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Thunderbolt Country

by Vanessa M (follow)
Glen Innes (5)      New South Wales (56)      History (19)      New England (3)      Uralla (1)     
Captain Thunderbolt (real name Fred Ward) robbed many travellers and businesses across northern NSW in the mid nineteenth century and was the longest roaming bushranger in Australia's history.

Today, the area in which he roamed has come to be known as Thunderbolt Country. There is even a drive from Port Stephens in NSW to Goodiwindi in Queensland called Thunderbolt Way.

Lots of different Thunderbolt attractions can be found around this area, but the best pace to start is Uralla, a small town between Tamworth and Armidale. It's where you'll find Thunderbolt's Grave, which is located just inside the gate of a real graveyard.

uralla thunderbolt grave
There has been controversy over whether or not it's actually Thunderbolt who's buried here

Also in Uralla is a life-size statue of Thunderbolt on the corner of the town's main road (New England Highway) and Salisbury Street. Further up Salisbury Street is McCrossin's Mill Museum, which has an exhibit containing artefacts used by Captain Thunderbolt during his escapades.

uralla thunderbolt statue
The statue in Uralla

Between these two attractions, and right next to the statue, there is also the Constable Walker Memorial Plaque. It was created in 1970, the centenary of Captain Thunderbolt's death, and commemorates the bravery of Constable Walker, who was the one who ultimately shot and killed Thunderbolt.

thunderbolt uralla Constable Walker Memorial Plaque

Heading north out of Uralla, you'll find Thunderbolt's lookout near Torrington (though I'm not aware of how it actually relates to the bushranger). Here you get great 360 degree views from the top of some rocks, located 1km from Nomads Picnic Area. Within the rocks there's also a sort of shelter.

thunderbolt lookout torrington
A ladder takes you up to some impressive views

thunderbolt lookout torrington

Hideouts you can visit include Thunderbolt's Cave, near Black Mountain, and Thunderbolt Hideout further north, near Tenterfield. I could only do one and chose the latter, since I was going to base myself in Glen Innes for a few days on my trip to see Balancing Rock, the Australian Standing Stones and Land of the Beardies History House. It was within Bald Rock at Park and near Boonoo Boonoo National Park.

thunderbolt hideout
The hideout is only only a short walk from the road

If you continue up into Queensland, there's another hideout, now called Donelly's Castle, in Stanthorpe. It's more of a rock formation and today has picnic facilities and a lookout. It's another one I didn't get to catch though.

Where: Northern NSW
When: When you want to add a little history to your exploration of the Northern Tablelands
Cost: Most are free

#New South Wales
#New England
#Glen Innes
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