The Federal Highway, a 4 lane highway, dips and curves through the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range, eventually joining the Hume Highway and fast tracks Canberrians 300 kilometres from Canberra to Sydney
But today we will only go approximately 90 kilometres to explore the inland city of Goulburn
The highway by-passes many small villages on its relentless rush from point A to B, but the joy of slow travel is to take the road less travelled and what interesting and delightful discoveries are waiting to be found. So it was when we noticed the sign for “Collector”. Now who could resist wanting to see a village with a name like that.
The sun sparkled on this small pond and the raucous sound of the “motorbike frog” filled the air. It was a joy to see the soft green leaves cloaking the trees on the side of the pond. A definite photo stop…
Further along the road the local Hotel was once the refuge for the Ben Hall bush-ranger gang.
“The hotel’s dubious claim to fame is linked to the murder of Constable Samuel Nelson by John Dunn a member of bushranger Ben Hall’s gang on 26 January, 1865. The hotel changed its name to the ‘Bushranger’ after the incident.”
Now it is for sale. Any takers out there? Have you $755,000 to spare?
It was closed but we snooped around peering through windows.
Now here is a very interesting piece of information…
The Paranormal Guide lists it as a potential haunted hotspot.
“The Bushranger Hotel is said to be haunted by a former publican, who continues to go about his work. Glasses on the bar are moved by unseen hands, and even found to be stacked when a staff member leaves and reenters the room. At other times glasses just shatter while they sit on the shelves,” they note.
“White, whispy figures have been seen travelling through the doorways, accompanied by the step of heavy shod boots. If you are a woman and are staying in the hotel, you may be fortunate enough to have the sensation of your hair been stroked and run through with invisible fingers.”
The hotel was also the subject of a documentary, and has been investigated by West Sydney Paranormal.
WOW! I only found this after checking the hotel in Google. Here is another interesting site about the present owners.
Next to the Hotel is another interesting place.
It is an old books and rare items shop. Look inside. Hundreds of books, but it is only open by appointment.
But then I looked across the road. WHAT is this???
I take a closer look.
There’s no one around, it looks as though it has been deserted for quite a long time, so I go round the back.
It certainly has been well reinforced. I think a major dream has been under construction here. My curiosity is running wild and when a young bloke comes by I ask if he can tell me about it.
Yes he could as his father lives next door. He remembered when he was at school watching as Tony Phantastes, the art teacher at Goulburn High, slowly created his “Dreamer’s Gate”. All along the front had electric wires running through and lights installed. Tony would turn them on in the evening, lighting up his dream.
“Collector is also famous for the controversial sculpture Dreamers Gate by Tony Phantastes, built between 1993 and 1997 to commemorate, among other things, his father’s life. A Gothic structure of cement and chicken wire, the artist and the Gunning Shire Council have been in constant battle regarding the structure since 1999. The plot in which the sculpture stands is now for sale and the sculpture itself under demolition orders.” (Information from Wikipedia)
This is the gateway round to the back. Tony had planned to build an art gallery and coffee shop.
This is his field of dreams. How very sad. My young informant thinks he has gone somewhere north and hasn’t been seen in Collector for quite a while now.
Slowly we drive away leaving behind the dreams of yesterday, now dying and turning to dust.
Just as we turn back onto the Federal Highway I notice signs of new life arriving in Collector. Roads and paving are being constructed and a new housing development is rising out of the earth waiting for commuters to build and create a new dream. Working in the city but living in this idyllic and eccentric country town.
As we leave this funny fellow waves goodbye.
Our day out has just begun and we are half way to Goulburn, but I will take you there tomorrow.
(To be continued….)