I left you while I was camped by the river. Nice.

I continued along Thunderbolt's Way. Thunderbolt was an escaped convict, a bush ranger. Now when I heard the word bush ranger the first time, I thought they were some sort of policemen who ranged the bush.

But no. They were robbers who ranged the bush, and Thunderbolt was one. He got his name because one of his earlier robberies was at a toll booth, and while he was calling "Give me the money" he was banging on the side of the booth, and it made a noise like thunder.

He was quite a popular robber, because he didn't shoot anyone - he didn't like guns - and most of the settlers were fighting against the law too. He stayed at large for over 6 years, mostly because he was an excellent horseman and judge of horses, and stole the fastest horses, so he could outpace the undertrained, underpaid, and badly mounted police.

He got caught in the end. Although one of his descendants claims the man who was shot and killed was actually Thunderbolt's brother - who was also a bush ranger - and that Thunderbolt escaped with his loot, almost $1million at today values, to the United States, and eventually died in Canada.

Of course, everybody knows that around 2 thirds of the very first settlers in Australia were 'criminals' who had been transported to Australia to serve their sentences of 7 or 14 years. I just read today about one of these, a 9 year old boy who had been sentenced for stealing a purse, he did not take willingly to authority, and in a period of about a month was sentenced to some 60 lashes of the 'cat o 9 tails', this is a whip with 9 knotted thongs. He died at age about 14 in the prison hospital, from 'unknown causes'. Justice was quite severe in those days.

Those who survived had no way to return home after completing their sentences and had to make their way in Australia alongside the voluntary settlers, the emigrants.

Here are some photos taken as I traversed 200 km of Thunderbolts Way.

I noticed some cowboys with cattle and tried to take a picture. The photo, as well as blurred cowboys, more clearly show some of my essential travelling companions, binoculars, phone, and coffee mug. The camera would have been there too except....Well, heck, you can work out for yourself why the camera wasn't there.

I reached Walcha and Charlie Winter. Charlie works for the tourist office during the week and at weekends takes out guided wilderness walking tours when he can find the punters. He gave me probably the best information and suggestions for local things to do that I have ever received from a tourist office. I didn't do much of what he suggested but that's not his fault! He spotted me the next (Saturday) morning about 50 km away when he was driving past (he had no takers for the walking tour), and stopped to say hello. I don't know what he is being paid from the tourist office, but he deserves double!

One thing I did do that he suggested was to visit the pioneer museum. Charlie said to go round the back and knock on Ron's door, and Ron would show me round. Well it worked just as Charlie said. I went round back, knocked on Ron's door, and Ron showed me round. It was an OK museum with one amazing exhibit, a Tiger Moth.

This was the actual Tiger Moth that had made the first aerial spraying in Australia, here in the local area.

After the museum I continued on to the next town - where I met Charlie again in the morning - and settled for the night.

Well, first I cooked on one of the barbecues in a local park and passed the time of day with a local passing by. I'm sure I've said it before, but it can bear repetition. I think the Australian idea of scattering around free gas or electric powered barbecues is just great! I'll take a photo of one some time. Thinks....that's in addition to a photo I've promised for a racy Holden pickup, and a photo of my van with the pop top popped.

I'd decided to rest for the night in the local Lions club park, so I felt free to visit a local pub for a beer. Or 2. Here at last I fell into conversation with a local, a retired farmer. After that of course, Lions park, then Charlie in the morning.

I don't know if you realise, but I type all this stuff with one finger. I would use 2 but my other hand is usually busy holding a glass of something. Usually a small brandy and lots of soda by the way. But this one finger typing doesn't hold me back a lot. It's about as fast as I can think anyway.

It had been raining off and on for a while, but I headed off on the Waterfall Way. Here are the Wollomombi falls.

First, top and bottom falls, together in one picture..

Then, just the top.

And then, just the lower falls!

I bought a pie in the village of Wollomombi (I had to go back and check that, I missed out one of the 'om's) then I went to a pioneer museum, in Hillgrove. It was a nice museum, an old gold town, and considering that they only have 100 inhabitants now, a rather amazing museum. Ah, I went to the museum before the Wollomombi falls. Do you think you could rearrange that sequence in your minds, to save me going back and typing it all out again?

I went to look at the Ebor Falls. Can't have been all that good, I don't have a photo.

No wait!

The above photos ARE the Ebor Falls. Not the Wollomombi. You need to do some serious rearranging. Hillgrove museum, Wollomombi, Ebor. Me, I can't do it, it's approaching bed time, and I think I've been putting too much soda water in those brandies. The Wollomombi falls are 2 separate falls, with just a trickle through each, hardly worth a photo.

Well, here they are. Wollomombi. One waterfall on the left, obviously, the second one is just to be seen upper middle.

It was getting dark, there was nowhere sensible to park near Ebor, so I stopped in a rest area some km later, high up. It was already starting to rain, but I snatched a photo.

I put the top up to cook dinner. I found out later that was a mistake. I should have thought about it. The wind was blowing, the van was rocking, the wind, and the rain came in through the side. The fabric sides of the pop top got soaked.

But morning came. I was still around. The world was good.

Dangar Falls and Dorrigo Rainforest next.

Best regards

David Barker
Currently in Australia, exploring New South Wales

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