Tag Archives: Cowra

Back 2 Cowra, NSW Australia – Part 2

Opened in 1979, the multi award-winning Cowra Japanese Garden is a ‘must see’ at any time of the year.

Bonsho Bell – found in Japanese Temples and local shrines, cast from copper and tin alloy. In times gone by they were used to assemble the villagers. Later, they were used to tell the time and became an indispensable factor in the daily lives of the people.

Beautiful gardens throughout. The rocky hillside, manicured hedges, waterfalls,  streams and the two lakes provide a serene environment for a myriad of birdlife.

Peace and calm surrounds the water landscape, take time to explore the five hectares of garden and enjoy its beauty and tranquillity.

An apple crab tree in full blossom. The Garden’s designer Ken Nakajima created the Kaiyushiki (strolling) Garden to symbolise the Japanese landscape.

Walking distance from the Gardens, a bird’s eye view of the township with the district being made up predominately of farming – particularly lambing flats, vineyards and cereal crops.

And of course, Bellevue Hill Reserve is one of Cowra’s most popular parks, here better known as Billy Goat’s Hill due to goats having been kept here some time ago – bet it’s seen more of Cowra than anyone would want to tell …

You might witness a kangaroo or two whilst there …

Understated with superb views, bring a picnic and some vino – now that’s what I call meditation … And it’s free!

Looking towards the Japanese War Cemetery, a visit to the old cemetery of Cowra is just as interesting.

And if you’re wondering about life’s journey, then don’t forget what the St Raphael’s School’s motto is! Just make sure you live your life to its fullest – never let a moment go by, even if it means dancing in the garden with your favourite herbs waving those bunches of flowers around like a microphone and singing to them.

At the Back 2 Cowra week, Saturday was Open Day for all the schools to extend their doors to past and present students. Memories soon came flooding back here undoubtedly – ouch that cane hurt!

Have to admit the Convent is looking immaculate and here’s where some of us learnt guitar, elocution, sewing and many other useful lessons of which most of us remember fondly.

The Chapel was opened in 1938 by the Bishop of Bathurst and though it was closed to all but the nuns for many years, it’s now accessible to current students.

As we remember our teachers, we really did admire them for their tenacity to teach us to be the best we could … However, if you were a footy player and did well at rugby, you might have a blind eye towards your misdemeanours on occasion …

Loved seeing some great photography works by current high school students – truly admirable work.

Walking around the streets, I’m sure these doors across from the Caravan Park could tell a few tales as well.

There’s Vicki again, letting all the Ladies know if you’re waiting for the right bloke it might take as long as the rail line to be opened up again at the Cowra Station. Let’s hope it’s soon.

For car enthusiasts during the Back 2 Cowra week, vintage cars were seen and displayed all around the township. Lots of waving and the traditional Aussie finger salute, it’s a way of saying g’day to each other without talking, usually when driving over vast distances just acknowledging each other.

Visiting my brother Ron, still playing with his cranes … Some boys just never grow up!

The street lights were on … and we did go home – eventually. Well that’s it for Back 2 Cowra 2016 and you’ll have to wait till September 2018 before it returns.

A big thank you to Marc McLeish, Vicki Anderson, Leona Wright, Julie Collins, Jamie Hibberson, Councillors Ray Walsh, Judy Smith, Charlie Thompson, Russell and Cathy Denning and Council Manager Chris Cannard who put this event together after an absence of some years.

Best time to visit Cowra and the Central West NSW is around Autumn and particularly Spring as the blossoms of all native plants such as the Golden Wattle (Australia’s national flower pictured) turns on a magnificent show and takes centre stage throughout the region. You won’t be disappointed.

Back 2 Cowra Week, Cowra NSW, Australia

20160923_093931It’s amazing what you find in your own cupboard and this glass was a reminder of what it’s like to return to your own grass roots.  This blog post is about Back 2 Cowra last week 13-18 September, 2016.

The words written on my find are indicative of Cowra’s history.
Back to Cowra Week 8th – 16th Sept. 1979
‘The Gem of the Lachlan Valley’ lies in the rich valley between the Lachlan and Belabula Rivers. The name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rocks’. The area was first explored by G.W. Evans in 1815. The first lands were taken up in the district in 1830. The town population is presently 8,200 whilst town and district number approx. 13,000. The train service arrived in 1884. Following World War 2, which gave Cowra the tragic beginnings of a deep and growing friendship with Japan, came the commercial air service with Sydney. The new hospital building was completed in 1955 and has been updated continually since that time. The beautiful Japanese Gardens should be seen by all.

