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SOUTH AUSTRALIA – A VISIT TO THE GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK, ECHUCA AND GUNDAGAI

April 2, 2015
 GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK – AUSTRALIA

The Grampians National Park (also Gariwerd), commonly referred to as The Grampians, is a national park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The 167,219-hectare (413,210-acre) national park is situated between Stawell and Horsham on the Western Highway and Dunkeld on the Glenelg Highway, 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres (290 mi) east of Adelaide. Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. The Grampians feature a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges. The general form that the ranges take is, from the west, a series of low-angled sandstone ridges running roughly north-south. The eastern sides of the ridges, where the sedimentary layers have faulted, are steep and spectacular, beyond the vertical in places – notably at Hollow Mountain near Dadswell’s Bridge at the northern end of the ranges. The most popular walking area for day trippers is the Wonderland area near Halls Gap. In summer the ranges can get very hot and dry. Winter and spring are the best times for walking. The Wonderland area is also host to “The Grand Canyon” on the “Wonderland Loop” on one of the tracks to the “Pinnacle”. In spring the Grampians wildflowers are a major attraction. The area is a noted rock climbing destination, and it is popular with campers and bushwalkers for its many spectacular views and unspoilt nature. Mount William is known within the gliding community as the epicentre of the ‘Grampians Wave’, a weather phenomenon enabling glider pilots to reach extreme altitudes above 28,000 ft (8,500 m). This predominantly occurs during the months of May, June, September and October when strong westerly winds flow at right angles to the ridge, and produce a large-scale standing wave (Mountain Lee Wave). The rock material that composes the high peaks is sandstone which was laid down from rivers during the Devonian period 380 million years ago. This sediment slowly accumulated to a depth of 7 km; this was later raised and tilted for its present form. Forty million years ago the Southern Ocean reached the base of the northern and western base of the mountain range, the deposition from the range forming the sea floor which is now Little Desert National Park. The highest peak is Mount William at 1167 metres. Numerous waterfalls are found in the park and are easily accessible via a well-developed road network. A major bushfire burned out about 50% of the Grampians National Park in January 2006. Soon afterwards the first signs of regeneration were already visible with, for example, regrowth of the eucalyptus trees. Many trees exhibit epicormic growth, where a mass of young shoots re-sprout along the whole length of the trunk to the base of the tree. Major flooding followed 5 years later in January 2011, forcing the closure of some parts of the Grampians National Park for several months. An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 followed six months later, although this did not cause any damage.

VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS FROM HALLS GAP

VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS FROM HALLS GAP

HALLS GAP FROM BAROKO LOOKOUT  -  Baroka is a well known lookout in the Grampian ranges, and offers spectacular views of Halls Gap and the surrounding country side.

HALLS GAP FROM BAROKO LOOKOUT – Baroka is a well known lookout in the Grampian ranges, and offers spectacular views of Halls Gap and the surrounding country side.

SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS

SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS

SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS (DETAIL)

SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS (DETAIL)

SIGN AT HALLS GAP GRAMPIANS

SIGN AT HALLS GAP GRAMPIANS

MACKENZIE FALLS   -   BIGGEST WATERFALLS IN THE GRAMPIANS

MACKENZIE FALLS – BIGGEST WATERFALLS IN THE GRAMPIANS

STAIRS LEADING TO THE BOTTOM OF MACKENZIE FALLS

STAIRS LEADING TO THE BOTTOM OF MACKENZIE FALLS

STEPPING STONES AT THE BOTTOM OF MACKENZIE FALLS

STEPPING STONES AT THE BOTTOM OF MACKENZIE FALLS

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ECHUCA

Echuca is a town located on the banks of the Murray River and Campaspe River in Victoria, Australia. The Border town Moama is on the northern side of the Murray river in New South Wales. Echuca is the administrative centre and largest settlement in the Shire of Campaspe. At the 2011 census, Echuca had a population of 12,983. Echuca, an Aboriginal name meaning “Meeting of the Waters” is indicative of the role rivers have played in the town’s existence.Echuca is situated close to the junction of the Goulburn, Campaspe and Murray Rivers. Its location at the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne contributed to its development as a thriving river port city during the 19th century.

