The First Day of Winter 2018
June 2, 2018

It was the first day of winter, the 1st of June, and a perfect day to visit the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens to take photographs.

The early morning frost had melted by 10.00am and the day was bright and clear. The sky an intense blue, the shadows the right length, the willows, elms and oaks clad in gold and russet and ……. there was a work crew in full throttle, vehicles on the grass, men wearing High Vis, chain saws whirring and whining, ride on mowers manicuring the grass. Ah well, best get on with it.

Firstly, a few views around Lake Joanna which looked gorgeous having recovered from a long bout of algal bloom which had turned the lake pea green.

 

 

Then time to take a walk along my favourite part of the gardens – the walk along Barkers Creek where the path is lined with oaks.

The low slung sun shining through the gold foliage created a magical light.

I passed under the branches of the BIG OAK which was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The BIG OAK is the oldest planting in the gardens. It shelters the play ground. My house could easily fit under its canopy.

 

This is an old postcard of the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in its heyday. Today, the garden happily exists without the cannon.

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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.

Random Art
May 6, 2018

Here is another post inspired by the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College.

Containers of liquid paint have been dropped and splooshed to create random art on asphalt and concrete.

I liked the way the shadows from a small eucalypt contributed to the artistry of these images.

It was an interesting exercise circling around to capture the artsiest sprays, splodges and blobs.

 

 

This one incorporated natural elements of earth, leaves and bark.

 

In a radical move, a vertical surface was given the random art treatment.

Copper and Silver
April 15, 2018

In my previous post featuring the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College, I focused on the unexpected beauty of some shattered windows. In my wanderings around the site, my eyes were drawn to the bark of this eucalyptus tree with its shimmering colours of copper and silver.

As clouds drifted across the sky, I waited patiently until the sun came out again so I could capture the brightly shining colours.

Of course, as I examined the trunk and branches, I discovered interesting lumps, bumps, textures and drips of sap.

They make beautiful images.

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.

 

Castlemaine Cemetery
March 23, 2018

In a previous post, I documented the Chinese section of the Castlemaine cemetery. This post takes a wander around other sections of the cemetery. The photographs were taken over a period of around 18 months.

Embedded in an embankment of the cemetery driveway are these broken pieces of headstone.

I like how they have weathered, blending in with the stony embankment.

The decorative elements are still visible.

The elaborate carving on this headstone is eye catching.

Here are three generations of women whose lives had been cut short.

How on earth did a grand daughter of Robert Burns end up in the gold fields of Castlemaine?

The ashes of my Aunt Anne are interred in a horseshoe shaped garden bed. In the spring of 2016, the roses were particularly fine.

 

 

 

 

This man’s dog continues to keep him company.

Among the eucalyptus trees, the graves are marked by natural stone memorials.

In rural communities, the volunteer firefighters are held in high regard. The captain of the Campbell’s Creek fire brigade died on active duty.

With a timber memorial at her head, this eleven year old girl continues to receive the love of her grieving family.

The Window Sill
March 16, 2018

This is the inside of my kitchen window sill which has a view of my back garden.

I like collecting bottles with interesting labels especially if there are birds or animals featured.

The jar in the middle is an old preserving jar which has been filled with objects I have scavenged on my wanderings.

 

 

 

My aunts used to buy my grandfather jars of ginger.  The green one is my favourite.

 

This is the outside of my kitchen window sill which gives a view of my kitchen. I established the array of potted succulents so my cat, Belle, couldn’t sit on the sill and make holes in the flywire screen – very annoying.

I was intrigued by the reflections in the window as they blurred the boundaries between inside and outside.

 

An old plastic jug makes an ideal plant container. I used a heated knife to make holes in the bottom for drainage.

A friend used her drill to make drainage holes in this enamel pot.

 

My Evolving Garden
March 6, 2018

In April, I will have lived in Castlemaine for 5 years. During that time, I have been creating a potted garden on my front verandah. My house faces north which means it gets plenty of light especially in winter when the sun is low enough for the light to stream in.

This (above) is how one end of the verandah looked about four years ago and this (below) is how it looks now.

 

The verandah is great for frost tender plants especially frost tender succulents. The burnt leaves belong to a bromeliad which I needed to move from the edge of the verandah to the back where it will be nice and warm in winter.

I have an old, wooden step ladder leaning against the wall. The steps are shelves for smaller pots.

 

 

 

A large, shallow, terracotta bowl contains cones, seed pods, shells and rocks. Overwrought in Blampied made the small crab and large spider.

The garden extends to the window sill where there are cacti, succulents, feathers and rocks.

 

 

 

 

Australia Day 2018
January 26, 2018

Today I participated in local Australia Day festivities.

Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January as Australia’s National Day. It marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The fleet of 11 British ships with their cargo of convicts who had been sentenced for their crimes to transportation landed at Port Jackson, New South Wales where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove.

Currently the day is celebrated with community and family events, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies.

However, the date of Australia’s national day is not without its controversy. For a proportion of indigenous Australians and their supporters the 26th of January is a day of mourning and is referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day. So in addition to celebrations, there are protests and marches in the capital cities.

The choice of the 26th of January as Australia’s national day is becoming increasingly controversial with some municipal councils now refusing to organise celebrations or conduct citizenship ceremonies on that day much to the displeasure of the Federal Government.

However, the Shires of Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges do celebrate Australia Day and actively seek to include local indigenous people in the day.

 

A friend and I set off for Malmsbury for breakfast organised by a local community organisation.

The atmosphere in the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens was very relaxed.

 

Andy Rigby and Pollie Christie provided the musical entertainment.

 

A novel car sticker spotted in the carpark.

We moved on to Victory Park, Castlemaine for lunch and joined the queue.

Here are some stragglers being served by members of the Castlemaine Football Netball Club.

 

My friend, Marie, is relaxing after cooking lunch with other members of the local Lion’s club. They catered for 700 people.

George and Eliza were deep in conversation by the fruit stand.

The event is supported by Nalderun, the Upper Loddon Indigenous group. Vic Say, a leader of the local Reconciliation group, was helping out at the stand.

Eliza Tree, a local artist, and her dog were enjoying the day.

And here am I decked out in a T shirt with a design by an aboriginal artist and my wombat earrings.

Six Pines, Castlemaine
November 15, 2017

Six Pines was the second garden of the HEDGE, I visited on Sunday, the 5th of November. It is a town garden on a smallish block packed with trees, shrubs and spring flowering plants. I don’t know why it is called Six Pines as I didn’t notice any conifers. There aren’t any in the photographs I took.

The front garden was bright with pink. The gardener said she hadn’t planted the Kiss Me Quick. It had just appeared and spread.

 

 

There was plenty to see along the driveway.

 

Around the back, under the verandah, was a cool, shady area.

The gardener favoured red roses.