Canberra & NSW travel blog part 3: Tumut & Adelong

Day 5: Tumut & Adelong

Tumut is a small town in the Snowy Mountains, where Slabs’s family is from.

It sits at the northern end of the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme, alongside the Tumut River.

We arrived mid Friday afternoon and picked up some lunch from a takeaway Slabs calls “The Golden Cockroach”.

I think last time I was in Tumut was in 2014, and I don’t think much has changed since then!

We spent the afternoon catching up with relatives who were here for the party the next night.

Morning photowalk in Tumut

I’m very predictable, so I started the next morning by going for a walk with my camera to look for 20th century buildings. I’d never explored the town from that perspective before so it was a new approach.

A low, long one-storey red brick building in the art deco style
Tumut Community Support Centre (formerly the council HQ)


I won’t name the place I got my “long black to have outside please” from, but I need to learn to ask for EXACTLY what I want to avoid this in future. As in, “I would like a long black in a cup please and I will sit outside to have this.”

Two takeaway coffee cups stacked together with a lot of black coffee in them
Not what I was expecting

Sulking from the coffee debacle, I made my way to the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. (Did I mention it was foggy?)

A brown brick church with a square tower. There is an autumn tree on the right hand side
Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception

At first, I thought these birds were actually part of the cross feature.

A close up photo of twp pigeions sitting on a white decorative cross outside of a church
Pigeons. Not actually affixed to the church.

I kept walking and came across this!!

A large spider web glistening in morning dew and sunlight
A huge spider web

Amazing spider web! I decided the bad coffee was a good thing because if I hadn’t got pissed off about that, I wouldn’t have walked down here and wouldn’t have seen it.


After some more exploring, I met up with Kramstable and Slabs for breakfast, then we drove back to Adelong for the morning to see the sculpture trail.

Adelong Sculpture Trail

The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is a network that features 50 sculptures along 150 km of highway between Talbingo and Tooma.

I had to google Tooma; I had no idea where it was. And no, it isn’t a typo of Cooma. It’s an actual place. Tooma has a population of 104, and the area was in the running to become Australia’s capital city*.

And so to Adelong, a 15-minute drive from Tumut. It’s bigger than Tooma, and its history dates back to the gold rush days. But we weren’t there for that, we were there for sculptures.

A flexible sign bearing the words Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail
The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail

The sculpture trail project began in the aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfires to promote some of the regenerated areas. It’s been supported by the NSW Government through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund and Regional Tourism Activation Fund. Thirteen new works were added to the original project earlier this year.

The Adelong leg has 12 sculptures. It’s a one-kilometre walk along the Adelong Creek that leads to the ruins of the Adelong Falls Gold Mill. It’s very cool and, even if there hadn’t been sculptures to look at, it would have been a nice walk.

Two large yellow poles in the gardens of a club
Cycle-90º ‘Lingering Memories’ VII by Kaoru Matsumoto

The first one, Cycle-90º ‘Lingering Memories’ VII by Kaoru Matsumoto, is fantastic. It (or they) sits outside the Adelong Services and Citizens Club, atop two giant yellow poles. The long mesh cylindars are “branches” of the yellow trunks of the “Tree of the Wind”.

“These are wings that know the wind, and they translate their movements into art”

Mesh metal cylindars sit atop yellow posts
Cycle-90º ‘Lingering Memories’ VII by Kaoru Matsumoto

The wind makes the “wings” move up and down and around in a circular motion. I love it. I especially love the colour.

Number two is a series of signs along the trail by artist Giuliana De Felice called ‘Follow the Signs’.

A low wooden sign pointing right with the words "Answers 1 km" and three small diagrams underneath
Giuliana De Felice, ‘Follow The Signs’

“Based on familiar signage, these sculptures play with what we expect to see as part of the known visual landscape.”

The third one was clearly visible from the other side of the creek. USAGI Shelter looks like a giant rabbit head.

