Cooma Things to Do

  • Ernest Corey Memorial Diorama
    Ernest Corey Memorial Diorama
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    Royal Hotel Cooma
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  • Snowy Mountains from Mt Gladstone
    Snowy Mountains from Mt Gladstone
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Most Recent Things to Do in Cooma

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    A jaunt around town – the Lambie Town Walk

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Cooma Court House
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    Cooma is it is a great place to stroll around and certainly worth a stop as you make your way to the Snowy Mountains (and Mt Kosciuszko – Australia’s highest Mountain) or Canberra.

    The local council has developed a very worthwhile easy going 5kms historic walk around town which, at a relatively slow pace, takes about 2-3 hours (you can comfortably do it in 1.5 hours if you choose not to go into a couple of sites along the way). If time is short you can even “drive around the walk” and hop out for a closer look at the things that appeal to you.

    Before you head out pick up a walk map and details at the tourist office right in the centre of the town beside Centennial Park.

    As you follow the walk, in addition to some pleasant urban scenery (only a couple of hundred metres of the walk is along the main highway), I recommend a special look at the things listed below. I have prepared separate tips on most of the sites listed so if you reading this on my tip page – click the link for further details.

    The pictures on this tip are intended to give you a flavour of the town while pictures of the sites below can be found on individual tip pages. It is worth mentioning that the snowman picture portrays Cooma as the gateway to the Snowy Mountains and its ski resorts as opposed to it being a Christmas decoration.

    The walk can be divided into four broad sections (the last three being National Trust Heritage Areas)

    Centennial Park

    Here have a look at:

    The Man from Snowy River Statue
    The Avenue of Flags
    The Mosaic Time Walk

    Before continuing on to the next district you might like to take a slight detour to Nanny Goat Hill for a good view over the town and surrounding area.

    The Courthouse District - which developed in the 1860s and houses some very formal buildings for a small town.

    Here you should have a look at:

    The Cenotaph
    Cooma's Civic Buildings - Post Office, Courthouse and Gaol(prision)
    Cooma Corrective Services Museum

    Lambie Street District – Lambie Street is the original heart of the town and named after John Lambie – Commissioner for Crown Lands for the Monaroo region during the 1840s.

    Here you should have a look at :

    Many older residential buildings dating from the 1800s
    Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre
    The Royal Hotel

    As you head towards the Church District you should stop for a look at:

    The Southern Cloud Memorial

    Church District

    Here you should have a look at:

    St Paul’s Anglican Church
    St Andrews Uniting Church
    St Patrick’s Catholic Church/ School
    Irish Memorial

    Your walk is now finished are rather will be when you make your way back down to Sharp Street tourist office. If you would like a reasonable view to the Snowy Mountains take a short drive out of town and visit the Mt Gladstone Lookout.

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    A long way from Tipperary - St Patrick's

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    St Patrick's Church and Presbytery
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    The one thing that struck me as I approached St Patrick’s Church was the presence of a couple of Celtic (or Irish) crosses on the gable of the church. Hardly surprising perhaps given the name. On closer inspection you will see a very strong Irish connection with the Church. On your left hand side as you face the church you will notice a monument to the memory of the Right Reverend Ryan originally from Tipperary, Ireland (brings to mind the famous World War I song – It’s a long way to Tipperary , it’s a long way to go – couldn’t be truer for this monument!) and on your right is a monument to the Irish who lived and died in the Cooma area. See my separate tip on the Irish in Cooma.

    St Patrick’s Church is one of five buildings comprising the historic St Patrick’s Church Group – the others being a presbytery, stables, a convent / school and a primary school.

    The church was built in 1877 in the Caledonian (Scots Gothic) style and changed little externally, at least, until an extension in 1981 and the addition of two new stained glass windows in 1988. It replaced an earlier (and the first catholic church in Cooma) church on Commissioner Street dating from 1861. Prior to that date services were held in a local house ministered by a Father Kavanagh from Queanbeyan (outside Canberra). An interesting tit bit for the reader is that the land on which the church was built cost GBP52, the same cost as the original baptismal font! the church cost around GBP4,500 to build.

