Barkers Creek Viaduct, Harcourt – Then and Then and Now

June 14, 2018 - 2 Responses

In 2017, I published a post about the Barkers Creek Viaduct which was part of the railway infrastructure built in the late 1850s to early 1860s to connect Melbourne and its sea port with Echuca, a major river port on the Murray, by rail.

This is how it looked in 1860 shortly after it was built.

 

More than 30 years later in 1894, there were still sightseers and different vegetation.

Today, the viaduct is still in active service nearly 160 years after it was built.

The viaduct is still the same but the nature of its surroundings has changed as the character of the vegetation has changed.

I recently purchased a fridge magnet of the 1894 photograph from a stall holder at Wesley Hill Market. I was delighted to find I could down load the photograph which is held in the collection of Museums Victoria. The photographer was a M. Law.

 

 

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The First Day of Winter 2018

June 2, 2018 - 8 Responses

It was the first day of winter, the 1st of June, and a perfect day to visit the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens to take photographs.

The early morning frost had melted by 10.00am and the day was bright and clear. The sky an intense blue, the shadows the right length, the willows, elms and oaks clad in gold and russet and ……. there was a work crew in full throttle, vehicles on the grass, men wearing High Vis, chain saws whirring and whining, ride on mowers manicuring the grass. Ah well, best get on with it.

Firstly, a few views around Lake Joanna which looked gorgeous having recovered from a long bout of algal bloom which had turned the lake pea green.

 

 

Then time to take a walk along my favourite part of the gardens – the walk along Barkers Creek where the path is lined with oaks.

The low slung sun shining through the gold foliage created a magical light.

I passed under the branches of the BIG OAK which was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The BIG OAK is the oldest planting in the gardens. It shelters the play ground. My house could easily fit under its canopy.

 

This is an old postcard of the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in its heyday. Today, the garden happily exists without the cannon.

Dilapidation

May 26, 2018 - 7 Responses

I have made the former Senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College the subject of a photographic project.

The grounds of the campus were increasingly neglected over recent years. Since the Senior campus moved to join the Junior campus, the site has also been subject to vandalism.

I took these photographs as I walked around the grounds of the school over the past few months.

Today, I was reminded how temporary a situation can be. The shattered windows I documented in a previous post are now boarded up. The paint spattered over asphalt is lifting and peeling and being dispersed. There was a work crew removing fallen branches and mowing grass to tidy the grounds.

It was encouraging to see the site has not been abandoned altogether and perhaps, new life will be breathed into the place in the next few months. Who knows?

 

It is not often that a vegetable looms large in the mind of a graffitist.

This window is now completely boarded up.

 

These photos were taken today. I wanted to show the shapes the blue sky made through the broken roofing material.

A new tree has taken root on a stairway.

I guess this is a long forgotten art project.

Katie, my field assistant, generally explores whilst I mess about taking photographs.

Belleville, Dunolly

May 14, 2018 - 6 Responses

Belleville opened its gates and doors to the public on the weekend of 21 – 22 April 2018 as part of the Open Gardens, Victoria autumn season.

Situated in the small goldfields town of Dunolly, the residence was built in the mid 1860s by up and coming young business man, James Bell, who built a successful career in business, banking and local and state politics.

The current owners restored the house and redeveloped the garden in the early 2000s. The new garden is designed to be in harmony with the house, replicating some of the original layout where possible.

 

The old water cistern has been preserved………

…………and the new shed is built from materials recycled from an earlier shed.

The current owners have established a vegetable garden using wicking beds

………. and these rustic climbing towers for peas.

Fruit trees provide produce and shade on hot days.

Quinces and ………

……….. pomegranates are highly ornamental.

These pots are arranged near the detached building which was formerly the kitchen, bathroom and servants’ quarters. Detached kitchens were common as a safety measure. A fire in the kitchen could be contained and would not endanger the main house.

There are plantings of hardy lavender and perennials around the bird baths.

Unusually, this planter contains thyme another hardy plant.

The pond and covered walkway along this side of the house are cooling in summer.

The long walkway covered in ornamental grape vines is magnificent especially when it is decked with the colours of autumn.

 

James Bell

Random Art

May 6, 2018 - 10 Responses

Here is another post inspired by the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College.

Containers of liquid paint have been dropped and splooshed to create random art on asphalt and concrete.

