To the edge of the Outback

To the edge of the Outback – from Trangie to Broken Hill

After a lucky escape from the Hotel California* haha, I leave Trangie and the clouds behind.  After a while I turn off the audio cd story and just focus on the road ahead.

Over the next few hours I notice the changing landscape: light green grass on the roadsides and leafy green shrubs and gums casting shadows on the black ribbon of the tarred road.  All of a sudden, and ‘how is that possible?’ I wonder, ‘what have I been thinking about while driving along, that I suddenly notice that the trees are smaller and sparser and the dirt is redder?’

Between Nyngan & Cobar
Between Nyngan & Cobar
View East, 10kms East of Cobar
View East, 10kms East of Cobar

I stop to take in the change. My heart sings. It begins to expand. There is room to breathe here.

By the way, the road is really good. There appears to have been a program of road works for some time – the tar is still black, the lines are clear and solid. At no point did I think, ‘crap, this trip is going to be awful’. Perhaps the ‘grey nomads’ are having a good impact on the outback.

Arriving at Cobar, you can’t help but know instantly that it is an old mining town.  A monument to minerals dominates the Eastern entrance to the town:  the former Administration Building (c1910) of the Great Cobar Copper Mine houses the Great Cobar Heritage Centre and the Visitor’s Information Centre and, like many buildings in the outback, the building has seen it’s heyday and a period of abandonment.  I love a good museum and this one promises much treasure but mindful of the distance I have to travel, I content myself with the gift shop, and then look for car and personal fuel!

After a good break, I head on out and notice sudden movement to my left.  I catch a glimpse of a group of goats.  Oh the goats, I heard about those wild goats on the road between Cobar and Broken Hill.  Goat rustling and everything!  So I am on the lookout for more goats and find a few smaller groups of them, thankfully they are skittish and run from the road when your car approaches.  They also run away when you approach to take a photo!  Neither will they stick around for a selfie, haha, I want proof!!

Goats, 24kms west of Cobar
Goats, 24kms west of Cobar

Did I mention that it is a dream drive?  That the road is really good?  Well, I have to commend the rest stops too.  The Baden Park Rest Area was particularly good, with a very airy loo and great shady picnic tables.  Sadly, no water in the tank, but that’s to be expected!  Always be carrying water with you anyway, and wet ones!

Baden Park Rest Area
Baden Park Rest Area

Anyway, driving, driving, driving, landscape still changing.  The foliage is being stripped away to reveal the contours of the land.  Such gentle contours, even little rises give fabulous views of the land.

I approach Wilcannia and decide that I don’t need to stop for fuel and drive through.  After about 10kms, I re-think that and double back.  Apparently there is a BP station, the sign says ‘turn right at any street and turn left’.  Hmmm, after driving around a few blocks, I give up and stop at the Liberty Station on the main thoroughfare.  After filling the tank, I step inside to pay but realise that without mobile reception, I can’t transfer what I need to my keycard account.  ‘Hang on, I’ll get cash from the car’.  Mildly perplexed by the strange look on the attendant’s face, I grab cash from my unlocked car and head back inside.  Later, I hear that it wasn’t such a good idea. Perhaps you can call me the ‘Naïve Traveller’!

Heading out of Wilcannia, I am starting to feel sickened by the number of ravens that take off when cars approach.  The number of roos dead on the side of the road is so sad – I wonder if there are any left, but there must be.  Every 10 metres there is a carcase and I guess the roos come off bad every time.  I don’t see any evidence of the vehicles, perhaps they are cleaned up much more efficiently than they are at home, where accident glass stays on the road for months after a collision.  There is no discrimination: small ones and big ones, and later I see pig road kill but no goats.  Perhaps the goats are cannier?  It feels the most difficult part of the drive, the carnage on the side of the road on what is, otherwise, beautiful country.  It makes me spur on to get to Broken Hill before dark!  I put my headspace in to mission-mode and put my foot down.  After what I refuse to acknowledge as eternity, I notice the approach of a ‘hill’, Dolo Hill rest area.  Stopping and looking back at where I had come from: the expanse of land is unfathomable and indescribable.  My photos are just a token of the experience, a quick moment in time, in this ancient timeless land.  The feeling of diminishing significance is palpable.

View from Dolo Hill Rest Area
View from Dolo Hill Rest Area

Back in the driving seat, my attention is drawn to a truck slowly catching up to me, and I pick up my speed:  I take it as a sign to get a move on.  For the last 15kms approaching civilisation, with the truck hot on my tail, I see a solar farm on my right, wooden structures on my left.  We are travelling so quickly that I miss the entrance sign to Broken Hill!

I have to go back, it is a momentous occasion in my travels that I have to document.

