Last Day

I now know why a tour guide in Cairns told us he’d moved to Queensland because he didn’t like the weather in Melbourne. It was 37 degrees this morning when we caught the free tram around the city. By the time we had lunch by the Yarra River served by a Liverpuddlian it was dropping warm splodges of rain. From 3.00 it rained solidly and by 7.00 pm. it is dry and 21. 

  

Bellarine Peninsula

One last day at the seaside. The weather is glorious, wall to wall sunshine with a cooling breeze. So today we drove to The Barwon Heads and Queenscliffe, where Port Philip Bay almost meets the Mornington Peninsula, with only a narrow opening for shipping.

 

Barwon Heads

 
I could have stayed all day in the pier cafe, but the table was reserved for lunch.

Queenscliffe has been a grand old town and many buildings remain. One old timer came up to tell us of the time the old Grand Vue Hotel burnt down and they were throwing all the grog out of the window, to see it being picked up by men who quickly made off with it, reminding me of the story of Whisky Galore.

  

Geelong

Pronounced Gillong, is a surprisingly lovely town. We are here 5 days because at the end of our trip we are fed up with changing accommodation almost every day. We counted around 35 different beds over the last 8 weeks. Barwon Valley Park is just 2 miles from the centre of town and we have a semi-detached bungalow which is spacious and well equipped, with even it’s own laundry. There’s tennis courts, swimming pool and children’s play area and all for £70 a night.

Parking on the seafront there is a lovely esplanade with a children’s train, which Hannah and Eva would like, a carousel and big wheel.

  
We visited the art gallery to get an impression of old Geelong, what a grand neo classical building. It is obviously a fairly wealthy place.

Next stop, lunch in the Lord Nelson, called Nelson’s Victory, in my book and in 1851. It’s great that it has survived. Inside it is quite grand.

  
We raised a toast to Thomas Dugmore who drank here.

  
Then visited the cemetary where he was buried. It is enormous, we could not pinpoint the area because although there are records that he was buried here, it was the pauper’s area and no gravestone exists.

History time

Creswick was a disappointment. Although we got there on Saturday, the only day the Research Centre opens, it was closed. The tourist information place had little information on the local goldfields and a lot of the areas are in private gardens. The ladies in the museum were lovely but there is not much on the early times.

It was only redeemed by a lovely meal with Julie and Steve in the evening and seeing a group of wild kangaroos when we returned home.

Julie Moten (2nd cousin)

 
  

Today we drove down to Ballarat to the Eureka Stockade Memorial and found not only the memorial but a brilliant museum on democracy.

Eureka Stockade

Northern Victoria

It’s difficult to believe that you can go skiing a few miles north of the Yarra Valley. Our journey to Alexandra took us over the tree lined mountain to a plateau where the temperature hit the thirties. The town, originally called Red Gate, was a gold rush town from 1866, now it’s a sleepy town on the way to other tourist spots like Lake Eildon.

We stopped at the library and the helpful librarian showed us a few booklets on the history of the place and one more link in the history emerged. Thomas Timms had a hotel at Gobur, called The Sons of Freedom. I thought he must have gone a bit Irish, but later investigation showed a claim of the same name. Presumably hotels were situated near the claims, so miners drank in the one closest to their work. At its peak there were 55,000 miners, now it’s barely a mark on the map.

Travelling west along the Golden Valley Road, a name describing the colour of the grass, as much as the gold from the ground, I should think we came across Murchison’s Gap and viewpoint. I had not realised that a lot of this land was settled very early from NSW rather than after Melbourne was founded. Looking north, was a vista of golden mountains, stretching for miles.

  
Today we passed Hanging Rock, so made a detour to climb it and remind ourselves of the story “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. Another find was the Covent Gallery in Daylesford with an exhibition by a painter whose enormous canvases of Aboriginals were breathtaking. If only I had 17000 dollars spare. Barbara Hauser may be the best modern painter we have ever come across

Tonight we are staying in a 100 year old railway signal box in the middle of a forest and eating in a 150 year old weatherboard hotel, which from the outside looks like somewhere you would never set foot, but is aiming high with its menu of style and sophistication, their words. 

 

Yarra Valley

fabulous day today, the sun came out as we turned into the Yarra Valley and it is the most beautiful place, lush and surrounded by mountains. I took Richard on a tour of the vineyards, all once owned by Joseph Timms. At St Hubert’s the lady found an article about Joseph Timms and is going to scan and email it to me. 

 

St Hubert’s

 
A little tipsy by now, she pointed us 2k down the road to Greenpoint, now owned by Moët Chandon, where we lunched on charcuterie and champagne. The original brand of Greenpoint Champagne is long gone, but we bought two bottles and realised we needed to buy another bag to get them home. (Boxing Day wine is sorted, James)

 

Chandon Greenpoint

 
Having found one in a junk shop in Healesville for 5 dollars, we headed off to Yering Station and another two bottles bought. It is a good job our luggage allowance is generous and that we travel light.

On the way we stopped off to put some lilies on g grandma’s grave. This time they were placed in a water bottle, rather than a beer bottle you will be pleased to know.