May 9, 2012
Grandma & Grandad: Go To Australia (and take us!!) (Pt. 3)
Penola is such a cute little place, the main road runs right through the middle and it’s quite a popular tourist spot which surprised us – probably because people hadn’t seen civilisation for hours! It’s lined with boutique style shops and cute little cafes.
We enjoyed walking around and having a look at what there was on offer and something that caught our eye was ‘cactus house’ as we named it!
On the list for places of major interest for Bethany was of course was the playground and the outdoor pool!
As we drove to neighbouring places we had driven past a sign a few times for the lake, pictures of speed boats enticed us…hmmm, however we think dry season had put the stops to all that!
Back in the 60′s Grandad lived in a little place called Nangwarry, a tiny little place about 10 minutes from Penola, and home to the once running sawmills it was a popular place for migrants to move if they were to work in the sawmills (as my Grandad did).
We were very excited to take the trip with Grandad back to the place and the street where he lived and hear the fascinating stories. With him he brough some black and white photos that were taken at the time he lived there, and we were really blown away that over 40 years later we were standing looking at what he did all those years ago. Grandad showed us the shops where they would shop – now just boarded up, the road which they walked many times, and the oval where they would play sports, to have these photos was so precious.
A bit further down the road we stopped at the street that Grandad recognised and we started searching for the house he once lived in, after walking up and down the street what seemed like forever, comparing houses to the photo we of course attracted attention of the locals and before long we pretty much had the whole street out wandering up and down helping us compare the photo and hear the stories.
The street name and numbers had changed a long time ago, so it was so wonderful for them to help us out – most of them had never moved and knew exactly which house it was. The people in the house we were looking for (once we found it) were happy for us to take photos, and although the house looked different now due to some renovations it was the right house – how wonderful for Grandad to once again be able to stand in the same spot all this time later!
It was just amazing to see it all and listen to the stories, I cannot imagine how Grandad must have felt standing there after all that time. His only wish of course would have been to be able to tell his parents that he went back and saw it all for the last time, it would have been amazing to have shown them these photos.
Before leaving Nangwarry we went and visited the Logging Museum. When Grandad relocated with the family in the 60′s both his Dad and himself worked there once he left school, Grandad showed us photos of some of the jobs he would do – looked like hard horrible work, and he said it was too. It was interesting to see all the machinery and old photos and video’s, and so lovely that this little museum was up and running. With the sawmills no longer in action it was a fantastic memorial to it, the people that worked there and the thriving business that it once was.
On the way back to Penola we decided to stop off and look for some Kangaroos. As we drove along the long straight road between Penola and Nangwarry we could see massive fire breaks between the trees and the Kangaroos littering these areas, so we stopped off and drove up. It was a crazy sight – almost didn’t seem real as they saw us coming and bounced off into the trees. At the top we stopped and took a closer look…
As mentioned Penola is a little place, yet has many secret hidden gems, and one of these is the Fantasy Model Railway. Now we really didn’t know what to expect, if it was to be anything like Kiwis and their ideas of entertainment we actually thought it might be some bloke with a toy train in a shed…never ever did we expect to see what we did.
I don’t really know how to describe it, there was just so much stuff, so much to look at, so many many things. Trains running here and there, toys, themed areas, just so much to see. You walked in and really did get the wow factor. To be honest it was like an explosion of creative madness – and not in a bad way – this was mesmerising, and not only that it extended and went outside where the whole back garden of this house had been turned into a model railway sanctuary.
A real different, unique and amazing experience, we could have stayed for hours. The host a little controlling, exciting and eccentric, but through his work you could understand why he was like that!
So that was Penola. It was actually better than I ever expected, and the town itself seemed to have a lovely vibe about it (despite the local motel issues!) and we really enjoyed our time there. The locals were lovely, the shops interesting and the food yummy.
Onwards now back to Adelaide…