WEDNESDAY 27 MAY LORNE STATION
I got up at 7.30. There was quite a bit of cloud in the sky, but some sunny breaks too.
By the time we got back yesterday, the campground had filled up more – helped by the road having been graded, I thought. Also, with all the floods and highway closures on the coast, some travellers had diverted more inland. The manager had even used a line marker to indicate “sites”, in order to maximise use of his powered sites. So, near us now were Jayco and Roadstar vans, the latter a young travelling family, with grandmother.
The Roadstar’s shower put out a huge amount of water onto the ground – which ran towards the bog hole in front of our camp. I was not much impressed with this.
The owls were still occupying their tree. I wondered if they had been new arrivals, in the rainy period, or if they had been there for ages, and I’d only recently spotted them.
I enjoyed having a casual, lazy morning again. I wrote diary notes and sewed, before John got up, then did more of the same after. I was feeling a tad stiff and sore after yesterday’s contortions in the dumps.
John packed away most of our opal finds and purchases. He selected four pieces for examination in town, and maybe cutting there.
The two big vans next to us unexpectedly packed up and left after lunch. They were upset, apparently, because one of the several camp dogs that hung about T’s cottage, had peed in the kids’ shoes that were outside the van. They were also unhappy because there was only dirt for the children to play in! They’d paid for two nights, too, we found out – non-refundable.
After lunch went for another walk on the property. Near the old woolshed, saw a pair of red-capped robins on a fence. The male’s cap was an incredibly vivid red.
Walked across country for a little way, then took a different track from before. Came across some smaller dump heaps – later, C told us we could have noodled in them. Also found a quaint little hut and camp, near a dam and wetland area. It had a kind of garden, and some chairs outside. There were lots of birds there. It seemed recently used, so we wondered about its story.
Then we followed a power line to the main wetland outflow, with the agitators and the puddling dam. Found out later, from a book on display in the gallery, that this area was once the property’s best sheep paddock, before the miners set up the opal washing area here, and the sullage outflows ruined it. That led me to also wonder when the property changed over from sheep to cattle grazing.
Also found out that the “agi’s” are still occasionally used.
Continued on, following a fence close to the current mining area. Passed another camp/cottage, clearly regularly accessed. We were told later that an artist lived there, some of the time.
We walked as far as within sight of the main highway.
As we walked back, met up with C doing one of her walking tours, coming down from the Lorne Lookout. Near the fence there, in the mining area, was a funny little cottage – inhabited – that looked like something out of a kids’ fantasy story book. It even had chooks!
We tagged onto C’s tour. She couldn’t explain the origin of the railway relics back along the track.
C took us to the Gallery, which was set up in the old woolshed. It had quirky sculptures, made from camp and mining debris, for sale. There were also paintings, mostly in a kind of Pro Hart derivative style. Usually old woolsheds retain the smell of the active shearing shed, but not this one. A possum lived in there, and it stunk!
In the gallery was a book written by Patricia Waterford, the mother of the station owner. She had lived at Lorne back when the roads to Lightning Ridge were all unsealed, and life was much more one of isolation than it was today.
A few spots of rain fell while we were browsing in the gallery. The ants were right!
We must have walked about 6kms.
We had the usual evening around the camp fire, and cooked potatoes in the coals. D joined us. He did not have a great day out at the Grawin today. I think he was a bit miffed at missing out on the opal we bought yesterday – and the backpacker has left! He seemed quite out of sorts.
It was T’s birthday. He cooked up a feed of bream – caught somewhere locally – for his “mob”, a number of people of indigenous origins who hung about around his camp – hence the camp dogs. He came over and asked if I wanted bream – I politely declined. It was a nice gesture from him, to want to share with us.
I spent part of the evening naming and ordering the photos downloaded onto my laptop.
About 10.30pm there was loud, drunken singing drifting across the campground. Somebody was going to feel lousy in the morning!