Jerilderie: A Little Town With Big History

Jerilderie is a small country town situated on Billabong Creek in the southern Riverina area of New South Wales. The Newell Highway runs right through the town, so it is very easy to find.

Jerilderie has a lovely lake and park on the banks of Billabong Creek. This park is also the site of the town’s war memorial to local soldiers  who fought in the Boer War both World Wars.

It’s a small town with a big history, courtesy of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang. It was an even smaller town then than it is now, but it had one thing that was most attractive to Ned Kelly: a printing press.

Although the Kelly gang usually operated in northern Victoria, it was in Jerilderie where Ned and his gang robbed the bank, took control of the local post and telegraph office, bailed up the postmaster and had telegraph wires cut and the poles cut down to prevent news of his visit to the town being communicated until after the fact.

The post and telegraph office held up by Ned Kelly.

It was in Jerilderie that Ned Kelly entrusted his 75 000 word manifesto known as The Jerilderie Letter to the postmaster, who promised to pass the papers on to the newspaper editor. This document explained and defended Kelly’s motives and actions, and also proposed a republic of north-eastern Victoria. The postmaster did not pass on the papers— in fact, the originals were lost for 90 years, and a copy of the letter was not printed until fifty years after Kelly’s death.

Visitors to Jerilderie can see the buildings visited by Kelly and his gang, and follow a trail of story boards that detail the events of the gang’s exploits in town. There is also a small museum attached to the Murrumbidgee Shire offices, which has displays of artefacts including Kelly’s Colt Carbine revolver and replicas of the iconic armour worn by the gang.

Jerilderie is a great place to visit. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and visitors can find excellent food at both the local bakery and the pub. The  old-fashioned candy store is also worth visiting for those with a sweet tooth.

Jerilderie.
#History #Australia #NewSouthWales

If you don't visit a bookshop, have you even been to Clunes?

Even older than its more famous neighbours Ballarat and Bendigo, Clunes was the first gold rush town in Victoria. 

Gold was discovered there in 1850 by William Campbell, but the discovery was not made public until the following year. This triggered the gold rush in Victoria, and Clunes became a thriving township. 

The heritage of the town is still visible in the lovely old buildings, homes and churches in the town. 

Clunes has more recently become known as “the Book Town of the Pyrenees” because of the annual book festival held there each year. Shop windows are decorated with a decal of books, giving the town a visual theme that promotes its new identity and adds a subtle but vivid touch to the traditional buildings and heritage colour schemes. 

In addition to a number of second-hand, vintage and collectable book shops, Clunes also offers some lovely gift stores, a traditional green grocer’s store, an old fashioned lolly shop, cafes and bakeries, and antique and collectible stores. 

Our visit was just a short one, as we tacked it onto a trip we were already making, so I only managed to visit one book store while looking around town.

Of course, it is a very rare occasion that I venture into a bookstore without buying anything. This visit was not one of those occasions.

The next visit to Clunes most likely won’t be one of those occasions, either. It’s clear that I’m definitely going to have to plan a ‘Going On A Book Hunt’ visit to Clunes, because I spied at least four other bookshops that I want to browse in.

This video highlights some of the lovely spots in and around this gorgeous, bookish little town. Enjoy!

No Wonder I’m Confused.

Today I was talking with LMC about why it is good to learn French, and where people speak French around the world. I told her that she would need to speak French if she wanted to go to Canada. 

“Can we just not go to Gettysburg?” she asked. 

“Gettysburg isn’t in Canada!” I said.

“It’s not?”

“No. It’s in America. It’s where there was a really decisive battle in the American Civil War, and where Abraham Lincoln delivered an important speech called the Gettysburg address.”

“Abraham Lincoln. Wasn’t he the guy on a coin?” 

“The guy on a coin…”

“Yeah, and if you’re under a bridge and it falls down on you, it’s good luck.”

“Dude, if you’re under a bridge and it falls on you, it’s not good luck.”

“No, I mean if the coin falls on you…”

“The coin with Abraham Lincoln on it.”

“Yeah!!”

The Philipsburg Pier. 

The Philipsburg Pier originated as a wooden jetty in the 1780s which enabled trade with the USA via Lake Champlain ports. 

The most common good exported via the Philipsburg pier were racehorses, marble, carriages, logs and milled timber. 

When the Champlain Canal opened in 1823, linking Lake Champlain to the Hudson River, trade with New York and the greater New England area of the US opened up. The jetty was upgraded and enlarged by 1836 so that supply, particularly of milled timber, could meet the demand. 

