North by North West travel blog

Lunch at Cassilis Ridge

Cassilis ridge stopover

Site at Gulgong

We ended up in Gulgong this evening. Tried Cassilis, backed into a site there but after looking around at the piles of junk stopping people from using the other sites we decided to move on. The little town has gone even further downhill since our last visit unfortunately, used to be a small Cafe next to the police station but that has closed now. Very sad to see such a pretty little place looking so neglected.

We stopped at Cassilis Ridge free camp for lunch. Thought there may be a nice spot to spend the night but as the name suggests its on the top of a hill and all through lunch all we could hear were trucks climbing the hill in each direction, then the exhaust brakes as they descend the other side. But plenty stay there and unlike us seem oblivious of the highway noise.

Its not a bad drive from Hexham along the Golden Hwy, very scenic if a few curves and only a few hills worth dropping back a gear for.

Next stop was Gulgong where we decided to stop. The old tired rundown Henry Lawson Van park has been taken over by a younger and very enthusiastic chap who though he has only been there a month has made major improvements, temporary amenities blocks while the old ones, that from memory, were in a sad way are replaced, he apologised for having relocatables but we said we were not worried as we had our own, he has big plans for improvements. $22 a night drive through site. Gulgong is the town off the old $10 note and is very photogenic.

I guess as this is the home of the Henry Lawson Society I should recite a few lines;

Ah, well! but the case seems hopeless, and the pen might write in vain;

The people gabble of old things over and over again.

For the sake of the sleek importer we slave with the pick and the shears,

While hundreds of boys in Australia long to be engineers.

A new generation has risen under Australian skies,

Boys with the light of genius deep in their dreamy eyes —

Not as of artists or poets with their vain imaginings,

But born to be thinkers and doers, and makers of wonderful things.

Born to be builders of vessels in the Harbours of Waste and Loss,

That shall carry our goods to the nations, flying the Southern Cross;

And fleets that shall guard our seaboard — while the East is backed by the Jews —

Under Australian captains, and manned by Australian crews.

Boys who are slight and quiet, but boys who are strong and true,

Dreaming of great inventions — always of something new;

With brains untrammelled by training, but quick where reason directs —

Boys with imagination and unclouded intellects.

They long for the crank and the belting, the gear and the whirring wheel,

The stamp of the giant hammer, the glint of the polished steel.

For the mould and the vice and the lathe — they are boys who long for the keys

To the doors of the world's Mechanics and Science's mysteries.

They would be makers of fabrics, of cloth for the continents —

Makers of mighty engines and delicate instruments;

It is they who would set fair cities on the western plains far out,

They who would garden the deserts — it is they who would conquer the drought!

They see the dykes to the skyline, where a dust-waste blazes to-day,

And they hear the lap of the waters on the miles of sand and clay;

They see the rainfall increasing, and the boundless sweeps of grass,

And all the year on the rivers the strings of barges pass.

But still the steamers sail out with our timber and wool and gold,

And back with the costly shoddy stacked high in the foreign hold;

With the cardboard boots for our leather; and the Brummagem goods and the slops

For stunted and white-faced Australians to sell in our sordid shops.

Moving on to Blayney tomorrow.

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