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The Tallong Midge Orchid

Tallong is home to a very rare and endangered Midge Orchid known as Genoplesium plumosum.

This little orchid only grows in a few places around Tallong and nowhere else on the planet. It only flowers in autumn and is quite elusive, because it doesn't make an appearance every year.

To read more about the orchid and see some pictures, click here!

Did you know?
Much of the stone used to construct St Saviours Cathedral in Goulburn was quarried at Tallong?

First and Last Village in the Southern Highlands

Elevation 620 metres
Population approximately 550

A Snippet of History
Kids love the bush! Previously known as Barber's Creek, the first land grant in the Tallong area was to William Blue (the chap Blue's Point on Sydney Harbour was named after) in the 1820's.

The early settlers of the district used convict labour to clear the land and construct buildings. The early industries were cedar getting and grazing.

The town of Barber's Creek established and grew in the 1850's due to the railway being driven south toward Goulburn. Woodcutters, rail-workers and their families made up most of the town's population at that time.

The school was formerly established in 1865 by the government of the day, but had already been educating students in the area for decades. The original school in the town, now known as Tallong Public School, survives to this day as the oldest single teacher school in Australia.

The district's early development owes a lot to the hard labour of convicts, with some of their constructions still surviving today.

The main industries in the Tallong area through much of the 20th century were apple and pear orchards (with many first places being awarded to the town at the Royal Sydney Show) along with grazing and wood cutting.

In 1965, the Chatsbury Bush Fire devastated the area and most of its orchards. The fire not only destroyed most of the Tallong area and the livelihoods of many its residents, but also swept through Wingello, our nearest neighbours to the north. It was eventually stopped (or burnt out) four days later near Nowra on the South Coast.

These Days...
services in Tallong are mainly limited to home based small businesses and a General Store where you can find basic supplies. A nursery, fresh local produce and local tradesmen, as well as art classes, beauty and massage therapists (to name a few) are all available in our local area!

St Stephens ChurchThe only church in Tallong is St Stephen's of the Anglican Diocese. It was lucky enough to be the only church spared by the fire of 1965, and celebrated its centenary in 1996. Services are held on the first and third Sundays of each month at 10am, and are followed by a social "cuppa".

Tallong is able to boast its Memorial Hall earned the reputation over many past decades as the "best dancefloor in the Highlands" and is the largest hall from Goulburn to Moss Vale!

Opened in 1920 The Memorial Hall has seen many agricultural and travelling picture shows, school events and dances. These days our hall is available for hire (enquiries at the shop) for very reasonable rates, and is currently undergoing a repairs and maintenance program to upgrade its facilities. The hall adjoins the town park which has swings etc for the kids, and a new public conveniences.

The Rural Bush Fire Brigade's new shed is next door to the hall (alas, some of the vehicles aren't as new!) with a very active Bush Fire Brigade Unit. The major fund raising event run by our merry band of fire fighters is the Tallong Trail Ride, ie a horse event. Usually held in April, this event is growing each year and run over two days. The trail takes in some of our awesome scenery along some very challenging trails bordering Morton National Park. A not-to-be missed event if you're into Trail Riding with Tonto!

Rail services run a few times a day from the Tallong Railway Station, and the only buses to Goulburn and Moss Vale are One of our flowering natives!the school buses (ie to the best of our knowledge since we're "drivers"!)

Our area has abundant native wildlife. The more common kangaroos and wombats are everywhere (watch for them especially at dawn, dusk and at night), as well as an enormous variety of birds and plants, including rare and endangered species.

Sights to See
on a leisurely drive around Tallong

Wallaby eating garden in Tallong Tallong is a huge area but most of it lies on a peninsula. The name is an aboriginal word meaning either "tongue" or "peninsula", depending on the teller! It overlooks and is bordered by the Morton National Park and Shoalhaven Gorge on one side and takes in Tallawa Creek and Gorge and a large area of Wingello State Forest on the other. A few farms still exist inside the National Park and Wingello State Forest, with envious views of Kangaroo Valley.

Caoura Road (turn at the General Store) is a 21km drive and heads in a south easterly before turning a dog-leg and travelling in a north easterly direction. The road winds its way in behind Wingello and Penrose to the end of the Tallong peninsula and finishes adjacent to Bundanoon, three villages to the north.

Toward the end of Caoura Road (on a clear day) you can see the Pacific Ocean! On Boxing Day, some of the locals get together to watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race from a property near the end of Caoura Road! The climate is also milder than the village area of Tallong, with less frosts, higher rainfall and areas of rainforest. The road becomes unsealed 8kms from the village and can be treacherous in fog and wet weather. Drivers should have their wits about them, as deer, wallabies, wombats, kangaroos and stray livestock are also frequent users of the road, which ends at the gates to private property.

About 12kms along Caoura Road, Caoura Station (pronounced cowra)becomes visible. A renowned sheep/cattle station in its time with history dating from the days of the convicts (now subdivided into 100 acre blocks with views, views, views!) Historic Caoura BarnThe original homestead was lost in a fire many years ago....due to a rogue cigarette, so the story goes! Its historic barn was built by convicts in the mid 1820's using stone quarried from the property. The walls are two and a half feet thick, sturdy enough to support a chained convict for a good flogging! The double "B" brands of the Burkitt Brothers who owned the property later in the 19th Century are still hanging on its outer walls. The barn is easily seen from the road, but, Caoura Station is private property, so you can only take in views of the property and historic barn....from the road!

Tallong has two world class lookouts high above the Shoalhaven River. The lookouts oversee the Shoalhaven Gorge which is a 1500ft drop to the river...absolutely awesome!

Badgery's Lookout and Longpoint Lookout are a good starting point for walks in to the gorge, and well sign-posted.

BTW...Physical fitness is an advantage climbing out again! Average times from Badgery's Lookout to the Shoalhaven River are an hour to walk down and two hours thigh-killing climb to return.

Both lookouts sit on the edge of the escarpment and have superb views over the Shoalhaven and Morton National Park. All information about the park, including guidelines about camping, are available from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Caverns cut by convicts 1840's The Dungeons, formerly known as the "Cheese Caves", were cut into the rock under Tallawa Waterfall by convicts in the 19th Century, and can be found on Badgery's Lookout Road. They were used to store fresh produce due to almost icy year round temperature. Not a lot is recorded about them, but some say that cheese was moved up the Shoalhaven River and stored in the Dungeons over one hundred years ago. There's a fairly fat wombat living there at the moment...be warned if you want to walk in and explore!

Katrina Hodgkinson MP at Tallong Dungeons June 2002... Mulwaree Shire Council has closed our Dungeons, until further notice, because they are unsafe... because there are no walkways or handrails. The Council is worried they might be landed with a big insurance claim if someone sustains an injury. The Council hasn't kept on top of maintaining the site for many years, but has stated that they will upgrade the site with footpaths, handrailing and a safe viewing platform when funds become available. We're looking forward to seeing the proposed upgrading in the near future!

In the reserve above the Dungeons is an area of terracing known as the Chinese Gardens. History about them is sketchy, but we hope (after a little more research) to fill you in!

Go forth, and enjoy your discovery tour of Tallong!

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