The pretty country town of Young, about 3 hours drive from Canberra, is known for its beautiful cherries in spring.
Many Canberrans make an annual trip to Young to pick their own cherries, or buy boxes of them at a very reasonable price.
However, our visit was not for cherries (this time), we came to see the Chinese Tribute Gardens at Lambing Flat, on the outskirts of Young.
The name Lambing Flat came from the first European settler, James White, who farmed in this beautiful valley, in 1826. He reserved this well-sheltered valley for lambing ewes.
However, the gold rush changed the peaceful valley…
Mark Twain (apparently) famously said ”Whiskey’s for drinking, and water is for fighting over”
He might as well have added that when gold is found, greed, fighting and prejudice follow…
Within 12 months of the discovery of gold in the Lambing Flat region, approx. 20 000 gold seekers, from all over the world, arrived, and amongst them were some 2000 Chinese miners.
Disagreements arose over the use of water, land ownership, and racial tensions…leading to an appalling riot destroying the Chinese camp and injuring many of the Chinese miners.
A large contingent of NSW police were sent to Lambing Flat, and eventually peace was restored.
With this history in mind, we arrived at the Chinese Tribute Gardens early in the morning.
This garden has been designed and built in recognition of the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young.
It has been a true community effort, started by the Young Rotary Club, supported by local and regional businesses, grants from the Federal Government and the Cherry Festival and by the Sydney Chinese community as well.
It is a warm morning with birds moving softly, reflected in the still water..
The gardens are ringed by bushland, and She-Oak (Casuarina) trees in the distance provide a wind break for this beautiful garden.
The rocks were sourced from a quarry near the neighbouring town of Boorowa, and were worked on by a stonemason from Harden…
The Bronze Galloping Horse is a special feature in the garden. Known as the ‘Matafeiyan’, or “‘galloping horse stepping on a flying swallow”. It is modelled on the original which is preserved at the Gansu Province Museum in China.
In this peaceful setting the Galloping Horse may be galloping on a flying swallow, but is also a resting spot for early morning birds..
The Crepe Myrtles and Oleanders are all in flower… and the palms seemed perfectly placed between the rocks.
In this pool of tranquillity the rocks provide balance and harmony.
There are winding paths around the rocks, and benches, inviting us to sit and enjoy the plants, the birds, the water and reflections…a lovely way to spend a morning.
Lambing Flat, a beautiful valley, had experienced the worst of human behaviour during the gold rush.
Now it has been transformed by all the people in the community and beyond, coming together to build this quiet and peaceful place….a joy to visit.
Unfortunately we did not have time to stay long in the town of Young itself….(next time for the cherries)
However, on our way home we couldn’t resist stopping at the town of Wombat.
Also established during the gold rush, Wombat has a population of 120 people (no parking problems) and is surrounded by cherry and stonefruit orchards.
We stopped off to buy some “Fair Dinkum” eggs. (Fair Dinkum….the real thing)… freshly laid farm eggs.
We put the money in the Honesty Box, and hoped that life will remain the same in this part of the world for many years to come.
I hope you are enjoying your place in the world, where ever that may be…we enjoyed this weekend very much.
Many thanks to Paul for his photo contributions.
Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved