Turret on turret (‘Iandra Castle’)


'Mt Oriel' homestead, known locally as Iandra Castle, via Greenthorpe, New South Wales, Australia

When one tower just isn’t enough.

As a youngun visiting my ‘grandparents’ I was fascinated by ‘Iandra Castle’. Iandra sort of backed onto the family sheep property between Young and Grenfell (central New South Wales) in a huge acres kind of way. I was always hoping for that country road detour to visit other rellies and a drive-by look at ‘the castle’.

A few years back we got to wander around inside ‘the castle’ on an open day! Sadly we weren’t allowed up in the turret. Can you imagine how impressive the view is from up there?  


Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Cherry On Top’


Photo taken with my old Canon Powershot A550

‘Mount Oriel’, commonly known as ‘Iandra Castle’, is the elaborate homestead of the Iandra property near the village of Greenethorpe, New South Wales, Australia. The first home was established from 1880 and completed in 1911 in its current form by Mr George Henry Greene MLC, an Englishman by birth connected to aristocracy. Greene bought 32,000 acres of the poor wooded country, clearing it to grow corn and wheat. He built Iandra up into a very successful enterprise and pioneered share-farming practices. He also built the village of Greenethorpe nearby, for his workers.

‘Iandra Castle’ is located on Iandra Rd, 11 kms from Greenethorpe village, NSW, Australia at 34°04′51″S 148°21′51″E.

It has open days on some long weekends throughout the year. See their website for details.


From hotel to eternity (Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold)

The old Commercial Hotel, in Yass New South Wales, Australia

Poor old pub, on its last legs.


This grand old watering hole sits abandoned in the main street of Yass (New South Wales, Australia). It dominates Comur Street and is one of the oldest and largest buildings in the centre of town.

The last drink was poured around 2005. The poor old Commercial Hotel has sat idle since, a wry smile across its tooth-gapped facade. The chatter and din of merrymakers just a memory echoing faintly across the floor boards.

In its heyday it was one of 27 inns in Yass or nearby. It was the coaching stop for Cobb and Co. coaches connecting Yass to the railway that terminated at Gunning at the time, half an hour away, and to places further bush.

Although the pub sold in 2010 it has remained abandoned, slowly falling apart bit by bit, helped by some wanton vandals. The beautiful wrought iron has been broken panel by panel. Precious stained glass windows and door panels have been kicked in.

Last year, though, some effort to band-aid the decay was made. The downstairs doors and windows facing the street were painted with bright murals to celebrate the ‘Turning Wave Festival‘.

But as I was taking these photos on Sunday a passerby told me that the Commercial was going to be pulled down soon and a three storey building with shops and apartments built instead. History gone.

But a new beginning awaits!

So raise your glass to the poor old pub and ‘be on yer way home now’.  


Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Threshold’


Photos taken 2 March 2014 with Fuji FinePix S2980

Commercial Hotel, established in the 1840s, cnr Comur and Lead Streets, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

For some photos of the interior of the pub see the real estate pages from May 2010.


My new Aussie blog: ‘History Head in Walking Boots’

Ein Paar Schuhe (A Pair of Shoes) by Van Gogh - Wikipedia

Ein Paar Schuhe (A Pair of Shoes) by Van Gogh (1887) – Wikipedia


I’ve been happily blogging on Daytripper Sippers about ‘living and wandering on the road less travelled in country Australia’. That’s in the here and now.

But some of my travels have followed in the footsteps of my ancestors. So I have created a new space for sharing those places.

History Head in Walking Boots

I love the stories of people and their lives: everyday people I have come across in history and the people I have found while climbing my family tree. History Head in Walking Boots will share those stories and show the old things I have been given – as well as the places my history hunting has taken me.


History is a work in progress.

We live in history,

where we walk others have trodden before – and others will again.

The stories from the past and our present are stories for the future.


I am also the story keeper of my family – and having recently lost my elderly father – it’s time to pass on what I have learned, for others.

Learn the stories and pass them on!


Join me on my discovery trail at HISTORY HEAD IN WALKING BOOTS.

Once a week blog – I’m thinking HHinWB will have a once-a-month longer researched topic and the other weeks of the month photo posts or history vignettes and snippets.

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions for HHinWB as it develops. So drop me a line.

And feel free to fire away any questions. I have a wondering nature, so I love questions. That just gives me an excuse to go hunting again!

I hope you enjoy sharing my discoveries with me!

CC, a Daytripper Sipper and a History Head in Walking Boots


Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Van_Gogh_-_Ein_Paar_Schuhe1.jpeg#file

Bridge to my past (Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned)

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For seven years we lived in Bungendore, New South Wales, a little village about half an hour on the other side of Canberra. We were “blow-ins”, with an unknown surname, not born in the local area. At least we had country credentials but we were still new bloods.

Or so I thought!…

After some family tree discoveries I found I was related to one of the large pioneering families, the Barretts, from a little rural locality just 2o minutes east of our village!!

Boro Creek, Mayfield Road at Lower Boro, New South Wales, Australia

Spanning the generations

My great, great, great grandmother Catherine Doolan and her sister Mary were Irish assisted immigrants and had migrated to Australia together from County Clare in 1841.

On the same ship was a Patrick Barrett. Mary later married Patrick and they took up land on the Boro Creek between the villages of Bungendore and Tarago.

As we do, we had aimlessly driven the crisscrossing dirt roads in the back blocks around our village.

