Monday October 29th Menindee Lakes
We’re up at 6am to shoot the sunrise, which is gentle and peaceful, except for the sound of hundreds of fish jumping! The pelicans glide back and forth catching what jumps their way. Washing the dishes at the outdoor camp sink, I have to pinch myself that I’m in such a beautiful place on a Monday morning. We pop into Menindee and pick up some groceries, I go into the post office to buy stamps and have a delightful chat with the two ladies running the post office. They encourage a young Aboriginal guy to show his artwork and bashfully he delves into his hoodie and produces a magnificently painted emu egg that depicts the scenes of the lakes. He would like to charge $50 for them but is too shy to market them, although I must say, the postal staff is doing a pretty good job. The ladies tell me that this is a friendly town where both races mix well, not like the silly buggers up in Wilcannia! I can certainly see what they mean as the conversation is peppered with a lot of friendly jibes and hugs. This is not the first time we’ve been warned to avoid Wilcannia.
We drive out to the Kinchega Woolshed through 11kms of red dust and badly corrugated roads (and this road is the shortcut to Mildura), once again we are dodging lizards, kangaroos and emus. The woolshed was the largest and oldest in Western NSW and must have been quite an operation when it was in full swing. The shed is huge and yet half of it has been demolished. The wool was transported down the Darling River on barges. The National Park now rents out the shearers quarters for those who wish to stay. On our return to town we stop for a huge goanna crossing the road.
Back at the camp we have a salad in the shade, it is getting very warm, around 30 degrees. After lunch I walk around the lake again and see another kangaroo and several lizards. I chat with a couple of fishermen who are cleaning their catch, they only caught forty today and eighty fish yesterday, mainly cod and yellow belly, they say. They don’t know how lucky they are! We sit outside on the lawn and cook Mushroom Risotto for dinner enjoying the warm evening. The sunset is stunning. We prepare the van for an early departure and turn out the lights.
2021 Note: It took us a long time to realise that Monday mornings could now be magical and no longer mean the stress of work and city traffic. Oh, how I’ve kicked myself ever since for not buying a painted emu egg from that talented young man. I’m yet to find another of such beauty. And we still haven’t been up to see the ‘silly buggers’ in Wilcannia but I do know that this crazy world could learn a lot from the folks of Menindee.