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Top 7 Things to do on a Wodonga Weekend Getaway

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer. Check out her short stories and nano fiction at www.ficklefiction.com/
Published May 30th 2016
Wodonga Wonders Await You
Top 7 Things to do on a Wodonga Weekend Getaway
Where can you go for a weekend getaway and expect to see a submarine, a replica of Ned Kelly's homestead, one of Australia's largest military museums, a national pottery collection, an historic migrant camp, heritage buildings, a honey bee experience and a couple of very interesting museums? All this along with the mighty Murray River and picturesque rural countryside can be found on an easy road trip to the Albury-Wodonga region.

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At Kate's Cottage in Glenrowan en Route to Wodonga (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Wodonga is around 320 kilometres and just over three hours from Melbourne along the Hume Freeway. Close enough to be a weekend getaway, this region has so much to offer a long weekend trip is ideal.

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Victorian Rural Scenery (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)


On the Way – Glenrowan's Ned Kelly Museum at Kate's Cottage

Glenrowan is the perfect place to stop for a leisurely morning tea on your road trip to Wodonga. Food and drink aren't all you will find here. Leave the freeway and drive into Gladstone Street where the 'Big Ned Kelly', amour clad and gun in hand offers a clue to what's in store. Across the road from the statue is Kate's Cottage and Ned Kelly Museum.

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The 'Big Ned Kelly' at Glenrowan (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Step into the gift and souvenir shop named for Ned Kelly's sister, Kate where you can browse for mementos and get tickets to the museum and cottage. The museum features replicas of Ned's armour and of his death mask, along with displays detailing the Ned Kelly story and a good selection of yesteryear paraphernalia.

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A Replica of the Ned Kelly Homestead (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

In the yard beyond is the cottage, a replica of the Kelly homestead presented as it would have been in Ned's day, prior to 1880. The ceilings are canvas lined in the fashion of a tent, the walls are papered with newspapers and kerosene lamps hang from the rafters. The display is rustic and presented with just the right amount of dereliction to portray age.

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Inside Kelly Homestead at Glenrowan (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

With just short of an hour's drive to go to Wodonga you can spend time here and still be at your destination for lunch.

When: Daily 9am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day.

Where: 35 Gladstone Street, Glenrowan, Victoria, 3675. Around 230kms north of Melbourne and 90kms south of Wodonga on the Hume Freeway

Website: www.katescottageglenrowan.com.au/

Telephone: (03) 57662448

Cost: (May 2016) Adults and Seniors $6, Children $1. Prices for coach groups are Adults and Seniors $3.50, Children (talk and visit) $3 or Children (visit only) $1. Bookings must be made for talks.

The Army Museum Bandiana

The army Museum at Bandiana is housed at Gaza Ridge Barracks, four kilometres east of Wodonga. When we visited kangaroos were grazing on lawns just beyond the guard box. This is a working army barracks so you will be issued with visitors passes when you pay the entry fee.

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'Drip Rifle' - an Interactive Display at the Army Museum Bandiana (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

The collections housed both inside and out represent the army from 1863 to the present. Glass cases house well-ordered displays of weapons, search lights, uniforms, gas masks, eating utensils, medals, soldier's diaries, old photos and much more. Life size dioramas depict army scenes. Machine guns are set up behind chain barriers and an interactive display demonstrates the drip rifle. The drip rifle was an Australian invention used in the Gallipoli campaign. It enabled a rifle to be automatically fired when dripping water filled a can attached to the trigger, allowing soldiers to escape the area while deceiving the enemy into thinking they were still there.

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Weaponry on Display at the Army Museum Bandiana (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

The vehicle collection which commences in the rear of the giant warehouse and moves outside, is significant and includes armoured vehicles, huge trucks, heavy equipment, cars and motorcycles. Amongst these displays you will also find historic cannons.

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Kangaroos Grazing on the Lawns at the Army Museum Bandiana (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

When: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10.00am to 2.00pm. Bookings should be made 24 hours in advance on (02) 6055 2525. Closed on Sundays, Victorian public holidays and Christmas Eve until New Year's Day.

Where: Gaza Ridge Barracks, Murray Valley Highway, Bandiana Vic 3694

Website: www.alburywodongaaustralia.com.au/3471/the-army-museum-bandiana/

Telephone: (02) 6055 2525

Cost: (May 2016) $10 Family - 2 Adults, 3 Children under 16, $5 Adult, $2 Senior, $2 Pensioner, $2 Disabled, $2 each for Group of 10 or more.

Bonegilla Migrant Experience

Bonegilla started life as an army camp but was converted to a migrant reception centre to house the post World War II migrant influx to Australia. Between 1947 and 1971, more than 300,000 migrants passed through the centre on their road to a better life.

