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Nar Nar Goon - The Mural Town

Home > Melbourne > Escape the City | Day Trips
by Carole Kelly (subscribe)
An avid reader,writer,traveller, sports enthusiast living in beachside Melbourne & working in the city. Always curious about what's around the corner.
Published July 28th 2011
Nar Nar Goon
The Main Street- Nar Nar Goon

A Hidden Gem probably best describes the wonderfully quaint little country township of Nar Nar Goon, which is incidentally, the aboriginal word for Koala. If I thought that my camera went wild when I recently visited the mural town of Mirboo North, it simply went into overdrive in the mural township of Nar Nar Goon.

Situated in beautiful Gippsland, just 61kms south-east of Melbourne, it has a population of about 1,000. Known locally as "The Mural Town," it has its pub, small shops, railway station, schools, CFA fire station and its community halls. What it also has is some of the best murals I've seen in Australia, including those famed paintings on the walls of the town of Sheffield in Tasmania. Its history tells us that the Post Office opened in the town in 1881 and the railway line arrived a bit later. There's a large mural showing the delivery or receipt of the mail by a rather grim looking Postmaster and another wall in the town shows a steam engine, presumably taking the local milk cans off to other towns.

Nar NAr Goon
A rather Grim Postmaster

Nar Nar Goon
The Railway- an integral part of the early town

Before I take you on a fabulous journey back to the past, let me start with some modern day art provided by the local school children. Three mosaic murals depicting aboriginal themes are on display in a local park in the centre of the town.

Nar Nar Goon
Local School Children's Mosaics

Standing nearby on the corner of Nar Nar Goon Road and Carney Street you start to get an idea of journey ahead. The opposite corner sports a wide scene of what once might have been the town centre with several stores, a couple of vintage motor vehicles and two genteel ladies chatting outside the General Store: the latter advertising boots, drapery and produce. The wrought iron lace work on the arches outside the store will no doubt produce some nostalgia for some tourists.

Nar Nar Goon
Just Chatting

I take you next to the butcher with the best sense of humour around. The wall of his shop quotes the following:- We Kill & Prepare "Private Bodies"

Nar Nar Goon
A distinct sense of humour

There is a wonderful depiction of a day at the Nar Nar Goon Races circa 1926. The horses are kicking up lots of dust but everyone is dressed up for the occasion anyway. It looks as if the entire town, men, women and children took the day off to attend.

Nar Nar Goon
A Day at the Races

One of the most moving murals is of the local CFA Fire Brigade battling an extensive bushfire, complete with red fire engine and fire fighters directing hoses.

Nar Nar Goon
The Real Heroes

There's a mural of the local Baker & Pastrycook from early times, of an Antiques & Collectables store and of Grover's Railway Store, depicting something for everybody to read: The Argus, The Age, The Sun, The Leader, Australian and the Weekly Times. A horse and cart and a scattering of hens and a rooster beside advertising for Castrol petrol and Bushells Tea, complete the scene.

Nar Nar Goon
I can just smell the fresh bread

Nar Nar Goon
The Browsing Shop

Nar Nar Goon
The General Store

Next to the local fish and chip shop is a mural of an olde fashioned milk bar with its glass milk bottles and an array of sweets that obviously are tempting a young lad dressed in his long sleeved shirt and braces. Note on the wall the sign showing that sugar was available for one shilling and sixpence halfpenny for 2 lbs (somewhere around 4 kg for 15cents).

Nar Nar Goon
Decisions, Decisions

There's the village blacksmith watching another local canter down the street and several people strolling along in their "Sunday Best." On another street corner stands the "local" hotel with the family cat wandering around and an old timer crossing the street. Of interest, the current hotel advertises itself as "The Home of the Parmagoona." As they seem to share a similar wacky sense of humour, maybe they're related to the local butcher?

Nar Nar Goon
The Village Smithy

Nar Nar Goon
A Visitor to the "Local

On wandering into another main thoroughfare, I came across The Federal Store & Bakery with several old-timers chatting over the fence and the local hardware store with its bags of seed, wheel barrows, ladders and chatting locals. However, no place is complete without its local coffee haunt and this one depicts a scene so very typical of olden days, where the whole family and the workers sat out the front of the store and read the paper and chatted away.

Nar Nar Goon
Chatting over the Fence

Nar Nar Goon
For the Jack of All trades

Nar NAr Goon
The Local Coffee Shop

Still in Main Street, there's the ever present garage with two great looking vintage cars, available for hire according to the sign. Atlantic Motor Oil, Shell Motor Oil and Union Super Spirit seem to dominate the advertising.

Nar Nar Goon
Choice: car or horse

Nar Nar Goon
"Super Spirit ?

Nar Nar Goon
Local Hire Car

On leaving, I found two very well painted bush scenes. One shows a small home with its picket gate in amongst the tall trees, while across the bush track a kangaroo hides in the bushes and a kookaburra sits on top of a burnt out tree stump. The other scene is of the bush being cleared with woodchoppers sawing a majestic tree trunk with two old timers in a truck nearby and a horse team pulling the hewn timber a little further back along the dirt road. In the background there are cleared patches of land, a small home and several cultivated fields. A sign of early industry in our vast land I guess.

Nar Nar Goon
In the Bush

It probably seems like I spent ages in the township and I would have liked nothing better at the time. However I was en route to another fabulous little gem in country Victoria, but more on that one later. I found this interesting rural town to be just the place for a stop off, a coffee and some great photos. It may be small, but it's very interesting. Put it on your agenda for your next day trip into beautiful Gippsland.

Nar Nar Goon
Settlement Begins

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Why? For an interesting day out
When: Anytime
Where: Nar Nar Goon
Cost: Depends on activity/event
I would like to mention the Light Horse & Field Artillery Museum in Nar Nar Goon, it is open 7 days a week from 9a.m till 5p.m and they have lot's of memorobilia from World War 1 and World War 2, including horse-drawn transport vehicles. Remembering all animals in War, situated at 200 Bessie Creek Road, Nar Nar Goon.
By janef - reader
Saturday, 11th of August @ 11:53 pm
Thanks for your addtional information. I'll visit the museum the next time I'm in that area.
By Carole Kelly - senior reviewer
Monday, 13th of August @ 01:11 am
I cannot believe I visit friends in Nar Nar
Goon and have never seen these, I'll be taking time to venture further on to the shops and take a look in future!!
By jan.d - reader
Monday, 29th of October @ 11:42 pm
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