Big ‘n’ Beautiful Bingara!
Head up the Fossickers Way from Tamworth towards Warialda and you’ll come across the beaut little town of Bingara. We’d stopped there only once before briefly, to have coffee at the Roxy Theatre’s Peters Milk Bar and this time we wanted to stay and have a look around.
We came to Bingara from Manilla. The countryside is beautiful and we were blessed with fine, although windy weather. The Bingara Tourist Information office was very helpful and we decided to stay at the Bingara Caravan park, which is beautifully located on the banks of the Gwydir River. There are plenty of sites that are easily accessible and a nice clean ammenities block, but the most noticeable aspect of the park is the lovely shady trees and the abundance of birds. It’s a great place to set up so that you can explore the region.
Our first day trip was to the Myall Creek Memorial, which commemorates a terrible day in our history. Back in 1838, on the 10th of June, there was a massacre of twenty eight unarmed Aboriginal women, children and old men by twelve armed white men. This horrific episode in our history was also notable as it was the first time that white men were tried for murdering Aboriginal people, convicted and hanged.
The memorial site is well worth visiting. It consists of a five hundred metre walk along which are placed seven plaques telling the story of the event. At the end of the walk, overlooking the slope where the attack took place is a final plaque on a large monolith, around which visitors have placed stones, crosses and notes. It is so beautiful and peaceful looking down towards the creek that you can’t imagine the horror of the massacre.
After the emotion of the memorial we toured The Living Classroom (TLC). This fabulous concept is situated on what was the Town Common and utilises one hundred and fifty hectares of reclaimed land. It is a centre for regenerative agriculture and research into natural resource management.
We were very lucky to have a guided tour by the CEO Rick Hutton, who is very passionate about this place and was one of the original group who conceived, planned and implemented the concept of TLC. He proudly showed us the overall plan of the project which includes such things as a Mediterranean garden; various different types of ‘pods’ such as swamp, forest and desert pods which feature different types of plant life; the greenhouse, where various experiments are underway; and the learning facilities.
TLC is set up to run as a working farm as well as an educational resource for schools, community groups and tourists. Their work will have an impact on farming methods of the future and they will be able to ‘ground test’ ideas and processes to see if they can be utilised in day to day farming. The concept and the place itself is fantastic and they have been recognised as such by being one of only ten such projects around the world to have been nominated for a United Nations award.
Bingara offers something for everyone. There are fantastic restored heritage buildings such as the gorgeous Roxy Theatre complex complete with its Peters Milk Bar, the Courthouse and some lovely old pubs. There are activities such as gold fossicking, walking trails, fishing, horse riding, bird watching and much more.
Make sure you take the time to stop off at Bingara. You’ll be glad you did.
Article By: Ron Sinclair l Photos By: Ron & Di Sinclair