The Tourist Info Centre gave us a brochure full of Mud Maps for the area and today we decided to use them, they were great. The first one we used was to the Fort Bourke Stockade, although the original stockade has been destroyed, probably washed away by floods there is still an old smaller one there. On the way back we stopped at the cemetery which is divided into religious sections like Catholic, Presbyterian, unsectarian then ethnic sections – Chinese and Afghan.
Map 2 was to the Historical Lock & Weir, the only lock on the Darling River … the lock doesn’t function these days.
We went back into town after that for some refreshments and we saw people coming to the shed beside the cafe. They were waiting for an old Crossley 2 cylinder diesel engine to be started up. It was enormous and I expected great thumping to come from it but that wasn’t the case, it just made a gently whooof, whooof, whooof sound. It’s first job was power generation in Sydney 1923 -1938 and it’s last job pumping for irrigation until 1964.
After that we did the walking Mud Map to see the historic buildings of Bourke. There are lots of impressive old buildings in excellent condition but my favourite is the one designed by …… which incorporates very clever passive cooling, perfect for the Bourke climate.
We still hadn’t had enough of the Mud Maps so then we did the Wharf River Walk, which wasn’t a walk but a drive and as we came back towards “home” we took a track down to the old bridge just in time to see the sidewheeler, Jandara, heading away from the bridge back to its mooring near the Caravan Park. There was plenty of time for us to get back there to see it coming in to dock.
Tomorrow we are starting the “River Run” a series of dirt roads that follow the River Darling from Bourke to Wentworth. We intend stopping overnight at Tilpa, Menindie then Wentworth and are not sure about internet access at either of the first two.