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.

 

 

White Night Melbourne, 18th February 2017
March 1, 2017

In its 5th year, Melbourne’s White Night is a cultural event held over a 12 hour period from Saturday, 7.00pm to Sunday 7.00am.

A friend and I decided to test our boundaries by travelling down to Melbourne by train on Saturday, the 18th for our first experience of this event. We decided the attractions in the Carlton Gardens – Melbourne Museum area would be enough to occupy us for the night.

This is a YouTube rich post as what we saw was beyond words. We were picking our jaws off the ground a good deal as we experienced the attractions of the night.

It was impossible to ignore the projection show, Rhythms of the Night, on the exterior of the Royal Exhibition Building

 

The projection depicted what happens during the cycles of our sleep. Mmmmmm…..I am still waiting for a night’s sleep like this.

Nebulous was an eye catching art installation in front of the Melbourne Museum.

My friend and I wandered over to a large illuminated model of a boat made from tubes but with 7 people aboard, The Pyrophone Juggernaut turned into a rip snorting, flame spurting percussion/wind instrument complete with the occasional explosion. Yes, as we stood amazed at the spectacle before us, my friend said: ‘It was worth coming just for this!’

We were further entertained by the Sonic Light Bubble, artificial possums with glowing red eyes lodged in the branches of trees (I suspect any self respecting brush tailed possum would have vacated the Carlton Gardens for the night) and two stilt walkers dressed as flamingos.

Crowd members got into the spirit of the night with children wearing twinkling footwear running by and adults dressed up. The merchandise sellers were doing well going on the numbers of light sabres being waved and the illuminated head wear being worn.

We felt well rewarded for our efforts as we boarded the last train home before midnight.

The price of our adventure? Food and drink only. We used our free Seniors travel vouchers for the trains and trams and the attractions were free.

 

Guildford Banjo Jamboree
September 22, 2016

The Thirteenth Guildford Banjo Jamboree has come and gone. The Jamboree went ahead last weekend as Guildford was not swept away by a flooding Loddon River.

Whilst the banjo is the star of the Jamboree, it shares the stage with other instruments typical of traditional American string bands so there were guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, double basses and fiddles aplenty.

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The midday parade and banjo photo shoot under Guildford’s iconic Big Tree was a very relaxed affair.

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Mmmm, not sure why there was a camel in attendance.

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Some people were dressed to be noticed.

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Anybody could get in on the act.

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Gradually, the casual strumming became playing in unison and voices were raised in song.

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The Jamboree is an opportunity for local organisations to raise much needed funds. The Guildford Primary School was offering tempting treats for afternoon tea on Saturday, whilst the Guildford unit of the Country Fire Authority was busy feeding people all weekend. They need a new fire truck.

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This man was demonstrating his cigar box guitars whilst his friend was playing a more conventional instrument.

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There was music here in the Guildford Public Hall……

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……. and here in the Guildford Music Hall, Australia’s oldest surviving music hall……….

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……..There was plenty of action in the beer garden…….

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……and on the street.

I’ll be back next year.

Guildford Cemetery
August 21, 2016

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The purpose of my visit to the Guildford cemetery on a gorgeous August day last Tuesday was to photograph some of the graves belonging to Swiss Italian families. I had been to the cemetery with Katie a couple of times before. Katie waited expectantly at the gate – this place means rabbit hunting!

Swiss Italian families settled the region around Daylesford, Yandoit and Guildford in the 1800s. They farmed the land, built houses and outbuildings from the local stone and each family had their own recipe for making bull boars – a dense meaty, herby, garlicy sausage.

 

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Some of the graves are tucked away in the far corner of the cemetery.

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This family was dogged by tragedy.

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DSCN5010This woman was kept busy raising three families in her lifetime.

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A number of graves bear the name Delmenico……..

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and Passalaqua.

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The Barassi family produced one of Guildford’s most famous identities.

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I moved on to other graves. This new grave pays homage to the role of Australian Rules Football in this person’s life. Josie Connell was a Western Bulldogs supporter.

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The violets growing on this grave scented the warm air.

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This headstone brought back memories of my Aunt Anne. Guildford Gus was one of her favourite hosts on local community radio.

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At the main intersection in Guildford, Ron Barassi, Australian Rules Football legend, gazes across to……..

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…………Guildford’s only remaining hotel.

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Port Fairy Lighthouse
June 8, 2016

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This post is the final of the series about my visit to Port Fairy in September 2015.

Port Fairy lighthouse is situated on Griffiths Island at the entrance to the Moyne River.

It was constructed in 1859 using local bluestone. The automatic light has been operated by solar power since 1987 with a wind generator backup added in June 1996.

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This charcoal drawing was made from the vantage point of a beach headland further along the coast.

Chewton Post and Telegraph Office
April 27, 2016

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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.

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

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The Malmsbury Viaduct
March 18, 2016

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Since moving to Central Victoria, I have come to admire the local railway structures. In the 1850s and 60s, wool and gold were bringing wealth to the colony of Victoria. Fine public buildings were being built in Melbourne and the regional cities.  Attention was being turned to modern means of transport which, in the 1800s, meant railways.  A railway line was constructed from Melbourne to Sandhurst (Bendigo) and the port of Echuca on the Murray River between the late 1850s and early 60s.

The Malmsbury Viaduct was one of the bridges built as part of this enterprise. Construction  began in October 1859 and was completed in October 1860. The brick and stone masonry arch bridge spans the Coliban River. It is over 100 metres long with 5 arches standing about 25 metres high. It was the largest structure of its kind in Victoria at the time.

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The viaduct is a dominant feature of the township of Malmsbury. I took the top photograph from the grounds of the Birthday Villa Winery in September 2014. The other photos were taken from the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens this week, on Wednesday, the 16th of March.

In my eyes, the viaduct is a thing of beauty and there has been great pride taken in its construction.

The bridge is still in active use and I regret I was not organised enough to photograph one of the trains crossing it.

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I like the way the arches frame the countryside beyond.

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It was very pleasant sitting in the shade and making this charcoal drawing of a view through one of the arches.

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The Streets of Port Fairy
March 1, 2016

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My visit to Port Fairy in September 2015 has generated a number of posts. There were so many things begging to be photographed.

The centre of town is dominated by the bluestone square tower of the Anglican church. There are other churches in town but this one makes the biggest statement because of its size and location.

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The photograph of the Anglican church was taken from the front of the Methodist church.

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It took a little while before people discovered the advantages of a verandah.

This is the old customs house.

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Susan, you might recognise this knocker from one of your posts. Only this one is on the front door of an old inn on the other side of the world.

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