Sunday, January 26, 2014

Maryde's Aussie Road Trip - Day 6 - Commemorating Australia Day

The Historical Hearts Site has been filled with posts on new releases, historical holidays to wonderful places of interest around the world, Christmas festivities and many amazing events and notes in History.
I'd like to thank all the Historical Bloggers who have shared their posts with us all.
I'm here to share more of Australia's History - as young as it may be - with you. This is the final leg of Maryde's Aussie Road Trip. For those who may have descendants who came to Australia on the First & Second Fleets, you may or may not know of this Memorial Garden or its place in commemorating an important part of Australian History.
Finishing up my trip for the year, I thought this post would coincide nicely with our National Celebration of Australia Day - January 26th 2014 - in a few weeks time.
I was blown away by this wonderful find, in a small country town NSW.  I hope you find it enjoyable as well.

It is day 6 and we say farewell to Bingara as I take the wheel for a few hours drive. It's okay, I'm not such a bad driver, and the Winnebago is only a bit larger than some big 4 wheel drives I've seen stacked with families. We are only a half days drive from home, but we will make an overnight stop-over at the tiny townships of Wallabadah & Werris Creek. 

Nestled by Quirindi Creek, on the site of an old, seldom used caravan park, is a living tribute to crew, passengers & convicts who came to Australia's shore in 1788 on the First & Second Fleet.
A huge metal structure of a tall ship faces the highway, and invites you to pull over and take a look. 

When you do pull up under the shade of some grand old trees, you find a fenced off garden and sandstone monuments and sign posts. The gates are open from early to late, a there is a donation box asking for a gold coin donation. Then you walk into a treasure of Australian History.
There are winding pathways lined with stone tablets, hand-chiselled by Stonemason, and descendent of one of the convicts from the First Fleet, Ray Collins-Cross. Read Ray's connection below. 

There are 11 Gardens, each dedicated to one of the tall ships and its passengers.
There is also 2 memorial gardens for the second fleet. There are sign boards with manifests and stories and memoirs from the passengers.
There is also an obelisk at Sans Souci, New South Wales that stands in Memorial to the First Fleeters.

By all accounts I read, Ray Collins had approached several councils with his proposal to erect a memorial to the First Fleet. This story on this sign tells us why it ended up in Wallabadah, NSW. There is also a visitors book to sign when you go. Look me up! 

This is the beautiful Park by the quaint rivers edge. So picturesque. There were over a dozen other RV's by the evening, so perhaps it is more popular now as a stop-over park than it was as a caravan park.  BBQ facilituies & tables and toilets makes it a lovely spot to have lunch or dinner. There is a maximum of one night stays for Mobile homes and caravans, but no camping is allowed.

Ray Collins' ancestor, John CROSS, was born in 1757 in Wiltshire England. At the age of 29 he was charged with sheep stealing and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation. John Cross was on the Ship The Alexander. John married Mary Davison, who was transported on the Lady Juliana (also known as the Floating Brothel). They had 9 children. John Cross died in 1824 and was buried at Windsor. His son David was a stonemason, who built the Victoria Inn at Wiseman's Ferry.
For more Info about the First Fleet Fellowship - click here

Anyone wishing more info about the Memorial Garden or perhaps would like to know about an ancestor whose name may be on one of the stone tablets, you may be able to find help   Here  on this blog:

We spent the afternoon strolling the gardens, walking along the river bed and relaxing in the cool of the evening, at this lovely park. We left after breakfast the next day, arriving home at lunchtime. 
This one weeks escape into the NSW Hinterland was a relaxing & interesting fun filled trip. 
Thanks for your interest. I hope you have enjoyed the photos & some of the history I have shared with you of our country. I look forward to sharing more as DH & I go off discovering our great Land Downunder.


Suzi Love said...

Wonderful post for Australia Day, Mary.
Love the descriptions of our Aussie countryside and history.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Suzi ... one day soon we'll make another trip up to your lovely part of Australia :)