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

A Hidden Gem in the Narrawong State Forest: Sawpit Camping Area

One of the things I always try to do when I am out and about on a road trip or holiday is to see something new or visit a place I haven’t visited before. 

Even though we are camping at the same place we’ve camped at every January since 2014, there are still new things to explore. Last year we visited the wonderful Bay of Whales Gallery nestled in the hills above Narrawong.

Today we ventured up to Mt Clay in the Narrawong State Forest to check out The Sawpit picnic and free camping area. It’s only a short distance from where we are camping by the Surrey River at  Narrawong.

It’s really gorgeous up there. The natural bush forest is beautiful, a glorious natural canopy above the blackened tree trunks, reminders of bushfires In years past. 

The camping area is well designed, providing numerous sites for campers to spread out from one another.

Walking tracks enable visitors to immerse themselves in the environment on walks of different lengths, and the historic lumber cart and log display are reminders of the history that gave the area its name. 

Everything is clearly signposted, including a reminder for campers to take their rubbish home: given that everything was clean and tidy, it’s really encouraging to see that most of the visitors have been conscientious in that regard. 

Still, it seems that things are not always easily understood, as demonstrated by my own friend’s response to the following sign: 

Friend: “20 minutes one way. Why would you only go one way?”
Me: ”It’s a loop…”
Friend, after a few moments of thought: ”Oh. Yeah.”

What surprises me most is that many people don’t even know it’s there. It really is a hidden gem. 

Why one should mind one’s own business in the supermarket. 

It had been a long, busy day at work following several days plagued by severe headaches. I headed to the supermarket to get some things for dinner and to stock up on Tim Tams for my family and friends in the U.S. and Canada, as I am heading back over there in a couple of weeks. 

I had ten packs of Tim Tams and a stack of other Aussie treats in my basket. A lady nearby looked into my basket and then looked at me, as though she were trying to shame me for my wilful flirtation with Type 2 Diabetes.  

I could have called her out on being a nosy cow who makes assumptions about strangers way too quickly but, instead, I looked her right in the eye with feigned innocence as I took the last box of Tee Vee Snacks from right in front of her and said, “What? I’m hungry, okay?”

She couldn’t look away fast enough. 

“There!” I said inside my head, “that will teach you to mind your own business.”

When I got to the checkout, the attendant was looking strangely at my stash and at me, but at least she tried to hide it. Once again, I looked at her and said, “Never can stop at just one, you know!” 

She tried to hide her reaction with a smile, but it was awkward.

“Not really,” I continued. “I’m going to America and Canada in a couple of weeks and they can’t get Tim Tams there. I’m performing a mission of mercy.”

That time, she really was horrified. 

“Those poor people!” she said. “Ten packets isn’t enough!”

“I know, right,” I said, “but I don’t want to be arrested for trafficking a drug of dependence.”

“Can they do that?”

“Yeah, twelve packs and I’d be a goner. They’d confiscate them all at the airport and arrest me. ”

Her eyes were wide and her mouth was open. 

Never mind how tired I had been just twenty minutes earlier. I walked out of that store feeling like an absolute legend. 

Koalas at Currumbin, Queensland.

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These photographs were taken at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Australia’s Gold Coast.
While these little guys are in captivity, they are given a comfortable and safe environment that is as close to nature as can be achieved. They are usually rescue animals who cannot safely be returned to the wild. It does mean that they are safe from feral animals, natural predators and drivers who won’t slow down for them on the roads.

International diplomacy.

This morning I chatted with a group of soldiers at the roadside stop where were parked.
They were very friendly, and were very positive about the fact that I am Australian. They expressed great respect for their Australian counterparts, and enthusiasm for Australia.
We chatted for a few moments, and then went our separate ways.