Saturday, March 23, 2013

Diary Monday 18th March

Monday 18th March

We rose Sunday morning and spied a kookaburra in the tree. We watched him for a while. He went down to the ground and grabbed something to eat but we couldn't see what it was.

A solitary king parrot arrived and we had bought some seed, just in case. We put some in the bird feeder and away he went.

Looks like the king parrot's wife has arrived.

Another bloke king parrot might be after his wife's affections.

We are inundated, with about fifteen king parrots.

Then crimson rosellas arrived, to pick up the spillage of seed.

There was great consternation when a squawking flock of sulphur crested cockatoos flew past, with parrots heading in all directions.

K's husband J shaves his head. It was a little painful for him when one landed on his head.

This sign was in the garden. It wasn't until the last day that I realised it did not say Frank Walker.

After all the fun with the parrots, we drove up to Wild Cherry Cottage for our breakfast. One of our hosts made kookaburra calls and these arrived. Patiently they lined up and he spoon fed them some pet mince. There was no squabbling among the crew. They patiently waited for their turn. Once the bowl was emptied, our host showed them all the empty bowl and away they flew.

If you are worried about feeding wild birds, they only do it when they have guests for breakfast and they only come when they are called.

What we looked out upon as we ate our delicious breakfast.

Does a plate of fruit ameliorate a big fry up of thickly sliced bacon, eggs and tomatoes?

Ex Sis in Law had joined us for breakfast, but her husband Lozza did not. However he had promised to show us the sights of the local area in his 4wd. My god, the tracks we went along that couldn't possibly negotiated by a sedan. First stop was Bruntons Bridge, a footbridge across the Thomson River.

A foot bridge is good, but how does the car get across? Lozza showed us. "The problem is that I don't know how deep the water is. It might be quite deep and we could get washed downstream". Lozza took it a fair pace and of course the water wasn't very deep. He enjoyed scaring us for the whole afternoon.

Ohhhh, the Thomson Dam wall. I recall a State Premier from the past saying that this dam would drought proof Melbourne. Well, it did until it nearly ran out of water.

More hairy bush tracks before we reached the dam.

You can see some of the burnt bush from the fires earlier in the year.

Coopers Creek is a delightful little spot but unfortunately favoured by bogan campers who drink and fight at night, to the point where the police are reluctant to attend, especially as there isn't a phone signal. There was a hotel at Coopers Creek, but it has been recently de-licensed.

We did perhaps have one bush bashing diversion too many, but it was great fun and certainly not something I would have contemplated doing.

Back at Ex Sis in Law's place, K&J reacquainted themselves with  Non Dreaded Nephew when he knocked off from his job with the DSE.

We left far later than we intended, about 5.30, loaded with Lozza's bakery pies for dinner. We stopped briefly at a service station at Officer South.

Oh, I forgot about the Frenchies staying at Ex Sis in Law's accommodation. We met them twice. They were charming, with heavy accents and the photos we had seen of them did not do them justice. How can they have such style and not be gay? How can track pants sit so perfectly? Mohawks were fashionable when? Perhaps when I had one. But wow did one look so hot.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Diary Sunday 17th March Pt 2

A volunteer organisation runs the Walhalla Goldfields Railway along the old original route from Walhalla to Thomson, closely following Stringers Creek. There are plans to extend the line to Erica where there is still some train remains from when the line went right to Moe. From 1883 people agitated for a railway line to Moe and it was eventually opened in 1910. In 1914 the major mines closed. As usual, too little too late by the government. 

It was suggested to me that the mines did not close because of a lack of gold, rather the easily obtained timber to fire the furnaces ran out. Looking at old photos, both sides of the valley were bare. I think the furnaces ran the boilers to provide steam for the battery stamps, which at peak times ran twenty four hours a day, crushing whatever to extract the gold. When author Anthony Trollope visited n 1872, he was unable to sleep because of  the racket.

The line was truncated back to Erica in 1944 but had been extensively used to transport dismantled houses elsewhere, as people deserted the township.

 Our engine, the Spirit of Yallourn, originally used at the Yallourn open cut coal mine.

It is a beautiful trip along the creek banks with an occasional glimpse of the road higher up on the opposite side of the creek.

I don't know the proper term, maybe running around, and that was what happened at the Thomson terminus so that the engine was at the front for the return trip. We had a break of twenty minutes before retuning.

 The obligatory leaning out the window shot as we round a curve.

The bridge before Thomson Station with the road bridge nearby.

Our strong little Fowler Diesel ready with two carriages to haul back up too Walhalla. It is not a smooth or fast trip, but most pleasant.

 Once back in Walhalla we took a drive along the main road while looking at different houses.

We had decent coffee and food from the Grey Horse on its outside deck, just to the right of this photo.

We would have liked to do the mine tour, guided by one of the owners of our cottage, but other three opted for a afternoon nap. I took off for a walk on my own.

I climbed up the stairs next to the rotunda and past the old Freemason building to the relatively level walking path which follows the route of an old tramway, connecting two mines. The views were wonderful. I could see this equipment from our cottage. I guess it is a minehead or something. I have taken a mine tour in Walhalla when I was a teen, but I am not sure if it was the same one that is now used.

High above the town is what was the hospital, now used for accommodation. It is steep walk up to the Anglican church, the hospital and the cemetery, which is rather odd as it would be a struggle for old people. It is fair enough to have the old cricket ground high on the hills.

The rotunda is illuminated at night.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Diary Sunday 17th March Pt 1

Sun 17th

There was one matter I have not mentioned and that is no phone signal and that meant no internet on the laptop while using my phone as a modem. The Star Hotel uses it as a selling point, being away in quiet Walhalla with nothing to disturb you. I won't wear that. It is not good enough. People need their mobile phones and what is the point having www links displayed around the town if you can't access the net other than by a fixed line phone? If there was fire approaching, I would like the CFA app to work.

One path leads to another house via the back of our cottage, while the other path leads up to St Johns Church. The peace of Sunday morning was shattered by the mournful wailing of the fire siren, only a test.

The original larger church was moved to Wonthaggie in 1919 and this smaller one built when the population began to decline.

It is delightfully simple inside. Services are held once a month.

The lighting was bad to get a good photo of this nice stained glass window. As you can see in the photo above, it is quite effective.

Blended Aussie bush and exotica.

The Star Hotel and the rotunda.

The fire station as we walked down the hill.  It is built over Stringers Creek.

The non original Walhalla Chronicle building.

Inside the Tourist Information shop. From memory the cash register is American made.

The exterior of the Tourist Information shop.


Someone, perhaps jokingly, told me there was mobile phone reception inside the phone box. There wasn't.

Old vault which had stored in today's currency $1,400,000,000 worth of gold.

One of the rooms of the residence at the old Post and Telegraph Office.

All that remains of a destroyed hotel.

 The rotunda is in first class condition as sees use by a brass band.