Visit to Avenel

May 4th, 2014 | Photos, Poems for children, Songs

One of the poems, “The Sash”, in my new book, “‘The Billy That Died With Its Boots On’ and Other Australian Verse”, tells the story of a young Ned Kelly rescuing the life of another boy, Richard Shelton, from drowning in Hughes Creek, Avenel. Richard lived with his parents at the Royal Mail Hotel, which still stands today. The building is largely intact, although the original shingle roof has been replaced by corrugated iron. The building is now also surrounded by pepper trees which would have not been present in the 19th century.

Friend, songwriter, and fellow Ringwood Folk Club member Maggie Somerville has put the poem to music, and will sing the song at the launch of the book on Sunday, 18th May, at Readings bookshop in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn.

I spent a lovely day with Maggie today, showing her the sights of Avenel, and walking in the (imagined) footsteps of Richard Shelton.

Here is Maggie singing “The Sash” outside the Royal Mail Hotel in Avenel.

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(Avenel, by the way, is just off the Hume Highway, between Seymour and Euroa. It is a quiet town now, but back in Ned’s time it was a busy stopover point on the way to the Beechworth gold diggings. Ned moved with his mother and siblings to Greta after the death of his father, Red, in Avenel.)

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