Day 10, 19/5/2016, Cobar to Byrock, Sunny warm 24
At dawn a mist rises from the lake and a solitary pelican drifts back and forth. Ducks draw wakes across the mirrored surface.
We take the Barrier Highway east to Nyngan. Goats graze and the Murray pines eventually give way to gums and grain paddocks. We stop for morning tea at Nyngan and are surprised to find a delightful little town. On the banks of the Bogan River the streets are well treed and frangipani and hibiscus bloom. We must really be getting north now (in line with Port Macquarie in fact). There is an Iriquois helicopter on display in recognition of the choppers that evacuated the town in the 1990 floods. We have coffee and note that the undertaker has a double shopfront with a window display filled with artificial flowers.
Home for the night is the Mulga Creek Hotel at Byrock “out past the kiddies playground darl.” The ground is red dirt and the trees Mulga, of course. We follow a signposted track out to the “Rock Holes” a flock of big furry goats race past us. The Rock is flakey with shallow, water filled holes and channels that we wonder if they have been man made in antiquity. There are tiny yellow water lilies floating on the water and a frog croaks.
In the evening we walk up to the pub for dinner and learn that the goats are in fact sheep that the lady publican calls “The Kelly Gang”. She’s a Kelly and the sheep adopted the publicans when they bought the place. They are a mixture of Damara and Dorpers apparently a good cross and bred for meat. The Damaras don’t require shearing and have long shaggy wool and fat tails. Mrs Kelly goes on to describe how sheep are neutered and how even feral animals will lose their gamey taste when neutered. We’re somewhat overwhelmed by talk of green rubber bands secured in nether regions but Mrs Kelly is a sheep expert from way back.
The pub, which also acts as a general store and post office, was rebuilt in 1980 after having burnt down and even though modern it has an historical ambience with a warm fire crackling in the grate. The Irish barman is a gentleman, Mrs Kelly is quite a character and the place will remain in our hearts. We’re so engaged with all this talk of wethers and the power of rubber bands that I forget to visit the war museum in the dining room. The brave menfolk of this dot on the map came home from the First World War with three Military Medals and a Victoria Cross.
Dinner was large and cheap, cheaper in fact than our powered site out the back.
Towing Kms: 300Kms
2021 Note: We’ll soon learn of the significance of artificial flowers.