A FUN-filled day is planned for Uralla in October, with the annual Thunderbolts Festival to make a grand return after a year off during COVID restrictions.
With the exception of 2020, the event has been running for 21 years, but now organisers are revving up their engines to coordinate the 2021 festival.
It's set to go ahead on October 30 at Alma Park.
Event coordinator Leanne Doran said the community event would feature an inflatable ride, a giant slide, giant jumping castles, a rock-climbing wall, and a merry-go-round.
"We close the national highway and have a street parade, market stalls, the school groups provide barbecues and food, we have inflatable rides and activities where kids only need to buy a $2 wristband and they can go on as many as they like," Ms Doran said.
"The main purpose of the event is to make it so everyone isn't disadvantaged by not being able to attend."
Uralla councillors recently voted at the April ordinary meeting to allocate $12,000 in the Uralla Shire Council budget for the event.
Mayor Michael Pearce said these funds, plus in-kind support from the council, was "so good for festival goers and the community as well".
"It's been going on since the early 90s so it's an important festival for the community," Cr Pearce said.
Cr Bob Crouch said it was good news that Australia had managed the COVID crisis as good as it has, because the event drew about 4000-5000 people to town.
Ms Doran said there was a lot more organisation to do, as it usually took 18 months to plan.
To get involved with the event, visit the Thunderbolts Festival website or Facebook page, or call Leanne Doran on 0488 559 928.
Who is Captain Thunderbolt?
McCrossin's Mill Museum director Kent Mayo has given the Leader a full run-down of just who Captain Thunderbolt was.
That wasn't always his name, though.
Born Frederick Wordsworth Ward in 1835, he became a "great rider", because in those days "of course horses were the main mode of transport".
"When he was a teenager he got mixed up with some relatives who were stealing horses and got accused of stealing," Mr Mayo said.
"He was sent off to Cockatoo Island prison in about 1858."
Somehow, he managed to escape in 1863 with another convict, which no one had ever managed to do before.
"The harbour was shark-infested in those days, so people still wonder how he did that," Mr Mayo said.
From here, they headed north to Uralla and began a life of robbery: roaming NSW and south QLD to rob stage coaches for the most part.
He was somewhat of a gentleman as he never threatened women, according to Mr Mayo.
But even with a £400 reward, the police couldn't catch up with him. This was until May 1870 when a young off-duty police officer did.
There was a shootout between Captain Thunderbolt and the officer, which ended in the bushranger dying.
There are multiple stories as to how he came to be Captain Thunderbolt, though.
The most popular story, Mr Mayo said, was when he was holding up a toll gate in Rutherford.
"[Thunderbolt] bashed on the door with a piece of metal and the toll keeper said 'who's making all that thunder?' and he opened the door and Thunderbolt said 'I'm doing the thunder and this is my bolt'," he said.
Another story says that young Frederick Ward was skinny with fiery red hair during a time when there was a brand of matches called 'Thunderbolt'.
This tale believes his father called him Thunderbolt as a result.
Mr Mayo said the most romantic story was that of a former girlfriend. She said at one time it was "amazing how he escapes from police because he rides like a thunderbolt".
No story has been the confirmed origin of his name.
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