The Mill, Castlemaine
May 27, 2020

The Mill refers to the site of the old Castlemaine Woollen Mill which began operations in 1875. The Castlemaine Woollen Company became a major employer in the town whilst it manufactured woollen products especially blankets. New owners, Victoria Carpets, used the site as part of its carpet manufacturing operations from 1992 until 1996 when all manufacturing ceased after a fire destroyed a major part of the premises.

The site remained abandoned until roughly 10 years ago when a local GP and her farmer husband bought The Mill and began a process of transformation. The Mill is now a place tenanted by makers, small commercial enterprises and retailers. It is a destination for locals and tourists alike.

I took the photographs over a period of months.

 

The iconic chimney was built in 1923.

Beyond the bakery is Oakwood, home of delicious small goods including smoked trout, smoked lamb and pate – no prizes for guessing what I like to buy.

The site has solid brick industrial buildings as well as a collection of sheds like this one.

This is the distinctive face of The Mill.

This mural honours the workers who made the woollen products during The Mill’s manufacturing days.

This was the poster on display at the time of the photograph. The current poster is of a man wearing a horned hat.

This is my favourite piece of wall art. It is located next to Sprout Bakery.

It was a challenge taking the photos without a stand dispensing free doggie poo bags getting in the way.

The former drying shed is now a studio and exhibition space for artists.

There are interesting shapes formed by the metal components of a small gazebo created by an onsite metal fabricator.

These decorate the wall near the cafe.

 

Lastly, photos taken in some of the corners of the site of things which caught my eye.

I visit The Mill to buy fruit and vegetables, bakery products and small goods. I have eaten the icecream made there, dined in the Austrian themed cafe, Das Kaffee Haus, and experienced art exhibitions and events.

Autumn Retrospective
May 20, 2020

It is nearing the end of the autumn months and normally at this time of year I would have published some posts on autumn gardens I had visited. But with the corona virus pandemic, not this year – sigh!

So, I am taking solace in this retrospective.

Whilst I tend to associate autumn with the colours of deciduous trees, other plants also make a splash with colour. These grasses are a feature at Frogmore gardens and nursery near Blackwood.

There is an abundance of fruit and acorns.

Colourful berries are a delight.

Ornamental grapevines strut their stuff.

Belleville in Dunolly has an impressive grapevine tunnel.

These autumn tones adorn Mica Grange – one of my favourite gardens.

Vaughan Springs and……

Castlemaine’s Botanical gardens attract many visitors on fine autumn days.

Last Saturday, the lawns were filled with families (in groups of 10 or less) enjoying the freedom to gather in parks and gardens to soak up the sun. I am sure the children were disappointed the playground is still closed – bad corona virus!

I hope that in spring restrictions will have lifted to the extent that there will be open gardens again.  I am looking forward to exploring new gardens and revisiting favourites.

Campaspe River Walk, Kyneton
April 27, 2020

Katie and I spent a very pleasant 2 hours strolling along the Campaspe River Walk in Kyneton last Wednesday in glorious autumn sunshine.

The Campaspe River flows along the edge of town. The photo above shows the top of one of a series of weirs built across the river in the past to provide deeper water.

Katie enjoyed paddling in this part of the river.

Over recent decades, volunteers have cleared the river area of rubbish, removed weeds including willows and planted native species. The banks of the river are lined with newly planted trees protected by white guards.

The river walk is quite popular with people walking, jogging and cycling. Dogs enjoy being out with their humans. Kyneton is a small country town so there is no problem with social distancing.

Unlike Castlemaine which is surrounded by bushland,  Kyneton has farmland.

This is the end of our walk near the Kyneton racecourse.

I will return one day to photograph the sculptures along this stretch of the river.

Rock of Ages, Maldon
April 16, 2020

Yesterday (Wednesday), Katie and I walked up the track to Mount Mooral in the Nuggetty Ranges to enjoy the vistas at the rocky outcrop known as the Rock of Ages.

We could look down on the Maldon cemetery.

We could also look across to Mount Tarrengower with its towers.

There is no one rock called the Rock of Ages but lots of rocks which together are the Rock of Ages.

The Nuggetty Ranges and Mount Tarrengower are formed from granite.

The flowering correas were attracting New Holland honeyeaters.

During our time in the Nuggetty Ranges, the only other people we encountered were an artist and another walker.

Newstead Cemetery
March 31, 2020

I recently visited Newstead cemetery after driving by from time to time over the past 7 years.

One of the advantages of country living is I can go places where social distancing is not a problem during the current pandemic.

