The Big Lap - Dubbo & Forbes




Dubbo really doesn't have much going for it but it was the most suitable stop down the road on our journey towards Victoria and eventually Tasmania which is where we hope to settle down.

I found a winery just south of town so that served our purpose.  We booked for 2 nights.  Red Earth Estate had been promising that the doors of its revamped restaurant would be opened by the end of March.   Aparently it is renowned for its Asian cousine including the best dumplings.  We were sad to see that it still wasn't opened when we arrived.  In fact it looked like the whole place was badly run down with withered grapes hanging from the vines, long grass in between the vines and the bush around the cellar and restaurant needed massive pruning and prettying up.  

Anyway, the owners were there to greet us.   I bought two bottles of the wine and then we were left there to our own devices for the next 2 nights with the numbers to undo the lock on the gates out front and relock after, whilst the owners drove back to wherever they live.  Hubby could see the potential in the place but we are not sure that the owners are prepared for such intensive labour.  BTW, I opened the Rose wine and the screw top lid spouted up into the van like a cork released from a bubbly.  Wow!  Hooleydooley!....  this Rose must be potent!!

The winery is located right behind the big Dubbo Zoo.  We were going to go, however when I found out that it is nearly $50 each, that put an end to that.  



I had originally thought of Parkes because of the famous Dish there.  But the weather was not going to be good for planet viewing and I had already been disappointed by not being able to do that in Coonabarbran.  Hubby did offer to stop so that we could have a tour of the Dish, but that is not what I want to do.  The workings of a telescope doesn't interest me, however it was nice for hubby to offer as he knew that I was bitterly disappointed by not being able to experience the Coonabarabran Observatory.

Anyway, we drove past Parkes and on to Forbes.  We are both glad that we stayed in Forbes.  Forbes is more laid back than its sister city and the caravan park that we stayed at was so pretty, well kept, and located on the banks of a river. 



Maybe it's the change in weather, I don't know, but we ate alot in Forbes.  We visited the Club, a Pub and Maccas.  The food in Forbes is pretty good.  At Maccas it was interesting.  This is the first time that we have ever seen traffic lights at the entry/exit of MacDonalds.  Yes!  Can you believe that?!

Of course in most outback towns we have visited, the Town Hall is usually the best building in town.  Forbes is no exception, in fact the Town Hall was pretty impressive, as was the beautiful park across the road.



Bushranger Country.

Yes Forbes and a little town just 25 minutes to the east called Eugowra were Bushranger country.

We visited Eugowra as it is listed as the town of Murials.  And it is!  There is a murial on buildings everywhere you turn.  It wasn't long before we learn't that it is also where a notorious bushranger  and his gang held up a stage coach.  This went down in history for being the largest hoist of gold ever in Australian history at Eugowra Rocks.

Bushranger Ben Hall was well known in history for being the 'gentleman bushranger' because he avoided bloodshed.  Ben and fellow bushranger Frank Gardiner founded the Gardiner's Gang.   We drove just out of town to see  Escort Rock where the gang hid in the rocks before holding up the stage coach.  

It is interesting also to note that Ben Hall quite often just wanted to outrun the authorities.  For example, in a raid on a hotel at Canowindra, they didn't steel any loot but took the townspeople and police constable hostange for 3 days and hosted a massive party for the hostages with a feast and drink at the Gang's expense.  

May 5th, 1865 at Billabong Creek near Forbes, the police finally ambushed Hall and shot him over 30 times.  He died at the young age of 27.

Check out the many murials of Eugowra.  A local told us that there are a group of signwriters that come here every year and touch them up and create more.  This has been happening for the past 10 years or so.  We love finding these 'off the beaten path' gems of towns that need to be more recognised. 



We discovered that Ben Hall was buried at the Forbes Graveyard, so we drove there and wandered around.  Here, there is a mixture of old and new graves.  I quite enjoy a stroll around an old graveyard, reading and contimplating on some of the grave stones.  Here, there were a lot of people that died very young, a symbol of the difficult, harsh life in the country a long time ago.

We found Ben Hall's grave.  He must have been a small man.  Also some others close by that we assume may have been close relatives or friends.  We also saw some very old graves and the new with the old.

We also discovered the grave of Kate Foster, nee Kelly.  Yep, we found the grave of Ned Kelly's young sister Kate, who also died at a young age of 36.  The Kelly's had a harsh existance.  Kate fiercely defended Ned Kelly and his gang.  It is rumoured that Kate had her first baby at 14yrs old to a copper named Fitzpatrick who attended the Kelly home drunk and unanounced and demanded that Kate serve him dinner and then assulted her.  Her mother brought up the baby.  That is where the Kelly gang developed a hate for authority.  

Eventually a friend invited Kate to Forbes where she worked as a housekeeper and eventually married 'Bricky' Foster.  She was not coping with 4 children and developed depression.  She visited a neighbour and asked would she look after her children.  Eight days later she was found drowned in a lagoon near Forbes.



I love swampland, especially when it has boardwalks over the water.  It's usually where you find an array of wildlife, especially birds.

Gum Swamp just out of town was nice to visit.  Although it did not have boardwalks over the water, it did have bird hides.  That is wooden buildings over the water where us humans can hide and view the natural habitat.  

I really enjoyed this and I could have stayed longer.  There was also a big Goanna Sculpture here which aparently is part of the Sculpture Trail.  It is named Varanus which has something to do with the indiginous people of the area as their Totum and food.






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