My post today is a little shorter than my previous posts as today was just a travel day for us to transition from Moss Vale up to the Central NSW town of Cowra. After leaving Moss Vale we travelled back through Goulburn and then turned north to Cowra.
We found the unique Goulburn war memorial tower on a hill, just before entering Goulburn. The Rocky Hill War Memorial was opened in 1925 as a lasting tribute to the men and women of Goulburn who served during World War 1. It wasn’t open today but the stairs to the top of the tower give an expansive view over Goulburn and sit surrounding area.
From Goulburn, we turned north to the town of Crookwell. Most of this area is good pastoral land with extensive growing of sheep that produce fine merino wool. We stopped for coffee in Crookwell before finding one of those surprise discoveries that add significantly to any trip.
At just about the last shop before leaving town, we came across the Lindner Sock factory. Of all things that you might find in a small town in an area like this, the last thing we expected to discover was a factory that makes high quality woollen socks.
The “Lindner family, with origins in Germany, has ten generations of knitting experience and they say that they know how to make great socks. They use traditional techniques, fully-serviced vintage machinery, and combine these with a long history of fine craftsmanship to create socks. Their factory is in the heart of a pastoral community renowned for producing some of the best quality merino wool in Australia.
Just up the road, we came across the Crookwell wind farm. There were around thirty giant windmills here and this was one of the first commercial wind farms to operate in Australia.
We drove further north through undulating pastoral country to the town of Boorowa. We understand that this town is possibly the most overtly Catholic town in Australia. Not only was its handsome St Patrick’s the first Roman Catholic Church built west of the Great Dividing Range, but the church boasts some particularly beautiful stained glass windows.
With its tree-lined streets and a slew of old buildings Boorowa is a model of a small and charming country town.
The old Court House, now the Visitor Information Centre, was completed in 1884. The first case was heard by a Judge Forbes in 1886 and the building continued to operate as a Court House until 1988. It is a most impressive building with its distinctive double-height court room and gracious Roman arches.
It was just a short drive then to Cowra. Located on the Lachlan River it has become the commercial and administrative centre of a shire where livestock, wool scouring, vegetable growing and processing, vineyards and tourism are the main drivers of the local economy. Cowra probably would just be another prosperous rural service town surrounded by vineyards, grazing, rich farmlands if it hadn’t been for its role as a prisoner of war camp during World War II. I’ll write more about that tomorrow.
We made a beeline for the Famous Japanese Garden in this town. Hey were established with the aid of the Japanese government in 1978-79 to honour both Australian and Japanese war dead. It was constructed on a 5 hectare (12 acre) site and funded by the Australian and Japanese governments as well as private donations. The garden was designed by Ken Nakajima, a world-renowned figure in traditional Japanese landscape gardening, who worked with the School of Environmental Design from Canberra College of Advanced Education.
The garden was designed to reflect the total Japanese landscape. A mountain represents all Japanese mountains. A stream flows down the mountain through a waterfall to a lagoon (representing the mountain ponds) and on to a larger koi-filled lake which equates with the ocean. Japan’s cities are represented by the buildings, trimmed hedges suggest rolling hills and each gravel path offers new perspectives to convey the variety of views when meandering through the Japanese landscape. The garden was also designed to blend in with the indigenous environs. Consequently gum trees surround the garden. There are wooden footbridges, a wisteria pergola, a bonsho (calling bell), a temple lantern, manicured shrubs and lawns and a delicate and symbolic arrangement of rocks.
We spent an hour wandering along the pathways in the gardens before checking into our motel, which is about 4 kilometres out of town. We drove back into town for a pub meal for dinner, coming back for a splendid sunset.