The Collector Pumpkin Festival
This year I made it to the second Collector Pumpkin Festival. I'd
missed last year's but heard it was a big success. This year I
slipped away from our house guests, promising to return for a late
lunch with some food in hand, and headed down the Federal Highway towards Goulburn to the small town of
Collector just 25 minutes from Bungendore.
I wrote about one of our visits to Collector's Lynwood Café
in a Diary
entry here and we've been back with friends a few times.
Collector is bypassed by the dual carriageway highway that skirts
Lake George on its western edge. The bypass is a touch ironic
because Collector grew as a town as a result of the mining traffic
passing between Sydney and Kiandra in the mid 1800's. They used to
stop and change bullocks and horses there.
"By 1847 Collector boasted an inn,
store, three hotels, several blacksmiths and a tailor.
The village was illuminated by evil smelling oil lamps in
1850; a wind powered (flour) mill operated in 1859."
There's a short history of the town on the
Public School website.
On Sunday however the crowds poured out of Canberra and
headed to the centre of Collector. The main road that leads past
the hall, churches and police station was closed to vehicles and
filled with people rugged against a cold wind. When the sun was
out it was bearable and while a few people passed me heading
home saying it was too cold, there were mostly smiles.
I'm reading Carol Field's book Celebrating Italy and loving
it, wanting to go back to my images taken on my visit to Umbria so
long ago, of places like
Gubbio with its crossbow festival and add the local knowledge
that Carol Field reveals. I'm sure the book has a similar effect
on anyone who envies the ritual and festivals that every small
town seems to have. And the food that is a big part of it. I even
thought of making up a fictitious calendar of events for
Bungendore, (maybe I should do it so forget that). Thinking about
what we have as local traditions I got as far as the
Anzac Day pub crawl march, the star-picket driving competition
the Show , the dunny race on Bungendore day and that was about it.
I was interested to hear then that it was just that motivation
after working in Italy and enjoying the festivals that lead
Collector resident James McKay and his wife Kate (Kate is the
daughter of Robbie Howard who with her husband Alan own Lynwood
Café), to start the Pumpkin Festival.
The whole town appears to have embraced the idea, and it is
different enough to appeal to some out of town food and craft
people to travel to take part. I've made the usual pop-up window
photographs of the day here, and you'll see that it still
has a small town feel even with accomplished food participants
such as Kingston's Silo Bakery taking part.
I wanted to share just one more image and tell you about it here,
something that made me feel good about the day. Below is
the small St. Bartholomew's Catholic church interior, a simple, beautifully
proportioned room that glowed in the late autumn sunlight. It was lined
with notice boards covered in historical newspaper clippings, with
photocopies of documents and a complete list of names from the
area of those buried in the Collector cemetery.
I didn't find out who organized and set this up, but I could have
spent hours just reading the local history displayed there, and in
a building erected in 1851, it
gave a strong sense of the town's past to go along with the fun and the
Let's start some more traditions like this one.
There is more about the food and producers at the Collector Pumpkin Festival on the
Regional Food website.