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

Advertisements

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.

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.

The Southern Grampians
September 18, 2017

Recently, I travelled to Dunkeld situated at the southern end of the Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) for a week’s holiday. The Grampians, especially the northern part of the national park, are a popular destination for holiday makers.

Dunkeld is a small township dominated by three peaks – Mount Sturgeon, Mount Abrupt and The Piccaninny. As its name implies, The Piccaninny is the smallest of the three peaks and has a walking trail graded as easy.

Here are two views looking out across the Grampians which I admired as I ambled up the Piccaninny on Monday, the 11th of September.

 

I was attracted by the different colours on this rock during my walk.

 

Tuesday, the 12th of September, was wet in the morning but cleared in the afternoon, so I could take a walk from my accommodation to the Dunkeld park.  The park includes an arboretum, reservoir and an old timber mill.

 

 

 

The park boasted this wonderful, old red river gum.

 

I was intrigued by the ornate portico of the Dunkeld Post Office building. However, the bright sunshine of Wednesday morning had turned to deluges of rain by the time I drove to Cavendish, another small township in the district.

This bovine beauty is located outside the cafe where I had lunch in Cavendish.

The Malmsbury Viaduct – Now and Then
September 6, 2017

I have been trawling through the digital images held by the State Library of Victoria searching for early photographs relating to posts I have published previously.

In 2016, I published a post about the Malmsbury viaduct which was completed in 1860 as part of the railway construction linking Melbourne to Echuca on the Murray River. The solidly constructed bluestone bridge crossing the Coliban River has stood the test of time and looks as good as new.

This old photograph was taken by Alfred Morris and Co. in the 1860s.

The rawness of the cleared countryside is now days softened by the mature trees in the background and the plantings in the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens in the foreground.

 

 

 

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.