Once we left Echuca, we headed for Robinvale to meet with Belinda, who is the coordinator for the MOPS group there. As we could not meet with her in the morning, we decided to drive up to Mildura for a quick look. Very quick, we had about 1 hour.
Karen suggested we find a park to look around before we head back to Robinvale so we found a large park beside the river that advertised Lock 11 on the front gate. This will be interesting, I will be able to tell the kids how a river lock operates to keep the water at 2 different levels whilst allowing boats to use the river.
Suddenly a paddle-steamer (PS Melbourne) appeared around the river bend and sounded his steam driven horn. He was driving straight into the lock! So much for me telling the kids anything, they were about to witness it all in action.
So the paddle steamer enters the lock and gets tied off. Rosa and Leisl decided to cross over to the other side to watch the proceedings. The lock gates closed behind the boat, and underground valves are opened to allow the water out of the lock and into the river below. The water is swirling around everywhere and the level of water holding the boat begins to drop. Finally they are at the same height, and there has been no need for any water pumps. Then the front doors are opened and the boat sails out, about 7 metres below where it previously rested. Never in my wildest imagination would I have ever thought my children would get to see something like that, it was very cool.
We had decided to head for Ballarat to learn something of Australias’ gold rush history, and so we picked a campsite which we though was on the way called Lake Albacutya. The lake is almost dry now, but we managed to find a well serviced campsite with flushing toilets, rubbish bins and no other inhabitants in sight. Remarkable! We could have stayed here for a week also. The nearest town is Rainbow! but it felt very close to Adelaide.
Friday morning we drove to Ballarat………