The name Binalong derives from the Indigenous meaning ‘towards a high place’, or from the noted Aborigine, ‘Bennelong’, with the traditional owners being the Ngunnawal (Ngunawal) people.
Hamilton Hume explored in 1821, returning in 1824 with William Hovell during their expedition to Port Phillip Bay. Settlement followed and today outstanding examples of period architecture can be seen with the Commercial Hotel, built in 1842, Cobb & Co (1847), the police station and court house (1883), post office, St Thomas’s church (1886), the royal hotel and the blue stoned buildings of St Patrick’s church (1859) and the mechanics institute (1912).
Binalong was famously known as a hive of activity for notable bushrangers, Ben Hall, Johnny Gilbert, John O’Mealley and John Vane. A mural in Pioneer Park, Fitzroy St, depicts the story of the gun fighting death of ‘Flash’ Johnny Gilbert by police, as told by Banjo Paterson in his poem ‘How Gilbert Died’. Gilbert’s grave is just off the Burley Griffin Way.
The Binalong Mural
Binalong’s new mural was opened on May 16, 2015 at the Wild Colonial Weekend celebrations, watched over by mounted troopers clad in 1860s uniforms and Brent Hall, great-great grandson of Constable Hall, who was one of the four police officers involved in the dramatic shootout with bushrangers Gilbert and Dunn.
The mural tells the story of the shooting death of bushranger ‘Flash’ John Gilbert by police, as told by Banjo Paterson in his poem ‘How Gilbert Died’. The same story was also told in the original Binalong mural, which was conceived, designed and painted by Lizz Murphy and helpers in 1983 for the Binalong Court House Centenary Celebrations.
The new mural is designed with a sense of changing light and times of day to incorporate the story and contains a small scale replica of the original work as well as aspects of the local landscape, fauna and flora. It sits comfortably within its environs and casts a meditative atmosphere across Pioneer Park, making the park in the village centre a restful and interesting place to visit.
This wall painting was researched, devised, designed and painted by Yvette Gilroy assisted by Janet Dawson Boddy, Dianne Hopkirk, Donna Reid, Hayley Crossing, Kate O’Connor, Charles Muscat and the people of Binalong.
We remain indebted to Lizz Murphy for her blessing to remove the 1983 mural and her support for this project.
Janet Dawson Boddy for Binalong Arts Group Inc
More history and tales of Binalong coming soon