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A Dunny on the Road

Driving The Western Highway

semi-overcast 20 °C

The 800 kilometre Western Highway from Adelaide to Melbourne, through a ploughed arable prairie and dehydrated grasslands, seemed dull following our adventurous four day trek across the Outback and our time with the friendly wildlife of Kangaroo Island. Apart from a large number of dead kangaroos by the roadside the only other wildlife was this larger than life koala…
large_Giant_Koala.jpg
With just a few towns the size of Murray Bridge, Horsham and Ballarat on the road from Adelaide to Melbourne there is little through traffic, so small communities have devised ways to stop the passing trade. The giant koala caught our eye and someone in the tiny village of Keith came up with a brilliant idea when they said, “Let’s put a Land Rover on a stick outside the public dunnies.”
large_Keith.jpg
It worked – we stopped. Now we all know that dunny is Australian for toilet, but we have been experiencing some language problems and would like some help. As an inducement we will send a postcard of Melbourne to the first person to correctly translate this sign…
large_Horsham.jpg
(Note- Australians and their close family members are not eligible to win this valuable prize.)
This is the 1880s bridge that spans the River Murray and after which the town was imaginatively named...
Murray_Bridge.jpg
Fall has finally fallen across southern Australia and temperatures have plummeted nearly twenty degrees. A damaging storm with torrential rain missed us entirely, however, after suffocating in the high 30s we are enjoying the pleasant 20 degree warmth that the storm brought in its wake.

Nearing Melbourne we stopped in the gold rush city of Ballarat where, in the 1850s, the world’s two largest gold nuggets were found. The pair netted over 400 lbs of pure gold worth some $8 million today. The resultant publicity attracted prospectors, conmen, shysters and bankers from all over the world and millions of pounds of gold have since been mined here. The city flourished in the late 19th century with many fine buildings and, no doubt, many sleazy ones. This was the mining exchange where the gold was assayed and bought…
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And these are some of the dozens of hotels where the luckier ones could live, and play, in style…
Ballarat.jpg
Ballarat also recognises the unlucky – not in the goldfields, but on the RMS Titanic. Once a year, on the anniversary of the sinking, local musicians gather in the city’s bandstand to honour the ship’s bandsmen by playing the tune that they performed as they sank. Ballarat has absolutely no connection to the Titanic, but it’s the thought that counts.

Now for Melbourne where, due to total lack of foresight, we have shown up on the weekend that the F1 Australian Grand Prix is in town – it’s a good job we booked in advance.

Posted by Hawkson 01:08 Archived in Australia

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Comments

I have a friend who lives in Melbourne and is a school teacher there. I have lost contact with him and wonder if you could look him up in the phone book and ask him to email me. His name is unusual, Karl/Erik Paasonen.We worked together in the middle east in 2002 and I visited him in 2003.

by Jean McLaren

A yabby is a crayfish or form of shrimp but cannot find anything for Flories. No postcard for me. Love the landcover on a stick.

by Sue Fitzwilson

The Ballarat Band Association built the bandstand with their own funds in 1913 and dedicated it to their fellow bandsmen who died so bravely on the Titanic, playing as the ship went down. This is the essence of Australian mateship and an important characteristic. Ballarat is my father's home town, now a city of some 100,000 people and sometimes called the "Athens" of Australia due to its large
number of sculptures and exquisite marble statues under glass in the botanical gardens. March is the month for their annual begonia festival.

by Kaye

Can't see the relationship between a dunny and a landrover.
Australian sense of humour ?

by Christine Lloyd

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