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Tenterfield to Glen Innes, New South Wales 

Home > Travelogues > 2009 Travelogues Index > New England Region NSW > Tenterfield to Glen Innes
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Bluff Rock Lookout

Looking across from the lookout rest are to a farm (above right), and further south to Bluff Rock (above left).

We stopped at the Bluff Rock Lookout and picnic area twelve kilometres south of Tenterfield.  A plaque tells the story of the Bluff Rock Aboriginal massacre in the 1940s (details hereunder).  There is further information about the early history of the railway.  It is across the highway from Bluff Rock, the site of the massacre. 

The Massacre.

The truth of this event remains clouded by many conflicting versions.  One time Overseer at Bolivia Station, Thomas Keating, in describing the massacre as it had been told to him by an old man at Bolivia, told of Aboriginal attacks on shepherds and sheep.  Keating outlined how men at Bolivia station were mustered and armed, then set out on the track of Aborigines to Pyes Creek on the western boundary of the property.  According to Keating`s story, the Aboriginals were then attacked at Pyes Creek and fled across country to Bluff Rock, where they were thrown from the top killing most and injuring many.  None of that tribe survived were ever seen on Bolivia Station again.

Commissioner MacDonald reported that in October 1844 a shepherd had been killed by Aborigines on the Irby Station at Bolivia, but no retaliatory action was mentioned in his dispatch.

It was Edward Irby and his brother Leonard who named the huge granite rock whilst moving from Tenterfield Station to Deepwater Station in 1842.  It was St. Swithin`s Day and they named it St. Swithins Bluff.

However, Edward Irby himself, when writing of the incident, describes how one of his shepherds, Robinson, had been killed by Aborigines and how four men had set out to find the culprits.  In these few simple words he described in his journal the terrible deeds of that day.

The blacks saw us coming and hid themselves among the rocks.  One in his haste, dropped poor Robinson`s coat so we knew we were onto the right tribe.  If they had taken to their heels they might have got away, instead of doing so, they got their fighting men to attack us.  So we punished them severely and proved our superiority to them.

A very strong oral tradition exists amongst the local Aboriginal community of a baby surviving the fall in its mother’s arms and being rescued and brought up by a nearby resident.  The unmarked grave is said to be East of the rock and the present road.

The plaque was prepared and installed by the Moombahlene Local Aboriginal Land Council from information researched and supplied by the Tenterfield and District Visitors Association.

Unveiled in memory of the Aboriginals killed in this area during settlement

by George Binge and Bertha Daley

This rest area is not drive through (one entrance only) but has room to turn with a caravan.  It is well serviced with a toilet with hand basin and solar light, and a picnic shelter with built in fireplace.  Bollards prevent vehicles leaving the sealed parking area, which is not level.   It would be suitable for only a few rigs overnight, but would be too close to the highway for our liking. 

Bolivia

At the former Bolivia townsite there were a few old buildings and a former school site.  Bolivia Hill Pass a little further south registered 1,024 metres about sea level. 

The Celtic connection

They were two stockmen with long, flowing beards who roamed the vast, untamed plains of New England when Australia was young. The stockmen were John Duval and William Chandler. Today their names are perpetuated in the Land of the Beardies Festival, held every Spring to celebrate the foundation of Glen Innes’ foundation. Their names live on in Glen Innes’s folk museum – one of Australia’s finest, in the Land of the Beardies History House, Beardy Waters, the town’s water supply and on county maps in Beardy Plains parish.

 

Duval and Chandler are deeply connected with the romance of old Glen Innes, for they guided Glen Innes’ first settler, Scottish barrister Archibald Boyd to the district.

Community localities were named from the Celtic origins of the early settlers, with names such as Dundee, Ben Lomond, Glencoe and Llangothin. 

 

Approaching Glen Innes, the name Beardy kept on coming up, bring images to my mind leprechaun like Celtic pioneers.  The story is told on Glen Innes Tourism. 

Glen Innes

Eleven kilometres north of Glen Innes, the New England Highway crosses the watercourse Beardy Waters. 

 

On the north side of the bridge where the highway runs close to the stream, we stopped at an unsealed parking and picnic area for a lunch break.

 

To the south of the bridge, Beardy Waters Heritage Park is a free overnight camping area with toilets and a picnic shelter.   

 

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Glen Innes features the Celtic origins of many of the pioneers of this area. On a hill overlooking the town a circle of standing stones has been constructed from local stone. The design has a circle of 24 stones representing the hours of the day. The Southern Cross has been superimposed over the circle. Because Celtic Stones were built as calendars in ancient times, alignment to dawn and sunset of the summer and winter solstice have been incorporated. Three guide stones represent the Gaelic speaking Scots, Irish and Manx, the Welsh and the Australians.

 

The Australian Standing Stones project was initiated in 1988, with sponsorship of $1,000 sought for these stones.  A plaque on site shows the sponsors.  Each stone has its significance.  Constructed through 1991, the Standing Stones were opened in 1992. 

 

Standing 3.7 metres from ground level, the total length of the stones cut is 5.5 metres.

Overlooking to town of Glen Innes from the Australian Standing Stones (below). 

The Australian Celtic Festival attracts clans, national groups, pipe bands, dancers, artists and spectators from across Australia and abroad. This annual festival is held in May. Highlights include a lone piper in the dawn autumn mists at the Standing Stones. Heading up the steps to the platform where the lone piper stands (above). 

Celebrations of the Summer and Winter Solstice and commemorations of the Celtic Saints' Days also take place at the Standing Stones.

 

A representation of Excalibur’s short in the stone (above).  

Glen Innes, at 1,072 metres above sea level, lays claim to be the highest large town in Australia.  This brings a cool to mild climate, and a moderate rainfall which occurs throughout the year.  Farms were neat and green, often with rows of poplar trees. 

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