Australia-Alpine Area of Victoria

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Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Australian Alps
May 15th 2006
Published: August 7th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

We had a bit of a weekend drive, 2,500 Kms around the alpine region of the state of Victoria. The purpose of the trip was to visit the town of Bright where they were holding the ‘Festival of the falling leaves’. In most countries a few deciduous trees losing their leaves would not be of any great significance, in Australia the trees are all evergreens and lose their bark not their leaves; the sight of a few introduced trees showing their autumn colours is certainly worth a look to us.

Up to a few years ago the area that we visited would probably have been covered in snow during early May but with the climate changes now it doesn’t seem to happen until the end of the month. The temperature was cold though and it is a very long time since we had experienced single figures in Celsius. We are nesh.

Here are a few panoramas to show the layout of this part of our world.

Our first stop on the way down was at the town of Gundagai still in New South Wales, there is a song “On the road to Gundagai” and a well known “Dog on the Tucker Box” statue.

There have been all sorts of legends about this dog, waiting for his deceased master and that sort of thing.

The most likely story in the one described in this plaque but even that has been modified slightly because this site is visited by lots of children often on school excursions. The dog had actually done more than just sit on Bill’s tuckerbox, his lunch was really ruined.

Still in New South Wales we visit Holbrook, a small town with the largest army base in Australia.

So why does an inland army town 200 Kms from the coast have a 90 metre submarine on display?

Well I’m glad you asked that. Back in 1852 a German gentleman by the name of Johann Chirstoff Pasbst managed to buy about one square mile of land from the Wiradjuri Nation, he was not aware that most of the time this area was subject to severe drought. It was known as Ten Mile Creek because that’s how far it was from the nearest town, Herr Pasbst built the Germanton Hotel and this name was gradually adopted for the town that grew around it. Eventually the railway arrived and the area prospered. Then along came WW1 and the locals considered Germanton to be a most unpatriotic name so they started to look for a more suitable one. The big hero in the war at that time was Lieutenant Norman Holbrook aged 26; he was commander of a Class B11 submarine that had sunk the Turkish Battleship Messudiye, quite a long story of heroism here that resulted in him being the first submariner to be awarded the Victoria Cross, every member of the crew was also awarded the DSO. By popular vote the name of the town was changed to Holbrook in 1915.

Lieutenant Norman Holbrook

In 1975 the Royal Australian Navy was happy to hand over the 90 metres from above the waterline of a decommissioned submarine for display next to the main road of the largest army town in Australia. A very good move for the town, just about everyone travelling down the Hume Highway, the busiest road in Australia stops in the adjacent park sometime and many spend money in the shops and cafes.

After an overnight stop at the YHA in Albury we crossed the border into Victoria, the first town of interest was Yackandandah which is an aboriginal word meaning Yackandandah, how would you like to give that as your address? Anyway it is one of the many towns where gold was first discovered in Victoria.

Moving on to Beechworth, famous for Ned Kelly’s committal hearing leading to his hanging for murder of a policeman. Opinion is that if the case were heard today it would have been dismissed. Many books have been written on this subject.

The town has not changed much with most of the sandstone buildings remaining in their original state.

A few old cars that we will see tomorrow in the Parade at Bright. Note in the final picture the traditional satellite dish on the roof of the hotel.

The Gaol in the town is still in use holding 112 low security prisoners who often carry out a lot of work around the town.

Today is the day of the Bright Festival and what a fizzer. Many people had told us how wonderful it was but since speaking to them again we have found that none of them had actually seen it. It was really the biggest street market that we had ever seen with a very amateurish street parade and an RAAF flypast that arrived about 20 minutes early so we were in the wrong place for decent pictures. Will only show you a few pictures.

The parade of old vehicles was quite interesting; I learnt to drive in an earlier version of this.

This vehicle had been built by the local owner of an engineering works; he’d got hold of a Mercedes V16 engine and built a body weighing several tonnes to hold it. It can only be driven on private property or parades like this because it was unable to get a road worthiness certificate.

Anyone remember the movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert?

Anyway we decided to have a look around the outskirts and at other nearby towns, found these colourful trees.

This is the town of Mount Beauty

Notice the vandalism in the hills by the local electric company.

We think it deserves the name

Would have liked to have taken some pictures up in the mountains but the weather was against us

We expect to return on our way to another holiday in Western Victoria, it will be spring then and hopefully clearer weather.

Couldn’t find any football ground.

This used to be a fast flowing river called The Murray until the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme took away about 80% of its water.

Enjoyed these colours on the way back from the mountains, hills in any other country, maximum height 1,900 metres.


This crop is called tobacco; it is addictive to both people and governments. To people because they get hooked on the nicotine content and to governments because they get hooked on the taxation that it raises. The tar and toxic chemicals are harmful to humans.

Here we have a stand of a large bamboo, each being about 3-4 inches in diameter.

A much smaller, less than one centimetre in diameter bamboo. Forgot to make a note of the name for this species but it is supposed to be the fastest growing land plant in the world. In Johor Baru, Malaysia we once watched one growing. It was like the end of the minute hand of a very large clock, you could just see it moving.

This is the Monsterio delicioso, a relative of bamboo. It is also called the Fruit Salad Plant. When the fruit ripens it turns brown and then the crazed scales fall off to reveal a delicious soft fruit underneath, if you try to eat it before it is ripe you will need medical treatment to remove the spines that will splinter your tongue and gums.

Those of you who use use alternative medicine might be interested in this tree

We did take many more pictures but most were either fairly ordinary or not likely to be of any interest to anyone else. Hope you enjoyed this selection.


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