Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads

There's nothing like taking a walk along a windswept clifftop or beach to shake off the Winter cobwebs and feel invigorated again.
We started the Barwon Heads Bluff Lookout walk at the carpark overlooking the mouth of the Barwon River and the bridge crossing.

The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads The area is covered by Coastal Moonah Woodland shrubs and plants that help stabilise the shifting sands and provide shelter for echidnas, possums, bats, birds and insects.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads
Out at sea,  the deep blue ocean offered no trace of  the final resting place of 25 ships in the Shipwreck Graveyard. Information boards told of the names and dates the ships were lost.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon HeadsThe Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads  
The sandy track was fairly even and offered beautiful views across Bass Strait.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads

The Bluff Walk, Barwon HeadsWooden stairs led down to the beach,  where the waves crashed against the rocky outcrops as the tide came in.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads
The Bluff Walk, Barwon HeadsThe historic Clubhouse of Barwon Heads Golf Club can be seen from the track. The original building was erected in 1924 and is a beautiful landmark of the area.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads
We finished off our walk down at the mouth of the river, where we watched boats bobbing in the waves and fisherman waiting for a bite. A picnic lunch fuelled us for our next adventure and we set off over the bridge.
The Bluff Walk, Barwon Heads

What:Barwon Heads Bluff Walk
Where: Barwon Heads Lookout
When: Daily
Why: Coastal walks
How much: FREE to walk

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


I do loves me some Ned Kelly history in the country towns I visit, and I have been to a few places that Ned and his gang spent time in. 
From Power's Lookout, where young Ned hid out with his mentor, fellow bushranger Harry Power; to Stringybark Creek, where three police officers lost their lives; to Old Melbourne Gaol, where Ned's own life ended; to the State Library of Victoria, where his famous armour is on display today.

Glenrowan is another town that has Ned's name written all over it. Literally. 
It's the town where Ned was captured in 1880 and his bushranging days came to an end in a bloody gunfight.
It's the town that has a Ned statue as big as a house in the Main St.
We started our visit to Glenrowan by going to Kate's Cottage. Once inside the shopfront, you exit out to the back room where the Ned Kelly Memorial Museum is located. It has photographic displays, memorabilia, replica armour and examples of pistols and handcuffs used during Ned's reign.
Further outside, a replica of  the Kelly Homestead, with rooms depicting life in the 1800's. Colourful gardens of succulents and flowers, wagon wheels and farm equipment were around the perimeter of the cottage. There's also a couple of talking cockatoos in a big cage on the side, their names are Howard and Dorothy. Tell them I said Hi!

A couple of old doors from Pentridge Prison added to the decor, as did an old jail cell and convict cart. The museum was an interesting way to get up to speed on all things Ned.
Armed with a walking map printed on the Museum brochure, we set off on the trail of Ned's  Last Stand
The Police Lockup from Ned's hometown, Greta, where Ned spent time as a teenager.
Wooden bollards at each site represented the people involved at that location, like the police officers who arrived by train in the wee hours of the morning.

Civilians were held captive in Ann Jones Inn, which was burnt to the ground during the seige.
And over a century later, a pistol was found here, believed to belong to an Aboriginal tracker.

The final site - where it ended, with Ned captured just after dawn.
And so ended our visit, we bid farewell to these guys and headed home.

What: Glenrowan
Where: Main St
When: Daily
Why: Ned Kelly
How Much: FREE to walk around town (Kate's Cottage/Museum $6)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Maryborough Historic Buildings Part 2

