I mentioned to Lesley that I would really like to go to Pensioners Hill in Gunnedah to see the heritage sculptures on our way through. A quick check of the distances made it clear that we could not afford the time, unless we stayed in Gunnedah for a night. Decision made and all packed up to head to Gunnedah. When driving off the ramp that levels the van on uneven ground, Lesley called out for me to come and have a look. What she wanted to show me was a lot of water pouring from our drinking water tank onto the ground. Nothing we could do about this at Lake Keepit – but it certainly needed attention sooner rather than later. A project for Gunnedah!
First stop in Gunnedah once again the information centre. The girl assisted us to find the new camping grounds that replaces the camping grounds in the showgrounds which had to be shut down. It turned out to be a very pleasant spot. Even included power for $12.00 a night. So I plug into the 240V outlet and connect the battery charger to the system. What is this? There certainly seems to be a problem with the Anderson plug with a bare cable lying loose in the boot.
Another problem to be investigated and fixed. Anyhow we stayed two nights in Gunnedah and managed to fix the drinking water tank problem as well as the problem with the Anderson plug. I must say I am quite pleased how I am managing to attend to the various problems, becoming a bit of a handy-man – a label that certainly would not have occurred to me prior to this trip. I think the days I spent with the Wamuran and District Men’s Shed helped me to gain confidence in tackling problems. They showed me how to investigate problems, eliminating one possibility at a time. If this fix does not fix the problem – lets have another look and perhaps a different approach will fix the problem. At WADMS there is no failure. Any fix that does not fix the problem is just considered a learning experience on the way to success. For many, fixing these type of problems might be a trivial thing. But for me, it is quite something. My background is in an office and being able to do handyman work is quite foreign to me. Once the problems were fixed, I even created a cover with plywood that will protect the Anderson plugs in the future.
We proceeded to the Pensioners Hill lookout. The hill has a history of having a shanty town here during the depression, hence its name.
The bricks flanking the entry gates were saved when the chimney that had stood here since 1915 had to be demolished due to safety concerns. The chimney had been part of a now abandoned coal mine.
Gunnedah has quite a history in coal mining. This sculpture celebrates the coal miners that have worked these mines since the 1880s, in terrible conditions in the early days. The miners staged the worlds longest stay-down strike, staying down in the mine for 56 days.
This is a statue for the memory of Gambu, Gunera, a famous chief of the aboriginals prior to the arrival of the Europeans. As well as his head, it depicts a Kangaroo. ‘Red Kangaroo’ was an other one of the names that Gambu Gunera was known by. You can also recognise a kookaburra, the Red Chief’s shield and boomerangs.
This one is dedicated to the Pioneer Woman. They ‘suffered great hardship, facing a harsh environment, loneliness and isolation. Despite the social restrictions of their time, they all left a lasting mark on this land.’
The view from the Pensioners Hill Gazebo is equally as impressive as from Porcupine Lookout. You can see many wheat silos, I think wheat is today’s major income source for the area. Indeed in the 1950s Gunnedah was the biggest wheat receiving town in Australia.
The campground is near the wheat silos on the right, with the railway lines to the left. There is quite a lot of activity through day and night on these railway tracks which might disturb a light sleeper. A few impressions of the silos across the road from the campground.
Although we spent quite a bit of our time fixing problems, I thoroughly enjoyed the time in Gunnedah. The heritage sculptures certainly brought the history of the town closer to us. Congratulations to the Rotary Club for providing such an outstanding visitor attraction. Of course the artists who are responsible for the sculptures, Carl Merten and Joan Relke, also need to be applauded.