    While I was able to get inside you will see from my third picture that it is rather dark which is not surprising given the very narrow windows in the church. Things were also not helped by my inability to locate a slight switch to illuminate the main part of the church – so apologies for the rather dark interior image.

    The presbytery (priests house), built in 1878 though undergoing major exterior modifications in recent years, can be seen at the back of the church ( picture one) and is in a style in keeping with that of the church.

    Across the road and on the corner with Vale Street is the Brigidine Convent, still Cooma’s most imposing building, built in 1884. The convent was originally known as the Holy Cross Convent and then St Brigid’s Convent and it wasn’t until 1933 that it became known as the Brigidine Convent.

    This, apparently internally austere building, was home to the Brigidine Sisters and St Thomas' primary school (latter from 1889). the school was run by the Sisters until 1927 when St Patrick’s Parish School (picture five main building) now catering for kindergarten to secondary school children came into being. The Brigidine Sisters moved out in 1988 at which stage St Patrick’s School took over the whole building.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk, before crossing the street to have a look at St Patrick's School and finishing your walk with a short stroll back down to the Tourist office on Sharp Street have a closer look at the Irish Monument .

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    St Andrew’s Uniting Church

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    St Andrew's Uniting Church
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    United or Uniting Churches exist in various parts of the world and are generally a mix of various protestant denominations, which varies from county or country or region to region. In Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands) the Uniting Church came into existence in 1977 and is an amalgamation of the former Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches in Australasia.

    St Andrew’s in Cooma, a former Presbyterian church, is a classic Neo-gothic sandstone building costing GBP2,500 and dating from 1882 (Cooma’s boom years based on a mini gold rush in the area and a strong agricultural sector). It was in this later part of the 19th century that Cooma’s other churches and important civic buildings were also constructed. Lambie Street was in its prime and there was no shortage of money around town.

    I especially like the clock tower on this church though the current one is a 1997 addition.

    The interior of the church is rather plain, in keeping with Presbyterian and Methodist traditions and I suspect that of the Congregationalists as well (though I am not familiar with that branch of Christianity).

    Morning Worship is held each Sunday at 9.30 am and visitors are welcome to attend.

    St Paul’s Anglican Church can be seen in the background in picture 4.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk continue on Soho Street for about 100 metres and turn left into Murray Street. You will shortly arrive at St Patrick's Catholic Church.

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    St Paul’s Anglican Church

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    St Paul's Anglican Church
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    I really like this beautiful clean cut Victorian Gothic style church which was constructed of local granite and alpine ash (flooring and roof) by Mawson, Potter and Scarlett between 1865 and 1869. While the church opened for services in 1869 it appears not to have been consecrated until 1872.

    While the spire actually looks older than the main church building it was, in fact, added in 1891. The rectory located next door dates from 1906-07.

    The lychgate, or gateway covered with a roof found at the entrance to many traditional English churches, (incorporating two WWI memorial plaques) was added into the church's front stone fence in 1923 and in 1983 the timber shingles which had been on the roof since 1891 were replaced with the current asbestos cement shingles.

    Until 1850 the pastoral needs of the Anglicans of Maneroo were cared for, from his house by the Cooma Creek, by the Revd. Edward Gifford Pryce, the last of the Missionary Chaplains sent to Australia by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (Her Majesty’s Government).

    In 1850, built at the behest of Bishop Broughton, the Bishop of Australia, a church (Christ Church) was consecrated on the banks of the Cooma Back Creek. This was used until 1872 while a decision to construct a new (the current) church was taken in 1865 when Christ church was considered inconveniently situated for the growing township which then contained around 1500 Anglicans.

