Page 108: Bright Festival. still no snow.
|The Bright Festival Gala Day was great fun for everyone, and the weather was perfect for it. The morning started with breakfast in our favourite café and then a walk around the hundreds of market stalls which lined the closed streets of the town centre. There was a predominance of crafts and novelty items and many food stalls. Yawn. Mostly pink stuff. However, there were bands scattered throughout and one or two smaller, busker-type groups.|
|Pam has put her two pennyworth in first in "Pam's Perspective" so there's no point in me duplicating what she's written. I'll just include some pictures.|
|What a disastrous location to take photos! The foreground
in strong shade and the background in strong sunlight.
I had several goes at improving the image and gave up. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Band of the Royal Australian Air Force.
|Some of the costumes were extraordinary. The wings of these beautiful butterflies opened and closed as the breeze caught them.|
|Several schools picked the "Cats in Hats" theme.|
|Bright's climate rotates through extremes of temperature each year so the town is prepared for fire in summer . . .|
|. . . and snow in winter.|
|Heavy snow clearing equipment and even huskies were on display in the Gala Parade.|
|What exactly is 'Milk' these days?|
you ever yearn for the days when milk was something that dripped from
underneath cows? (You just gave away your age.) Do you get confused when
you shop for milk in the supermarket? Less fat, more calcium, Omega-3,
lactose free, vitamin D, where does it end? And the more goodness they
extract in the process of making 'lite', 'skim', 'slim', 'low fat' or
whatever, the more expensive it seems to become. By that time it's little
more than white water anyway - and tastes like it.
|Snow? What snow?|
Friday'll be the day, they told us. Go up Mount Hotham
on Friday if you want to see snow. So we did. Not one single flake did
we spy, not one! Amateur weather forecasters!
|Sixty Miles of Bad road to Dargo.|
|Not far from Dinner Plain is Dargo which had a population
of 144 in the 2006 census. To reach there by road we had to backtrack about
twenty kilometres and then turn off the Great Alpine Road onto an unsealed
track which is rated a dry-weather only road for two wheel drives vehicles,
all weather for four wheel drive vehicles. Dargo wasn't really down sixty
miles of bad road, it was sixty kilometres. And that was quite
I do wish someone would replace that four syllable word, kilometre, with something nice and short like mile, don't you? You can ask what mileage a car has done, but kilometreage is just too much. Miles per gallon [M.P.G.] was so simple too, but now we have litres per 100 kilometres which just isn't as easy. You always wanted more M.P.G. but you now want less litres per 100 kilometres.
But back to Dargo. The little town isn't very large. Like so many of these places it began when gold was discovered in the mid 1800s and crowds of get-rich-quick hopefuls flooded in. Very few ever did get rich but there was always the dream - a bit like doing the lottery but a lot more laborious. Dargo grew in size until it boasted a population of around two thousand. It had three hotels in those days but no police. Today there is only one pub - and probably still no police - but it's a very attractive and secluded place straddling the clear, tumbling Dargo River.
|The Dargo Hotel, established 1898. The previous
pub on this site was called the Bridge
as a bridge carries a side road over the Dargo River next to the pub.
|Apart from gold mining, a family by the name of Treasure ran cattle up on the Dargo High Plains way back when. They still do, I believe. The head of the family was a gold miner through and through. He and his sons mined the area for many years and for scant reward. His wife was far more sensible; she ran cattle and opened a business catering for the miners' needs, and she made far more money than her husband and sons.|
|Just across from the pub, Dargo Store. On the wall
outside the door was a sign announcing that the store is a
Hound Recovery Depot. Do they rescue dogs from the pound? Do they make sick dogs better? I wish we'd asked.
|What amazed me was that we'd driven there from Hotham (6,000
feet altitude) and it felt like we were still in the mountains but our GPS
indicated that Dargo was at 700 feet above sea level. The barman in the
pub confirmed it.
Anyway, we has sixty kilometres of rough road to negotiate before we hit the bitumen of the Great Alpine Road and that was followed by a hundred steep, hairpin bends before we hit Harriotville and 'civilisation'.
Stopping off in Bright I washed off the car in one of those car washes where you use a high pressure water gun and do it yourself. It was dark by then and it wasn't until we reached home that I discovered that, though the car was gleaming, a good portion of the mud we'd picked up had splashed back all over me. But them's the breaks.