The tiny settlement of Rankins Springs (population – 299), near West Wyalong in western NSW, was the inspiration for the short story ‘Dry Springs’.
The town is on the Mid-western Highway between Hay and West Wyalong. It’s about an hour and a half from Hay and an hour from WW, so it’s a good spot for driver reviver break. Not that there’s much in town. It was once the terminus of a grain railway, now fallen into ruin.
There’s a creaky old servo and workshop, two closed snack bars, a semi-open motel and general store, and a pub, The Conapaira Hotel.
I’ve travelled through Rankins Spring dozens of times over many years and watched the town fall further and further into disrepair. Interstate buses were popular in the days before cheap airfares and Rankins Springs was a much needed meal stop on the way from Adelaide to the East Coast.
Nowadays people might stop to use the public toilet. Most people don’t do road trips anymore and fly straight overhead anyway. Towns like Rankins Springs have lost most of their reason to exist.