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Published August 29th 2016
Enjoy the natural beauty and delightful old buildings
Top Nowra Historical Attractions Nowra has so much to offer and is the gateway to Jervis Bay with its stunning pristine beaches and variety of walking trails. The township is set inland on the river and boasts seafood fresh from the trawlers, a great zoo, an air sea arms museum and many natural and historical attractions.
Here are a few convenient ones within comfortable walking distance of each other. An easy circuit but Bens walk would add a very pleasant few kilometres of scenic bush land along the rivers edge. Have known and enjoyed this area well for some decades.
Meroogal House This historic home was en-route to our local show grounds and we used to share our imaginative stories about the rooms and living there. So when it was purchased in 1985 and one of those friends was employed to catalogue the treasure trove found there I had the good fortune for an early viewing.
This delightful timber home was built in 1886 financed by entrepreneur Robert Thorburn for his widowed mother and four single sisters about the time of his own marriage. It was lived in and well loved by four generations of women who enjoyed self-sufficiency in the garden, now greatly reduced in size, with fruit trees and large vegetable beds with flowering shrubs and tall trees in the front garden.
Their home still displays their simple furnishings, appliances, clothing, recipes and a wealth of favourite ornaments, books, photographs, their journals, scrap books, newspaper clippings and craft creations. A visit here provides a unique insight into the home life of competent women exuding a serene sense of wellbeing that they did choose to remain at home unmarried and childless. Fulfilled by their busy daily routines of domesticity and genteel pursuits content in each others company.
War Memorial This dramatic war memorial is seven metres tall, carved from sandstone and set between the wrought iron gates at the entrance to Nowra Show Grounds. Originally designed in 1931 to commemorate World War I, it had another imposing memorial sculpture added in 1968 to commemorate World War II and the other conflicts.
A more recent controversial addition was a bronze statue depicting a soldier with no helmet or rifle on the alert to safeguard the future. He stands in a memorial fountain in this impressive entrance that resembles a castle with its parapets and towers. This Soldiers Gate Memorial is the focus for ANZAC ceremonies, dawn services and where the ANZAC march finishes.
Nowra Show Ground consists of more than 600 acres fenced in 1877 and left as natural until 17 acres were cleared to be used as the official show grounds in 1884. It is used for the annual show, football matches, dog training, the gymnastic club, regular community events, camping and also various sized rooms for hire through the local council.
There are stables for horses and cattle, a large agricultural hall and in 1905 the majestic grandstand pavilion was completed. Nearby are the youth hall, caretaker's cottage, quirky green drinking fountain, toilet facilities and a bar. Earlier this year several homeless families have set up camp and enjoy the spacious grounds and scenic outlook.
Hanging Rock Lookout
Hanging Rock Lookout commands stunning views of the Shoalhaven river and the surroundings from an elevation of 46.25 meters. In my younger years, we used to bravely venture out to peer over the edge but now it's safely fenced off.
It includes a picnic table and has barbeques with more tables nearby. One can park their car close so that the elderly or frail can also enjoy the expansive views that are best seen below from the Ben's Walk track.
Starting from Hanging Rock Lookout in the show grounds this leisurely 5.5 kilometre return walk can take about two hours. I used to live near the end of that loop and jogged it most mornings in far less time. The track retraces part of a walk established during the depression by Ben Walsh and does pass some sacred land.
The track initially descends steeply then follows Nowra Creek beneath huge sandstone boulders and eroded overhangs where you can enjoy views of the mountains, golf course, river and the native bush that contains a variety of bird and wild life. A suspension bridge provides access to both sides of the creek, another recreation reserve and picnic area. You pass a couple of good swimming holes but do need to return to Hanging Rock for picnic facilities unless you cross that bridge.