November 28, 2020

Queensland's dramatic Carnarvon Gorge


(c) Tourism Queensland

The blockbuster scenery of Queensland's Carnarvon Gorge draws visitors from all over the country. Len and Phensri Rutledge find a serene undertone to the dramatic vistas.

My wife loves the Australian bush. The smell of the gum trees, the quietness, the feeling of solitude and the opportunity to be with nature appeals to her mind and soul. She likes nothing better than walking a track through the bush and experiencing the sights and sounds of Australia.

We have just been to Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland. My wife has decided that the 19.4-km-return main walking track through the gorge is the best bushwalk in Australia. That is a big call, but she could well be correct. It is spectacular.


Carnarvon Gorge National Park is remote from most cities. It is 740 km north-west of Brisbane and 450 km south-west of Rockhampton. This gives it a special attraction as you finally see towering white sandstone cliffs above the distant treeline after driving across endless dry plains.

After leaving the Carnarvon Development Road, a 40-km-long access road leads to the park. This road is bituminised but check road conditions as Carnarvon Creek rises rapidly after rain and this can cut the road. If it’s flooded, forget it! It’s the splendid isolation and the cool and moist oasis within the dry environment of central Queensland that helps create the atmosphere that makes this place so special.

Visitor area and start of walk
Visitor area and start of walk (Phensri Rutledge)


Visitor area

Start your Carnarvon Gorge adventure at the Visitor Centre, which is a few kilometres by unsealed road from the park entrance. Here you can talk to a Park Ranger for tips on enjoying your visit and collect an information sheet on the area. 

Nearby are flush toilets, electric barbecues and picnic tables. This is a good place to relax with a picnic in the grassy day-use area, shaded by towering eucalypts and slender fan palms while accompanied by eastern grey kangaroos, lazing in the shade. Large parking areas are available for day use and the area is open 24 hours.

At night, don a headlamp and spotlight in the trees for possums and gliders. You will also see echidnas strolling about. There are many bird species to be seen during the day and the call of yellow-bellied gliders, owls and the bush stone curlew are often heard after dark.

The park's creeks attract a wide variety of animals including more than 170 species of birds.

The main gorge walk

Main path creek crossing

This is a beautiful meandering trail that follows Carnarvon Creek for 9.7 km to Big Bend Campground. While this trek is very attractive on its own, it’s the numerous side-trips to specific attractions that make this walk so spectacular. I recommend leaving early in the morning and heading to the furthest place you want to walk to, then do the much shorter sidewalks on your way back.

The track follows Carnarvon Creek, crossing it several times, and it traverses interesting forest of eucalypts, casuarinas, cycads, palms and ferns. It is relatively flat for most of the way but there are many sets of small steps which can be a challenge on the way back when your legs are tired. It provides spectacular views of many sheer cliffs and headlands.

The Art Gallery

Aboriginal art in The Art Gallery

This is a 10.8 km return walk from the Visitor Area and was as far as we went. There are over 2000 stencils, engravings and freehand paintings along the 62m-long sandstone walls. It is one of the most impressive indigenous art sites you will ever see. A boardwalk, fencing and interpretive signage now keep hands away from the delicate sandstone and artworks.

The fragile art on the gorge walls reflects a rich culture. Ochre stencils of hands, tools, weapons, ornaments and ceremonial objects provide an insight into the lives of the gorge's first people who lived in this area for several thousand years.

Wards Canyon

A short steep climb through towering spotted gums leads past Lower Aijon Falls to the entrance of this beautiful side gorge.

Entering Ward’s Canyon is like stepping back in time. It is home to the world’s largest fern, the king fern, and is the only place in Central Queensland where these plants survive. At the end of the canyon is a shaded pool fed by Upper Aijon Falls.

The Amphitheatre

We discovered splendid natural architecture, created over tens of thousands of years by running water, in this side branch of the gorge. The 500m track leading here is steep in parts and very attractive but it doesn’t prepare you fully for what is to come.

Attractive forest Carnarvon Gorge


Prepare to be blown away after you climb the metal stairs and pass through the small opening before emerging into a 60m deep chamber, cut into the sandstone. This is a place for quiet contemplation—the towering stone walls and natural skylight create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. If you happen to be here alone, you will not want to leave.

The Moss Garden

Turn off the main track and climb into a sheltered side gorge, a haven of rainforest, moss-covered rocks and soaring cliffs. The Moss Garden will impress you with its serenity. There are shades of green everywhere, where water constantly drips from the sandstone above.