I have arrived at my destination before dark!!

Broken Hill
Broken Hill

*Hotel California is a joke – the The Trangie Imperial Hotel was lovely, friendly and comfy. I just had to leave before staff open up for the day. Luckily, the manager had shown me a back entrance to the verandah which I remembered after panicking that I couldn’t get out. I stayed there again on my return trip. At $40 a night, I would recommend it to anyone travelling on a budget.

Jo Durand, Gwandalan, 17 April 2017

Going west, a step back in time.

Literally, and not because I think the towns here are stuck in the past, not at all.
What I mean is that, about 10 years ago, I started researching the Australian history of my husband’s family, the Durands. I searched and compiled and wondered about these Central NSW towns that were mentioned – Walgett, Trangie, Coonamble.  Ten years ago, I couldn’t envisage a scenario where I would be able to visit any of them, being so far away from our home in Kogarah, Sydney.

I marvelled at the spirit of the patriarch of the Durand family, Joseph Vincent, who farmed vegetables in Walgett, married, had sons. There was mention of the Durands who went to war, ironically in France. While I wasn’t entirely certain of the connection to my husband’s direct ancestor, they had to be connected somehow, right? I mean, how many unrelated Durands could there be in one small town?? Anyway, life got busy, we moved to Lake Macquarie and I put the family history aside.

Fast forward to March 2017, and I’ve booked a pop up stall at Broken Hill. Why? Because I haven’t been there before and I’d like to try it! I look on the map and receive a shock about how far away it is, man, I had better stay somewhere overnight. So, I am working out a halfway point, which is…… Trangie. And something pings from my memory. Isn’t that where some of Ric’s family lived 100 years ago?

I set out at an ungodly hour (read in Howard’s mother’s voice from Big Bang Theory) and determined that I wouldn’t dawdle my way along, as I usually do. To help, I put on a cd recording of a Robert Ludlam story. It’s been long enough since I last listened to it that I find it entertaining.

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Heading west along the Hunter Expressway, and then turning onto the Golden Hwy, I pick up a coffee from a coffee van in the rest area – hallelujah, somebody has finally done it!!

Now I am starting to drive through areas where the fires ripped through last month.  All the way from Denman to Merriwa there are large areas of burnt out country. Yet, signs of life abound with the leaves growing out of blackened tree trunks and tufts of grass emerging to cover the bare soil.  Bushfire is like a Brazillian wax – it exposes everything! Tree roots and boulders which were once covered in debris of leaves and twigs are looking bare (and tidy lol).

Burnt bushland closeup
Burnt bushland closeup
Broader view of burnt land
Broader view of burnt land

 

So as today’s drive went according to plan (and I didn’t lock my keys in the car during a pee stop!), I arrive in Trangie just after 2pm.  Which is amazing because I usually arrive anywhere after dark!
In my room, I do a quick Google search for ‘Durand in Trangie’ and the results bring up entries for ‘Silk growing in Australian’, the move ‘from Walgett to Trangie’ and National Library of Australia entries for a number of Durands who enlisted for service in WW1.
So, I decide to go for a walk to stretch out my legs and eyes. The street is so quiet, and even the publican points out how quiet it is for a Friday afternoon. I find the Services Club and there is a memorial for WW2, but that’s is too late for me, but feel I am in the right place. Where else can I look?
I looked down and found a feather – white, grey, and black, with a piece missing. Just like my family history story, there’s concrete facts and lots of grey areas, even missing information. I picked it up as a talisman and kept walking.

Soldiers Trangie Memorial
Soldiers Trangie Memorial

There’s a building that looks just like all the Masonic Halls, but no, this one is way better: it’s the Soldiers’ Trangie Memorial. A white imposing building with two Honour Rolls on the front wall.  I move towards the WW1 roll and look closely! There are two Durand soldiers remembered there – DD & LN!

Durand Soldiers
Durand Soldiers

Excitedly, I look up the entries again and am able to put flesh on these bones:

  •   Pte DD Durand is reported in the Bathurst Times to be wounded (29/5/1917). Subsequently, a Dubbo newspaper  reported that ‘a welcome home was tendered to Private D Durand on Tuesday evening in Heffernan’s Hall, when songs, musical items and addresses were rendered, and a hearty welcome extended to the guest of the evening’ (19/4/1918).
  • Pte Louis Napoleon Durand, 26yo hairdresser from Trangie, enlisted on 17/1/1915, returned at the conclusion of the war on  22/12/1918 (Australian Light Horse Studies Centre).
  • Another Durand, L-Cpl LW Durand, of Trangie, is reported in the SMH to be wounded 22/11/1915. Somehow he ends up in Queensland, which possible answers a question I had during the earlier family research.

