The Big Lap - Wangaratta & Glenrowan




Us Grey Nomads don't like Christmas and Easter because of the skyrocketing cost to stay in a caravan park.  We were lucky enough to have stayed at cheap digs at the foot of the Grampians for Christmas but now we were pushed for time and had the complication of having to meet a ton of regulations to transport Tookie on the Spirit of Tasmania.  Therefore we were prepared to pay the cost. So I had a dilemma and could not book anything until the last minute as our itinerary was changing daily due to the problem we had with Tookie.  

I found reasonably priced accommodation in Wangaratta at the Big4 North Ceders north of town but they were almost booked out and I could not secure the first day here, so I was left with looking for one over-nighter site between Wodonga and Wangaratta.  That is when I found a pub on  

The Plough Inn is located in the tiny little town of Tarrawingee, not far from Wangaratta.  We have stayed at a few free pub sites on our journey and availed ourselves of some great meals and a beer or three.  The Plough Inn was way up there on our fantastic pub list.

Turns out that there was an event in Wangaratta and that is why everything was booked out.  We were lucky that I called the Inn and advised them that we were coming because we found out that they got booked out too.  So the backyard in the Plough Inn ended up being quite full. 

We chose to have lunch here and were pleasantly surprised when it opened and we found a rather large dining room which was nicely decorated and felt homely.  Hubby ordered some Chinese chilli rice which was really hot and I ordered a home made creamy chicken pie which was real hot in the other kind of way.  Just the way I like my food.  My pie was sooooo delicious!  

The Plough Inn got a 5 Star rating from me on Google.



The Big4 North Ceders is located north of Wangaratta.  Just a 5 minute drive out of town.  The owners were pleasant, amenities nice and clean and the pool was great to cool off in after sightseeing for the day.  I was using every opportunity before hitting Tasmania to enjoy swimming in the caravan park pools.  

All sites had trees for shade and were drive through which made it easy to set up.  However the sites were small and although we could drive through when we arrived, departing was a different matter. 

 We were advised to park our van as close to the road as we could to leave room at the back should they have someone else want to come in at the last minute.  We didn't think that would happen, but it did.   Nothing like using 1 site to cram in 2 lots of people. 

 So getting out was difficult.  But hubby, who is an expert by now, was able to navigate us out of a tight corner.

Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures here, so the two below are complimentary of Big4 North Ceders, Wangaratta.  Thanks guys.   Our caravan site was pretty much where the van is at the middle right hand side of the pic below. 



The Ned Kelly story and an unsolved mystery.

We had seen Kate Kelly's grave in Forbes.  Kate was Ned Kelly' sister.  This got me intregued in the Ned Kelly story as we were about to enter Ned Kelly country.  We had already learnt when we visited Beechworth that it was the place where Kelly was first trialed and jailed.  Glenrowan was where the famous shootout happened and Kelly was captured.  So we headed down to the Kelly Statue and Musuem at Glenrowan.

The main street of Glenrowan was full of tourists like us.  It was quaint but obviously capitalising on the Kelly story with Ned trinkets and gifts everywhere.  Even hubby got caught up in the Kelly stuff and bought a TShirt and stubby holder.  I refrained.

The Museum was really well done and I was glad to pay the most that we have paid a museum to wander around.  It had lots of memorabilia including a replica of the metal suit that Ned made himself which was super heavy, being half his weight.  There was also some neat old stuff like old cameras and a little Singer sewing machine.  I was interested to see a picture of Kate Kelly's gravesite that we saw in Forbes and a photo of her death certificate.  

Out the back was a replica of the Kelly cottage.  They lived somewhere in Greta on the Eleven Mile Creek.  I doubt that the old house still exists but nevertheless, the family has kept the site a secret.  The replica in Glenrowan Kelly Museum is very well done as you can see from the pictures below.  There are a cheeky couple of cockies here in cages that love to have a chat.  See video below.



We were given a map of sites to visit where the hold up occurred and eventual takedown of the Australia infamous Bushranger. 

They were well marked and all within the same vacinity.

We saw the site where the old Inn was located.  The place where the Kelly Gang held up people.  The place where Ned Kelly was brought down.  The old Police Station and small jail where he was housed.  The Railway Station where the Kelly Gang pulled up the train tracks to stop the train with cops from Melbourne.

All of these sites were within walking distance from eachother and well sign posted with relevant history.

It's interesting to note that when the Kelly Gang held up the people in the Inn, they allowed them to drink and play games.  It wasn't the local residents that the Kelly Gang were interested in.  It was authority.  The whole history surrounding Ned's obsession in bringing down the local police stemmed from an incident that happened with his mother and sister.....



It all began near Greta.  Upon the death of his father, Ned at a young age took on the responsibility of looking after his family.  They lived in a small shack just out of town on Fifteen Mile Creek.  The Kelly boys committed a few minor misdemeanors which made the local police form a disliking to them.  In addition there was a stong disliking for Irish immigrants.

This all lead to the Fitzpatrick consipracy.  A drunk Constable Fitzpatrick decides to go out to the Kelly house and arrest Dan Kelly for supposedly stealing a horse.  There was a struggle.  

Fitzpatrick claims that Ned's mother Ellen hit him and dented his helmet and Ned came in and shot at him and missed, wounding his hand.  

The Kelly's disputed this saying that Ned was not there but was in actual fact a long way from home.  Ellen strongly denied hitting Fitzpatrick at all.  

