Page 103: In and around albury-Wodonga
|A most bizarre pub!|
|Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ettamogah Pub. Check out the truck on the roof.|
|This place is as bizarre inside as it is out, but let's start with the outside. The crashed aeroplane to the left of the pub had a sign on it . . .|
|No comment needed.|
|There doesn't seem to be one vertical line on this building. The sign outside the front door is permanent.|
|On entering the pub, the public bar is absolutely covered in all sorts of notices. What caught my attention first was . . .|
|. . . the sign inviting patrons to go upstairs to view the carpark . . . and the legs hanging from the ceiling.|
|This licensee doesn't want anyone in any doubt as to what is behind each door. I wonder if he knows the word "toilet"?|
There was so much more, but I'm sure you get the idea from these pictures.
A note on the 'crashed' plane. The registration "-EXM" was visible on the wing. Presumably VH-EXM. I can't find anything on the net. That registration was last issued to a Cessna Citation. Can anyone help with the previous history of this aircraft?
|Leaving the sister cities we moved deeper into Victoria.
This time Alice behaved like a lady but, while entering the co-ordinates
of our destination caravan park, I put in a six where there should have
been a two. Fortunately alarm bells rang soon after we'd set off. We hadn't
yet gone out of our way so I was able to make the correction without inconvenience.
Wangaratta, meaning "meeting of waters", is a country city situated on the confluence of the King River and Ovens River. For those living in the U.K. I should emphasise that the Australian definition of a "city" is very different to yours. There is no requirement for a cathedral and even a large suburb can be a city. It depends on population amongst other factors. The population of Wangaratta is 17,000.
The Ovens River rises near Mount Hotham and travels two hundred kilometres north west until it meets the Murray River. On the way it absorbs the waters of the King River, right here in Wangaratta.
The Painters Island Caravan Park we liked from the outset. As the name suggests, it is located on an island where the Ovens divides for a while. We are only a few minutes walk from the town centre but separated from it by one branch of the river spanned by a road bridge and a convenient foot bridge.
|Disaster! Disaster! Disaster!|
One evening a full glass of red wine tipped into the keyboard
of our much-loved Compaq Presario V4000 (Windows XP) laptop computer.
An act of God, naturally. We then made the common mistake of dashing around
like headless chooks grabbing tissues, towels and a sponge to mop up the
Well, it was deep depression the next day until we realised that our caravan insurance covered us for such an event. Pam was very good, she didn't once sound off as I would have had the glass been in the other hand. We spoke to the insurers and they said to take the 'pooter to a repairer for a quote. In Wangaratta that meant one of two businesses. The first was very helpful but directed us to the second. The second looked at it and assessed that the wine had ruined the keyboard and probably much more, making our faithful Compaq a write-off.
Having (later) removed the keyboard I believe the wine was contained
in the keyboard, so now I'm looking for an old Compaq Presario V4000 in
any condition as long as the keyboard works. Anybody help?
But let's pause for a chuckle in this tale of gloom . We photographed the sign below in the entrance to a Wangaratta pub.
|I swear I haven't 'modified' it. This is exactly as we saw it.|
|The insurance company was very good and approved the purchase of a new computer as soon as they received the repairer's faxed report. We didn't even have to fill in a claim form. So, having been comfortable with Windows XP, we're now struggling to come to terms with Windows 7 which isn't compatible with some of our software. But we're getting there.|
|I wonder why church attendances are so low?|
|Not far from Wang is the small village of Glenrowan. It was there that the famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, was finally captured in June 1880 prior to being hanged in Melbourne just five months later. This fact gives Glenrowan all the excuse it needs to beat the Ned Kelly story to death, squeezing every last cent from it. Well, why not? We went along with it, they have to earn a living somehow. They certainly wouldn't have tourists returning for another cup of their coffee, that's for certain!|
|Giant Ned Kelly stands guard at the corner of Kate Street. (Kate was Ned's younger sister.)|
|Ned and his gang were cornered by the police in a pub near
the railway station. Ned was wearing his heavy, cumbersome armour which
prevented him riding his horse and severely restricted his vision. He could
have escaped but he went back to help his brother and another gang member.
It was dark and misty when Ned walked out of the pub and taunted the freezing police who were hiding behind logs and trees. His body, head and thighs were protected from bullets by his armour. However, his arms and legs were vulnerable and he took a bullet in one arm and another in one leg. The police then pounced on him. The two remaining outlaws were driven from the pub when police set fire to the building, burning it to the ground.
Later the same day we visited some beauty spots including the highly recommended Paradise Falls. To get to the Falls we had to drive forever along a narrow, dirt road, and on arrival found 75,000 steps that we had to climb down. (Allow for exaggeration.)
|At the bottom of the steps was one totally dry waterfall. Not even a puddle.|
|Guess what we had to do then?|
|One fine day we ventured forth to a lovely little town called
Bright further up the Ovens River. The name came from a Britsh orator and
politician called John Bright (1811 - 1889). Mr. Bright never visited Australia
so I'm not sure why this little town was named after him but if I find out
I'll be sure to let you know. I do know that he was a staunch supporter
of the working class.
Having seen Bright and assessed its value as a hub for visiting the Victorian Alps Region, we decided to move there when we leave Wangaratta. Thus there will be plenty more about Bright in the future. For now I'll leave you with a picture of the Ovens River as it flows over a small weir in the town.
|The Ovens River in Bright. John Ovens was the Private
Secretary to Sir Thomas Brisbane,
Governor of New South Wales, in the 1820s.
|The Milawa Muster|
Quite close to Wangaratta is a little hamlet called Milawa.
It claims to be a 'gourmet centre' where various produce is made and sold.
It sounded inviting so off we went, first visiting the Milawa Cheese Factory
where we tasted a few cheeses made from goats milk and others from cows
milk. All very nice but could we see the cheese being made, please? Sorry,
no. Okay, we'll have a coffee in the little café and move on. But
to where? The total population of Milawa reaches 250 when they're all
at home. There was little else but wineries and when you've visited a
hundred wineries you've pretty well seen all there is to see. Besides,
cellar door wines can be bought cheaper at the big bottle shops courtesy
of Woolworths and Coles who buy so much they are able to dictate terms
|The Milawa Muster: About eight old cars, a bouncy
castle, a semi trailer rigged up as a stage with sound
equipment, some lovely old small engines and a pretty two-year-old llama. The rest was stalls
selling home made jams, crafts, etc. But where were all the people?
|Left: The young llama. Right: Wooden models powered by air from a little compressor driven by a small engine.|
|This little village had made a commendable effort with their first muster but were sadly let down by the public. After all, if the Mayor of Wangaratta could make the effort and Pam and I could make the effort, where was everybody else? Even the local businesses - the Cheese Factory and the wineries, etc. were conspicuous by their absence.|
The locals frequently just refer to their town as Wang.
We really liked both it and the Painters Island Caravan Park. We'd go
there again without hesitation. Unfortunately our time there was overshadowed
by our computer problems.
Okay, having settled that let's start a new page.