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The Long Paddock

I’m back! The problem with incorporating a house move (my mother and sister were relocating) with a road trip is that the trip isn’t really a proper holiday. The needs to arrive at the new home, supervise the removalists’ unloading worldly goods, and get settled into “home making” all subtly apply pressure. An unseen clock ticks in the back of your mind as the kilometres unfold beneath your wheels. However, we did enjoy ourselves and we discovered places where we will return sometime in the future for a holiday.

One of those places is The Long Paddock. We only drove the section between Deniliquinin NSW and Echuca, Victoria. I’d driven down this section of road a few years back and seen the interpretive signs at various spots. I swore one day I’d drive this way again and stop for a look. I swore that again on this trip.

The Long Paddock is the traditional open stock route, free for anyone to graze or drive their cattle. As you drive along the route, you’ll notice the fences are often set well back from the road, leaving wide verges of grass for the cattle to graze as they make their slow trek south. Modern truck transport & farming methods mean that the use of the long paddock has declined but it is a fascinating part of Australian rural history.

Apart from the interpretive panels at various roadside bays along the Cobb Highway’s Long Paddock route, there are also some wonderful sculptures.

The combination of (recent) social history and public art is a terrific way to keep the mind active and alert on what can be a lonely stretch of road in a very flat landscape.

It’s a good and quiet road, well worth exploring and I look forward to exploring the northern sections to Hay and beyond next year.

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