This is Bibbenluke in the Monaro, thirteen kilometers north of Bombala, and about 45 minutes from Cooma. Our family has been holidaying there for more than twenty-five years. In the centre of the photograph is my wife’s parents’ home, the foundations of which have been in her family for over a century. Bibbenluke village now is home to around fifty people. It used to have a pub & a general store, and the trophies in the village hall bear silent testimony to a hundred years of sporting competitions & the service of people long gone.
When our three now adult sons were growing up, part of every school holiday was spent down here. What is there to do asked our Sydney friends, to which we answered, nothing. No amusement parks, cinemas, or attractions. Other than it being in a farming community, where the boys saw and helped with shearing, lambing, mustering, saw kangaroos jumping the fence, and cattle in the Long Paddock. They explored on their bikes, played tennis at the school, and cricket in the paddock. Over the fence mid-wicket into the sheep or house garden was four and out, a drive over the head of the bowler into the cows was six and you stayed in. Every ANZAC day, they attended the Dawn Service, had bacon & eggs at the RSL, and then competed in the sports carnival at the showground.
Open fires at night, tall tales before dinner, and big lies after their bedtime when the wine flowed and another log was put on the fire.
We still go there, all of us, with the boys’ partners, and then set off on our separate ways for our own holidays. It was a strong family base, still is, and we look forward to when the future grandkids get the experience.
BY TERRY JOHNSON