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Orange Historical Society Talk 25th February, 2023

Orange Library and the Orange and District Historical Society asked me to give a talk in the Library at 2 pm on Saturday 25th February.  They told me 65 people had come including 7 descendants.  I doubt there has been any talk in which there were no descendants but usually only one or two so this was by far the greatest number.  We all realised that this is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Inn.  AS the first mention that I found of it as an Inn was in October 1823, I wrote toe Collits’ Inn to ask if they would consider putting on an anniversary celebration.  Their website shows that many descendants have asked the same thing and they said to “watch this space” so it seems they are considering it.  

Canowindra Talk

I talked to the Canowindra Historical Society on Thursday 10th November  at the CWA in Canowindra.  Unfortunately a visitor from Sydney arrived just too late and found the door shut.  What a shame.  I left books with the Historical Society and with Virginia Cullane books.  

A few days later I was sent a picture of the main street of Canowindra which we had walked down just two days before – looking like Venice!

Jill Macdonald thanked me for my talk and we found that she had played the lead in the Collits’ Inn Operetta in Canowindra in 1970.  This was possibly the last time it was performed but hope someone will be motivated to put it on again.  The music is lovely. 

Photo of lost item

I have mentioned in my book for those who have read it, that we found a fascinating item just beneath the ground on William’s house site on the block we used to own behind the Inn.  This was a piece of silver metal, probably the handle of a powder horn,  which had a picture of man and a hunter dog embossed on it.  I said that unfortunately it had been stolen from the locked artefacts cupboard at the Inn.  Ollie Leckbandt rang me,  after reading that,  to say that he had a photo of this in his book Heritage without Recognition and has now sent his  book to me. Here is the photo – it wasn’t this colour but  silvery metal  As you can see it is a fascinating artefact to find in what in those days was a paddock we had ridden over many times.  


Contact Page

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DVD of Songs from the Operetta

In 2007, we attended a special evening in Melbourne organised by Jonathan Harvey who had done an M.A. on the Collits’ Inn Operetta.  He arranged for four singers from the Victorian State Opera to perform the songs, a local historian to write a linking script and Charles (Bud) Tingwall, one of Australia’s most well known actors to provide the narration.  It was quite magical to hear those lovely voices singing several of the songs from the Operetta – some of which are quite beautiful.  There is a chapter about the operetta in the book.

Please go to the Shop page for information re the DVD and a link to the producer if you wish  to order a copy..

Libraries with copies of the book

Books are so far available in the following libraries:



Canberra – National Library  






Sydney NSW State Library,  

I will update this when copies are available in other libraries