Page 107: Autumn in punka and Bright.
  Autumn Colours  
     
   
     
   
     
   
  Would we like to live here? Too right!  
     
  The Rail Trail  
  Do you remember me touching on the Rail Trail on Page 104? It used to be a single track railway from Wangaratta to Bright. On closure the rails and sleepers were removed and bitumen laid along the whole ninety eight kilometre length. It was dedicated as a walking and cycling track and aptly named the Rail Trail. We think it's a wonderful idea and it's well patronised.

The trail runs quite close to the caravan park and we walked the six kilometres to Bright on one occasion. Once there, we enjoyed a nice sit down with a cup of coffee ready for the return trip. Unfortunately the one with the very short legs was so buggered that even the thought of another six kilometres was too much, so the one with the marginally longer legs set off alone to bring back the car. What a hero!
 
     
   
  A section of the Rail Trail where it enters Bright. I expect the trees lining the track were planted after the railway closed.  
     
   
  Left: Approaching the end of the trail you spot the first indication of a steam train terminus - an old water tower.
Right: Bright Station is now a museum. Some rolling stock sits on a few metres of track alongside the platform.
 
     
  I don't think I bored you with the origin of the name, Bright, did I? The town was named after an English politician and great orator, John Bright (1811-1889). John was a champion of the "working class". As far as I can ascertain, he never travelled to Australia.  
     
  Over the mountains to omeo.  
 

When we set off that morning our intention was only to visit the Mount Beauty Music Festival. On arrival we followed signs to the Festival Office where we perused (nice word) the programme. We only recognised one performer's name and, frankly, she was pretty ordinary. Then we looked at the price of tickets and found there were day tickets for $50 per person, or three-day festival tickets for $80. The venues were scattered around the town centre and there was no indication of what type of music was on offer. We decided that we'd prefer to keep the $100. Tamworth has definitely spoiled us!

For some weeks a visit to Omeo had been on our future agenda. Wherefore art thou, Omeo? Sorry. Apparently the trip over the mountains to Omeo is a 'must do' for this area. You either go via the Mount Hotham Ski Resort and return via the Falls Creek Ski Resort, or vice versa. At Mount Beauty we were already halfway to Falls Creek so we decided to carry on and visit Omeo, returning via Mount Hotham.

I took it gently on the twisting mountain road, accommodating any impatient driver behind us by pulling over when safe - but there was hardly any traffic. The road, as we'd found previously, was almost entirely cut out of steep mountainside resulting in a bank on the high side and a huge drop on the other. Falls Creek is pretty well on the summit and we had not previously been further, however we had been warned about the descent towards Omeo. It has only recently been sealed so most maps still depict it as gravel.

That road is only as dangerous as you wish to make it. If it ever came to it, I would have no qualms about towing our caravan to Omeo via Falls Creek as long as I could go at my own speed. The surface is good all the way. There are a million sharp bends and the road becomes narrow after Falls Creek, but taken sensibly it is safe.

Omeo is a small 'high plains' town in East Gippsland with a population approaching five hundred. We stopped there for coffee and cake and asked the two women in the bakery about the origin of the town's name. Neither knew. We walked across to the council offices and asked two women there the same question. Neither knew, but they did know who would know. The lady in the Gallery-cum-Newsagency was able to give us chapter and verse.

Omeo was settled around 1845 when gold was discovered, though stockmen had passed through the area since 1835. Local mountain Aborigines called their tribe the Omeo people - their word for mountains - and so their name was adopted for the developing town. The Aborigines of the Omeo tribe would gather every year for a corroboree (a bit of a rave), to swap wives, feast on bogong moths and generally have a good time. The lady in the shop claimed - with a twinkle in her eye - that though few of the tribe remain, the custom has been carried on by the townsfolk, the only difference being that they don't eat the moths.

Leaving Omeo, we found the road up Mount Hotham extremely good and we were able to maintain speeds of 80 - 100 km/hr all the way. In places it was safe to drive at 120 km/hr, but that would have been illegal. After the ski resort the road became much slower and very twisty as we descended. As before, we took our time. The road surface was good and the traffic almost non-existent.

 
     
  A point of interest regarding the relative height of mountains in the British Isles versus Australia.  
   
 

These relative heights really surprised me. For some reason I imagined Snowdon would be higher than Kosciuszko.
Thanks to Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopedia, for the statistics.

 
     
  Anzac day 2010 in Bright.  
   
  Taken the day following the dawn service and the march.  
     
 

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day in Australia is the equivalent to Remembrance Sunday in Britain. Initially it was to pay tribute to those who died facing the Turks at Gallipoli in 1915 but today it encompasses all Australian and New Zealand military personnel who have lost their lives in conflicts and peacekeeping operations all over the world.

Gallipoli is revered in a similar way that Dunkirk is in Britain and you sometimes have to remind yourself that both were defeats.

In recent years attendances at Anzac Day services and parades have increased and the younger generation are taking a greater interest. Although so many on both sides died at Gallipoli, the Australians and the Turks share a great respect for each other.

And, after death comes new life . . .

 
     
  Welcome to the world, ellie.  
 

Three days ago, at 16:03 on 27th April 2010, young Ellie Wears was born. She weighed in at 7lb 3oz and she is beautiful; her mum, Jade, says so and we do too. The birth, it seems, was a piece of cake.

Three hours after her birth, Ellie and Jade left the hospital and went home. She doesn't mess about, this girl Ellie. She has a whole life to live and she wasn't going to waste any of it hanging around a hospital.

The picture shows Ellie trying on her boxing gloves and practising her "Don't mess with me" look.

Just by popping into the world, Ellie accomplished two things; she increased the Pommy population by one and she made Pam and I great grandparents. On ya, Ellie. Go girl.

Of course, all the family think Ellie's great, but she's more than just great, she's a great great grandaughter to my dear old mum.

 
     
  Pretty Polly.  
   
  This fine specimen - one of a pair - is a Crimson Rosella. They were having a great old time hacking the
tree to pieces and littering the ground with the debris. They are common around Bright and Punka.