Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nashville of Australia - Tamworth

Our country visit this month was to Tamworth, the Country-Western capitol of Australia.  We have a small ward that is located there with 2 of our Elders.  We have driven around, through, and by Tamworth but never stayed here.  It is a 5 1/2 hour drive from Carlingford, NSW.  It has an annual cowboy festival in January - the middle of the summer.  But our assignment came in the spring and lucky us.  This town of about 50,000 fills up during this exciting event.  

We wanted you to see a "white trash" car wash!  But it gets the job done and is absolutely free of charge.  The hotel offered this because there are lots of dirt roads and this is a "dusty western town" or not! 

They grow lots of wheat, cannola, hay and other crops.  This is the view from Oxley Lookout.  The Tamworth ward is very small - there were only about 36 people at Church on Sunday.  But everyone was very kind and happy to see us.  A member of the Newcastle Stake Presidency was visiting with his family.  

This is the icon of Tamworth - the big Golden Guitar.  We have taken a picture before in the daytime on one of our pass-throughs.  But one Elder had not been able to see it yet since he has only been here 2 weeks.  We had great fun taking them to dinner and then off to see the Golden Guitar.  The American Elder will fit right in here - he is from Wyoming and the other Elder is from Tonga.  They are absolutely amazing and we think they will do a great job helping the Ward.

The drive is amazing with beautiful country, cows and sheep.   We thought you needed a map so that you can see all the fun names and get a better visual of the area.  We can't tell you how much we love this country and the people.  We love our family and friends and know we need to come home and see all of you, but we also love our friends here and we are starting to feel very torn between two countries!  
Our usual country schedule includes our picnic along the roadside.  Australia has done a great job of providing many rest stops - about every 50 - 75 k's.  They have easy access but you must provide your own food.  So we always take a cooler and plan on sandwiches, water and snacks.  The weather is getting warmer and the land was green because we have had lots of rain this spring.  In a few months, this will all be brown as summer  arrives in earnest by December 1. 

 Now there's a sign!  They don't mess around with a small sign or not enough information.  But we had a hard time reading all of the destinations on this one corner.  A famous country song by an Aussie is "I've Been Everywhere"  and that must be because he grew up near here!
This is a little interlude for Elder Feil - a quick turn in a Ferrari.  Yes, Evan you should be jealous, but the steering wheel is on the "wrong" side - or right side if you are from OZ.

We don't have a car and will have to buy one when we get home - maybe this might suit our personalities...

The missionaries learning a language have to use new vocabulary words each day.  They write them on 3x5 cards and practice, practice, practice.  So the word for the day was "hand truck" or "dolly" in US, but in Australia it is a trolly.  No matter what you call it, both the American and the Chinese sister had to learn a new word.  And they also had to learn how to use it when they moved apartments because theirs was flooded.

What more can we say - another unique sunset.  

In between Tamworth and Scone is a place called Burning Mountain.  We decided to see what was burning?! 

Ah yes another hill climb.  But it was a perfect day for a bush walk and we are grateful for spring weather.

We had put our hats away until this trip - it must be spring.  

This is the New England Highway.  It was the major highway joining the country with Sydney.  The early explorers hunted until they found an easy way through the mountains to the Liverpool Plains.
This is a kangaroo bush.  Notice the thorns.  You don't want to get to close or it will stick you!

This is the Eastern Grey Kangaroo.  He and 3 of his friends were waiting just around a corner for us, but jumped quickly away when they heard our voices.  He was the brave guy that wanted to pose for a quick photo!

So where the coal seam had been burning, the vegetation dies.  But after a few years, it starts to come back.  What a great lesson for all of us.  The little spot of green is a prickly pear cactus!  Well, they call it a pear cactus.

One of the first plants to grow is the native olive tree.  Just another amazing reminder of lessons learned from the scriptures and how the Saviour taught many parables using plants.  Great lessons come from plants!

As the coal seam burns underground, the soil oxidizes and turns red and yellow.  Dane probably knows all about this and could give a better explanation than we have but hopefully you get an idea of what has happened here.

One direction, beautiful scenery; the other direction, the burned aftermath of a fire 30 meters under the ground.  Crazy, huh?

This is a beautiful and unique area.  We ate our lunch, listened to the birds, and headed back to the car.  Another adventure is history and another country visit is completed.  

Our replacements will be here by next weekend.  We will spend a few weeks training and then turn our projects all over to them.  We plan on being home on the 2nd of December.  We can hardly believe that our time is almost finished and that we have to return home in the middle of winter and miss our summer.  But that is what happens when you live on the bottom half of the world.
So, if all your exes live in Texas and you are looking for the country roads to lead you home, we hope you consider coming to Tamworth to hear some good old cowboy music and poetry.  If you get here in January, don't come looking for us 'cause we'll be singing Home Means Nevada, or Utah We Love Thee, or Gonna Saddle Old Paint for the Last Time and Riiiiiiiiiide.
Love to all and lots of Hugs and Big Sloppy Kisses from
Elder John Wayne and Sister Annie Oakley    

No comments:

Post a Comment