Even though I felt as if I was in the middle of nowhere, the Newell Highway is an important route connecting Melbourne in the south and Rockhampton in North Queensland. So I saw a lot of trucks as I drove along this road.
The week before I had driven on a little section of this road – from Dubbo down to Peak Hill to visit an open cut gold mine – see here for more details.
Parkes and The Dish
Aside: I really wanted to go to Trundle (another 30-45min drive north west) to see one of the widest streets in the state, but it was just too hard for me to fit in. Generally I’m trying to limit my driving to under 2 hours per day – so adding over an hour to my route for this day was not an option!
There was an interesting free display area and after another sketch I decided to hit the road.
I stopped at a viewing spot on the way out for another sketch… and got excited when the dish started to move. Ah! what I pity I hadn’t waited around for another 15 minutes… it would have been great to have been right next to it when it moved.
Super quick sketch while watching it rotate significantly and then I headed to Parkes. This town was named after an important Premier of our state.
Here is the statue of Sir Henry Parkes on one intersection of the main street. I’m always interested to see the location of the signature photo of a place. Sir Henry’s photo was in all the literature I looked at for Parkes.
I had one more town to explore that day (Thursday) so after a quick lunch I headed south (25minutes drive) to Forbes. There are quite a few grand buildings in Forbes….
And at the time I didn’t add watercolour (it’s a little hard to comfortably paint when sitting in the driver’s seat), I photographed my line drawing and asked on Instagram whether I should add colour.
At the top there is my sketch of the JimmyB Courthouse. It was really fun to sketch this as there were two groups of people waiting in the park opposite for court case outcomes and there were lawyers coming and going.
One of Forbes’ claims to fame is connections to the bushranger Ben Hall. The lady in the Visitor Info Centre offered to take a photo of me with this statue… but really, that would not quite be my thing. (A photo with a statue of James Barnet on the other hand….)
I did however visit the local cemetery and the grave of Ben Hall, and Ned Kelly‘s sister. Neither were interesting enough to sketch…
I also did a quick sketch of the main shopping street and enjoyed drawing a map of Forbes.
Both Forbes and Parkes have the highway bypass the main street. However in Forbes there was a grand wide main street with some big buildings on it, and then a secondary street containing all the shops. In Parkes the main street contained the shops but there was a secondary street, at a higher level containing the larger buildings (including the courthouse).
I’m really interested in comparing the layouts of all the different towns I’m visiting, and for this trip, doing a quick map is the best way to document this.
On the next day (Friday) I continued my journey south on the Newell Highway to West Wyalong. This town had another fascinating main street and an information panel on the pavement (sidewalk) mentioned that the bend in the road was due to the ‘insecure tenures issued under the Mining Act’. I would have liked a little more information about this… but at least I know that it’s mining-related!
I also had a number of lovely conversations with locals who were walking past.
When I was 19 we went on a family holiday – a road trip through NSW and Victoria. I filled one or two A3 sheets each day with little sketches of the crazy things we did. (You can see some of the pages here). I remember that at this park there were lion shaped garbage bins and that my sister and I had to pose for our dad so that he could take some photos of us disposing of our rubbish.
Naturally, I was super happy that there were still two lions in the park – no longer used as bins – and of course I had to sketch one of them.
Before heading on south to my next destination, I visited the older part of town (Wyalong). Here there was an old courthouse (now museum) but as it was designed by Walter Vernon I didn’t bother to sketch it!