To quote from Wikipedia:
The Riverina is an agricultural region of south-western New South Wales, Australia. The Riverina is distinguished from other Australian regions by the combination of flat plains, warm to hot climate and an ample supply of water for irrigation. This combination has allowed the Riverina to develop into one of the most productive and agriculturally diverse areas of Australia. Bordered on the south by the state of Victoria and on the east by the Great Dividing Range, the Riverina covers those areas of New South Wales in the Murray and Murrumbidgee drainage zones to their confluence in the west.
Heading south on Goldfield’s Highway towards Temora.
I also did a sketch from memory of the white/silver fields which I had passed on the way to Temora. My AirBnB host told me that they were canola fields and the stubble had been burnt recently. So the fields were white ash!
Note: On Sunday I drove from Wagga to Henty to go to a friend’s church and on the drive home I saw the orange glow of some these field fires. See this article from a few years ago for more.
Back to the main street and I did a quick line sketch of those federation/arts & craft style buildings.
And of course another map. Unlike Parkes and Forbes (see here for more) the highway in Temora is the main street…
… so there is a constant flow of trucks (including cattle trucks and sheep trucks) driving past! Not particularly pleasant if you are sitting outside having a meal at one of the numerous cafes on the street.
Note: Generally this trip I’m not any morning sketching in the town where I stayed overnight. I’m trying to do all my sketches in the afternoon so that I can hit the road early the next day. But I made an exception on this occasion as I didn’t have a lot of driving to do.
Note: I often add some additional touches to my sketches later in the day. I find that it’s helpful to look at my sketch with fresh eyes when I’m no longer right infront of the scene. So often my on location photos (the hero shots as I call them) don’t represent the final version.
I had to stop at the Licorice and Chocolate Factory at Junee didn’t I?
Actually there was a great cafe as well (I had a very nice breakfast there) with lots of groups having brunch (possibly because it was Mothers Day weekend.)
Here are the two spreads from my short visit to Junee.
I spent the weekend in Wagga – a large regional town. The full name of the town is Wagga Wagga, but most people just call it Wagga.
The other important road trip I’ve done was in December 2006 with Esther Semmens (and my dad who was our driver!) We left Sydney on 25 Dec heading for Hay (a big driving day) and stopped for lunch at Wagga. I remember the big empty streets and had in my mind that Wagga’s main street was wide with lots of verandahs. This is a B&W photo from that day.
But in fact, Wagga’s main street is not very wide at all! My memory was all wrong!
I’m wiser now and have a much more accurate view of the design of main streets in NSW country towns. But still is it a nice town…
Surprisingly I went in search of a coffee (all the cafes seemed to close at 2:30pm) and left my book in the car.
I didn’t find a cafe (it was after 3pm) so I went straight to the river – the Murrumbigee River – which weaves its way through the town. This river is very important to the agriculture of this region – the Riverina – thanks to an elaborate system of canals which irrigate the area.
That night (Saturday night) I managed to get a last minute 1 hour slot at a top-rated Thai restaurant Thaigga. Going out for dinner is one of the hardest things about solo travel but it doesn’t bother me anymore. My sketchbook is my companion and I either sketch my food (which can often result in making new friends) or I finish off my pages. As I only had one hour I decided not to sketch my food… but I managed to get quite a lot of writing done.
BTW for those of you who are wondering, there is no COVID in these country areas so apart from QR code check ins and a few social distancing markers, life is normal. In the three weeks of my trip I have only seen three people wearing a mask.
On the Sunday I drove down to Henty to go to church and have lunch with friends there. It was wonderful but I took no photos. I’m now on a mission to find a few special timber bridges as that is my friend’s speciality.
I had a wonderful cafe breakfast. It was the best meal of the trip so far so I wish that I had sketched it – but I did my view down the street instead. I then checked out some of the older buildings in town and sketched the Presbyterian church.
Those of you who follow my stories on Instagram might have seen my visit to a fabric store when I was in Orange. For some reason there has not been any new stock of denim fabric since March last year and I was advised to check out the regional stores. In Wagga I visited Spotlight (nothing there) and Lincraft (wow! quite a selection) and I ended up with two lengths of dark denim (one blue, one black) which is exactly what I was wanting. Now I just have to get around to do some sewing when I get home. (If you don’t know I like to sew my own clothes but haven’t done much lately -some sewing articles here.)
I also found the layout of Wagga very interesting with two main street – one which relates to the river and the other connected to the railway station.
So all in all I had a lovely relaxed time in Wagga!
In the next phase of my trip I’m heading west towards Mildura. As I’m almost up to date (yay!) and have a busy week ahead (including a big driving day) my articles will be spaced out a little from now on.
If you have missed any of the previous articles you can find them all here.