Still in Cooma.
The sculpture at Nanny Goat Hill Lookout, Cooma.
This is a close-up of the concrete on the lookout on Nanny Goat Hill taken as I fell over the top step and
tried to save the camera by landing on one elbow. It's one of three the camera took, all much the same.
Marginally more interesting, a view of part of Cooma from the lookout.
The Cooma Correctional Centre.
The Cooma gaol is just a few metres up Vale Street from Woolworths - handy if they run out of anything. The prison has had a chequered history: After first opening as a medium and minimum security gaol in 1873, it was downgraded to a Police Gaol three years later. After a year as a Police Gaol it became a Lunatic Asylum. It was then closed for a while in the early 1900s until it reopened in 1957 and closed again in 1998, only to reopen again in 2001. During the periods it was closed, the prison served as storage space for the Army and the Snowy Mountain Hyrdo-electric Scheme.
Next to Cooma Gaol is the NSW Correctional Services Gaol Museum and that is as close as we could get to the gaol itself. However, our museum guide was a trusty prisoner from the gaol and he explained the displayed exhibits very professionally as well as adding colour (albeit 'prison green') to the experience. He told us he was due for release in five weeks and there was no way he would jeopardise that, even though he could walk out of the museum at any time. I don't know what he was in for, we thought it rude to ask despite itching to know. One thing he told us, as we looked at a photo of a ferocious Alsatian guard dog, was that dogs are supposed to be colour blind, yet in a melee these Alsatians are trained to attack men in prison green while leaving alone those in the blue guard uniforms. He also said that the dogs are unaffected by the gas used to subdue rioting prisoners. We recently heard elsewhere that dogs are unaffected by funnel web spider bites. So ... make of all that what you will.
The notice shown (above right) was displayed at the entrance to the museum. Curious, I asked our guide the question. It is to prevent visitors carrying drugs or other contraband into the museum and passing them to trusty inmates. Presumably, had they been to the prison first they would have been thoroughly searched. But what is to stop them visiting the prison and on leaving, collecting drugs from their car and then visiting the museum?
Some Pictures from Cooma and Jindabyne
Sir Paul Strzelecki pointing, I think, towards Mount Kosciuszko which he named after climbing it.
Inset is the plaque from the other side of the plinth - I photographed the back because the statue
is black and the sun was behind it. Anyway, the face is covered in bird poo.
As I think I mentioned in earlier pages, Sir Paul named Mount Kosciuszko after he'd climbed it, under the impression that it was Australia's highest mainland mountain. It is now believed he actually climbed the mountain we now call Mount Townsend. It looks higher as it is craggy whereas Kosciuszko is more rounded and gentle. There isn't a lot of difference, height-wise, just 19 metres. However, the error did cause embarassment when it was discovered so the N.S.W. Lands Department quietly switched the names of the mountains. So now Kosciuszko really is the highest mountain in Australia but
not Australia's highest mountain. Ugh?
Australia's highest mountain is Mount McClintock in the Britannia Range in Australian Antarctic Territory which is half as high again as Kosciuszko. But Australian Antarctic Territory boasts an even higher point than Mount McClintock. Ice domes in the western sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory have elevations in excess of 4000 metres although these are generally not considered mountains. However, the definition is frequently debated.
What's significant about this photograph? The camera shutter speed is identical in both the photo
of the beetle and the Lockheed Orion aircraft (inset). At 1/3200 of a second the aircraft's propellers
are frozen but not the wings of the beetle which was observed at a lookout platform in Cooma.
In Cooma we saw this diorama commemorating the bravery of Corporal Ernest Corey
who was awarded the Military Medal four times during World War 1.
Pam has more of the story in her Journal under the date, Sunday 25th January 2015. To read Wikipedia on the subject, click HERE.
Leaving Cooma we continued south to Cann River where we intended to stay four days ... but left after two. No drama, just nothing to keep us longer.
We spent the spare two days in Orbost on the lower Snowy River. It was good to see the river flowing strongly even though we were aware it was the result of good winters snows in the mountains and Jindabyne's inability to retain all the melt-water. It was in Orbost that we were caught twice by torrential downpours after the Tour Director decided we needed fresh air and exercise. Well, that put a stop to any more of her mad ideas.
Our next stop was for three days at Lakes Entrance where we met up with Hans and Lorraine Schulte whom we know from Emu Park in Queensland. They were extremely kind and drove us all around the area to see the sights.
