26th May 2019–Back to Bourke

Distance: 25km
Fuel: 30L

I was late getting up however it was still before 6.45am but I was lucky to find a free shower – there are only two, so you need to get there very early or very late.

Had breakfast and lazed about until 9am when I set off for the tourist information office, as usual the girl was very helpful and marked all the points of interest on a town map for me.

The tourist information office is part of the Back O’Bourke complex – anyway I paid my $21 (concession) to see the complex. It is right up there with the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Waltzing Matilda Centre as one of those places you definitely don’t need to visit twice.

Back O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'Bourke - Drought in the billabongBack O'BourkeBack O'Bourke

After an hour wandering round the Back O’Bourke I headed for North Bourke to look at the first Lift Bridge in NSW. Now no longer used – it has been bypassed by modern bridges and it took a bit of off-roading to get to it.

North Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift Bridge.

As you can see it was a ‘pick a plank’ bridge.

Next I tried to find the paddle steamer wreck on the bank of the Darling River, didn’t find it at all but I didn’t really know what I was looking for even though with the river very low it should have been visible. Anyway after wandering up and down the river bank I gave up and drove to Bourke wharf and the ‘historic’ Crossley diesel engine.

Bourke Crossley EngineBourke Crossley EngineBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke Wharf

The wharf is a relic from the days of good water and the paddle steamers plying their trade up and down the Murray Darling river system. Today the area is on level five water restrictions and deep in drought with the Darling River very low and little or no flow.

After this I went to Bourke cemetery to visit the grave of Fred Hollows the eye surgeon – he was actually a Kiwi but loved Bourke and its people.

Bourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's Grave

Finally I found the Western Herald building the newspaper that author/poet Henry Lawson worked on when the editor at The Bulletin sent him  to Bourke to sober up.

Bourke Western HeraldBourke Western Herald

Finally I drove around Bourke looking at some of the interesting buildings, visiting the supermarket and filling up with fuel ready for tomorrow’s departure.

BourkeBourkeBourkeBourke

The horse and carriage came round the caravan park in the late afternoon offering a tour of Bourke I would have gone but it was fully booked by the time it got to my site!

Not a bad day, the weather on this whole trip has been perfect, warm and sunny most days, not a drop of rain but tomorrow I am venturing into central NSW where it will be colder, probably not wet but cold at night. I should be home on Tuesday.

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