Yackety Yack, Day 7 – Just a wee town

Day 7 Monday 15/5/2023 Coolamon to Weethalle, 12 – 21

It’s a clear morning and there’s flat land for miles, crops, and sheep are the produce out here. We cross the Newell Highway onto Burley Griffin Way at Ardlethan. Walter Burley Griffin was responsible for the design of not only the nation’s capital, Canberra but Griffith and Leeton in 1915 and 1916. We soon pass through Barellan with its big tennis racquet, in honour of the town’s most successful daughter, Yvonne Goolagong Cawley. Grape vines appear around Yenda and Castella Wines, the home of Yellow Tail, stretches for what seems a half kilometre. Now we’re surrounded by grapes, oranges, and olives, this area is a food basket. VeeWee’s GPS sends her off in the wrong direction, which gives us a chance to admire the gardens at De Bortoli Wines. We stock up on some ballast from their ‘specials’ room and thank Bacchus that the staff cater to parsimonious northbound Grey Nomads. At $6 per bottle, we can’t go wrong and have had many pleasant surprises in the past from this cellar.

After a quick visit to Aldi, the god of supermarkets, we take the road north to Rankins Springs. The Mid Western Highway has been badly damaged by floods leaving the bitumen rumbled and corrugated. It’s slow going and we wonder what’s going to end up on the caravan floor. Pulling into the Weethalle Showgrounds we see that VeeWee and Mrs. Have a Chat have only just arrived having stopped to pick up some lunch. They’re both pulling faces and complaining about the lunch they couldn’t eat after having waited ages.

The Showgrounds are neatly mowed and we park beside the race track. We have power, water from nearby taps, clean toilets and showers. There’s also a smart-looking bowls club near the front gate.

Weethalle Showgrounds – for those who are unfamiliar with Aussie country race meetings, this is the bar, with a fence to keep the kiddies out.

We walk into town to see the painted silos that describe the local sheep and wheat-growing industries. This mural is a work by artist Heesco and the sheep incorporated into the landing above are priceless.

And that’s the best of it. The town seems to be in rapid decline. The pub is up for sale, the Devonshire tea rooms are closed, there’s a service station and the ‘Road Kill Grillz’, the other shops are falling down. Yes, you read that correctly, falling, down. We’d like to know the story behind what looks to have been a nice little town. Covid, floods, or both maybe.

What’s left of the supermarket
Weethalle pub sign. The pub is up for sale if you’re interested.
The Road Kill Grillz is still operating

I nearly forgot, for the odd names file, there’s a Wee Street.

Dinner is a pork sausage tray bake cooked in the oven to warm the van.

Later in the evening, Woody pops out to ‘check the tyres’ and drags me outside. It’s a clear night and the stars are like a magic carpet.

I love TV ads in the bush and the ones in this region are truly enlightening. Tonight, I’ve learned about cotton-picking parts, worms, and soil biology, all-terrain vehicles, irrigation channel stops & weirs. We never stop learning out here.

Accom: $10.00 Power, water, toilets, showers, dump point.

Towing Kms: 247kms

Weethalle (Map Source: WikiCamps)

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