Goulburn for Christmas ~ December 2014

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian
any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Monday 1st December 2014

We said our goodbyes to Leigh and Suzanne, it was really lovely to see them and we enjoyed their company greatly. I then retreated to my bed and stayed there for most of the day, reading and knitting. I was not feeling the best after last night. All self inflicted so no sympathy required.

Tuesday 2nd December 2014

There isn’t much to say about today except I did not venture far from my bed. I have now decided (whatever anyone else says) that I must have tummy bug as no hang over can last this long.

Wednesday 3rd December 2014

Feeling somewhat better today but once again did not venture far from my bed.

Thursday 4th December 2014

Thank goodness I am all better now as we had to celebrate our tenth Grey Nomad Anniversary. We drove out to Taralga for a look around and some lunch. The town is a lovely little place with some old interesting buildings.

First we drove out to Stonequarry Cemetery. The notice on the gate made one of us hesitant to leave the car and the other one gave a downright refusal. The sign was warning us of funnel web spiders. As Tour Director I was willing to give it a go but Pete Mate described how these vicious things would get me. So as we were both wearing sandals we put it on the pending list and drove back into town. We had a look at some of the old buildings described in the leaflet and then found Christ the King Parish Church. It was an unusual building outside and magnificent inside. We spent a little time in there and I lit a candle for some people I am praying for.

We took a stroll up and down the main street before arriving at the hotel for lunch. I know Pete Mate has put a photo of us on the main page but you cannot really see the size of the meal. It was enormous. It was far too much for one person. If we go back there it will be half serves all round. The food was yummy and it was a hardship to leave it.

I had mapped out the return journey which include some unsealed road. What I was totally unprepared for was the shear drops on my side of the car and the water we had to cross. It resembled a goat track in parts but I have to say we have travelled on worse which call themselves highways! It was a delightful drive in that the scenery was outstanding, just beautiful. We did a small diversion to Big Hill Church, because it intrigued us. We discovered the area was called Big Hill and yes there was a small church that still held services every third Sunday. The cemetery alongside the church was interesting as I found three graves and the occupants all died in the December of 1883. I Googled it later and found out there was a cholera epidemic in this area.

Once home we cracked open a bottle of red and toasted ourselves and wished for another ten glorious years of travelling.

Friday 5th December 2014

Today was taken up with shopping and some other things we had to do in town. I was not impressed with the lady in the Post Office, I found her rude and unhelpful which is a shame because in general we have found Goulburn people really nice. We went for coffee at a bakery that has a very good name. We wanted to check it for later in the month when we have more visitors. Pete Mate spent ages in the Mitsubishi place sorting out some work that Billy needs. And I mean ages - I did two crosswords while I waited.

We found some remarkably cheap diesel and could not drive past so we filled Billy's tanks and hoped when we need more the price will be as good. We finished off with the supermarket shop, oh what joy. When that was done we headed home.

Once home I made a really good decision and brought the washing in straight away because before long a storm blew in and we had the daily occurrence of thunder, lightening and torrential rain. I am not joking, it has happened every day for over a week.

Before the storm arrived Pete Mate was summoned by Peter the manager to try and help out a couple of women that had an expander caravan. I am not sure what the problem was but between Pete Mate, Peter the manager and John, a permanent, they couldn’t fix it. I think the ladies were mother and daughter and the daughter had two babies with her. Additionally there was an intellectually handicapped man with them. As the storm broke, Karen (manager and wife of Peter) found them a cabin for the night and only charged them the price of the powered site. This is why we love this place it is run by wonderful people. These wonderful people had once more invited us to their home for happy hour. We drank, ate, chatted, laughed and overall had a really good time. Plus they gave us another idea for a day out.

Saturday 6th December 2014

We had more storms today and the rain lasted most of the day. So we remained tucked up warm and dry in the caravan playing computers, reading and knitting. Before the storm arrived Pete Mate once again helped the two women with the damaged caravan, this time to hook up as they had decided to head home. We felt very sorry for them and hoped the person who sold it to them has a conscious and feels somewhat guilty.

