Thursday, 3 September 2009

Barcaldine - Garden City of the West

Heading west and the scenery is scrubland, with just a few townships to pass through each a long way from its neighbour.
Jericho caused us to pause a while. It had an attractive town hall.
And some wonderful murals. This picture shows both aspects of the shelter because I didn't know which side I liked best.
Also - as its name requires - it remembers Joshua and the battle of Jericho with a street sculpture entitled 'The Crystal Trumpets' ...Hmmm. Couldn't see the connection ourselves, but maybe those with a more artistic bent will have no trouble at all.
Onwards to Barcaldine. A town with an interesting history based on sheep farming. It was here in 1891 that the sheep shearers went on strike forming a series of events that led (in 1892) to the election of the first Labour candidate anywhere in the world. Until 2006 an ancient tree known as the Tree of Knowledge stood in the main street. It was a symbol of the strike and said to be the meeting place of the committee that agreed the formation of the Labour Movement. In that year vandals struck and the tree was poisoned. It had to be removed and its trunk preserved to form the nucleus of a monumental street sculpture also entitled The Tree of Knowledge. The view from beneath the structure is clever and fascinating in its construction.
However the view from the road when entering the town is stark to say the least. It does divide opinions locally.
The town is know as the Garden City of the West and it has some very pleasant features. A small church we thought was photogenic from the outside.
And the inside.
The local Masonic Hall looked for all the world as though it was erected using rounded logs, but when viewed from close up (see inset) it is just a clever paint job.
We did visit the Australian Workers Heritage Centre which is housed in a giant marquee with additional buildings for other displays.
One tiny item caught the attention of us both - it was a bicycle for riding on railway tracks. An historic black and white print showed a be-suited gent pedalling his young son to school!

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