I loved the small town of Tenterfield which I hadn’t realized was so close to the Queensland border. It is situated at the intersection of the Bruxner and New England Highways. It is nestled in a valley beneath Mount Mackenzie so can be very cold in winter.
Tenterfield is rich in history having been gazetted a town in 1851. It is considered the birthplace of the Federation of Australia. In 1841 Sir Stuart Donaldson was running a sheep property that he named Tenterfield Station after a family home, Tenterfield House in Haddington, Scotland. Donaldson was the first Premier of NSW. The town was subsequently named after the station.
Sir Henry Parkes delivered his Federation speech, commonly referred to as the “Tenterfield Oration” in the Tenterfield School of Arts on 24th October 1889. He was travelling from Brisbane to Sydney via the new Main North Railway. The speech is credited with re-igniting the debate that ultimately let to Federation on 1st January 1901. Parkes never got to see his oration come to fruition, dying 5 years prior to the Federation of Australia.
Sir Henry Parkes was Premier of NSW on no less than 5 separate occasions. 1872-1875, 1877, 1878-1883, 1887-1889 and 1889-1891.
The Henry Parkes Museum in the Tenterfield School of Arts is well worth spending a couple of hours in. It also houses a cinema and coffee shop and is a beautiful old building.
A couple of streets away is the Tenterfield Saddlery made famous by the Australian entertainer, Peter Allen. The old store was owned by Allen’s grandfather, George Woolnough. It is open daily and staffed by volunteers for a gold coin donation on entry. There is much memorabilia lining all the walls and leather products are available for sale. There is another historical museum nearby but was not open on the days I was there.
There is a huge magnificent Cork Tree situated on a vacant block in Wood Street.
The Historical Railway Museum situated on the edge of town is well worth a look through. Carriages and locomotives have been lovingly restored by volunteers. It is one of the best restored railway precincts I have seen in my travels.
The cemetery adjacent to the Railway is also worth a wander through.
While I was in Tenterfield I stayed at the Showground. It was situated in town and from here you can walk to all the tourist attractions. There are a number of historical buildings and most are in magnificent condition.
There are about 7 National Parks within close proximity to Tenterfield. I visited Bald Rock National Park some 30km north of town. The rock, which I climbed along the vertical rock face, is the largest granite monolith in Australia. It rises 200 metres above the surrounding landscape and is 750 metres long and 500 metres wide. The view was well worth the effort expended climbing up. There was a longer easier gradient path to the summit but where is the challenge in that?
On the road out to Bald Rock is Thunderbolts Hideout where the famous bushranger holed up between “jobs”. There are also some historic World War 2 tank traps nearby.
Tenterfield and surrounds is well worth putting on your bucket list. Full of history and beautiful old buildings surrounded by magnificent countryside.