Page 101: Life after Tamworth
|Alice Strikes Again.|
|We set off one Sunday morning planning to overnight in Bathurst
en route for Wagga Wagga. All went well until Alice (our, G.P.S., remember?)
took us along a minor road which should have taken us directly from a little
place called Willow Tree to Merriwa, a distance of seventy seven kilometres.
The alternative route was via Muswellbrook and Denman, a distance of one
hundred and sixty kilometres. Over twice as far but all on main highways.
Alice's heart was in the right place but her map didn't warn her that the shortcut included forty kilometres of gravel road with two water crossings. And she wasn't to know we were dragging two and a half tonnes of Jayco caravan behind us. My previous navigator - the one who falls asleep and gets mad when I swear at her - was delighted. She knew this would happen sooner or later and was reinstated as Primary Navigator for the duration of the journey.
We stopped and had a conference when we hit the gravel. An oncoming motorist also stopped and warned us of the distance involved and the water crossings. We decided to retrace our route to the main highway and go the longer way, adding about a hundred and forty five kilometres to our planned route and setting us back a couple of hours. Then it started to rain. Hard.
It soon became clear that making Bathurst during daylight was out of the question, so when we came across a pretty little rest area with lots of trees and a toilet, we pulled over, set up camp and opened a bottle.
Next morning we set off again, the weather slightly more clement at first, but returning to heavy showers as the day wore on. Apart from a stop at a McDonald's restaurant we drove for about ten hours which brought us to Wagga Wagga at six thirty.
For the benefit of those who don't live in the paradise that is Australia, Wagga Wagga is pronounced Wogga Wogga. The name originates from the Wiradjuri Aborigine tribe and means "place of many crows". It is commonly abbreviated to Wagga.
The town straddles the Murrumbidgee River which originates on the south-west slopes of the Great Dividing Range about sixty kilometres north-west of Canberra. From there it flows mainly west for about 2,170 kilometres until it becomes a tributary of the Murray River near the little town of Boundary Bend - only two hundred kilometres from the South Australian state border.
|First Impressions of wagga wagga.|
|We were surprised. Wagga's commercial district is much larger
than Tamworth's - even taking the greater population into account. The number
and variety of shops was impressive. It had that 'big city' atmosphere about
it, whereas Tamworth is more relaxed and friendly. Many people were dressed
for business; we'd forgotten what is is like to see men wearing suits and
There are several lagoons in and around the town - deep, water-filled channels left from a time when the Murrumbidgee River changed its course. These have been made into attractions and near the Victory Memorial Gardens, the water from the Wollundry Lagoon is used for fountains and irrigating the lawns and gardens.
|This unhappy gentleman was sitting in a water garden
near the Wagga Civic Centre. He needs a good meal.
There was no plaque near him and he was very easy to miss altogether.
|Across the road was a bronze sculpture of this strange
sheila reading a newspaper.
The significance if this wasn't explained, either.
|Originally donated to Wagga Wagga Hospital by one Frederick Chisholm in 1885, this beautiful ornate fountain has been moved several times over the years. In 2005 it was finally placed in its present location in the Victory Memorial Gardens. Note the aeroplane propeller on the far left of the picture. It stands as a 50 year memorial to R.A.A.F Forest Hill.|
|Also in the Victory Memorial Gardens was this very
tall palm (left). It was densely covered by a creeper (right).
Some of the leaves were variegated, some not, and it appeared to be about to bloom, many yellow buds developing.
What a sight that will make. Thank you to our good friend and fellow nomad, Eileen Walton, for confirming the plant growing up the palm is ivy.
|I expect the more observant will have noticed that the pool under the Chisholm Fountain (above left) has a distinct slope to the left. Why the water doesn't spill out is something of a miracle, similar to the miracle that makes statues of the Virgin weep tears. A second, less credible explanation, is that I forgot to straighten the picture before posting it on this page.|
|A Memorable day trip to the temora aviation museum.|
|The great difference between Temora and other aviation museums
is that all the Temora aircraft are not only in pristine condition, they
are in flying condition. We were escorted around the museum by
a guide called Bob who was a real character and made our tour most entertaining.
