I recently acquired pieces of white card measuring approximately 20cm square. They will provide the format for a series of simple collages.
This is the first. Hunger inspired the subject.
The Eureka Reef site is near Chewton. The site forms part of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Here a range of quartz and alluvial gold mines operated from the mid 1850s to the 1950s.
There are deep vertical shafts. A concrete slab covers the shaft in the car park. Visitors can gaze into the inky blackness through an observation hole.
Gold bearing quartz was ripped from the hill leaving a deep chasm.
If you want a closer look, check out this video on You Tube:
There are hand dug water races. Water races were used in sluicing operations to wash through layers of gravel to extract gold.
There are bits of buildings here and bits of buildings there.
Cyanide tanks were used to extract gold from tailings in the 1930s.
Instead of a vertical chimney, miners built a Cornish chimney which follows the slope of a hill. A fire heated water which created steam which drove the batteries which crushed the quartz to extract the gold……..the noise must have been horrendous!
Nothing in here!
The chimney is beautifully and expertly made.
The top of the chimney is at the top of the slope.
Silken petals glimmering in the early morning sun,
At home on waste ground
Sustained only by meagre offerings from summer’s skies
and Roo Poo.
This group of hollyhocks growing on a hillside near the old Castlemaine tip are a surprising sight. Perhaps they are the remnants of an old garden. I took these photographs in early 2015.
Most weeks, Katie and I spend time walking in the local bushland.
After I have shopped at the Wesley Hill market on Saturday mornings, we often go for a walk in the bushland around nearby Chewton.
During the latter half of the 1850s, what is now quiet bushland, was a mining and industrial landscape dotted with temporary settlements. It is common to see evidence of the activity of those times on our walks.
Some of the more well known historical sites such as the Manchester Reef have a sign but others are unmarked.
This chimney and fireplace are the remains of a more substantial building. It sits on a raised platform and faces the remnants of a street.
We walked down a track, crossed a gully and further on up a hill, began seeing the familiar waste heaps of a mine.
The Manchester Reef site has a horizontal shaft…….
‘No Katie, we are not going in that big, scary hole.’
…. and a open cut mine where the top of the ridge was unzipped and the reef material scooped out.
Katie has managed not to fall over any cliffs or get lost in any mines.
On Monday, 27th of June 1898, ‘The Argus’ newspaper reported on ‘The Gunpowder Outrage at Chewton’. The ‘Argus’ reported the attempt to injure the Chinese, Ah Lin, at Manchester Reef by placing a parcel of gunpowder in a crevice of his hut at daybreak on Wednesday morning. A man, James Barnes, was arrested.
The Passion and Fire
of the red flowers
Echo my heart.
Tuesday, 29th July 2o08
This is another drawing of my former garden in Ferntree Gully.
The Chinese section of the Castlemaine cemetery is tucked away behind the Baptists.
During the gold era of the second half of the 1800s, the Chinese formed a substantial part of the Victorian population. They, too, hoped to make their fortunes from gold and flocked to the gold fields of Ballarat, Bendigo and Mount Alexander. At a time when the population of Castlemaine was 35,000, approximately 25% of the population was Chinese.
Their different appearance, language and customs meant they could encounter hostility and racist attitudes. However, the Chinese miners were recognised for their industry. Some Chinese also went on to other occupations supplying the gold fields with fresh vegetables, running restaurants and becoming marchants.
Today, there is little evidence of the Chinese community in the Shire of Mount Alexander apart from dedicated sections of local cemeteries.
In Castlemaine, a Chinese temple built in the 1880s was demolished in the 1960s.
In the nearby regional city of Bendigo or Dai Gum San (Big Gold Mountain) as it was known to the Chinese, much more has been done to preserve its Chinese heritage.
Calm and content I sit,
The late sun
Dapples the green of my backyard.
Monday, 28th of July 2008
This is the first post in a series featuring drawings I made of my former garden in Ferntree Gully.
This crayon drawing is inspired by my thoughts and feelings about the executions of Australian citizens, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia on the 29th of April 2015.
On the 8th of October 2014, I published a post about the Big Tree at Guildford.
On Saturday evening, the 28th of February 2015, a cold front preceded by damaging winds swept across Victoria. Locally, the winds had a devastating impact on significant trees – uprooting some and causing major damage to others. Bushland areas from Daylesford to Guildford, from Castlemaine to Elphinstone are now littered with splintered and fallen trees.
Luckily, there was only minor damage to buildings and no one locally was injured or killed. Unfortunately, there was loss of life elsewhere.
As you can see from the photographs, the Big Tree did not escape the battering winds unscathed. With the loss of some of its major spreading branches, the width of the canopy is now diminished. However, this loss forms another chapter in the life of this long lived tree so it will be interesting to see what happens to the tree in years to come.
This photograph shows the remains of a bee hive.
This post illustrates one of the unexpected drawbacks of rural living. The Vaughan – Tarilta Bridge crosses the Loddon River providing access for a small number of Vaughan residents to the main sealed road which connects Vaughan to nearby Fryers Town, Guildford and Castlemaine.
The bridge was closed in September 2012 after it fell into disrepair thus isolating residents from reliable access to the main road. The residents rely on a ford across the Loddon River used by emergency vehicles. This works only whilst the Loddon is dry. The residents’ other option is to drive along a gravel road to the main road via the tiny settlement of Tarilta. The gravel road passes through a farm property complete with free ranging geese and cows.
Residents were understandably upset when earlier this year, the Mt. Alexander Shire Council announced the kerbside waste and recycling collection services were being withdrawn because the bridge was impassable. The council expected the affected residents to take their waste to the transfer stations at Castlemaine or Maldon where a fee is charged or engage a private waste contractor. There was no mention of a reduction in the council rates payable by the residents – Grrrr!
The local press has documented the ongoing saga of attempts by council and local politicians to find funding so the Vaughan – Tarilta Bridge can be rebuilt.
Some one is making a point through this informal art installation about the ongoing closure of the bridge.