Glowing Graves, Battling Knights, and A Mad Hatters Tea Party; A Day in Lismore

It was a bright but cool day when I visited Lismore and to make the most of my time, I went looking for geocaches* at a local park, a cemetery and a back alley in town. Yep, all the highlights.
The park was one of the most colourful I have ever seen.
It had totems

and rainbow coloured displays,

and a miniature train that runs on holidays and weekends. 

As it was a Saturday, the park was busy. In contrast the cemetery I went to was small and grey and looked dull, but it did have some great stories to tell

According to Matty (who hid the geocache there) one of the memorials that used to be there, was for a young railway worker who died trying to stop a runaway train in 1907. It was a cross made of Scottish Balmoral granite and it glowed for many years before going missing, possibly stolen after the story of the glowing cross went worldwide. There was a replacement cross made of the same stone, but it never glowed.
I couldn’t find the cross at all, but a modern grave sitting out on its own looked interesting.
It said "Warrah" also known as "Neddy Larkin" returned by blood relatives in 2012. 
Using good old Google, I found out that in 1891 a local taxidermist dug up Warrah’s bones and sent them to a museum in the USA for “scientific purposes”. Apparently it was not uncommon for this to happen to aboriginal graves. He was finally returned in 2012, at least ten years after a clerk in the museum found them and offered them back to Australia. **
After solving the mystery of the grave, I went into town. To my delight I found I had arrived right in the middle of the celebrations for the winter solstice.
The main street was filled with colourful markets, a local park had been taken over by medieval camps, and there was to be a light parade in the evening. Too bad I was leaving early.
While the main street was busy with hundreds of market goers, I headed for the quiet back alley, behind where they had added portable toilets for the crowds.
It was just an access lane for the shops but someone had decorated it with bright murals.

Alice and the Mad Hatter filled one wall and other walls depicted pop art

In one picture the Cat in the Hat sat near Ronald McDonald and Smurfette. Trash bins, air conditioning units and gas tanks looked out of place among the riot of colour. 
I had been to Lismore before but this was the first time I had seen this. Even my husband who lived near here for years before I met him, did not know about it. I love hidden gems like this.
I finished my day by visiting the medieval camp in the town park. People in authentic costumes sat outside their skin tents talking and eating food from that era, grain bread, dried apricots and nuts. A pig roasted over a spit, and small fish were drying over a smoky fire. Men in costume taught archery to the kids and then lined up against each other for battle.

It was a great day, and I would have liked to have stayed for the finale. I saw some of the floats and the light parade looked like it was going to be exciting.
I will just have to go back.

*To find out more about geocaches, read “Housesitting in Australia” or visit www.
**Information from the “Koori Mail” newspaper January 1991

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