So this is the story.
In 2005, a group of Rotarians were doing some beautification work on Lennox Bridge in Glenbrook – Australia’s oldest mainland bridge. By total fluke, one of the members caught sight of what he thought might be the high red hat of a gnome. The group proceeded with care, not sure of the nature of the gnomes or where they might have come from.
But the gnomes were friendly. They just like to inhabit foresty areas so they had found a good spot and set up their comfortable little homes.
To celebrate this gnomey bunch, the local Rotary Club established what has become an annual Australia Day Gnome Convention with up to 8,000 people attending.
Then (then!) in 2010, another Rotarian, 800 km away, discovered another 1,500 gnomes in the backyard of a deceased estate he was cleaning. He called in his Rotarian buddies from the Mountains who devised a rescue plan. A group of volunteers and a fleet of vehicles, led by the, erm, Gnome Master, travelled all the way to Cootamundra to adopt the gnomes. They were fostered by Rotarians until the next Gnome Convention, when they were all inducted into the area via a citizenship ceremony and then given away to local residents.
So we decided we’d go along today to check out this festival. It was kind of equal parts enchanting and off putting to me. I don’t actually really like garden gnomes but I liked the story behind this bunch.
So in the park this morning there was a petting zoo, hundreds of market stalls, a ukulele band and a bunch of people walking around in pointy hats.
And then these dudes, below. I gotta say, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing them again next year.
And below, not a gnome but a damn good sausage. Good to be multicultural on Aussie Day since we’re a multicultural country, right?
What are you up to today?