After a long day in the saddle, Cooma was a welcome sight last night. Explored in the 1820s, it is the home of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and a gateway to the alps.
The Pollie Pedal peloton climbed from our overnight stop in Talbingo to the highest point of the ride near the old gold mining town of Kiandra, where the 1890s bluestone courthouse is one of the of the only remaining buildings. We then ride on to the small township of Adaminaby near Lake Eucumbene. It was here in 1949 that the Snowy Mountains Scheme was launched. A museum in the town traces the history of the great post-war project.
This is also the home of the stock horse. It is claimed that Banjo Paterson’s famous poem, The Man from Snowy River, was based on the exploits of a local stockman. Patrick White’s Happy Valley was written about his time as a jackaroo at the nearby Bolano Station in the 1930s. The town’s racecourse has featured in two films, the 1959 Hollywood production, The Sundowners, and the 1984 Australian feature, Phar Lap.
As we ride through the Kosciusko National Park, we spot groups of wild brumbies on the windswept open plains. It is a beautiful tourist area in all seasons. Our journey takes us past the much visited Yarrangobilly Caves and other attractions of the region.
Today’s ride to Canberra is overall downhill through Bredbo where we visited the nine pupils at the local primary school.
We stop at Michelago, where we encounter Adam, a Hungarian who is two-thirds of his way through cycling around the world! And I thought our 1,000 kilometre journey was long!
Our ride today ends at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, the training school for Australian Army officers since 1911. As we are riding for Soldier On, it is a fitting location to end the day’s ride.
We have light refreshments with the Commandant, staff and some of the new entrants.
We have now cycled more than 500 kilometres and are over half way to our destination in Sydney.