Towns and Villages
With just 150 people the village of Tabulam is the centre of a scenic day touring the area. Home of the Bundjalung Aboriginal people the region is extremely culturally significant. The Koori Place name of Tabulam means “the originals”. Designated as a town in 1885, Tabulam is historically significant and the only other ‘town’ on the Clarence River besides Grafton.
Birthplace of Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel of the famous Lighthorse Brigade is only one of Tabulam’s claim to fame. It is also home to the longest single span truss timber bridge in Australia, (and is an early example of a DeBurgh timber truss road.) which was completed in 1903. It has concrete piers thus giving the bridge a high degree of technical significance. In 1998 there were 10 surviving DeBurgh trusses in NSW of the 20 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built. The Tabulam bridge is a representative example of DeBurgh timber truss road bridges, and is assessed as being Nationally significant, primarily on the basis of its technical and historical significance. It is listed on both the NSW State Heritage register and Register of the National Estate.
Tabulam is an excellent place to begin your discovery of the beautiful Upper Clarence Valley.
Tabulum is located approximately halfway between Tenterfield (73klms) and Casino (53klms) on the Bruxner Highway, beside the Clarence river and approximately 800Km north of Sydney.
Scenic Drive - North
About 3 km west of town on the Bruxner Highway sealed roads depart to both the north and south. You can follow Paddy’s Flat Road to the north (unsealed after 7 km). It leads past Emu Creek, a good spot for a picnic, Pretty Gully, where there is a flora and fauna reserve, and Paddy’s Hills, from whence there are fine views, to Paddy’s Flat on the Clarence River (27 km from the highway) where you can swim, fish, camp out or just have a picnic on the sandy beaches. Endangered rock wallabies inhabit the area and there are also some old tank traps about, remnants of the Brisbane Line fortifications from World War II - the second line of defence in case of an invasion from the north. The road continues on to Tooloom and Urbenville, 71 km from Tabulam.
Scenic Drive - South (55 km)
Just past Paddy’s Flat Rd, Plains Station Rd heads off to the south. Almost immediately Ogilvie Drive branches off to the south-west, affording excellent views from Hamiltons Gap. Alternatively, Plains Station Rd heads south. Around 10 km from the highway is Fraser’s Cutting, a very steep, narrow and winding section which, although sealed, is somewhat dangerous and requires cautious driving. There are scenic views over the river rapids and Firth’s Crafts which are strictly open by prior arrangement only, tel: 02-6661 3553).
Further along the route, at the locality of Alice, is Yate’s River Crossing where there are sandy beaches. At this point loop around heading back north to the Bruxner Highway, 4 km east of Tabulam. There are other drives in the area. For further information ring (02) 6666 1204.
Peace Circle Carvings
9 km east where the Bruxner Highway meets up with the road that heads north to Bonalbo, Urbenville and Woodenbong, there is a picnic and barbecue area off the road where you will also find the Peace Circle Carvings, a community project consisting of eight large wooden carvings. A plaque explains that they were ‘carved by the people of Mallanganee, Tabulam, Tunglebung, Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Urbenville and Woodenbong. They are an expression of the feeling of peace and unity in the communities west of the range. The central block is for those of you who also wish to carve. ‘May peace and unity be with you’.
It stands opposite Sandilands Homestead, once the home of the Bruxners, after whom the highway is named.