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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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