Hop on a bicycle and meander through the Riverina as part of Bush bikes, pedal power. Stop for a picnic on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Bush bikes, pedal power is a program run by the museums of Hay, its community radio station and high school to encourage tourism and to develop a cultural understanding of the region. Cycling across the Hay Plains – one of the flattest terrains in the world, sounds delightful – not to mention quite easy. Guest writer and Shear Outback museum director Annette Smith talks about how Riverina museums and the community are working together to interwine heritage collections into tourism and education.
Shear Outback museum director Annette Smith
Cycling around the countryside on the traditional mode of transport used by shearers at the turn of last century is a romantic way of linking tourism with cultural heritage. Travellers will have audio guides provided by Shear Outback and the other four Hay museums involved in the project.
“A modern Australian shearer”, photographer unknown, circa 1900, Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum/Flickr Commons.
The project has been initiated in response to visitor enquiry regarding the availability of bicycle hire within the community and is the outcome of the ongoing networking and partnership with the Hay Museums Committee (Section 355 committee of council). The project will benefit Hay’s five volunteer-run museums, develop skills for the Hay War Memorial High School, make use of recording resources within the town and will generally assist the community’s economy by encouraging visitors to stay longer within our community.
“A shearer moving camp”, 1906, photographer unknown, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland/Flickr Commons.
Each of Hay’s five museums have committed to an in-kind contribution to the project. Hay Shire Council has recently committed to completing the bike path that will link the two museums situated in South Hay safely to the centre of Hay and, as such, makes a significant in-kind contribution to the project. The community radio station has offered use of recording facilities and the high school has indicated strong interest in students participating in the research and technological aspects of the project.
Shear Outback has committed both in kind and a cash contribution to Bush Bikes covering purchase of bikes, associated safety gear, water bottles and bike stands, MP3 players to record an audio tour, the development of maps and interpretive material for the tour and promotional signage. Funding has only been sought from the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal in Australia.
The Hay Plains, famous for its flat, treeless landscape, covers an expanse of 4.4 million hectares. It is situated at the intersection of three major highways, the Sturt, Mid- Western and Cobb and also on the Murrumbidgee River. Traditionally a rural economy with agriculture as the main supporter of the local economy, Hay has experienced the worst drought on record over the last decade. Resilient as always, the Hay community with a population of 3822, battles on – working together to establish community enterprise and ensure community harmony and spirit.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: 02 69934000
Fax: 02 69934915