1-4 February 2013
A celebration of an rural industrial town
Lia, myself, Miss Em, two bikes a bike trailer and assorted bundles were taxied to Kandos in the Cementamobile ably captained by Georgina Pollard. We arrived in Kandos after a long drive through the hills of brown after passing over the mountains of blue.
Katoomba was swarming with touristas
We stopped en route to obtain supplies and to spread the good word about Cementa 13. A fortuitous visit at the Katoomba Cultural Centre resulted in running into, almost literally, the Exhibitions Manager, Sarah Gurich, who ushered us in to meet the curatorial team. They had only the day before found out that Cementa was happening and were keen for the latest update.
We approached Kandos on the Bylong Valley Way. Dropping over the ridge and into view of Kandos the imposing scale and location of the Cement works was immediately apparent. It is a commanding presence at the foot of the Coomber Melon Range.
As soon as having settled we set to work cycling through the town to get our bearings, lead by Georgina and Emma.
We joined Dave and Ed who hosted the New Year’s celebrations, a convivial affair with locals and friends joining the Kangaroos and Christmas Beatles for a toast to the new year. Only hours before Dave had lead me through bush trails to the Carwell Creek camping area. You wont find it mentioned in the tourist literature but it recently featured in a Paddy Palin Rogaining event. Recommended for anyone with a passion for, and the right equipment for off-road, dirt track bicycling.
On New Years Day I set out for a solo visit to Rylstone, a mere 7 km down a purpose built, pebblecrete and bitumen cycle path that joins the two towns.
Leaving Kandos I passed the Shell service station sporting the largest array of solar panels outside of the Beyond Petroleum aegis. Passed the heated olympic swimming pool, still undergoing renovations, and the 18 hole golf course. A few kilometres further on is the local recycling centre.
Arriving in Rylstone I was met with a familiar vision and motto – ‘Grow Old Disgracefully’. A wry smile crosses my lips as the Ulysses Club motto brings to mind Damien Hirst and the Groucho club.
A few days before we had made the journey into Rylstone to peruse local shops and visit the venue for my paintings, Number Fourty Seven, 47 Louee St.
Also of interest was the slab hut, being lovingly restored as a old wares shoppe. Dating from the 1850s the walls are lined with fragments of ancient news paper and Victorian era wallpaper. Earliest date I saw was 1872, but there could be earlier.
I felt compelled to help out with George’s plans for the garden at 5 Jacques. Before leaving Rylstone we visited the Mitre 10 to invest in some tools, and seeds and spent the rest of the day pulling weeds, and filling peat pots.
On another visit, when Alex had joined us, we revisited Rylstone and 29 NINE 99 in the historic Bridge View Hotel. The Bridge View was the location for filming the Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, but these days better known for the famous yum cha and green tea experience. NINE as it is know is also a participant in the festival.
After lunch we ambled through the ‘Thyme Out Garden’ at the rear of the hotel, part of the Rylstone Cottage Museum, established to encourage sustainable community gardens in the region.
‘History from below’ links:
Mudgee District Local History http://www.mudgeehistory.com.au/index.html
Rylstone Kandos and Surrounds http://www.rylstone.com/index.php
Visitor Guide http://www.rylstone.com/pdf/RylstoneKandos_Guide2011.pdf
Mudgee Cycle Maps http://www.bikemuster.com/docs/Cycle_Mudgee_Region_Booklet.pdf