Echuca was founded by one of the most enterprising characters of the early colonial days, an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood. In 1850 he bought a small punt which operated across the Murray River near the Campaspe junction. The relatively small settlement known as “Hopwood’s Ferry” became Echuca as the town grew. The Post Office known as Hopwoods Punt opened around 1854 and was renamed Echuca on 1 January 1855. While the settlers at Echuca treated the local Aborigines with relative kindness, their way of life was irrevocably changed by their relationship with the Europeans. Having already been decimated by smallpox in the late 1820s, in the 1850s many Aborigines developed a taste for European luxuries such as bread, tobacco and alcohol. They were relegated to the role of fringe-dwellers, living on the banks of the Murray, and occasionally entering into the European economy as fishermen and farm labourers, and by selling the possum rugs which they crafted.

By the 1870s Echuca had risen to prominence as Australia’s largest inland port. Being the point of shortest distance between the Murray River and the major city of Melbourne, Echuca was both a key river port and railway junction. Steam-driven paddleboats would arrive at the 400-metre long redgum Echuca Wharf, unloading it to be transported by rail to Melbourne. Wool, wheat, other grains, livestock and timber were the most common cargoes. The wharf has been listed as a Heritage Place on the Australian National Heritage List. This industrial boom led to a rapidly expanding population, at one stage in excess of 15,000, with more than a hundred pubs (hotels) rumoured to exist in the Echuca district at one time. An iron bridge was constructed over the Murray River in 1878 The expansion of the railways from Melbourne to most parts of Victoria, as well as improvements to roads and fickle river conditions all combined to lessen Echuca’s importance, and by the 1890s the paddlesteamer fleet was in decline. An economic depression and the collapse of several banks virtually ended Echuca’s role as a major economic centre, and her population began to disperse. The main industry in Echuca is tourism. Tourism injects approximately $250 million into the Echuca economy annually. Visitors are attracted to the town by its warm climate, the Murray River, recreational attractions, and historical features, some of which have come to public awareness by the Nancy Cato novel All the Rivers Run which was made into a TV miniseries. These include the Port of Echuca which has the world’s largest fleet of operating paddle steamers. Echuca is also a major regional service economy. Agriculture is very important to the region and dairy, wheat, sheep, pig, and cattle farms are all within close proximity. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE BUIDINGS IN THIS HISTORIC TOWN:

COLONIAL BANK  OF AUSTRALASIA

COLONIAL BANK OF AUSTRALASIA

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ECHUCA FARMHOUSE CHEESE WESTMINSTER

ECHUCA FARMHOUSE CHEESE WESTMINSTER

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MOAMA BAKERY

MOAMA BAKERY

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BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES

BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES

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549 HIGH STREET ECHUCA

549 HIGH STREET ECHUCA

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ECHUCA CARAVAN AND OUTDOOR

ECHUCA CARAVAN AND OUTDOOR

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HIGH STREET, ECHUCA

HIGH STREET, ECHUCA

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ECHUCA CHOCOLATE COMPANY

ECHUCA CHOCOLATE COMPANY

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THE MCCULLOCH BUILDING   -  The McCulloch building in the Historical Precinct well illustrates the change in Echuca's economy. William McCulloch and Company was a transport firm which owned five paddle-steamers and was agent for about ten more. These steamers carried wool to Echuca which was then sent to Melbourne by train and by sea to the London sales. McCulloch was the largest transport company in Australia and had twenty branch offices throughout Victoria, South Australian and the Riverina; this one in Echuca was the largest. Now this former wool transport company office is a restaurant serving tourists.

THE MCCULLOCH BUILDING (FRONT)  – The McCulloch building in the Historical Precinct well illustrates the change in Echuca’s economy. William McCulloch and Company was a transport firm which owned five paddle-steamers and was agent for about ten more. These steamers carried wool to Echuca which was then sent to Melbourne by train and by sea to the London sales. McCulloch was the largest transport company in Australia and had twenty branch offices throughout Victoria, South Australian and the Riverina; this one in Echuca was the largest. Now this former wool transport company office is a restaurant serving tourists.

