Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Country To The Coast - 29 June 2008

After the mild weather we had become acustomed to over the past week, it was a real shock to wake up & find the car covered in ice! Yes, the New England Tablelands do get bloody cold during the winter!

Inverell is pretty town located on the banks of the McIntyre River with plenty of beautiful buildings from the late 19th & early 20th century to give the town a real heritage feeling. Inverell was also the spiritual home of The Kurrajongs. The Kurrajongs were a group of 112 volunteers that enlisted in Inverell in January 1916 & along with a second contingent of 47 (in February) left for the battlefields of France & Belgium in WWI. All up the Inverell district sent over 800 men to serve with distinction on those far off battlefields ... a high price to pay indeed for many of these small communities & it always makes me humble when I read of their sacrifices. So when in Inverell take the time out to marvel at the heritage & give thanks for the efforts that so many gave so long ago.

Another interesting & controversial part of Australian history can also be found at Bluff Rock on the New England Highway 10klms south of Tenterfield. This is where in 1844 a posse of white settlers sought to avenge the murder of a shepherd, by driving an entire tribe of aborigines to the top of the bluff & then throwing them off onto the rocks below, women & children included. While Bluff Rocks reputation has been stained by this incident, the rock itself is a perfect example of the forces that shaped this wonderful country 225 million years ago by the cooling of molten lava beneath the earth & then the forces of erosion that have now exposed it for us to marvel at.

From Tenterfield it was onto the beautiful towns Casino, Kyogle & then to Murwillumbah. Casino & Kyogle are both known as 'volcano towns' due to the fact that they sit over the former massive volcanoes that dominated the east coast of Australia 22 million years ago. As you drive through this escarpment the scenery is spectacular with Mt Warning in the distance & pockets of Gondwana rainforest to be found, so keep your camera handy for shots of this wonderful vista.

The once you reach Kanghur at the foot of the escarpment, you then enter the Tweed Valley, at the head of the Tweed River & into the start of Australia's coastal sugar cane country.

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