Archive for September, 2014

Birthday Villa Winery
September 25, 2014



Birthday Villa Winery was one of the open gardens I visited on Sunday, the 7th of September during the Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival.

The garden circles the 1870s verandahed, brick house.


 It is a daffodil festival so daffodils you will have –




– and blossom flowering in the orchard.








The vineyard at the front of the property overlooks the old Calder Highway leading into the township of Malmsbury.



 The vineyards at the rear of the property give impressive views of the Malmsbury viaduct and old blue stone buildings at the Malmsbury station.

The viaduct was built in the early 1860s as part of  the construction of the first railway from Melbourne to the Murray River.





The produce of the vines.


Volcano Chasing
September 20, 2014


 This collage was inspired by the excursion to view some of the local extinct volcanoes. It is a work of the imagination and was fun to make.

As  part of the Newstead ‘Words in Winter Celebration’ held during August, I joined an eager band of explorers to learn more about the volcanic history of our region.

With the guidance of seismologist, Gary Gibson, we learnt about the Muckleford Fault which accounts for the earthquakes in the region, the interplate volcanoes which dot the area between Campbell Town and Smeaton and the local deep lead mines.

The volcanoes which were the objects of our attention were active millions of years before the existence of modern human beings. Mt. Franklin, near Daylesford, is a mere pup at around 10,000 years old. It erupted within the memory of modern human beings with local indigenous people having an oral history of sisters hurling rocks at each other.





The open air learning centre

DSCN2980Gary Gibson – tutor, guide and enthusiastic volcano chaser



Gazing across the paddocks


There ‘s one –


And there’s another. These green, cloud patterned hills are the volcanoes of ages past.



This being central Victoria, there had to be gold mines somewhere. Those pesky volcanoes spewed out lava which flowed across the gold bearing valleys which meant deep shafts had to be dug through the layer of basalt to reach the riches below. Great hills of spoil dot the landscape marking the sites of the now abandoned mines.

Buda – Historic House and Garden in Castlemaine
September 14, 2014



Today, Sunday the 14th of September, my friend, Jennie and I visited Buda, Castlemaine’s  grand property featuring a large house and extensive garden.

Buda was purchased by Ernest Leviny, a Hungarian silversmith and jeweller in 1863. He moved into the house with his second wife, Bertha, in 1864. The couple had 10 children and Buda remained the family’s home until 1981 when Hilda, the last surviving daughter, died at 98 years of age. The house was extensively renovated between 1890 and 1900 during which time it was given the name of  Buda. The property is now in community ownership being part of the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum.

I am going to feature Buda in two posts, this first post features the garden.

The garden of 1.2 hectares was developed to reflect the tastes and interests of the family. Earnest Leviny was a member of the Mount Alexander (Castlemaine) Horticulture and Agricultural Society and was eager to acquire the plants of interest to collectors in the Victorian era. Whilst the family employed a team of gardeners, they were also hands on gardeners themselves. Hilda was still working in the garden in her 90s.





As adults, the Leviny daughters were keen followers of the arts and crafts movement. This sun dial and fountain were made by Dorothy who specialised in metal and enamel work.


The garden was altered to meet the changing needs of the family. The fountain and pond are part of a garden built to replace the tennis court. The old tennis pavilion now sits in a garden setting.




Yes, that’s me.


Bringalbit – Sidonia
September 7, 2014



It is early spring and the festival season is now upon us. Kyneton is hosting its annual Daffodil and Arts Festival from the 4th to the 14th of September. The big attraction for me is the open gardens.

Taking advantage of the fine weather, I visited two gardens today – Sunday, the 7th.

This post features Bringalbit, a farming property in the rural area of Sidonia.

The 1870s granite house sits in an extensive park with a lake and garden. The conifers and deciduous trees which were planted in the late 1800s are of stately proportions but the park and gardens are in need of renovation and rejuvenation. The fallen timber, the overgrown gully beneath the wall of the lake, the feral blackberries and the unpruned roses give the property a melancholy appearance. However, there are still things to delight the eye especially the surrounding country of rolling granite hills.













Around the house. In addition to two peacocks, there were pea hens and other poultry free ranging about the place.



Looking across the lake and across the paddocks.






Sheep doing what sheep normally do – eating.