I set off early this morning because I wanted to catch the soft autumn light before the sun got too high. It was foggy most of the way and the temperature was only 4 degrees (celcius) but by the time I reached Binalong the fog was starting to lift.
Binalong is a small village on the edge of the south west slopes of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales. Many of the buildings in the village date back to the 1800s, with the oldest being the Black Swan built in 1847 and once a Cobb and Co inn.
Banjo Paterson lived on the nearby property of Illalong Station as a child and the stories and scenery from this part of the world heavily influenced his writing. One of my favourite childhood books was an illustrated edition of Paterson’s Illalong Children. I remember being excited to read stories that were located near where I lived. Tales of parrots, pet lambs, wallabies and roaming the hills were not just romantic, they were real! Binalong’s other claim to fame is the location where the bushranger Johnny Gilbert died. Bushrangers were outlaws in the sparsely settled interior of Australia in the 1800s and a kind of romanticism has developed around their exploits. Gilbert was probably one of the less likeable characters and he died following a brief gun battle with the local constabulary. Immortalised in Banjo Paterson’s poem How Gilbert Died:
There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,
There’s never a fence beside,
And the wandering stock on the grave may tread
Unnoticed and undenied,
But the smallest child on the Watershed
Can tell you how Gilbert died.
The main southern railway line reached Binalong in 1877 and for a short time the village was a hub for construction workers. But they soon moved on and Binalong returned to being a sleepy pastoral settlement.
There is nothing more soul lifting than quiet country air. It’s been a stressful few weeks for me but I was determined to make the short trip to Binalong this morning and I’m really glad I did.
Until next time, safe and happy travels
Love Molly xx