Archive for the ‘buildings’ Category

The Mill, Castlemaine
May 27, 2020

The Mill refers to the site of the old Castlemaine Woollen Mill which began operations in 1875. The Castlemaine Woollen Company became a major employer in the town whilst it manufactured woollen products especially blankets. New owners, Victoria Carpets, used the site as part of its carpet manufacturing operations from 1992 until 1996 when all manufacturing ceased after a fire destroyed a major part of the premises.

The site remained abandoned until roughly 10 years ago when a local GP and her farmer husband bought The Mill and began a process of transformation. The Mill is now a place tenanted by makers, small commercial enterprises and retailers. It is a destination for locals and tourists alike.

I took the photographs over a period of months.

 

The iconic chimney was built in 1923.

Beyond the bakery is Oakwood, home of delicious small goods including smoked trout, smoked lamb and pate – no prizes for guessing what I like to buy.

The site has solid brick industrial buildings as well as a collection of sheds like this one.

This is the distinctive face of The Mill.

This mural honours the workers who made the woollen products during The Mill’s manufacturing days.

This was the poster on display at the time of the photograph. The current poster is of a man wearing a horned hat.

This is my favourite piece of wall art. It is located next to Sprout Bakery.

It was a challenge taking the photos without a stand dispensing free doggie poo bags getting in the way.

The former drying shed is now a studio and exhibition space for artists.

There are interesting shapes formed by the metal components of a small gazebo created by an onsite metal fabricator.

These decorate the wall near the cafe.

 

Lastly, photos taken in some of the corners of the site of things which caught my eye.

I visit The Mill to buy fruit and vegetables, bakery products and small goods. I have eaten the icecream made there, dined in the Austrian themed cafe, Das Kaffee Haus, and experienced art exhibitions and events.

Still Standing, Chewton
July 2, 2019

This old building has intrigued me for quite a while. I am sure that when it was in active use it served a variety of purposes over time.

There is a large opening at one end which has been roughly filled with granite stones. Below the opening there is old stone work, the remnants of a demolished structure.

I needed to reimagine the window and doors as new security hoarding was covering these features when I arrived to make this crayon drawing.

The land use around the building has altered dramatically since its construction. It is wedged between the clubrooms of the Chewton recreation reserve, the public toilets and new water tanks.

The fact the building is still standing demonstrates it holds some significance for the Chewton community.

Fryerstown
August 3, 2018

Deep in the bush south of Chewton is the settlement of Fryerstown.

Fryerstown owes its existence to the discovery of gold in the early 1850s. At its height, Fryerstown had a population of 20,000 and all the services and facilities a thriving town required.

I have published a post about the Fryerstown cemetery in the past. This post focuses on the settlement itself. My photographs were taken over a period of some months.

First of all, a painting by renowned gold fields painter, S.T. Gill, of Fryers Creek as Fryerstown was known in 1852. The painting depicts the very early days when the town was being established.

The town may have had numerous shops, 25 hotels and 5 breweries in the 1850s and 60s, but today, this is Fryerstown central.

 

A sealed road connects Fryerstown with Chewton and Vaughan Springs.

Some of the substantial buildings have survived. The public hall had a library at the rear.

The All Saints Anglican Church and ………

…………old court house are now private homes.

This old house is well preserved.

There is no post office currently operating in Fryerstown. The mail is delivered via roadside delivery.

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Exterminate! Exterminate!

Small scale, local commerce.

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It is a while since the sports facilities were used. Katie inspects the cricket ground and the nets.

I couldn’t resist this photograph taken by Lyle Fowler in the late 1930s/early 1940s. There are a lot more trees in Fryerstown now.

Both of the historic items come from the collection of the State Library of Victoria.

Dilapidation
May 26, 2018

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

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

The Shattered Windows
March 30, 2018

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.

 

Stone Cottage, Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 22, 2018

This is my interpretation of the stone cottage near the place in Specimen Gully where gold was first discovered in the Mount Alexander district.

I found making this charcoal drawing quite challenging as the cottage wouldn’t fit on the A4 page. I also found depicting the texture of the stonewalls difficult.

I found my eye kept being drawn to the trees which surrounded the cottage so I paid a bit of attention to them.

 

 

 

Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 16, 2018

The discovery of gold in 1851 resulted in the gold rush to the Mount Alexander gold fields.

This cairn was erected near the site of the discovery of gold by three shepherds and a bullock driver. Specimen Gully was on land owned by Dr. William Barker who ran sheep on a large property since the early 1840s.

On the site is an old, crumbling cottage which was once the home of the John Worley mentioned on the plaque.

Bella Donna lilies dot the goldfields where there were once gardens. There are a number of these hardy survivors around the cottage. As you can see, neither rich garden soil nor regular watering are required for showy blooms.

The cottage and the cairn were built of locally mined slate. The cottage was extended at least once.

These ‘looking through’ shots are for you, Enivea.

St. John’s Anglican Church, Chewton
June 2, 2017

St. John’s is the only remaining church in Chewton still used as a place of worship. It is part of the Anglican Parish of Castlemaine. It is typical of a small country church.

Nothing fancy, as the stone slab for a back step demonstrates.

The church is set on a hill among gum trees and overlooks the township.

I like the coloured glass windows which give me the feeling of being inside a jewel box.

I like watching the play of light as the sun streams through the windows when…..

 

 

…………I attend the concerts held in the church in the afternoon of the last Sunday of the month during autumn and winter.

The concerts are informal affairs with local singers, poets and musicians donating their talents to help raise funds for the maintenance of the church.

The Castlemaine district is home to a wealth of makers of stringed and wind instruments. Here Michael Sweeney is about to play his lute. People with a keen eye will note that Michael who is left handed, has made a left handed lute.

Dave De Hugard is a well known folklorist and musician who has been collecting and researching Australian bush dance tunes for years. He is playing Australian old time dance tunes on his piano accordion and concertina.

Solway Nutting is playing Bach with her husband on violin and friend on keyboards in harpsichord mode.

With afternoon tea provided, the concerts are a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Chewton Sculptures
May 28, 2017

Richard Yates, sculptor, has been busy carving and whittling away since my previous post on this subject, as two more life size sculptures have been added to the Chewton streetscape.

Robert Penney, ‘Bread and Biscuit Baker, Confectioner and General Grocer’, stands ready to serve customers in his shop.

Robert who was born in Bath, England in 1848, accompanied his father to the Chewton goldfields in 1854. He established his bakery in the 1870s and operated the business until 1923. Robert and his wife, Ann Maria, had 10 children.

The yellow tins of Barnes Castlemaine Rock are still sold today.

The building with the peeling white paint housed Robert Penney’s bakery.

Outside the Chewton Senior Citizens Centre, Alice Dennis waves cheerily to passers-by.

Alice, 1923 – 2004, was one of those community stalwarts who help to make small communities function.

She started early, raising funds for the war effort during World War 2. Together with her 4 sisters, they formed a dance troupe, The McLennan Sisters, who performed through out local communities.

The sculpture honours Alice as a Life Time Member of the Chewton Senior Citizens. She served on many local committees including the Chewton Primary School’s Mothers Club.

The containers Alice is holding are a reminder of her famous baked treats.

The Senior Citizens Centre is a former Sunday School.

I was interested to read in the local press that the sculptures created by Richard Yates have attracted some controversy. There are local regulations relating to preserving Chewton’s historic streetscape. These sculptures of Chewton identities are seen by some as being at odds with those bylaws.