WHEN Rooting King came from behind to win the Tumbarumba Cup 20 lengths ahead of the pack, it was Aussie media personality HG Nelson’s first brush with the magic of the region.
His horse had just claimed its first win outside the Lithgow area and his love for Tumbarumba was born.
The prominent comedian and writer has now thrown his weight behind the fight to stop the state government’s forced merger of Tumbarumba and Tumut councils.
He believes the “potent magic of Tumbarumba” will be swallowed by the looming amalgamation, as community frustrations toward the reforms grow momentum across the shire.
“I find the magic in the Tumbarumba area a little bit more potent, with a little bit more grunt and poke on the magic front than any other part of NSW,” HG said in a purpose-made video shared to Save Tumbarumba Shire’s Facebook page.
“Sadly, once you’re amalgamated with Tumut, there’s no magic. Everything’s just the same.”
HG cited the annual Tumba Fest “so good Leo Sayer once rocked there” and the Rosewood Tractor Pull as unique events that formed part of the Tumbarumba shire. HG believes the merger will increase fees across the board, stating entry fees in Tumba shire’s two pools will increase from $2 for kids and $3 for adults to $3 for kids and $4 for adults if it were to amalgamate with Tumut.
“Now that’s the death knell of Australian swimming right there,” he said. “This is not an amalgamation, this is a takeover. The magic will disappear. Do your best to stand up and say, Tumbarumba, count me in!”
Tumbaruma mayor Ian Chaffey welcomed HG’s support and said it proved how powerful “the best performing rural council in NSW” could be.
“The merger has no consideration of geographical or social climate,” Cr Chaffey said. “The north has always migrated toward Wagga and the south toward Wodonga. There is no mutual understanding between Tumut and Tumbarumba from either party. A merger will only exacerbate that.”
Tumut mayor Sue Bulger told the Advertiser in December that change was inevitable.