THE MCCULLOCH BUILDING   -  The McCulloch building in the Historical Precinct well illustrates the change in Echuca's economy. William McCulloch and Company was a transport firm which owned five paddle-steamers and was agent for about ten more. These steamers carried wool to Echuca which was then sent to Melbourne by train and by sea to the London sales. McCulloch was the largest transport company in Australia and had twenty branch offices throughout Victoria, South Australian and the Riverina; this one in Echuca was the largest. Now this former wool transport company office is a restaurant serving tourists.

THE MCCULLOCH BUILDING (BACK) – The McCulloch building in the Historical Precinct well illustrates the change in Echuca’s economy. William McCulloch and Company was a transport firm which owned five paddle-steamers and was agent for about ten more. These steamers carried wool to Echuca which was then sent to Melbourne by train and by sea to the London sales. McCulloch was the largest transport company in Australia and had twenty branch offices throughout Victoria, South Australian and the Riverina; this one in Echuca was the largest. Now this former wool transport company office is a restaurant serving tourists.

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51 MURRAY ESPLANANDE

51 MURRAY ESPLANANDE

51 MURRAY ESPLANADE

51 MURRAY ESPLANADE

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BRIDGE HOTEL   -   OLDEST HOTEL IN ECHUCA

BRIDGE HOTEL – OLDEST HOTEL IN ECHUCA

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PORT ANTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHICS    -    authentically recreated travelling photographer’s wagon.

PORT ANTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHICS – authentically recreated travelling photographer’s wagon.

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STAR HOTEL

STAR HOTEL

STAR HOTEL

STAR HOTEL

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BEECHWOOD BAKERY   -   old-fashioned bread truck:

BEECHWOOD BAKERY – old-fashioned bread truck

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LOG BUGGY  -   ECHUCA

LOG BUGGY – ECHUCA

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LAWN SCULPTURES ON SALE IN ECHUCA

LAWN SCULPTURES ON SALE IN ECHUCA

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PADDLE STEAMERS

The Port is home to the largest Paddle Steamer collection in the world, which includes the world’s oldest operating wooden hulled paddle steamer, the PS Adelaide built in 1866. There are several historic vessels operating out of Echuca on a daily commercial basis such as PS Pevensey (built 1911), PS Alexander Arbuthnot (built 1923), PS Adelaide (built 1866) operating from the wharf and the PS Emmylou (built 1980 with a steam engine in use from 1906), PS Canberra (built 1913) and PV Pride of the Murray (built 1924 as a logging barge C24) operating from Riverboat Dock, a short distance downstream from the main wharf. These vessels conduct between 4-6 1hour cruises daily, while the PS Emmylou offers 1.5 hour lunch cruises twice daily and 2 x 1hour cruises daily, and in peak seasons 2-3hour dinner cruising and 1,2 & 3 night accommodated cruises for up to 18 passengers. There are also a number of privately owned paddle steamers in Echuca. As well as the paddle steamers there are numerous houseboats, many of which can be hired. The MV Mary Ann (built 1981) operates as a cruising restaurant in busier times. The Port of Echuca is also restoring the PV Success to full working order. When operational, it will be added to the fleet of paddle steamers at Echuca Wharf.

MURRAY RIVER ECHUCA (PANORAMA)

MURRAY RIVER ECHUCA
(PANORAMA)

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ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK

ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK

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ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK

ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK

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ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK  -  EMMYLOU

ECHUCA RIVERBOAT DOCK – EMMYLOU

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EMMYLOU

EMMYLOU

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EMMYLOU

EMMYLOU

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MARY ANN  CRUISING RESTAURANT DOCK

MARY ANN CRUISING RESTAURANT DOCK

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MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOATS

THE ECHUCA - MOAMA ROAD RAIL BRIDGE   -   Echuca is connected over the Murray River to Moama by the Echuca-Moama Road Rail Bridge. This historically significant bridge has riveted iron spans supported on cast iron pillars.

THE ECHUCA – MOAMA ROAD RAIL BRIDGE – Echuca is connected over the Murray River to Moama by the Echuca-Moama Road Rail Bridge. This historically significant bridge has riveted iron spans supported on cast iron pillars.

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GUNDAGAI

Gundagai is a classic Australian country town situated on the Murrumbidgee River between Sydney and Melbourne, amidst one of the most picturesque rural areas of the Riverina.The town is immortalised through poems and songs such as,’Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox’ and ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’, and is perhaps most famous for its monument to the early pioneers, the iconic Dog on the Tuckerbox, situated on the Hume Highway.

