Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Noojee

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Baw Baw is the small timber milling town of Noojee. Originally established when gold was found in the area, the name of course is Aboriginal, a word for contentment or place to rest. It is indelibly imprinted in my childhood memories as it was a place we visited many times. I started thinking about the place when White Angel posted about a Tasmanian town where there are topiary sculptures and it is a tenuous connection really to the dinosaurs of Noojee.

Dinosaurs? What dinosaurs. Made from Bull Tree Fern trunks, in 1964 Jack Kelly carved and assembled the timber into dinosaurs, with one very large T-Rex gracing the front of the Noojee Hotel. Behind the hotel were several smaller dinosaurs in a grassed area next to a creek, like a Jurassic Park, long before that name was coined. We thought the sculptures were great and always enjoyed a visit to Noojee. Sadly as the years went on, the tree fern timber deteriorated and the last time I saw them, they were in a very sad state. I expect they are long gone, but I am sure there are photos around. Here is one of T-Rex from the Noojee historical society. It could almost be a photo of we four children, except Sister is the youngest.



This is the Noojee Hotel in I guess the sixties.



An older photo. They may well be miners' cottages along the road.



Without going into too much detail, Noojee, surrounded by bush, was almost completely burnt out in fires in 1927 and 1939, but the hotel survived. I seem to recall a number of lives were lost in the fires, especially at the timber mills. 

The railway arrived from Warragul in 1919 and closed in 1954. Timber trestle bridges were used to cross large steep valleys and here is one very famous one at Noojee that miraculously was not destroyed by fire but was damaged and subsequently repaired. 

Photo by mrgnat.


I believe this is the same bridge. Victorian Railways regrets to inform you that all trains to Noojee today have been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


This steam locomotive used to sit in a park next to the Warragul Railway Station. It is a static exhibit at the non functioning Noojee Station.



The area around Noojee is normally very green and there is plenty of natural attractions to see. Not far away is the Toorongo Falls.


The massive Ada Tree, a Mountain Ash, named after Little Ada River, 300 years old, 76 metres tall and a circumference of 15 metres. Not as tall as the one that was chopped down, to measure and make sure it was the tallest tree.


The roads in the area are now quite good and generally sealed. It's a nice part of our state to visit. I am not suggesting you wander in the bush and get lost, but if you did, you may come across water races, used for gold sluicing where channels were dug following contours of hills, more trestle bridges for the timber tramways and maybe remains of timber tramway wooden rails. Keep a look out for dangerous vertical mine shafts and horizontal shafts too. Maybe you will stumble across an overgrown clearing where there is evidence of a brick house chimney or some tough old roses or spring bulbs flowering in a long abandoned garden. I saw all these things in my childhood during bush rambles.

16 comments:

  1. It looks like a very pretty area, I must find it on my map. I love the waterfall and the old trestle bridge. Those miner's cottages look so tiny near the Hotel.

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    1. River, they are only one room, I seem to remember. A country neighbour lived in a slightly larger one on the side of a hill, so there were two levels of dirt floor and he used to refer to the upper level as upstairs. It had a metal chimney.

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  2. That is awesome the T Rex. Clever man to do that. The bridge brings back good memories of the train ride from Strahan to Queenstown on the stream train when dad was stationed there for 4 years. Waterfall is nice as is that big trunk of the tree..

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    1. WA, I so want to travel on that train. I did some back reading of your blog where you mentioned it. I think it is now fully operational again.

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  3. A lovely lot of history there Andrew - I know it's not that far from my side of town so I might have a look at the road map and plan a day out sometime. Waterfalls Trains Forest Walks all sound good to me (and The Golfer)
    Cathy

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    1. Indeed it isn't so far for you Cathy. You should already be familiar with the place. Don't quote me, but I think the road is ok from Healesville to Noogee now.

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  4. Looks like a very interesting and beautiful place !

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    1. Gattina, very typical of the west Gippsland region of the state of Victoria.

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  5. Love that bridge.
    Isn't it amazing how often the chimney is still standing when the rest of the house has disappeared...

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    1. EC, yes it amazing to see old chimneys like that. They tell a story of an Australia passed.

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  6. Brilliant series of old b&w's Andrew, especially the men on the bridge.

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    1. Grace, isn't it such a terrific photo

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  7. Great bridge, interesting place all up.
    Merle...............

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    1. Merle, Gippsland is my favourite area in Victoria.

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  8. Incredible. I'm going to have to look this up and learn more.

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    1. Mitchell, although there are climatic similarities between where we live and where you live, I doubt Spain has what we call cool rainforests.

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