaol was proclaimed in 1888 and is still in use
The hand-carved sandstone gate at features an ornate sculptured lion’s head holding a key that is a Victorian symbol designed to impress wrongdoers with the immense power of the law

Carcoar

Carcoar is known as “The Town that Time Forgot”, a small, well-maintained English style village 50km south of Bathurst. The newest building in the town would be the 1882 Court House.

Carcoar Court House, 1882

Cowra

On 5 August, 1944, the Cowra Prisoner of War camp became the site of the largest mass POW escape in British military history. It was also the only such escape in Australia. 378 Japanese POWs escaped, 231 died and 108 were wounded in the subsequent round-up. 4 Australian soldiers were killed. The historic and ongoing relationship between the people of Cowra and the people of Japan was recognized with a student exchange program, established in 1970. In 1978, the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre was established with the aid of the Japanese government to honour both Australian and Japanese dead.

Rising sun on the Japanese POW Camp Guard Tower
We were in Cowra for the Saturday parkrun – 25 runners took part
It’s a good course along the Garrison Path in the old POW camp with nice views of the countryside

Saturday 22 May 2021: Cowra to Grenfell 200km

Murrumburrah

The Murrumburrah Mills project was completed by Melbourne-based Mongolian street artist Heesco Khosnaran in February 2021. The mural portrays the history and significance of the flour mills, which operated from 1865 to 1991, to the Murrumburrah-Harden community. 

Murrumburrah Mill Silo Art – Artist: Heesco (2021)

Young

Young is marketed as the Cherry Capital of Australia and although it’s not cherry season we were able to but a frozen homemade cherry pie from the CWA.

Cherry pie made by a CWA lady
The Empire Hotel in Young opened in 1861 and has been rebuilt several times since

Grenfell

Enroute to Grenfell, a solitary tree, the brown ploughed fields and the Weddin Mountains behind
We were delighted to find Heesco had painted the same tree, fields and mountains on the Grenfell Silos

This painting was commissioned to create a legacy for the town in acknowledgement for the years of loyalty to the silo owners, Grenfell Commodities. Using 180 litres of paint and 800 spray cans, it took Heesco five weeks to complete in 2019. The artwork is a compilation of images of farming and the landscape of the Weddin Shire. Featuring sheep, cattle and native birds, it’s set in a farming landscape crowned by the Weddin Mountains National Park

Grenfell Silos in the morning light – Artist: Heesco (2019)
Detail on the Grenfell Silos

Grenfell is a lovely old town, built on gold mining from 1866. Adding to the character, It has one of the few curved main streets in Australia – the curve follows the bends on Emu Creek. Henry Lawson (1867-1922), Australian writer and bush poet, was born here.

Oddfellows Hall with a Dutch style facade opened in 1873, next building was a miners cottage
The Oddfellows provided mutual help for members at a time of no Government assistance
Grenfell Railway Station opened in 1901 and closed in 1975
It is maintained by the town Lions Club who provide free camping in the railway grounds

Sunday 23 May 2021: Grenfell to Rankin Springs 200km

Caragabal

Caragabal bird art to raise awareness of the local threatened bird species
The birds like the gum flowers

West Wyalong

West Wyalong was quiet on a Sunday morning

Weethalle

This is sheep country

The Weethalle Silos were painted in 2017, the first in New South Wales. They were built in 1930 and are 21 metres high and 31 metres wide. Melbourne based artist Heesco Khosnaran (who also painted Gunnedah Murrumburrah and Glenfell) presents a tribute to the rich agricultural heritage of the small community of Weethalle and the surrounding Bland Shire. They portray a shearer, a grain farmer and a small flock of sheep perched high on a balcony keeping a watchful eye over the land.

Weethalle Silos – Artist: Heesco (2017)
Shearer and Farmer on the Weethalle Silos

Rankins Springs

Rankins Springs (pop ~300) is a small town with a pub, a good camp ground, a general store, a couple of churches and a school. These towns are slowly disappearing and we like to enjoy them while we can.

Australian Ringneck Parrot at the Rankins Springs park

There are 8 painted silos in NSW, all different, all fabulous. We’ve driven 2000km from Brisbane to see them all. Now we continue south to pick up the Victoria Silo Art Trail.