Canberra & NSW travel blog part 4: Tumut

Day 5 & 6: Tumut & Blowering Dam—and heading home

I wrote about my morning in Tumut and our walk on the Adelong sculpture trail in part 3.

After we’d finished at the sculpture trail, we drove back to Tumut.

An abandoned farm machinery showroom
An abandoned farm machinery showroom outside Tumut

Blowering Dam

Slabs wanted to continue the nostalgia journey he started in Canberra and drive by his family’s old homes and his school. We did that before leaving town to see Blowering Dam.

Blowering Dam is part of the Snowy Hydro scheme. It was built between 1964 and 1968 and is the second largest in capacity (after Eucambene) of the 16 dams in the scheme. It’s a massive 26 km long.

A sign with the title "Blowering Dam Facts and Figures" listing some information about the dam including its size and composition.
Blowering Dam facts & figures

At the bottom of the dam is the power station, and we expected to be able to drive to the top of the dam wall from there but the road was closed.

A large three-storey monolithic concrete building surrounded by a green fence
Blowering Power Station and an unnecessary car

Apparently the road got washed away in recent floods.

It has a fine mid century toilet bock though.

A mid-century red brick toilet block in front of a large rock wall
The toilet block at Blowering Power Stsation

To make up for not being able to go onto the wall, we decided to drive a bit further along the highway so we could at least get view of the dam from the highway.

A long view of a dam nestled among some mountains. The sky is blue
Blowering Dam from the Snowy Mountains Highway

Slabs says he remembers the day Ken Warby broke the water speed record (511.10 km/h) on this dam in 1978. He also has a family connection to it, with his grandfather’s farm being one of the properties drowned when it was built. His father and uncle worked on the construction, which must have been a weird feeling, to be building the thing that would destroy your childhood home.

He says he can remember in the droughts of 1982 when the dam was at six per cent, being able to see the old highway and the original river course; then just three years later when it reached 100 per cent capacity and the water came over the spillway for the first time in the dam’s history.

I’m glad we got to see the water.

The end of the tour

I had some more walking time after we got back to town before we needed to be the party.

I was intrigued by this shopfront, which is next to the Montreal Theatre.

A storefront of a mid-20th centry drapery store with the title John JJ Learmont
J Learmont, Draper

Montreal is an anagram of Learmont; Mr Learmont had the theatre built and I’m not sure why I didn’t take photo of it. I think there’s a big tree in front of it.

I also noticed this ghost sign for the former Wynyard Hotel.

An orange brick wall with faded lettering spelling "Wynyard" at the top
The side of the former Wynyard Hotel

The party

The party was the reason we went on the trip, an 80th birthday celebration for one of Slabs’s family members.

I had been a little anxious about being around a group of people at an event like this but it was okay. I had my mask on, which I imagine will be my way of life for the foreseeable future. I think everyone had a good time and enjoyed catching up with family and old friends.

I was in charge of setting up the music playlist, so that was fairly straightforward once we got my phone to talk to the speaker.

It all wrapped up about 10.30 and I was definitely ready for sleep.


The next morning I had time for another short walk before it was time to leave.

a small soft toy with it head ripped off on some green grass
An unfortunate bear

We left at around 8.30 to give us time to have coffee in Canberra and take the rental car back before the flight.

Somewhere along the way, I dropped my keyring that had my suitcase lock keys on it. Fortunately they were the only keys on that keyring (and double fortunately I had purchased a set of two locks with identical keys so I still had two keys at home). But it was something I didn’t need just before going into an airport.

I’m not good with airports, especially when I have to check my bags myself.

I HATE self serve anything. There are stores I refuse to shop in because they have replaced their humans with self serve monstorosities. My stress levels escalate to peak whenever I have to do this and I behave very unpleasantly to people around me. Especially security guards who want to pull me aside and physically touch me. I cannot function in these situations.

After getting through that distress, it turned out our flight to Melbourne had been delayed. At this point I was grateful for ear plugs because the noise was making everything so much worse.

The only good thing about the delay was that when we finally did get the flight, by the time it got to Melbourne, all we had to do was get off the plane, turn around and join the queue to get on the plane to Hobart that was boarding at the next gate.

I was never so glad to get home.

The moon looked cool too.

A nearly full moon in a pale dusk sky with lamp posts in the sky
Hobart airport arrival
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