Saturday, October 11, 2008

White Cliffs, where do I start. I think we each left a little of our hearts here. Such an amazing community where they look out for each other. They all love their solitude but at the same time they have such a bond. We camped at the caravan park ($19) and were greeted by a cheeky bearded dragon on arrival. $1 for a 7 minute shower. Fuel $182.9 a litre.

All there phones are linked in case of an emergency. Quite a few of the residents reside for only 8 months or so of the year. They move away for about four months of the year during the summer months when it can reach up to 50 degress. Majority of the town live underground in dugouts, where it's the same temperature underground all year round. No windows, silent, peaceful. No police, remote, dry, one patch of grass at the back of the pub, willy willy's.

We set up camp and grabbed the White Cliffs Opal Fields mud map and drove the drive tour around the town. We stopped at an opal shop/gallery, Outback Treasures filled with amazing creations by Barbara Gasch. Barbara's husband Doug opened the shop up for us to look around. Barbara jewellry included items using a process of electroplating and electroforming using dead insects and items from nature incorporated into her work.

After chatting to Doug we found out he used to own a gold mine in a town only 5 minutes from where we live. A small world. Moving on we went in search of Jock's Place. I had read about Jock giving tours of his underground abode. Sadly we couldn't find his house so we stopped off at a house where two guys (Carl and Kneave) were painting a gate. J walked up to them asking where Jocks house was. They told him Jock was away on holiday and asked if we had had any luck noodling (looking for opal). They said get the kids out of the car and have a look at Carls driveway. It was covered in opal. The girls had a great time picking up opal chips. Carl gave them lumps of petrified wood as well.

Doug and Kneave both told us about an album launch at the pub that night. A country/folk band called 'The Lonely Horse Band' launching an album about the local characters and stories of White Cliffs. The Lonely Horse Band write songs about real life issues in bush communities. The band consists of Tonchi McIntosh, Mick Daley and Andrew Hull myspace -

We had a fantastic night. It began with the FOUR (yes the entire school) school kids from White Cliffs, singing and reciting their poetry that they had written with the band. Gracie, Kaija, Maggie and MacKenzie were fantastic. I am sure MacKenzie (aged 5) will be making it big in Tamworth in years to come with his song 'I want to live in the middle of nowhere'.

Next the guys came on and got the audience tapping their feet with their compilation of songs about White Cliffs. Our favourites were Spoons, and Ocean Views. Spoons was a likeable character who you guessed it, played the spoons. Leah was fasinated by Spoons and has since taught herself how to play them (after listening to Spoons interview on the cd). We had a wonderful night and bought both cd's and got to know a few of the locals.

One thing that we found cool was the long patch of green grass along the back of the Hotel. Possibly the only patch in the entire town.

Outback Treasures

Dugout on the hill surrounded by eagle statues. We could see a bird flying around in the glass room on top. An amazing building.

White Cliffs Hotel

White Cliffs shop/servo

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