Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This is not a great photo. I found it on the net some time ago. When my father was alive, we used to drive past Dhurringile on our way to visit him and my stepmother in Kyabram or Tongala. It is perhaps ten kilometres north of Murchison.
The first time I noticed it, I thought 'What the ???' It always fascinated me as it looked so out of place. It is large building and has a tower. When do you see something like that in the middle of nowhere?
Thanks to the marvels of the net, I now know about it. All I knew back then is that it was a prison because my step mother told me when I asked her.
It was a sixty five room house built for James Winter and completed in 1877. It used some material and labour from overseas. It has a ballroom for one hundred dancers and some below ground rooms to escape from the summer heat. It was lit by gas produced by its own gas plant.
During the second world war, it was used to intern Germans in Australia and later as a prison for German army officers and their batmen.
In 1947 it was bought by the Presbyterian Church and used as a home for immigrant boys.
In the 1965 it was bought by the government and used until now as a rehabilitation centre, in my own words a low security gaol.
I don't suppose there is much of a chance of getting a guided tour of this one.