Monday, 29 May 2017

AAA Tour - Day 7 - Great Cobar Heritage Centre

Clothes washing before breakfast.

Days always start better with coffee, so ours started at Gumnut Gifts, where we relaxed in their courtyard. Following coffee, we had a nice chat with the owner Trudy.

We visited the Great Cobar Heritage Centre this morning. The building was formerly the administration office of the Great Cobar copper mine in the early part of the 20th century, Cobar's most successful copper mine. The curator of the museum has done a good job of constructing the displays. On the ground floor, examples of the rural existence of this community is lovingly recreated. Up the creaking staircase, an examination of mining in the area and the the original indigenous existence is shown in a number of rooms. Outside, there is a variety of rural farming implements, including a unique dunny in a tree. The standout exhibit was a railway carriage that had been the baby health centre of the Far West Health Service. 

Probably my favourite exhibit was a photo of Norman Fersen. Born in 1800, he lived to 1909 and at 103, he applied for an old age pension and was asked a series of questions before a local Cobar magistrate. He revealed he was born in Quebec, Canada, had been married and had three children. When asked where they were, he replied "dead". The magistrate followed up with an enquiry as to what they died of. "Old age" Fensen replied. He got his pension. He was a very tall man, who never wore shoes and he arrived in Australia via a shipwreck near Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria. He served time when at 104 he belted a local blacksmith for trying to sell a book Fensen had lent him. Soon after his release at 109, he slipped on the footpath carrying a case of pickles, weighing 38kg, and broke his hip. In hospital, he pleaded with nursing staff to cut his leg off because he felt it was his only chance of survival. They refused and he died 3 weeks later.

After lunch, we walked through the Cobar Miner's Heritage Park, which includes the sculpture of a miner from the early 1900's and a poppet head from the New Cobar Mine and several other pieces of machinery.

Click to see today's photos.
Apart from a bit of shopping, the other brief event was a visit to Newey Reserve. This is a lovely body of water with abundant water life and two islands. There are bbq facilities and a toilet but whilst a day use place for people from Cobar, as the sun set, we discovered its other main use as free campers flooded in, dressed in a whole collection of vehicles from big vans, through to rough four wheel drives. Good luck to them. Its going to be 4C overnight but I'll stick to my electric blanket and air conditioning. Soft? Maybe ... but warm.

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