A visit to Murchison and Colbinabbin

By Simon Ruppert

In the third installment of Day Trips, Suzie takes a journey to Colbinabbin and Murchison, just over an hour's drive from Benalla.

Today we packed a picnic and set off for Colbinabbin, less than an hour and a half away.

We wanted to see the six silos painted by Benalla's Tim Bowtell earlier this year.

We like his simple Jeffrey Smart(ish) style and were keen to see how that translated onto silos.

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He has used primary colours to depict scenes of Colbinabbin's past, especially its rail history.

Happy faces look forward, large blue skies highlight lack of rain, the very-red fire-engine suggests hot fires and the dusty tractor pull, simple fun.

We are no art critics but that is what we saw.

After our picnic we headed towards home allowing time to explore Rushworth with its time-warp street-scape from the gold era and noticed the ceramics by Angie Russi, then onto Murchison.

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We love Murchison, beside the lower Goulburn River, with its pretty old houses including the large home before you cross the bridge into Murchison when coming from Benalla.

It has a lovely garden and we suspect it was once a pub.

It has a short ambitious history of paddle-steamers coming from the Murray River.

On the boardwalk beside the river there is a billboard telling its river story.

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Unfortunately you need advance knowledge of Murchison because nothing is obvious and the Heritage and Tourist Office is closed in winter, none of the shops have brochures.

The small park identifying itself as Meteor Park is almost hidden, even in winter.

It has all the information about the meteor that exploded and crashed covering a large area of Murchison 51 years ago.

This was a natural event of world interest.

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It is near the bakery and is definitely worth finding to read the billboards.

My favourite place is the Ossario in the old, very pretty and interesting cemetery.

Have your camera ready.

To get there do not recross the bridge towards Benalla but drive straight ahead.

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You must stop on the bend and read the three billboards giving a brief Aboriginal history of the Murchison Protectorate during early settlement.

The oldest cemetery grave we saw was for a convict couple.

The breastplate on the grave of King Charles Tattambo reads Tattambo King belonging to Mr Fryer from Molka Station.

He was leader of the Goulburn tribe at the time of white settlement and died in 1866.

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His wife and son were buried in the adjacent unmarked grave in 1874. Both graves were constructed with fine iron railings.

Walk through the cemetery to the iron gates then between the pine tree colonnade until you turn and see the striking stone Ossario or mausoleum.

It was completed in 1961 after floods damaged the cemetery and commemorates World War II Italian internees.

You will think you are in Italy.

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Each year on the closest Sunday to Remembrance Day coaches arrive from all over Australia to "remember".

Beyond the cemetery is the excellent small family owned Longleat Winery where you can have lunch Saturday or Sunday only.

As there is no sign, ask them how to join the road home via the unique Kirwins Bridge and Nagambie, its a very pretty route. Another great day trip.

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