    Pryce remained rector until 1954 and his registers make good reading on the conditions of the early settlers. I always find church records to be a good source of social history and honest records of how things were. Some extracts from the burial register while Pryce was rector:

    "Died from the effects of sleeping in a room in which there was burning charcoal." – I wonder if this was William Hain – refer to my tip on the Raglan Gallery & Cultural Centre.
    "Died from the effects of being thrown from his horse."
    "Struck dead by lightning."
    "Rode into Cooma Creek and was drowned, being at the time not sober."
    "Was killed by his own dray passing over him, he being not sober." "'Thrown from his horse and killed instantly."
    "Killed by riding against a tree."
    "Found dead 300 yards from this church."
    "Killed by a fall off the coach near Bunyan.
    "Died by exposure to cold whilst in a state of nudity at the time labouring under temporary insanity."
    "Died in a cart whilst being brought to hospital."
    "Lost in the bush 27th August, found dead 7th September."
    "Drank carbolic acid by mistake."
    "Died from exposure to cold and wet."

    Unfortunately when I visited recently I was not able to get inside. I understand that the furnishings are of English cedar and that the stain glass windows were worth a look.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk continue on Commissioner Street and turn right into Soho Street. You will shortly arrive at St Andrew’s Uniting Church.

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    Vale, Southern Cloud

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Southern Cloud Memorial
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    In 1929 aviators Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (after whom Sydney's airport is named) and Charles Ulm founded Australian National Airways (ANA). The Southern Cloud was one of five three engined ANA Avro 618 Ten aircraft flying daily between several Australian cities.

    The Southern Cloud, flown by T.W Shortridge, took off, on time, from Sydney on the morning of the 21st March 1931 with a destination of Melbourne. It didn’t arrive and despite an extensive search no trace of the plane or its two crew and six passengers was found for 27 years.

    An investigation found that the weather bureau had forecast rain and heavy wind for the 21st March. This was not sufficient to stop or delay the flight. A couple of hours after the flight had departed the forecast was revised to cyclonic conditions over the Southern Alps (the Snowy’s) and while the investigation could not determine that exact cause of the crash it concluded that the changed weather conditions would have played a major role. As aircraft were not fitted with radios in those days there was no way of updating the pilot. This was Australia's first major airline disaster.

    Following the loss of the Southern Cloud, it became mandatory that all commercial aircraft carry radio equipment.

    Nothing more was heard of the Southern Cloud until Tom Santer, a carpenter working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, came across the wreckage of an aircraft while on a bushwalk, in what is now Kosciusko National Park in the Snowy Mountains on 26 October 1958. The wreckage was confirmed as being that of the Southern Cloud.

    While there is a memorial at the location of the crash, various parts of the wreckage have been incorporated into the Southern Cloud Memorial here in Cooma. Other parts can be seen in the Australian National Museum in Canberra (clock) and in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

    The memorial, complete with press-button audio commentary, was erected in 1962 by the Cooma Lions Club.

    A poignant memorial reminding us travellers of the trials and tribulations of early air travel.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk continue along Boundary Street veering off into Commissioner Street. A couple of hundred metres up the hill you will come across St Paul's Anglican Church.

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    The Royal Hotel

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Royal Hotel Cooma
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    Those who have read my tip on Lambie Street (on the end of which is found the Royal Hotel) will be aware that the majority of buildings on this, the oldest street in Cooma, were built by or for the Hain or Mawson families. The Royal is no exception and it was built by James Hain in 1858.

    Often affectionately referred to as "Bundy's" after Mable Bundy who owned and operated the hotel for several decades the major thing that distinguishes this hotel for many others of its era is its beautiful wrought iron lattice balcony, the only one to remain in Cooma after a 1950s exorcist of balconies in New South Wales generally. Long gone though are the hotel’s first and second class dining rooms.

