Friday, February 13, 2009

Not a holiday destination

My maternal grandparents worked very hard, my grandfather in his market garden in South Oakleigh and my grandmother, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes in a copper, heat rain or shine. That was how it was for many of their standing.

They had never taken a holiday until they retired and once a year they spent a week to ten days at different Victorian locations. It was nearly always late summer or early autumn when they took off in the Zephyr, later the Valiant.

It was nearly always a stay in a guest house or private hotel. Beachside Rosebud was a favourite destination, but also Mount Buffalo, Bright and Marysville. No doubt wherever they stayed in Marysville has now been burnt to crisp. They worried terribly about us and fire when we lived in Gippsland foothills of the Great Dividing Range. They would be very sad to learn of the almost total demise of Marysville.

It was many years ago when R and two friends and myself took a drive to Marysville. My memory of the day is hazy, but I recall it was a damp day, ironically as it often is in Marysville. We visited Steavenson(sic) Falls and then had high tea at the Cumberland. I think it was called Cumberland Guest House then. It was certainly not as upmarket as it is now, or was. We sat near a cozy fire with our tea, admiring the pretty view below as birds flitted about their business. I can recall little of the town except that it was pretty and I liked the feel of it.

No doubt the township will be rebuilt upon its ashes, but I don't think it will ever be quite the same, for me or for others.

How things were this time last week.

And the message on the Cumberland's main page today. Just more sadness.

The Cumberland Marysville and Villa Day Spa

On Saturday February 7th, 2009 a bushfire destroyed The Cumberland, razing 90% of the town of Marysville.

Clients who hold bookings with The Cumberland should investigate alternative options.

This message will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

When contact phone numbers become available they will be listed on this page.

In the meantime, urgent messages can be sent to our email.


  1. Anonymous5:11 pm

    We used to stay at Marylands when I was a child in the 1960s- I read on the Cumberland's 'history' page that the 60s were the high point of guest house holidays. I remember when the Cumberland burnt down the first time, and was rebuilt very quickly. Actually, I'm a bit of a guesthouse junkie, because we stayed at Marylands over several September holidays as a child; El Kanah as a 18 year old, and then stayed at Kooringa about four years ago. At this rate, I was heading for 'Mary Lyn Over 50s resort'!! I suppose that they have all gone now. Its so very, very sad.

  2. Many things have changed, but the most awesome thing I have seen is the community giving... I just hope people keep on remembering to be this nice. I have been through the place a few times, I was a little girl then.. it was damp then too Andrew. The smell was lovely, I remember that.

  3. Great memories Judge. All the new places will be so upmarket.

    The smell of damp bush. I had forgotten that Cazzie. Waddya reckon Caz, it has brought out the best of 99.99% of Australians.

  4. That's what I want, too, Cazzie, that the cynical shallow garbage stays away and people remember what it's really all about.
    but I doubt it.
    Used to love Marysville.

  5. "It was nearly always late summer or early autumn when they took off in the Zephyr, later the Valiant."

    For some unknown reason I thought that Zephyr and Valiant were the names of airships then. Don't know why. I just got this image of them taking off in some sort of Zeplin once a year.

    That's probably completely out of whack with the tone of the posting, for which I apologise...but it's weird what goes through your head. Well...through my head at any rate.

  6. Ford Zephyr and Chrysler Valiant, Brian. Neither exploded. No criticism from a country where Sid James favoured a Cortina, among the worst car ever to be seen in Australia.

  7. Anonymous11:36 pm

    Thanks for writing about Marysville Andrew - it, along with Bright/Beechworth, were among my favourite Victorian towns.

    I was so sad/stunned to hear about its destruction last Sunday morning that I actually turned to the radio during the news broadcast and said "what?".

    My sister and her husband had spent the previous weekend there, while friends of hers had left on the Thursday after a longer holiday.

    I shudder to think what might have been if plans had been a week later.


  8. Walker, hopefully they would have wisely bolted. But I am not sure that people knew that much in advance for Marysville. I heard the same news broadcast Sunday morning. Having listened to the radio all day Saturday and a good bit of Saturday night and early Sunday morning, I thought, where did that come from? I heard no warnings.