A large shelter in the shape of a rabbit's head, made up of many panels
Osamu & Masako Ohnishi, USAGI Shelter

In another life maybe it could be a Canberra bus shelter.

A young male human stands outside the entrance to a shelter that looks like a giant rabbit head
Kramstable for scale

A large slab of black granite is entitled ‘A Scene Dedicated to Handel’s “The Water Music” 17-1 by Takeshita Tanabe.

A large faceted block of black granite next to a creek
Takeshi Tanabe, A Scene Dedicated to Handel’s “The Water Music” 17-1

It’s interesting how the sun catches on the different facets of this one to make it look like water.

Suspended from the trees along the trail is the fifth sculpture, Tania Spencer’s ‘Gumnut Cap Trio’ made from copper wire.

A sculpture made of mesh wire in the shape of gumnut caps suspended between trees
Tania Spence, Gumnut Cap Trio

Tania says, “The little cap that pops off the flower as it emerges is called an operculum. If you look on the ground under a eucalyptus tree you will find them. Each Eucalyptus type has different shape, colour, and size. I am fascinated by the shapes of nature’s perfect little flower covers.”

This looks cool and I liked how the perspective changed as we approached and walked under it.

Number 6 looks like a giant spider with only four legs.

A metallic sculpture of two large hemispheres pushing up against each other and supported by metal legs
Michael Le Grand, Schism

Maybe I thought that after my morning encounter with the spider web. Or maybe it reminds me of two-thirds of an ant.

Michael Le Grand’s ‘Schism’ is neither of these things.

The title references the separation of oppositional forces and the sliding apart of the semi hemispherical elements. The name occurred to me when a friend was looking at the sculpture and said it was like the state of the world at that time during the Iraq War and post 9/11.

Nugget’ by Peter Lundberg is next, a giant ring structure made from two of my favourite substances, concrete and steel (reminding me that there’s a foundry just outside of Wagga and how amazing would it be to go there and make photos).

A large concrete sculpture in the shape of a large round ringPeter Lundberg, NuggetI loved the different textures of this work. (I didn’t realise until later we are actually invited to sit in this and contemplate the ring as a symbol of life. Or just look at the sky.)

The eighth sculpture is Ron Gomboc’s ‘The Elder’.

Two tall winged sculptures facing each other
Ron Gomboc, The Elder

The Elder and son are represented as two independent figures with wings, demonstrating the freedom that can be gained by compassion and mutual respect.

The flood in November 2022 washed this sculpture, on its two-tonne base quite a way down the creek, which goes to show how strong the water was.

‘Number ten is a corten steel sculpture called ‘F. E.H’ by Lubomir Mikle.

A rusted metal sqaure sculpture with round cutaway sections
Lubomir-Mikle, F.E.H.

It looks like a square made up of four cars and I think this may be a nod to the FE Holden. Or I could be totally wrong.

And what is corten steel? Thanks to Australian Steel, I learned

Weathering steel is usually referred to by its trademark name COR-TEN (or simply Corten) and is known for its superior corrosion resistance and thickness. This is because the surface of the steel forms a protective oxide layer when exposed to the weather. In other words, the steel is allowed to rust in order to protect itself. This protective surface layer continues to regenerate over years of exposure, making it ideal for outdoor use as garden edging, planters and more.

The final sculpture is ‘The Last Charge’ by Harrie Fasher.

Steel sculptures of horses charging down a hill
Harrie Fisher, The Last Charge

Sitting high on a hill, this is a memorial to the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba, in Palestine on October 31, 1917.

All we had to do then was walk back to the start, catching the sculptures from different angles as we went.

A concrete wave of layers of blue, white and beige
Shaumyika Sharma, The Big Wave

And wonder where the eleventh sculpture was. The sign was on the other side of the creek, but the sculpture was nowhere to be seen!

* As was Tumut. I am digging further into this.

Share this