Monday September 3rd
The temperature today is a very comfortable 26c as we drive from Cloncurry to Winton Qld. Winton is the home of a newly built Waltzing Matilda Centre after the previous centre burnt to the ground on Thursday 18th June 2015.
The Waltzing Matilda Centre is the first museum in the world dedicated to a song. 'Waltzing Matilda' was written by 'Banjo' Paterson whilst holidaying on Dagworth Station Winton. Legend has it that this song was first performed in public at the North Gregory Hotel which is the hotel where we stayed for the night in its backyard. While there we watched a local man recite the famous poems of Banjo Patterson, as well as tell us about Banjo's life story, all told in a really wonderful way, bringing the poems alive with the help of actual photos and drawings from the years when Banjo was alive.
However the drive to Winton from Cloncurry was one literally of ups and downs with a vista of flat countryside as far as the eye could see for a full 360deg. The very flat country was dotted here and there with small shrubs and eucalypts. The road was like riding a bronco in a rodeo. Everyone knows this is something I have never done and it is in no way on my bucket list, but I am sure that many parts of this road (307km) have contributed to my being a fully-fledged bull rider, should I so desire. Ross has the skills already to navigate these ups and downs and obeying my commands to slow down, as he managed to miraculously drive the car without complaint. What a champion!!!
On the way we stopped at a small town called McKinley to boil the "billy" and eat the most delicious vanilla slices that we had bought in Cloncurry. We had waited 12 months since buying some last year and vowing that we would go back for more. The vanilla slices were as great as expected so we had a cuppa and slice and took off again. After that we stopped so Ross could have a stretch at a little pub called "The Blue Heeler" in a place called Kynuna. I got out of the car when a very angry magpie took aim at me. I could see an evil gleam in his eyes as he swooped towards me and pecked me on the head. Every time I went to get back into the car, it swooped me, so Ross threw me his hat and as I waved it furiously in the air I got in the car and we escaped, "Chased out of town by a magpie!" What next?
Tuesday September 4th
Today we visited the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
The centre, outside and inside, reflects the rugged outback landscape and is also a tribute to the robust and resourceful people that live in this remote and harsh but beautiful part of Australia. It is a fantastic experience to wander around the centre which incorporates the history of Winton throughout the years of the Boer war, World Wars I and II as well as the 1939 Depression and relates this history to the words of the song in a unique and moving way. You have to see it to appreciate how good this is. Also check out the photos of Arno's Wall in Winton. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder I think, but definately a unique work of art, gathered over years from the local tip and no doubt some local benefactors.