Bob first took us through the main hangar and gave us a run-down on each aircraft but as the light was poor I took no pictures. There are aircraft flying at Temora which can no longer be seen anywhere else in the world. There are only two Spitfires still flying in Australia - both at Temora. Canberra bombers are ten-a-penny as ground displays; Temora has the only flying Canberra in Australia.
|Temora's Canberra bomber in flight.
Coyright: Temora Aviation Museum.
|It was an enthralling tour for me and - surprise, surprise - Bob made it so entertaining that even Pam found it interesting. Bob referred to her as "Mum" and insisted she move away before he told me a risqué story about the woman who invented a device which prevented the Merlin engine on early Spitfires from cutting out during inverted flight.|
|A view over the immaculate Temora maintenance hangar
with work proceeding on the
de Havilland Goblin 35B jet engine in the T35 Vampire.
|A close up of an early gas turbine engine, the de
Havilland Goblin. Remember . . . the very first British jet aircraft, the
Gloster Whittle, made its maiden flight on 15th May, 1941. On March 5 1943
the first Gloster Meteor flew, followed by
the Vampire later that year. Examples of a Meteor and a Vampire still fly today at Temora. Okay, back to work, lads.
|Who invented the jet engine?|
The jet engine does away with all the reciprocating pistons
and valves found in conventional internal combustion engines. Intake air
is compressed in the first stage, injected with fuel and burned in the
second stage and expelled as exhaust through the jet pipe after driving
a turbine in the third stage. The turbine in the third stage turns the
compressor in the first stage. The thrust from the exhaust pushes the
aircraft forward. That's basically it. Just add whistles and bells to
make it more powerful.
The first documented air combat involving a jet powered aircraft took
place on 25 July 1944 when a Messerschmitt Me-262 twin jet fighter attacked
a de Havilland Mosquito. The Mosquito escaped.
The Me-262 and the Meteor never met in combat.
|The Story of One of temora's spitfires|
|The gleaming Spitfire at the back of the Maintenance Hangar in the picture above was one of the last of over 20,000 to be built. It was test flown in England then shipped to Australia. With WW II coming to an end, the Spitfire was put into storage. After the war ended the aircraft was allocated to Sydney Technical College as an "instructional airframe" until purchased by a Sid Marshall who stored it, disassembled. In 1982 Mr Colin Pay of Scone, NSW, bought it and restored it to flying condition and in 1985 the aircraft flew again. In May 2000, founder of the Temora Aviation Museum, David Lowy, purchased it and donated it to the museum. For David it must have been like finding a Model-T Ford, with almost no miles on the clock and in pristine condition . . . only a thousand times better.|
|David Lowy - the founder, driving force and finance behind the temora aviation museum.|
|A note on my pictures.|
|Kind readers sometimes praise my photographs. My Canon digital
SLR camera can only record what it's lens sees. Frequently it's the later
processing on the computer that makes an 'ordinary' photograph into a nice
picture. The best-known software for this purpose is Photoshop
but I use Paint Shop Pro 9. Much of the credit for my pictures
goes to Paint Shop.
Often a composition can be spoiled by immovable objects - perhaps electricity cables strung across the sky. The final picture may benefit from their 'removal'. The photograph is no longer a true record of what the camera saw but the picture is the better for it.
Shown below is an actual example. While at the Temora Aviation Museum I took a photograph of one of their photographs. The original picture was a beautiful shot of four of Temora's historical aircraft in formation flight. However, the photo was behind glass and I had to stand to one side to minimise reflections. This caused distortion of my picture. Straight from the camera it looked like this:
|The first stage was to remove the side perspective. That left the image looking like this:|
|The slight barrel distortion was not a problem, cropping would remove that. The image also needed resizing to fit the frame:|
|Nearly there. Those remaining ceiling lamp reflections at the top of the picture must go, as must one or two other aberrations. The final stage was fine tuning - smoothing a little, adjusting the colour, lightness, contrast and finally sharpening the focus. The result is shown below.|
|Temora aircraft in close formation. What a fabulous
sight. Front to back: Spitfire, Vampire, Meteor, Canberra.
Copyright: Temora Aviation Museum.