Port Stephens Friendship Group Visit Coonabarabran For Stargazing

The Observatory at Siding Springs.


THE Port Stephens Friendship Group recently travelled west beyond the Great Dividing Range to Coonabarabran.

When Covid-19 restrictions cancelled the Friendship Groups tour to Coonabarabran and beyond last year, the thirty keen travellers setting off in late April/May were certainly full of excitement to finally be on their way.

Roslyn Holman of the Port Stephens Friendship Group told News Of The Area, “On the first day we lunched at Nundle calling into the First Fleet Park at Wallabadah; a park kept in exceptional condition.

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“In Nundle we viewed an old woollen mill with an informative talk about the machinery involved while in action.

“This mill is one of the last of its kind of spinning mills to still be in operation.”

The group then stopped overnight at Tamworth where they enjoyed a morning tour of the town and Power Museum.

Leaving Tamworth, they made their way to Gunnedah, the area where Dorothy McKellar penned the famous poem I Love A Sunburnt Country.

On their arrival at Coonabarabran, the group spent their first night stargazing with an informative presentation by Astronomer Donna and her assistant, where a large telescope was set up.

“The highlight of our tour was spending a day out in the Warrumbungle Mountains.

“Some went for a bush walk to view the “Bread Knife” lookout and others were taken for a very informative talk of the whole area by a park assistant.

“Regrouping we headed further up into the mountains to the “Siding Springs” Observatory on Mount Woorut where we were taken on a tour of the large Telescope Centre.

“This tour will be long remembered by all as we were taken inside the dome up to the floor where the telescope is mounted, our guide explaining the full operations of the scene in front and above us.”

This was followed by an exterior platform walk around the whole dome which is very high above the ground.

“We visited many other places of interest including “The Black Gate” Distillery where a husband and wife team started their own business brewing single malt whisky and dark rum.”

After a tour of Gilgandra and visiting the Rural Museum the group continued onto Dubbo where we toured the Dubbo Zoo and the new Flying Doctor Base.

“We finished a very enjoyable time travelling together and were well looked after by our member organiser Rita Harvey and Neil our (Coach Captain) Driver,” she said.

The Port Stephens Friendship Group meets the last Tuesday of each month at 5.00pm in the Nelson Room, Nelson Bay Bowling Club followed by dinner together in the restaurant at 6.00pm.

“We are an over 60’s friendship group and you are most welcome to join us.”

Please ring either Fran on 0419 801 121 or Roslyn 0416 122 284 for any further information.




Members of the Port Stephens Friendship Group on their travels.

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