Day Seven: Condoblin to Burcher to West Wyalong to Narrandera. 2 hours 49 minutes, 240 km.Overall Grade A-
Hacky sack count: 22 - Record!
Left Lake Gum Bend for West Wyalong. Took the most direct route from Condoblin, South initially with a detour to Burcher for morning tea. "Are you lost?" a local lady asked as we entered the store. Jenny had been directing... but we weren't...
We enjoyed a coffee and a chat at the general-store with the charming and hospitable owner. We learnt that you receive a commission from Australia Post on all letters processed in small towns and a mark up on the stamps you sell. I wonder whether I'm in the wrong racket. I’m now pondering a future where I become an Australia Post representative, move to a small local town, invest in a red mail box, and place it in a visible and highly-frequented location, find out who lives where and how far away. Next, through the cunning manipulation of the postcodes and delivery-routes which will govern my income, I can start raking in the cash, all the while making a pretty penny or two on the side through repossessing unclaimed consignments.
Daydreams aside, we continue on the road back towards the Newell and joined up just before we came to West Wyalong, where we visited the Exclusive Glass Gallery (free entry, bookings not required). Here we were educated in how to melt glass to sculpt tableware - 800 degrees initially then 600 degrees to melt it into a form. There were some really striking and creative pieces, but alas I'd already picked up Mum's Mothers Day present at Pillaga Pottery a couple of stops back. Stopped in at the Courthouse Museum, an old federation-style building which exhibits an array of historical objects highly significant to the local area. Alongside a purpose built shed displaying antique machinery used in early regional industries. We made note of the Gold Trail tours just outside of town where you can try your hand searching for un-struck gold, but instead opted to continue on to Mirrool, home of the Silo Kick Challenge.
Sitting just 300m off the highway, and opposite the local silos made famous by their annual October Silo Kick Challenge, Mirrool is a great little spot to add a bit of local-flavour to your travels. There's a great free camping spot, it's pretty standard, but it's clean and has toilets, hot showers, a camp kitchen and a children's play area. There's a padlocked power box with a list of local phone numbers for those after a powered site ($10) for the evening.
But what of this Silo Kick Challenge?
Well the Story goes that in the late 1970's the local AFL coach Mark Newton tried to kick a footy over the silos during an end of season drinks session at the nearby pub (read - to win a drunken bet with mates). Fast forward twenty years and Geelong's Billy Brownies cleared the 30 meter high and ten-meter wide silos to claim the first official Mirrool Silo Challenge, defeating local ruck-rover and farmer, Rob Harber.
It's now become an annual tradition held on the Second Saturday in October when the otherwise quiet and unassuming town transforms into the centre of an amusingly-novel but fiercely-competitive challenge which draws scores of folk from far and wide.
The day's other attractions include the Junior Silo Kick, ladies gumboot throwing, a tug of war, silent auctions, raffles and a non-stop BBQ.
After snapping a few photos we then continued on to Narrandera. Upon arrival we made our way to the info centre, where we were directed to a replica of an early Tiger Moth airplane (the focal point of a memorial for those who trained at Narrandera's No 8 Elementary Flight Training School during the Second World War). From here we wound up at Talbot Tourist Park located on a nice slight-sloping spot overlooking the manmade Lake Talbot and a nature reserve across the water. We check in and we’re eating 30 minutes later - we have this camp setup, and sausage cooking down to a fine art.
Another great day on the Newell (aka Route 66 of OZ). They’re actually trying to have the highway re-named and American themed novelties set up at the various towns along the route. Stay tuned…