On our trip from Broken Hill to Adelaide today, we deviated off the highway for a few kilometres to visit the town of Peterborough – actually it just arrived on the GPS just in time for coffee.
This town must take the award for being the patriotic capital of Australia. This fact became instantly clear to us when we scanned the walls of the coffee shop where I was enjoying my gluten free Jaffa Slice. Amongst all of the ‘Australiana’ stuck to the walls with blue tack (on the shop side of the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ annexe where one can buy crystals and rainbows) was a laminated poem espousing the heritage of the Australian flag. It provided a strong argument for never changing it – not ever!
Next door to the coffee shop was a hairdresser and a vacant store, both of which were situated in the Diamond Jubilee Building – complete with a somewhat lifelike bust of Queen Victoria on the portal.
Across the road was the splendid town hall which would rival many a suburban town hall for its size, ornate stage and decorative balcony. The town hall has two entrances; one either side of the stairway to the balcony.
In the southern entrance are a display of honour boards listing the names of men from the local community who enlisted in the services in both the first and second world wars. There were dozens of them – and from such a small remote country community! What a sense of national obligation the people in this area must have possessed. As I looked at these names, many of whom came from the same family, I wondered how many had not returned and the impact that both wars must have had on this little community.
This sense of community pride has clearly continued as in the northern entrance is a wonderful quilt made by the local women as a bi-centennial project. It provides a wonderful illustration of the history of the town and the local geography.Above the quilt is another honour board with the names of all the recipients of the town’s annual Australia Day Award. It was good to see that a young man had won the junior award for last year after many previous year’s awards going to young ladies of the district.
Peterborough possesses a clear sense of community and national pride. If you are even mildly oriented towards republicanism, don’t even think of going near this little town!