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| Topic: Aussie Cols Xmas Hols (Pt 1)
15/3/2021 at 7:57am
Location: Melbourne Australia
Outfit: Windsor Rapid Off Road Van + tents
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Hope you're keeping well.
After what had been a rotten year, Jen and I headed off early on Boxing Day morning to our special spot on the banks of the Murray up in the North East of Victoria.
We again stopped at Glenrowan for morning tea as it is about half way to our camp. The picnic area in the main street is also an historical site, for it was here that skyrockets were fired to alert Ned Kelly sympathises during the siege of Glenrowan.
Some notable Kelly historians say the Glenrowan siege event was Ned Kellyís attempt to kick-start a revolution and establish a republic. At some stage during the event, the Kelly Gang, in armour, would be joined by a ďphantom armyĒ of heavily armed sympathisers that were waiting in the hills behind the Glenrowan Inn, summoned into town at the appropriate time by skyrockets acting as a signal. Two rockets were set off during the event but things didnít go quite to plan.
That site which is now a public park, is right opposite the towns railway station. In 2001, the old Edwardian railway station building had fallen into disrepair, it was demolished and replaced with a replica of the original 1874 station.
Fortunately our camp spot which is located on an isolated point of land near a bend in the river, and part of the mountain right behind us didnít get burnt out in last years horrific bushfires, although all the surrounding bush and farm land did. The police last year encouraged our evacuation from this spot as the fire approached, so it was a bit of a surreal feeling being back this time under vastly different circumstances.
The first pic is a panorama taken right in front of our van, and the next looking down the river, you can see why we keep returning to this spot.
Itís not commonly known but the Murray has two indigenous names, the Millewa from the Ngarrindjeri people (the north east region of Vic and across borders) and the Tongala from the Yorta Yorta people of the central north of Vic and across borders.
I took a number of pics of that scene over the time we were there, capturing the changing moods that we experienced.
A couple of pics of our actual site.
I know I have shown these scenes in previous reports but I never tire of this area and of course taking pictures of them.
Not far from us is the historic town/settlement of Tintaldra. Europeans began arriving in the area in 1837 they were squatters looking for grazing lands for their cattle,
Prior to the arrival of Europeans the district around Tintaldra was home to the Wiradjuri and the Jaitmatang Aboriginal peoples.
A town began to form around 1854, here is the old general store/post office building, which today houses a small but extremely interesting museum, it was first opened in 1864.
Out the back we were shown another historic building, again well over a hundred years old it was the towns bakery.
You could just feel the history, with the log fired furnaces burning to help bake all sorts of stuff for the locals to gorge on!!
Right across the road from that is the current hotel/pub which was built in 1870, it replaced an earlier one built on the site around 1865
Other than one other building, thatís basically all thatís there. The river itself is only a hundred metres or so to the north, where there is a crossing into NSW. Between the pub and river is a memorial plaque recognising the role early pioneers played in opening up the district, in particular the Vogel family.
You had to diversify in those times to survive, not sure if I had a tooth ache he would be the man Iíd turn too. Imagine a pair of blacksmiths tongs being forced into your mouth to aide with an extraction!!!! Not my idea of fun Ha!
Iím sure his home would have been his workshop as well as the surgery all those years ago, looks fairly sterile I suppose!!
On one day we decided to Kayak up to a friend of ours property approx 2 ks up stream from us. We walked the Kayaks past the more difficult currents. Not many would embark on such a paddle for although short in distance, the perils we could encounter would have most shaking with fear, the possibility of not returning very real, but hey itís Big Col and Jen so no probs Ha!!
We paused at a bend, to rest before we headed off on the final leg of our journey. I was there first so I could capture Jen paddling along, you can see some of the surrounding burnt hills in the distance.
That last pic shows the hill/mountain right behind where we leave the bitumen and drive down the track to our camp. Obviously that didnít burn, our mate (who is also a volunteer fire fighter) was fighting the fires as they headed for that hill and a bit further on his house. He said that night the fires were apocalyptic and the only reason that pocket of bush was saved was the wind was coming ferociously against the front preventing it from coming over the ridge line.
The stories he told us were horrific, he was in the tanker convoy on a rugged bush track when a firestorm hit them, lifting then rolling the tanker in front of him killing his mate who was driving it. He spoke for hours reliving the days and days of what happened in the district, it was so tragic, difficult for us to hear really but it was most likely very therapeutic for him to tell his stories. Any one of them could be a book or small story, put together they would make gripping reading but not sure many would want to in part, read what he and others went through.
Back to our epic paddle!!! the current was quite strong, the river being relatively low it made it hard to get good purchase on the water with each stroke so in the end we walked what we could, finally arriving at his property and what a beautiful one it is.
Down at the waters edge he has a few basic things set up, mostly left there to let river uses know that it is private and occupied. You would be surprised how people have used his place for camps and left it pretty s**tty with rubbish, making fires etc. Since leaving a bit of gear there he has had very little issues.
We made ourselves at home.
A couple of pics taken as we made our way back down river.
After such an epic paddle! we decided to head to the Tintaldra Pub for dinner, as our new years eve treat. With covid still threatening we chose to not go on the main night, as we thought thereíd be less people and then of course less risk. Got a table by ourselves out side but as numbers were limited to size of the establishment it was still reasonably chockers. The hour twenty we waited for our meal just seemed to fly!!!!!!!
Took these pics on the way back, the best colour had gone but there was nowhere to pull over earlier. This is the Jim Newman Lookout, the main feature here is a rather large piece of metal art. Bogong Moths when in season were one of the main food sources for the local indigenous tribes.
Most days we would go for a walk, we would head out of the bush to the main road and then walk along it in alternate directions each day. Some rural scenes I captured at different times along the road.
A typical night scene and then a series of pics looking directly across the river, showing different weather patterns and some colourful skies we experienced.
An observation from our time on the Murray/Tongala River!! We had never seen the river as dirty, being so high and close to the Alps, it is usually so clean. Speaking to the ranger he said it was as clean as he had seen it since the fires. At one stage it was just about flowing black as shortly after the fires heavy rain set in, signalling the end of the drought in the region but creating environmental issues that still to this day are significant. Erosion, black water (which takes out all the oxygen) kills off most fish species and other water life (including Platypus) are just a few of the problems the environment still faces.
Well, all good things must come to an end at some stage. We actually feel a bit sad leaving this magnificent spot, but Iím also excited about what we may experience in the days ahead. With the van once again hitched on, we made our way back to the bitumen.
Part two will show you more of what we saw and did on the next part of our Xmas Hols.
Col & Jen..
The worst day above ground, is a whole lot better than the best one under it. Live life to the fullest while you can.
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