TravellingStrom

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Day 58 – October 15th

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 15, 2008

What a surprise, it was cold last night and it started out wet this morning. I gave the tent time to dry out as I was in no great hurry. I was interested in seeing how cricket bats were made, but that was at 1pm, I had time up my sleeve. To start with I headed north thinking I could find a better campground and leave my gear for the day. As it happened I just meandered north towards St.Arnaud, passing through a town called Dunolly and got to a town called Moliagul. This had a tourist sign for something called the Welcome Stranger memorial. I had no idea what this meant but as I had time, I could find out.

You have to take this twisting winding road to start with through a forest.

Then it turns to dirt, not bad dirt, you could get a road bike up there with care, it only goes for 1km.

And eventually you get to the memorial; there is a picnic ground there as well.

It turns out it is to mark the site of the largest gold nugget ever found in the world, it has never been beaten to this day, cool eh! Unfortunately, as you can see, the area has been vandalised and poorly maintained, there is a walking track to point to different things like his house site and things like that, but the direction signs have been uprooted so I had no idea what to do when I could not find the track. The history of the site was fine though.

After not finding much I gave up and headed up north as I was now intending to do Ride number ?? This was included in the 100 best rides, I am not sure why, but it must have been at number 99 because there is not much interesting along this road, very boring as you can see except towards ????? where there was a few twistys.

Anyway, I managed to get to ??? at lunchtime and grabbed a salad roll before heading back to Cricket Willow. This is the actual name of the business and is at a place called Sheppard’s Flat a small community between Hepburn and Newstead. It is on a very twisty windy road, take it easy as it is narrow, but fun.

I got there with plenty of time to spare and had lunch outside, before a bus load of people from the Melbourne area turned up, all pensioners by the looks. I paid my $6 entry and met the owner Ian Benetti, we talked about bikes and the Vietnam vets retreat up in north Queensland. He then started a talk on the history of the Bat Willow in Australia and especially with regards to the bats that were made at this location, first by the Crockett family, then by his family.

He can talk, but of very interesting things and not all to do with cricket bats, but also conservation of the land etc. If you are not interested in cricket, cricket bats or its history then skip the next photos, in fact skip the whole day 🙂

After the initial talk we headed out back to see the willow plantation of about 5000 trees where he spoke some more about the land and the fact all the water on the property is recycled throughout.

Then we headed up the hill to the Cricket Gallery.

This sign says it all, Jabaroo is a takeoff of the name Jabiru, from Kakadu park in the NT. They wanted something distinctly Australian to signify their product, but would have to pay royalties for Jabiru. I have no idea what the Screaming Cat part means and forgot to ask.

Inside was a workshop laid out with bats in different stages of construction where Ian talked some more 🙂

Basically they do not make many bats and the ones they do make last. Apparently most other bats are not using the correct willow so will break and fail. More boring information plates to follow, skip it if you want.

Then we headed down to the workshop right next to the cricket ground they built, this is where the finishing is all done and he can watch cricket at the same time 🙂

They have also got an extensive range of cricket memorabilia, a billiards room, a bowling machine and a Bocce ground as they have an Italian background.

All in all it was a very interesting tour, although due to the size of the group he did not make any bats while we were there, his job for the day was firewood for his mum 🙂

I headed away after 3pm and decided to go to a small town called Avoca. On the way I see all these fields which are absolutely covered in rocks, but you can see where they have been moved over time into piles, too big for drystone walls anyway.

The caravan park was OK and the sun was out for a while so that was good. Another cold night was on hand so this time I was prepared with all my gear on 🙂

Day – 248km
Trip – 20,196km
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