Most local people would know Goulburn as the town that holds a high security prison. The notorious mass killer Ivan Milat is serving his sentence there together with other high profile miscreants.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backpacker_murders
Please try and read the above link. It is almost as good as a Wallander Mankell thriller.
In its heyday Goulburn was the hub of Australia’s wool industry. Australia from the early eighteen nineties till the nineteen seventies was ‘riding on the sheep’s back.’ One of its main export income was wool. With cheaper cotton and synthetics entering the market, wool became much less competitive and growing wool now is a minor part of agriculture. A reminder of this wool Empire of Goulburn is a very large concrete sheep near the Sydney-Melbourne highway turnoff to Goulburn. Inside this large sheep one can buy Chinese made wool trinkets, whistles, scarfs, and Australian made socks as well as aboriginal artefacts.
Goulburn as a result of the collapse of wool became a town looking for its former but lost glory. We bought a farm in 1996 not far from this town, about 20 kms away. At that time one could have bought a 4 bedroom freestanding house for about $350,000.- and today the same house is still selling for $350,000.- It’s a beautiful but a stagnant rural town. I am sure it would provide an amazing opportunity for Sydney siders to cash up on their $2 million house and whoop it up in Goulburn. It houses an excellent library and an even better Art Gallery. In winter it can be a bit cold and bracing, but with central heating and a roof full of solar panelling it would be a most pleasant town to live in. It also has a very nice ‘Workers Club and RSL.’ ( Returned Soldiers Club)
A few days ago we went to re-visit our former country town. We usually like to go back to past lives. Reminiscing about places and lives of the past is the prerogative of growing old, especially while it is still possible. One never knows when the time will arrive the mobility scooter or ‘Eventide Care-Home’ beckons!
After arrival, and being hungry we popped into the Workers Club. I ordered curried sausages with peas and mashed potatoes. Helvi ordered roast chicken with vegetables. Both were terrible. I never thought that mash and sausages could be so failing. Helvi’s chicken was some kind of muscled thigh that belonged to a very scrawny old chook looking for a long gone rooster. My curried sausages were chopped up bits of something drowning in what I assumed was a curried flavoured sludge sobbing to be rescued. The peas were absent or fled somewhere else. The mash was lumpy.
In Australia we are the world champions in gambling. All clubs provide subsidised cheap meals paid for by the poker machine addicts. You can see them on the way to the toilets. Elderly or not so elderly people, transfixed by the ghoulish lights of the poker machines. Sometimes plastic shopping bags next to the players on the floor. A sad sight, if ever there was. After a couple of beers drowning the half-eaten lunches, we left for a solid walk around Goulburn.
On the walk back to the car we came across a man sprawled out on the pavement. We had walked past him previously and noticed his dishevelled appearance, but he was seated on one of those updated modern square public seating arrangements surrounded by pretty greenery between the pavement and the road. He must have slumped off his seat. People walked past this man. We stopped and thought of finding out what might be the matter. He looked to be in his mid thirties and appeared motionless. I asked if he was alright but no response. I then decided to phone triple zero for emergency. By that time a few passers-by had stopped too.
As I was giving information to the emergency number, the man moved his hand and showed therefore to be alive. He picked himself up and mumbled a few words. The emergency phone lady decided to cancel the ambulance. The man went back to his previous seat and grabbed his tobacco that had spilled on the pavement. He mumbled something that he was alright and no help was needed. We felt sorry. How does it get to that state? He would have been a healthy young man once. Did he take some tablets or did he have a health problem?
We hope to have a better visit next time. Perhaps we will give clubs a miss seeing that gambling gives us cheap meals. A bit like being hypocritical of an industry that causes so much harm.