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Part of Block 19 at the Bonegilla Migrant Centre (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Block 19 of the original 24 blocks has been preserved and now acts as a museum. Stroll through the buildings for a view of life at the time. The kitchen retains its giant cooking vats and in the dining hall a laminate top table is set with a typical placement. The small living quarters are displayed with indicative furniture and highlight how little many of the migrants had when they arrived on our shores. Information boards throughout explain the displays and document many of the individual stories of the migrants.

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Typical Lodgings at the Bonegilla Migrant Centre (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

An interesting array of improvised heaters is on display; the huts themselves were not heated. Models and carvings made by some of the migrants remain alongside an assortment of utensils, clothes and examples of foods and drinks, amongst other things.

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A Typical Setting in the Dining Room at Block 19, Bonegilla Migration Centre (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Friendly staff in the reception centre are a wealth of knowledge and for those interested in the history further information is available. Wander around the site yourself or for those with children the centre offers a 'Suitcase Trail' where children hunt for cases displaying memorabilia. School holiday tours are run and guided tours can be booked.

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Examples of Craftwork done by Migrants at Bonegilla (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

When: Daily 10am to 4pm. Open Anzac Day from 1pm to 4pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Where: 82 Bonegilla Rd, Bonegilla, which is 12km from Wodonga on the banks of Lake Hume. Click on their 'How to Get Here' page for directions and alternate transport.

Website: www.bonegilla.org.au/

Telephone: (02) 6020 6912

Cost: See the website for costs of special programs or guided tours.

Holbrook Submarine Park and Museum

The HMAS Otway is at Submarine Park where her above water-line structure is displayed. The submarine can be climbed upon and it is indeed an impressive sight to stand atop her and look down the 89.9 metres (245 feet) of her length.

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Submarine Park at Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Information panels tell us she is an Oberon Class submarine, made in Scotland in 1966, commissioned in 1968 and in the service of the Royal Australian Navy until 1994. Her upper casing at Holbrook was dedicated as a memorial in 1997.
The park also houses The Holbrook Submarine Museum. Inside a small theatre a hologram of Mrs Gundula Holbrook, widow of the late Commander Norman Holbrook VC RAN, tells her husband's World War One story. Here a replica of the control room of the HMAS Otway can be entered and visitors can look through the periscope at the town before walking by some of the cramped crew's quarters.

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The Submarine Control Room in the Museum at Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

There are other displays; submarine escape suits, a hatch, photos of the HMAS Otway at sea, and a photographic history of the submarine's journey and re-construction in Holbrook.

When: Daily from 10am to 4pm

Where: Submarine Park and The Holbrook Submarine Museum are located at the corner of Wallace and Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway.

Website: holbrooksubmarinemuseum.com/

Telephone: (02) 6036 2422

Cost: Entry to the park and to the HMAS Otway is free. Cost for museum entry: (May 2016) is Adults $6.00, concession $4.00, Children $3.00, and families $10.00.

Woolpack Inn Museum

The Woolpack Inn Museum is a two storey, heritage listed building, whose imposing verandahs dominate the Holbrook street scape. Originally built in 1895 as the Criterion Hotel, it traded until 1965. Volunteers set about converting the hotel into a museum and celebrated their success at its 1971 opening.

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Vintage Signs at the Woolpack Inn Museum in Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Inside is that cool dim light, characteristic of this vintage of building, when protection from the summer heat was from slender windows and wide verandahs.

Despite the museum having 22 rooms, it is crammed full. Even the hallways boast marvellous reminders of yesteryear – a child's pram, a wooden wall mount telephone, ceramic based baby scales.

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A Vintage Kitchen on Display at the Woolpack Inn Museum (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

In a dining room overlooked by a portrait of Queen Victoria a long table is set with delicate china, patterned glass bowls and polished silver ware. In another room antique treadle sewing machines abound. In a bedroom an intricate lace blouse hangs over an iron bed base, a china bathroom set sits on a bedside table and below that, a chamber pot. A rag mat lays on the floor by the bed.

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One of the Old Wagons on Display at the Woolpack Inn Museum in Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

The back yard is an acre of displays, an old fire engine from the Little Billabong Bush Fire Brigade, an 1872 drop slab school house, tractors, carriages, a rabbiter's hut and a horse drawn baker's cart.

Devonshire Teas, coffee and snacks are available at Viv's Tea Rooms. There are public toilets on site.

When: Daily from 9.30am to 4pm (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday.)

Where: The Woolpack Museum is located at 83 Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway.

Website: www.woolpackinn.com.au

Telephone: (02) 6036 2131

Cost: (May 2016) is Adults $5.00, Concession $3.00, Children $1.00.

