Tumbarumba tar

The first time we passed through Tumbarumba I loved the place. It had already started snowing higher up the mountains and in Tumbarumba the cold rain tinged the main street with a romantic grey patina. Icy water flowed down the gutters and the café where we ordered soup had books to read and a log fire burning.

This time we visit on New Year’s Eve and I am reminded that the midsummer sun is a great leveller, the glare off the asphalt erasing any architectural features of distinction. The main street of Tumbarumba might belong to any country town, with its mix of verandah post and IGA Supermarket aesthetics, the Lotto posters on the newsagency window, the racks of synthetic Made-in-China clothes standing outside once-glorious retail emporia, the same flies, the same listless teenagers flicking chips at each other as they suck Cokes at plastic tables outside the take-away. The cosy café we remember is closed for the Christmas-New Year period.

What perhaps distinguishes Tumbarumba are the dead, undecorated Christmas trees strapped to every verandah post and traffic sign – an odd civic nod to the festive season. In the heat they give off the nostalgic piney smell of Christmases past.

Sunset in Tumbarumba

And the pavements? The only embellishments I find are yellow stencilled shoe prints – perhaps the remnants of some heritage trail (you can just make out a pair of them in the photograph) – and one-inch square bathroom tiles, some red, some blue, randomly and very sparsely pressed into the concrete footpath.

As we squint at this streetscape a water truck trundles by sprinkling water, not to settle the dust (recent floods here have eliminated dust), but to cool the melting asphalt. Too late for us. We are standing in the shade of the pub awning, gouging tar and stones from the soles of our Crocs, collected mid-afternoon when we stepped out of the car in a side street.

Happy New Year to all.


  1. Rod Druce 6 January 2011

    Megan, do you really think any resident of Tumbarumba would take your comments seriously when you don’t identify yourself, offer only blackball feedback and give the air of snobbery about your pavement endeavours?

    I am afraid you cannot be taken professionally as your website breaks all the rules of good online etiquette by just setting up a cheap looking blog. You have hidden your identity in the domain registry, which can only mean you don’t want to be known.

    Just exactly what do you want the Tumbarumba community to do? You have made no suggestions, not spoken with the Tumbarumba Chamber of Commerce or the Shire Council.

    You have no knowledge of how the locals view our town or what is in the pipeline. If you did you would have adopted another approach other than offer a pointless review of our community’s main street.

    Did you ever stop to think that there is a “main street upgrade” about to be implemented? Did you think that the present state of the street holds many decades of history and many locals don’t want to see a complete engineered makeover.

    Darling, if you want to make a name for yourself or help improve pavements around the country, first adopt a professional manner and writing style. And speak with the community leaders before you start on our teenagers and wishing us a happy new year off the cuff.

    Yours – Rod Druce

  2. megan 6 January 2011

    Dear Rod
    Whew! This is the longest and most detailed response I have ever received to one of my posts. I certainly haven’t set out to improve the pavements of the world, so perhaps you miss the point of my blogsite. But that’s OK. It’s interesting to read the viewpoint of a person from the local area, so thank you very much for taking the time to comment.

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