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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

DSCN4030

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Small scale, local commerce.

dscn5650

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.

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.

Chewton Sculptures
May 14, 2016

DSCN4894

A new sculpture has taken up residence in Chewton. The life size timber carving sits perched on the front fence of American born artist, Richard Yates. The sculpture represents Mrs. Frances White who had a lucky escape in 1948 when part of the backyard of her home caved in. Mrs. White saved herself from falling by grabbing hold of a tree branch as the earth slipped away to reveal an old gold mine shaft 8 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Mrs White lived at 153 Main Rd. in what was formerly the Francis Ormond Mine manager’s house.

DSCN4891

 

DSCN4896

 

DSCN4917

The old mine manager’s house

On the other side of the road is an earlier sculpture created by Richard Yates.

DSCN4909

DSCN4907

DSCN4910

DSCN4916

“Their shining Eldorado

Beneath the southern skies

Was day and night for ever

Before their eager eyes.

The brooding bush, awakened,

Was stirred in wild unrest,

And all the year a human stream

Went pouring to the West.”

“The azure line of ridges,

The bush of darkest green,

The little homes of calico

That dotted all the scene.”

“I hear the fall of timber

From distant flats and fells,

The pealing of the anvils

As clear as little bells,

The rattle of the cradle,

The clack of windlass-boles,

The flutter of the crimson flags

Above the golden holes.”

‘The Roaring Days’

by Henry Lawson 1889

If you want to know more about Richard Yates, the sculptor, check out this YouTube video:

Chewton Post and Telegraph Office
April 27, 2016

DSCN4882

A friend and I recently spent a morning drawing in nearby Chewton. My friend who likes to draw ruinous buildings, busied herself with the remains of an old bank whilst I was attracted by the colourful display of artificial flowers hanging in baskets on the verandah of the post office.

The Chewton Post and Telegraph Office was built in 1879. As the population declined in the post gold rush era, the Commonwealth Postmaster General’s Department made the post office redundant but it continued to operate as a local enterprise. The post office has survived various attempts to shut it down. In the 1990s, the local council wanted to sell the land but the good folk of Chewton were having none of that. They formed the Chewton Domain Society and took ownership of the land where the post office, old town hall and a small park are situated.  This independently minded community also formed a local organisation to run the local swimming pool when the council tried to shut it down.

The post office currently provides services to about 400 local residents who collect their mail from post office boxes as there are no home mail deliveries in Chewton.

DSCN4881

 

DSCN4884

This sign hangs on the post office fence. I have not seen its like elsewhere in the district.

DSCN4900