In Among The Wool
August 9, 2017

This collage is inspired by the Australian Sheep and Wool Show which is held annually in Bendigo in July.

The Sheep Show has been running since 1877 to showcase Australia’s top wool growers and prime lamb producers.

The promoters of the three day event in its modern form, bill the show as ‘the largest event of its type in the world.’ Whatever the truth of that claim is, it is undeniable that at the show, wool is king and merino rams are lords.

In addition to sheep bred for wool, there was a large area devoted to prime lamb breeds. Dorper lambs are so appealing especially when they are wearing small coats to keep warm.

It is possible to attend the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and not look at a sheep. The many wool craft sheds are thronged with people who have a passion for fashion and the fibre crafts – spinning, weaving, dying, knitting, crocheting and felting.

This year’s show had the added bonus of being the venue for the National Yard Dog Championships so it was kelpie heaven. I found it exciting to watch the kelpies herding sheep through a course of enclosures, gates and ramps under the direction of their handlers.

I spent most of my time in the sheep sheds where I was easily entertained. I was amused watching the rams being taken to their appointed spots for judging as some had no intention of going quietly. Some roared as their owners held them firmly under their chins as they awaited the judges. Young owners lining up roughly 20 lambs for judging was a hoot. It was heartening to see so many young people training to be farmers.

I especially admired the coloured sheep with their long ringlets. Some were tame and were happy to accept pats from admirers.

 

By the River
July 27, 2017

I am working on a new collage which is still to be finished, so I trawled through photographs of former holidays. I thought you might like these shots of river scenes taken in 2009 when I journeyed to Cobram and Numurkah in northern Victoria.

 

This is the Murray River near Cobram.

River Red Gums are typical of the adjoining flood plain.

Broken Creek wanders through Numurkah.

 

 

 

More River Red Gums. They can grow to enormous spreading trees. They need a good, flooding soaking from time to time to thrive.

 

 

Roaring White Rollers
June 28, 2017

Again, I have dug deep into my archives with this charcoal drawing made in August 2008.

The roaring, white rollers crash onto the beach,

We are content in our beach pursuits.

16th August 2008

On a beach just south of Sydney, my sister, Kathryn, and 3 year old, Gemma, paddled in the shallows. Max who was looking forward to starting school in 2009, was engrossed with creating a new landscape out of sand. I was busy drawing the paddlers.

Mica Grange Autumn Sculpture Exhibition 2017
May 5, 2017

In my last post about my recent visit to Mica Grange on Easter Saturday 2017, I concentrated on the garden. This post is about the autumn exhibition of sculpture and garden art.

There’s new work to see and new artists  – as well as the work of artists who have previously exhibited here.

The fairy realm has been extended – fairy houses were for sale.

 

 

The work of local potter, Ellen Hansa-Stanyer, featured strongly this year.

Her work is very playful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if the plastic fish came with the water feature.

 

 

Hmmmm…..not sure about the red.

This sculpture was intriguing. The figure is working out how to stick a wing back on the aeroplane.

Does anyone fancy replacing their children with this life size pair?

 

 

 

 

 

Bendigo Easter Festival 2017
April 27, 2017

For our local regional city, Bendigo, Easter means the Bendigo Easter Festival and an essential feature of the festival is………..dragons. Chinese dragons to be exact.

The Easter Festival began as the Bendigo Easter Fair in 1871. The highlight of the Fair was the Gala Parade. The local Chinese community first participated in the parade in 1879 and in 1892 provided a dragon for the parade….thus began a long standing tradition.

I  headed up to Bendigo Easter Sunday to observe the celebrations outside the Golden Dragon Museum as the Chinese cultural component of the Festival prepared to join the parade.

I arrived there early so I could be in the front row behind the barriers.

The initial proceedings were colourful but relatively low key.

Banners which are stored inside the museum were brought out and participants stood around until they were given the signal to move off

Helllllooooo…….I believe that is Lisa Chesters, Federal Member of Parliament for Bendigo.

The men with the bright red sleeves are part of the fireworks brigade.

The pace really began to pick up when the lion dancing troupes arrived. These young people are from the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne.

Alert!! Who is coming??????

This is who is coming!

By now the fire crackers are being let off, the drums are beating and the cymbals are clashing. The noise is tremendous!

This is one of the dragons which emerged to participate in the Gala Parade.

The excitement is building and the lion dancing troupes form a guard of honour.

The lions are bored…..waiting, waiting, waiting.

Attention!…He’s coming!

Yes, He is coming!

