Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wimmera and Mallee, Victoria. Part 2

From Jeparit we moved along to Rainbow. In Rainbow we heard the expression. "Many small country towns are dying but here in Rainbow we are Surviving!" The condition of the town and the traffic in the town seems to bear out this belief. There are some empty shop fronts but we were advised that they are owned by an 'Out of Towner' who doesn't want them leased but is using them as a 'Tax Dodge'. Maybe that is the case in many small country towns. After exploring Rainbow's main environs it was time to make camp for the night. We had already planned on camping at Western Beach Camp Ground on Lake Albacutya. That was where we headed. As you would expect, being on the boundary of the Little Desert, this is a desolate place. Very dry and deserted, only one other camp in sight. Also as we expected, there was no water in Lake Albacutya. What we didn't anticipate was the flies! Well, the number of flies. We stayed inside the caravan with the fan pushing some air around inside to make us feel comfortable. After an overnight shower of rain the flies weren't so bad next morning and we were able to do a little exploring. Time to pack up and move onwards, this time our destination is Yaapeet on the end of a branch line of the railway system that services the grain silos there. If ever a town deserves the title 'dead', this must be the place. Everything is closed except for a mechanical maintenance workshop. We spoke to a couple of people who once had businesses here but could not leave the town after the closure. They still had a sense of humour, but that's country people for you. They can see some blue sky in any situation. We are returning to Lake Lascelles (with water) in Hopetoun for our camp tonight and then in the morning heading off towards Mildura through Patchewollock and Walpeup. Tune into the next blog for reports on these out of the way towns.

The symbol marking the entrance to Rainbow.

The median strip between the lanes of the very wide main street hosts the Memorial Garden. This is titled Federation Street, because the town was formed in 1901, the year of Federation.

The Royal is the 'bottom Pub'.

The Eureka is the middle Pub but unfortunately the top Pub is no longer in existence as it has burned down.

Strauss's has been here since the town began and still in operation today.

This was the Picture Theatre, built by Strauss, the proprietor of the General Store across the road. Originally this was the site of a competing General Store owned by a Mr Cust. The story goes Mr Strauss burned Mr Custs store to the ground, and got away with it, so that he could build his picture theatre. Well, it's a great story anyway!

Rainbow has several Murals around town. You can see Strauss's General Store in the original town layout.

Our view of Lake Albacutya from the camp site.

There is a boat ramp here, so don't forget to bring your boat. Looks like the boys have been going for a bit of a drive looking for water!

We had a general sprinkling of rain overnight but even that couldn't revive any spirits in the town of Yaapeet. Officially dead I think.

A few boys were in town with some of their machinery. Looking for repairs, maybe, at the only surviving business, a mechanical repair workshop.

Small park for the tourists who get lost. The Post Office is closed but the PO Boxes are housed in this shelter.

This marks the towns Centenary, 1998 from memory.

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