Sunday 7th December 2014

We awoke to a heavy mist but it still didn't put me off doing my walk. It didn't take long for the sun to do its job and disperse the mist leaving us with a beautiful sunny day. We attended our very first Steampunk and Victoriana Fair. Don’t worry, we hadn’t ever heard of it before either. It was held at the Waterworks Museum and they were running the steam engines as well. The first thing we noticed when we arrived was many people were dressed in either Victorian costumes or unusual ones.

Many people were in Victorian attire and very smart.
The unusual ones were the Steampunk people who seem to like everything steam from the same era. The Victorian style dancing was taking place when we arrived. It was a joy to watch, so elegant and the ladies so genteel.

The scene before us as we walked from the car.
More Dancers
I love this picture.
After the dancing there was a fashion parade, anyone in costume could enter. They paraded around in a circle and were judged by the actor John Howard and the Politician Pru Goward. Once the winners had been decided we were entertained by more dancing. Then the tea duels began. This was all about dunking your biscuit and making sure your biscuit survived longer than your opponents. It was a lot of fun to watch made even more so by the characters running it.

Tea Duelling
The art of tea duelling being explained.
Then we were entertained by the Parasol Duelling, this again was very entertaining and we laughed a lot.

Parasol Duelling
Palms sweating, mouths dry, legs trembling, the contestants stand back to back, awaiting the adjudicator's command to take three steps and turn.
We finished our fun day by having a drink at the Workers Club. It was a nice place so we decided to join and as we are both over 60 it was as cheap as chips.

Monday 8th December 2014

We drove out to Robertson through some of the most beautiful countryside. The rain we have had recently has ‘greened’ everything up and what a difference it has made. As we drove along one could imagine we were in England.

We arrived at Robertson expecting a cheese factory but the ‘factory’ part of the story was long gone and the building housed many different things. We wandered through looking at all the fine gifts one could buy but as we live in a caravan the temptation is curbed somewhat. I particularly looked at all the sauces, vinaigrettes, pickles and mustards as I love trying new ones. I found a favourite of ours, Milawa Horseradish Mustard, all the way from Victoria.

There was cheese to taste and buy so being cheese addicts, so to speak, we could not pass by. We tried a few and then bought plenty. We also bought some for Karen and Peter at their request. It was a shame we couldn’t get their favourite, garlic cheese, as I fancied trying some. We enjoyed a light lunch at a café there and found the people friendly and very helpful. The food was yummy and homemade.

We left Robertson in the rain and drove down some pretty country lanes. Pete Mate had to visit the train parts shop as he needed some parts for the model railway. We then took the Old Hume Highway home. We were so glad we did as we went through little villages that had delightful scenery. All in all it was a really lovely day out.

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Lay day today. Pete Mate worked on the web site and the trains and I read.

Wednesday 10th December 2014

The sun is shining so we decided to have another day out. We drove first to Sutton Forest. This little village is one of the first to be settled by the early settlers that were given land grants. Convicts also built some roads. There are few of the old building left and the cemetery boasts that it has the graves of bush rangers and troopers. I was intrigued by the grave of James Hillas who died at the hands of an assassin. He was murdered by Sam Collins, a native of the colony. To read the full story, click here.

We had to walk past a wall of the church to get to the cemetery and there, hanging down, was the bell pull. Oh was I sorely tempted, if I could run I would have pulled it and run.

On the roof is the bell housing. Inset is the bell pull which hangs within reach between the church windows.
We left there and travelled to Exeter, again another old village. We enjoyed some lunch in the General Store and café. It was a delightful place to be. Lots of secondhand books lined shelves around the walls and the staff were friendly and efficient. The railway station buildings were noted in the tourist information leaflet as being unique. I cannot say they did much for me. We then had a look at St Aidan’s Church ...

St Aiden's Church

No bell pull on this one - Saint Aidan's Church in Exeter.
Now that was something to look at, a beautiful building but sadly all locked up so we couldn’t look inside. After I had taken some photos we carried on to the town of Bundanoon. By now we were driving through rain so didn’t stop for a proper look around the town.

