TUESDAY 20 OCTOBER MOUNT SURPRISE TO FORSAYTH 141kms
Pretty standard pack up. It has become quite routine. We did not put the weight distribution bars on, because we were going to be on an uneven dirt road, from Georgetown to Forsayth.
It was a hot drive to Forsayth, but at least the country side was not boring. We have not had the van on unsealed roads, to date, so this is the start of practice on same, for John. He did well, except that he went through one floodway a bit fast and bounced the van more than was good. It shook the cupboard contents up more than usual, and the front part of the hinged glass top on the stove came off and fell on the floor. It did not break, but put a little dent in the vinyl floor. Everything else was alright.
The Forsayth Home Stay and Van Park cost us $11 for a powered site. We set up under the big shadecloth roof provided for the site – a good idea and much needed.
The town water supply is not potable – it has heavy metals/arsenic in it. There is a rain water tank provided for park patrons. I suppose that means one should keep their mouth shut when showering!
The Home Stay and Van Park is for sale. The home stay can accommodate up to 20, they say, in six rooms! They often have 12 staying. They have just begun developing the van park part – it seems to have some potential – and they also have the next door block. But it seems to us that tourist business here is dependent on the Savannah Lander rail passengers, and tourists who want to visit nearby Cobbold Gorge, which is now developing its own camp ground. Forsayth is off any main tourist route – though it may become more attractive if the road from Georgetown was sealed.
We had a late lunch.
The afternoon became really hot and then quite hazy – there are fires around, apparently.
As it got slightly cooler in the late afternoon, we walked into what seemed to be more the centre of the township. I thought Mt Surprise was rather a rustic village but this is more so. There are no shops! It has a pub. The Post Office is in a house. But there is a little hospital, and of course, the train station. There is a strange assortment of houses, rather spread about, including a couple of interesting older ones.
The town has First to Ninth Avenues, straggling off into the dead grass. This scale is a relic of the grander mining days – initially gold in the 1870’s, and then copper, from the 1890’s. Apparently the original settlement was on the other side of the little Delaney River that is by the town, but was moved when the railway reached here in the early 1900’s.
At one stage, it was planned that the railway would go further west and link up with what is now the Gulflander Railway, that ends at Croydon, but that never happened. Because of being the rail terminus, Forsayth continued its existence as the rail head for transport further west. Eventually, of course, road transport and travel bypassed it.
About 100 people live here now, though with the renewed growth of mining in the area over the last decade or so, it may grow a bit more.
There seemed to be a lot of barking dogs about – a rather motley lot. We saw a big flock of red-tailed cockatoos in trees and on power lines. There are lots of birds at the van park, including a very musical butcher bird.
We drove out to Castle Rock, following a mud map given to us by Nellie, the owner. There were some others driving out that way, too, to see the sunset from that vantage point.
The sunset was “different”, due to lots of smoke about. Very red. It was worth the drive and the little scramble to the top. We drove past a newly burning area on the way to the Rock.
The heat had reduced both our appetites, so I made some salad for John; I had some tinned apricots and he had watermelon that we’d bought in Georgetown, when we stopped at a store to buy a couple of cold drinks.
There is some TV here – we get two channels, which is one more than in Mt Surprise!
We had the air con on during tea and that cooled the van sufficiently for sleep, but we had a rather restless night as it stayed hot throughout. Unfortunately, the air con is far too noisy inside the van to keep it on after bedtime.