At the end of the boardwalk, a small waterfall cascades over the sandstone ledge. Elegant tree ferns shade a carpet of lush mosses, liverworts and ferns. Seating is provided, enabling you to sit back and relax, taking in this lush environment.

Staying

Camping in the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area is only available during the Easter, June-July and September-October Queensland school holidays. The Big Bend camping area, reached by a 19.4km return walk, is open all year. Camping permits are required and fees apply. The main camping area can be reached by conventional and 4WD vehicles and trailers. The road may be impassable for vehicles during wet weather as creeks may flood.

Alternate accommodation is available just outside the national park all year round at Takarakka Bush Resort where self-contained accommodation through to glamping, caravanning or camping is available. Seasonally accommodation is available at the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge which has 30 timber and canvas safari cabins, and at Sandstone Park which has camping and caravanning facilities.


www.LenRutledge.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX5HUmGP1lR2aoscn3O8P2Q

Words: Len Rutledge Images: Phensri Rutledge

All material (c) Copyright Traveloscopy.com unless noted otherwise.

November 26, 2020

See Australia's largest display of military vehicles

The historic shed that currently houses Australia's largest display of military vehicles at Bandiana, near Wodonga VIC (DSCF2736)



It’s the largest display of military vehicles anywhere in Australia. Sure, that’s a big call, but the Army Museum at Bandiana, near Wodonga, houses more than 150 military vehicles ranging from motorcycles to massive main battle tanks.

The collection covers materiel from pre-Federation including the Boer War (1899-1902) and WWI to the present day and comprises artillery, infantry weapons, uniforms and militaria. Much of the collection has been brought back from actual battlefields and you can see the damage caused by mines, small arms and explosives.

Rows of retired but fully working miltary vehicles on display at the Army Museun, Bandiana VIC

Housed within a WWII-era shed inside the Gaza Ridge Barracks as well as in the grounds outside, visitors can see the entire collection in a single visit. 

One of the museum’s prized items is a genuine WWII Russian T-34 tank, found in postwar storage and shipped to Australia in 2012 after a boozy negotiation with a retired Soviet tank commander in Helsinki who received a Hans Heysen painting for his Moscow museum in exchange. 

This genuine WWII Russian T-34-85 tank can be seen in pride of place at the Army Museum, Bandiana VIC

Identical T-34-85 in Berlin 1945
“We can tell from the serial numbers that this was a 1944-built unit,” museum curator, Dave West tells me, “and it is in original running order. If our sources are correct, this tank may well have been in Berlin at the end of the war in May 1945 and may well have been involved in the intense street fighting in those last days.”

This particular T-34 is fitted with the large, late-war 85mm gun of which some 50000 were produced. 

Sitting in the driver’s seat gives me just an inkling of the discomfort and vulnerability tank crews experienced during the war.  Five men crewed this tank and its difficult to imagine how they all squeezed into this confined and dangerous space, let alone fight a determined enemy.

Australian-built Bushmaster like this can be seen at the Army Museum Bandiana (Army photo)


The massive 30-tonne monster sits among rows of Land Rovers, Blitz trucks and even converted civilian cars including a 48-215 (FX) Holden and an XP Ford Falcon. The brutish Australian-built Bushmaster can also be seen. These 15-tonne armoured trucks are a real success story for Australian design and manufacturing and serve with several international armies today in such theatres as Syria and Afghanistan. 

The museum will reopen to the public after a COVID-19 shutdown in mid-January 2021.

Update: The current ‘shed’ is slated to be demolished with a new purpose-built facility scheduled for construction. 

Gaza Ridge Barracks, South Bandiana, VIC 3694 
Ph: (02) 6055 2525 
Email: reception.amb@gmail.com


Open: Tuesdays to Saturdays between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

All material (c) Copyright Traveloscopy.com unless noted otherwise.

Updated and corrected 30 Nov 20

October 17, 2020

The Natural and man-made attractions at Chillagoe Queensland

Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park (Tourism Queensland)


A place that has ancient aboriginal rock paintings, historic mining relics, amazing limestone caves and a unique vehicle museum would attract many people, writes Len Rutledge 

Our anticipation was high as we headed 140 kilometres west of Mareeba along the Wheelbarrow Way to Chillagoe, North Queensland and a day later we agreed that our expectations had been surpassed.

