Wild west hotel


Billinudgel, with a population of about 200, used to be a railway town, and although the railway is no longer in use, the pub, which dominates the main street, is still well-patronised. I have been haunted by Billinudgel. One summer long ago my family stopped there en route to Brisbane. My mother was enchanted by the classic country hotel with its wide verandahs and beautiful location, and, although not usually prone to flights of fancy, was so taken with the romanticism of it all that she wanted to stay the night. But I was having none of it. It terrified me and I could not be cajoled. I couldn’t get out of that pub and that town fast enough. As I grew older I used to wonder what it was that had upset me so—I was not habitually temperamental or wilful—and over the years, although my memory of the town faded, the memory of the experience remained strong. On my recent visit to northern NSW I welcomed the opportunity to put old ghosts to rest. Present-day Billindugel is an uninspiring industrial area (albeit surrounded by spectacular countryside) and, on the day I visited, the pub verandah was populated by yahoos. I didn’t know whether to feel sad that whatever charm my mother had responded to had so obviously faded, or vindicated that even as a child I had been right. Oh, and the wild west typeface is a slightly modified Romantiques Regular.

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