Our route to our next stop at Warwick, Queensland, took us along the Nbew England Highway in an almost straight northerly direction. We traveled along the broad ridge of the Great Dividing Range which resulted in undulating country with lots of hills. We lost count of the number of steep descents that we encountered along the way..
Before leaving Armidale, I spent a little time walking around the centre of town to exploere some of the historic buildings give Armidale its character. Some of the outstanding buildings were St Paul’s Anngican Cathedral and the walking mall in the middle of the city. We also drove out to see the campus of the University of New Engalnd and decided that it had some similarity to the Australian National University of Canberra – modern low profile buildings set in an open woodland environment.
St Peters Anglican Cathedral
Beardy Street Mall
The old Armidale court house
Our drive north, left us without any outstanding photooegenic scenery. We passed therough many areas of undulating grazing land and forest, but there wasn’t anything stunning or worth writing home about.
Not far north from Armidale was the town of Guyra. It is the highest town of the New England Tablelands and has a reputation for coldness and snow in the winter months. It is the coldest, northernmost town in Australia. The town is primarily a service centre for the surrounding wool, beef, potato and fat lamb-producing properties and it celebrates this economic base with a sculpture on the highway that combines a sheep with potatoes
We found the Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve in the town and decided it was a good spot for a cup of coffee. There was a brand new picnic area near the lagoon and the golf course that we took advantage of. The lagoon is, in fact, part of a volcanic crater with a circumference of 14 km. It is a breeding and feeding habitat for many types of waterbirds.
As we drove further north, I kept watch along thw way for photogenic sights but unfortunately, they were few and far between. The only one that stood out was this one scene along a small stream.
We passed rhrough Glen innes without stopping, observing the large groves of poplar trees throughout the countryside. At this time of year that were bare but they must look quite spectacular in autumn.
In the town of Tenterfield, we found this very ornate post office. I thought back to one of my business clients who was the Deputy Chief Executive of Australia Post . Buildings like this were his responsibility. He saw them as a real liability. Most of them were classified and protected, so they couldn’t be altered or changed, yet they were totally inappropriate in terms of contemporary mail handling and postal function and technology.
Tenterfield played a part in stimulatig the need for Federation in the late 1800s, but its popular fame comes from Peter Allen’s song – Tenterfield Traveller’. Located in High Street is the Saddler’s Shop which is the source of the song that he wrote about his grandfather, George Woolnough who plied his business here from 1908 until his retirement in 1960. Made of locally quarried, hand-cut blue granite with 50 cm thick walls, the building was erected in the 1860s and initially served as a residence before becoming the premises of the Australian Joint Stock Bank in 1874. In original condition, the doors and joinery are of red cedar.
There was once a train that ran through here but this bridge over Tenerfield Creek suggets that it doesn’tt run anymore
Just up thr road at the Queensland border is the old railway town of Jennings. The station there was a ‘break of guage’ station and renamed Wollangarra. It is a remnant of colonial days when each colony had its own railway gauge. Trains of the Queensland railways that ran on a guage of 3ft 6in arrived on one side of the platform and those fom New South Wales where the guage was 4ft 8 1/2 in arrived on the other side. Passengers and freight had to be transferred from one train to the other. There is no need for this laborious activty any more as this railway line shut down years ago.
The last town that we passed through before reaching our overnight stop in Warwick was Stanthorpe. On a wall opposite another ornate post office building is a mural with a delightful story of caring and success.
It is a mural of a man named Angelo Valiante and was painted by one of the well known grain silo artists. The mural depicts Angelo Valiante who reached the ripe old age of 100 years in November, 2016. Mr Valiante was one of the first Italians to settle in Stanthorpe and this work pays homage to the Italian community that have contrubuted to the success of this region. Angelo looks reflectively to the main street of Stanthorpe with a hope in his eyes – and an optimism for the future of the region and what the next 100 years will bring.” It is worth noting that Angelo Valiante was a POW from 1941 to 1947 after which he was repatriated back to Italy. He was sponsored to return to Stanthorpe by his former employer and arrived in 1950 with his wife and son. This is a wonderful success story.