Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0318 Contents CORRYONG
Location: 444km from Melbourne | Elevation: 313.5m
We enjoy a brief pit stop at Khancoban, a small lakeside
hamlet that still houses workers from the Snowy
Mountains Scheme, and find it’s definitely worth coming
back for a longer stay another time. We then turn onto
the Murray Valley Highway and head to Corryong, an
Upper Murray town surrounded by mountains, national
parks, and rich farmland.
This is ‘Man from Snowy River’ country and we make a
pilgrimage to a small cemetery where Jack Riley – the
legendary mountain cattleman who reportedly inspired
Australia’s most beloved poem – is buried. The inscription
on his grave reads: ‘Migrated from Ireland in 1851 and won
fame of being a gifted horseman and tracker of wild horses.’
Legend has it that Jack was head stockman at nearby
Tom Groggin station when Banjo Paterson arrived late
one afternoon at his isolated hut in mountain country.
Banjo Paterson spent a night listening to tales of Jack’s
exploits and derring-do. One of the stories that caught
his attention was about chasing a runaway horse that
stubbornly evaded capture. The resulting poem was
printed in The Bulletin in 1890 and the stirring, heroic
ballad immediately won the hearts of Australians.
While there are others who have claimed to be the
inspiration for the Snowy River man, Corryong has no
doubt about its true source. According to Banjo Paterson:
“ He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciuszko’s side,
where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough.” But
the poet never revealed the real identity in his lifetime.
There’s still romance in the rugged peaks and deep
valleys of the Snowy Mountains. While we’re driving a
modern car on sealed roads instead of on horseback
across bush tracks, Banjo Paterson’s poem resonates as
much now as it did in 1890.
Famously, Corryong even holds an annual Man From
Snowy River Bush Festival, which celebrates the iconic
Australian work. It attracts thousands of bushmen,
horsemen and women, poets, artists and visitors who
want a taste of genuine bush tradition. Unfortunately
we’re not there at the right time, but this year it’s being
held on April 5-8 .
The Man From Snowy River Museum is
full of exhibits and artifacts from the
early 1800s to the 20th century. The
most precious of all is a huge rug
knitted by Corryong local, Jim Simpson,
while he was a prisoner of war in
Germany in WWII.
Jim’s Lancaster Bomber was shot
down in October, 1943, and while he
was being transported to the prison, he
was warned that his naval pullover
would be confiscated by the Germans
to send to the Russian front. Jim took
the jumper apart and rolled it into balls
of wool, along with other donated worn-
out pullovers, which were put in boiling
water to kill the lice and their eggs.
In Stalag IV-B , one of Germany’s
largest prisoner of war camps, Jim
began work on the rug which featured a
map of Australia accompanied by the
Coat of Arms.
“ I had Red Cross Parcel boxes of balls
of wool, especially the white wool,
which was to be used in the white map
of Australia, which I had envisaged to
be able to produce for the centrepiece
of my rug. The Jerries were very
curious about these boxes of wool but
accepted my explanation for them,”
recalled Jim before he died in 2012.
Luckily, Jim had no trouble from the
Germans. “As a matter of fact, they
were rather astonished with the
finished product,” he said.
After the war, Jim brought the rug
back home to Corryong with him and
dedicated it to his mother and to the
mothers of all fallen soldiers and
airmen, and POWs of WWII.
com.au for more information.
JINDABYNE HOLIDAY PARK
NRMA’s Jindabyne Holiday Park holds the
prime position on Lake Jindabyne. From
your tent, caravan or cabin, you can enjoy
panoramic views of the Snowy Mountains
and have direct access to the lake. The
town’s main shopping centre is 100 metres
away and accommodation is available all
year round for skiers, mountain bikers
and those keen on fishing. NRMA
Members save 10 per cent on their stay.
for more details.
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(From top): The grave of
cattleman Jack Riley, who
some argue was the real
‘Man from Snowy River’; the
stirring bronze statue at
Corryong; Banjo Paterson’s
original manuscript for ‘The
Man From Snowy River’.
WWII veteran Jim Simpson
German POW camp.
OR0318_RT_Snowy Mountains.indd 22
12/2/18 3:13 pm
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