Danc­ing on the Table­lands of NSW

Vision Magazine - - Destinations - english Text by gaby Klika Chi­nese Text by ge­or­gia xia

If you're in Nun­dle, a small town near Tam­worth, over the Easter week­end, you might be for­given for think­ing that you’re dream­ing. The town cel­e­brates the Chi­nese con­tri­bu­tion to its gold min­ing his­tory with their an­nual “Go For Gold” Chi­nese Easter Fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing…well, danc­ing lions.


Nun­dle was founded when gold was dis­cov­ered over 150 years ago, herald­ing an in­flux of for­tune-hunters from all around the globe, in­clud­ing many from south­ern China. A me­mo­rial plaque close to the Court­house Mu­seum ac­knowl­edges “the many Chi­nese who died on the gold­fields” as well as those who came “to set up stores and gar­dens to sup­ply the dig­gers.” The plaque goes on to say, “Many left when the gold pe­tered out, while some stayed on and be­came a per­ma­nent part of…district his­tory.”

Nun­dle’s pop­u­la­tion has re­duced to a tiny 300, but the lo­cals fiercely main­tain the town’s gold-era her­itage and pi­o­neer charm. Peter and Judy Howarth, a Sydney based cou­ple, had a vi­sion for the town in the 80’s, want­ing to es­tab­lish a ma­jor tourism at­trac­tion that would help to build the econ­omy and sus­tain­abil­ity of Nun­dle. Nun­dle’s fa­mous Woolen Mill is one of the last spin­ning mills in op­er­a­tion in Aus­tralia, Odgers & Mc­clel­lan Ex­change Store, the old­est sur­viv­ing re­tail shop in town and The Peel Inn Ho­tel, an orig­i­nal gold rush pub are all tes­ti­mony to the suc­cess of this re­vi­tal­iza­tion ef­fort. An­other must­see is the Nun­dle Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre, fea­tur­ing lo­cal Gil Ben­net’s ex­cep­tional col­lec­tion of rocks, min­er­als and gems.

The town’s lively com­mu­nity spirit has earned many awards, in­clud­ing the 2016 Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Award as the Prime Su­per Com­mu­nity Group of the Year (for a pop­u­la­tion of less than 15,000). Want­ing to fos­ter and main­tain their Chi­nese con­nec­tion, the town is in the fi­nal stages of es­tab­lish­ing Qin­g­long, a town in Guizhou, as a sis­ter city. And the gold rush con­tin­ues to­day- vis­i­tors over the Easter week­end will have the chance to pan for $1,000 worth of gold as part of the fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions.

But it’s the spec­tac­u­lar Lion Dance that has cat­a­pulted the fes­ti­val into the “Go For Gold” at­trac­tion that it is to­day. Around 18,000 vis­i­tors pour into the town, en­joy­ing a buzzing street mar­ket with over 80 stalls sell­ing ev­ery­thing from food to craft items. There’s a pet­ting zoo, a magic show, a jump­ing cas­tle and face paint­ing for younger vis­i­tors, while Golden Gui­tar win­ner John K Kr­sulja per­forms. And David Wei and Eva Timms will show­case tra­di­tional Chi­nese mu­sic for the happy fes­ti­val go­ers.

“19世紀,因淘金潮而至的人群中,中國人不計其數,有的為淘金而來,有的為這塊繁榮之地提供買賣而來。疾病與意外讓許多來此的華人再也未能離開,隨地而葬卻沒有墓碑。Nun­dle 公墓成為罹難者最後的安身之處。

在悉尼城以北400 公里處一個小鎮 Nun­dle,是 19 世紀最著名的淘金重鎮。

150 年前,此鎮曾因發現黃金而格外繁榮,數以千百計的華人為了淘金來到此處,也將充滿傳奇色彩的華人文化帶到這裡,成為澳洲淘金歷史中的一部分。當地最負盛名的古蹟建築 Court­house 博物館前有座石,記載著淘金時期那段不可磨滅的歷史。

10 年前的 Nun­dle 小鎮僅存不到300人,守護著淘金時期的遺蹟和迴盪在當年淘金勝地 Peel 河畔的先人靈魂。雖然日後沒落了,但由於有著優美的自然景觀與豐富的人文歷史。不斷吸引了許多藝術家與探 尋古蹟的遊客聚集此處。

慢慢地,人們認識到唯有讓當地的經濟再次繁榮,才可能真正的守護 Nun­dle 鎮,並將這個刻錄著澳淘金歷史的遺蹟完整保留給後人。

1980年,來自悉尼的Peter和Judy Howarth 夫婦在 Nun­dle 鎮開了羊毛廠,以傳統製作方式加以創新,最後遠近馳名,不止帶動當地的經濟繁榮更是引領時尚。

如今,一百多年前的酒吧改建成酒店,淘金時期的零售小舖成為當地著名的特產手工精品店,多處充滿古風的景點引發旅遊業關注……Nun­dle 小鎮恢復了以往的繁華且更勝以往,目前已經成為澳洲淘金潮遺蹟中遊客的必去之地。

從 2004 年起,Nundle小鎮為了紀念華人對此處的貢獻同時緬懷先驅者的墾荒精神,在復活節週末會舉辦兩天的慶典,取名為 Nun­dle Go For Gold Chi­nese Easter Fes­ti­val, 除了舞獅和中國音樂的表演外,還有80 多個展攤,將當地的手工藝品,農產品一一展現,與遊人共享共樂。

For the com­plete pro­gram and other events go to: nun­dle.com.au/nun­dle-go-for­gold-fes­ti­val

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