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.

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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.

Andersons’ Mill Festival, Smeaton
April 9, 2017

Unlike today which is cold and wet, Sunday, the 2nd of April was cool and dry – a good day to attend the Anderson’s Mill Food, Wine and Music Festival in Smeaton.

Situated in a valley on the banks of Birch’s Creek, the Mill is hidden from view by those travelling along the Creswick Smeaton Road. The 5 storey blue stone building with its iron water wheel was built by the Anderson brothers in 1861. The brothers arrived on the goldfields from Scotland in 1851 and were successful as diggers. They went on to become saw millers supplying the gold industry and built the Mill to take advantage of the local agricultural and population boom.

The Anderson family operated the Mill for almost 100 years until it closed in 1959. The Mill remained empty until it was purchased by the Victorian State Government in 1987 when restoration work began. The Mill is currently listed on the National Estates Register of the Australian Heritage Commission.

The Anderson’s Mill Festival is very much a local community event with Parks Victoria and organisations such as the Hepburn Shire Council and Newlyn Football/Netball Club working together.

 

On the day of the Festival, the ground and first floors of the Mill were open to the public.

 

 

This is the top of the water wheel as seen from the first floor………

……..and this is the wheel at ground level. The wheel was operating on the day although it was not driving anything.

The remains of the grind stones. The Mill processed wheat for flour and also processed oats in an oven.

Most of the Mill’s machinery was sold for scrap when it closed.

 

The wood chop demonstration was impressive to watch – not for the faint hearted.

 

 

 

 

 

This colourful steam engine was worth a second look………

………as was this lovely Clydesdale.

 

 

Down and Out
December 21, 2016

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Back in March, some friends and I travelled to Malmsbury on a drawing expedition. I made two drawings that day – one of the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens and this one.

One of my friends likes to draw derelict buildings and these abandoned structures were ideal subjects. Situated beside the Old Calder Highway, they look very forlorn.

I used wax crayon in this drawing.

The Gold Coast
August 14, 2016

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I am guessing that not many posts about the Gold Coast commence with a photograph of the bronze head of this man, Peter J. Lacey, who was an Australian Surf Life Saving Champion from 1963 to 1984 and also, a Gold Coast business pioneer whose interests included real estate and development. This man encapsulates two main aspects of the Gold Coast – beach culture and a love of high rise apartments.

The Gold Coast which stretches south of Brisbane in Queensland to the New South Wales border is one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. Early in August, I visited family who now live there having moved from Castlemaine to be closer to their daughter and medical facilities.

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In September 2015, I was holidaying in the historic fishing village of Port Fairy – what a contrast to the bustling, high rise, urban development of the Gold Coast!

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I admired these sculptures in the Broadwater parklands. The seagull kept an eye on me but had no intention of moving from its vantage point.

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I sent a text to my cousin saying I would meet her near the big horse in Victoria Park, Broadbeach.

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My cousin took me to the botanic gardens where my aunt volunteers. I liked the mosaic highlights on this statue.

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I loved this mosaic panel at the centre of the sensory garden.

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My cousin also took me on a day trip to O’Reillys in Lamington National Park. The sculpture commemorates the rescue of the survivors of an aeroplane crash by Bernard O’Reilly in February 1937.

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This photograph gives an idea of the subtropical rainforest which Bernard O’ Reilly and other rescuers had to navigate to reach the site of the plane crash.

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Alpacas are irresistible. My cousin’s children relished the opportunity to feed them.

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The alpacas had this magnificent view whilst they munched.

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I couldn’t ignore this dramatic skyscape dwarfing the high rise.

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