Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

12.7.06

Signs, bushrangers, authors and coffee.

There is a Colonial Motor Inn in every town in Australia. There must be a law about it.

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Pack lunch before travelling and you'll find heaps of places you would like to have eaten at. On the other hand, take no food and you'll find nothing worth eating along the way. That happened several times. In Grenfell, southern New South Wales, we ate a huge picnic lunch in the sunshine and then walked down the main street only to find a cafe with the most amazing array of food. Special of the day was mulligatawny soup with spicy bread and the cake display was awesome. We could only manage coffee. Next time we'll stop for lunch.

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More than several towns claim that Ned Kelly, Ben Hall, Dan Morgan and other notorious bushrangers slept there. How would they know? Wouldn't bushrangers with a price on their head choose to hide out in the bush somewhere overnight for fear of capture? Obviously not, they clearly rode their horses up to the local Flag Inn and booked in.

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Likewise, according to signage, Henry Lawson was born in about eight different towns, which is pretty good for a writer. That's eight first chapters of your autobiography straight away. I can't remember a Henry Lawson autobiography, I can only remember The Loaded Dog, a great story.

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The farther you travel from the larger cities, the more interesting the road signs: Do Not Enter Bridge When Horses are Crossing. Stock on Road. And the most intriguing: Rock Falls Here. One rock falls? Who puts it back?

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What is it with historic towns? They seem to specialise in shops selling kitsch - teddy bears of all descriptions; lace items that no-one uses any more such as doilies, tablecloths and those things that your grandmother used to put on the top of the milk bottle to keep the flies off; white-painted wire decorative things that look like recycled aviaries. People travel hours to browse this kind of stuff. Why? Moonee Ponds has entire streets of it.

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More funny place names: Trundle, Thuddungra, Bogan Gate (which is one wheat silo and a rail siding), Harden, Cookardinia, The Rock, Tootol, Porepunkah. Not to forget Wagga Wagga, which is known as Wagga. Just so you know.

3 comments:

Sue said...

Grenfell is also home to the annual guinea pig races. I've been as my husband is from Cowra...

Ellen said...

It's funny that the historic towns in Australia sound pretty much like the historic towns here in the U.S. Just read backwards and love the travelogue writing. RYC and pickled beets: A sandwich of just pickled beets? Or to with other things instead of pickles (i.e. pickled cucumbers)?

kitchen hand said...

Generally as part of a salad sandwich, Ellen, but I often had plain beetroot sandwiches in childhood. Delicious with white bread and plenty of butter.