Walla Walla – New South Wales

A few weeks ago we went away in our new/old caravan that we had recently purchased. A company here in Albury imports caravans from Europe. We had looked for ages for a caravan to suit our needs. Its fantastic has an ensuite, double bed and a lounge that turns into a king size bed. A great kitchen with stove top with 3 gas hotplates and an electric hotplate. Also has an oven a heater. All windows are double glazed, fly screens pull down blinds and curtains. Plenty of storage space as well. Can not wait till we can go away again and explore another country town. Oh we have gas, electric and also solar so we can camp off grid. Walla Walla is a small country town about 30 minutes from Albury New South Wales. We wanted somewhere close as this would be our first trip and didn’t want to be driving for hours. We only had time for 2 nights away so to drive for hours there and back seemed silly. Plus Sally my dog hates traveling in the car. I will say though the two dogs loved it! We did a few nights parked in our driveway lol. We could have gone away in the caravan over Easter but its school holidays as well and all free camps and showgrounds are full of holiday makers. I can wait, just!

Our set up at the camp ground

Walla Walla , like Wagga Wagga, is a Wiradjuri word. In their definitive dictionary of the Wiradjuri language, Stan Grant Snr and Dr John Rudder, point out that ‘walla’ “seems to be linked to the concept of strength or hardness” which could mean that the name reflects the hardness of the granite outcrops in the area. The sign at Morgan’s Lookout suggests that Walla Walla was originally Walan Walan meaning “place of many rocks or rocks overlooking water”. You can check out my post on Morgans Lookout which is near Walla.

Wagon wheels made into a seat
The Zion Lutheran Church Walla Walla

Back in 1868/69 the town was settled when 56 German settlers arrived in 14 covered wagons and two spring carts, having travelled 1,000km from Ebenezia in the Barossa Valley in search of land.German heritage survives today with Walla Walla home to the Zion Lutheran Church. Built in 1924, it is the largest Lutheran Church in NSW and seats almost 600 people. St Paul’s College, a Christian co-educational secondary school is located in Walla Walla and caters for both day students and boarders from the local area and communities across Australia and overseas. Students choose from a wide range of academic and practical subjects including Agriculture on the school farm and Horsemanship at the school’s Equine Centre.

When we first moved to Albury we would often drive out to Walla Walla and have lunch at the pub to the point the owners would know what we would have to drink when we walked in. We would often play darts while there. It is a very friendly small country town.

The names of families who traveled from SA to NSW

The museum with one of the covered wagons

A funny sign at the pub in Walla Walla

We arrived at Walla Walla Showgrounds/Football oval and cricket oval around 4pm. Its $15 for power and water and has a shower and toilet block there. If your self contained its $7 a night. We are self contained but as this was our first trip we wanted to have our options open just in case. Hate to get to the camping ground and find out the shower and toilet doesn’t work! That would be a catastrophe of huge proportions hahah. There were 4 other caravans set up and we got to have a chat with all of them. Friday night was the first game of the country Aussie Rules football and then Saturday afternoon the final of the cricket from the summer season. As we were already camped we could watch both no extra charge.

Cricket final at Walla Walla

Saturday morning we drove to Culcairn which is about 15 mins from Walla Walla. Unfortunately in Walla there is no supermarket so they either drive into Albury or Culcairn where there is a IGA and hotel and many cafes and second hand shops. The girls – our dogs Sally and Betty loved it as country people love Kelpies so they were patted and gushed over lol. Its funny in Walla and Culcairn I had no phone coverage except the drive there and back to Culcairn. Must change providers as you need a good reliable phone service when in the country. Next on my list which is getting longer by the day.

This tree was planted in 2011!

In the Bicentennial Park in Walla Walla there is a sign in front of a tree. Actually the tree is nearly covered by the tree. The sign says Lone Pine. This tree is a descendent of the solitary tree which stood on the site of the now infamous “Battle of Lone Pine”. Between 6-10 August 1915on a ridge not much bigger than two tennis courts. Casualities were estimated at 2,227 Australians between 5,000 – 8,000 Turks killed. The tree was he tree was obliterated during the battle; however, pine cones that had remained attached to the cut branches over the trenches were retrieved by two Australian soldiers and brought home to Australia. Private Thomas Keith McDowell, a soldier of the 23rd Battalion brought a pine cone from the battle site back to Australia, and many years later seeds from the cone were planted by his wife’s aunt Emma Gray of Grassmere, near Warrnambool, Victoria and five seedlings emerged, with four surviving. These seedlings were planted in four different locations in Victoria: Wattle Park (May 8, 1933), the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne (June 11, 1933), the Soldiers Memorial Hall at The Sisters near Terang (June 18, 1933) and Warrnambool Botanic Gardens (January 23, 1934).

Another soldier, Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith from the 3rd Battalion, also retrieved a cone and sent it back to his mother (Mrs McMullen) in Australia, who had lost another son at the battle. Seeds from the cone were planted by Mrs McMullen in 1928, from which two seedlings were raised. One was presented to her home town of Inverell (New South Wales) and the other was forwarded to Canberra where it was planted by Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester at the Australian War Memorial in October 1934.

This tree here in Walla Walla is descended from a cone sent home by Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith of the 3rd Battalion.  His mother kept the cone for thirteen years before planting the seeds in 1928.  Two seedlings survived, one of which was planted by the Duke of Gloucester at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 1934.  This tree is now over 20 metres high and our tree comes from its seed.

The species to which the “lone pine” belongs is commonly called the Turkish or Gallipoli Pine.  Botanically it is sometimes regarded as a sub-species of Pinus halepensis (Aleppo Pine) but it usually classified as a distinct species, Pinus brutia.

This “lone pine” was planted on ANZAC Day 2001 as a continuing memorial and a reminder of the extraordinary valour and supreme sacrifice made by our service men and women past and present, that we may continue to live in freedom.

Planted by Mr John Jacob, Greater Hume Shire Citizen of the Year 2011, assisted by Ms Yvonne Simms who has contributed so much to the beauty of these gardens.

It was so lovely to get away for a couple of days. On the Sunday before we left to head home we had breakfast at a gorgeous cafe that used to be the town bakery. It was known as The Old Walla Walla Bake Haus now The Thistle Cafe. While waiting for your devonshire tea, breakfast or coffee you can wander through the Walla Wares. Greg purchased a book Trail of Dreams by Danny Phegan. Its a true story about a group of young men and women who travel Australia from top to bottom on horseback, fundraising for cancer research.

Inside the cafe

The bakers

Original cast iron wood fired oven the highlight of a visit to Schirmer’s Bakery.

Amazing things to find in the Wares Shop

First Lutheran School 1875 -1885, First public School 1885-1914, First Teachers Residence Built 1882

We hope to go away soon again even for a couple of days however Greg is busy with shifts in the disability sector which is good for him but not for the clients due to shortage of staff or staff on sick leave.

Places to stay in Walla Walla – the Primitive Camping at the Showgrounds or you can stay at the Hotel in accommodation behind the pub. As it isnt far from Albury you can stay in Albury at one of many hotels, motels, BNB/s, Caravan Parks etc.

Places to see in Walla Walla

The Zion Lutheran Church

The Trek Wagon

Other Places Nearby

Morgans Lookout – 8km from Walla Walla

Gum Swamp

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