Tara may not be the biggest place in the world, but we are proud of our little town. It is home, and you are very welcome to share it with us, even for just a few days. In town, you will find many of the essentials for living – a good sized Foodworks, two servos, a car mechanic, a rural supplies shop, a hardware store, GP Clinic, hospital, pharmacy, Bowls Club, swimming pool, two churches, café, a newsagent, a bakery, a library (with free internet), hairdressers, a hospital, Post Office, three op shops, a Men’s shed, a pub, and of course, a bottle-o.
The News agency, run by us, Gayle and David, is the place where you’ll find most things. We stock all the usual news agent things of course – magazines, newspapers, lotto tickets, scratchies, post cards, occasion cards and birthday cards. But we also much more, a huge array of other things too, all easily transportable and very traveller friendly. Check out our range of books, puzzles, key rings, fridge magnets, car stickers, badges, gifts and knick-knacks. We also have sunhats, colourful lightweight scarves – idea for keeping the sun off heads and shoulders, and accessorising any outfit – plus a range of Tara specific stubbie holders, water bottles, keyrings, mugs, glasses, baseball caps and pin badges. Come in and see us, say G’Day, and find something to remind you of your visit! We can even arrange to post it on for you if you don’t want to carry it with you!
We share the land with the Barunggam people, and acknowledge their elders, past and present.
But there are also many ‘not quite so obvious’ things dotted around the town, and we would love it if you took the time to walk around and see what you can find.
For example, we are an RV friendly town, and offer a great camp alongside the Lagoon, right next to the Show Grounds. It’s a great place to watch the stunning sunset (it is magnificent every night!) and if you’re an early bird, see it rise up again the next morning. Or why not stargaze? Our skies are very dark, and with very little light pollution, and you’ll see millions of stars and planets, as well as the full range of the glorious Milky Way, that arcs right above us, and covers the whole sky.
There are three very boring white silos along the road just on the western edge of town. But take a look at night when its dark and the streetlights are on, and you’ll notice a huge change! But the best bit is, it cost us nothing!
The campground offers a good level grass area for you to pitch up and make yourself at home, the Council recently refurbished the amenities block; new loos, new showers, and also the RV dump point. And all are very clean and well lit.
They recently upgraded and added to the picnic areas right along the lagoon front for you to enjoy too. Shaded tables and chairs, and gas barbecues, all ready and waiting for you to use.
Then there is the fully enclosed kiddies play area, and an outside gym, where you can sit and pedal stationary bike whilst watching the ever present birdlife gliding over the water. Or if you don’t fancy the gym, how about following our lagoon-side walking track? An all paved, and flat cement path, it circumvents the water, under the shade of tall Red River gums and Coolabah trees, circuit of 2 kms, and with information and story boards along the route. A lovely way to start or finish the day.
Check out the Walk of Remembrance, right next to the camping area, plus the story of Tara at Settlers Park, next to the Walk of Remembrance. See the stone circle commemorating the seven original families who came from Victoria and settled here in 1907, then spot the streets in town named after them. Did you see the time capsule, due to be opened in 2032? Maybe you will come back for that!
You may also have heard that Tara holds camel races and Festival of Culture every other year, usually in August, and it is a big festival for us, a time when our little town really comes to life. Look for the wooden camel in Day Street, carved by creative chainsaw artist Matt George, and the metal panels enclosing the park, depicting scenes of Tara’s pastoral and agricultural character. What about the innovative way the Council has hidden the pumps used for watering the park? Or the emu in the bush. And check out our unique clock without numbers, outside the Council offices, corner of Day and Fry streets.
As you came into town, perhaps you saw some of the large cactus trees that are dotted around the fields and along the roadside. This is Prickly Pear, once the scourge of the area, a plant imported from Brazil, that went wild and took over vast swathes of land around Tarashire. At its worse, it covered many thousands of hectares, covering paddocks with vicious prickles and rendering much land unusable. Thankfully, all that is left of it now are the odd sprouts of new growth and a few big gnarly trees along the roadsides.
It was introduced by Captain Arthur Phillip of the First Fleet as part of the plan to create a dyeing industry. The cochineal beetle loves Prickly Pear and burrows into it, setting up home and breeding its young; the idea was to encourage then harvest the beetle, to produce a brilliant red dye for the textile industry. However, the plant quickly became uncontrollable, infesting pasture and arable land.
For years, they battled to find a way to control its spread, they burnt it, they uprooted it, they offered rewards for a solution, but it rampaged on. That is until the cactoblastis moth was discovered, also in South America – Argentina this time – and hastily imported. This moth also lays its eggs in the flesh of the Prickly Pear – but unlike the cochineal beetle, kills it. Within just a few years, it spread was halted and it began to die off. And the moth is still here; if you look carefully at the pads (nopalli) you may see white deposits dotted across them. This is the cactoblastis moth. But be careful not to touch; the nopalli are covered with tiny hairs (glochids) which will stick in your skin like tiny splinters!
We are also blessed in Tara with prolific wildlife. Roos, wallabies, emus, kookaburras, echidnas, and galas all make regular appearances, but if you take the time to sit quietly in the evening or early morning, you may be lucky enough to see shingleback and blue tongue lizards, carpet pythons, striped burrowing frogs, bearded dragons, goannas, various skinks going about their business. They are all very welcome here, so please watch, take pictures, and enjoy, but do not otherwise disturb them.
So please come and see us in the Newsagency. We very much look forward to meeting you and are always delighted to welcome visitors to the town, to answer any questions, and help you enjoy your stay in our little town. We have even drawn up a little map of things to see, and it is free! Just come in and ask for a copy.