Day 1 - Saturday 23rd March 2019
We are here in Yarrawonga this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of the A’van Club of Australia, courtesy of the foresight of a small group of A’vanners who met in Joan and Brendon Smith’s garage twenty years ago. With the dedication and tenacity of these A’vanners plus the input of subsequent members down the years, the organisation continues to thrive with about 258 Vans registered for this gathering.
Photo 1 Welcome to Yarrawonga
When we left home last Tuesday morning it was raining and as we approached the end of our street there was a rainbow with “the pot of gold” hovering over a house for sale. I was a bit perturbed because I’ve always believed that a “rainbow in the morning, implies a sailor’s warning”. Fortunately, we ourselves didn’t have any mishaps but I can’t say the same for our travelling companions. Let me assure you that they didn’t have a vehicular accident but if they had stayed in bed “they would have smothered”.
There has been a steady influx of A’vans all week with the bulk (about 150) arriving today. Once we had settled into the park we found ourselves sited in “The Heights” overlooking everybody else. We even look down upon millionaire’s row where most of the committee reside. Obviously the reputations of those with water views have preceded them because they are behind a boom gate probably for their own protection. A stroll through the park beyond the boom gate this afternoon proved that the park goes on and on and on and. . . One person told me that she was so far away that she was in the “boom docks”. It certainly is a large park.
Photo 2 Booking in to the park
Photo 3 Groups already forming
Photo 4 We couldn’t miss this gathering
Photo 5 A Home away from Home
Mostly it has been extremely hot since we left home although today has been very pleasant. After passing through Goulburn as we headed south we found ourselves in “drought country”. However, at about 3.00 am on Friday morning I awoke to flashes of lightning to the east. The sky was spectacular but I couldn’t hear any thunder. I have since been told that Holbrook copped a drenching. Unfortunately I think we could have counted the number of rain drops here in Yarrawonga on one hand on Friday and although it rained this morning the area certainly could do with a lot more.
We have discovered that there is no need for an alarm clock because if you aren’t awake by 7.30 am the flocks of corellas and sulphur crested cockatoos flying overhead ensure that nobody gets to have a leisurely “sleep in”.
Photo 6 Alarm Clock
No doubt there will be a number of people who will visit the wineries. Lunch at Corowa Whisky and Chocolate (20-24 Steel Street in the old flour mill) is excellent value and all A’vanners will receive a free guided tour of the factory.
Photo 7 It’s not a beer can, Dave.
The committee has been extremely busy all afternoon, packing bags and preparing for registration tomorrow. Already the uke players have been busy strumming. Here’s looking forward to a great week!
Photo 8 Setting up for registration
A Brief History of Yarrawonga
Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area around Yarrawonga was home to the MULLA WALLA Aboriginal people. (1) Mulwala is an Aboriginal word for “rain” although I have also read that Mulla Walla means “flying fish”. (5)
1835 Charles Sturt passed through the area on his way down the Murray. (1)
1842 First white settler Elizabeth Hume, sister-in-law of Hamilton Hume took up a run and named her home BYRAMINE.
Elizabeth Hume was the widow of the explorer John Kennedy Hume who was murdered by bushrangers at Gunning NSW in 1840. Her more famous brother-in-law, Hamilton Hume, took up the run on her behalf.
The house was designed to provide an unimpeded view of the surrounding area. The front door could be defended by gunfire from within, the doors could be barricaded and there are wooden shutters for the French windows. The door handles are low to allow children quick access and in the centre of the house is a windowless room which served as an internal fortress. It is surrounded by beautiful almond and kurrajong trees which were planted by Elizabeth Hume. Today it is a tourist destination. (1)