    While I didn’t eat or drink there it certainly exudes everything one would expect from a cosy Australian country pub – including dark wood paneling and open fires.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk from the Royal Hotel head towards the centre of town for about 150 metres to the intersection with Boundary Street where you will find the The Southern Cloud Memorial.

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    Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    This is a small but very interesting art gallery in the oldest street in Cooma – Lambie Street. Well worth a visit.

    The Gallery features the work of local Snowy Mountains and Monaro artists – and has regular and changing exhibitions of paintings, ceramics, prints, photographs, sculptures, jewellery, craft, poetry and books. While some of the work belongs to the Gallery a large portion of the work is for sale at not altogether unreasonable prices.

    The building itself and gardens are also worth a visit. The building was built as the Lord Raglan Inn, a licensed hotel named after Lord Raglan of Crimean War fame, by the Hain family (as was a large portion of Lambie Street), in 1854 making it the oldest remaining building in Lambie Street. The hotel, however, saw tragedy the night before it opened. In an effort to dry paint in a newly painted room in time for the opening, William Hain who was sleeping in the room that night lit a fire in a bucket. Hain was overcome by deadly fumes and died.

    After the hotel closed in 1860 the building had various uses, including Cooma’s first bank – set up to service the 1860 gold rush, a hospital, a private house and flats prior to it being declared a Heritage building and subsequently becoming the Raglan Gallery in 1968.

    Opening Hours:
    Wed – Sun 9.30am to 4.30pm

    Admission Fee: Gold coin (for non Australian readers that means a $1 or $2 coin both of which are gold in colour).

    Do admire the other old buildings while in Lambie Street.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk having visited the Gallery and admired other period houses in the street, continue to the end of Lambie Street where it intersects with Sharp Street. Here you will find the Royal Hotel.

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    Walk along Lambie Street

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    7 Lambie Street
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    Lambie Street was the original centre of Cooma before an eastward shift to Vale Street and later Sharp Street, the current main thoroughfare of the town.

    Lambie Street was named after John Lambie the Commissioner for Crown Lands on the Monaro from 1837 to 1852, though having visited it and realising that nearly every building on the street was built by, or for, members of the Hain or Mawson family one has got to wonder why it wasn’t called Hain or Mawson Street. A case of pulling rank, of course.

    A very large number of these interesting old buildings remain (some showing their years more than others) making a stroll down the street a worthwhile affair. In doing so please do remember, however, that apart from Number 9 – The Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre (see separate tip) all other buildings in the street are private properties and not open to visitors – admire them from the footpath.

    Number 7 a nice brick cottage, built by John Hain and marked with a JH, was the home of George Gould a Dublin physician who offered free medical services to townsfolk.

    Number 19 is another nice brick building built in 1885 built for the Hain family though later the home of Mr Ryrie, Honorary Magistrate assisting John Lambie.

    Number 30 is two storey brick building by Joseph Hain while 32 was built in 1884 by James Mawson using locally kilned bricks. Mawson also built no 39-41,47-49 and 51-53 while 55 was built by James Hain in 1855 for a certain Dr Merryweather who ran his medical practice from here for a number of years.

    Anyone who was anyone lived in Lambie Street.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk continue to the end of Lambie Street where it intersects with Sharp Street. Here you will find the Royal Hotel.

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    Watch your belongings when you visit!

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Cooma Gaol Museum

    The Corrective Services NSW Museum is a small museum next door to the Cooma Gaol containing a range of prison exhibits dating from convict days to the present day – some 200 years of Correctional Services history in New South Wales. The Gaol itself housed the exhibits and was the museum until it was recommissioned as a gaol in 2001.

    The museum has a reasonable range of exhibits including, and quoting from the museums website, “an original portable cell, restraint devices (e.g. manacles and leg irons), convict and prisoner clothing, tin wear manufactured within prison industries, security equipment (e.g. riot shields and batons), contraband (e.g. inmate weapons, escape devices and tattoo guns), artefacts from the notorious Katingal gaol, photographs, videos, oral histories, and film documentation”.

