14th November – Tuesday

We got off to a slow start this morning, indecisive whether to stay another night here in Canberra or press on. We also couldn’t decide if we should head straight to Sydney or not, and even debated if we should bother with Sydney at all? We briefly decided to stay another night in Canberra, but eventually decided we’d spend around 4 hours at The Australian War Memorial before heading in the general direction of Sydney before deciding where we might like to stop for the night. Spending such a short amount of time at the AWM does my head in. I could spend a week here easily. But this visit is more for Jessie than anything, and it’s already been a tough sell. We went straight to the Roll Of Honour where Zach still remembered roughly where Roy Cameron Patrick Welman’s name was from his school trip here. Trooper RCP Welman served in the 13th Australian Light Horse and was killed at Gallipoli. I lifted Jessie up to place a poppy beside his name. We then went inside and started looking at the WW1 collection including a whaler (boat) they used to land the troops on the beach at Gallipoli. We looked at lots of other stuff before quickly making our way to the Lancaster bomber “G for George” for the hourly show that we saw the last half of. Maree was particularly impressed with the paintings by war artists, as was I. Maree and the kids stopped for some food at the Cafe whilst I continued on. They rejoined me and after a while of looking through the WW2 collection the enthusiasm of my party wained. There was no point in continuing so we called it quits. I could have happily stayed, but it wasn’t to be today. We headed out of town heading towards Sydney. Around Goulburn Zach jumped on Wikicamps and found a nice camp-site at Bendeela Camping Reserve near Kangaroo Valley on the way to Nowra. This involved driving down a steep mountain range which freaked Maree out to the point she thought of getting out and walking. The camp-site is lovely and beside a creek. Maree and Zach went for a walk and saw 3 wombats, but their walk came to a sudden halt when they came across a red-bellied black snake, the one thing Maree hates more than driving down steep mountain ranges – snakes. As dusk approaches suddenly there seem to be wombats everywhere. Maree spots some from the van’s kitchen window so I go to have a look. There’s a large wombat and a much smaller, younger one. They push under a fence into the camping area to graze on the short green grass. From a distance the smaller one looks stuck in the fence, so I get closer for a better look. It’s not stuck in the fence, it’s moving back and forth with the bottom of the fence rubbing his back like he has an insatiable itch. A step or two closer and I spook it and it bolts away back into its burrow a few short feet away. There’s adult wombats all over the camp ground now, and you can get very close to them. One that we check out appears to have a very bad skin condition, which would explain the constant rubbing on the fence earlier. In fact as darkness falls and pretty much all night long, a wombat or wombats would come under the caravan to rub themselves on it, shaking the whole van. At one point a wombat must have got into a fight somewhere and let out a blood curdling scream. I didn’t even know they could make such a noise, it belies their cuteness. Maree was worried about Zach in his tent, but there’s nothing for a wombat to rub itself on, so I’m sure he’ll be right. This place should be called Wombat Valley not Kangaroo Valley. 

Outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra


Lifting Jessie up to place a poppy beside Trooper RCP Welman’s name at The Roll of Honour


WELMAN RCP – 13th Australian Light Horse, killed at Gallipoli in 1915.


Avro Lancaster Bomber “G for George”.


Zach and friend