Chillagoe was once an ancient coral reef which has been transformed into spectacular limestone bluffs with a network of more than 500 caves. It is one of the most interesting and unusual places in the whole of northern Queensland.

October 11, 2020

Follow the Goulburn Heritage Trail

If you said the one thing you remember about Goulburn was the Big Merino, then you’d be in good company. The massive concrete beast, dubbed ‘Rambo’ by good-natured locals, celebrates the region’s wool and sheep industry which catapulted Goulburn along the road to economic success almost 200 years ago.

Goulburn - Main Street - 1913

October 05, 2020

The Australian Outback is a bonanza for 'pickers' and 'junkers'

DSCN9711 The vast Australian outback yields wonder for 'pickers' and scrapyard junkies. The dry desert air preserves many relics that would otherwise disintegrate in warmer, wetter regions, leaving a veritable museum of history scattered over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres.

September 10, 2020

South Australia's Mallee: a road trip through history

Over 100 years ago, just before the First World War, South Australia (SA) began a concerted effort to open up the Mallee region to agriculture, mainly wheat and sheep. 

The central hub of the district was Karoonda, established in 1913, growing quickly to become a major rural and commercial centre and rail yard with loading facilities for the vast quantities of grain harvested from the surrounding district, now largely cleared of the slow-growing, stubby eucalypt trees that once dominated the semiarid landscape to the Victorian border and beyond.  

The rural silo art project like this example in Karoonda
has helped bring tourists back to remote towns in SA (R Eime 2020)

August 14, 2020

Australians love Vancouver, Canada



With its mountain backdrop, interesting museums, urban beaches and wonderful Stanley Park, beautiful Vancouver is one of my favourite cities in the world. Len Rutledge recalls his time in the city.

The city will appeal to all ages and budget levels with its accommodation, restaurant, shopping and theatre/museum offerings. Unfortunately, it appears that it will be many months yet before we can visit again.

It was four years since I last visited so when I was there earlier this year, I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with many of the things that make the city so appealing to many Australians. Amazingly, most were free.

August 12, 2020

The chequered history of Ravenswood, Queensland


Thorps Building Ravenswood (Phensri Rutledge)


Booming gold and silver mines, a railway that came and went, a population that rose to 5000 and fell to 100, 50 pubs, and a recent resurgence in mining: Ravenswood has seen it all. Len Rutledge tells the story.

Mining and tourism are now taking this fascinating town to new prosperity despite COVID-19 and the current poor economic conditions. It seems that the future is bright. Ravenswood is certainly worth exploring for its old mining relics, its fascinating buildings, and its outstanding history.

See Ice at Altitude: Scenic Flights to Antarctica



There's history and grandeur aplenty way above Antarctica. Roderick Eime, takes to the wing for a rare perspective of the southernmost continent.


“The panorama was magnificent – the jagged mountains of black and green rock and glittering snow slopes of Trinity (peninsula) towering besides, above us the clear sky, below us blue-black water and icebergs – everything frozen and still, black and blue-black and black-green and glittering white” – Captain Sir George Hubert Wilkins, Australian polar aviation pioneer


These words could have been uttered by any modern airborne explorer of the Antarctic, flying low over the frozen wilderness of the great southern land.

July 27, 2020

History on the Harbour: Before BridgeClimb there were Sydney's 'social climbers'.

Often when I’m chatting with visitors to Sydney or even just having a brag down at the pub, people ask me if I’ve ever climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. My answer is “three times, twice legally”.

The first dawn climb, December 2002. My first legal climb (Roderick Eime)

Everyone knows the famous - ‘iconic’ even - Sydney attraction known as ‘BridgeClimb’ launched in 1998. It was a big deal because the founder, Paul Cave, had taken 10 years to overcome a wall of bureaucracy to make it happen and at the time, it was the first such attraction on a bridge anywhere in the world.

July 26, 2020

Are you a collector or a hoarder? Here are some interesting assortments.

Look on any of the online auction or sale sites and you’ll quickly see that people collect anything and everything. From antique farm machinery, Barbie Dolls and matchboxes through to airline sick bags (unused I hope!) and even entire aircraft.

In my travels, I confess I am drawn to these eclectic collections and have found all manner of museums and private collections dedicated to the most bizarre items all across the country. Indeed, I confess I have ‘micro collections’ of such things myself including vinyl records, postcards, lapel pins, old Matchbox cars and good old-fashioned stamps.