    An interesting thing about this museum is that the guides are actually prisoners, albeit minimum security ones, from the prison next door. A small range of inmate made arts and crafts are on sale.

    Kids will especially like the museum.

    I could say, watch your belongings as you visit ! Ok, I just said it. Just kidding, of course a visit here is perfectly safe.

    Opening times:
    Tue-Fri 12.30-3.00 pm
    Sat 9.15am-3.00 pm
    Sun-Mon closed

    If following the Lambie Town Walk having visited the museum and admired the public buildings of Vale Street head down Barrack Street using the footbridge to cross the creek and into Lambie Street.

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    Fine Public Buildings in Cooma

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Cooma Court House
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    With the discovery of gold at nearby Kiandra in 1859, and a resultant gold rush in 1860 – short-lived though it was – business and the population in Cooma rapidly increased. Between 1851 and 1911 it grew from 47 to 2330.

    Spurred by the gold rush and successes in agriculture, Cooma became the commercial centre for the Monaro region. Numerous substantial public buildings were erected, hotels were built, banks opened, two newspapers were published, the railway arrived in 1888, a range of shops were established and businesses which serviced and supported the rural economy were developed. In addition to this civic and commercial development ecclesiastical development was also afoot but this is the subject separate reviews.

    The civic and commercial development moved from Lambie Street (see separate tip) across the creek and into Vale Street - also now referred to as the Court House District.

    A number of these early public buildings remain today imparting the same air of solidity and respectability to the town as they did when they were built. Certainly more than one can say about most current day developments in Cooma and elsewhere. The only saving grace, I guess, is that most of today’s buildings will not be around in over a hundred years while these late 1800s ones probably will.

    There are three buildings especially worthy a special look in Vale Street (the same street that is home to the Cenotaph).

    Firstly, have a look at the Post Office, constructed in 1879 by John Harris using granite gneiss, a local stone easily worked into regular smooth blocks for ashlar masonry. The Post Office was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnett in an Italianate style.

    Barnett also designed the two other buildings in this street that you should have a look at, the Court House and the Gaol (jail).

    The Court House (still operating as such), a stunning and totally unexpected building, was built by John Main in 1886 of granite gneiss and in the Victorian Mannerist style. What an imposing facade and building for a town of less than 2000 people – a building that oozed authority when built as it continues to do to-day.

    Further down the street you will come across the Cooma Gaol. While the town and district flourished in good ways, villainy and crime (in particular cattle rustling) lurked in the background and a gaol was required. The gaol, opened in 1873 and housing 98 inmates was, in 1876 converted into lunatic asylum before being closed in the 1900s. Prisoners were sent to Goulburn some 200 kms away.

    In the early days of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Scheme the former gaol was used as a secure store for materials. In 1957 it became a prison once again to be closed again in the mid 1990s only to reopen again in 2001 as a minimum/medium security prison. Do have a close look at the beautiful cedar doors (from the outside!).

    If following the Lambie Town Walk having had a look at these three buildings and the Cooma Gaol Museum head down Barrack Street using the footbridge to cross the creek and into Lambie Street.

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    Nanny Goat Hill - Lookout

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Nanny Goat on Nanny Goat Hill
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    Once you have had a walk around town and I recommend you do by following the Lambie Town Walk - an easy five kilometre walk developed by the local council (pick up a map/guide from the Tourist Office on Sharp Street on the corner of Centennial Park) take a drive (or indeed a walk) up Nanny Goat Hill. If walking up and doing the Lambie Town walk you should fit it in before you turn left into Vale Street towards the Courthouse and other civic buildings on that road.

    Nanny Goat Hill is in the centre of town and from the top you get a 360 degree view of Cooma and the surrounding country side. Atop the hill there is a car park and picnic area.

    Also and very fittingly, at the lookout on top of the hill you will find a sculpture of a nanny goat. The sculpture was created by Chris Graham, a local artist who also was lead artist on the Mosaic Time Walk in Centennial Park and the diorama at the Cenotaph.

