Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

What was Archduke Franz Ferdinand doing in Narromine?

Main photo: Narromine Local History Centre researcher Norma Meadley and Trangie historian Bob Richardson are very familiar with the story of Archduke Ferdinand’s visit to “Narramine”. They’re pictured in front of the restored Narromine Railway station where the Archduke (inset above) arrived in 1893. Photo: Dubbo Photo News Main photo: Narromine Local History Centre researcher Norma Meadley and Trangie historian Bob Richardson are very familiar with the story of Archduke Ferdinand’s visit to “Narramine”. They’re pictured in front of the restored Narromine Railway station where the Archduke (inset above) arrived in 1893. Photo: Dubbo Photo News

After downing a swathe of wildlife in India while on a global hunting trip in 1893, Archduke and heir presumptive of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, sought to keep his taxidermist extra busy at the most obvious of exotic destinations: Narromine.

The 29-year-old royal caught the vice-regal train to Narramine railway – no, that’s not a typo, that’s how it was spelt then, named after the 167,000-acre property nearby known as ‘Narramine Station’.

Ferdinand wasted no time in joining the station’s owner, Frank Mack, in a couple of days of what most reports infer as a slaughter.

He dropped into the homestead at Narramine Station and one of the ladies present described his fair hair as “parted in the middle, he had light blue eyes, and he constantly twirled his moustache”.

He also spent a day hunting at the junction of Mullengudgery and Canonbar stations where he made a personal record for the number of species he’d killed in one day.

Don’t judge. It was 1893 and by 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in an event regarded as the final straw for tensions in Europe which ignited the First World War.

There is much, much more to this tale, and Mudgee researcher John Broadley will be in Dubbo on Monday, June 18, to give a much deeper account of the Archduke’s flying visit to “Narramine”.