DOG ON THE TUCKERBOX

DOG ON THE TUCKERBOX

First discovered by European explorers in the 1820s, Gundagai has a
proud history, and more than any other Australian town, Gundagai has
proved an irresistible subject for poets and songwriters. Even the likes of
Banjo Patterson were inspired by stories of drovers, bullock teams and bush travellers in the Gundagai area.
Country towns like Gundagai were vital to the viability of early
European settlement. Today, the town provides people with an
important connection to the past and offers impressive insights into
Australia’s early history.
Gundagai has long been home to the Wiradjuri
people, and ancient river red gums still bear
the marks of early Wiradjuri history.The name ‘Gundagai’ may derive from ‘Gundagair’, an 1838 pastoral run in the name of William Hutchinson to the immediate north of current day Gundagai. the Aboriginal word ‘Gair’ was recorded at Yass in 1836 by George Bennett (naturalist) and means ‘bird’, as in budgerigar or good bird. In that context ‘Gundagai’ means place of birds but that place name may refer to the area to the north of Gundagai not to Gundagai town. The word ‘Gundagai’ is also said to mean cut with a hand-axe behind the knee.
The 1820s saw the arrival of the first Europeans in
the area. Following Hume and Hovell in 1824,
settlers had pushed out with their sheep and
established themselves in the area. Sturt’s
party passed through in 1829 and the original
township of Gundagai began at the appointed

crossing place of the Murrumbidgee River

The village of Gundagai continued to develop
on the Murrumbidgee floodplain and was
officially gazetted in 1840. This was despite
repeated warnings by the Wiradjuri people of
the risk of large floods to the low-lying alluvial
flats.
On the night of June 24, 1852 the flooded
Murrumbidgee raged through the small
township, drowning more than one third of the
250 inhabitants and an unknown number of
travellers, and destroying 71 buildings. The old
Mill is the only building of the original

town left standing today.

The heroic actions of a number of Wiradjuri
men saved many lives. Yarri and Jacky in
particular, spent the wild night ferrying men,
women and children to safety, from the
rooftops and branches of giant river red gums.
The medallions presented to these Aboriginal
heroes were lost for many years but are now
proudly on display in the Gundagai Museum.
Rebuilding took place on the slopes north
and south of the floodplain. Through the mid
1800s to the early 1900s Gundagai boomed,
with discoveries of gold and a rich agriculture
industry. The many fine heritage buildings
throughout town today stand as a testament
to these prosperous times. Photos from the
Gabriel Collection bring to life the bustling
energy of Gundagai at the turn of the century.
Gundagai’s iconic association with Australian
history is reflected in the numerous poems and
songs that mention the town, including the
works of Banjo Patterson who had a fondness

for the town and nearby station Kiley’s Run.

Bushrangers were active in the area as early as
1838. In the 1860s with discoveries of gold,
a new breed of bushrangers emerged. First
generation Australians, young men born and
raised in the district and disenchanted with
the constabulary became the new bushranging
threat. Infamous outlaws such as Ben Hall,
Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert and John Dunn
were active in the district.
One of the local bushranging tales surrounds
the exploits of Andrew George Scott – better
known as Captain Moonlite. Unlike other
bushrangers, Scott was from a wealthy,
educated family. With a shady background as
a trickster and robber, he assembled a gang of
five in Victoria, then moved north to Wagga
Wagga, and on to Wantabadgery where they
held up Wantabadgery Station.
A seige led to the death of two gang members
and police Constable Webb-Bowen was shot
dead. Moonlite was held in the Gundagai Gaol
before facing trial in the local Courthouse.
Scott was finally tried and hanged in Sydney in
1880, and buried in Rookwood cemetery in an
unmarked grave.
Moonlite’s final wish was to be buried near his
two friends in the Gundagai cemetery. In 1995,
some 115 years later, two local women sought
to bring Captain Moonlite back to Gundagai
and today he is buried near his friends in the
North Gundagai Cemetery, under the shade of
a eucalypt.

