Thursday, November 07, 2013

Warragul, the end.

Before I went to Warragul, I looked at what was there to fill in a couple of hours. I saw on the electric map a park with lakes. I thought it would be worth a walk out of the town it itself. It was a wonderful park.

It is quite a large area, next to the Shire Offices.

This nice pond overflows to run down into another pond where there are fountain jets.

Plenty of flowers and colour against a green backdrop.

The front of the Baw Baw Shire Offices.

I spied a nice and very Australian house as I walked back into town.

The Courthouse, now a popular and fashionable place to dine, and probably get good coffee. It really is a struggle to get good coffee once away from Melbourne.

Is this greyish white building the bank my father used to use? Maybe. I really can't recall. The car traffic in Warragul was quite overwhelming but it was interesting to note that there seems to be more 4wds and SUV's in the Malvern Coles supermarket carpark than in the whole of country Warragul.

Boxer Lionel Rose died a bit too young. As was said in the nineties, he was ace, but with fragility.

An odd feature in the park near the railway line.

Roses roses, I love them. Daniel sat in this park with his children some years ago while they ate take away food. It was a park we used to stop at when I was a child to eat a ham sandwich and share a bottle soft drink, probably lemonade. Mother and my grandparents would have poured tea from a Thermos flask. I think an old black steam train engine used to sit in the park, but I am not sure.Maybe it was on the siding track next to the park.

More fine buildings.

Clerestory windows light the now tiny public area of the station.

What were the platform staff called? Back then it was nearly always a man. Once the train guard waved the green flag, the man closed the gate and you had missed your train. Sometimes the gate was closed while the train was still there, but you didn't call the gatekeeper an effing c for not not letting you through the gate. He was a person of authority and respected. He would shelter from the weather in his little sentry box.

Sad face now, the old and unused goods shed.

More sad face. There is room after room like this one. What did they all hold? The workings and offices of a busy railway station.

The clerestory windows from the inside lighting the beautiful timber roof and ceiling.

In days of past the train would often stop for 15 or 20 minutes at Warragul and travellers would leave the train to head for the refreshment room.Thick white catering cups and sauces would be lined up with huge silver pots of tea and coffee ready. Sandwiches and cake would have been prepared and the pie warmers full. If you wanted something a little stronger, the bar was also staffed, with old timers tossing down a glass of beer, a whiskey chaser and a second beer before the train whistle would alert passengers to hurry back to the train. I was sixteen and I wasn't questioned about my age when I once bought a beer. Now, catering consists of a single coffee machine which I doubt would work with the water bottle empty. But change is good, so the call goes out by those who want to reduce costs and increase profits.

Did someone suffer a bout of Myki madness and thrown their card onto the tracks in disgust?

Train timetables once lined the wall, showing connecting services and all you would need to know about local trains. Now, there is probably a bus to catch outside.

The N class Gippslander arrived a little later than the scheduled time of 2.47. While there are station staff there, no announcement was made about the delayed train. None of this uncomfortable seating and noisy kids for me. I had booked first class. It was a reasonably comfortable trip and nowhere near full, so I had plenty of space. The carriage was way too heated and stuffy and the persistent squeak on my morning Sprinter train had been replaced by the occasional creak from the suspension. 

Like the Geelong train, the journey home takes longer, in this case the down trip was 1 hour 27 minutes from So Cross and the return journey 1hour 32 to Flinders Street, add 5 minutes to So Cross and you have 1 hour 37. Although the the locomotive is a little slower than the Sprinter, it only briefly reached 112 km/h on the return trip, it doesn't really explain ten minutes more. As it was the train was only 6 minutes late at Dandenong, but back to 10 minutes late at Flinders Street.

I wonder where the next train trip will take me. Bendigo is a bit long but maybe. Ballarat? Stony Point? It won't be for a while now.


  1. My only experience living in a rural or regional centre was Bendigo for two years. I loved it!!

    I don't know the population of Warragul, but it looks far smaller than Bendigo, with far less traffic. And bigger parkland in the centre of town. Happily the old court house has been saved and was probably the most important building in the 19th century.

    1. Hels, Bendigo is good, just a bit too hot in the summer. Warragul is much smaller. Usually a police station was near the courthouse. Very important town buildings.

  2. Nice piece on Warragul, Andrew. Civic Park is wonderful. There's a great view from the top of the hill but it is a bit of a hike.
    I agree it is sad to see the closed doors at the station but you'll be glad to hear that there is a cafe operating out of the old tearooms for the early morning peak (6am-11am, I think). I've only caught the train once while it's been open and it was great to see people in at least one of the rooms behind those doors.

    1. Thanks David. Good to hear about the cafe. While I wallow in nostalgia, I do know enough about the economics of the old style railway cafs to know they were not sustainable. Still, they were good.

  3. That's one of the prettiest parks I've ever seen!
    I love the Australian house, it looks stylish and homey all at once.
    Do you remember the songs Lionel Rose recorded? I think he only did two, one on each side of a 45rpm record, which I have a copy of somewhere, at my daughter's house I think. I'll look when I visit tomorrow, I remember one song is Pick Me Up On Your Way Down, I don't remember the other.
    Ballarat would be nice, you could do a side trip to Sovereign Hill and pan for gold.

    1. The park truly surprised me River. Was there a Rose song, I Thank You?

      I've done Sovereign Hill already, twice or thrice. It is a bit out of town and not so good to get to when you arrive on the train.

    2. Yes, "I Thank You". I checked at K's house today and found two 45rpms, one has I Thank You (A side) and "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" on the B side; the other has "Please Remember Me" on the A side and "Good Old Country Song" on the B side. I brought them home with me, although I no longer have a record player, but I know there are players available now that will transfer records to MP3s and there are lots of my old records still at Ks.

    3. I just checked River, all on You Tube.

  4. Thanks for the great photos and especially that old wooden platform gate I recall the sound of the slam very well.
    Going back now to embiggen that roundabout flowers photo to see if they are Russell Lupins.

    1. Ann, I remember the same gate at Oakleigh Station. I guess they were standard.

      I don't know Anthiriniums. I would have suggested lupins too.

  5. nuh. Anthiriniums. That old house with the well painted iron lace is just lovely too.

  6. The park indeed looks beautiful. If I can I avoid trains, yesterday there was a strike I don't even know for what.

    1. Not good Gattina. I wonder what management is doing that is causing such upset in the workforce?