There’s a free guided bus tour of Armidale that leaves every day at 10.00am and we’d heard it was a very worthwhile experience so we booked to take the tour today.
The guide was a thouroughly delightful old gal named Jennifer who combined a quick wit with her vast local knowledge of the city both historical and current. Her cultured speech complimented the many historical places of mainly British heritage and we were delighted with the tour around this beautiful city that boasts a grand history from rural industry to gold mining and higher education. The grandest buildings were the city’s many old churches the schools and the university.
Because of the cooler high country climate the gardens and trees were very English especially those surrounding the historic buildings.
We never tire of hearing about the history of this country and the people who built it. The courage, vision, commitment and sheer hard work of the early settlers of this land are a constant inspiration to us.
We loved the tour of Booloominbah, the magnificent residence surrounded by beautiful grounds that was built by the colonial grazier, Frederick White for his family of seven children. He and his wife Sarah had already lost five children in infancy and during their
time at Booloominbah tragedy struck again when another daughter, Ethel, drowned while on a picnic near Armidale at the age of 22.
The entry hall of the house has a magnificent stained glass window and an ornately carved fireplace at the base of a highly polished timber stairway.
Today it houses the administration offices and meeting rooms of the University of New England but hearing the history of its inhabitants made us look beyond the elegance of the structure and try to glimpse the daily routine of the house when it was a family home.
The Railway Museum was fascinating also. The Armidale railway station is now the “end of the line” for trains travelling north of Sydney that once ran to Brisbane until the late 1960s.
There are many historically significant places in Armidale, Australia’s highest city,(altitude), and the Heritage Tour is a delightfully relaxed way of seeing them.
The remainder of the day was wet and overcast so we spent the afternoon cosily sheltered in the Aussie Wide listening to the rain.