Category Archives: ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS

Stringy Bark Creek and The Kelly Tree

ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE

The infamous shootout between police and the Kelly Gang took place at Stringybark Creek on 26 October 1878.

Four Mansfield policemen had ridden out with tents and supplies to search for the Kelly Gang. Ned and his brother surprised two of the police at their camp (McIntyre and Lonigan) and held them up. McIntyre surrendered but Lonigan fired at Ned so Ned fired back and shot and killed Lonigan. When the other two members of the group returned, McIntyre was supposed to tell them to surrender and Ned had promised not to harm them. However, Scanlan fired a shot and was shot in return. Kennedy took cover behind a tree and fired shots and was also killed by Ned. McIntyre escaped on horseback and Ned let him go, wishing to keep his promise.

It was these events, where Ned committed his first murder – which he claims were all in self defence – that sealed his fate when he ultimately stood trial. The gang was declared outlaws at the Mansfield Courthouse on November 15 1878 when they failed to appear and a reward of £800 for the Kelly gang (£200 each member) was posted in Victoria.

There’s a police memorial here (and another at Mansfield, where the policemen were stationed).

The natural bush setting at Stringybark Creek is largely undisturbed and can be reached by a well-graded dirt road from either Benalla or Mansfield. Drive carefully as logging trucks frequently use this road.

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Whitfield Tennis

Whitfield Tennis Club has two tennis courts set in the picturesque King Valley Recreation Reserve at Whitfield.

Toilets are within the Recreation Reserve for players use and also playground equipment for children. Two fenced abandoned courts adjoin the existing courts which can be used as a children’s playground, riding bikes etc. This makes it very safe for children.

The club is an emerging club after being in recession for 15 years.  Coaching and the Hot Shots Program for juniors are available on Tuesday and Thursdaynights.  Social tennis is played on Thursday nights at 5.30 p.m. Yearly membership for juniors is $15, Adults $30 and a family membership of two adults and two children $70.  Visitors to the area are able to hire the courts for $10 an hour; a net is available at the Whitfield Store.

Any enquiries to Secretary/Treasurer -Reta Sheppard on 0357209337, email sheppard@netc.net.au or President – Joel Pizzini on 0429401732, email joel@pizzini.com.au.

A TEAM of young hot shots are helping bring tennis back to the Whitfield community through the innovative Tennis Australia program for kids.

The ‘ANZ Tennis Hot Shots” program has taken off at the local courts, attracting as many as 22 players this year all aged from five to 12 years old.

Whitfield Tennis Club secretary and coach Reta Sheppard said while she was initially somewhat skeptical about the program which enables kids as young as three to take part by using a smaller court area and lighter equipment, the results have been remarkable. “When I first saw it I had my doubts, but the kids love it and they cotton on really quickly,” she said.

‘All the activities are based around the skills you actually use in tennis and with this, they’re able to be part of it all the time – so it’s not surprising it has taken off everywhere.” It has also breathed new life into the Whitfield Tennis Club, where no teams have played since the year 2000. Disappointed that the facilities were not being used and having seen the program demonstrated in Melbourne a couple of years ago, Reta decided to give it a go in Whitfield and advertised it at the primary school. 

“The response was amazing,” she said.  “The parents love to because they don’t have to travel to Wangaratta for their children to take part.” Children wanting formal coaching have been working with Doug Smith from All Stars Tennis in Wangaratta who was engaged to lend a hand, while the younger kids develop their skills with volunteers Reta, Pam Deeker and Peter Hanley, supported by the local parents.

The success has motivated the club to get back into business, with Joel Pizzini taking on the role of president, supported by vice president Peter Hanley and Reta as secretary/treasurer. “We have a committee of five and we’re keen try to get competition going again, and now we’ll have kids who are ready to go into a team,” said Reta. “We plan to start with social tennis, and hopefully achieve our dream of having lights at the courts. “lt’s really too hot here to play tennis at 5pm during the summer, so with lights we’ll be able to play in the evening.”

While the club will explore any available funding opportunities, in the meantime it hopes to attract as many members as it can to get the club up and operational again.

Anyone interested in finding out more call Reta or email sheppard@netc.net.au.

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