RoadTrip2021: Tarana, O'Connell and the Fish River

April 27, 2021 | 8 Comments

A shorter article today containing the things we did on Day 4 after we left Lithgow.

I’m really thankful to have this photo taken by Chris while we were driving SW from Lithgow showing the beautiful golden colours of the poplar trees! This has been a very common scene over the last week.



After leaving Lithgow our first stop was the small village of Tarana – a few houses, a bend in the road, a hotel, a cafe and a historic train station. Here is the hotel (pub).

By the way I was calling this town Ta-rana, but a local told me it should be Taran-a. I know that is not the accurate phonetic way of describing the pronunciation but it helped me to think that way.


We went straight for Mumma Snow’s Country Kitchen and it was very nice! We shared a piece of lime cheesecake – yum!


We then went to check out the train station. It was cute but neither of us felt like sketching it.
Note: If I had been on my own I might have done a super quick sketch here in Tarana but sometimes it’s harder to sneak in a sketch when with a friend. However, other times having a friend is very handy….


Fish River

Shortly after we had driven away from Tarana, Chris started exclaiming about a beautiful river we were passing. As the driver I wasn’t aware of it. So when there was picnic area nearby we stopped and we were able to sketch it. Without Chris I would have totally missed out on this!

Turns out that it was the Fish River – very important as this is where the first gold was discovered.


Very beautiful but quite challenging to sketch – well for me anyway!


Rather than a view looking up or down the river, I just looked across and did a small section. I then did two thumbnails of the other views. Once again, while doing a landscape, I struggled a little with the paper. (This is a recurring theme of the week!)

Next stop was another little village – O’Connell with another great cafe. I did a few colour tests (not a serious sketch) for my red pigments (in anticipation of the next day’s itinerary) and a quick sketch of our half-burger.



I think O’Connell is even less of a village than Tarana – we were out of it before we realised! But it does have some impressive historic buildings. The lovely owner of the O’Connell Avenue Cafe and Store told us about a few places we should check out to sketch.


The most obvious to visit first was this church right across the road from the cafe. 


However, it appeared to be private property – so no sketch!


So we then drove up the road to a barn (with lots of rust) and even more significantly with historic earth walls. Super interesting – here is more about this building: Lindlegreen Cob Barn.

Note: If you haven’t already realised I’m getting pretty excited about all the history of my state that I’m picking up during this trip.


Here is my sketch and photo at the time.


Here is the finished spread with text and a little more done to the background.


We also wanted to check out the old bakery in O’Connell and we were very happy that I could park the car right in front of it so we could remain in warm. We were both very cold after sitting outside for the barn sketch.


Sketching in the driver’s seat was tricky… there were some lines that I just couldn’t draw properly!


A few photos in the lovely afternoon sun….


… and the adjacent hotel which I did a super quick sketch of.


The finished spread showing a map of O’Connell. To be fair I’m sure that O’Connell refers to a locality, not just the few buildings shown on this map.

Another great day!


  • Peggy Bowman says:

    Liz, it looks like you and Chris have had lovely weather for your road trip; I’m enjoying your trip vicariously. Rich and I had to cancel our 3+ month trip to Australia when the pandemic hit, so it’s fun to see it through your eyes. I really like your Fish River sketch and will be curious to hear what you didn’t like about the Moleskine paper. It’s the sketchbook I’m using at the moment, and I know it doesn’t behave like watercolor CP (NOT) paper I’m used to using. Travel safe; make lots of memories!

  • P.Daniel Ryan says:

    Hi Liz I’m new to your blog. I really like the fact that you sketch with a fountain pen and then use watercolor wash. I use a similar method and materials.I just read your blog and enjoyed it very much. Thank you

  • Jamie C says:

    I’m loving learning and seeing the history of your state! Your sketches are fabulously capturing it all, especially the feelings and moments! Those stream sketches are so lovely! It’s on my list to start leaning to paint water scenes so I love seeing how others do I!

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