Bucket List #47 Have a Drink at The Black Stump Hotel Merriwagga NSW

I put this one on my list because it sounded so Australian and the town name sounded interesting. The bar is reported as the tallest bar in Australia. The bar stools are huge and it takes a bit of effort to climb up and down. I reckon many a drinker has come to grief after a session at the bar. The bar was built so high to enable a horse to be ridden up to it and the rider to get a beer without having to dismount. Really!

It is believed that the town’s name is the combination of a property and a water tank. Historically the town was located near Merri-Merrigal Station and near a water tank named the Wagga Tank. Combined they became “Merriwagga”.

The story of “the black stump” recalls how in 1886 a bullocky named Blain stopped at what has subsequently been gazetted as the Black Stump Tank. This was an overnight camp and watering hole for wagon trains which were carrying produce south to the paddle steamers on the Murrumbidgee River. Blain went looking for feed for his animals leaving his wife, Barbara Blain, to make camp for the evening. When he returned he found that her dress had caught fire, presumably while she was lighting the fire for the evening meal, and she had burned to death. It is said that when asked about his wife’s death Blain explained, with that peculiarly droll and dry matter-of-factness of the Australian bush, that when he found her she “looked just like a black stump”. The observation was so often repeated that the idea of the “black stump” became an image of isolation and hardship and most commonly occurred in expressions like “beyond the black stump” and “this side of the black stump”.

The publican Sharon was a friendly and welcoming person. The locals were friendly and I had an enjoyable night and camped in the paddock behind the pub. They only serve meals on Friday and Saturday nights. There were a few shearers in the night I was there as well as some “regulars”.

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