Archive for the ‘Gold fields’ Category

Maldon Cemetery
June 16, 2019

Recently, I was standing at a lookout known as the Rock of Ages in the Nuggetty Ranges when I saw that Maldon’s cemetery lay at my feet. This provided the inspiration to visit the cemetery this sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Here is the view looking up to the Nuggetty Range.

Whilst I was admiring the view across to Mt. Tarrengower, I noticed a brick tower in the distance so I made my way across.

Just as I thought, it was a Chinese oven or burning tower used in Chinese funeral ceremonies. I was disappointed that all evidence of Chinese burials had disappeared unlike the Castlemaine cemetery.

The oven is listed by the National Trust which helps to ensure its preservation.

Locally, the main evidence of the Chinese presence on the goldfields is in the cemeteries as joss houses or temples were demolished years ago.

 

I like the memorials descendants have erected to their pioneering ancestors.

 

This headstone of an Irish family features a harp which I haven’t seen before.

The old sexton’s cottage stands at the entrance to the cemetery.

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Chewton Scarlet
May 14, 2019

Now is the time for the ornamental grape vines which bedeck local verandahs and fences to shine.

I was driving around Chewton when I took the photographs of these scarlet beauties.

 

The verandah of a house situated close to the Fryerstown Road stands out.

 

I admired the yellow leaves contrasting with the red.

 

There is a lot to like in this view – the string of red leaves against the muted colours of the stone wall topped by the rose hips and olives.

The verandah of the Red Hill Hotel in the main street of Chewton looks very festive.

Mica Grange Flowers
January 12, 2019

I have made several visits to Mica Grange since I moved to Castlemaine almost 6 years ago.

Mica Grange is a large country garden perched on the slopes of Mt. Alexander overlooking the Sutton Grange Valley.

I have always enjoyed the sculpture exhibitions, the panoramic views, Bede’s productive garden, Mary’s food and the flowers.

Here are some of my favourite photos of the flowers of Mica Grange. Some were taken on my most recent visit in November 2018 and others from earlier visits.

 

It is hard to ignore the proteas when they are in flower. Of the open gardens I have visited, Mica Grange has the most extensive collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with many other open gardens in this district, roses abound. When they are in flower, what’s not to like?

Roses may need pruning, dead heading and protection from pests and diseases, but they are remarkably hardy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also Australian native flowering shrubs and trees.

There is plenty to delight the eye at Mica Grange.

Wedderburn Gardens 2018
October 30, 2018

As I headed off to Wedderburn for their Garden Expo on Sunday, 21 October, it was a bright, warm day with a clear, blue sky. I could not help but notice that between Maldon and Wedderburn, the dams in the paddocks were mere puddles – a sobering sight indeed. It is going to be a hard summer.

Wedderburn lies north west of Bendigo in an area of low rainfall. This year there was virtually no rain in winter.

It was interesting to see how gardeners have coped with clay and rock and recent severe frosts followed by high temperatures.

The front garden at Wedderburn Community Centre has been developed by students undertaking landscaping courses at the centre.

I have a yellow version of this plant. I thought the colour of the flowers was really striking.

Hardy native shrubs have been planted including…….

…….. Eremophilas and ………..

………grevillias.

Hayden and Jennifer’s garden is still under construction on a site which was previously a retail nursery. Some of their initial plant choices were disastrous but experience is teaching them what will survive in Wedderburn’s conditions. I have a feeling some struggling box plants may disappear in the future.

Like the community centre, Hayden and Jennifer use raised beds for their plantings.

 

I enjoyed these yellow pig faces as did the bees.

A large, climbing white rose is a remnant of the former nursery.

Lorraine’s garden is a series of mounds built from clay and rock decorated with all manner of found objects.

The mounds have mainly been planted with succulents.

These maiden hair ferns are thriving in a micro climate provided by a sheltered verandah.

Something a Bit Different
October 24, 2018

Last Sunday, 21 October 2018, I travelled to Wedderburn for their Garden Expo. Wedderburn is a township which forms the northern apex of the Golden Triangle. The other points of the triangle are Avoca¬† and Castlemaine. The towns and bushland bounded by the triangle are a Mecca for gold fossickers with their metal detectors. The triangle is reputed to be the world’s richest alluvial gold nugget region famous for the purity, large size and quantity of gold nuggets found over the decades since the 1850s.

What makes this post a bit different is it is not about the gardens I visited but about the cafe where I had lunch. The 24 Karat Cafe is the only cafe in Wedderburn. I sat in the courtyard at the rear of the cafe and contemplated the illustrations with their thought provoking sayings.

 

First up, this sign was the first to attract my attention. It is painted on an old door.

My gaze travelled round to the doors of a small building which housed a store room and the toilet – dunny, outhouse, loo, lavatory, John or bathroom depending where you come from.

I noticed a person coming out of the toilet returned with his smart phone.

When it was my turn to use the toilet, I discovered the reason – the walls are covered with more illustrations. I, too, was busy snapping away. These are some of my favourites.

I was amused by these illustrations with their humorous take on life in Wedderburn.

The football code the Redbacks play is Australian Rules Football.

Poverty Gully Garden, Castlemaine
September 24, 2018

Today was perfect for visiting an open garden.

Gardens of the HEDGE (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) have six gardens open during the period 22nd September until 7th October.

Poverty Gully Garden is in an attractive bushland setting on the edge of Castlemaine. The gardener has successfully created a garden where the challenges include poor soil, drought, severe frosts and wild life which likes to drop in for a snack. Kangaroos, wallabies, possums and hares are common on the bushland property.

If you look beyond the potted plants to the low embankment, you will see what passes for soil in Castlemaine. Yet undeterred, local gardeners rise to the challenge of creating diverse and interesting gardens.

Here are some of the views from the garden to the adjoining bushland.

The house, fencing and retaining walls are built of stone.

The gardener said there was a lot of trial and error in finding which plants would survive the demanding conditions. Her garden features plants which are bullet proof.

Native plants are used extensively throughout the garden.

The wattles are in full bloom at present.

Succulents also take pride of place.

The gardener has used succulents decoratively by inserting pieces into these old bed springs and…..

……..creating this wreath.

Pieces which survive until the 7th of October will be planted out into the garden.

Potted plants add interest to the garden as well as ………

……….the colourful mosaic work.

These pebble mosaics add great texture.

This verandah provides the right conditions ………

………for these plants to thrive.

Finally, a get-away for the grandchildren.

 

 

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.

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

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.