Leichhardt's 200th birthday celebrated by Wandoan locals

Enjoying a day out at Wandoan are Margaret Whip, Joyce Hodgkinson, Jack Whip and Janette Relf.
Enjoying a day out at Wandoan are Margaret Whip, Joyce Hodgkinson, Jack Whip and Janette Relf. Jim Campbell

 

THE guest of honour was the only person missing when a huge crowd of 400 people turned out to celebrate the Leichhardt Heritage Festival at Wandoan.

The event, held at Juandah Heritage Site, was largely to celebrate what would have been Ludwig Leichhardt's 200th birthday.

Although Leichhardt didn't pass through the site where Wandoan was settled, his party did pass through Conical Hill - about 30km east of the modern township.

It was following that expedition that the area was opened up to settlers, many of whom were German.

Saturday's festival featured a wide array of displays of settler-era machinery, equipment and activities like rope making.

Organiser Jan Paterson, who is caretaker of the site with husband Ken, said it was a day where visitors could gain an insight into a bygone era.

"It's very important to keep the heritage alive because a lot of those old trades are dying out," Mrs Paterson said.

"I think Leichhardt would have been tickled pink if he could see that people were still thinking of him."

There was a healthy dose of fun with younger visitors taking part in Leg It for Leichhardt - an obstacle course that featured a Dawson River crossing (or a waterslide) and a Conical Hill climb (over hay bales).


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