The nicest place we visited was Tamberrah Cottages, 25km from Lakes Entrance and a little less from Bairnsdale.
This three-acre complex was built almost single-handedly by Robbie Fraser, the owner. It has a trout lake, a water wheel, a windmill, many cottages, a restaurant and a café. Check out Tamberrah Cottages
for more details.
Two more views of the grounds. Hans, you can't catch trout with a canon!
Traralgon and the Park Lane Holiday Park.
We found the Park Lane Holiday Park among the best at which we have had the pleasure of staying. And, I suppose, after ten years of living in parks Australia-wide, we should know. The park has many cabins, all painted in bright colours. They were arranged in groups of six; the colours of the groups were in the frequency order found in the colour spectrum of visible light. Was this sheer chance or was it intentional? Naturally I asked but the receptionist couldn't help. (Later: Still being curious I emailed the manager who replied: The colours "were indeed chosen with the colour spectrum in mind
".) So now we know.
Coincidence or design?
We stayed a week in Traralgon in order to spend time with our very good friend, Roger Klose. We became firm friends with Rog in Emu Park, Queensland, where we both 'winter'. Rog showed us a great deal of the Latrobe Valley which included Hazelwood Power Station, Loy Yang Power Stations A & B, and Yallourn Power Station. Although these power stations and adjacent open cut coal mines are enormous, there is so much agricultural land that this scattering of power stations is quite insignificant.
Hazelwood Power Station; big and ugly close up but no filthy black smoke billowing from the stacks.
And it's not on anyone's immediate doorstep.
Centre: I think this is one or both of the Loy Yang Power Stations. The white discharge from the cooling towers is not pollution, as the media would frequently have us believe, it is harmless steam. From afar the power stations don't look so oppressive. The Latrobe Valley provides 85% of Victoria's power and supplies some to NSW and Tasmania.
One advantage of having the power station adjacent to the coal mine is that it eliminates convoys of trucks or trains bringing in the raw materials for the plant; it comes from next door on a conveyor belt. The finished product doesn't require surface transport either, it crosses the countryside from pylon to pylon on high voltage cables, invisible and silent. And yes, those pylons are an eyesore, but so far there isn't an alternative.
Now you're asking how I came by the aerial photos. Friend Roger has a son who has a friend who owns a Jabiru J-160 ...
The Jabiru J-160 is a pretty little aeroplane made in Bundaburg, Queensland.
Both Tour Directors. She makes you look tall, Rog.
One day Roger took us to a little town called Walhalla. In the day the town had serviced one or more gold mines which are now closed. When operational, the mine owners had built a railway along the floor of Stringer's Gorge. After the closure of the Walhalla Mine in 1944, the track had been lifted and the bush had reclaimed the rail bed. Half a century later, along came some rail enthusiasts and restored a section of track between Walhalla and Thomson. In 2002 the Walhalla Goldfields Railway began operating as a tourist attraction.
Please note: References to 'Thomson' here refer to the railway station at the confluence of Stringer's Creek and the Thomson River, not
the suburb of Geelong.
The little diesel loco which pulled the two coaches to Thomson and back.
Driver's view, left to the engine shed, ahead to Thomson.
The track winds and twists along the bottom of the gorge, criss-crossing Stringer's Creek on trestle bridges that look alarmingly rickety, and on precarious ledges above the creek.
Not for the faint-hearted, the beauty of the gorge made everything worthwhile.
The gorge walls are so steep that buildable land for the town at the bottom was extremely scarce thus the cemetry was built into the gorge wall, the dear departed being buried in close to a standing position!
The permanent population of Walhalla today numbers about twenty. We heard the railway staff at Thomson Station say that the population of Thomson was one!
This warning sign was hanging on the wall in Walhalla Station. Our driver took it very seriously.
All the railway staff were very friendly and seemed to be enjoying the day as much as we were. The trip to Thomson took just twenty minutes and the return trip the same. A further twenty minutes was spent shunting the engine at Thomson so it was on the front of the train for the return journey.
This experience cost us $15 each for concession tickets and it was worth every cent.
Ho-hum, what have I forgotten? This getting old has its ups and its downs. Forgetfulness is definitely a down ... although it can be used to get out of trouble when the truth is I wasn't listening in the first place. Well, if I've overlooked something I can always rectify it later. Let's go to Dandenong on the next page.