Oz Report – Part 18 – Canberra to West Ryde


Our original plan had been to visit Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, part of NASA’s deep space network. But since it was a 50-mile round trip in the wrong direction, we opted for visiting Cockington Green, a model village named after the village of Cockington near Torquay, which is coincidentally close to another model village that I’ve visited quite a few times.

Seeing as the motel was a bit lacking in breakfasting facilities, we went straight to the cafe and had warm scones, jam and cream with hot chocolate. A good breakfast on a rainy day, as it was. During a break in the weather we toured the model village. It was divided into two parts: half was a somewhat Wodehousian view of England (cricket matches, dogs running off with sausages out of a butcher’s van, etc) and half was International, i.e. various strangely-chosen models representative of their home country, and sponsored to the tune of A$1000 by the appropriate embassy located in Canberra. The model chosen to represent the UK was the Lynton and Lynmouth railway:

Cockington Green Lynton/Lynmouth Railway

Which I have been on many years ago. I am also unable to explain why the swan in this picture is wearing boots, but there you are.

Taunting a swan... with boots?

Cockington Green also features what must be the world’s smallest steam railway, which consists of a loop of track maybe 100 yards long that goes around the “International” bit. They charge A$2 a go (we didn’t bother) but the funniest part was the continual admonitions of the grumpy guy driving the train, telling the kids in no uncertain terms to keep their arms and legs inside the train. Perhaps the poor old guy thought he was getting his dream job, only to have his days perpetually ruined by pesky kids.

Cockington Green Steam Train

We got out of there around noon and back on the road to Sydney. The memsahib and mini-Elbeno fell asleep in the car and I completely failed to look out for the Big Merino as we passed Goulburn. We stopped for a late lunch in a shopping mall in Campbelltown before heading on to West Ryde, a western suburb of Sydney where we were to spend our last couple of days in Australia. Once again, Google showed itself to be not so good with directions and we were hit with toll roads twice.

We arrived at our last motel in late afternoon again, and were told that the hotel restaurant was closed because of the public holiday. Actually, it was quite lucky that we hadn’t planned to be in Sydney itself at this time, since we didn’t know that APEC was going to be on then when we booked the trip.

We were glad to be able to relax at the end of our travelling, and Mrs Elbeno wasn’t feeling very well, so for dinner, I picked up a (really nice) pizza from the oddly-named “Da Bruno – JP’s Pizzeria”, and while we kicked back I called the Boards to have a chat.

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