National Museum of Australian Pottery

At the National Museum of Australian Pottery the shop windows are full of not pottery but vintage products; Bex powders, Osram light globes, Sundowner Jam, Lux Flakes, Billy Tea and stove black. They give no hint of the two storeys of meticulously displayed and labelled pottery within.

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The National Museum of Australian Pottery at Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

The museum run by Geoff and Kerry Ford, it is dedicated to 19th and 20th century Australian pottery and displays over 1,600 pieces from over 120 pottery companies. The building was constructed in 1910, is heritage listed and for most of its life operated as a general store.

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A Historic Display in the Window of the National Museum of Australian Pottery at Holbrook (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Amongst the displays are urns, water coolers, plates, teapots, jugs, bottles, pots, and vases. Alongside the pottery, vintage photographs, price lists, catalogues and advertising tell the story of these beautiful pieces.

When: Thursday to Tuesday 9.30am to 4pm. Closed in August.

Where: 76 Albury Street, Holbrook, NSW, 2644. Holbrook is about 60kms north-east of Albury on the Hume Highway.

Website: www.australianpottery.net.au

Telephone: (02) 6036 3464

Cost: (May 2016) is Adults $5.00, Children $4.00, Family Passes $15.00. Devonshire teas are available for $10 which includes admission.

Head Home via Historic Beechworth

For a change of scenery on the way home you can't go past a diversion to historic Beechworth. At around only a half hour from Wodonga and three hours from Melbourne you can afford a morning of sightseeing and a lovely lunch in this heritage rich town.

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The Old Telegraph Station at Beechworth (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct. The historic and cultural precinct is an extraordinary collection of heritage buildings. The polished wood furnishings inside the courtroom are nothing short of magnificent and would no doubt have been quite intimidating to those on the wrong side of the law.

The Robert O'Hare Burke Memorial Museum houses more than 30,000 items dating back 150 years. The Ned Kelly Vault houses the largest collection of Ned Kelly memorabilia including the suit or armour worn by Mick Jagger in the movie. The Telegraph Station was built in 1858 contains Morse Code machinery. The Powder Magazine built in 1859 was originally used to store gunpowder for quarrying and mining.

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The Old Court House at Beechworth (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)

The Courthouse and other Precinct Buildings open from 9.30am to 4.30pm
Telegraph Station open from 10am to 4pm
The Ned Kelly Vault (Sub-Treasury building) open from 11am to 4pm
The Burke Museum is open from 10am to 5pm, last admission 4.30pm
The Powder Magazine is open from 10am to 3pm. Entrance is via a swipe card obtainable from the Burke Museum, Historic Courthouse or Beechworth Visitor Information Centre.

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Sample the Delights of Beechworth Honey (Photo from Beechworth Honey Facebook Page)

Beechworth Honey is much more than a shop or even a museum and offers the Beechworth Honey Experience. The experience includes an educational honey tour, glass sided bee hives where visitors can see the bees at work and honey tasting.

Beechworth Honey is open 9am to 5pm daily. They can be found at the corner of Cnr Ford and Church Streets, Beechworth and contacted on (03) 5728 1432 or via their website.

When: Visitor Information centre: Daily 9am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day.

Where: Visitor Information Centre: 103 Ford St, Beechworth VIC 3747. Around 40kms and just under a half hour from Wodonga on Beechworth-Wondonga Road.

Website: www.victoriashighcountry.com.au/attractions/beechworth-visitor-information-centre

Telephone: 1300 366 321 or (03) 5278 8065

Cost: Check individual attractions and venues for pricing or contact the Visitor Information Centre for details.
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Why? For a Leisurely and Interesting Weekend Break
When: Anytime
Phone: 1300 796 222
Where: Wodonga Visitor Information Centre: 69-73 Hovell Street, Wodonga VIC 3690
Cost: Refer to the article for attraction costs
Your Comment
It all sounds so wonderful - a perfect getaway! Congrats on the Gold award Gayle!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2676) 559 days ago
This is a wonderful area and only a short drive from Melbourne as well. Lots of history and friendly folks as well.
by Roger (score: 2|576) 560 days ago
I've seen the Big Ned Kelly. I wonder if other countries have so many "big" things to see as we do. I have seen The Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, The Big Koala, The Big Spanner, The Big Sapphire Ring, the Big Bench, and the Big Scotsman but according to Wikipeadia's list I've only scratched the surface.
by betty (score: 2|475) 538 days ago
Ned Kelly here I come. I just finished a book about him. Would tie in nicely.
by Tricia Ziemer (score: 2|476) 339 days ago
Sounds beautiful :) great article
by Emilie Jayne (score: 2|146) 130 days ago
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