AND HERE HE IS!!!!!…..This is what the fuss is all about  – Sun Loong, the world’s longest, imperial, processional dragon.

The air becomes misty with the smoke from all the firecrackers which crackle on his appearance.

Sun Loong goes off to join the Gala Parade where he is undoubtedly the star.

Sun Loong has one of the cushiest jobs in the world. He snoozes all year to be woken up the day before the parade. The Easter parade is his sole outing for the year.

There is plenty to see when the marchers return to the museum.

The Chinese lions continue to protect the dragons as they return.

This lion troupe in their hot, tropical colours came all the way from Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Sun Loong is the last to return to the museum. He enters tail first.

Sun Loong is given a tremendous send off as he bids farewell for another year.

The celebrations continued after Sun Loong disappeared…… the lions demonstrating their athleticism. The performance concluded with the lions rearing right up tall, parading in a tight circle.

There are no photographs, I was too busy clapping and cheering. I loved every minute of it.

Sun Loong retires in 2018. Bendigo is raising funds so his successor, Dai Gum Loong, can be made.

This video provides more information about Bendigo’s dragons.

Glorious Mica Grange in Autumn 2017
April 20, 2017

Castlemaine’s glorious autumn weather continued over Easter and Mica Grange looked at its shiniest best when I visited on Easter Saturday. The country from the slopes of Mt. Alexander down the Sutton Grange Valley was bathed in bright sunshine.

The roses were in fine form.

 

 

 

The rose hips glowed.

There were potted delights.

 

 

Deciduous trees were clothed in their autumn glory.

 

The orchard and tubs growing vegetables were full of abundance.

 

 

The sculptures and garden art were delightful.

The autumn sculpture exhibition will feature in my next post about Mica Grange.

Frogmore Revisited 2017
April 14, 2017

We have been having gorgeous autumn weather in Castlemaine recently – mild temperatures, warm sunshine and calm days. It was even gorgeous on the Great Dividing Range on Wednesday the 12th of April when a friend and I visited Frogmore Nursery and Gardens near Newbury.

The nursery specialises in rare and unusual bulbs and perennials. The gardens are bliss for flower lovers with an abundance of flowering plants suited to a cool, moist climate and rich volcanic soils. They are only open to the public for a few days in autumn.

I last visited Frogmore in 2014 so I was interested to see how the gardens looked on my second visit.

Zinnias are rarely seen in gardens.

 

Frogmore’s owner was grateful for the fine day as it had been raining since the weekend. He was worried the blooms would begin to rot if they couldn’t dry out.

 

 

 

 

There are lovely views across the garden to the Wombat Forest.

 

 

Some shrubs were in full autumn finery.

 

Shiny, red berries glowed like jewels in the autumn  sunshine.

 

The prairie garden was looking particularly splendid. Only a few days  before in driving rain and winds, the grasses were lying flat. On Wednesday, they were looking their best.

 

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Frogmore again. It is quite different from other open gardens I visit in Central Victoria. The prairie garden is unique for this area.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Maldon Art Walk 2017
March 18, 2017

Today, Friday, was a perfect autumn day and what better way to spend it than to wander around the nearby historic town of Maldon appreciating the art displayed as part of the 2017 Maldon Art Walk. From the 12th to the 26th of March, the work of local artists is on display in shop windows and in public spaces. The work of 100 artists is displayed in 50 venues. Tiny, little pots rub shoulders with the sausages at the butchers, a large charcoal drawing struts its stuff at the hardware shop, a painting of a carousal is a joyous addition to the premises of the local ice cream maker and a small, metal boat rolls on barbwire waves in the garden shop.

The following photographs are of a small selection of what is on show. I didn’t have to worry about reflections from shop windows with these works.

This dress is made of chicken wire, yet it looks soft and filmy – I love it.

I also love these beautiful, hand dyed felt jackets

This courtyard with the old pomegranate tree brought back memories of a lazy lunch with relatives under its shade years ago.

The court yard provides the setting for this amazing installation….

………….. as well as these sculptures.

On the far wall of the dining room of the historic Kangaroo Hotel is this painting of the Trentham Falls.

My friends and I enjoyed a hearty lunch in the dining room.

Taradale House, Taradale
March 8, 2017

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Taradale House is the setting for weddings and celebrations providing accommodation and a venue for these events. It was open to the general public during the 2016 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens

The gardens have been designed to complement the purpose of this events business.

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Yellow was the dominant colour in the walled garden.

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This is the detail of the back of a garden seat.

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