Reading more into this I agree with the Kellys.  It seems that the senior Police actually set the whole thing up telling Fitzpatrick that Ned Kelly wasn't at the house and the Constable, charged by alcohol and bravado decided to visit the Kelly house.  There's no way that he would have gone there if Ned was at home.  There's no way the Ned would have fired a shot and missed.  In fact had Ned Kelly been at home and saw that Fitzpatrick tried it on with his sister Kate, Ned would have killed him.

Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick played into the Senior Police plot to destroy the Kelly family and of course the senior police readily believed and backed the story concocted by Fitzpatrick.   So the next day the police arrested Ellen for attempted murder.  But who they really wanted to bring down was Ned.

What they didn't realise was that the Kellys were a close knit family who stuck together.  Ned was now out for blood which culminated in him shooting and killing 3 officers at Stringybark Creek which put a bounty on his head.  Ned's anger against the law was also fuelled by the immense degree of hatred between the haves and have nots including Irish immigrants being ostracized.

Finally, as you have read above, Ned was taken out at Glenrowan.  His famous suit of armour did not stop bullets entering his legs and groin and he was taken into custody.  His first hearing was conducted in Beechworth.  We visited Beechworth and the lovely old restored buildings in the main street.  See my Beechworth page.  Ned Kelly was ultimately sentanced to hanging in Melbourne.  His last words were 'such is life'.

We visited Greta Cemetary where the Kellys are buried in unmarked graves.  We saw a few unmarked graves and think that we may have found the burial place.



We headed down to Benalla to check out another Kelly Museum which contains the famous green sash presented to Ned in gratitude for saving a young boy in Avenel.  Kelly was wearing that sash the day that he was captured.

Unfortunately it was not open, so I looked for some place for us to have lunch.  We haven't had Chinese for a while so I chose Kim Wah Chinese in town.  What a fantastic choice!  The food was hot and cooked to perfection.  We shared delicious dumplings, taste packed chicken and corn soup, szechuan chicken and mango beef.  The Chicken and beef came with rice as lunch time specials for $15.  Bargain!  

I gave them a raving review because not only was the food fantastic, but the lovely lady that served us aparently has been working there for quite a while and we were very impressed with her hospitality.  They were obviously short of staff, but she just managed to keep on going, making sure everyone was happy and we could tell that the others dining here were just as impressed as we were.

Therefore they received a well deserved 5 Star Google rating from me.



We headed out to the big smoke.  No, not the big city, but the Big Cigarette.  More about that later.

We wanted to revisit Beechworth.  Last time we were there I had spied a good lunch menu at Billsons Brewery but unfortunately the cook was off so we ended up going to the other brewery which wasn't that good.  Myrtleford was sort of on the round about way and close to the snowys so we decided to go check it out.   

What a nice surprise.  Myrtleford is a lovely clean little town with a gorgeous mountain backdrop.  Aparently in its hayday, Myrtleford had a thriving tobaco business.  But with the smokes industry diminishing over the years, so has Myrtleford.  Now it focuses on wellbeing, spas and fine dining to cater for the tourists going to the snowys.  

The town itself had nice wide streets lined with beautiful deciduous trees which were just in the process of changing colour.  I can imagine how lovely it will be in the middle of Autumn.  

Anyway, we went off to find the big durrie and couldn't find it anywhere.  We drove past the old tobacco mill because that is where it is said to be, and back again.  Later, when I was trying to locate some more information on the net (not much to be found), I remembered seeing a skinny smoke stack at the back of the mill.  Ah yes, it would have been there.  Below is a photo that I found on the net so that I can say that I drove past, however just didn't walk around to the back where the painted smoke is.

Myrtleford does have one claim to fame though.  The Big Tree.  We saw a sign and stopped for a squiz.  So the big tree is over 200 years old and was the landmark for the railway line constructed in 1883.



Beechworth, 2nd visit.  Billsons has a distinct German menu.  We are glad that we booked because it was packed out, being the beginning of the school holidays.  Billsons also does flavoured cordial so the school kids were interested in doing some tastings.  We avoided the tastings line and decided to take a punt on our beers, heading straight to the restaurant line behind one other couple.  

We were shown downstairs to a room that was decked out in amazing 50's style burgandy lounges and dim lighting.  This was nice.  😄   Hubby loved sitting in the old comfy chair and spent a few moments thinking that one of his relatives may have without a doubt been sitting here at Billsons last century.  It was built in 1865.  Hubby's family immigrated here in 1860.  This was certainly an exciting time for hubby.  

Hubby ordered a goat sausage with German condiments and I ordered the duck cigars.  They made a mistake with my creme brulee and brought it out first.  I have no idea what happened there.  So they didn't charge for it.  

We stopped back in town for hubby to take some photos in the main street of the old restored buildings including the Court House, Gold & Prospector's Offices etc.



Back in Wangaratta, the Caravan Park encouraged us to take a wander down the road from the back entrance to the local pub.  Hubby had a squiz and decided to drive us a minute down the road to the pub instead.

What a wonderfol old pub.  Another one of those gems that are full of memorabilia.  Unlike some of the outback ones that we have been to with dust and cobwebs, The Vine Hotel keep their trinkets shiny and clean.  

Being one of the first warm sunny days that we have had in a while, we took full advantage and sat outside on the big verandah.  Next door there was a gun club and they were on a shooting rampage!! lol.  See my vid below.

The lovely lady serving couldn't have done a better job.  And our food was devine.  The cook is a Sri Lankian so obviously hubby ordered a curry that was amazing!  I had the lamb cutlets.  It's not often you get lamb cutlets for $20.  Bargain!  Not only that, but the salad was real good too.  Not just the normal pub greens with a bit of vinegar sloshed over.  I was given 2 salads, 1 being a noodle salad.  So nice and refreshing.  5 Stars!!




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