Mobile show-and-tell of local history

You can take a walk along the Peel River or Kable Ave in Tamworth any time you like – but if you want some real history with that walk you’ll join the throng on Sunday.

That’s the date this year for the popular heritage strolls the local historical society founded a few years ago.

Educational mates, former school teachers and now historical researchers Rod Hobbs and Mike Cashman are leading the walk again in 2014. 

They’ll set off at 10am on Sunday from the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre with Darling St in their sights about three hours later.

Along the way there’s a veritable treasure trove of historical fact and fiction to get through and about 50 different places that have spawned stories and myths besides geographical timelines.

This is a mobile show-and-tell which will take everyone back in time and reveal some of the first shops and buildings in Tamworth, the stories of their beginnings and what was to come.

“We’ll walk past Fossey’s show- room and car yard which was the first showground for Tamworth,” Mr Hobbs said.

“And where Bob Jane is, well that used to be a place where there were several blacksmiths and I think one of our first plasterworks. And we will stop and see The Oval, which was the first cricket ground, and we’ll stop at the sandstone pillars and the gate at No. I Oval which were built to mark the diamond jubilee, the 60th year, of Queen Victoria. 

“And the GIO building, there were several blacksmiths there too – there seemed to be blacksmiths all along Kable Ave in those early years.”

The Oval, according to history, was also the site for the third showground in Tamworth but was washed awayin the 1910 flood, except for the grandstand.

The old Regent Theatre, which stands empty today, was once a butcher shop.

Walkers will take a trip under the main Bridge St bridge too – and walk in the footprints of early settlers and the location of the two early bridges, the Dray and the Iron – bridges that came before.

Hands of Fame park, where once the Vampire Jet was mounted and stood for years, was the town pump, and near it our first croquet club and green.

Diggers was, coincidentally by name, once the site of the council tar pit.

Mr Hobbs can remember making some lightning strikes there as a kid when they’d made a canoe out of some old iron and needed the tar to seal the holes – and there’s plenty of other little anecdotal tales that will come from the rest of the walkers too, you can bet.

The walk will finish at Kable Korner, at Darling St, where once Chinnery’s Baths stood for years. It became the Tamworth bus depot before being developed into the conclave of shops and offices it is today.

You need a hat and sunscreen. A gold coin donation will also get you morning tea in the park along the way.

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