From Narrandera to Condoblin is 240 km. Here we will stay with some friends of Robin. Just out of Narrandera I stopped to take a ‘non-50km’ photograph. Take particular note of the dryness of the land. This is the same, same old dry country we have passed so far and it is hot and the cattle are looking reasonably well but a bit warm.
Just a minute or two after that I insisted that we stop again, for another shot. This part of Australia is typical of the type of country that has always produced sheep. Wool was for many years a staple component of Australia’s economy. Sheep are much more forgiving of harsh conditions than cattle.
Wheat also, has, and is, a major product.
This was at the 550 km mark from Melbourne.
An old house with a typical surrounding verandah. The advent of air-conditioners has meant that many old styles have passed into history, although there is nothing quite as pleasant as a veranda.
We have just passed West Wyalong. and before we get to Condoblin 100 km up the road I want to tell you a story that I heard when I was a young bloke just left school and working for a lawyer. It is the name West Wyalong that has prompted my addled brain to recall.
I had to take some documents up to The Department of Crown Lands and Survey. The documents I was to lodge were for a housing development on what was previously a market garden of some considerable acreage. The bloke at the Department was explaining to me how important it was that street names were correct and any new names were appropriate for any number of reasons.
“Do you ever make mistakes?” I asked.
“Yes. One really interesting mistake was made many years ago. Have you ever drunk Great Western Champagne? It comes from a small town in the Western District of Victoria just the other side of Ballarat. Great Western was founded by a group of German immigrants who came to Australia especially to start a vineyard. After a few years they wanted to have their little settlement established as a proper town.
“At a meeting they decided to name their town after the ship that brought them to Australia from Germany.”
SS Great Eastern was an iron sailing steamship built by J. Scott Russell & Co. at Millwall Iron Works on the River Thames, London. She was by far the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch, and had the capacity to carry 4,000 passengers from England to Australia without refuelling.
“They wanted to name their settlement Great Eastern. But when the documents arrived in Melbourne some arrogant clerk scoffed at the ignorance of the people in the little village and said that it was in the West of the state and not the East. ‘How dumb can some people be.’
“So he crossed out the word Eastern and inserted the word Western.”
So next time you buy yourself a bottle of Great Western Champers just think about the arrogance of some petty bureaucrats.
But let us leave West Wyalong and head north. Quite suddenly there were patches of green and water lying on the verge.
A narrow band of rain had fallen about two weeks earlier and there was a dramatic improvement all around. It wasn’t to last for long but we can see how responsive the land can be if the conditions are good.
750 km from Melbourne we cross the Lachlan River into Condoblin. Dinner, a shower and great meal with a nice little glass of wine.
I’ll see you later tomorrow.