We spent a few days in Wentworth as a good base to check out the Murray river area and also to visit the Mungo National Park. You can read the fist post on Wentworth here. There are several places worth visiting in and around Wentworth… Here are a few…
You can’t beat a good old gaol. At least that’s what Dani and his old dad think. Dani’s mum begs to differ. Wentworth gaol is a remarkably well preserved example of the earliest Australian designed gaols – along with Dubbo Gaol (which we have visited), Hay Gaol (see future posts) and Long Bay Gaol (which is not far from where we live in Sydney).
The gaol was built in 1879 and the design included a quadrangle, cell blocks (with ten male and two female cells), kitchen, hospital, storeroom, block, gaol warden’s residence and two observation towers. Next to the kitchen was the bathroom equipped with a bath and shower on a concrete base. The gaol even had a well-stocked library. It was run by three warders and there was as many as 18 prisoners locked up at any one time. That’s nothing compared to modern prisons eh? This was an impressive structure, all for (what today amounts to) only a handful of prisoners.
In case you were wondering… No. Kelly was never held here. But that didn’t top the gaol shop selling all kinds of Kelly memorabilia. Like these metal plaques. Naturally Dani wanted one. Oh, go on then… I usually say “no” to most things he asks for (he is definitely not spoilt in that department) but now and again… Anyway I quite liked this piece.
Almost across the road from the gaol, the museum looked small – why wouldn’t it be for such a small town? But it was surprisingly interesting. As small as it was it was packed literally to the rafters with exhibits.
As far as the larger items go there was an old Fergie tractor (naturally) and a Model T Ford. The original mass produced motor car. I had never seen one in the flesh (so to peak). This one didn’t exactly look like those rolling off the production lines in the black and white movie reels though. It had been “pimped” some time ago…
This one was my absolute favourite though. The moustache teacup. I wonder if you could sell these now with all the young men insisting on sporting facial hair? I reckon you could. At least as a novelty, maybe a stocking filler Christmas present…
Yes, they really did used to have these. Way back when those big Victorian/Edwardian curled up moustaches were in fashion. The idea being that only your lips get wet with the tea. Also in those days moustaches were waxed to hold them in the style of the day and the steam coming off the hot tea used to met the wax causing it to drip into the tea – Ugh!!! Amazingly these things would have been quite common and this one only dates back as far as the early years of the 2nd World War!. Personally I think it’s a great idea and would teach the young fellas of today a little about facial hygiene.
The Perry Sandhills are large sand dunes located a few kilometres out of town. These dunes seem to appear out of nowhere. This place is some 400km from the sea and although the area is classed as outback it is not exactly desert. It has something to do with when the rivers ran higher and faster but it was so many years ago (they say) that I really can’t be arsed with the detail. They look great though. Named after the areas first land commissioner George Murray Perry these dunes have been used as a backdrop for films and adverts. You can also add this one to your list of FREE things to see and do…
Rivers and boats
With two large rivers converging in Wentworth the area is a playground for anyone with a boat. Whether that is for fishing, riding up and down the rivers or water sports like water-skiing/wake-boarding. There are also plenty of house boats, large and small. Some owned but mostly rented out for holidays on the Murray.
Most of the boat hire places were just across the Murray, in (or near) a much larger town called Mildura which is just up river and in the state of Victoria. Unfortunately at that time access into Victoria was limited due to some coronavirus “clusters” in the Sydney area. That said we did ty to cross over just to see if they really were stopping people enter. More on that farce to come…
With all this irrigation available there are plenty of farms growing all sorts of fruits. And of course grapes! The area has several vineyards and wine cellars. We visited one called Trentham Estates and sampled some great wines. In fact Dani’s mum was smooth-talked into becoming a “member”. Basically that means we bought six bottles (and received two free). You then have to order at least 6 bottles twice a year. They then throw in a couple of bottles. And they deliver for free – well, it’s included in the bottle price. Actually not bad. We have since placed one order and recently received them. Good wines at a reasonable price!
We stayed a few days in Wentworth as a base to explore the area, and that included the place I was most interested in seeing on this whole outback adventure – Mungo National Park. Stay tuned for that one….