Jugiong: the jewel of the South West Slopes

Edwina Mason 27 December 2020 40
Exterior of The Sir George in Jugiong.

The Sir George has stood on this corner in Jugiong since the town’s early days. It is a little upstream from its predecessor, which washed away in floods. Photo: Supplied.

John Philip Sheahan was onto a good thing when he built a pub in Jugiong in 1845.

Intended to meet the needs of travellers on the track between Sydney and Melbourne, he’d be pretty chuffed, maybe a bit agape, to see The Sir George today.

There are few people far and wide who haven’t heard of The Sir George. The impeccably restored old pub has led the renaissance of the little town that used to be a dot on the Hume Highway. Its thick-stoned, double-storey occupation of the corner of Jugiong Road and Riverside Drive is as good a citadel for the little colony that swirls around it.

The black barns at the rear of The Sir George in Jugiong.

The black barns at the rear of The Sir George offer luxury amid solitude. Photo: Supplied.

A stronghold for those seeking replenishing and respite, step through its doors or into the cooling mists of the gardens featuring sumptuous lavender, rosemary, silver birch and snow pear.

This a place where detail matters. Even if it doesn’t it’d take days, beers, to pore through every fraction of thought that continues to go into its resurrection.

Then another day to take in the artisan bakery, eat through its sourdough loaves, flavoured focaccia and leave room for the donuts, which will only be remedied by a short walk to the potting shed and its array of glamorous gardener’s goodies.

It’s no surprise people stay at The Sir George seeking accommodation in its hotel, motel, riverside campground or up on higher ground in the black barns or stables in a bid to keep living that dream.

Before the pub, though, it was the Long Track Pantry that people talked about – the people from near, far, the pit-stoppers, the day-trippers, the curious, epicurists, gangs of gastronomes and the more than occasional hungry farmer.

READ ALSO: Historic Jugiong stone cottage to become a museum of local history

Here, it took immense work and more than a lick of paint to transform Jugiong’s former General Store into a cafe/grocery store/gift store, where plates and shelves heaving with produce elevated the senses with a tilt towards food bon vivant. And the experience would often continue out the door in smart paper bags to destinations unknown where all the trappings – jams, relishes, sauces, vinegars, olives, cakes, cookies and breads – would serve as a reminder of that meal and allow patrons to tell everyone you’d been there!

Going to The Long Track Pantry was a badge of honour.

Exterior of the Long Track Pantry in Jugiong.

The Long Track Pantry with it’s gourmet menu and range of goodies has long been seen as a perfect stop for day trippers and travellers. Photo: Supplied.

Today – thanks to the pioneers, the stayers and the new players – everything that was oddly Jugiong is now uniquely exclusive and the town, population 222, is the badge of honour.

In NSW, people talk about Orange being the ‘new Paris’. But that’s too easy. What isn’t easy is being built on a highway, being washed away by flood, rebuilt and then bypassed during the course of 170 years.

Jugiong, where entryways were long embroidered with the green and gold of strikingly tall poplars which, in between, you might blink and miss the buildings because the cops would be fast on your tail if one’s foot was made of lead.

Here, where gold hungry bushrangers bloomed, Richie Benaud started school and, oddly, in a region well-known for wheat, sheep and beef cattle, there also emerged an asparagus industry.

Now you can arrive for breakfast and leave two, even five, days later.

Here where you encounter the happiest of feet – bare feet, espadrilled feet, thonged feet, sneaker feet, Birko feet, little feet, big feet, pawed feet, all weaving joyfully along the paved and unpaved streets that lead from car, park, carpark, BnB, grassy verge and shop to shop.

Like the Jugiong Wine Cellar with its range of boutique wines selected from 28 wineries in the local regions of Gundagai, Tumbarumba, Hilltops (Young) and Canberra (Murrumbateman).

Lickety Splits serves gelato sourced from award-winning Sydney-based Pure Gelato – passionfruit, Oreo, salted caramel, coconut and espresso are the standouts.

READ ALSO: Sir George’s Italian bee entertains in Jugiong

Zooming around the corner to Four Doors Up – a rustic new commercial complex on Jugiong Road – represents a spread of interests including Woodstock Resources, which is in the business of supplying original and recycled European Oak for an array of uses.

It ain’t just about wood here – there are tiles, sinks, basins, troughs, firepits, gates, doors and cobblestones, and that’s just outside. It’s a veritable farmer’s Santa stocking inside with leather, linen, lamps, hand-forged knives and handmade furniture.

Curator’s Collective – furniture, homewares and fashion by stylist and curator Carlie Oates – has moved into The Sir George as a pop-up store and its array is splendidly led by the linens of Hale Mercantile Co. amid brassy pepper mills, salt dishes, scented soaps, candles, jewellery and books.

