Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
14 March 2012 - Canowindra
We spent three nights in Canowindra caravan park beside the Belubula River which is no longer in flood but lined by hectares of grass flattened by running floodwater. Days were warm and dry with a fair amount of sunshine; nights were mostly warm. A little rain threatened on the last day but only a few drops fell.

We spent a fair amount of time in the historical shopping centre which presents a very mixed front. The main shops (newsagent, IGA supermarket, etc) are in older buildings along curving Gaskill Street but there is also a large number of empty shop-fronts or businesses for sale. Business in Canowindra has to deal with a small local population (1499 in the 2006 census) and must also deal with competing businesses in Cowra only 32 kilometres away; residents must be tempted to drive there for major purchases.

Canowindra has developed hot-air ballooning as an event and claims to be the hot-air ballooning capital of Australia. There is also the Age Of Fishes Museum displaying several thousand fossil fish 360 million years old found locally and displayed in a very well thought-out museum. The local museum unfortunately no longer has regular opening hours.

The major event in Canowindra for the time we were there was the shooting of a television advertisement in the main street. We called in several times to see what was going on and saw lots of people setting up and more people just waiting. Presumably filming did begin eventually because next morning the props were being removed.

Having the main street taken over for filming represented a level of inconvenience to residents and we wondered if they received any return. Publicity for the town there certainly was not; the parts of the main street being filmed were transformed into something quiet different to Canowindra's street and were unrecognisable. We were told the film crew had bought their own catering facilities so local caterers were not impressed. On the other hand, one local resident was paid $100 to allow a light to be placed on his verandah overlooking the main street for a few hours.

Preparation Main street building being transformed in preparation for filming.

Main street Main street as a film set.

Away from the main shopping street the stream of semi-trailers and B-doubles along the through roads dominated activity. The novelty of heavy transports has long since worn off for local residents; the trucks, especially B-doubles, are so big there is no place for them to stop in Canowindra for a meal, rest or cup of coffee. These vehicles are so long they take up both sides of the road while getting around many corners and the road is beginning to break up in some places with the underlying surface showing through broken bitumen. To be honest, roads in Canowindra are not particularly good anyway but even the worst residential street is not breaking apart the way main roads are beginning to disintegrate under the impact of heavy transports. Hopefully, the council is waiting for the Newell Highway to re-open so transports stop passing through Canowindra and road damage can be repaired.