Archive for July, 2015

The Manchester Reef, Chewton
July 26, 2015

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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.

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Red Flowers
July 17, 2015

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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

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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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