We remembered coming through Dunedoo a while ago and thinking it was a good place to pass through. On that occasion we stopped for petrol, saw a handful of people around the town and left as quickly as we arrived. This trip we decided to spend a couple of nights, with a population of 802 it promised peace and quiet. It was a great stop over and very reasonably priced … and we like that.
A short bike ride into town from the campground and we were rewarded with an afternoon poking around the antique shop that was once a cinema. Antique shops aren’t nearly as fascinating in your 20s yet each time I step inside a wonderland filled with olde worlde memorabilia I am sixteen again.
I stood looking at the ornate ornate telephone and thought of my best friend in high school, Susan Parker, Soz. Soz had a phone in her bedroom from which she made and received phone calls. Not only did she have her own lah-di-dah very ornate telephone but she got to make and receive calls in the privacy of her bedroom. How envious I was. Every phone call I received or made was in the company of either parent or my pesky brother who was sure to bust me planning a weekend escape from mother’s apron strings.
The deserted streets of Dunedoo today belie its role as a vibrant hub of a farming community. As mines in the region closed the population reduced which impacted the community. In the 1960s the passenger train that carried visitors to and fro the region was closed down leaving the once busy town to a slow demise. Over the years those that have stayed have made several attempts to rejuvenate the town with markets, specialty shops and boutiques to no avail.
In 2002 a particularly audacious bid to grasp the limelight caught the attention of national television and what followed was not a kind reflection on the nation’s view of the struggling town.
A cunning plan was floated to build a three storey toilet block, and playing on the name of the town, it would be called The Big Dunny. No expense would be spared and in the end Dunedoo would have a five star public toilet block at ground level, a visitors’ centre, a radio station as well as a viewing platform. It was a grand plan.
However, such creativity was quashed by a councillor who thought the town would become the laughing stock of the nation – I don’t know, we’re a pretty broadminded bunch downunder.
I suppose he made a valid point but I feel the townsfolk deserve marks for sticking their necks out in the hope of bringing more visitors to their little town. Not to be entirely ignored, the locals have built their own version of the dunny block that has pride of place in the campground.
And so it was, after an enjoyable afternoon in the little town we headed back to the campsite to light our fire and settle in for a cold night. History notwithstanding, we enjoyed our two nights in the town and although we didn’t take up the offer of a wander into the town to be part of Saturday night entertainment at the local pub we did enjoy a campfire.