A random selection from my button 'pinback' collection. Most date from the early '80s.


Here are some photos I have taken myself when visiting these museums as well as ones supplied by the museums themselves when mine weren’t up to snuff.

July 24, 2020

Weird Museums: A message in a bottle. Clunes VIC



You have to be suspicious about any town with a bottle museum. Surely it would take a population of dipsomaniacs to produce a sufficient quantity of empties to fill a museum, or in some cases, to build a
house or public chamber from discarded beer bottles.

July 11, 2020

History in the Hunter: A mosey round Morpeth

View of main street from William Arnott Hotel (RE)


Something we found out straight away was that one day is not enough time to visit Morpeth in NSW's Lower Hunter Valley. It may be a small and ornate historic town with a compact village atmosphere, but it has a heart that beats as vitally as ever. It comes alive on weekends when day-trippers throng the main street, scrutinising the curiosity shops, tea rooms and bakeries.

July 05, 2020

History on the Hume: Snapshots of tarmac past



It's been a fascinating few weeks retracing portions of the old Hume Highway as well as the even older Great Southern Route.

July 03, 2020

Port Adelaide's historic Dockside Tavern demolition rumours appear to be false


As Britannia Tavern in the 1970s. (DL Eime)
Established in 1850 and rebuilt in 1898, the former Britannia Hotel was entered into the South Australian Heritage Register in 1980.

June 30, 2020

Fiona McIntosh rejoices in winter

And the world around me has finally turned green and misty....perfect! Can't believe the lavender is showing off either.

Fiona McIntosh
Well, the rules are beginning to relax as I write this and we are all feeling a sense of optimism for salvaging our 2020 and using the time to prepare for a better, happier, safer 2021 that may even have a Covid19 vaccine in it.  If I'm honest I haven't felt nearly as isolated as a lot of other people I know but that's because I have hermit-like tendencies anyway plus living rurally and a few kms from the nearest town means we live in relative isolation anyway. What I have missed is seeing my family and meeting my friends so the reunions for all of us are going to be wonderful and I hope you'll start experiencing that joy as well soon wherever you are.

I don't like blitzing you with newsletters and in fact made a promise I'd only ever send out three per year but there may be four this year, mostly due to it being a weird year where a lot of folk are welcoming the distraction and interaction but also because I'm under some pressure to share my recipes for apples that have won some attention and I don't want you to miss out on new season apples for your baking. I've included French apple jelly, Tarte Normande and a magnificent German apple cake. You will not regret any of them although I can't tell you which apples to use - I am harvesting from a tree we've inherited at the farm. They look like Jonathans and have a marvellous perfume along with a brilliant acidic crunch for baking. And I have Ian to thank for keeping that tree going these last few years.

June 29, 2020

Brazil Carnival history in Rio de Janeiro



Brazil Carnival history in Rio de Janeiro is supposed to have strong roots back to Europe with the festival of lent often being represented as the origin of Carnival, leaving the influence of Africa forgotten.

The Portuguese ‘conquestadores’ claiming Brazil, brought with them slave trading, increasing in the 17th, 18th and 19th century until 1888 when it was banned. By the early 19th century, over six million slaves had been brought to the Caribbean and South Africa. Enough to make their impact on brazil carnival culture and Rio de Janeiro Carnival history!

The Legend of El Dorado



‘He went about all covered with powdered gold, as casually as if it were powdered salt. For it seemed to him that to wear any other finery was less beautiful, and that to put on ornaments or arms made of gold worked by hammering, stamping, or by other means, was a vulgar and common thing.’ - Gonzalo Fern├índez de Oviedo, Spanish Historian, 1478-1557

For centuries the legend of “the gilded man” persisted in the Spanish conquered ‘New World’ territories of Peru and Colombia. But was the legend a true account of unimaginable riches as the Conquistadors believed, or a ruse by the enslaved Incas to lead the Spanish on treacherous expeditions into the dense Amazon jungles – and almost certain death?

June 24, 2020

Fred Rasmussen (1898-1963) Trainspotter and accidental historian.


A longtime friend of mine rang me one rainy Sunday and told me excitedly she had found a large cache of her grandfather's photographs and after some time I finally managed to get around to see them myself.

