Thursday, June 25, 2009

Country Dreaming

One of the most overlooked parts of the Newcastle & the Hunter Valley is the rich country atmosphere that is right under our noses. While most of the time we look at our wonderful beaches, our bustling port, the coal industry & our exquisite wineries, it is easy to miss that this area was founded on the farming communities, communities that continue to thrive even today.

Tillegra Dam not withstanding.

So once again I packed the old 400D, some sandwiches & during my meal breaks travelled around some of the rural communities located alongside the New England Highway, to the villages of Lochinvar, Greta, Luskintyre, Oswald, Windermere, Aberglasslyn & Oakhampton. It was as at Oakhampton, located near Maitland, where I visited the historic Walka Water Works. This outstanding ornate industrial building was completed in 1887 to serve the growing water needs of Newcastle & the Hunter Valley & remained operational till 1929. Then from 1951 it had another life as a power station, till that was shut down in1978. It's history & archetecture is a real joy to be admired & another example of the making industrial buildings a work of art & not just functional.

Also located near to the Walka Water Works is the historic Oakhampton cemetery. A
comtemplative walk around this picturesque old cemetery (located on the banks of the Hunter River), gives a real insight into how hard life was for those early pioneers, especially given the amount of graves of infants & mothers who died during childbirth. This was a hard life for those who struggled tilling the soil & raising a family.

So if it's history, solitude or observing outstanding natural beauty, grab your camera & take a trip to some of the quaintest areas of NSW.

You and I, country dreamer,
when there's nothing else to do;
Me oh my, country dreamer,
make a country dream come true.

(Paul McCartney - 'Country Dreamer')

No comments: