Archive for the ‘Harcourt’ Category

Barkers Creek Viaduct, Harcourt – Then and Then and Now
June 14, 2018

In 2017, I published a post about the Barkers Creek Viaduct which was part of the railway infrastructure built in the late 1850s to early 1860s to connect Melbourne and its sea port with Echuca, a major river port on the Murray, by rail.

This is how it looked in 1860 shortly after it was built.


More than 30 years later in 1894, there were still sightseers and different vegetation.

Today, the viaduct is still in active service nearly 160 years after it was built.

The viaduct is still the same but the nature of its surroundings has changed as the character of the vegetation has changed.

I recently purchased a fridge magnet of the 1894 photograph from a stall holder at Wesley Hill Market. I was delighted to find I could down load the photograph which is held in the collection of Museums Victoria. The photographer was a M. Law.



Charcoal View of the Barkers Creek Viaduct
October 19, 2017


When I was out admiring the Barkers Creek Viaduct near Harcourt, I enriched the experience by making this charcoal drawing.

I find whilst I am drawing, the saying that the more you look, the more you see is very true.

It was very pleasant sitting in the sun whilst communing with the viaduct.


Barkers Creek Viaduct, Harcourt
October 2, 2017

One of the local landmarks in Harcourt is this viaduct over Barkers Creek. Like its much grander cousin in Malmsbury, it was built in 1859 to 1860 as part of the construction of the railway between Melbourne and the Murray River – a significant piece of nation building at the time.

The viaduct was built of granite quarried from nearby Mount Alexander. German stonemasons constructed the viaduct which is typical of the Victorian era when there was great pride in public infrastructure. The viaduct shows fine design and craftsmanship. It has a simple beauty.

This is how the viaduct looked when it was first built. I didn’t realise at first that there is a man lying on the grass.

I didn’t realise Katie is in this photograph until I uploaded it.

Like the one at Malmsbury, the Barkers Creek viaduct is in active service with trains travelling across it at regular intervals on their journeys between Melbourne, Bendigo and Echuca.

The early photograph is from the collection at the State Library. The photographer was from Morris, Alfred and Co. 1860.

Harmony View, Harcourt
February 2, 2016


Gardens of the Hedge (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) originally began as the fringe to the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens held every two years. Between the 31st of October and the 8th of November 2015 (Cup Week to Victorians), Gardens of the Hedge opened their gardens in the ‘off’ year for the Garden Festival.

So I was very happy to visit Harmony View on the 7th of November. Harmony View is situated on the edge of the Harcourt township. The top view epitomises two main aspects of the garden – a rural outlook and callistemons.


The rural outlook


Callistemons in full bloom –




Crimson and white.












There was a small vegetable patch in raised beds.

The strawberries, whilst blurry in the photograph, looked very inviting.


Gardens of the Hedge will be opening their gardens again in September of this year. The Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens will be in full swing during Cup Week. Happy Days are ahead!

Rose Hill – Harcourt
June 6, 2014


Rose Hill is the last of the four gardens I visited on the 4th of November 2013.

As with the other gardens in this series, the garden surrounds a house built from local granite quarried at Mt. Alexander.

Rose Hill was built in 1906 and is testimony to the prosperity of the apple industry at the time.

In 1999, community opposition plus an historic tree in its grounds saved Rose Hill from demolition to make way for the new Calder Freeway.



Around the lake


By the wood pile art installation


Looking over the back gate



Ending by the granite garden wall

Bress – winery and cidery
February 26, 2014


Bress is the second of the properties I visited in Harcourt on the 4th of November 2013.

The two main reasons for being there were to admire the substantial granite home built in 1987 and to enjoy lunch.

Bress was the only property where the 120 people who were enjoying the day’s visits to the four Harcourt gardens were gathered at the same time.

Bress has a modest  ornamental and productive garden with most of the land devoted to grape vines and apple trees.

Bress has fine views of Mt. Alexander.

I photographed the garden and orchard which unfortunately give no hint of the merriment derived from the drinking of wine and cider and the eating of good food.

The day’s event had been organised by the Anglican Parish of Castlemaine to raise funds for the completion of the Meditation Garden Project on Agitation Hill, Castlemaine.




Granite Lodge – Harcourt
February 9, 2014

DSCN2610This is the first of a series of open gardens I visited on the 4th of November, 2013 in Harcourt.

The gardens had been established around houses built of granite quarried locally at Mt. Alexander.

Granite Lodge was the earliest of the houses built in the 1860s by a gold miner, Bryan McMahon, who used his earnings to build himself, and his children, fine solid houses.

I enjoyed the story about how a horse dragging a large log, would be led into the kitchen through one set of doors, the log unhitched and rolled into the fire place, and then the horse led out through another set of doors in the opposite wall of the kitchen.

The current owners have created a rose garden on the site of the old dairy and grow vines for wine.

In the garden is a building, formerly used as a cellar and smoke house, set below ground level.






Pastel Drawing: On The Road To Yoga
April 2, 2013

DSCN2374On the road to yoga, I pass

The art shop

The splashing, historic fountain

The towering cathedral – also historic.

On the road to yoga,

My heart quickens as I crest Big Hill to view familiar hills and trees stretching away before me,

And it gladens as I pass through the eucalypt  tunnels and arches.

On the road to yoga, distant  Mt. Franklin sits in the centre of the windscreen as I approach the turn off to Castlemaine and Harcourt.

On the road to yoga, I follow the curve of the poplars and pass the shrouded vines,

Lanes with evocative names mark my journey as I climb from the lowlands to the central highlands –

Havelook Street

Pepper Tree Track

Limestone Track

Strawthorn R0ad.

On the road to yoga, I turn right when I am within sight of the Chocolate Mill

Home of the most delicious, dark chocolate covered licorice bullets on the planet.

On the road to yoga,

I observe the apples ripening on the tree growing beside the lane

And watch out for snakes as I bump along the track leading to the yoga studio.

Destination reached.

19th March, 2013

I attend a weekly Dru Yoga class on a rural property near Mt. Franklin. It is an hour’s drive from where I am currently living in Bendigo.

Mt. Franklin is an extinct volcano which dominates the surrounding countryside. It is close to Hepburn and Daylesford in Victoria’s central highlands.


This is the last post I will be publishing in Bendigo. When I am writing my next post, I will be living in Castlemaine.

The Oak Forest
February 1, 2013

DSCN2342I look up through the layers of leaves and branches to the clear blue dome overhead,

An interplay of sunlight and shadow bewitch the eye as the leaves flutter,

The sun is gently warm on my skin,

I listen to the breeze, buzzing insects and birdcalls,

A butterfly hovers over dry leaves,


The Oak Forest, Mt Alexander, near Harcourt.

9th January 2013

The Oak Forest was planted in 1900 to provide tannin from acorns for local tanneries.