MEMORIES OF MOLONG

There's quite a story involved in this post and not so many photos but you know what they say about changes and holidays!

Some time back, I planned a fairly long camping holiday, which I called my '70th Birthday Bash' (you will find that post here.) The trip had to be canned after just a couple of days, due to unforeseen issues but, in planning my itinerary for that trip, I had decided to spend a bit of time exploring the area around Molong, a town of similar size to Grenfell and around 100 kms north of here. Though I didn't get there on that occasion, I have visited the town on a couple of occasions since then and I have melded photos from both visits into the one, little story.

The chief attraction, no doubt, is the 'Animals on Bicycles' exhibition, if I can call it that. It is actually a series of roadside exhibits, stretching some 120 kms along the Banjo Patterson Way from Molong to near the Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo. Farmers along the way have used their ingenuity and bits and pieces from their farms to create many interesting sculptures, which are placed on their various properties adjacent to the Banjo Patterson Way, so we tourists can be amused and amazed by them, as we drive along. You have to agree that it's a most unusual exhibition!

However, this story actually starts in Molong, so..... As the sun sinks slowly.....err..... As I drove down the main street of the town, Bank St., I was absolutely staggered as to the number of vehicles parked there. I mean, this is a SMALL town but it was very difficult to find a parking spot! Perhaps Molong's proximity to Orange has something to do with that.....

Here's a shot of Bank Street, looking up from the Mitchell Highway end:
Bank St., Molong

If you click on the image above, you will be able to make out the parked cars stretching right to the top of the rise and, as you can see, angle parking is 'the go', so more cars fit in the same distance as parallel. Anyway, I thought it quite amazing for such a small town! I spoke to a couple of locals about it but they offered no real explanation at all.

Well, I had had an early lunch, so I started looking for a place to have a small afternoon tea. This is what I found:
The Lolly Shop


With a very nice, little booth out the back!

I had a nice, little ice-cream and a cool drink, whilst taking in the Lolly Shop's decor - but I hadn't noticed the higher parts of the wall.....
I seem to recall they had a Jukebox, too!

How's that for making use of high ceilings?! This is more plush than we have in Grenfell - and very comfortable, too! It adds to the pleasure of an ice-cream, not that I have them very often. Honest.....

I stayed the night at a local hotel, The Telegraph Hotel, which is right there in Bank St.
Telegraph Hotel

I drove in through the passageway in the photo, which would have been used by coaches in 'the roaring days', i.e. the gold rush era. Now, I have stayed in country pubs on several occasions, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, especially as I had an aunt, who used to work in them many years ago and who had told me that "country pubs are generally very good".


Hotel room, Molong

Well, first impressions were pretty good, because the room was quite clean and tidy and, as I discovered later, the bed was comfortable. However, I was quite flabbergasted at the number of pokies (poker machines) in the bar area! I mean, there wasn't much room for anything else! I guess that's why they moved the snooker table outdoors......


Snooker 'room'! Or maybe pool room.

This would be rather chilly on a winter's evening, I imagine!

As I mentioned, first impressions were good but that changed somewhat when I checked out the bathing facilities. There's no photo to show you but, take my word for it, it took me back to the Housing Commission house our family rented in the 1950s, where the bath with a shower curtain doubled as the shower recess. The old basin was almost a dead-ringer for the one we had, too! Then there's the pools of water on the floor from those who used the facilities first. That didn't happen at our place, by the way, but it did at this hotel.

I had paid for an evening meal, so, as soon as I'd unpacked (it was dark already), I made my way to the dining room. The room was nicely furnished but was only a shadow of its former grandeur, with wallpaper and framed pictures faded quite badly. It would have been really nice in its day.

HOWEVER, the meal - sirloin steak with vegies and chips - was staggering in both its dimensions and the fact that the steak was COOKED TO ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!! The meal was served on one of those oval plates, with the steak sitting ON TOP OF the vegies, because there simply wasn't room for it on the plate itself - and it almost covered the vegies! Before it was cooked, I reckon the steak would have weighed about 1 kilo or very close to it; honestly, I couldn't finish it but it was without doubt THE BEST steak I have ever eaten - or partly eaten! AND it cost only 16 dollars!!!!