    Access to Nanny Goat Hill is via a short road of Massie Street between Creek and Soho Street.

    Worth going up for a look.

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    The Cenotaph and Corey Memorial Plaque and Diorama

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    The Cenotaph
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    The Cenotaph, a gray granite obelisk, was unveiled on ANZAC day in 1926 to commemorate soldiers of the town and district lost in World War I. Due to a cost overrun, the memorial cost 1050 pounds, there was insufficient funds remaining in the kitty to have the names of the missing soldiers inscribed on the obelisk.

    The memorial sat "nameless" until 1987 when funds were found to inscribe the names of the 53 soldiers lost in WWI together with those of the 30 lost in WWII. The memorial also commemorates, without naming them, those lost in the Korean, Vietnam and other wars and conflicts.

    In 1996 the diorama within the cenotaph enclosure was added (together with the plaque which had previously been located in Centennial Park). I have to say, while I have seen some excellent military dioramas (including many at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra) I have never seen one used as a memorial before. This diorama was created by local sculptor Chris Graham (who also created the beautiful mosaics on the Time Walk at Centennial Park) and the Nanny Goat on Nanny Goat Hill).

    The diorama depicts the life of Corporal Ernest Corey as a stretcher bearer in France during WWI and is based on a picture in the Australian War Memorial depicting stretcher bearers saving wounded soldiers under heavy shell fire at Mont St Quentin during WWI.

    Corey, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1916 after marching from the Snowy Mountains to Goulburn to enlist, some 200kms. Corey went on to become the only soldier in the British Commonwealth to have ever been awarded the Military Medal and three bars (essentially four Military Medals). He won two in 1916 and a further two in 1918 for aiding wounded soldiers in his role as stretcher bearer. Corey, who not only survived the war but lived to 1972 (81yrs old), always took pride in saying that (as a stretcher bearer) he was decorated for saving life, not taking it.

    Corey’s medals can be seen in the Australian War Memorial’s Hall of Valour in Canberra.

    Continuing on further into Vale Street (20 metres) and again in the central reservation you will come across the Monaghan Hayes Place and various memorial walls. Monaghan Hayes was the first Cooma serviceman killed in WWI (Gallipoli, 31 July 1915). Commemorated in this area are designated individuals (including Hayes) and branches of the Australian Armed Forces in general.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk from here you just need to cross the road for a look at the Cooma Post Office, Courthouse and Prision.

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    Let's do the Time Walk!

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Mosiac Time Walk
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    Ok, its Time Walk and not Time Warp but it did remind me of Rocky Horror.

    Enough – I digress even before I start!

    The Time Walk is a very interesting and rather unique presentation of the history of Cooma and the Monaro District from Aboriginal times to the present day, though with a concentration on the last two hundred years.

    The area and its history is depicted in 40 one metre square mosaic murals. Some of the topics covered are Aboriginal and early European history (my second picture), snow sports (picture three), the Snowy Mountains Scheme, mountain horses – brumbies, Mount Kosciuszko, among many others.

    The hand-made mosaics representations were created from coloured glass and ceramic tiles specially imported from Italy by local artist Chris Graham and students at the local TAFE College to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988. You can see more of Chris's work at Nanny Goat Hill Lookout and the Cenotaph - the military diorama.

    Very well worth a look.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk from here move on to the Cenotaph on Vale Street or if wanting a good view over the town take a short detour to Nanny Goat Hill Lookout before entering Vale Street.

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    Controversy in Cooma – The Avenue of Flags

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    Avenue of Flags
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    In 1949 Australia embarked on one of its biggest ever infrastructure construction projects, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme which between 1949 and 1974 saw the construction of sixteen major dams, seven power stations, a pumping station, and 225 kilometres (140 mi) of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts in the Snowy Mountains.

