Author: Mr A
To: Weethalle (Where? Click here for map!)
Distance: 331 km
We packed up this morning keen to get the Hay Plains drive behind us, remembering from it from a previous trip. Checking email though we saw a note from Zone RV to the effect that there was potentially a problem with the plate attaching our tow hitch. We had to send them some photos to check if there was any damage. Despite it only being 7.30am in head office, Zone Service management were back within minutes with an answer, we were good to go, but that just in case we should reduce our water payload. So I emptied out most of the water in the tanks and gave the grass at the site a good watering!The Hay Plain drive was a lot more scenic than we remembered, or perhaps we’re getting more attuned to the subtle variations in the Australian landscape. We stopped for a couple of quick breaks, and by mid afternoon we are pulling up at our camp for the night at the Weethalle Showgrounds – home to the country club (a tennis court, bowling green and a makeshift golf course) and three or four horses. This is Tassie’s expression after spotting the horses – she’s such a city slicker:We called the caretaker and she came to open up the power box and the toilets, all for $10! She was so welcoming, and after walking around the small settlement of Weethalle, indicative of the friendliness of this isolated little place, and typical of what we have experienced in all these country towns (since leaving the tourist spots in the Kimberley!).Clearly times are tough here, boarded up shops and run down property, but looking in the window of the local café (The Road Kill Grillz!), there is lots of effort being made to organise community activities.
It has been a real education for both of us city dwellers to spend time in these country settlements, and try and work out how economic and technological changes are impacting rural Australia.
Our experience has shown that very few communities are thriving. We contrast that with how, closer to Sydney, there is a flight from the city by people who have grown up there and are now breathing new life into towns like Bathurst, Dubbo and down in the Southern Highlands. Telecommuters, retirees, new business starters – it seems to be giving these rural areas a much needed injection of cash. Sadly, we haven’t seen much of this happening elsewhere. Exceptions would be (from what we have seen) only in the Margaret River region, and some of the wine regions close to Adelaide.
We holed up with a vegetarian Thai curry for dinnerand an evening of Netflix viewing as the threatening rain finally hit and the temperatures began to drop below 30 degrees. A very cosy and quiet camp for the night.