Easter is nearly shot as we make our way home. Leaving the Ridge we retrace our steps to Walgett on the Namoi and follow the Barwon and Darling Rivers. Once in Walgett we make the turn onto the Kamilaroi Hwy headed for Brewarrina on the Barwon River, then later on to Bourke on the Darling.
Lunch break was at the rest area just north of Bree on the Barwon River. Quiet and clean, and a pretty spot with easy parking and not too many flies.
After stopping in Brewarrina to have a guided tour of the Fish Traps and associated Cultural Center, we were soon on the road again. The day was warming up and so were the flies.
The Landcruiser’s A/C was most welcome as we continued along the Kamilaroi towards Bourke.
Our destination for the night was Byrock, so we were only able to spend a few hours in Bourke. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the paddle steamer, maybe next time.
Bourke’s Old Wharf was testament to the variations in river heights. Big timbers !!
This really is a beautiful river – the Darling
We wanted to have a look around the Old London Bank where Rob’s Grandparents once lived.It is now operating as a Guest House, but there was no-one answering our calls. Although the owner had already sent me pictures of all the rooms prior to our trip, it was great to see it in person. There really must have been a lot of money in Bourke in the 19th century.
Out of town stands the now abandoned slaughterhouse once owned Tancred Bros. It had certainly seen better days. Rob’s Grandfather and Great Uncle worked here after emigrating from Italy post the war. When Tancred Bros sold the meatworks the family moved to Dubbo. Later moving to Sydney, and establishing themselves with work and housing so the remaining family members could emigrate.
Onto Byrock in time for a drink at the Mulga Creek Hotel. What a champion little pub this place is, probably Matthews’ favorite spot.
We setup camp out the back for the night. This rustic yet very pleasant camping area, with the campfire roaring and a bush poet to keep them entertained. This was a really nice way to end yet another interesting day.
Mulga Creek Hotel – most noteworthy were the agricultural relics doting the camping area, a bit like a museum.
Next morning we headed off to the Byrock rock pools and Pioneer Cemetery. This rather a large area of exposed and weathered rock, with recent rain pooling in the holes felt like an oasis in the red sand. Most notable was the largest pool, it almost looked inviting. Walking around this wonderful oasis in the scrub, you’ll notice it isn’t well signposted. Which is a shame, as it really is a lovely find, and must have been very significant to the local indigenous people.
The Pioneer cemetery further on down the same road and through a couple gates was also extremely interesting. The tyranny of distance, and lack of medical assistance has always taken it’s toll on the young. Whilst reading the gravestones of all these children, I cannot help but wonder what happened to their mothers after the tragic loss of their newborn.
Quite a sad end to another beautiful morning. So many young children are buried in here, a testimony to the hard working women of the bush, chin up and get on.