Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Start of the Tin Horse Highway at Kulin

Play Horse Statue

Bucking Horse

Ben Horse

Rocking Horse

Sylvia's comments 29 Dec 2006

Jeff decided to have his shower this morning and after laughing at me with all the creepy crawlers the night before he headed off armed with an insect spray. He came back a little while later saying that had not been one of his best ideas as after having sprayed the shower he then was left with all the fumes from the spray. Serves him right for being a wimp.

Once we had packed up we had to return the key for the ablutions block to the Shire Office, which was next to the Telecentre , where you can get internet access. Like at Hyden it was closed for the holiday period. Our next stop was a town called Kulin which is in the heart of the Wheatbelt area. It is also famous now for the town that has the 'Tin Horse Highway. This outback highway passes the local bush race course and as a way to promote the annual Kulin Bush Races held in October a few tin horse sculptures appeared along the edge of the road. The idea caught on and very soon there was an unofficial competition by the local farmers to become more creative and imaganitive with their sculptures. Farmers are usually able to put their hands on old pieces of pipes, metal, oil drums and old farming implements which would otherwise be just left lying around but their ability to turn them into 'works of art' shows creativity. Some of them are very simple, others quite elaborate whilst some are rather tongue in cheek, such as the horse tennis player called Fillypoosis. We took pictures of 35 'horsy' sculptures before our battery ran out, and there was still a few more we were not able to get.

Having got to the area where the race track is we turned round to head back into town and had covered a couple of kilometres when the navigator pronounced we were going the wrong way. The driver looked at the map and agreed so we turned around and retraced our steps only to discover we were wrong, we did have to go back to Kulin first. There was about half an hour of silence in the van, well the map was upside down and that is my excuse.

Our next stop was at a town called Wickepin where we took a refreshment break. Western Australia promotes a scheme whereby they encourage drivers to take regular breaks on long journeys by offering a free coffee to the driver at rest stops. The local café had the sign displayed out front so we called in. Our guide book informed us that the town was the homestead of the Australian author, Albert Facey who wrote a best selling autobiography 'A Fortunate Life', a story of the life he led. His father died when he was 2 and he was deserted by his mother soon after. His grandmother brought him up and at the age of 8 he started work. He taught himself to read and write and kept notes of his life and experiences which his children urged him to submit to a publisher. His book was published, nine months before he died, to critical acclaim and is now an Australian Classic having sold over 750,000 copies. That figure now needs to be altered to include the copy we bought. His former homestead has been moved into the main street of the town and restored to reflect his life and times.

After finishing our coffee we walked across the road to the house to view it to find it closed, however a notice on the door said that if you had travelled a long distance to view the house you could obtain the key from the café. Well Scotland is a fair distance, so we returned to the café and collected the key. It was an interesting house and demonstrated both the poverty of the early pioneers as well as their inventiveness. In the bedroom was a chest of drawers made out of a packing case as a frame and oil cans (with the top cut off) as drawers.

After this break it was back to the van and onward to our resting place for the night a small town called Boddington. To reach it we had to leave the main roads and travel on the minor roads as we cut across country. We passed through some really nice countryside including passing Ye Olde English Pub. Jeff suggested we stop but I would rather see the Aussie pubs, so how about that we passed a pub!

We reached our destination, found the campsite and went to check in. We got talking to Dot in her office and discovered her husband, Ken Rhodes, had lived in a small village called Scarsbrick which was not far from where I was brought up. She called him to meet us. On further discussion we leant he went to Ormskirk Grammar School at around the same time as two of my cousins and then attended Southport Tech, my old college. You come half way around the world to find someone from the same area as your self. He even followed Burscough Football Club and brought up their web page for me to see. It was like all our yesterdays gazing at the football stand which is just the same as the last time I saw it over 40 years ago. He really is a Southport supporter but we won't hold that against them. We had a long chat about various places around the area before we settled into our site. We were right on the river bank and had some nice views of the black swans.

We now had to sort out a problem that we discovered at lunch time. When we went to make a coffee the gas did not work, we had used up one bottle and needed to switch to the next. When Jeff did this it still did not work so we decided to leave it and look at it later. Jeff now went out to have a look at what might be the problem and try a few things out. There must be something about messing about with the workings of vans etc that attracts other campers (thank goodness) and a gentleman in the caravan behind us came over to lend assistance. In doing so a small blob of yellow gunge came out of the pipe and he recognised this as being a result of some dodgy gas that was going about. He had read an article about this in a caravan magazine which described how this caused regulators to be blocked and that we may need a new one. It is now after 6pm on the Friday before New Year, there will be no possibility of getting it fixed till after the holiday. At least we are on a powered site so do not require any gas tonight.

We had our tea and then went for a walk along the river bank before settling down for the night.

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