I love road trips, stopping wherever and whenever it suits. And I love that there is so much history that can be gained from the little country towns that dot the landscape.
Clunes, in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, and with a population of less than 600 had me with Uncle Peter’s Secondhand Bookshop. The lush vegetation was gorgeous too.
Tabulam, with a population of less than 500, is the birthplace of Lt General Sir Henry Chauval of the Australian Light Horse. Not only is there a monument to the Light Horse Brigade in this fly spec of a spot but last November being the 100th anniversary of the Charge of Beersheba, there was a re-enactment. ( yeah, makes the mind boggle, doesn’t it?)
The township of Drake, a bustling centre in the gold rush of the 1870’s and 80’s, has a population of less than 130. The foot never touched the brake pedal when the Lunatic Motel was spotted.
We’ve yet to investigate Tenterfield, our destination, though a few big things already appeal to my sense of trivia :
Major J F Thomas was born in Tenterfield.
Major Thomas was the country solicitor who defended Harry “Breaker” Morant ( and Peter Handcock ) during the Boer War in South Africa. If you’ve seen the Aussie flick, Breaker Morant, think the character played by Jack Thompson.
A B Paterson, Australian poet and war correspondent, married a Tenterfield lass in April 1903. St Stephens Church, a tiny, wooden structure revisits this event annually in an attempt to keep Banjo’s poetry alive.
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around that the colt from Old Regret had got away
And had joined the wild bush horses, he was worth a thousand pounds, so all the cracks had gathered to the fray
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far had mustered at the homestead overnight
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are and the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight
It was a cold winters night in the Hill Top Farmhouse last night, though good news : we may have broken their drought.