Evening with the French

Trip Start Jul 25, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Leonora Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the way to Leonora I took the detour to Kookynie which was once a bustling town in the gold rush days, all that's left now are the remains,  a run down hotel and a few make shift buildings that serve as accommodation for the few locals that work in the area.

From Kookynie I retraced my route back to the highway and continued on to Leonora.
This was a not what I was expecting, but then again the brochures and tourist books make all the places so interesting and colourful.

It was late afternoon so I did the usual thing and looked for a caravan park to lay my weary head down for the night and ponder what I was going to do the next day. 
 
Inside the office I was taken aback to hear the sounds of French accents and as soon as they had signed in I asked them where they were from etc. and before I knew it, I was being asked to have drinks with them. There were three of them, two young men and a woman and the worst part about it, they didn't know one another before starting out on their trek of travelling from Perth to Sydney.
It wasn't the most exciting adventure for them as they weren't seeing eye to eye. Regardless of their dislike for one another, I was so happy to have made their acquaintance and to have had the opportunity to share a fun filled evening with them, with lots of beer and wine. 

The next day I decided I no longer wished to travel further north as I was becoming bored with the distances between towns, just to see another 'old ghost town or whatever' so headed back towards Kalgoorlie.

Gwalia was my next stop and this really was worth it. The town represents a history of immigrant workers who came to Australia in search of a better life. Gwalia residents were immigrants from Italy and Yugoslavia living in simple cottages made from bush timber, corrugate iron and hessian.
 
The town, or what's left of it is remarkable. When you walk through the old cottages you realise just how difficult it must have been back then, makes you stop and think about the 'hard times' we have, when we complain about the slightest thing that goes wrong...or doesn't work...or breaks down.
 
 Leonora, with its wide main street and many old buildings (some retaining their original uses, like the two hotels, others remaining vacant or put to alternate use) exhibits some of its past character while providing modern facilities and services. Many of the older buildings are constructed of corrugated iron and hessian, as this was a versatile material and lightweight to transport. Similarly, many of the newer buildings are transportable.A general store, supermarket, butcher, and café provide for local shoppers and carry most requisites for travellers. Two service stations, a motel, two hotels and a caravan park provide accommodation, take-away food and dining facilities.Townspeople make use of a large grassed oval, eighteen-hole golf course, gun club and racetrack for recreation. Leonora boasts a lovely new recreation centre where all indoor sports are catered for with a state of the art Aquatic centre attached. Annual open events at golf and clay target shooting, as well as race meetings, attract many visitors with the main event being the Golden Gift weekend conducted in early june of each year.
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