Gold Coast

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tenterfield to Tamworth

Today was clear and sunny again, and warm in the middle of the day.

After driving around Tenterfield, we took a detour north-east towards Bald Rock National Park to find Thunderbolt's Hideout. I walked down the track, across a plank over a creek and up to the large rocks that form the hideout. We then headed back to Tenterfield and south, past Bluff Rock, to Glen Innes.

At Glen Innes - 'Celtic Country' - we went up to the park with the Standing Stones. We had brought sandwiches with us and ate those for lunch. After driving around Glen Innes we continued south via 'Stonehenge' and the Balancing Rock. South of Guyra, we detoured on to the road to Thunderbolt's Cave. The road was only sealed for a very short distance. For the last kilometre it was very rough rubble. I stopped at a clearing marked as a carpark and couldn't see anything. I continued on the road, but it got rougher and we turned back to the carpark. This time I noticed the sign that said 'cave'! I walked down to have a look at the cave and we then took the rough road back to the highway and on to Armidale.

In Armidale we went to the Apex Lookout in Drummond Park before driving around the city and walking around Central Park and the nearby churches.

We continued on past Uralla and finally found Thunderbolt's Rock that Mum had remembered seeing when travelling with Dad.

'Gentleman bushranger' Frederick Wordsworth Ward, better known as Captain Thunderbolt, robbed mailmen, travellers, inns, stores and stations across much of northern New South Wales - from the Hunter Region north to Queensland and from Tamworth nearly as far west as Bourke - in the 1860s. Originally known as Split Rock, the granite boulders of 'Thunderbolt Rock' afforded the perfect vantage point for monitoring the approach of unwary mail coaches.

Thunderbolt first visited the site in 1863 when, after a daring escape from Sydney's notorious Cockatoo Island prison, he and fellow escapee, Fred Britten, used the rock as a hideout. They were surprised by passing troopers while lying in wait at the rock to bail up an approaching mailman. Thunderbolt was shot in the knee during the fiery exchange of gunshots that ensued.

Visible in the distance to the west is a line of trees marking the course of Kentucky Creek where Thunderbolt was shot and killed by Constable Alexander Walker on 25th May, 1870.

Back on the highway, we passed McNevin's Motel and Restaurant on the approaches to Tamworth. It looked very good so we turned back and booked in for the night. We ordered dinner from the restaurant (steak Dianne for Mum, veal saltimbocca for me) and ate at the table in the (extremely nice) room.

000 - Tenterfield to Tamworth.jpg

103 - Tenterfield - Cork tree.jpg

104 - Tenterfield - Thunderbolts Hideout.jpg

105 - Tenterfield - Bluff Rock.jpg

106 - Glen Innes - Standing Stones.jpg

107 - Glen Innes - Standing Stones.jpg

108 - Glen Innes - Standing Stones.jpg

109 - Glen Innes - St Josephs Convent.jpg

110 - Glen Innes - St Josephs School.jpg

111 - Glen Innes - St Patricks Church.jpg

112 - Glen Innes - Stonehenge.jpg

113 - Glen Innes - Stonehenge.jpg

114 - Glen Innes - Stonehenge.jpg

115 - Glen Innes - Balancing Rock.jpg

116 - Glen Innes - Balancing Rock.jpg

117 - Guyra - Thunderbolts Cave.jpg

118 - Guyra - Thunderbolts Cave.jpg

119 - Guyra - Thunderbolts Cave - a very rocky access road.jpg

120 - Armidale - from Drummond Park lookout.jpg

121 - Armidale - Central Park.jpg

122 - Armidale - Sts Mary and St Joseph Cathedral.jpg

123 - Uralla - Thunderbolts Rock.jpg

124 - Uralla - Thunderbolts Rock.jpg

125 - Tamworth - McNevins Motel.jpg