Some of those dirt roads had passed right by the front gates of the Barrett family properties. Boro Creek cut through Barrett land. They held large blocks on either side of the creek between the mid 1840s and the early 1900s.

This is the old disused bridge over Boro Creek, on Mayfield Road at Lower Boro.

I was game and walked its rickety deck – I just had to throw a pebble in the water hole beneath.  


Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Abandoned’


Photos taken 7 November 2009 with my old Canon Powershot A550

* “a blow-in” – a stranger, or someone who comes from somewhere else

Lower Boro, via Tarago, New South Wales, Australia



My convicts: new Aussie history blog coming soon


Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, Cumberland Hospital, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

Family on the inside

So what happened to Catherine Dixon my great, great, great, great grandmother?

She was transported to New South Wales and then was ‘sent down’* to the Parramatta Female Factory in 1838 with her six-year-old daughter. I followed her footsteps at the ‘Factory’ with my camera. I looked into what life would have been like for the two of them inside the 16 foot stone walls.

See my earlier posts, A Convict in the Tree and A Convict Inside

And I promised to tell the story of what happened to Catherine and her children next…

And then…

Looking into the records I found something weird…

an odd error turned into something strange, turned into something very fishy…

Are the records the sloppy work of the superintendent and the oddities just a weird string of ‘errors’?


is there a chain of children ‘swapping’ going on?

I’m sorry to keep you hanging but it requires more digging to sort out my suspicions…

And now that my history bent has taken flight on this blog, I’m going to start an Australian history / family history blog for the stories that don’t quite fit here on Daytripper Sippers.

It’ll be a week yet. I’ll keep you posted when it’s up and running.

And Catherine Dixon, my family convict (and others), will have a home of her own.  ♦


* ‘sent down’ – sent to prison or gaol / jail,

In Catherine’s case, she was ‘sent down’ to the Female Factory in Parramatta, a penitentiary, workhouse, refuge and convict women’s hospital near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Sheep safely grazing

Sheep on 'Windouran' property, Burley Griffin Way, near Harden, New South Wales, Australia


(Play http://youtu.be/D8h4ROAgW1I – ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’, Aria from Cantata BWV No. 208 by JS Bach)

To mark Australia Day on January 26, my ‘One Shot Wonders’ this week will feature some good old Aussie icons.

Sheep are an important part of Australia’s history, and export industry.

They were brought to Australia with the First Fleet of convicts and soldiers on 26 January 1788. Initially they were only to provide meat for the new colony (LandLearn NSW).

In the early years, Spanish Merino sheep were developed by John and Elizabeth Macarthur, which were better suited to the hot Australian summers.

Yass Valley and nearby Boorowa and Harden Shires of New South Wales are among the important sheep raising areas of Australia, for meat and fine wool production.

Some woolly fast facts:

  • ‘The Australian national sheep flock is 74.7 million head.’ (Meat and Livestock Australia 2013)
  • ‘Australia produces approximately 6% of the world’s lamb and mutton supply.’ (MLA 2013)
  • ‘Australia is the largest wool-producing country in the world.’ (australia.gov.au 2007)
  • ‘Our annual production consistently accounts for over one quarter of the world’s wool and is often valued at well over $2 billion each year. Australia is also recognised as producing the world’s highest quality woollen fibre – Australian merino wool.’ (australia.gov.au 2007)  


Aussie icons, ‘One Shot Wonders’ series

Photo taken 17 November 2013, with Fuji FinePix S2980

‘Windouran’ property, Burley Griffin Way near Harden, New South Wales, Australia


LandLearn NSW n.d., ‘Sheep Aren’t Native Animals, So How Did They Get Here?’, NSW Dept of Primary Industries et al, accessed 28 January 2014, http://www.landlearnnsw.org.au/?a=266574.

Meat and Livestock Australia 2013, ‘Sheep’, Meat and Livestock Australia, accessed 28 January 2014, http://www.mla.com.au/Cattle-sheep-and-goat-industries/Industry-overview/Sheep.

[australia.gov.au] Dept of Finance 2007, ‘The Macarthurs and the merino sheep’, Australian Government, accessed 28 January 2014, http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/macarthurs-and-the-merino-sheep.

The sweet smell of rain

Rain over Butmaroo Range, from Days Hill, Bungendore, New South Wales, Australia

Rain, rain on the range


Today. Cool air dropping. Wind tossing the tops of the gum trees.

Rosellas twittering. Cockatoos cackling.

One or two thunder claps boom over the valley.

Cool skin turns to goosebumps.

Rain hurls down, briefly.




This is a place we used to sit often and watch the sunset, when we were living in the area. We had a deposit on a house block in about this spot (one street over) but let it go as we thought the space was too tight.

The view is much changed now as the last time we were there the ruins of the stone cottage (bottom left of photo), the home of the pioneering Day family, were no longer visible. The site is a last remnant of reserve land on Days Hill but surrounded by a new housing estate, Elmslea East, in Bungendore, New South Wales, Australia.  ♦


Water, ‘One Shot Wonders’ series

Photo taken 16 April 2009, with my old Canon Powershot A550

Rain on Butmaroo Range, viewed from Days Hill, Bungendore

Bungendore village, New South Wales, Australia is located: 

276.6 km (2 hours 49 mins) from Sydney [Source: Google maps]

38 km (24 mi) from Canberra

112 km (70 mi) from Batemans Bay / NSW south coast

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bungendore,_New_South_Wales]