Qbn's hidden mysteries

Tonight author Nichole Overall will take another group of curious souls on her Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight tour. Queanbeyan Age reporter Andrew Johnston spoke to her about the increasingly popularity of the tours.

LOCAL author Nichole Overall always knew there was a pent up community interest in finding out more about Queanbeyan's fascinating history. She just never realised how much interest there was.

Five months on since launching her Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight tours and Mrs Overall says the response has been almost overwhelming.

The walking tours take people on a roughly two and a half hour trip around some of the city's most interesting and iconic sights. And in doing so, they delve into parts of Queanbeyan's past that typically lie below the surface.

Our history as a haven for bushrangers, the unfortunate deaths of some of Queanbeyan's most significant figures and the surprisingly violent history of Queanbeyan's iconic suspension bridge are just some of the tales explored.

"Even though some of the stories are a little scary and macabre, they're still the stories of this town and stories that a lot of people don't know," Mrs Overall says.

"We've had guests on the tours who've lived in Queanbeyan their entire lives and even they tell me they haven't heard a lot of this stuff before."

The idea for the tours grew out of Mrs Overall's work in compiling her book City of Champions, a detailed look back at Queanbeyan's fascinating past.

After completing the book however, the author realised she still had countless more stories to tell. And so was born Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight.

"I'd done so much research over the past few years for the book and it seemed such a waste to see so many of the great stories I'd uncovered not be used in some way," she said.

"When I first began the tours they were based on a lot of that information that I sourced for the book. But since then I've done hours of extra research and found out so much more about Queanbeyan's history.

"And on top of that, on virtually every tour we've done something new has been added to it, we've found out about more stories to tell so it's constantly evolving."

As well as running 10 public tours over the past five months, Mrs Overall has also been inundated with request from private groups and is now conducting up to four tours a month.

Two more planned tours in April are already filling up fast and Mrs Overall says she is now looking at adding bus tours to the program in future months.

"I knew people would find them of interest but the response has been quite surprising actually," she said.

The next Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight tours will be held on Friday, April 11 and Thursday, April 17 (as part of the Queanbeyan Heritage Festival). Bookings are essential and can be made via email at qbn@qbncityofchampions.com.au

Cost per person is $55 for adults, $45 for concessions and $35 for children including light refreshments. Private group tours can also be arranged on request.

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