Inverell was our next stop along The Newell Highway; it is on the western edge of the New England Tablelands in a valley with the Macintyre River. Inverell is often called the Sapphire City due to the many Sapphire mines around the place. Those who know me well, know how much I adore Sapphires, and yes, we did go fossicking (7 Oaks Fossicking Park) one day and yes, we did find a few Sapphires, not as big, bright or a good as my many Ceylon Sapphires; but, hey, we found them ourselves, and think they are pretty good anyway. Bucko was shovelling piles of rubble in to a bucket ready to sluice, and he found a rather larger dark blue Sapphire just sitting on the top of the dirt in the shovel!
Inverell has fantastic Inverell Pioneer Museum which we wandered around for almost a day; the buildings had all been donated by people from local properties. The buildings had been dismantled then reconstructed onsite at the village. It truly looks like a village, pub, blacksmith shop, school, shearing shed, boot-maker, etc. How about the pic of Bucko in school, the awful part is we both remember sitting at desk like this when we were at school!A short drive took us to the Wing Hing Long Museum at Tingha. This is an old General Store, built in 1881 which was owned by the same family for many, many years and finally closed trading in 1998. The store them became a museum and part of the Powerhouse portfolio. Everything is the store was left as it was the day trading stopped, out the back in the storage shed are cartons of TAB – some of you may remember? The first diet soft drink, made by the Coca-Cola Company.
Another wonderful few hours were spent in the Inverell Transport Museum, cars, buses, trucks, bicycles etc all under cover and looking terrific. I had to hop on board the old double decker-bus, I remember going to and fro in my early days in Sydney when I lived on the Clovelly route.