It’s All About The Journey.

Home after a week pottering around the beautiful small townships of the New South Wales, South Coast Region. This trip, despite its short length, was a celebration of the end of one phase of my life and for the beginning of the next. The goal was to purge some sad memories and to create some that were new and fresh. It is amazing how quickly those goals were achieved.

This part of the world is a continuous coastline on one side of the highway, and soft green hills or rugged timberland on the other. It’s a part of the world where you don’t have to share a beach and there is a plethora of space to stop and think. Space where there is no white noise. Any plans for an overseas jaunt in coming months are seriously being overhauled.

My favourite travel writer, Bill Bryson, who totally cracks me up said “ To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Road trips are the source of much fascinating information. After a quick feed at a pub in Nowra, I learnt that The Archer Tavern was named after the racehorse that won Australia’s first and second Melbourne Cups in 1861 and ‘62. Archer was a long distance specialist having walked the 600 miles from Nowra to Melbourne for the big race.

This was the basis of a truly dreadful mid eighties movie starring Our Nic before she met that bloke Cruise, and a young Brett Climo. Whatever happened to him, I wonder?

In Moruya, further south on the Moruya River, you can’t miss the recently closed Air Raid Tavern situated on the Highway. A wooden carving of The Airman stands proudly outside. Moruya ?Air Raids? The hallmarks of a failed education system in the 1970s were once again raising their ugly heads.

Three trawler men lost their lives during WW2 when a Japanese Midget submarine bombed them off the Moruya Coast, on their way up the East Coast. Who knew that? Some more unpalatable history, apparently.

So, of course I had to look at the Midget Sub on display, very much bruised and battered, at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Fascinating stuff.

For the penultimate in Trivia a celebration of another kind taking place further south near Narooma had themed food to match the quiz like game at hand, set up in tents in a back garden, with a soft summer breeze, the hum of cicadas, and a playlist of music from the last five decades.

Much thanks must go to these good people, these Adventurers, who have convinced me to add “Watch Dr Who Christmas Special” to my Must Do List. An achievement considering never having watched a Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord Of The Rings movie  which I rate highly as Personal Bests, right up there with my No Tupperware Policy.

And I picked up a first Edition copy of Rudyard Kipling’s, Kim, for my Errol Flynn Collection from a second hand bookstore in a little country town that served the best coffee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said , “It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.” So true.

Six Degrees of Separation in Tenterfield.

Only 3 hours drive from Brisbane, Tenterfield in northern New South Wales, is located in a valley within the Great Dividing Range. It’s largely preserved architecture, natural attractions and rich farmland make it a worthwhile destination when needing to relax and recharge.

49D976FE-0EC1-483C-A570-906097432510

Established in 1851 because of its position on the route between Sydney and Brisbane, politician Sir Henry Parkes, delivered a speech in Tenterfield in 1889 at the School of Arts Building which ultimately led to the Federation of Australia in 1901, and Parkes becoming known as the “Father of Federation”.

417D674A-E932-46AA-88C9-E731A83906F2

On a visit to Tenterfield in early September to attend The Inaugural Peter Allen Festival I attended a performance of Allen’s music and story telling at this building. Preserved, yet modernised with a delightful Courtyard Cafe, entertainer Danny Elliot ensured that Peter Allen’s music stays alive.

Peter Allen was born in Tenterfield in 1944. A singer-songwriter, musician and entertainer, known for his flamboyant stage persona and lavish costumes, Allen’s songs were made popular by an array of recording artists including Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Manchester, and Christopher Cross (with the theme song from the movie, Arthur.)

90D0EDF0-ED61-4B0C-92BF-3EFB0EF65AC4

His Grandfather, George Woolnough, had been a long time Tenterfield resident and owner of the Tenterfield Saddlery on High Street for fifty two years. The front verandah became a meeting place where locals gathered to chat. Peter Allen perpetuated the memory of his grandfather in one of his best known songs “The Tenterfield Saddler”.

9EA60A14-4AA8-423B-AC87-C1C2D96E052F

The building was classified by the National Trust in 1972. The doors and woodwork are of red cedar and apart from the maintenance, the Saddlery is in its original condition.

6E1D1A66-2BEA-4366-ADC6-AE92C5662063.jpeg

The first saddler in Tenterfield purchased this property in 1870 which was then sold and used as a bank four years later because the granite walls were over twenty inches thick. In 1895 it was sold for use as a private home, who then sold it on to the next saddler, before coming into Woolnough’s hands.

The solicitor who arranged these last three sales was Major J F Thomas who defended Harry (Breaker) Morant in South Africa during the Boer War. His part in this saga was depicted in the Australian movie, Breaker Morant, released in 1980 by actor, Jack Thompson.

CC073C90-055C-406A-AC7F-59E2A08FDC8F

Thomas returned to his position as country solicitor after the conflict and authorised the first official publication of Tenterfield’s history.

62C6FB35-343B-44BF-83B4-B8D9C941CFCE

Just down the road, Harry Chauvel, the son of a grazier, was commissioned as an officer in the Upper Clarence Light Horse. He became a regular officer in 1896, and went to the United Kingdom as part of the Queensland contingent for the 1897 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. In 1899 he commanded one of two companies of Queensland Mounted Infantry that were Queensland’s initial contribution to the Boer War.

After the war, he was closely involved with the training of the Australian Light Horse, which later led to his leadership during World War 1 in numerous conflicts, including at Beersheba in October 1917, where his light horse captured the town and its vital water supply.

The 1987 released movie, The Light Horsemen, told the story of the taking of Beersheba, with Aussie Bill Kerr playing Sir Gen. Henry Chauvel.

B2BEA893-C045-4544-BCB2-D186469740DE

Chauvel’s nephew Charles Chauvel became a well-known film director, whose films included Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940), about the Battle of Beersheba, filmed on the sand hills of Kurnell, Sydney, and one of my own weekend stomping grounds. ( said sandhills no longer exist. Thank Progress).

Another of Tenterfield’s favourite sons was Oliver Woodward.

Captain Oliver Holmes Woodward CMG, MC & Two Bars, was a metallurgist, mine manager and soldier noted for his tunnelling activities at the Ypres Salient during the First World War.

B3063786-A886-4E35-A6A4-DF9E168476F4.jpeg

Woodward kept diaries of these activities which were later moulded into a book by historian and writer, Will Davies, which in turn became 2010 Australian War film, Beneath Hill 60. Actor Brendan Cowell portrayed Woodward , and if you’ve never seen the movie, put it on your Must Do List.

On a personal note, much thanks to Tenterfield for the country hospitality and continuing history lessons. To my fellow City Slickers, remember that our rural towns need some help right now, and that a steak at the pub, a coffee at the Cafe, and the purchase of home made jams and chutneys, helps to keep our country towns alive. The local paper is guesstimating that tourists input $300,000 into Tenterfield over the weekend.

https://www.tenterfieldstar.com.au/story/5634119/inaugural-peter-allen-festival-officially-opens-in-bruxner-park/?cs=2865