Despite competition from rail transport later in the 1800s, Lake Champlain trade continued unabated. By 1872, Philipsburg had a population of 271 and a very lucrative trade turnover of $20000 per annum. 

The pier was upgraded again in 1895, and was only downgraded due to lack of commercial demand in 1937. 

  
Today, the pier is used for recreation, largely fishing and pleasure boating. It’s also a really lovely place to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

  
   

Philipsburg.

The village of Philipsburg was established in 1784 by Empire Loyalists who moved to Canada from New York after the USA won her independence from the British. 

Two earlier attempts by the French to settle the area had been unsuccessful. The region was named St Armand by the French in 1748.

The Iroquois had villages here in the northernmost part of their territory, and they lived a settled and peaceful way of life. Across the lake were the Algonquians and some Abenakis, living in the southernmost reaches of their lands. 

  
The village was named after Philip Ruiter, a pioneer in the area.

The Canadian authorities were not keen to see settlement here because they felt it was too close to the American border. It’s easy to see why the settlers chose this place, though. 

  
Located on the shore of Lake Champlain among woods on rolling hills and rich earth for farming, Philipsburg offered plenty of opportunities for farming, hunting, fishing, and enjoying a pretty view of the lake from one’s front porch. 

  

Today, Philipsburg is still a pretty lakeshore village with those same opportunities, within easy reach of the Eastern Townships and the cities of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Montreal, as well as convenient access to the US state of Vermont via the border crossing at the Highgate Centre. 

I’ve had the privilege of calling Philipsburg home for only a short time, but I will always love this place. My mornings spent by the lake have been precious times of reflection and serenity, and part of my heart will always remain here. 

Accidentally shot…

A stone marker commemorating Margaret Vincent’s death is hidden on a back country road at Eccles Hill, near Frelighsburg, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. 

   

It reads “Margaret Vincent Accidentally shot by the Royal Fusiliers June 10, 1866.”

This dates to the time of the Fenian raids into Canada over the American border, which occurred throughout the 1860s. 

The Fenians were Irishmen who hated England and resented British domination over the Irish and their negligence during the Irish potato famine in the 1840s. Groups such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Fenian Brotherhood were formed in the 1850s, and it was these groups who surged over the border into Canada into areas such as Frelighsburg and St Armand. 

On June 7, 1866, hundreds of Fenian men crossed into Canada.

The only Canadian forces in the St Armand area were three companies of infantry, comprised largely of non-commissioned men and volunteers, under the command of Captain W Carter of HM 16th Regiment.

The alarm was raised: “The Fenians are coming!” Fearful farmers near the border tore up roads and railway lines, and abandoned homes and farms. 

Carter panicked and ordered his troops to withdraw. His troops never did forgive him for what they perceived as an act of impulsive cowardice. 

The Fenians held Pigeon Hill, Frelighsburg and St Armand. 

Mistaken for a Fenian, Margaret was a 71 year old deaf-mute who was shot when she failed to respond to an officer’s order.  Given her disability,  it’s no wonder she didn’t follow the Fusiliers’ orders.  Even so, she probably didn’t look much like an angry, armed man with authority issues. 

The marker is really quite diplomatically phrased, given that Margaret was hardly a threat to anyone. She was shot in error, but not accidentally. 

 
Margaret Vincent’s grave is located up the hilly road at Pigeon Hill Cemetery.  The marker at Eccles Hill is maintained by the local community in honour of the elderly woman who died there so long ago.

Echuca, Victoria

Echuca sits on the Murray River which forms the natural border between Victoria and New South Wales. In its heyday, it was the busiest port in Australia, shipping wool, cotton, timber, wheat and supplies all over the inland regions of three states, until rail took over as the main form of transporting goods because it was faster and more flexible in terms of routes and destinations.

Now, a visit to the Port of Echuca is generally for the purposes of tourism and recreation.

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The river has been known to flood to quite epic heights in the past. The markers on these trees give some indication.

 

The Clydesdales are always a highlight for me. I love these gentle giants, and they’re so photogenic!

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Houseboat holidays are enormously popular here. It’s a great way to explore the river and leave the rest of the world behind.

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Loch Ard Gorge, Victoria.

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The Loch Ard Gorge takes its name from a ship that was wrecked off the coast nearby. Only two  of the fifty four people on board survived: Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael. They were washed into this gorge and onto the beach, where they sheltered in a cave. Tom climbed up the cliff to get help from local farmers, who then rescued Eva.

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