The Manchester Reef, Chewton

July 26, 2015 - 7 Responses

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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.

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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.

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We walked down a track, crossed a gully and further on up a hill, began seeing the familiar waste heaps of a mine.

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The Manchester Reef site has a horizontal shaft…….

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‘No Katie, we are not going in that big, scary hole.’

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…. and a open cut mine where the top of the ridge was unzipped and the reef material scooped out.

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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.

Red Flowers

July 17, 2015 - 9 Responses

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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.

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The Chinese Section of the Castlemaine Cemetery

July 4, 2015 - 7 Responses

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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.

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A Garden Remembered

June 26, 2015 - 7 Responses

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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.

 

Redemption

June 18, 2015 - 5 Responses

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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.

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The Big Tree Suffers New Battle Wounds

June 10, 2015 - 5 Responses

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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.   DSCN3502

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This photograph shows the remains of a bee hive.

The Vaughan – Tarilta Road Bridge

June 1, 2015 - 5 Responses

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 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.

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Some one is making a point through this informal art installation about the ongoing closure of the bridge.

Ode to Autumn

May 23, 2015 - 16 Responses

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 The colours and fruits of autumn have captured my attention over the past few months when this series of photographs was taken.

I was hobbling around as I recovered from a leg injury which meant my ability to walk any great distance was impaired… so I carried my camera and Katie learnt patience as we proceeded on our gentle walks.

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 None of the trees and plants featured in this post are native to Australia. Their origins are in other parts of the world. Some have been carefully planted whilst others have escaped and settled where conditions have suited them.

Australian trees are generally evergreen shedding their leaves throughout the year. More leaves are shed during summer or times of drought to conserve water.

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I revelled in the intense, bright colours of foliage.

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Autumn is the season of fruitfulness for a variety of plants.

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The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in its autumn mood.

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An Autumn Afternoon in Vaughan

May 14, 2015 - 7 Responses

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 The last few days have been very wintry – cold, grey with fitful sun and biting winds.

So, I am cheering myself up with publishing this post about a visit to Vaughan on a beautiful, warm autumn day on Friday, the 1st of May.

The township of Vaughan is situated on the junction of the Loddon River and Fryers Creek which have carved a narrow, steep valley.

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 The bush at the top of the valley.

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Looking across the valley to the rocky slope opposite.

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 The Vaughan Springs Reserve lies at the bottom of the valley. The mineral springs have attracted day visitors for many years. The reserve has seen better days when it was more popular with visitors but the giant slide has been maintained and the plantings of exotic trees supplemented with newer plantings.

The trees glowed with autumn colour in the bright sun.

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 I didn’t have time to draw that afternoon so I picked some leaves and made this pastel drawing  later.

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Giant Sunflower Garden

May 5, 2015 - 7 Responses

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The entrance to the garden

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The sunflowers stand tall and proud.

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The garden is full of colourful flowers.

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Giant insects fly and crawl about.

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There are birds watching over the garden.

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The Giant Sunflower Garden was created by the students of  Newstead Primary School under the guidance of Karen Pierce, a local artist. The birds were painted by an artist exhibiting as part of the Spadeworks exhibition in the Newstead Community Centre. The school children’s art and the exhibition were part of the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival  held from the 13th to the 22nd of March.

 

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