Macquarie Marshes, Carinda and David Bowie

Sydney Knitting Nannas and Friends were advised to leave Warren early if we wanted to see lots of birds at the Macquarie Marshes.

A thick morning mist slowed us down as we drove the 129km along the Carinda Road from Warren to ‘Burrima’. This bitumen bush road, very narrow in parts, has cattle grids that beep as you cross them.

‘Burrima’ has a 2km boardwalk circuit built across the marshes as well as a picnic area, facilities and a large shaded area with lots of information on land and water management of the wetland ecosystem.

To enter the property you pay $25 per car and once paid you are given a pin code to open the enormous gates.

The boardwalk and observation tower is a wonderful way for visitors to view the marshes and its insects and birdlife. Due to recent rain, vegetation is lush and you can see the flow of the water. Being amongst these marshes makes you want to protect them more.

In 1986 the Macquarie Marshes was listed under the Ramsar Convention as a ‘Wetland of International Importance’ for its significance as a floodplain wetland in a semi-arid landscape.

After a picnic lunch back at the start of the boardwalk, we retraced our steps back towards Warren turning left at Gibsons Way to Monkey Bar Creek. This is a popular bird feeding ground on the way to Quambone. However, the water flowing over the road was quite high and only one of our vehicles was high enough, and the driver game enough, to cross the creek and take the short cut to Coonamble.

The rest of the convoy drove north to Carinda. Some took the road to Quambone then Coonamble while others checked at the Carinda Pub for the best route and were told to continue on the Walgett Road for a short time before heading straight to Coonamble. This proved to be the fastest route but recent tracks indicated that either would be very difficult in wet weather so we suggest anyone travelling this way check at the pub first.

The Nannas who did that were attracted by the pub’s picturesque appearance as well as a relaxed-looking trio of locals on the verandah. (Maybe they were just a little tempted by the thought of a cold beer as well.) The locals proved to be friendly and extremely opposed to CSG which they recognised as being incompatible with farming. They were well aware of the Queensland experience of contaminated bore water and dying towns.

Inside the pub is an interesting surprise – a life-size photo of the late, great David Bowie. Some of the locals remembered when in 1983 Bowie filmed part of the Let’s Dance film clip there. The tiled wall in the video has been preserved but the rest of the pub has been ‘modernised’.

Bowie’s visit is celebrated at an annual festival, Let’s Dance Carinda, held on the October long weekend.

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