Cowra – ‘A Good Way of Life’.

2016 Cowra Showgirl entrant Cody Hill reading my poem entered at the Show of which I couldn’t attend. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I’d even go to the opening of a rat trap, but on this esteemed occasion, sadly I’d have to miss it. There’s so much fun at a country show and I urge anyone to go along one day, especially if you have young children.

Cody did me proud as ‘The Street Lights are On … It’s Time to Go Home’ received Highly Commended and a big thank you to her for taking up the challenge.

Photo courtesy of Robin Dale, Cowra.

Coming home this year, we’ve been lucky enough to have some rain for sure, but it’s been raining none stop for months now … Just a bit more than out of the ordinary and it’s as green as could be.

Picture taken at Holmwood Silos.

20160328_134636Same place and yes, we’ve had our share of drought too in the past as seen here in September, 2008.  It’s one of the best lambing regions in Australia and we’d prefer to see four distinctive seasons each year regardless of the freezing cold winters and boiling hot dry summers.

You’ll probably find Cowra lamb in more select butcheries and rarely in supermarkets.

As I write this, the Lachlan River is now at dangerous levels after a week of rising waters from Wyangala Dam which is a further 30 minute drive away. As the dam is now over capacity, visitors are not able to enjoy activities such as water skiing.

Wyangala is well regarded by anglers for fishing such as silver and golden perch, catfish and murray cod are plentiful.

Now that spring has sprung, it’s just glorious and the blooms are out in full.

The district is renown for its farming with sheep and wheat being most prominent. It’s the commercial centre of a strong agricultural area in country NSW that covers horticulture, aquaculture and viticulture. The wine industry has grown to an international standard with Chardonnay taking out a number of awards, even after Aussies Cath and Kim’s belief is that ‘cardonnay is noice again’.

Canola – fields of gold can be seen from almost from every angle.

In 1944, more than 1,000 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a local internment camp. Cowra has since forged a remarkable friendship with Japan and you can see many tributes to this special relationship around town.

The hologram is a young woman who tells the story from a local perspective while interacting with original artefacts from the Camp. The presentation is aimed at raising awareness of the historical significance of Cowra in modern military history and in encouraging visitation to other local attractions and locations of historical importance. This will be found at the Visitor’s Information Centre across the bridge at the Rose Gardens.

We had the pleasure of Andy from Transport Heritage NSW give an opening talk about the importance of maintaining and restoring the collection of engines, carriages and wagons which is paramount for their preservation with the view it’s part of our history.

The magnificent locomotive #5367 taken out of the stable to show off just what a beauty she really is!

The railway lines around Cowra have been closed by the State Government, but the Lachlan Valley Railway (LVR) regularly conducts special train trips around the State, visiting many beautiful and historic towns and villages. For these trips the LVR uses restored heritage carriages with diesel and steam locomotives.

The locals are all volunteers and rely on donations and we’re here with an advocate of the Lachlan Valley Railway; from left the Mayor Mr Bill West, Vicki Anderson, Max Duffey – a staunch supporter (who worked with my Dad on the railway for many years along with Mr Jimmy Ryan) and his daughter Maryanne Duffey who drove up from Sydney for the presentation. Everyone’s working really hard at trying to have the lines opened up again in the region so everyone can enjoy what it was like to ride a steam train from a by gone era.

Lawrance Ryan from Cowra Tourism sometimes conducts tours of the Railway’s exhibits and here showing us the turntable on site.

The history of Cowra is marked by stories of the military and migrants from World War II. Between 1940 and 1945 some 80,000 Australian troops received basic training at the Cowra facility. After the war the camp became home to between 17,000 to 19,000 immigrants who left war-ravaged Europe to make their home in Australia.

Source: Cowra Tourism

Looking out from the Cowra Railway Station, on the far left was the Migrant Camp which housed many of the post WWII immigrants from Europe including my own parents.

Nearly twice the current population of Cowra lived on the outskirts of the community between 1949 and 1955 as part of Cowra’s Migrant Camp.The lesser known of our ‘camps’, it is often confused with the POW camp – the site of the famous Cowra Breakout.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of taking part in the unveiling of a new plaque in memory of those who came as ‘New Australians’ to the region and start a new life. Here with me from left are delightful friends Tina and Janina Jaworski whose parents were also at this camp.

Anyway, there’s not anything quite like going out to the club and hearing an emerging young talent such as Jamie Hibberson who is on the way up, and with Vicki showing him off… Keep an eye on this young Cowra bloke!

Stay tuned for Part Two  of Back 2 Cowra …