In a large biscuit tin were piles of BW prints and boxes of slides, all neatly filed. Some were inscribed with locations, but few had dates. We were able to ascertain that most of the late Frederick A Rasmussen's images were taken between 1958 and 1962, the last few years of his life.

June 22, 2020

Victoria: West is best



Words: Len Rutledge Images: Phensri Rutledge

Travel restrictions still apply to several states but Victoria is generally open for visitors. Our trip was completed before COVID-19 appeared but it should be possible to visit everywhere we did by the end of June, although booking ahead for the wineries and Sovereign Hill may be required. Start planning now because it is a great experience.

A Victorian holiday is always interesting so my wife and I were keen to make the most of our time. Exploring the airline timetables, we discovered an effective way of gaining an extra day. There are evening flights into Melbourne so you can leave after work and begin the holiday that day.

Our flight arrived at Melbourne airport a little after 9pm and by using the Parkroyal Melbourne Airport hotel we could have been eating at the restaurant, drinking at the bar, swimming in the indoor heated pool or exercising in the gym by 9.30. Instead we went to bed!

The Parkroyal proved to be an excellent hotel. Staff were friendly, our room was luxurious, facilities were well maintained and the breakfast buffet was a feast. After checking out we took the elevator downstairs and rented a car for a week from a selection of six operators.

The drive to Ballarat was easy but unexciting. This grand old city was built on gold more than 150 years ago and many dignified buildings still exist from those times. After walking the main street and visiting the outstanding Art Gallery, we drove to Sovereign Hill.

This is probably Australia’s best historical park and it has grown even more impressive since our last visit. We watched the redcoats march and fire their muskets. We photographed the coach ride, the candle making and the metal spinning.

The Red Hill Mine Tour proved to be better than expected and the gold pour showed us what a $150,000 ingot looks like. A short visit to the theatre and a chance to bowl in a 140-year-old manually operated alley saw us looking for somewhere to relax. The Hope Bakery proved to be the perfect place.
Gold panning at Sovereign Hill 

No visit to Sovereign Hill would be complete without trying our luck gold panning. After 30 minutes my wife had collected gold worth about $5 from the creek.

Next day we reluctantly left Ballarat after spending the morning in the Botanical Gardens by Lake Wendouree. The gardens were established in 1858 and contain a remarkable collection of mature trees and statuaries.

Other highlights are the Prime Ministers Avenue, the Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage, the ex-POW memorial and the remarkable begonia conservatory. We should have allocated more time here.

Literally dozens of historic and boutique wineries are scattered across undulating western Victoria. Our desire was to visit some of them so we started in Avoca. Here the Blue Pyrenees Winery provided a chance to sample some spicy cabernet sauvignon and other classics before indulging in an excellent lunch.

Then it was on to the historic wine village of Great Western, known as the birthplace of Australian sparkling wine. The iconic Seppelt and Best’s wineries are here using grapes from vineyards that date back to the mid-1800s. Both offer tastings and we didn’t hold back. After selecting a few bottles to take with us, it was off to Stawell.

This historic gold mining town is world famous for its Easter Stawell Gift which was first run in 1878. We viewed the Hall of Fame and did a quick jog on the track which has created so many champions.

For thousands of years the dramatic Grampians mountain ranges have inspired wonder. Now largely covered by the Grampians National Park, the rugged peaks with their rich cultural heritage and breathtaking views are one of Victoria’s most popular destinations.

The area is suitable for everyone. There are hundreds of kilometres of bush walking tracks, excellent paved roads to waterfalls and spectacular lookouts, adventure tours offering kayaking, rock climbing and horse riding, farm gate providores and farmers’ markets, and comfortable accommodation.

We stayed in Halls Gap in a rental house. The cute tourist village is surrounded by remarkable mountain escarpments, forest and wildlife. Kangaroos graze on the football ground and birds are everywhere. There are numerous small cafes and restaurants and a general store and hotel.

We learned about the regions’ Aboriginal culture and history at Brambuk – the National Park and Cultural Centre just outside town. The extraordinary building has a bush food cafe and retail outlet as well as an information centre. A quick trip by car took us to one of five rock art sites that are open to the public.

www.LenRutledge.com

Photographs: Phensri Rutledge

Further Info:

Parkroyal Melbourne Hotel - http://www.parkroyalhotels.com/en/hotels/australia/melbourne/parkroyal/

Sovereign Hill – www.sovereignhill.com.au

Halls Gap Visitor Centre – www.grampianstravel.com

Brambuk – www.brambuk.com.au

June 21, 2020

History on the Harbour: barnfind of old photographs



Some years ago, a friend’s mother turned up a box full of her late father’s photographs.

