After many delays, the Jim Watling Walkway was finally opened on Sunday, December 3.
With Jim’s Big Apple sculpture at its heart, the walkway was opened by Jim’s son, Jack Watling, in the presence of invited dignitaries and many locals.
Jim came to Tallong when his father, James Herbert Watling, bought an established orchard in Kettles Lane in 1952.
He married Fran in 1959 and his father bought an orchard, formerly owned by the Davenport Bros for them to operate.
After this was burnt in 1965 by the destructive Chatsbury bushfire which destroyed most of the orchards in the area, Jim was the only local orchardist to replant, installing his own cold storage facilities so that he could sell directly to the public.
In 1988, Jim Watling commissioned local resident and craftsman, Carl Zeschke, to make a fibreglass ‘Big Apple’ which was attached to the front of his shed where it became a symbol of the district’s apple orchard heritage.
Jim became known as ‘the apple man’ after several stories were written about him in The Goulburn Post.
The Big Apple attracted visitors and locals keen to buy fruit directly from the orchard with the bonus of a chat with the orchardist.
Three decades later, after Jim’s death, the Watling family gave the sculpture to the people of Tallong as a memorial to both men.
With funding provided by Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Holcim, the Big Apple has been restored by Alan Weston and the Jim Watling Walk has been created by local tradesmen using material donated by Boral.
This attractive walkway is laid out in a newly formed bush landscape featuring native plantings and joins up with the Memorial Park.
The official opening on Sunday 3rd December featured an Acknowledgement to Country and the Australian National Anthem performed by Tallong Public School students. A
Following the opening, the Tallong Village Christmas party kicked off.
This annual event which is always co-hosted by the Tallong Rural Fire Brigade and the Tallong Community Focus Group was a great success.
The children were entertained with a magician and the arrival of Santa and Mrs Claus on the back of a fire truck and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves with good food and good company.