RoadTrip2021: Half a day in Hay and a historic bridge

May 17, 2021 | 2 Comments

Before leaving Griffith I had to visit another popular eating establishment – Limone – and once again I had a very social visit. Not only did I speak to the staff and owner (plus one of the owner’s friends) but a woman I had met the night before walked in. “Hi Liz, this is my husband. He wanted to meet you last night (and invite you to have dinner with us) but I told him not to disturb you.” Also, just like everyone else I had met in Griffith, the owner had Veneto connections!

Great omelette and the coffee was the best of the trip. The cup felt really Italian to me (similar to ones I drank out of in Italy), so once again I felt as if I had a mini trip to Italy.


My journey west continued and once again it was a flat and straight drive. However this time most of the drive towards Hay was across a saltbush plain which meant that there were very few trees! The reason for this is that the rainfall is not enough and/or the soil does not contain enough moisture to sustain trees or large shrubs.


Carrathool Bridge

I took a minor detour to visit a historic timber bridge at Carrathool. My friend Aimee  (who I had spent the day with in Henty) is a timber bridge expert and as a result of a brief bridge conversation I added three bridges to my ‘must-sketch’ itinerary.


This was a lovely challenge and I learnt about Allan trusses while doing it.


Here is the final version.



On arrival in Hay, I visited the Visitor Info Centre (and worked out if there were any JimmyB buildings in town) and then had a quick lunch before heading to the main attraction in town – Shear Outback.


I arrived just in time to see a sheep shearing demo…


… and managed a few quick sketches. Mike (or was it Mick?) was a real character and it was interesting to hear about what a hard job it is to be a shearer and how there is a real shortage of them in Australia.


I then tried to sketch the shearing shed from outside but was attacked by flies and had a few interesting onlookers!


I also did a few quick sketches inside the museum!


This is a classic Australian view – with sheep, dry grass, water tank and windmill.


Just outside Shear Outback was a truck stop… and I was excited that there was a road train parked!

Over the last week I have seen a few road trains each day (the most I counted was 5), but apart from the empty one in Narromine (see here) I have not been behind one ie. I have not needed to overtake one. Thankful for that!


Okay… time for some JimmyB (James Barnet) buildings. In Hay he designed the Post Office and the Gaol.


Here are my two sketches of these buildings… plus a map of the town. Once again the Murrumbidgee River featured…


… so I had to go and take a photo of it.


The last photo in town that I took was of the courthouse. This was designed by Walter Vernon (if you haven’t already realised nearly all NSW courthouses were designed by either Barnet or Vernon – or both). This is a really interesting building but it was late in the day so no sketch of it this time.


Mouse Plague?

Before I share my last adventure in Hay with you I need to add a little note about the current terrible mouse plague in NSW (see this article for more).

I’ve been travelling through areas that currently have lots of mice. I have spoken to locals about them, heard of the constant demand for mouse traps, met a couple who had mice in their  campervan and heard of mice chewing through cables in a car engine (I can’t remember exactly what cables but they were difficult to replace).

But apart from a little scratching in the walls one night (I was staying in a room next to a garage) I have not come across any. Another thing to be thankful for!

My heart goes out to all the communities that are struggling with them at the moment.


Hay Sunset

One of the most important places I wanted to visit this trip was the Sunset Viewing area 17km north of Hay. I took Esther Semmens here on our road trip in 2006 (I wanted to show her nothing) so it was fun to revisit this spot.


My memory of my first visit to this spot was that it was a bit of a joke. All it was was a sign by the road at a totally arbitrary location.

But since then there is a platform with some chairs and a table (photo later). I also realised this time that this spot was indeed in a reasonable location. It was not until 17km north  of town that the trees disappeared leaving nothing but the saltbush and grasses of the Hay Plain. 


I tried to sketch but it was hard going – the sun was in my eyes so I couldn’t really see what I was doing.


But it was fun and this page in my sketchbook makes me very happy because it’s a great record of the event and location. I’ve realised that I really love the Hay Plain! (More about this in the next article.)


A few sunset photos…


I love the different colours in this ‘nothing landscape’


Not many clouds on this day… but that made the remoteness feel even more impressive.

Well apart from the fact that there were two other groups there!


Here is the table and chairs at the spot. This was the last photo I took (10 minutes after the sun dropped below the horizon) before jumping in the car and driving back into town before it was dark. Thankfully no sign of kangaroos or emus!

I had such a great afternoon in Hay… but the biggest day of my trip was coming up next!


  • Liz, I am thoroughly enjoying your sketchbook journal of your trip in NSW. I look forward to reading it every morning that you post. It’s a nice reprieve from today’s politics and is a bright spot in my day. I also realized that I could do the same thing in my area of rural USA. There are many quirky little buildings and interesting scenes in the area that I drive past without a thought. Thank you for sharing your sketches, thoughts, and inspirations.

  • alexandra sirugue-macleod says:

    Hello Liz, just wanted to say “Thank You!” for sharing your trip, wonderful sketches and anecdotes with us!
    I don’t know how you do it all and I apologize for not taking a minute to comment more often but I’m a faithful fan and truly appreciate your art and your voice!!

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