Big deal? Well perhaps at the time the photographs of the late Frederick Rasmussen were just mundane snaps of uninteresting street scenes, but given enough time, such images become fundamental to history.

So much history is lost when a departed relative’s once-treasured photograph albums are just unceremoniously disposed of. And to look at these, one might be inclined to think they were of no value or interest.

Thankfully mum thought to keep them after her dad’s death and we have a series of snapshots of Sydney, Goulburn, Newcastle and other parts of the country exactly as the viewer saw it at the time.

The Sydney images you see below are just a selection of the many in various piles and I hope you find something interesting. Perhaps a relative's shop? Somewhere you once worked? Or a scene you saw frequently in your youth?

Many images were without dates and had only the most basic of descriptions if any at all, although we have been able to ascertain they were taken during a period predominantly between 1958 and 1962.

These initial scans are only rough, so I hope to replace these with improved, higher quality ones in due course. I've also added Google map links so you can see these locations today.

Feel free to add your comments or observations below.

Elizabeth St looking south [Google map link]

Elizabeth St looking NW toward Eddy Ave [Google map link]
Is this the Pacific Hwy at North Sydney?

Albert St looking west to Circular Quay. Demolition of Mort's century-old wool store in progress - or is it construction of the new AMP Centre?. [Google map link]

William St looking east. [Google map link]

The Rocks. Gloucester St and Australian Hotel from the Bridge Stairs. [Google map link]
The signage on the old Qantas building puts this photo from Martin Place at 1960. [Google map link]

Social distancing 1960 style? The ship is Oriana at Circular Quay [Google map link]


June 20, 2020

History on the Hume: Heritage-laden Berrima in the NSW Southern Highlands






Historic Berrima once rumbled all night long to the sound of heavy vehicles on their way to and from Melbourne and NSW's south. As one of many small towns and villages along the Old Hume Highway, Berrima was eventually bypassed in 1989, relieving the old roads and buildings of the constant, thundering traffic.

Before 1989, heavy traffic passed through Berrima day and night. (BDH&FHS)

The country around the Southern Highlands is the traditional home of the Dharawal (also Tharawal) people who were progressively displaced by the encroach of settlers. Give or take a year, Berrima became a town in 1830 and its first civic buildings sprung up soon after, the first of which being the large gaol in 1839. It operated on and off until 2011 and even served as a POW facility during WWI. It reopened as an operational low-security facility in 2016.

c.1900 – View from Church Hill, Post Office, Surveyor General Inn (1834), prison governor’s residence – right. Berrima Gaol (1835-1845) top left.




The abundance of excellent building stone and clean water discovered by explorers and surveyors under instruction from Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell accelerated the town's development. The 1834 hotel, the Surveyor General Inn, claims to be Australia's oldest continuously licensed inn.

The 1838 Court House in Wilshire Street was designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis and is classified by the National Trust. It was the scene of Australia’s first trial by jury, that of gentleman bushranger William ‘Jacky Jacky’ Westwood in April 1841.

The railway reached the region in 1869 but did not service Berrima, instead favouring the more recent settlements of Moss Vale and Bowral. Many historians contend that this omission served to help preserve Berrima in its delightful historic state and why we have a list of heritage-listed buildings throughout the town.

Staying in Berrima

Jellore Cottage (RE)

One of our surprising discoveries was that of Jellore Cottage (aka Mundays Cottage) recommended to us by the Southern Highlands visitors' bureau. It's in places like this that the old cliche 'a step back in time' becomes reality. Jellore Cottage is a heritage-listed B'n'B that is offered as a fully self-contained accommodation able to sleep four people (1x double bed, 2x singles) in two bedrooms.

Every room is tastefully decorated in antique furniture and ornaments yet still offers all the modern conveniences like microwave oven, electric heating, fridge etc. 

At the rear, beyond the flower and vegetable garden which throngs with birds, is the Settler's Hut which offers another three beds (1x double, 1x single) The single is by way of a detached single room 'studio'.

Settler's Hut offers seclusion and authentic heritage accommodation. (RE)

"The hut was actually found on a property out west of Crookwell," our host, Paul, tells us as he delivers our fresh eggs and milk, "It was in a bit of a state, but it was dismantled and rebuilt here about 25 years ago."


