Take a journey through the past

People travel the Old Hume Highway everyday, but they rarely stop to think about the history of the road or the people who lived alongside it.

Thirlmere author, Stephen Gard has just released his newest self-published book, Once Upon A Hume.

The book takes readers on a journey down the Old Hume Highway by getting to know some of the characters “who lived near, preyed upon or prospered by the Great South Road in its earlier days”.

“Few of these folk are well-known but all of them have a story to share,” Mr Gard said.

“There are plenty of books about the road itself but less about the people who lived along it in the early days.”

In the book readers will meet Hugh McCrae – an eccentric poet-laureate of Elderslie, Emily the spectre of Picton’s Redbank Tunnel, Mary Lupton of Bargo, who escaped hanging to become heir to most of Sydney’s Millers Point, and many more.

One of Mr Gard’s favourite stories is of Carl Rümker, who he describes ad “Picton’s half-mad star-gazing genius”.

“Carl was bought out here by governor Sir Thomas Brisbane as his pet astronomer,” he said.

“After Rümker re-discovered Comet Encke, governor Brisbane granted him 1000 acres of land at Picton to pursue his science.

“That land was called Stargard after Rümker’s hometown in Germany and it is where Picton’s Stargard estate gets it’s name.

“But to hear more you will have to read the book.”

Mr Gard said the book made an ideal traveller’s companion.

“People travel the Hume a lot so it would be interesting to find out more about it,” he said.

“It would be a fun way to lighten the journey.

“We hear about the Macarthur’s a lot but there were others who lived here and contributed to their community as well.”

Once Upon A Hume is the first of several planned volumes telling tales of the colourful people who lived along the Hume.

The book is $25 from www.stephengard.com.au.