...and we are...
up...looking down onto suburbia;
The Darling River is the third longest river in Australia, measuring 1,472 kilometres (915 mi) from its source in northern New South Wales to its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth, New South Wales. Including its longest contiguous tributaries it is 2,844 km (1,767 mi) long, making it the longest river system in Australia.
Tumble weed, bleached and liberated by the ever blowing wind, comes to rest in a corner of the airport in Bourke.
Generations of Australians have talked about the “back of Bourke” as the edge of the great unknown. Visitors will be surprised to learn that Bourke itself is a fascinating and exciting inland town with a rich historical tradition. In the 1800s, the poet Henry Lawson wrote: “If you know Bourke, you know Australia”, and there’s still some truth to it.
Once a major late 19th-century river port, Bourke retains much of its heritage. Whether the Darling is at its lowest ebb or brimming with life, Bourke is a fascinating place to spend some time.
Charles Sturt passed through in 1824, followed by Thomas Mitchell in 1835. Mitchell constructed what he called a fort, which was little more than a shed constructed on logs, and called it Fort Bourke. Eventually, the township of Bourke developed about 13 km from this fortification.
For a couple of decades from the early 1860s, Bourke and other towns along the Darling River became important trading centers and transportation hubs.
Bourke is located in North West NSW on the banks of the Darling River. It's approximately 772km from Sydney, 1000km from Melbourne, 930km from Brisbane and 1130km from Adelaide.
This grand building was a former Bank. It is for sale! It would make a splendid home and perhaps a B and B; perhaps if I were "a bit younger"!
Unfortunately, the Darling is in poor health, suffering from overuse of its waters, pollution from pesticide runoff and prolonged drought. In some years it barely flows at all. The river has a high salt content and declining water quality. To quote a Henry Lawson poem:
The skies are brass and the plains are bare,
Death and ruin are everywhere;
And all that is left of the last year's flood
Is a sickly stream on the grey-black mud;
The salt-springs bubble and the quagmires quiver,
And this is the dirge of the Darling River.