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.
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.
Red Rock is a dormant volcano near Alvie in western Victoria which offers spectacular views of lakes, craters and dramatic landforms that are the result of volcanic action over thousands of years. It is believed to be a younger volcano than others nearby such as Tower Hill near Warrnambool, Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown, and Mt Elephant at Derrinallum. The views from the lookout are breathtaking: craters, lakes, hills and folds that rise dramatically out of the earth, and a patchwork of farms that thrive on the rich volcanic soil.It’s no wonder they call this “Lakes and Craters Country”.
On Coragulac Hill near the peak of Red Rock, is the War Memorial for Alvie and Dreeite servicemen who fought “for God, King and Country” as stated on the stone memorial. As I stood and read the names, I was very aware of the fact that it was exactly 100 years ago that some of these men were fighting and dying for our freedom. I spent two minutes in silence and finished with “Lest We Forget”. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
A path along the foreshore and up to the rotunda contains bricks engraved with dedications and messages from local people. This was definitely my favourite.
The artwork is in the shape the footpad of the Tachyglossus, a now-extinct relative of the echidna. It includes totems of the local Gulidjan/Kolacgnat tribe as well as a boomerang, a gum tree leaf and an outline of Red Rock, a dormant volcano visible on the other side of the lake. It is surrounded by native grasses and plants, and a stone wall that represents British settlement.
Lake Purrumbete is one of the volcanic crater lakes near Camperdown and Cobden in the Western District of Victoria. It is well known among those who love to fish, but many other people have never heard of it.
Moorhens are common in western Victoria, nesting on the edges of lakes and farm damns.
The Lake Edge Cafe is on the western shore of the lake. It offers lunches and a range of delicious home-made cakes, tea and coffee, cool drinks, and is licenced to serve wine and beer. There’s plenty of parking, and whether you sit inside or out on the deck, you get a great view of the beautiful lake and surrounding scenery.
Lake Bullen Merri is a crater lake just south of Camperdown, Victoria.
You can drive all the way around the lake on local roads, but it is only the southern shore of the lake that is accessible to visitors. It’s popular for picnics, water skiing and boating.
As the sun sets, the hills that surround the lake take on a golden glow, most distinctive in summer and autumn when the grass is dry.
The area is renowned for lakes that have formed in the craters of dormant volcanoes. From the northern ridge of Lake Bullen Merri, you can also see Lake Gnotuk just a little further north, nestled in farmland just south of the township of Camperdown.