Wednesday 2 March 2016

Gundagai, Wagga Wagga and an old Brewery

Gundagai, what a cool name, it's got gun in it and dagai! 
When we arrived in Gundagai we drove up a hill to look out over the small town. Interestingly there is a long bridge over the top of grassland. Turns out the original town was placed on the same level the bridge was over and during a big flood it got washed away!
Within the Information Centre is a "Marble Master
piece" which is a minature building made up of 20,948 individual pieces of marble. This Marble Masterpiece was constructed by a bloke named Frank Rusconi, he was born in Aus, then as a young fella shipped over to Switzerland, begun work in Italy in the marble trade then eventually returned to Australia to prove there was a great marble industry here too. There is also a statue of "Dad and Dave, Mum and Mabel" which is from an old Aussie radio show.
We continued on to Wagga Wagga, where we discovered the Gumi (Goo-me) Races were on. Gumi's are rafts constructed by the entrants, the means of floatation must be at least 80% inflatable inner tubes and they must be manually propelled. The race commences from a bridge in town and finishes at the "Wagga Beach" where market like festivities take place. There are also several different classes. We watched a few of these races and it was interesting to see the variety of Gumi's entering the race. Some had fallen to peices before reaching the finish line, others powered on with fit young military boys peddling away and some others were equipped with water cannons to blast the onlookers with water.
We decided we'd check out some more of Wagga Wagga and headed over to the RAAF museum. This place is free to get into and also has some cool old planes sitting out front. Wagga Wagga has a very rich military background and the aviation side of it is awesome. The bloke who greeted us here was heaps enthusiastic and was ex RAAF. Plenty of info on the both world wars could be found inside, however my favourite story was one about a fellow who landed two planes. Something happened and one plane crashed down into another in the air, everyone bailed out and parachuted to safety (allegedly one of the parachutist's harness fell off, but he grabbed it "by the ropes" and landed safely!) the bloke still on board managed to land the two planes in a nearby feild. The locals saw this feat as heroic, however the RAAF disciplined him. The airman went on to fight in both world wars, but sadly lost his life when he was cycling to work one day and he ended up beneath a bus. I just love all aspects of this story! Be a bad arse, kick enemy butt, and live every day like it's your oh shit, BUS!
Before moving on from Wagga Wagga we decided to check out the Botanic Gardens. Another free place to wonder around, the gardens have a variety of lovely plants and also a little zoo. I was quite fascinated with there varied collection of birds, in particular their pheasents. Jeni loved the rose gardens. Gotta admit they did smell nice. There is also a mini train and little train stations, museum and cafe at the gardens, however they were not open during our visiting times.

After leaving Wagga Wagga we found this interesting looking old Brewery, called Lincoln's Oakbank Brewery, in a town called Narrandera. A collection of birds could be seen atop the place nesting and watching over passerbys. It appears as though some construction is happening here and will be interesting to see what happens with the place in the future.

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