Jacaranda Trees line the streets of Grafton, NSW


Sunday, September 9, 2018

THE OUTBACK TOWN OF WINTON

Oh boy! I have been busy with U3A and my blogging has been neglected. I was writing about our trip to Longreach and Winton in far west Queensland. Our tour bus drove us from Longreach to Winton where our guides dropped us off near Arno's Wall and they told us to follow the wall and we would come to the hotel where we could walk through to the main street.  Arno migrated from Germany back in the 60's he was an opal cutter at Opalton but he is most famous for his art installation, his Wall. The wall is 2 metres high and 70 metres long. It is made of concrete and rocks that he brought into town from the opal mine. In the wall he has concreted in every kind of house hold items and more: lawn mowers, boat propellors, type writers, sewing machines and motor bikes.

 A very small part of Arno's Wall.

We came through the hotel to the main street in Winton. I have recently discovered that this hotel was the first one built in Winton back in the mid 1880's but obviously has been updated over the years. Of course we had to stop in the coffee shop on the next corner for 'you know who'. 

 While drinking our coffee I saw a sign pointing to the back of the shop saying 'Thru to the historic open air theatre'. It was just as it was in the old days, the projection room too. It was a fun museum.

 We continued down the street to a lovely little opal shop. I resisted buying any. Too expensive.

Bill with Banjo Paterson, a famous Australian poet, who wrote "Waltzing Matilda"
 (you may recall that our grandson has the same name)
 Then we had to meet the rest of our group and guides at the brand new 'Matilda Centre', which is a museum dedicated to our informal national song,  'Waltzing Matilda' including the times and lives of the local people. The Winton people are very proud that our famous song was written in the Winton District. Their museum was burnt down a few years ago and they have just opened this new one. It is a shame that they lost many of the artefacts.
 However, they have done a great job with the new one with what they have and supplemented with many digital displays.
We learnt about the history of the song, the writer, Banjo Paterson, the wool industry, transport and life style of the times. The next day we were off to see the dinosaurs....the reason I came on this trip.

16 comments:

  1. I'm sure the planning authorities around here would have had much to say about that wall - and would have had him take it down!

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  2. Wow, Diane, I have learned so much through this post and your tour through the Outback. Interesting facts about your informal national song which is sung and played in our country to this day. I wondered if the countryside and towns become more rural and historical as you go into this part of Australia? Is it north? I imagine it's similar to our Eastern Transvaal region and the Karoo (Northern Cape) which is steeped in history and old museums like you post about. Enjoy the dinosaurs.

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  3. it is very sad to lose history to a fire. glad they came back with this one. that wall is certainly different.. and took a lot of work to create. yet another way to recycle instead of filling the trash dumps... I have seen many drive in theaters but never a sit in like this one....

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  4. When I was in primary school I had a teacher from Australia. I cannot remember her name but she taught the class "Waltzing Matilda" and "My Grandfather's Clock" while playing her auto harp. I always enjoyed the music class. I happen to love opals but as you say, they are expensive and I've heard you shouldn't buy one for yourself. The only one I ever did buy I lost when I took it off and left it by the bedside in a hotel. Since then I do not remove my rings. I like the photo of the main street in town. It reminds me of many towns I travelled through in FNQ.

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  5. Hello, what a fun place. I love the wall, very cool. Great photo of your hubby and statue. I remember hearing the song many times. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and have a great new week!

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  6. That wall is crazy, what an idea of him! The opal is beautiful but very exprensive. The song Waltzing Matilda is so well known all over the world!

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  7. I suppose the earth will eventually swallow Arno's Wall. It's the kind of thing my youngest brother would do. Winton seems interesting enough. By the way people are rugged up, it must have been on the cool side.

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  8. Artists express themselves with what is at hand and Arno's creation is an interesting example. I wonder what the local people thought as it was going up! I have loved Waltzing Matilda since elementary school where my teacher first played it on the piano and taught us the words. Of course, being 8 year old American children we had little idea what we were singing about, but it began my fascination with Australia.

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  9. I missed that wall! But I did go to the Matilda museum before the fire. It was really interesting so I hope they didn’t lose too much.

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  10. Arno's wall is amaaaaazing! Really the artistic mind is quite something! Gosh Diane I've said it before and I'll say it again, you two are the busiest retirees.. so much fun to be had right 😀

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  11. Hi Diane, I have just had a delightful time catching up on previous posts about your travels. It is so hard to keep up with travel and blogging as I know from our recent cross country road trip. That wall of Arno's is something we definitely would have gone to see and what a great outdoor theater - did you attend a film? (by the way a couple of spammers have left trash comments as I'm sure you will find out, best thing to do is delete them.)

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    1. Thank you for the heads up about the spammers. They are always one jump ahead of us preventing them.

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  12. Certainly an interesting tour ! Different from what I did :) !

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  13. Opals are definitely my weakness!!!

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  14. I like the photo of Bill striking a pose! We used to go to "drive in theaters" when we were teens - a fun memory.

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  15. We enjoy a good dose of quirky every once in a while and the Winton wall would definitely qualify. I remembered about 'the other Banjo', the one who wrote the song, just from reading about it when your Banjo was born. Fun stopover! And yes, I remember drive-in theaters too!

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