Glen Innes is a really nice town. The celticness of it makes Tim grumble a bit (as a half-Irishmen he feels that he has a right to frown at everything that is not originally Celtic), but it made me laugh. We had an interesting discussion comparing the Celts with the Aboriginals; both the indigenous population of areas that were conquered and oppressed, mainly surviving in the regions that were less important for the economic prosperity of the conquerors and both having to fight to keep the old traditions, culture and language alive.
Of course the discussion continued talking about merging cultures; how should you do it if you are the foreigner/conqueror/immigrant and what can you expect from people coming to live in your own region. The Celtic Aussies apparently feel no need to be assimilated and feel that they can be very Australian and still be proud of their Celtic roots. They even make it into an economic asset! A healthy attitude as far as I am concerned.
In Glen Innes as well as in Tenterfield you can see that these are older towns. The centres have a lot of houses that are build in a more ‘European’ style, often with proud displays of the year they were build. Tenterfield is actually the place where Sir Henry Parkes gave the ‘Tenterfield speech’ in 1889 that eventually led to the Australian Federation in 1901 (as Tim mentioned in his post).
Between Tenterfield and Glen Innes (where we slept last night) we encountered the ‘Bluff Rock’. A huge granite boulder near the top of a mountain, where in 1844 a tribe of Aboriginals were thrown down by locals after killing a shepherd.
One of the locals. Eduard Irby, wrote in his diary about the events:
“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 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.”
In our holiday camp we actually saw a wallaby foraging between the rocks. I assume it was a brush-tailed rock wallaby, since it seemed to be quite fond of the big boulders on the camp site. If you really see them, you notice that they actually have a head that’s very different from a kangaroo head, and ears that are a lot smaller.
When we got up this morning we first toured through Glen Innes again, since it really has nice buildings to look at. Difficult to photograph though, since they put the coloured lights right in the middle of the street so they would always be in your picture.
Afterwards we drove to Guyra and headed off to the east there, to see some falls. The Ebor Falls were quite beautiful, and since they are fed by a spring there was enough water. The Wollomombie Falls however depend on the rain fall and it has been quite dry the last weeks. So that turned out to be a search for the remaining bit of fall. The granite walls it cascades from are still very imposing though, and the Wollomombie Gorge a few hundred meter further showed this valley with enormous granite walls that made you feel quite small – and caused some vertigo too.
We are now landed in Armidale, where we will spend the night. Tomorrow we aim to have lunch in Gunnedah, koala capital of Australia, and we want to sleep in the Warrumbungle National Park. The next day, August 3d, we will hop over to Dubbo where we will stay two nights to explore the zoo. The current planning is to visit Wellington, where they have caves, on the 5th on our way to Bateau Bay where we hope to arrive the 7th and hopefully can meet again with my aunts. The 8th we go to Sydney and I will try to arrange to have dinner with the relatives there, and the 9th we will fly home again. Of course we might change the planning on the spot if circumstances warrant that, but it is nice to have a general idea about where and when we want to be this last week.