Finding Charm in Uralla
Uralla’s first ‘Heritage Walk’ brochure was produced in 1982, a year of big celebrations in Uralla . . .
The Centenary of the arrival of the railway, and of local Government, the Official Opening of McCrossin’s Mill, and the melodrama “Thunderbolt” in a sold-out season of “Mrs O‘Malley’s Magnificent Music Hall”.
The simple tri-fold A4 leaflet featured minimal text to accompany several lovely sketches by distinguished Uralla artist, Fay Porter. It was appealing, and it worked.
Someone at the Uralla Visitors Information Centre (VIC) then produced another version, photocopied on A3 size paper, a noble effort but wildly inaccurate.
Around 2005, Uralla Shire Council adopted the slogan “Find Yourself in Uralla” which met with general approval. (The concept has since been allowed to wither.)
McCrossin’s Mill’s new flyer, cleverly designed by creative newcomer, Coralie Rendalls, was titled, “Find Magic in Uralla”. To further complement the “Find Yourself . . .” slogan, a new Heritage Walk booklet was prepared, to be called, “Find Charm in Uralla”.
At that time nearly every town had a Heritage Walk.
They all involved a trickily-folded A3 or even more unmanageable A1 size page, with screeds of tedious text and photographs of buildings , some long gone.
These glossy sheets ended up blowing away in the wind, or in the street bin, or screwed up into the car’s glove box.
For Uralla, we wanted something distinctive.
Local expert Arnold Goode and Council’s one-day-a-month Heritage Adviser, Arnold Wolthers, supplied brief histories and architectural notes on the fifty-seven chosen sites.
It was only fair that Fay Porter not be approached again, as so many people sought a loan of her talent.
A young man Casey Dogan, wheelchair bound because of spinabifita, did Museum Duty at the Mill every week.
He had done a stunning sketch, with black biro, of the trunk of a wisteria tree wrapped around a pergola pole in the Mill garden. It was a finely detailed piece of work, full of character. So, Casey got the job.
Given the list of sites, he was commissioned to draw a feature of each, something that appealed to him. Not the whole building, an interesting bit of it.
Casey became a familiar sight, wheeling around town, parking his chair, then bent over his sketch pad, his black pen creating remarkable images, at the rate of two or three a week.
MASONIC HALL – 1883-84
The intriguing granite cubes are a tribute to the Masons’ ancient craft.
The story that ceremonial goats were penned at the rear of the building is utterly unfounded.
SID GILLIS’ BILLIARD SALOON & BIKE SHOP – 1904
Quaint weatherboard structure with barrel-vaulted upper parapet and clerestory windows. Bicycles and billiards? The mind boggles.
Newly arrived Graphic Artist, Hazel Wallace, who agreed to work on this project, had her makeshift
studio in the Stables/Store building. A “coffee-table” type booklet was agreed on, something visitors could, and would, want to take home and share. Indian Red on Cream were the colours chosen, the colour of Uralla’s “Find Yourself . . . “ branding.
The booklet should have minimal text that was historically accurate, engaging but at times light-hearted, encouraging the visitors to enjoy the heritage sights rather than suffer a tedious history lesson.
The Heritage Walk booklet can be seen in the hands of many visitors to Uralla as they wander about discovering and appreciating the buildings depicted.
Those residents of Uralla who live amongst these treasures – and don’t acknowledge them or even ‘see’ them, should take a walk . . . and discover what gems their town holds.
Here are some examples of “the charm”.
SALVATION ARMY CITADEL – 1872
An amazing palette of materials . . . brick, coursed and uncoursed granite and basalt and random rubble walls. Used by the “Blood & Fire”
Salvation Army from June 1887, until the blood thinned and the fire dwindled in 2002.
URALLA POST OFFICE – 1885
Built by Mr Edward Scanlon. The western verandah was later enclosed to accommodate the telephone exchange, yesterday’s equivalent of ‘talk-back’ radio.