One of the great things about travelling in Australia, apart from the wonderful colours of a never ending blue sky and the parched red-earth of the Outback, are the characters you meet.
And of course there is no better place to meet them than at the local pub.
On our travels we enjoy dropping into the “local” as you’ll most likely find a warm welcome and usually the publican will be a wealth of knowledge on the area…
Shindy’s Inn, situated in the small township of Louth, is one place you are sure to get a warm welcome! Centrally located on the banks of the Darling River it is the focal point of this small community, and it is little wonder why. The owners, Dave and Cath Marett, make all visitors feel at home just like they would a local.
Founded around 1859 by Thomas Andrew Matthews, Louth was a stopping off point for the river boat crews plying their trade along the Darling River.
Thomas, or “TA” as he was known, was married to Mary who passed away at a relatively early age in 1886, and to mark her passing he commissioned a monument be made from granite and with a large cross at the top.
What makes this monument quite special is that on the anniversary of her death, the cross, when viewed from the home they lived in, shines brightly from the reflection of the setting sun. And at other times of the year this extra-ordinary phenomenon can be viewed from varying positions around the town.
Apart from being quite an engineering achievement, and not to mention it had to be made in Adelaide, well over a thousand kilometres away and transported by paddle-steamer on the Darling River back in the 1880’s, it has an ethereal feel to it.
Recently we camped alongside the river just a short walk over the bridge to Shindy’s Pub.
Just ahead of sunset, Robyn, who was helping out in the pub, took us to the place where we could view the glowing cross do what it has done every other day for long over a century – it shone brightly, so bright that it was almost difficult to look at it.
To see is to believe, as they say, and we stood quietly during those few minutes before sunset, seduced by the hypnotic flicker of light radiating from the cross…
As it happens, the great, great grand-daughter of the late “TA” was there to view this occurrence for the very first time. To say the least, she was moved to the point of tears streaming down her face…
Sometimes you just need to “scratch” the surface a little in these out of the way places just like a prospector would searching for those little glints of gold. And the rewards can often be far greater than a finding a nugget at the bottom of the pan!
So be sure to drop by “The Shindy” if you are in the area and say hello to Dave and Cath.
And perhaps in the golden hue of a setting sun, with a cold beer in hand, you can drink a toast to a remarkable man, Thomas “TA” Matthews as the love of his life casts her eternal glow over an ancient land…