“Build it and they will come” pretty much exemplifies Jugiong today and there aren’t enough words to cover it all.

The town sits in the Hilltops region of the South West Slopes, just 90 minutes south of Canberra.

It’s a trip worthy of a few days so with the holiday season here, head down and have a look.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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40 Responses to Jugiong: the jewel of the South West Slopes
Heather Mitchell Heather Mitchell 6:17 pm 09 Jan 21

Publican's daughter. 🤔

Kip Koenig Kip Koenig 8:17 pm 05 Jan 21

Kimberley Grima could be nice for a relaxing weekend.

Jude Lou Jude Lou 4:31 pm 05 Jan 21

Kim Dorsett so funny that this just came up.

Dani Polmanteer Dani Polmanteer 1:32 pm 04 Jan 21

Sean road trip before holidays end??

    Janet Higgins Janet Higgins 5:17 pm 04 Jan 21

    Dani yes yes yes .. as you know I go there all the time .. staying at the Sir George sometime soon xx

    Dani Polmanteer Dani Polmanteer 8:18 pm 04 Jan 21

    Janet Higgins would be so good to catch up during one of your trips! Miss your smiley face 😊

Emma Corvisy Emma Corvisy 12:33 pm 04 Jan 21

Jenny Bodel we need to plan our getaway 😂

Lauren Herbert Lauren Herbert 10:54 am 04 Jan 21

Stephen Herbert day trip?

Rachel Adams Rachel Adams 8:38 am 04 Jan 21

Lucy Coventry this is the place I was telling you about

    Lucy Coventry Lucy Coventry 8:25 pm 04 Jan 21

    Rachel Adams oooh it looks gorgeous! We definitely need to go 💕

Maryanne Montgomery Maryanne Montgomery 8:47 pm 03 Jan 21

I grew up there in the 50’s when no one had even heard of the place!

Michelle Preston Michelle Preston 7:34 pm 03 Jan 21

Hubby and I popped out there today and brought an Ostrich

Biley Boo Biley Boo 6:24 pm 03 Jan 21

Matt - might be on the list!!

Nick Fallon Nick Fallon 4:50 pm 03 Jan 21

Will Anna Christopher Jessica Tanika another catch up here soon?!

Marina Ting Marina Ting 2:44 pm 03 Jan 21

Camp by the river in our motorhome every couple of weeks, great donation camp site. The Long Track Pantry has a marvellous little gift shop that I often frequent!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 3:51 pm 03 Jan 21

    I have spent money in that little shop, as they often have nice clothes a bit out of the ordinary. My best buy was a black raincoat with stylish white outlined checks. Very 60s I thought.

Colleen Cunningham Colleen Cunningham 2:22 pm 03 Jan 21

The Long Track Pantry has long been a stop for us on our way to family in Albury! Wonderful place!

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:21 pm 03 Jan 21

I have camped there a few times, and also pulled in there for years, whenever I make a trip south. I have watched the town evolve over time. When the town was bypassed by the highway, they didn't allow the town to die. It's not true though that, "The impeccably restored old pub has led the renaissance of the little town", as the pantry and café were there before that. That led the recovery, as did the popular and convenient (just off the highway) free camping, with the river one side; town the other. Having a swimming pool there also assisted. I was camping there once and the town was packed, as a children's swimming carnival was on, and I think it was Jugiong versus Harden. The restoration of the gorgeous hotel followed all that and it is one more thing to keep the town going.

Jo Holburn Jo Holburn 10:51 am 03 Jan 21

The food in cafe there is delicious

Jo Farrell Jo Farrell 10:16 am 03 Jan 21

You left the best part out: the Quirky Crow is hands down worth a visit in its own right.

Shirley Hadfield Shirley Hadfield 10:04 am 03 Jan 21

My husband’s grandfather who lived there last century would be impressed!!

Margaret Day Margaret Day 9:29 am 03 Jan 21

Love the place. Go there for the literary festival and art exhibition or just for lunch. Happy New year, Katy.

    Kate Murray Kate Murray 9:38 am 03 Jan 21

    Thanks Margaret Day and Happy New Year to you. The 4 of us have a few catch up there. It’s about halfway,we have a nice lunch and talk,visit the shops.💕💕

    Margaret Day Margaret Day 10:09 am 03 Jan 21

    Kate Murray perfect. Best wishes for a fire free summer.

Jade Barges Jade Barges 8:20 am 03 Jan 21

Rebecca McAlister you are so on trend 😍

Sonia Dalitz Sonia Dalitz 12:06 am 03 Jan 21

One of my favourite places

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