Kaniva, a Town of Humour and Hospitality
The town of Kaniva is in the West Wimmera area of Victoria. It’s a perfect place to stop on the drive between Adelaide and Melbourne and in fact when you’re driving, its closer to Adelaide at 315 kilometres away, than to Melbourne with around 415 kilometres to go.
There’s a lot to see in Kaniva and you can’t miss for starters the big windmill as you drive into the main street of the town. It is there as a symbol of the abundant underground water supply in the town that supports this farming district. Surrounding the town are green farms, sheep stations, wheat fields and canola.
As you drive around you’ll spy the sculptures on the edge of town, metal windmills, farmer, sheep and a kelpie all very quintessential Aussie icons.
The other standout features are the brightly painted sheep dotted throughout the town and painted by local community groups. The sheep art came about from an idea by local artist Sharon Merrett to celebrate the town’s sheep industry with this colourful fibreglass flock.
Another landmark is the art deco style, curved frontage of the Commercial Hotel in its prominent corner position.
It has the importance of being the first and last pub in Victoria from the South Australian border. It’s recently undergone some renovations with new management, and the front bar area is very comfortable and homely with its deep grey walls and pressed metal ceiling.
Pick the right Thursday night and you’ll be in for a fun time with quiz night at the Hotel. On a cold, wet and windy winter night we were planning on having a quiet dinner and a drink before retiring early to continue on our drive to Melbourne the next day. We were surprised instead with a very warm welcome at the hotel and a promise that it would be fun to stay for the quiz night ‘it only goes for a couple of hours’.
How could we refuse? The dining room had probably close to 60 people in it and on the menu we couldn’t go past the schnitzel and glass of wine deal for $20. Good hearty pub food with schnitzels almost hanging off the plate arrived and soon after the games began!
Our first job was to choose a name for our team (2 of us in our case), somewhat outnumbered by the tables of 6, 8 or 10 that mostly seemed to be the case, except for one other table of two; the guys in high vis that also seemed to have stumbled on the event. So we settled on our team name ‘Caravan Correspondent’ and the quiz questions began. We were on a roll, the answers were coming easily and we were doing well in the first couple of rounds. We swapped our answers with the closest table, a great choice of team name, ‘the Nhilbillies’, a take on where they were obviously from, the nearby town of Nhill.
The rounds of questions continued, four rounds with questions ranging over the topics of TV/Movies, sport, general knowledge and music. We were quietly confident on most of our answers and then there were those that we didn’t have a clue about so only a ridiculous guess would do. Strangely enough the questions got harder, or was it that the red wines started going down too easily?
Lots of laughs shared with the room, then it was time to get the official scores. We finished a credible 4th out of around 10 teams and the wooden spooners? Well that was the other team of two, the high vis guys. And their team name? Well it was ‘road workers’. Come to think of it they actually did better than us because they got a prize of a block of chocolate for being last! OK so next time we have a plan, it’s either to come first or last, no in between. And we’ve been working on the team name for next time too…how does ‘Kaniva Drink’ sound?