    Such a mammoth undertaking needed an enormous workforce and European misfortune in the form of large numbers of displaced people and high post war unemployment turned out to be a godsend for Australia. The then Prime Minister of Australia, Ben Chifley, agreed to take 100,000 displaced persons into Australia. Between 1947 and 1952 170,000 were actually taken and of these around 70,000 descended on the Snowy Mountains including Cooma and were employed on the Snowy Mountains scheme. In addition to those from Europe many more came from the US, South Africa and New Zealand. In total people from 28 countries were employed.

    In 1959, to mark the 10th anniversary of the commencement of the Scheme’s construction, an Avenue of Flags was erected in Cooma, to celebrate the diversity of nationalities, which worked together on construction of the Scheme.

    A key feature of the Avenue of Flags is that the flags thereon are those of the 28 nations as they were in 1959. Given this it should come as no surprise that many of the flags on display are no longer the current flags of the countries represented – e.g. the US, South Africa, Canada and Spain while some countries, most noticeably Yugoslavia no longer exist. The former Yugoslavia is now seven separate nations each with its own flag. Of the 28 countries represented in 1959 only 17 remain intact with the same flag as it had in 1959.

    Herein lies the controversy referred to in the title of this review. Just this year South Africa has (again) taken exception to what it refers as the “offensive apartheid” flag which flies to represent those workers who came from South Africa and continues to demand that it be taken down.

    The Cooma Council has resisted this demand on the basis that the Avenue of Flags is a historical record and should stand. While very few people, including myself, would support the politics of the government behind the former South African flag, I am of the view that the display should remain as a historical record of 1959. Perhaps not surprising, the Yugoslavian flag has similarly stirred anger in the past, with opposition from the local Croatian population.

    By way of compromise, a second Avenue of Flags has been inaugurated where countries can choose to provide and have flown alternative flags. While Bosnia-Herzegovina (part of the former Yugoslavia) has chosen to provide a flag for display, South Africa has not and its dispute with the Council continues.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk running along the street side of the Avenue of Flags you will see The Mosaic Time Walk.

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    The Man from Snowy River Statue

    by wabat Updated Sep 7, 2013

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    The Man from Snowy River
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    This 1961 sculpture, by Ian McKay, is a tribute to A B (Banjo) Paterson (1864 – 1941), famous Australia bush poet, journalist and author – particularly famous for this ballads and poems which presented a rather romantic view of rural and outback Australian life.

    One of Paterson’s most famous poems “The Man from Snowy River” (and the subject of this sculpture) was published in 1890 and tells the story of a horseback pursuit to recapture an escaped colt of a prizewinning racehorse living with brumbies (wild horses) in the mountains near Burrinjuck Dam, north-west of Canberra (around 100kms from Cooma). When everyone else gives up the chase our hero “the Man from Snowy River” tracks down and captures the escaped colt. The full poem can be easily located on the net for those interested in having a read.

    The poem, in addition to putting the rugged High Country of the Snowy Mountains firmly on the map of Australia, depicts a man of grit and determination willing to have a go against the odds – a man that many modern Australians like to compare themselves with.

    Banjo Paterson and “The Man from Snowy River” are commemorated on the Australian $10 note. For those readers with extremely good eyesight, the full text of the poem (104 lines) is printed several times in microprint as one of the note's security devices.

    The poem has been the inspiration of two movie, The Man From Snowy River (1982), staring Kirk Douglas and the Return to Snowy River (1988) as well as a television series Snowy River: The MacGregor Saga.

    While Paterson is certainly famous for “The man from Snowy River” he may be better known to readers (especially those outside Australia) for another of his poems, “Waltzing Matilda”.

    Slim Dusty, a famous Australian country music singer has brought a number of Paterson's work to the average man though song.

    If following the Lambie Town Walk about 5 metres from this sculpture, and away from the tourist office, you will come across the Avenue of Flags, your next stop.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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