Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Diary 15th & 16th March

Friday 15th March

R and myself to Prahran in the car for shopping and me a haircut in the morning. K&J out in the afternoon to town. Dinner at Tran Tran in Victoria Street, Richmond.

Saturday 16th To Walhalla for a couple of days. Ex Sis in Law lives nearby so she organised our accommodation. Walhalla is an old gold mining town in the Gippsland region of Victoria, kind of north central Gippsland, about two hours drive from Melbourne. I have been there, but not since I was a teenager. Back then it had the feeling of an abandoned town and had never been connected to the electricity supply, with only generators for power. The power arrived in the 1980s, I think.

While in its heyday there was a population of thousands, now, depending on who you speak to, there are 13 or 16 residents. My informant said 13, of which nine are gay men, two are gay woman, one is straight and no-one can work out the thirteenth.

We stayed in what is called Mill House, just a little above the shops in the centre of town. It is owned by two gay guys who have three different accommodation places in the township. We did not know what it would cost in advance, aside from what was indicated on websites, and it wasn't cheap, but for the four of us, not too bad.

We set off early enough, like ten thirty, and had intended calling in to Mother's for a cup of coffee, but she had called earlier in the morning and done her dying swan, woe is me routine and asked if we could take her out for lunch to cheer her up. We obliged and spent far too long there.

Next stop was ex Sis in Law's shop/bakery near Walhalla. K&J had not met her new husband but exSiL had met K&J on their first visit to Australia seven years ago and they had put exSiL up in their abode in England when she and Non Dreaded Nephew visited them from Glasgow.

We had coffee and exSiL's husband gave us a dozen freshly baked hot cross buns to take with us and we made the final part of the journey, climbing up the foot of the mountains on a winding but well maintained road. By the time we reached Walhalla, I had started to regain my rusty country driving skills, although hardly like a local, and even they come to grief often through overconfidence, as you can read about when Daniel recently visited the same town.

Walhalla is strung out along Stringers Creek (how good was that!) with steep valley walls on either side. You enter from the south, the Latrobe Valley, and to the north are miles and miles of rugged mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range.

Our cute and cosy cottage with a church above.

A view of the township from the western side.

We were greeted by this solitary male King Parrot but alas we had not thought to bring seed.

 Looking down from our verandah into the carpark below our cottage.

The main bedroom, which we allowed K&J to have.

The two bunks just seen here were for R and myself. Unfortunately the room had a doorway to the bedroom at one end, another to the kitchen at the other end and the main house door right in the middle. Not ideal, but we coped.

The kitchen, very functional with all you needed.

Bathroom, nice enough, with new Wunderlich style pressed tin walls.

Shower and wc.

It was fine and sunny when we arrived but along came the badly needed rain. I was so happy, not just for the rain, but that it was spoiling the Australian Grand Prix. We chose this weekend to go away to get away from the noise and traffic disruption. It is hard to believe, but the walls of this valley were once denuded of vegetation. There is native regrowth mixed in with exotics.

We felled a tree, chainsawed it into pieces, chopped some kindling, then fired up the electric fire.

Ex Sis in Law and her husband, who I will give the name of Lozza, arrived and after drinks we all headed to the pub with them for an evening meal. It was a somewhat raucous night at the Wally Pup, but great fun. After a night cap back at the house, we retired to bed, listening to the rain on the roof. I rather inelegantly climbed up to the top bunk and slept like a log.

Next morning, we woke to sunshine and we could hear the creek bubbling away with the extra water flow.

16 comments:

  1. I love rain on the roof as a sound to sleep to.

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    1. Victor, I can't imagine you have heard that too often.

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  2. Such a pretty little area!
    I remember pressed tin walls and ceilings too, mostly ceilings, many older cottages in Port Pirie had them.
    I like your "strung out along Stringer Creek" line.
    I imagine it would be very quiet around those parts, isolated and only 13 regular inhabitants.

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    1. River, Saturday and Sunday were busy with tourists, but dead on Monday.

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  3. Walhalla is indeed an old gold mining town in Gippsland. Some gold towns like Bendigo and Castlemaine did brilliantly, even after the gold ran out. Other places faded into ghost towns.

    You are the only person I know who visited Walhalla in your adolescence... I wish I had.

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    1. Hels, I really wish I could better remember, especially as I would have been there more than once.

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  4. How beautiful and I was pleased to see that old wood an dresser in the kitchen - almost everyone I knew had one of them when i was little -

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    1. MC, made here in Clifton Hills, with European labour only, stamped on the back.

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  5. Walhalla looks a nice little place.

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    1. Charming and tranquil Bill. A couple more posts and there will be something to really interest you.

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  6. Is Ma being just a little controlling, to delay your arrival so thoroughly?
    Don't fret about the parrot - it knows what time to arrive at the locals' houses. Luckily I had a bag of almonds when faced with fearless Kingys on the Lorne hillside. they loved them.
    Charming renovation and the whole thing looks and sounds just perfect.

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    1. Ann, she is always controlling, but in a subtle way. We did get to interact with the birds on the Monday.

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  7. A long time since I have been at Walhalla too, as there was no power at the time. A wonderful little place, as I remember.

    "Fired up the electric fire" :)

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    1. FC, while it was busy enough at the weekend, I am surprised it is not more popular. I like things electric, like the electric bank and the electric beach, almost now banned.

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  8. Fascinated by the throwaway comment about felling a tree and then chainsawing it into logs. Do Aussies carry chain saws with them when they travel or did there just happen to be one lurking in the cupboard?

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    1. Fun60, you are such a city girl. I was jesting and just cut wood will not burn as it needs to dry out. There was air conditioning for heating and cooling and an electric fake fire. Mind, in that area, some would carry chainsaws in their car to clear a tree that might fall across a road.

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