"Birthplace of a Nation" Tenterfield by iandsmith

Tenterfield Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 91 photos

It's a tenuous link at best but, when you're a rural community seeking to lure the tourist dollar, then you might as well grab at anything.
What it refers to is Sir Henry Parkes' speech delivered at the Tenterfield School of Arts on the 24th October, 1889 which ultimately led to the federation of the Australian Colonies in 1901.
That speech however, will not detain you for very long. Fortunately for the town it has a lot more to offer, especially if you like to hit the shutter occasionally as I do.
Pressed for a single main attraction I would say it is granite. Both the largest in Australia and second largest exposed slab of this rock are within easy driving distance of the town.
Aside from that it has a wonderfully preserved list of heritage buildings and is dripping with history which you can discover by dropping in to the well appointed tourist centre in the main street.
Whilst there, you will undoubtedly note a sparkling set of maracas which was given to the town by their most famous son and export, Peter Allen.
The Mount Mackenzie Drive that I took, or Tourist Drive number 9 according to the signposts, has interesting historical links. The mount was named after Sir Robert Ramsey Mackenzie who took up Tenterfield Station around 1840 during its first few years and he was then succeeded by Sir Stuart Donaldson who owned Tenterfield station (no, not the train station) before he moved to Queensland and was the Colonial Treasurer in 1859 and then became NSW's first premier in 1867! He later returned to Scotland, taking over the Baronetcy of his father. He died there in 1873.
Banjo Patterson, probably Australia's most famous early writer, got married on the same station.
Tenterfield was, and still is, a happening place.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good history, dramatic scenery, pretty in autumn and spring
  • In a nutshell:Worth much more than an hour or two and bring your golf clubs
  • Last visit to Tenterfield: Aug 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (7)

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Well we are in the Motel tonight....I will be writing it up as well...an update. The garden man has gone....it is now a Best Western...no vacancy now.....and a nice meal

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2004 at 12:07 PM

    Excellent tour, Ian. I really like the commentary and personal insights you include on many of your pages. Stephen

  • Aug 15, 2004 at 2:23 AM

    Ahhh! So now I know where those great photos were taken. Great page. Congratulations on being No. 70 on the VT top members list.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2004 at 11:15 AM

    Amazing page. A lot of interesting architecture and... the largest exposed granite rock in the Southern Hemishpere :-)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2004 at 3:49 AM

    Quite an impressive page, Ian. Attention to detail is obvious and appreciated. Especially enjoyed the "outhouse" photo and "broken wagon" photos and explanations. Emphasis on architecture within town was fascinating. Bravo!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2004 at 3:42 PM

    What a really stunning page. Thank you. Must try and get to Tenterfield.

  • K.Knight's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2004 at 5:46 AM

    Great page, excellent photos & well written. Sir Stuart Donaldson owned Tenterfield station before he was NSW's first premier! Banjo Patterson got married on his station! G'day from Qld


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