Bushrangers  (Outlaws)

As early as 1838 the Gundagai and Yass areas were being terrorised by armed bushrangers. Four men held up Robert Phillips and took a horse, the property of William Hutchinson, (who had possession of the land to the immediate north of Gundagai), of Murrumbidgee. On one occasion in 1843 a gang of five bushrangers, including the bushranger called ‘Blue Cap’,held up and robbed Mr Andrews, the Gundagai postmaster and innkeeper.Cushan the bushranger was known to be operating in the area in 1846,and in 1850, to the south of Gundagai near Tarcutta, two bushrangers held up the Royal Mail, stole the Albury and Melbourne mailbags and rode off with the mail coach’s horses. In 1862 at Bethungra to the west of Gundagai in the Gundagai Police District, the bushranger Jack-in-the-Boots was captured.A plot to rescue Jack-in-the-Boots whose real name was Molloy, from police custody while he was being transferred from Gundagai to Yass gaol, was discovered.In February 1862, the bushranger Peisley was captured near Mundarlo and by that evening was lodged in the Gundagai Gaol. Peisley was later hanged at Bathurst.In 1863, the bushrangers Stanley and Jones were arrested at Tumut after they had allegedly stolen saddles at Gundagai and hatched a plan to rob Mr. Norton’s store. Stanley could not be identified.In 1864, Jones was found not guilty. Sergeant Parry was shot and killed in 1864 by the bushranger John Gilbert in a hold-up of the mail coach near Jugiong. Gilbert was a member of Ben Hall’s gang that was active in the district in 1863-64.Patrick Gately and Patrick Lawler held up Keane’s pub at Coolac in April, 1866. Also in the 1860s, to the north of Adelong, the bushranger Hawthorne mistook a man by the name of Grant for William Williams the gold mine owner, and killed Grant. By 1869, Harry Power, early mentor of famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, was committing holdups near Adelong and as icing on the cake, by 1874 the bushranger prettily known as Jerry Blossom, was entertaining the district. In 1880, bushrangers held up the Chinese Camp at Gundagai then fled on horseback towards Burra, a locality known to harbour louts and for the ferocious fires that roar through the area.

Early in 1879, some Gundagai residents were in fear that the Ned Kelly gang was going to pay the town a visit and while Extra rifles and ammunition to defend the town.. were applied for and special constables were sworn in, the Kelly Gang did turn up in the town.

The North Gundagai Anglican cemetery contains the graves of two policemen shot in the district by bushrangers. Senior Constable Webb-Bowen was killed by Captain Moonlite in November 1879 in a hostage incident at McGlede’s farm.Trooper Edmund Parry, killed in an encounter with Ben Hall’s gang near Jugiong, lies at rest next to the grave of Senior Constable Webb-Bowen. Captain Moonlite is also buried in the North Gundagai Anglican cemetery.Captain Moonlite had been asked to be buried at Gundagai near his friends James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke . Both had been killed in the shoot-out at McGlede’s Hut. Moonlite’s request was not granted by the authorities of the time, but his remains were exhumed from Rookwood Cemetery and reinterred at Gundagai near to the unknown location of Nesbitt’s grave in January 1995.

In the 1950s bushrangers reappeared in the Gundagai area, jumping into the trailers of heavy transports moving along the Hume Highway and throwing contents out to nearby accomplices.

In 1993 a Gundagai native, Tony Percival, was shot dead in the northern NSW mining town of Hillgrove by the perpetrators of the Cangai siege, Len Leabeater, Raymond Bassett and Robert Steele in their nine-day, two-state murderous rampage.

The old Gundagai Flour Mill in Sheridan Lane was also known as ‘The Sundowners’ for the swaggies (transient temporary workers) that camped there each night.’Sam the Sundowner’ a famous Australian swaggie and principal character in the Australian comedy drama, ‘The Road to Gundagai’,was a regular resident at the Gundagai ‘Sundowners’ and was known for the rescues he made of near to drowning people from the inland rivers.

In 1901, there was a very large camp of unemployed men and their families at South Gundagai waiting for the proposed Gundagai Rail Line to begin construction. Five hundred of these men marched from south to north Gundagai accompanied by the town band, to try to move commencement of the project, forward. There was a railway worker canvas town near the Gundagai Rail Station. Rail workers and their families who moved to Gundagai to work on the rail line, lived in tents in that area into the 1950s. The Chinese camp was in the area of today’s Bowls Club as were the Chinese gardens. Burials of deceased Chinese people were in the pagan ground. All mine sites, of which there were several around Gundagai such as Burra, Reno, Jackalass, Jones Creek and Coolac, had miner’s camps at or near them. The hill to the north of Gundagai known as Flower Hill once had a large tent settlement that was larger than the permanent North Gundagai residential area. Likewise the Spring Flat goldfield adjacent to the North Gundagai cemetery resulted in a sizeable tent township appearing there.

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS AND SIGNS DESCRIBING THE HISTORY OF GUNDAGAI:

PANORAMIC VIEW OF GUNDAGAI

PANORAMIC VIEW OF GUNDAGAI

A VIEW OF GUNDAGAI FROM THE TOWN LOOKOUT  -  IN THE BACKGROUND YOU CAN SEE THE PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE

A VIEW OF GUNDAGAI FROM THE TOWN LOOKOUT – IN THE BACKGROUND YOU CAN SEE THE PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE

ANOTHER VIEW OF GUNDGAI FROM THE TOWN LOOKOUT

ANOTHER VIEW OF GUNDGAI FROM THE TOWN LOOKOUT

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BLUEHEELER GUESTHOUSE  -  The former Blueheeler Guesthouse (now empty). Constructed in 1853 – straight after the Great Flood of 1852 - this building has over time traded at the Crown Inn, Tracey’s Club House Hotel and the Gresham Hotel. Note the rather intricate verandah.

BLUEHEELER GUESTHOUSE – The former Blueheeler Guesthouse (now empty). Constructed in 1853 – straight after the Great Flood of 1852 – this building has over time traded at the Crown Inn, Tracey’s Club House Hotel and the Gresham Hotel. Note the rather intricate verandah.

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JJ'S  TOYMART

JJ’S TOYMART

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CAPTAIN MOONLITE BUSHRANGER

CAPTAIN MOONLITE BUSHRANGER

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CRITERION HOTEL -  The hotel features original oil painted murals of early Australian bushrangers and the great flood of 1852 that washed away “Old” Gundagai.

CRITERION HOTEL – The hotel features original oil painted murals of early Australian bushrangers and the great flood of 1852 that washed away “Old” Gundagai.

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GUNDAGAI COURT HOUSE

GUNDAGAI COURT HOUSE

GUNDAGAI COURT HOUSE

GUNDAGAI COURT HOUSE

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130 SHERIDAN STREET

130 SHERIDAN STREET

130 SHERIDAN STREET

130 SHERIDAN STREET

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LOTT'S FAMILY HOTEL  -  ‘the hotel where good friends meet!’– was built in 1858 as Fry’s Hotel and agent for Cobb & Co coach company. The verandah you see on this hotel is typical of that found on country hotels in New South Wales and further afield.

LOTT’S FAMILY HOTEL – ‘the hotel where good friends meet!’– was built in 1858 as Fry’s Hotel and agent for Cobb & Co coach company. The verandah you see on this hotel is typical of that found on country hotels in New South Wales and further afield.

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NAB BANK  -  Erected in 1880 as a branch of the Commercial Bank of Sydney, this building is still a bank though now a branch of the National Australia Bank.

NAB BANK – Erected in 1880 as a branch of the Commercial Bank of Sydney, this building is still a bank though now a branch of the National Australia Bank.

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GUNDAGAI BAKE HOUSE

GUNDAGAI BAKE HOUSE

GUNDAGAI BAKE HOUSE

GUNDAGAI BAKE HOUSE

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GUNDGAI THEATER   -   built in 1929 but is no longer used as a Theatre, now sells old wares.

GUNDGAI THEATER – built in 1929 but is no longer used as a Theater, now sells old wares.

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GUNDGAI POST OFFICE BUILT IN 1879

GUNDGAI POST OFFICE BUILT IN 1879

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GUNDAGAI WAR MEMORIAL  -  The Gundagai War Memorial commemorates those who have served in the various conflicts in which Australia has been involved. The memorial was originally erected to commemorate those who served in World War One. The foundation stone was laid by Major-General Cox on the 24th May 1928.

GUNDAGAI WAR MEMORIAL – The Gundagai War Memorial commemorates those who have served in the various conflicts in which Australia has been involved. The memorial was originally erected to commemorate those who served in World War One. The foundation stone was laid by Major-General Cox on the 24th May 1928.

