I picked up an out of date tourist guide magazine form the information centre – which was closed due to the holidays. It was from 2019! They had left them in one of those magazine holders for people to take. Better than nothing but still. Almost three yours old!
Not to worry. As well as Tamworth the magazine had features on three town in the region. To the north was Manilla and Barabba while to the south was Nundle.
Barabba was a bit disappointing. I know it was bank holidays and so almost everything was closed but it seemed quite run down. There were quite a few empty and boarded-up shops. But it still has its moments…
One thing that makes Barabba worth a visit is the silo art just outside the town. The Water Diviners was painted by Sydney artist Fintan Magee in 2019. It took 4 weeks and 280 litres of paint. It’s another one on that Art Silo trail I posted about in the past.
Apparently places like Barabba have traditionally used water divining as a method of finding water in dry seasons. I always thought that was all mumbo-jumbo. Is it real? Or not? Please tell me if you know.
In between Tamworth and Barabba lies the tiny town of Manilla. I liked Manilla a lot more right from the off. The main street (only business street really) just seemed to be more packed with shops etc – even if most were still closed for the hols. Despite being a quiet holiday there seemed to be a bit of a buzz to the place. Part of the reason I think is that there are three large pubs (hotels) on the main street. Really character buildings. The sort of architecture I love in small towns.
I ventured into one pub and had a long chat over a couple of beers with the owner. Interesting. Knowing what I know now I would have booked to stay in a pub/hotel in Manilla instead of the motel in Tamworth.
The clock-tower crossroads had all four corners covered with classic old building. How can anyone not like these?
Smaller than either of the above two, is the tiny town of Nundle. Barely the size of a village in UK terms but there are still plenty of places to stay there. A couple of motels, a large Bed & Breakfast house and a camp site. There is also the town pub/hotel; The Peel Inn.
Nundle is home to a working wool mill. Working for 51 weeks of the year that is. Not this one! Bloody typical. That saying: “Timing is everything” could have been written for the trips we have made in Australia…. The wool machines were silent but they were all on display – see photos taken from the shop section above.
As small as it is, Nundle was popular. Lots of people turned up for the day and the pub was packed at lunch time.
I noticed something at the town hall/council offices. These two photos show the memorial plaques for those from Nundle who died in both world wars. Incredible how such a tiny place lost so many of its young men in those wars. Like so many similarly small places in Australia. It never ceases to amaze me.