Central West Nostalgia Run

30 May 2019 / Tony & Iris McDonald, with a few additional words and photos by Rod Nicholas.

The King may have been in his Parkes Castle, but 21 keen starters (in 11 cars) set out from Canberra right on time (8 a.m.) on a beautiful autumn day and headed straight up the Barton Highway towards our first stop at the twin towns of Harden/Murrumburrah. It was a pleasant start to the run for most, but unfortunately, our Sydney Chapter members shredded a tyre just outside Harden; luckily, they were able to obtain replacements in town and managed to re-join us at the Terracotta Café for what turned out to be an excellent coffee. (Our hosts were very welcoming and took plenty of happy snaps for their Facebook page – see link below.)

We met the remaining four of our Sydney Chapter members at the café, and following a leisurely coffee, strolled across the road to the workshop of local sculptor Carl Valerius. Carl is a local celebrity who is part-way through constructing a bronze statue of ‘Bill the Bastard’, the famous horse that saved the lives of wounded soldiers in a WWI action. The completed bronze life-size statue of the horse with three riders is expected to be officially unveiled in August this year.

Following an informative talk, and a bit of a gawk, we zoom zoomed off to Forbes via Wombat, Young, and Grenfell, dodging herds of cows a couple of times. A short stop at Grenfell allowed for a few photos of the site commemorating the birth of Henry Lawson, one of Grenfell’s better-known sons. On arrival at Forbes, we drove to McFeeter’s Motor Museum and parked our MX-5s directly in front of the museum entrance in an area reserved especially for us. This provided a great photo opportunity for us and museum staff alike. Lunch at the museum’s Superbee Café preceded our guided tour of the museum’s contents which was both informative and entertaining. The Museum is definitely worth a visit.

The afternoon was reserved for booking into the Plainsman Motel and free time to explore the town centre (and intriguing ‘Art Park’). Early evening saw us taking a short walk to one of the several locals, the Forbes Inn, for dinner. The Inn provided exceptionally good meals, particularly the steaks and Thai dishes, and should be on all visitors ‘must-do’ list when visiting Forbes!

Saturday offered another stunning autumn day for our run to Parkes. Some snuck off from the Motel for early coffees in town before our departure to Parkes with the CSIRO observatory another 20 minutes further on. A leisurely walk around the CSIRO visitors’ centre before lunch left ample opportunity for photos of the radio telescope made famous in the movie ‘The Dish’. The absence of the site manager stymied our planned ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the facility (how dare he!), but those who remain particularly keen to see its inner workings will have the chance when the site has its open days in July.

On returning to Parkes, we visited the King’s Castle (Elvis Museum) and the adjoining Motor Museum. All were jokingly warned to pay attention to information in the Elvis Museum because ‘there might be questions later’. Back in Forbes, we all gathered in the motel’s Kate Kelly Meeting Room for drinks, a huge spread of nibbles (thanks to the efforts of Giulia and Jane) and lots of chatter. Just when everyone was relaxed, brains were (more or less) re-engaged to respond to a round of questions from Iris on Elvis’ life, with knowledgeable participants winning chocolates for correct answers. Some managed to win a prize without moving their lips, but we were assured correct answers were given! After the quiz, an impromptu karaoke session by one of our less-inhibited members provided much merriment.

We were blessed with another clear day on Sunday for our travel south to Cowra, where we had our final lunch get-together at the Japanese Gardens Café before departing individually for home.

From feedback during and following the run, it seems all enjoyed the CWNR and the camaraderie that developed during it. As Run Leaders, we couldn’t ask for more!

Thank you very much.

Photos by Rod Nicholas
Terracotta Restaurant Harden
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