The last place on the list for today was Tallong which boasts two amazing lookouts and some convict-built dungeons. The weather couldn’t really make its mind up so we decided to go to the lookouts anyway. It was disappointing as by the time we arrived the weather had closed in and the views were murky to say the least. We decide to return on a fine day. Pete Mate however took some really nice photos of some Fallow Deer.

Thursday 11th December 2014

Shopping and the doctors were on the agenda for today. I agree, not very exciting but necessary.

Friday 12th December 2014

Not much happened today. The weather was reasonable; the book I am now reading is strange. Pete Mate swore at the computer a few times. Yep everything is pretty normal.

Saturday 13th December 2014

Another day pretty similar to yesterday but the difference being we enjoyed a lovely happy hour with Peter and Karen. We really do enjoy their company.

Sunday 14th December 2014

We enjoyed a lovely day out, back at Tallong. Last time we were there the weather was fairly miserable and the views from the lookouts were murky. Today was the opposite. I took a photo of a spectacular view but when I looked at the picture on the computer screen, all I could see was a face ...

Face in the rock
Is this anybody you know? I'll zoom in so you have a better view.
Close-up of rock face
Now do you see any resemblance? Pete Mate swears it's his algebra teacher. On a good day.
We stumbled across a very small cemetery which had several graves with the name of 'Rumsey' which was my mother’s maiden name. I took photos so I could research and see if they feature in the family tree.

We fell into conversation with a local in Tallong. I just mentioned we had seen a placard saying ‘No Cemetery’ ‘No Mosque’. I asked what that was about. Well that unleashed a whole tirade of what she thought of a mosque being built in her village. I stress this place is a village and not a large town and it is hard to imagine why they would want to build, not only a mosque, but a cemetery and a retirement village. There are no Muslims here but a conglomerate from Sydney has bought up 1,000 acres for the purpose.

We finished the day by having a drink at the Workers Club in Goulburn.

Monday 15th December 2014

The day dawned with beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies. Pete Mate cleaned the van outside and I cleaned inside. Washing was done and by late afternoon we felt very smug with what we had achieved ... mainly because we received a phone call to say friends were calling on us tomorrow. What excellent timing.

Tuesday 16th December 2014

What an absolutely enjoyable day we have had. Our lovely friends Cindy and David drove all the way from Sydney just to have lunch with us. We haven't seen them in a while so it was a full-on catch up session. The lunch at the Paragon Café was yummy and plenty of it. All in all it was a really great day.

Wednesday 17th December 2014

We went into town to do a few things ready for the weekend. In the evening we were invited to a sausage sizzle here in the park. The managers Karen and Peter did an excellent job of feeding everyone; it was a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday 18th December 2014

We had to return to the doctor’s for our blood test results. He told us we were both normal. We never suspected we were normal ever, I wonder if there is a cure for it. We left there and did a supermarket shop. Once home I put up my feet for a while and Pete Mate did some work on Billy.

Friday 19th December 2014

I was up and organized early as our friends Bev and Greg arrive today. They are also bringing their house guest, Judith, with them. I did the cooking for later and then decorated the inside of their cabin with balloons and happy birthday banners. A week ago it was Greg’s 60th birthday and we mean to celebrate it with him big time. For once I was all prepared and cleaned up before our guests arrived. It was great to see them and to meet Judith who is lovely. We had a cup of tea and then went for a drive.

We first went up to the Memorial Lookout for the views of Goulburn and surrounds. Second on the list was St Saviour’s Cathedral. We walked around the outside but sadly it was locked and we couldn’t explore inside. We then had a short walk around the town, mainly because I wanted to show them an unusually decorated building, Elmslea Chambers. We discovered it last time we were here but couldn’t find out much about it. Bev however was more successful. The building was built for Frank Leahy in 1935-36. The art deco façade consists of four pilasters faced with pink marble topped by Corinthian capitals and rosettes. Above the entrance, in baked ceramic tiles, is a ram’s head set against a sunburst. This is flanked by paired ibises in stylised vegetation.