We parked at McLandress Square, where we were surrounded by a trio of beautiful old buildings.
The Court House, built in 1893 in the Free Classical style and still in use as a Magistrates' Court, features arches, balustrades and bluestone sourced from Castlemaine.
Maryborough Historic BuildingsThe Post Office has a clock tower and adjacent War Memorial.
Maryborough Historic BuildingsThe Town Hall, built in 1887 and in similar style to the Court House. The architect, George Johnson, also designed Town Halls in Nth Melbourne, Collingwood, Northcote, Fitzroy, Daylesford and Kyneton.
Maryborough Historic BuildingsThe former Fire Station, built in 1861, is now home to the Central Goldfields Art Gallery.
On the next corner, the Edwardian Baroque Bull and Mouth Hotel,  rebuilt in 1904...Maryborough Historic Buildings 
...and on the opposite corner, the 1926 AMP Building with its sculpted figures overlooking the High St. 
Maryborough Historic BuildingsFurther along, Mandeville's Coffee Palace sits alongside the Paramount Theatre.
Maryborough Historic BuildingsThere was many, many, many more lovely old buildings to see, but I caught sight of this bookshop and this building was the only one I had eyes for from that point on.
Maryborough Historic Buildings
Maryborough Historic Buildings
When:  Daily
How Much: FREE
Nearby: Part 1.

Maryborough Historic Buildings Part 1

Grabbing a self-guided map from the Information Centre, we set off to explore the grand old buildings of Maryborough, starting at the stunning Queen Anne style red brick Railway Station, built in 1890. 
Huge columns, iron gates and bluestone steps at the entrance give an indication of the grandiose design of the building. In 1895  Mark Twain visited the area and described Maryborough as "A railway station with a town attached...You can put the whole population of Maryborough into it, and give them a sofa apiece, and have room for more"
Maryborough Railway StationTesselated tiles in the foyer were made by the same company that laid the tiles in Melbourne's Parliament House. According to local legend, on a windy day you can still hear the screams of a worker who died here in 1891
Maryborough Railway StationA covered verandah runs the length of the platform, with a continuous glass window in the ridge, which throws a lovely light down on the platform below. The station closed in 1993, was renovated in 2006/7 and resumed rail services in 2010.
Maryborough Railway Station
Next door, the Central Goldfields Shire Offices...
Maryborough Central Goldfields
...and the former Flour Mill, once the home of Granny Davis Bread. It closed as a flour mill in 1980, just one year before it's centenary. It was left vacant for 17 years and is now a fine furniture timber supplier and vehicle storage facility.
Maryborough Central Goldfields The Worsley Museum and Cottage was closed at the time of our visit, but the gorgeous bluestone and sandstone buildings and gardens look like they are worth a return trip.

Maryborough Central Goldfields
We continued up to the Bristol Hill Tower, for views over the town and the surrounding hills. The tower was built as a memorial to the town's pioneers and named after a local goldmine reef. The spiral staircase was built using bluestone from the former gaol and the original cemetery is at the bottom of the hill.
Verses of Henry Lawson's The Roaring Days poem are etched in two plaques on the walls at the base of the tower.

Oh, who would paint a goldfield,
And limn the picture right, 
As we have often seen it
In early morning's light!

Oh, they were lion-hearted
Who gave our country birth!
Stout sons, of stoutest fathers born,
From all the lands on earth! 

Maryborough Central Goldfields 
Maryborough Central GoldfieldsMaryborough Central GoldfieldsWe set off to find some lunch, before continuing our exploration of the rest of the town.Maryborough Central Goldfields

Where: Maryborough
When:  Daily  
How Much: FREE self-guided tour.  
Nearby: Part 2.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Currawong Bush Park, Doncaster

After visiting this park with my kids once, for a school holiday program, I was instantly smitten with this little bit of wilderness in the 'burbs and we have returned many times since.


We've walked the numerous trails and tracks, big and small... rain, hail and shine.
We've picnicked amongst the trees where the birds sing like a theatre ensemble...

...and by the pond, where the frogs croak their own harmonious tunes.
We've explored the bush floor and Mother Nature's  colourful carpet...

...and admired the many other works of art installed at the park. 
With barbecues and camping facilities, and breakfast companions like kangaroos, wombats, possums, wallabies and maybe a koala, it feels like a world away from the city.

Where: Reynolds Rd, Doncaster East
When:  Daily
How Much: FREE for day visits - (overnight camping fees apply)