Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New England

Yester-day I drove up from Lismore into the interior, crossing the Great Dividing Range again via the twisty Bruxner Highway.  It took me far longer than anticipated to get to Tenterfield.  Having crossed the divide, I was now in New England.  (I must say, it didn't look much like England.)  New England, the high northern tablelands and western slopes, was the home of the only serious New State movement during the twentieth century: and as a devotee of lost causes and nostalgia – I am a traddie – it interests me.

The traditional flag of New England - the rampant lion with sword, fighting for freedom

But first, some shots of St Mary's Church at Casino, only 30 km inland from Lismore:

I am told by an authoritative source that the unhappy reordering of the sanctuary is to be reversed and that right soon: the Blessed Sacrament will be returned to the place of honour at the head of the apse for a start!

Tenterfield, just south of the Queensland border, was the venue of the famous 1889 Federation Oration of Sir Henry Parkes, five times Premier of New South Wales, and a leading agitant for federation of the Australian colonies – "a nation for a continent and a continent for a nation" as Sir Edmund Barton, first Prime Minister of Australia, put it.  In a flag-draped room one could picture the scene, for it was in that very chamber that Parkes delivered his speech.  Sadly, he died five years before Federation was achieved, the Imperial Parliament enacting our Constitution prepared by various Federation Conventions of Australian politicians.  Good old Queen Victoria!

The Catholic church in Tenterfield:

As I drove on – and on – down the New England Highway, I was quite surprised at the altitudes reached; Bolivia Hill at 1031 m, and the town of Guyra, surely one of the highest in Australia at 1330 m!

As the twilight drew near I reached Armidale, putative capital of New England, and home to many fine schools and New England University, not to mention two cathedrals (ours and a false one!) – I made a visit to the Cathedral of SS Mary and Joseph:

(That's not my car, but a close likeness.)

A rather poor shot of the interior; the sanctuary, hard to make out, is quite decent, still retaining the high altar and altar rails:

His Lordship Luc Matthys, Bishop of Armidale, complete with ferraiola:

The end of a very long day's drive (from before ten till after six) brought me to Tamworth; let's just say I'm not that interested in its being the country music capital of Australia!

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