I liked the way the shadows from a small eucalypt contributed to the artistry of these images.

It was an interesting exercise circling around to capture the artsiest sprays, splodges and blobs.

 

 

This one incorporated natural elements of earth, leaves and bark.

 

In a radical move, a vertical surface was given the random art treatment.

Scotsman’s Hill, Kyneton

April 26, 2018 - 5 Responses

Scotsman’s Hill was the second garden in Kyneton my friend and I visited on Sunday, the 8th of April. Scotsman’s Hill is situated on the crest of the hill so there are extensive views to admire…………..

……….across the town,……

………. to distant Mount Macedon………..

………….and the nearby racecourse.

An old hawthorn hedge marks the boundary of part of the property.

These decorative panels were made by Tait Decorative Iron, a Castlemaine company.

The owners of the property also enjoy garden sculpture.

The little, grinning dog sitting on the deck among the potted plants caught my eye. I must keep an eye out for one of these.

The sloping land adjacent to the house is filled with plants.

I was attracted to this succulent with its striking leaves.

Brocklebank, Kyneton

April 21, 2018 - 9 Responses

On the 8th of April, a friend and I journeyed to Kyneton to see gardens which were open as part of Open Gardens Victoria.

I took photographs in two of the gardens – Brocklebank and Scotsman’s Hill which are both on a hill giving fine views of the Kyneton race track.

This post features Brocklebank, the first of the gardens we visited.

 

As we puffed up the steep driveway, we stopped to admire the view up the slope. This garden bed is planted with grasses and clipped westringias.

There are clipped westringias throughout the garden

Sculpture enhances the garden or does the garden enhance the sculpture?

I like these distinctive pine cones. I have learnt that, unlike other pine cones, these ones fall apart as they age.

There are many conifers planted in the garden.

These seed heads are interesting and unusual whilst the bright red, winged seed capsules are eye catching.

There is a large vegetable patch. Little cages protect the tender leaves.

The gardener wishing to take a break, can sit in one of these colourful chairs and contemplate the view across the paddock.

Copper and Silver

April 15, 2018 - 9 Responses

In my previous post featuring the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College, I focused on the unexpected beauty of some shattered windows. In my wanderings around the site, my eyes were drawn to the bark of this eucalyptus tree with its shimmering colours of copper and silver.

As clouds drifted across the sky, I waited patiently until the sun came out again so I could capture the brightly shining colours.

Of course, as I examined the trunk and branches, I discovered interesting lumps, bumps, textures and drips of sap.

They make beautiful images.

Beautiful Mica Grange in Autumn 2018

April 9, 2018 - 8 Responses

We had glorious weather for Easter and Easter Sunday, when I visited Mica Grange with a friend, was no exception.

People who have read my posts over an extended period know I keep returning to Mica Grange because of their garden art and sculpture exhibitions. The setting for these exhibitions is a beautiful garden with extensive views over the Sutton Grange valley.

Sitting on the deck enjoying a light lunch (and yummy cake) and admiring the view is one of  life’s little pleasures.


Michael Parker’s sculpture was my favourite this time round.

Michael does beautiful work. He is a Daylesford artist and has his own gallery and studio.


This giant eucalypt blossom was attention grabbing.


 

These easy care chooks have great appeal. No need to worry about foxes.


There were plenty of rose blooms to enjoy especially if pink is your colour.


The blossoms of this eucalyptus were a magnet for bees.

I was delighted to see this protea flowering. Usually proteas are in full swing in spring.

 

I took home a snail just like this. No need to worry about it snacking on any tender greens.

 

The Shattered Windows

March 30, 2018 - 15 Responses

One of my regular walks is in the grounds of the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College.

In the period leading up to the school’s relocation to another site, the grounds were increasingly unloved as only essential maintenance was being performed.

Whilst the Castlemaine Secondary College continues to use part of the campus, the buildings and grounds are becoming increasingly dilapidated as they continue to be neglected and are the target of vandals.

I have begun taking photographs of the site as a creative project.

I was taking photographs of this window when I noticed a bee sitting motionless in the middle of the cracked glass…….

 

………..so I took a closer look.

When the sun was shining, the cracks and holes in these windows cast the most marvelous shadows on the drawn blinds.

To my eyes, the spidery shadows were like the fine lines of etchings.

I was fascinated.

I think I am being influenced by the work of photographers who can see the magical in the most ordinary of things.