Sunday, September 06, 2020

NSW Road-trip, Day 1: On the Road to Gundagai, Junee and Temora


Gustav and Logan saw us off at 7.30 this morning as I aimed to reach Junee by lunchtime. The beginning of the journey had a long underground stretch as we entered the new M8 road tunnel starting near Sydney Park, emerging eight minutes later on the M5 motorway. Aside from a couple of roadside stops to empty Raff, it’s fairly dull highway driving until Gundagai. This retraces some of the journey I made five months ago to collect Raff just as the state borders were starting to close down.


At Gundagai, I pulled in for an obligatory doggy photo of Raff with the famous statue of the Dog on the Tucker Box. It’s not especially big as Australian roadside monuments go (you’ll see what I mean in later posts, but don’t forget The Big Banana), about comparable in size to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid.

It’s encrusted with three generations of plaques noting the various political luminaries who have paused in its presence. The one right at the front notes Air Marshall Sir James Rowland, Governor of NSW at the time (1987). Recent family tree researches show that his wife, Lady Faye Rowland (nee Doughton) was a cousin of my great-grandmother, the swimmer Beatrice Kerr.


The road from Gundagai winding backwards to Junee is exceedingly pretty, fields of canola like a bucket of yellow paint thrown over the landscape.


2020-09-06 Junee RaffThe Licorice & Chocolate Factory occupies a restored flour mill in the small Riverina town of Junee. Despite the proximity of Junee to Temora where I lived for nine years, I have a feeling that today is the first time I’ve actually set foot here rather than being whisked through on the way to another small Riverina town. The Factory was very busy for this Sunday lunch, with probably a few hundred people eating, shopping and viewing the attached display of vintage vehicles. I collected a bag of goodies – licorice boxes and chocolate pizza - from their store, only needing to keep it all cool and collected for the thousands of km of road ahead of us.



At 3 o’clock we finally reached Temora, where I attended school from age 10 (Year 4) until I finished high school and went off to live in the big city. It had only just dawned on me that today was Father’s Day, so I firstly drove out to the airport to visit the park named for my late father Graham. He passed away suddenly in 1999, a few months after I’d moved to Seattle, and not many months before his 60th birthday when he was to visit me in the US of A.


The last time I’d visited was for the park’s opening in September 2001 – a timing that left me temporarily stranded in Australia as the imminent events of 9/11 closed down international air transport for a week or more. The location of the park near the airport reflected just one of Dad’s many contributions to the local community, setting off the train of events that led to the opening of the Temora Aviation Museum shortly after his death. The ubiquity of Tiger Moth plan emblems through the town twenty years later shows how much this benefitted the community – even the hotel that Raff and I were booked in to had the emblem.


Prior to leaving on this road-trip I located all the off-leash areas in the towns where we would be staying so that I could take Raff out for “zoomies” in between his car confinements. This large stretch of grassed area proved ideal for him to burn off energy and sniff around. A couple of friendly horses in a paddock across the road gave me an opportunity to introduce Raff – all parties were very well behaved, rubbing noses across the fence.



  1. Hello Mike, Walt and I are able to see your photos, and we'd like to. We get the one-way traffic sign instead of the image. That has happened to me before on my blog but I don't remember now what caused it.

    1. Thanks for the alert Ken. It turns out that I was foolishly linking to my own Google account without sharing them first.

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