Tharwa is a small village located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in the Australia Capital Territory and lies a few kilometres to the south of Canberra, Australia’s capital city and home to The Rambling Wombat! It is typically just passed through, by visitors, en route to Namadgi National Park or Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (if you choose to come this way to the latter).
Tharwa was originally named after a local mountain of the same name, to the south of the village. In later years the mountain was renamed Mt Tennent after the bushranger John Tennant, a convict originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who had a hideout on its slopes. Today Mt Tennent is a popular, if challenging, trek from the Namadgi Visitor Centre. (Note the different spellings – Tennant and Tennent – are not typos!)
The village area grew up around a natural crossing point of the river, used even in pre-European days when the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people would cross here as they travelled to and from the mountains.
The discovery of stone artifacts attest to the area’s use as a crossing and resting point. Today’s bridge was built in 1895.
The village itself offers little in the way of amenities and consists of an old general store and former schoolhouse surrounded by a dozen or two houses. On the outskirts of the village, on the Naas Road, I recommend a look at the rather picturesque Saint Edmund’s Church and, a little further out towards Namadgi National Park, is the former Cuppacumbalong Station (rarely, it seems to me, open to the public nowadays) and the very interesting Cuppacumbalong Woolshed, pictured above.
For me the most interesting thing in Tharwa is the lovely short walk south along the river to the rather unique and very interesting De Salis (Cuppacumbalong) cemetery.
Certainly worth a stop, if only for this walk.
This blog entry is the first of a group (loop) of entries on Tharwa. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Tharwa Bridge.