The façade is perhaps as much a celebration of the flamboyant personality of this rich pastoralist as of his extensive stock and station holdings, which once extended from around Junee and Wagga Wagga to the Murrumbidgee River. Inside, the walls are lined with pink marble; most of the joinery is Silky Oak. Once we had all admired the building we walked around to the Workers Club for drinks. We then headed home for happy hour and a feast. We drank, ate chatted and laughed a lot until bedtime. It has been a wonderful day.

Saturday 20th December 2014

After breakfast we set off for a day of exploring. We arrived at Garroorigang Historic House to find the gates locked. Mmmm. Next idea was to show our visitors the Big Merino. This was open and the shop was a myriad of delightful expensive things. The hat I liked last time we were here is still sitting waiting for me. Not that I would have an occasion to wear it, I just love it.

Our guests and Pete Mate went up the steps to look out of the ram’s eyes – which gave a magnificent view of Bunnings. I used the time to browse through the cards and found some I liked. We were all ready for a cup of coffee, or in my case a cup of tea. Once refreshed we drove out to a lookout at Tallong which everyone seemed to enjoy. Meanwhile I phoned Garroorigang Historic House to check their opening hours; they returned my call and said they were now open. We stopped off at the general store in Tallong for a light lunch which was delightful and very reasonable.

Once refreshed it was time to head to the historic home, and what a charming tour that was. The owner of the house showed us around and told us the history of the place. He and his wife still live in the house so there was an appealing feel to the place, not like a museum piece. The gardens were also beautiful. When we left there Pete Mate realised the Old Brewery was just around the corner so we took our guests for some beer tasting. They seemed to enjoy the beer; I stayed with the wine.

We headed home for a happy hour and to get ready for dinner tonight. We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Paragon Café, very yummy food. Once home we opened the Bailey’s. As the evening was pleasant we sat outside for a little while before retreating back into the cabin. It had been another marvellous day and tomorrow we will be sad to say goodbye.

Sunday 21st December 2014

After a good sleep I organized myself to provide a cooked breakfast for our guests. I took everything over to the camp kitchen as it was all going to be cooked on the barbecue. Bev and Judith helped to carry everything over and Greg set about firing up the barbie. Greg took on the task of cooking which wasn’t what I intended but was very grateful. We ate a splendid breakfast outside in the sunshine serenaded by the singing ants singing Christmas carols.

After everything was cleaned away we left for the heritage markets which were not as big as last time but I did find one or two things I liked. The main reason I wanted to be there was to buy more angels from the 'angel lady' but I couldn’t find her. I was feeling sad but then on the way out I saw her and bought some more angels. She remembered me and I told her I had given the others away and why. I stocked up and then bought two extras for Bev & Judith. She then popped around my side of the stall and gave me, as a gift, a beautiful angel. She gave it to me with blessings and a hug and said it was mine and I was not to give it away.

My Special Angel
I left and was walking away when she chased after me to say many blessings. I thanked her and returned the compliment and then continued to walk towards Pete Mate and our friends when again she caught up with me to give me $5 back. I will keep it with my angel and then I know I will never be short of money. The whole experience left me feeling blessed, at peace and full of love.

We then had to say our goodbyes to our lovely guests - always a sad moment. When we had waved them off we discussed whether we should go to the free music at the bowling club or just head home. Home was the decision as we were both a little tired and a bit flat.

Monday 22nd December 2014

I did some washing but thankfully it was things I could put in the dryer because once more the heavens opened and the rain lashed down. We managed to cover everything without getting too wet or battered by the hail. I read my book and Pete Mate played computers. He did some research trying to find a fix for poor Alice who is very sick indeed.

Tuesday 23rd December 2014

Pete Mate dropped me off at the post office as I had mail to collect. He went to do blue things at Mitsubishi and Bunnings. After I had collected the mail I walked to the shopping mall to do some shopping. The rain once more was lashing down and where was my umbrella? Snug and dry back at the caravan. I did the shopping in record time dodging the people who wanted to stand in groups chatting and blocking the aisles. I met Pete Mate at the designated café where we had some lunch before going outside once more and braving the weather. Once home we managed to get the shopping inside before the rain returned, I tell you we have seen more rain since we have been in Goulburn than we have seen all year.

