Where did you live when you were a kid growing up? Do you still live in the same area or have you moved far away? For me I grew up on a farm not far from the tiny village of Binda on the Southern Tablelands of NSW. I moved away from there when I was 13 and have only been back there a handful of times in the past 30 plus years.
On our last trip down south I decided to take a bit of a trip down memory lane so we made a detour and visited the area where I grew up.
Crookwell is a lovely small town with a population of about 2,500 people. It was first settled in the early 1800’s and gold was found nearby at Tuena and sapphires at Grabben Gullen. In the main, people are involved in farming sheep and cattle but the area is also well known for it’s potato growing. On the outskirts of the town is the first ‘grid connected’ wind farm in Australia. There is easy access to a viewing area – especially if you are towing a van or camper. Crookwell itself boasts a few shops, as well as a couple of pubs and coffee shops. It is also home to the Lindner Sock Factory and Shop which is located in the main street. Each year on the first weekend in March Crookwell hosts the Crookwell Potato Festival which includes farm tours, cooking demonstrations and markets.
As well as the villages of Grabben Gullen and Tuena make sure you visit Laggan and Taralga as well. There are camping, B & B and farm stay options through out the area as well.
Binda is located about half way between the town of Crookwell and another small village – Bigga. It is a tiny village but has an interesting history. Many bushrangers roamed the area in the 1800’s including Ben Hall and his gang. They even paid a visit to a Christmas Ball held there in 1864. Binda also has some very fine examples of buildings constructed of blue stone including St James Anglican Church where I attended church and Sunday school as a child.
Buildings that were formerly a store and post office and a mill have been fully restored and are now private residences. One has a cottage attached to it which is now a B & B and would be just lovely to stay in. If you are passing through Binda there is also a small store there. It has a reasonable supply of essential items but it is licenced so you can restock your beer supplies!
OUR FAMILY FARM
Leaving Binda we drove the 26 or so kilometres out to my parents old farm. Sold in 1980 due to my Dad’s poor health, I have many fond memories of growing up there despite being quite isolated. At just over 1300 acres, it was only a small farm. It was a Soldier Settlers Block granted to my parents in about 1958. When they took possession of it it was divided into five paddocks and had no house or sheds on it. They built everything – mostly by themselves. It is not in a great state now as no one has lived in the house for a few years and it was also very dry when we visited.
Our final stop late in the afternoon was Bigga. A tiny village nestled amongst rolling hills, it is renowned for producing some of the best fine wool this country has ever seen. Bigga is also known for being the gate way to Wyangala Dam on the Grabine side of the dam.