Anyway, it’s been a big day and it is dinner time now!! I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Incidentally, while I was driving today, I was keeping track of my kms and I realised that even though I had done the calculations on the net about the best ‘halfway’ place to stop for the night, it seems that I am not really halfway at all, I have a longer drive tomorrow.  But I think I was meant to stop here tonight. Don’t you?

Jo Durand
Trangie, NSW, 31 March 2017

Avalon by Nature | an Australian Spiritual boutique

Source: Avalon by Nature | an Australian Spiritual boutique

Hi!

How’s this for forcing me to write a blog!! I was just fiddling about with some settings and playing with a tool called ‘Press This’. So, guess what! I pressed it!  Then I received an email telling me that there is a blog to read :D.

So, while you’re here, I would like to let you know that I have the 2017 Moon Cycle Charts and Zimmer Astrological Calendars both in stock, right now, ready to be sent out.

I also have in stock a great range of spiritual and self-development books and cards, the authors of which you can see on the Avalon’s ABCDs page.

As you probably know, I do have a large range of tumbled stones and although I don’t have them individually available here, I am uploading an almost-complete list and am happy to put together a selection for you and your budget.

What else can I tell you? Smudge sticks, dragons’ blood and white sage soaps and henna kits are back in stock too.

Please feel free to share this with a friend and ask them to say who sent them. I can send you a Loyalty code for a discount when they make a purchase too.

Well, by for now, I’ve just generated some more work, haha.  Cheers, Electronic Signature

Jo Durand

Avalon by Nature has been out and about lately

Avalon by Nature has been out and about lately

and is excited to be at the recently commenced The Entrance Market this Saturday 30 July and probably Saturday 6 August.

I have been buying up crystals and will have a selection of tumbled stones, natural points, agate slices and rough pieces, a couple of skulls (need to re-stock those pronto!!) and more.

Also available are some new divination stones, shown below, created by my husband Ric.  He has quietly followed a pagan path for many years and these Crafting Stones are an expression of his creativity meeting his spirituality.  I’ve been playing with them a little myself and they tell a great story.  I’ll have a set out for you to try out for yourself.

2016 Jul 23 The Entrance Market, Jo 2016 Jul 23 The Entrance Market, tables

I am now regularly carrying titles from almost 30 Australian authors, many of whom are those I have, and you probably have too, met on my travels to festivals and expos.  I am always looking for more authors and creators to distribute their titles and creations. Come see me at The Entrance to get more information.

I have been writing reguarly for Living Magickally, an E-Magazine produced by Niki at Magick and Wyld. Please look out for it on Niki’s page, it’s a great read.

Finally, I have a new website which I am updating with information and products. The Calendar page has details of where Avalon by Nature is exhibiting.  As always, I am contactable by mobile or facebook messenger and can organise orders and deliveries outside of market days.

Regards,

Electronic Signature

Avalon by Nature – Creating Space for Soul Discovery

PO Box 5059, Gwandalan NSW 2259

ABN Logo Apr 2015 just circlecat-1

26 July 2016

Welcome to our new website!

Hello and welcome!! I am so excited to be launching my new website, full of goodies, treasures and interesting information.

Thanks so much to Rowan at LifeSytes for creating this beautiful website and making it so easy to use. I hope you love it too.

What you see on your screen represents the next stage in the journey that is Avalon by Nature.  I am delighted to be showcasing wonderful Australian products created, written and published by people walking their talk and sharing their experiences.  You will find a list of these on the Avalon Australian Books, Cards and Discs (Avalon ABCDs) page and the categories of the same name in the Store.  My aim is to be THE place where customers go to find quality Australian products.  So I am planning to grow to be the largest list of self-published spiritual and self-development products in Australia.  Please let me know if you know of people who would like to stock through Avalon by Nature’s store.

I am still so fascinated by the mineral world and have grown to stock over 120 varieties of crystals/minerals, many in tumbled stone form. Many more in natural form, Nature is so amazing!! Of course, I am sourcing and offering crystal jewellery, from simple chip bracelets to stunning silver settings.

Aromas for the Soul are a stock standard item at Avalon by Nature – scent is so important to creating a sacred space, one of the core values of Avalon by Nature.  Incense, essential oils, perfumes, soaps, herbs, tea and coffee.

Colour is also an integral part of Avalon by Nature – colour enhances and energises the physical body and is aesthetically pleasing too.  I offer Aura photos and intuitive readings and Tie Dyeing classes and parties. Woohoo colours everywhere!!

Well, that’s all for now, would love to see you somewhere, either online or at an event that Avalon by Nature is exhibiting at. Bye for now, Jo xo

May 24, 2016

Minimum order of $15 to qualify for free postage.