The photographs were taken over two days.

All is quiet in the country cemetery which overlooks farmland and across to the Guildford Plateau.

The Catholics had an area across a creek and a privately owned paddock. Whilst I am used to seeing cemeteries where there are designated areas for the different denominations, I had never seen this degree of segregation before. The cemetery plan also showed separate areas for suicides and Chinese.

 

This headstone is a sobering reminder of how common child deaths were on the goldfields in the 1800s.

This ornate, broken headstone relates the history of the Barkla family.

Rosemary for remembrance.

Castlemaine cemetery has roses, Newstead has oleanders.

A back gate leads up a hill ……..

………..where sheep graze.

For the Love of Trees
March 16, 2020

This is the final post of a short series featuring trees.

Trees fill our landscapes and gardens.

They have presence.

They can be character full…..and…..

……majestic.

 

Some are a little weird.

Their blossoms delight the senses.

They are perfectly at home in our public spaces and…….

……..private retreats.

Some of us create miniatures of big trees so they fit where they normally couldn’t.

Sedums
March 7, 2020

The sedums in my back garden are at their best at present.

 

 

The flower heads are alive with bees, flies, butterflies and other small creatures.

I am having fun spotting the different visitors.

Simple pleasures.

Pomegranate Disappointment
February 16, 2020

I like pomegranate trees.

There is lots to recommend them. They are will suited to Castlemaine’s climate with fine specimens in the district. In spring, the leaves have red tips and in autumn, they turn yellow before falling. Pomegranates have wonderful red flowers which turn into the most decorative of fruits.

About four to five years ago, I planted a pomegranate in my back garden and I waited. In 2018, it produced one flower which turned into one fruit. Last spring/early summer the tree produced many flowers and I have been observing, with great pleasure,  the transformation of the flowers into fruit.

My friend, Lana, was waiting with anticipation for the fruit to ripen as she uses pomegranates in her meals. But, we were doomed to disappointment.

Late last week, the gusting winds which accompany thunderstorms broke the fruiting stem away at the base. This morning, I have had the unhappy task of cutting up the damaged part of the tree.

I am hoping the damage will heal and the tree will live.

I will continue to admire the flowers and fruit in jars until they wither.

It is said gardening is character building.

Sculpture in Motion 2020
February 1, 2020

The Hanging Rock Winery is currently hosting its second sculpture exhibition.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day – low 20s, clear blue sky and a yellow sun – when a friend and I journeyed to Newham in the Macedon Ranges on Friday, 24 January.

The sculptures all incorporate movement in their design. Many are tall or perched on poles.

For some artists creating a kinetic sculpture is a new venture. There are sculptures which are masterful in their execution swinging and swaying in the breeze whilst others could do with some tweeking.

In this post, I have intermingled images of sculptures with views around the winery to give readers’ necks a rest from craning to admire the work of these sculptors.

Bobbing Boat by Jimmy Rix

The boat is attached to the waves by a spring. The boat bobs when viewers gently touch it. My friend and I happily made it bob.

Wing-it by Anthony Vanderzweep

BJF 23 by Ben Fasham

This is Ben’s first attempt at making a kinetic sculpture and he nailed it.

Circles by Rudi Jass is masterful in its execution.

The Lie of the North by Geoffrey Ricardo has shades of Pinocchio.

M-fortythree by James Parrett

Future Seed by Adrian Spurr is one of the few sculptures at ground level.

Threefold by Nicole Allen reflects the passing clouds.

Flirt by Charlie Aquilina is one of my favourites. This work reminds me of a deep sea fish which uses a lure to attract its prey into its cavernous mouth.

Egg and Spoon by Michael Sibel

Bipolar Eccentric by Ralf Driessen is very impressive.

The blue chimes belong to Resounding Blue by Tania George.

The exhibition ends on 23 February 2020.

Trees – Close Up
January 23, 2020

When I first thought about creating this post, I had lichens and bark on my mind; but then I thought about shadows and leaves and fruit, berries and flowers. So…..this post became longer with each new addition.

These are some of the lichens.

Here the shadows are mixing it with the lichens.

A tree needs bark.

I restricted the number of photos of leaves with autumn colour to two as I realised things were going to get out of hand. One day I will publish a post focusing on autumn leaves.

Pink peppercorn berries. The peppercorns are currently flowering and the bees are loving it.

Fruit can be very photogenic.

These flowers belong to a tall callistemon which grew in my backyard in Ferntree Gully. The tree was cut down together with all the other trees by the developer who purchased the property.

Spring blossoms are irresistible.