Thursday, 26 November 2009

Gundagai to Cowra

November 22

You get the impression that, since the highway bypass went in, few travellers stop in Gundagai. But everyone in Australia knows of the town because it features in a well-known ballad about a dog left to guard his master's tuckerbox (provisions). The master dies but the faithful, or possibly stupid, dog refuses to leave its post and also dies, still guarding the tuckerbox "five miles from Gundagai", as the song records.

There's a statue commemorating the dog at the appropriate distance from town, conveniently beside the highway. Around it is a clutter of signs, fast food outlets and other junk, including a plaque giving a different (and much more tacky) story about the dog. I prefer the one I was told. As you can see, it's hardly a great work of art.

Go to Gundagai for its lovely trestle bridges, and forget the dog!

We reached the large town of Cowra around midday. It has a leafy, grassy caravan park beside the river, where we settled in. In the amenities were signs so garbled with government-speak that it was hard to grasp what they were saying.

How exactly do they "improvise the health of their water resources"?

Late in the afternoon, a group of five young French speakers arrived and set up their tents so close to us that we actually moved our van a little further away. We were expecting to be kept awake by them, but they turned in early and were gone before we woke up. On the other hand, some grey nomads much further away partied loudly till the small hours.

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