• Sam Wilson

NSW Road Trip

2000kms in 6 days - oh, and over 200 photos taken!

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? As it was time for a trip out west to see my family, I decided to make it a photography road trip as well.

Being from the coast with beaches everywhere, this trip had to have a different focus. So, having done a bit of research I realised there were some treasures to be found in the form of murals, sculptures and silo art.

Sculpture amazing Forbes NSW Australia
One of the 'amazing' sculptures between Forbes and Condobolin

The search was on to find and photograph these treasures along the way.

First up the search was centred around silo art but I quickly realised in NSW these are spread fairly widely apart so was never going to get to more than 2 or 3 in my allocated time of 6 days.

So, upon more research I discovered that there were a couple of towns celebrating their region with murals and sculptures.

This is not normally my photography subject so I decided that this could form a project of itself.

Eugowra hotel
Gotta love a good country pub - Eugowra - bet it has some stories to tell

This year I have given myself the challenge to learn more about black and white photography so thought this could be the perfect opportunity to gather some photos to tuck away for future learning. You probably won't see any results of this for a while, but let's just say I got plenty of images to practice on.

Also, as I’ve said before, not every image or trip has to be focussed on capturing what I call ‘portfolio’ images. There’s so much joy to be had in travel photography and documenting your travels.

I do really enjoy taking that journey - yes, with specific locations or photos in mind - but also capturing the beauty of what artists have created purely for others travelling the same path to enjoy.

Heart Of Country sculpture Forbes
'Heart Of Country'

'Heart Of Country' - this sculpture explores notions of strength, vulnerability and connection. the figure's bold stance and keen focus cuts a potent and deadly impression, whilst making the inescapable suggestion that he is searching for something unseen, lost along the way, relegated to the past. This work is an attempt to acknowledge the injustices endured by the Wiradjuri people, whilst also standing as testament to the collective resilience and determination of all indigenous Australians, and their profoundly spiritual connection with the land. this sculpture was designed through consultation with representatives of the people of the Wiradjuri Nation. Damtan Vick - Sculptor - 2020

The above is an excerpt from the plaque next to this sculpture and there is a plaque for each of them to help visitors understand the significance and meaning behind each one.

First up was mapping out my journey with this in mind, so good old Google Maps came into play here. I've recently heard about Google MyMaps and plan to try this out. Would love to hear if you've tried this and if you have any thoughts on it.

Map of road trip from Lisarow to Condobolin via Orange, Eugowra, Parkes, Dubbo, Dunedoo and Merriwa
Don't be deceived - while this says 1171km, by the time I got home it was just over 2000km - adventures!

It’s so nice to see so many initiatives to help small regional communities bring their towns to life. The sculptures I've shown above were made possible by one such initiative between the Forbes Art Society, Lachlan Shire Council and the NSW Government support which created the journey they call 'down the Lachlan'. For more details head to their website here - sculpturedownthelachlan.com.

Mural in Eugowra with kangaroo and native flora and fauna
Eugowra - village of murals - this little village now has over 30 with more planned

Back to the town where I was born and where I still have family to visit. One of the things I always think of is the red, red dirt, and during a dust storm that just infiltrates everything!

Anyhoo, it was so lovely to see it looking so green

This will now be mostly a photo blog from here on in - truly hope it inspires you at least a little bit to get out and explore something different - I had a ball in case you can’t tell.

On to Condobolin and time to photograph their unique artworks - 'Utes In The Paddock'.

It was such a perfect blue day that worked so perfectly with the red dirt - very fitting for our Aussie Vegemite I thought.

The good old Drizabone and Akubra Hat - didn’t this bring back some memories

Once again each sculpture has its own plaque talking about the reason behind the design and the artist. I also am now in the habit of taking a photo of these as I go for later reference - in these times of digital photos it seems like a no brainer.

FYI - there is one blank ute on display just waiting for an artist to make it their own, so if you're interested, or know someone - check it out!

So after a few lovely days with my family, oh and visiting the Dish in Parkes, it was time to hit the road again.

Parkes Observatory, also known as The Dish
'The Dish' in Parkes

The Parkes Observatory is a radio telescope observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. It was one of several radio antennae used to receive live television images of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969 - info thanks to Wikipedia

A little side family story - I went there with my aunt and uncle after telling them I was going there so we went as a family. My aunt said she'd never been there, to which my uncle piped up and said 'yes you have'. Anyhoo, when we got there, my uncle tells me it was probably around 1965 they went there - no wonder my aunt didn't remember - it was over 50 years ago!

Paddock in NSW
A stop along the way, which can explain how a 3hr drive can easily become 5 or 6.

Accommodation in Dubbo - now I'm not going to turn into one of those blog pages that just plug businesses for freebies, but I will share when I’ve had a positive experience.

This was the place I ended up in Dubbo. As recommended by my lovely aunt in Condo, I stayed at the Cattleman’s Country Motor Inn - it was very reasonably priced and I somehow was allocated a 2 bedroom apartment at the back of the complex, so super quiet and had lovely views over a walking track across the road.

Don't Mind If I Do

As much as I loved visiting my family, I do live alone, so it was heaven for me to have this retreat for the afternoon and evening. I got to just chill and even ordered an amazing room service dinner for again a very reasonable price.

Mural at Dunedoo, NSW
Gotta love Aussie humour

Silo Art Dunedoo
Here's the real treat to be found at Dunedoo

This silo at Dunedoo actually had three sides painted with completely different scenes - this was just my favourite. So get yourself out there exploring some of these incredibly creative art.

Side note - I did learn on this trip that to be painted, the silos have to be non-operational - just an fyi.

I wanted to break the trip up a bit more and do some exploring on my own so booked into a lovely motel in Mudgee and because I booked last minute I was allocated the Privates Retreat - talk about spoilt!

Just across the road from a pub that had fabulous food for dinner and less than a 5min walk into the shopping for some serious retail therapy.

You may have noticed my fancy new glass - plastic so perfect for travel and a lovely gift from my aunt.

After soaking up all that wonderful rest it was time to head home via one last silo at Merriwa. Here Google Maps did let me down by taking me to the back of said silo with no art. Thankfully the road signs on the road through the town (after grabbing a much needed coffee) led the way.

Then it was a straight 3hr drive home to see my girls (3 cats that I haven't mentioned in a while).

As much as I love my travel and photography adventures, it's always good to be home again.

That’s it for now -

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