Sunday, August 8, 2010
Gulgong - The Town on the Old Ten Dollar Bill
Our favourite was the large old crushing machine, which we all spent some time climbing. The central point of the park is a large spiral shaped structure to commemorate mining families in the region and the whole park is optimistically labeled as a mining museum.
It’s not like any museum I have seen before but it has two very great advantages; we could touch everything and be as noisy as we wanted. We explored all the little holes, tried all the levers and climbed over everything that seemed stable enough. We also discovered lots of sharp edged white quartz stones with shiny flecks on the ground.
It is a nice change from the usual playgrounds, even if it is rather burnt, damaged and rusty in places. It reminds me of the fun I used to have scouring the local rubbish dump with my dad in the days before work site safety made it illegal.
Gulgong has a lot to offer for such a small town of just over 2,000 people. It was apparently one of the last places where poor people could set up a camp and try their luck at gold mining and before that, it was home to a large aborigine tribe that named it “Deep water”.
Gulgong is probably most famous as the place where the poet Henry Lawson spent much of his childhood. Henry Lawson’s poems and short stories are a reminder of regional Australia in times past. He writes about every day life including a somber poem about his time in jail called “One hundred and three”. You can hear it on Youtube and it weaves an atmosphere that certainly fits with the visit I had to an old jail in the area.