Again the hut authentically recreates a time when pioneer pastoralists and their labourers first opened up the Australian bush to agriculture. 

Of all the options available to visitors to the Southern Highlands, Berrima is perhaps one of the most original in terms of architecture and heritage, a fact that is obvious on most weekends when the town comes alive with daytrippers seeking respite from the confines of the city. 

Getting Around Berrima

Schmokin' Cafe is the new bikers' hang in Berrima (RE)

Hire an ultra-cool Vallkree electric bike from Schmokin' Cafe right on the old highway, near the museum.

More Reading:
MORE: History on the Hume series

June 14, 2020

Fiji History: Momi Bay Battery Historical Park



When Japan’s Imperial Army stormed through SE Asia and headed into the Pacific, it seemed every island was a target. So in May 1941, two 6-inch Mark VII naval guns became operational at Momi Bay on the westernmost point of Viti Levu.



The two long-range guns could fire a 45kg shell more than 12 kilometres and did so only once in possible anger in late 1943 when something suspicious popped up on the radar screen. The site was closed in 1944 when Japanese forces were on the retreat and Fiji was no longer under threat of invasion.

In 2017 the whole emplacement was restored and is now a museum. The site is remarkable in that the original guns are still in place. Many were dismantled and sold for scrap after WWII.

(visited Sept 2010)

History on the Hume: Lennox's Masterpiece at Landsdowne

Driving north along the dual carriageway section of the Hume Highway at Carramar past what was once the last Sizzler restaurant in Australia, you could be forgiven for failing to notice the significance of the bridge you just crossed.

Painting by Conrad Martens created around the time of the bridge's opening.  (SLNSW)

Until the mid-1950s, the two-lane sandstone arch bridge at Carramar was the sole thoroughfare on the Hume Highway between Sydney and Liverpool.

Two hundred years ago, there had previously been a bridge, Bowlers Bridge, crossing Prospect Creek, but it was poorly constructed and was swept away by the first decent flood. In 1832, Surveyor-General Major Thomas Mitchell was faced with an unworkable road network in the burgeoning colony and began a concentrated review of the roads and bridges around Sydney. For much of this work, he chose a skilled artisan who impressed him while working on a relatively simple wall in front of the government building in Macquarie Street.

The Scottish-born master stonemason and engineer, David Lennox, was commissioned for the sum of 1000 pounds to build a single-span 33.5-metre stone arch bridge (total length 58m) which was erected by convict labour over a period of two years between 1834-36. The required stone was quarried 11 kilometres downstream on the right bank of the Georges River near the current M5 motorway crossing and delivered to the bridge site by punt.

Stone laid at the opening in 1836. (Roderick Eime)

The foundation stone was laid by the Governor, Major General Richard Bourke, on 1 January 1834 and the Landsdowne Bridge was opened on 26 January 1836. A particularly fine structure also known as Lennox Bridge, it remains the most intact example of all the Scotsman’s bridges and was heritage-listed in 2000. It has the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in the country and was Lennox’s second such project, many say his masterpiece, the first being at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains in 1833.

Lennox went on to build another bridge that bears his name in Parramatta, completed in 1839 and, thanks to a public outcry, was narrowly saved from demolition in the 1990s.

Drone view of both Lennox Bridge and the 1957 concrete arch duplication (Lachlan Hyde) 

In 1957, a relatively austere two-lane concrete arch bridge was erected to duplicate the crossing of Prospect Creek and it now carries the Hume’s southbound traffic stream numbering around 30,000 vehicles per day. Built by the Department of Main Roads (DMR) by contract by Messrs. Hornibrook, McKenzie Clark Pty. Ltd, it cost approximately £50,000 at the time ($1.6m today).

When I visited in June 2020, major conservation work was well-progressed.

Restoration work on the Landsdowne Bridge is expected to continue through 2020 (Roderick Eime)

“The bridge hasn’t needed a complete maintenance upgrade since 1966 but it’s now time to ensure we protect its structural integrity, heritage values and character into the future. Work includes replacing sandstone blocks, cleaning the stone and repairing the drainage system to help reduce the pace of corrosion,” said Transport for NSW Sydney Maintenance Director, David Fishburn.



The multi-million dollar restoration work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

MORE: History on the Hume series

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