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GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION

Gundagai railway station opened on 21 July 1886 and services officially terminated on 13 January 1984 after damage to infrastructure and with the then State Government keen to close down country rural branch lines.

How the railway line came to Gundagai, Tumut, Batlow and the other towns it passed through is a bit of history in itself.
In the 1870s – early 1880s people from Gundagai and surrounding area lobbied  the NSW Government for a local railway service as they saw a need for their town to have such a service. The Gundagai supporters showed a high level of enthusiasm via their local progress committees for a railway connection. It is interesting to note that this demand for a railway was so strong despite the fact that the main southern railway line had not even reached nearby Cootamundra at this stage. The line to Cootamundra opened in 1877.
After gaining much local support and applying pressure to the local and state politicians to examine the ideas regarding bringing railway services to  Gundagai, the NSW Government finally agreed to undertake a route survey and to also plan to start work on a railway line to Gundagai. A survey was undertaken in early 1880s but these documents were  stored in Sydney at the Grand Palace and unfortunately a large fire broke out in the building, burning it down. The loss of the Gundagai line records caused the project a major upset and many delays. Due to the loss of the original records in the fire, a local request for another survey was applied for and approved. In 1883 a new survey was conducted to restore the documentation lost. During 1883 after the second survey was taken, Gundagai town hall was host to a public meeting where a very large 7.6m route map was put up for public display. This map was to show the survey information and planned route of the new railway and allowed the locals to review and provide feedback on the plans.

Publicly funded work commenced on the construction of the new Gundagai railway branch line in late 1883. Contractor services started work at the Cootamundra end at the rail junction and  commenced heading towards Gundagai. In constructing the track for the Gundagai branch line, track work teams known as fettlers were involved. These large teams of men were seen cutting out hills sides, preparing embankments, preparing ground for the sleepers and railway track and then laying timber sleepers for the steel track. Other workers also constructed signal posts, and safe working systems for the stations. building timber bridges over creeks or rivers as required.

As the line progressed further away from the Cootamundra Junction, work trains followed the men as the line progressed closer to Gundagai. These trains brought the rail and sleepers in to new sites and the loads were dumped as the line expanded into the fields and bush.

The construction of the line towards Gundagai saw many new stations and smaller intermediate stops or halts built. These stations and stops allowed the people in the countryside to catch a train without having to travel too far. The majority of the line was single track except where stations had large yards. At these stations such as Coolac and Muttama, multiple tracks existed as sidings, some which were used as “passing loops”  when the train heading to Gundagai would meet  the train going to Cootamundra and one would pull into the siding to let the other train pass by. The larger yards had various sidings which contained stock races, loading banks and good sheds in some cases.

As the line to Gundagai was built, the location for the new Gundagai station was disputed  but finally a site was chosen in the town which is now the railway yard. Gundagai railway station building was started in 1885 with workers building foundations and the structure from timber. The NSW Government officially took control of the new branch line from the contractors and declared it open for public use on June 1 1886.

Gundagai railway station meanwhile was finally completed and opened for business on 21 July 1886 to the public. The first true services were the contractor trains as they progressed outwards from Cootamundra with the supplies for the working camps and track-laying locations but as the line was officially opened up to Gundagai, a new railway schedule was created to allow public use for passengers and mail/freight movements at set times of the week.

The Gundagai branch line construction cost amounted to $540,000 pounds in 1886 terms.

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION SIGN

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION SIGN

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION

GUNDAGAI RAILWAY STATION

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PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE

The Prince Alfred Bridge was built in 1866, the first major crossing spanning the Murumbidgee River. It formed part of the Hume Highway until it was replaced by the first Sheahan Bridge built in 1976. The Prince Alfred Bridge is the longest timber viaduct in Australia and has been classified by the National Trust as a structure whose preservation is essential to Australia’s heritage.

The timber viaducts are wonderful examples of early engineering solutions to crossing a major flood plain. Their national significance is recognised with listing by the National Trust. They are a spectacular latticework of wooden trusses, spanning the flood plains and River.

PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE  SIGN

PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE
SIGN

PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE

PRINCE ALFRED BRIDGE

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PHOTOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

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