Tenterfield, NSW

The Tenterfield showgrounds are home for the night so we park beside a rocky little creek that looks as though it may have flooded recently as there is quite a bit of debris about. The caretaker is a rosy cheeked lass who looks to be more at home on a horse, but that is what this area is famous for. In fact whenever we visit the toilet block we must take care to step around the horse poo. The town shops appear at first to be run down but on closer inspection there are upmarket women’s wear shops, quality home wares and the most amazing country outfitters with a great display of cowboy boots in the window. I doubt that I have a use for heavily stitched pink riding boots but damn they look good. We find singer Peter Allen’s grandfather’s Tenterfield Saddlery and learn that he also ran a gymnasium. Gym operator doesn’t quite have the same nostalgic ring to it, does it? The Arts Society building in the main street is where in 1889 Henry Parkes delivered his oration proposing federation of the six Australian colonies. At the local IGA supermarket we notice that the majority of folk drive utes and wear cowboy hats. We also notice that for the value of our little city townhouse back home we could buy a house on 1000 hectares up here, now that would be solitude. Woody finds that the defunct pub in the main street is also up for grabs at the same price, I know which one he’d prefer.

After dark there is silence except for the hourly pealing of the town hall clock, the croaking of frogs and the occasional quack of a restless duck. This is priceless.

Overnight it is very cold typical of the inland, but we dragged the second doona out from under the bed and the problem was solved. The morning is icy but early cloud soon dissipates to a clear warm day. Across the creek there is a rodeo ground, the myriad of hoof marks denoting recent use. The grandstand and main pavilion look smart in the early morning sun. As I wash the dishes a duck splashes about in the creek just outside the door, no doubt doing his morning ablutions.

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