Mega Mendooran

“Are you coming to the Meganuts on Saturday?”

“The mega-what?”

“It’s a few cars and markets in Mendooran – come on over.” Urged my brother-in-law (BIL for short), a local of Mendooran for a few decades.

Now I know there are a few things I need to explain.

You are busting to ask…Where is Mendooran?

Its about 350 kms west of Sydney, NSW, nestled on the banks of the mighty Castlereagh River – claims to be the oldest settlement on the river as squatters settled in and around the district in the 1800s.


Today the population is close to 300, with a community pride and heart of a thousand. I experienced a piece of this community spirit last weekend as the town and its people hosted the annual Mendooran Meganuts and Markets.

So… what is Meganuts? It took me some time understand this too.

Was it some huge nut that you can only find on the banks of the Castlereagh, and we would be given a bucket to scramble to pick them?

Was it some sort of market that sold really big things or lots of them?

Did it have something to do with the mega murals displayed on many of the old shops and buildings around the town?

Was it just a term of endearment for Mendooran locals?

I had been commandeered to help with the food stand, where there was going to be not just the traditional bacon and egg rolls, snags sandwiches and coffee but Pea n Ham soup, Curried Sausages and Pulled Pork rolls with homemade apple sauce. My BIL doesn’t do anything by half – and as we chipped the frost off the windows and attempted to start a campfire I did start to wonder if he was meganuts!

It wasn’t long after the first slice of bacon was sizzling on the BBQ and the curried sausages were warming in a camp oven over the open fire that a stream of shiny, much loved vintage rolled into town. There were Fords, Chryslers, GMC and International Trucks, a Pontiac, a Fargo, Holdens, Hot-rods, Buick, Monaros, Willys Jeep, and a host of other trucks, cars and bikes that I have no idea what they were! I was in awe, even if I had no inkling of what I was looking at. There are magnificent.

All driven with exploding pride by nuts.

Car nuts. Meganuts.

By mid-morning the main street of Mendooran was bursting with vintage glory. Most had been polished with love and attention, fully restored to shine again, while others were at various stages of renewal. They were driven into town by their keepers, coming around the pub corner at the top of town and making a grand entrance as they gently schlepped past the growing crowds near the Bowlo club.

There was no trumpets, bands or fireworks. Just good old fashion appraisal of each other’s treasure, awe at the investments in restoration and a catchup with old and new fellow nuts in the winter morning sun at Mendooran.

Car nuts. Motorheads. Restorers.

There was time to enjoy the gourmet fair and maybe pick up a bargain or two at the markets hosted by the local Bowling Club. As well as the grand spread put on by BIL you could grab a few home baked goodies from the CWA ladies and some locally made cheese produced by two lovely local ladies, Pip and Deb at Blue Sky Cheese to keep the appetite satisfied before the engines were warmed and they set off for a town tour and the afternoon events at the showground.

It was a mega morning. Mendooran Pride on show.

A quaint town with friendly people, loads of history and stories to tell. It’s not that far a drive from anywhere. Take a trip sometime, detour off the main highways and you never who or what you might see.


countryhorizons_bvmarketsroadsigntotownIt is normally a sleepy little village. Its 180 odd residents living a quiet life tucked under the shadows of the southern Liverpool Plains mountain ranges, at the very beginnings of the Mooki River that will weave its way across the plains to Gunnedah. The bustle of school traffic, children’s laughter in the playground and the toll of the bell are the only sounds that would break the quiet air during the day.

I know at least one day of the year when the population of Blackville would more than triple.

I witnessed it last Sunday.

The annual Blackville Arts and Market Day.

The road from Curlewis to Blackville was picturesque as the remarkable realm of the Liverpool Plains shone in the morning sun. A carpet of green crops, fading yellow canola and fallowed black clay rolled out in front of us, a band of hazy blue of the mountain ranges bordering the panorama. Pockets of trees lined paddocks, cattle and sheep enjoyed their morning feed as, across the plains farming families finished their morning chores.

Blackville is not really on the way to somewhere or the way from anywhere. It is about a 40 minute drive from Quirindi to the north-west and Merriwa to the south, as the crow flies. I recall my dad used to refer to the Blackville area as “gods own country” – if there was a hint of rain in the skies Blackville seems to always get it.

We rounded the final bend and were greeted by ‘road closed’ signs just past the town signage. There are few places that can close off the main thoroughfare of town for markets. Blackville can, and did.

Smiling faces of the local committee greeted us, the hospitality of rural Australia evident in the air.

Welcome to Blackville.

The stall owners stood behind their wares, a sense of pride as they happily showcased their goods. From watercolour paintings, jewellery of many shapes and material, fashion, wood crafts, hand dyed scarves, straw bags, metal ornaments, clay homewares, photography, home furnishings, local produce from the plains and the tastiest honey I have had for some time. It was an exciting array of goodies.

The homemade lime and coconut cake was delectable with my morning coffee, enjoyed in the spring sun with a wisp of a breeze keeping the heat at bay. We watched younger ones tuck into fairy floss, washed down with a frozen cup of pure delight as a duet played gentle music to entertain.

Ahh this is how Sunday should be!

After our fill of tastes and a bag full of goodies we set off on a different route home. I am a bit like my father in that I try to never travel the same road twice on a road trip. We circled back to Spring Ridge and a pit stop at the local Royal Hotel. The residents of Spring Ridge wont go hungry while ever they have the burgers at the Royal!

One cant help but relax snuggled in this country.

Sunday road trip.

Family, spring, fresh air.

Living a dream.



Some great stalls that were there:

Food River Station – produce and gift ware profiling the great Liverpool Plains

Wattle Tree Love – lovely hand dyed scarves

Colourful bags and baskets

Buzz Honey – The best honey for a long time – Phone 0429 074 520

or head to the Blackville Arts and Markets Facebook page for more information.