Maps & Daydreams vs. The GPS

In Australia the months of December and January are traditional times for holidays. Not so many years ago many families would have collected strip maps from the NRMA throughout NSW or similar organisations in other states. Perhaps some may have called into tourist bureaus and acquired “Cartoscope” or similar maps which served a similar service to the NRMA strip maps. The maps would follow a particular route that you may wish to follow between towns.

A day or so before departing on your journey you would unfold the maps carefully trying not the cause a tear in the paper and as your eyes followed the proposed route. Laying it flat on the dining room table and whilst your eyes followed the proposed route you may see names that sets your mind wandering. You recollect a previous journey with your parents and siblings as you recall a visit to a old roadhouse or restaurant many years previously and you think that perhaps your own offspring may enjoy a similar experience during the forthcoming trip that is if the roadhouse is still there. You may see a name that you did not recall but the name seems to indicate something of a visual beauty maybe worth investigating. Some names could appear on the map that evoke memories from past history lessons or that you may have read in some old novel somewhere. Questions may arise from seeing names such as “Lucknow”. Is that a name that indicated a prospector found a gold nugget or was it named after some place in India? How did that name of “Come By Chance” come about. As your eyes travel over the route you may spot a road leading off the highway and then you start to follow that road to see where it may lead you. Is it perhaps an alternative but longer and more interesting route to where you may wish to travel to? What would the road be like?

There is no doubt that maps can cause you to daydream and give you food for thought before setting off on your trip for the holidays. But now consider strip maps, street directories, etc are no longer as popular as previously in this technological age and in many cases are no longer produced. They have become relics of the past and historical documents because as soon as they are printed and published they are out of date. Also they are difficult read and fold away whilst travelling.

But consider the alternative a GPS. You set the route before leaving say from home to perhaps Brisbane. Up pops the various options “Fastest with tolls”. “Avoid tolls” etc. and away you go. Instead of your wife sitting next to you acting as navigator you get the GPS voice tell you where to go which your wife has years of experience of doing. “Turn left in 400 metres” which you already know to do, having lived in the area for well on 40 years or more. Then you hit the motorway, the overhead signs flash “Accident ahead” You are on the motorway it seems that there is no way off and you don’t have a map with you to see where the next off ramp is so you sit stuck in traffic. Until the traffic starts to move very slowly and you see a off ramp and in your haste to get to your destination you leave the motorway thinking that you would rejointhe motorway further North. The GPS tells you are going the wrong way. “Turn around when possible” it tells you but you choose to ignore it as you need to find a way around the accident.. Travelling some distance heading west you spot a break in the median strip but it has a sign reading “No U turn Permitted” besides if you were to do a “U-turn” you would only get back to where you had turned off the motorway. So you travel hoping to find a spot where you could start heading North and rejoin the motorway.

Oh! for the days of the past when you would get out the map and see where you are in respect of where you want to be. Sitting in a car with your family and sipping from a Thermos cup of coffee trying to find a way out of your predicatment. As your wife says “I told you to turn right and instead you turned left at the last crossing”

Don’t forget to contribute your memories and also any old photographs that you would like to see published in this magazine’s “as we were” section.

Now what about your memories or your story?

You can write about childhood memories of where you may have grown up or moving into the area. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on holidays; your first car; that first date, getting married or maybe the history of your family, group or organisation in the district. This page is about memories so tell us yours.

If you have some great memories, or perhaps you belong to a local community organisation and would like to share your organisation’s history or story with us then feel free to share your memories or experiences by writing to 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153 or email to [email protected].

You can also share memories on any of my Facebook memories groups including Hills District Memories at or Hawkesbury Happenings & Memories at

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