Grab a Bicentennial National Trail Guidebook, and it will no doubt be full of unfamiliar, hard-to-pronounce towns and campsites.
However, there ARE a handful of places along the Bicentennial National Trail that have been immortalized through song, poetry, or in other cases, grisly media coverage. Take a moment to check out these little gems of pop culture that feature places on the BNT.
1. The Bowen River Rodeo
The historic Bowen River Hotel is a long-awaited watering point for thirsty BNT travellers making their way through guidebook 3. The rodeo itself has been running for 130 years and is is the subject of Reg Lindsay’s song, “The Bowen River Rodeo”.
2. The Tenterfield Saddler
Although the BNT does not technically go through the sleepy town of Tenterfield, many trekkers resupply there by catching a lift from around the Billyrimba or Sandy Hill camp.
The Tenterfield Saddler is a song written by Peter Allen in 1970 and tells the moving story of the musician’s life. Peter’s grandfather was the saddler in Tenterfield, who “worked on High street and lived on Manners (street)”. BNT horse trekkers needing gear adjustments may be disappointed to find that although there is library and store dedicated to the song’s namesake, it has been many years since Tenterfield had its own saddler.
3. The Silver Brumby- Bindi Station
Lying on the Tambo River a day or two’s trek from Omeo, Bindi Station dates back to 1834. It holds one of the first property titles issued to Victoria and encompasses some 4000 ha of Victoria’s high country. The manager’s family were good friends with Elyne Mitchell (Author of the famous Silver Brumby series), and she suggested the Bindi homestead when they filmed the movie in the late 80s.
4. Nebo Pub
“From Isaac’s River to Elphinstone and deep in the Brigalow Scrub, Wild and wooly and full of fleas, they came to the Nebo pub”.
Slim Dusty is known as Australia’s King of Country, firsts topping the charts with his hit, ‘Pub with no Beer’. Fortunately, there are only one of those along the BNT, and its not Nebo. Slim does a great job capturing the vibe of the BNT’s station country with his song, “The Nebo Pub”.
5. Murrumbidgee Madness
The Murrumbidgee River is never too far from Bicentennial National Trail travellers in BNT book 10-11. John Williamson’s song “Murrumbidgee madness” is a comical account of tree-climbing kangaroos and flapping emus. Despite the nonsensical lyrics, BNT trekkers will no doubt relate to John crooning, “Murrumbidgee, you’re so beautiful tonight, flowing like a ribbon to the sky.”
6. Brisbane Ladies
Brisbane Ladies is an Australian folksong, although is one of many adaptations of Spanish Ladies. Its lyrics mention many a destination familiar to BNT book 5 trekkers, such as Nanango, Blackbutt, Taromeo and Yarraman.
7. The Crystal Highway
Not many long-distance trails include a grisly murder location as one of its campsites (its actually quite a lovely spot), but Funnel Creek in BNT book 3 was the scene of the crab-pot murders back in the 70s.
Before veering off towards the coast and the Bruce Highway, the BNT follows the Marlborough-Sarina road, commonly known as the Crystal Highway, or Horror Stretch. This was due to the amount of smashed windscreens, murders and fatalities that occurred on that stretch of road. Fortunately, the road sees little traffic today and makes for pleasant enough travel.
8. His Gippsland girl
His Gippland Girl was written by bush poet Will Ogilvie. The BNT travels through rugged East Gippsland in BNT book 12, and it’s easy to sympathize with Ogilvie and his sad tale of the girl awaiting his return.
9. The Banks of the Condamine
“I must be off in the morning love before the sun do shine, To meet the Roma shearers on the banks of the Condamine”
Northbound trekkers meet the Condamine River in the little border town of Killarney, Queensland, in BNT book 6. Headed for the Condamine Gorge, they then go on to cross the river 14 times on the Condamine River Road.
10. The Man From Snowy River
Although the BNT does not come across the actual Snowy River, it travels through the heart of brumby country and past many a stockmen’s hut in Kosciusko National Park. In addition, Tom Groggin Station lies on the BNT and was visited by renowed Bush poet, Banjo Patterson, back in 1890. Jack Riley, the then manager, is thought to have provided the inspiration for Banjo’s epic poem, “The Man from Snowy River”.