I left Albury after staying a couple of nights and travelled along the Riverina Highway through Howlong before stopping for a few hours in Berrigan. I had a few distant relatives that used to live in the town so I headed for the cemetery to see who I could find. I found several names that I recall from the Ednie side of our family. I visited the museum, unfortunately closed, but picked up a Historical Building Trail brochure. I followed the trail around town. Some of the buildings are now private residences.
Berrigan runs under the banner Better in Berrigan and it claims fame as the birthplace of both The NSW Rural Fire Brigade and also the State body of The Parents and Citizens Association. It is a nice tidy town.
Next town along the Riverina Highway and at the intersection of the north-south Newell Highway is Finley with a population of 1921 people. Another neat town, I had a wander around before visiting the cemetery to find more relatives. A cousin, who I hadn’t seen for over 40 years, still lives on the north side of town and it was good to catch up with him and meet his family. They are predominantly rice growers but also have dry crops of wheat, barley etc and run cattle and sheep.
My cousin is heavily involved in the community and also on the boards of a couple of organisations involved in Rice growing and governance. It was good to learn about the crop and he is also part of a group that runs a research farm which is looking at various scientific ways to improve crop yield.
One day while I was there he had some business in neighbouring towns so we took a run to Tocumal , across the border into Victoria, Cobram and then Yarrawonga and back into NSW and home through Berrigan.
I was able to help out on the farm a bit. With cattle and sheep there was always something to do. We drafted sheep and cattle, dipped them, inoculated and tagged them. I really enjoyed being “back on the farm” and helping out.
I ended up staying nearly 3 weeks. It wasn’t my intention to stay so long but I had mechanical issues again and needed to wait for a part to be sourced and be fitted which all took much longer than anticipated. I managed to find the part at West Wyalong so borrowed a car to go there one day to pick it up. It was a 600km round trip but it saved me $500 on the part.
My cousin’s kids are heavily into sport and both play cricket so I got to watch a few games and to spend time with my cousin and get to know his lovely family which was all nice. On my last day we took his boat into Finley Lake for a ski. I haven’t skied in years and after 3 attempts to get up I reluctantly gave up. The body must have aged more than I thought. It was a fun day nonetheless.
I also met up with one of my Primary School teachers in Tocumwal one day. To spend a bit of time with a lady that was my grade 3 teacher and now aged 89 was something really special and a special memory of my travels around Oz.
I really enjoyed my time in Finley. My cousin has a great family and it was nice to catch up after so many years.
I really enjoyed my time in Jerilderie as well. I did the Ned Kelly Walk Trail which covered about 15 buildings or sites that played a significant part during the 3 days that Ned Kelly and his gang spent in the town during their 1879 raid on the Bank of New South Wales. There is also a lake in town beside the Billabong Creek which is the longest creek in the world at 320km. It is a pleasant walk around the lake.