Wednesday 24th December 2014

I did some cooking and baking in the camp kitchen. I think everything turned out alright. Pete Mate worked on the trains. Soon it was Happy Hour and we enjoyed a very quiet one, just the two of us. Life is good.

Thursday 25th December 2014

We enjoyed a very nice Christmas lunch with Karen and Peter. Karen’s parents, Pam and Jim, were there as were some other of their friends, Glenys and Steve. It was a lovely day with lots of nice chatter, plenty of yummy food to eat and drink all very relaxed. Well, it was for Pete Mate and I as Karen and Peter did all the work. Another friend, Greg, joined us for drinks later. A good time was had by all.

Friday 26th December 2014

The sun is shining so I caught up with all the washing. Whilst we were out yesterday the cover had blown off the chairs and table so everything was soaking. Thankfully they all soon dried out in the warm sunshine. Pete Mate played computers whilst I read and did some knitting. A very relaxed sort of day.

Saturday 27th December 2014

Another relaxing day. The weather couldn’t make its mind up but in the end the sun shone through. I did some knitting and some work on the computer. Late afternoon I spoke on Skype with my sisters. Pete Mate played computers and did some reading.

Sunday 28th December 2014

Another mixed bag, weather wise, but as we were not going anywhere it didn’t matter. We both worked on different projects on our computers and I do believe we now have a bit of a plan for the next three months. As always these plans can be changed at the drop of a hat. I cooked our dinner on the communal barbecue and while there met some lovely people from the UK - two couples who are travelling around in hired motor homes experiencing this beautiful country of ours.

Monday 29th December 2014

We had a drive out to the airport, just to look at what is there. We were pleasantly surprised. Just as we arrived we saw parachutists leaving a plane and landing close by. We wandered over to the café which belongs to the sky diving business and were made to feel very welcome by the owners. We sat and watched and listened and I commented how young they all were.
Pete Mate said, Does it make you feel old?
I said, Yes, but I thought, Bloody ancient ... so I don’t know how P.M. felt.
The bad weather returned as it does most days, so we left. The next item on the list was the historical railway station. Whilst Pete Mate wandered around taking photos I went in search of some information about the history of the building but found nothing.

Goulburn Railway Station
Goulburn Station was opened in 1869.
Once home I Googled the station and discovered:

The foundation stone for the main station building was laid by the Mayor of Goulburn, William Davies, on 12 May 1868. At the time, the explorer William Hovell lived immediately opposite the main station building on Sloane Street. The land on which the station buildings are sited was originally designated for public parkland. The station buildings were opened in 1869 with arrival of the railway from Sydney, which was opened by the Governor, Lord Belmore (an event commemorated by Belmore Park in the centre of the city). The completion of the line from Sydney to Albury in 1881 and the connection to Victorian Railways in 1883 brought a boom to the town. Later, branch lines were constructed to Cooma (opened in 1889) and later extended further to Bombala, and to Crookwell and Taralga. Goulburn became a major railway centre with a roundhouse and engine servicing facilities. A factory which made pre-fabricated concrete components for signal boxes and station buildings was also opened.

The roundhouse - a railway maintenance facility built around a turntable - and the engine servicing sheds are still in existence. Today the complex is called the Rail Heritage Centre. It is well worth a visit for any railway enthusiast.

Tuesday 30th December 2014

The day dawned sunny with blue skies. I got the washing out early and then the wind arrived and boy did it let us know. It was so strong the caravan rocked a little; every time we went out we had to hang on to the door with all our might. The washing dried in record time and was brought in before leaving the park for town. I don’t think it would have been on the line on our return. Having ones knickers flying about the caravan park is not ideal. We had a few things to do in town and of course the supermarket shop. Once everything was done and we were home the shopping put away it was feet up and book out. Ah, retirement is wonderful.

Wednesday 31st December 2014

Not a lot happened here today. I did some cleaning, washing and cooking. Pete Mate did one or two chores. I read for a while and we both played computers. Not a riveting end to 2014 but it was peaceful and very relaxed.

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