Thru Hiking the Lavender Federation Trail – Sept 2018 – Page 4

13 September – Mintaro to Manoora 21 km

A thick layer of frost covers the oval the next morning. We have the right gear to deal with most inclement weather short of a blizzard, so a frost is no problem.

We left early and being such a small town, were soon making our way through flocks of sheep and fields of grain. On Hare Road a young fellow came running out to see us then ran back inside to get his sister. As we passed, spaced out, they had conversations with each of us. I think they would have preferred to sling on a pack and join us than the other option of going to school. A few kilometers further on we thought we heard more children’s voices but it turned out to be a flock of ducks flying overhead and talking to each other.

We passed Martindale Hall, a grand old homestead with many outbuildings, now set in a Conservation Park and open to visitors, but unfortunately it didn’t open for a few more hours. We caught glimpses of it from the track up ahead. The trail from here was largely through rural country along quiet back roads. We encountered no traffic on this section where huge gum trees lined the roads. We climbed Wirrila Road where we observed on the ridge on the other side of the valley, a windfarm with at least 30 turbines. In the valley below was the town of Manoora.

Descending to the valley floor via a road corridor we crossed a forlorn railway and came to a couple of well maintained old stone buildings, one being the Claremont homestead. In a field was an old bullock dray with two massive mallee roots on board.

We took the spur trail into Manoora, where we knew that the only accommodation was at the oval. We later found out that a B & B has opened in the town. We went into Centenary Park and met Nathan and Brenton who were unloading supplies for the evening. The sports club was to be hosting the U14 football and U17 netball teams in their final training sessions before grand finals that weekend. The bar was to be opened and schnitzels were on the menu. Bushwalking heaven! We quickly asked Nathan if 3 extra schnitzels could be arranged. Nothing was a problem and we were soon installed in the Visitors dressing room, pending Pats approval, enjoying a hot shower. Pat soon arrived to see if we were comfortable. We had a lovely night drinking beer, eating schnitzels and talking with locals. It was one of those impromptu evenings which happen sometimes when everything in your schedule is not planned to the last degree. Thanks Pat and Nathan for the hospitality!

Thru Walking - Enjoying Manoora hospitality at the Manoora Clubrooms on the 13th September 2018
Enjoying Manoora hospitality at the Manoora Clubrooms on the 13th September 2018

Next morning I was keen to see the Monoora Railway Station. A local was in the park walking his dog and he gave me directions. He was irate that the Saddleworth RS had been bulldozed by the multinational company whose land it was on and hoped that something could be done for Manoora RS. I found it and it is a beautiful old building, overgrown and derelict, but maybe it will have a second life. Nearby was an iron reservoir for steam engines to top up water. Also of interest was the Institute building in the main street.