Before I tucked into the meal, I was tempted to go upstairs for my camera but I was hungry and the aroma was very enticing. So, again, apologies for the lack of photos there.

After a comfortable night, despite the old casement window having a mind of its own with regard to closing properly (and it got down to zero that night), I went outside with the camera to see what I could see.

The first thing I noticed was a small flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, grazing on some grass adjacent to the pub's back yard. On seeing me, they took off but, thankfully, not far, so I was able to get this shot:


17 cockies all in a row - well, almost!

The surprising thing is that, despite the spread of the birds from the ones on the water tank to the far end of the roof, they are all quite sharp in the shot. Following is a closer crop of the same photo:


Close-up, showing sharpness

The two on the left seem to be having quite a conversation. Click on the photo to see more detail in a much larger version

A little farther afield, I found this very tall Poplar tree:


The one in the shade is obviously the 'runt of the litter'.

After packing my gear into the car, I was directed to a nice bakery across the street, for some bread for breakfast. From the bakery, I was directed to a nice spot beside the local footy field, where there were picnic tables, so I started setting up for brekky:


Poplars are obviously 'the go' here!
Closer shot of the Poplars.
Breakfast in progress. Footy field (and more Poplars) behind the car.

Now, although it seems as though I'm well organised for my meal, I have to admit that I had forgotten several key things. For instance, I had my teapot and tea leaves but nothing to pour the tea into! I had bread but no margarine or butter. There were other things but they don't come to mind right now. Anyway, a bit of a shemozzle, you might say..... 

I actually gave it away and went home after this but returned a week later, where my story continues with the Animals on Bicycles exhibits. Oops, no, sorry, a couple of the lovely, old buildings in Molong first:


Beautifully restored building. A Real Estate office, I think

Terrific old Post Office, from the days when Postmasters lived in the attached residence, upstairs in this case.

The local scrap-metal dealer had an exhibit for the Animals on Bikes but he also had several other sculptures. I'm sure you'll be able to work out what they are:


It's a dinosaur, of course, but which one?

Head detail

Dragonfly or Damselfly?

Different angle

Could you see this in your front yard?

A couple of the local layabouts.

He must have a lot of spare time on his hands, that's all I can say.

Finally, dear reader, we come to the Animals on Bikes show, starting, as the song goes, at the very beginning.....


A little difficult to tell but it's a Platypus, as you will see below.

He'd have trouble getting very far on that 'bike'!

The next four are all at the scrap-metal dealer's:


The bike's just a little too big for the frog. Possibly Kermit?

Same again, different angle. Lots of junk to use for sculptures......


This one is the best of the ones I saw. It even has a dog chasing! Is that because they're sheep or that it's a bike???
Close-up of the sculpture. I love the one standing on the back!

Several kilometres on the other side of town, we come across the first of the ones on the Banjo Patterson Way. To locate them, a mud-map is available from the Molong Tourist Information office. It gives the distances to each sculpture.


Pony on small motor-bike, wind blowing his mane.

Detail of the Pony, showing all the shoes he has shed!

Here are 3 shots of the most intricate exhibit I saw, the Red-back Spider, named Rosie:



Rosie the Red-back - with 2 bikes!

As I said, intricate.

Close-up of the eyes. Lots of work there.

Across the road from Rosie was this one:



Dogs on an old V-twin. Amazing!

A cow or steer.

Cow or pig?
The farmer, who made the bike with the dogs on top, also put these little critters ahead of the bike, so the dogs had something to focus on. Well, I think that's the reason, anyway

Here's a rip-snorting bull but he's on a pink bike!! No wonder he's upset.....


Bull on pink bike

Echidnas - but who's controlling the bike?

Kangaroo on a Penny-farthing

Unfortunately, that's as far as I got. I didn't even make it to Cumnock, the first little town along the Banjo Patterson Way. I had a bit of a problem and took myself to the hospital at Wellington, where I spent the night and headed back home the next day. I'll get back there and finish this most unusual tour one day soon.


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