Last weekend D and I went to Gulgong. This is an 1870s gold-rush town about 30km north-west of Mudgee, once known for being on the Australian $10 note (the note has since been issued on polymer), and the home town of Henry Lawson. It is almost 10 years since we went to Carcoar, which was a milestone in our relationship. I don’t think we have driven past Katoomba or possibly even past Penrith since then.
We went there because a friend of mine bought a house there in Feb. He plans to retire there. In the meantime he goes up practically every Friday morning and returns on Saturday afternoon.
There was a full (or was it just waning?) moon, so the stars were not as numerous as they might have been otherwise, but still very impressive.
On Friday, we drove to see “The Drip”, on the Goulburn River north of Ulan. It is a 1.5km walk from the road, which we made in the last hour of daylight. Definitely a spot worth revisiting. A solitary grey water bird kept being disturbed by us, but never actually left.
On Saturday, we drove south to Hill End. Typically, we again managed this trip at the last possible hour. I was last at Hill End in about 1972, when (as my younger sister subsequently reminded me) there was some drama because our mother left her wallet (or, I guess, purse) on the roof of the Holden before driving back. We found it! I still recognized the avenue of trees leading up the road from the hotel. Driving back towards Mudgee, we had a narrow but not particularly frightening close shave with a road-crossing kangaroo. Fortunately, we were bowling along at a modest pace.
On Sunday, we drove back through Glen Davis – a spot I have so often heard of but never visited. I once lived with someone (in the de facto sense) who used to camp there in her childhood, and have often seen the newsreel footage of the old town. There doesn’t seem to be much to see there now, though the proprietor of the former Glen Davis hotel spotted us snooping around and then showed us around a bit. His wife had gone to Capertee to buy some cigarettes. I suspect his prime motive was to cadge a couple off us in the meantime. I didn’t begrudge him them.
The drive home was prolonged by being required (there was a flashing sign above the Great Western Highway at Lithgow) to take the Bell’s Line of Road, as the GWH was closed owing to a fatal accident at Linden. The last 15 km into North Richmond were bumper-to-bumper as the entire Sunday-night eastward traffic over the mountains had to queue to get through the first traffic light. Fortunately, we were able to beguile ourselves with the broadcast from the Met of Turandot for the final stint to home. I used to despise this opera as orientalist, in the bad, Edward Said sense, but I have now adopted a revisionist (or is that a re-revisionist?) position.