Woken up by a parrot in the apple tree outside my window, I look up and then down; three kangaroos are grazing in the garden. Methodically eating little bits of grass- casual, like they drop by all the time. As I watch them they hear an unknown sound and stand up on alert; the classic garden ornament pose. I can’t work out how they got in, but then I seem them elegantly slide through the gap under the gates.
It’s the middle of winter and cold in the country. Everything outside looks dry and a bit gnarled. You don’t notice the seasons so much in Sydney- they can kind of slide into each other. It’s interesting to think that under this hard & frost bitten ground things are growing and cooking away; ready to burst out in abundance in spring, just a month away now.
Heading to Sydney I detour through Lithgow, the old industrial town on the far side of the Blue Mountains. I’d recently heard that it was once a centre for textiles and pottery and that there were still a lot of artisans in the area. The aqueduct always looks impressive when you drive past on the highway.
Passing through town I end up at an old mining museum –a deserted outdoors junkyard of coal carts, machinery and strange vehicles. Loud hip hop comes from one of the sheds- there’s a few welders working. The museum is closed. but they don’t seem to care if I look around. It feels like more of an adventure this way, walking around, discovering things yourself.
Heading back to the highway- on the hill, behind some tract homes; what looks like a ruined gothic castle. A sign says it’s the old blast furnace- again- there is no one around. Like a children’s playground – a di Chirico painting. With this and the aqueduct Lithgow is starting to feel like Australia’s version of Ancient Rome. Weeds grow everywhere, & the paint’s peeling off, the winter sun with its deep shadows makes it feel like the stage is set- & a play’s about to start.
Back home I do some google searches on Lithgow. Multiple images of the actor John Lithgow pop up, but not much about the town. More to come on this…