Bendigo (Groundhog Day) and a roadkill happy ending to 2023

Community Highlights Oceania Bendigo (Groundhog Day) and a roadkill happy ending to 2023

On Christmas Eve we visited Bendigo markets after a sumptuous brekky at the Bendigo RSL.

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A storm was coming in overnight so we knew we were in for a wet Christmas Day so I cooked our smaller than usual Christmas dinner on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

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We accepted an invitation on Christmas Day afternoon to visit Perth friends Ron and June who were spending the festive season with June's sister Carol in Bendigo. Seeing as a wet and stormy Christmas in the caravan park was not to our liking - already missing family more than we'd expected - we gratefully spent the afternoon and early evening in great company! Then back to the camper to enjoy a bottle of bubbles given to us by Perth friends Kathy & Steve specifically to be shared on Christmas Day 🥂

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Boxing Day we had to check out of the caravan park so we began the day with a visit via the quaint town of Chewton with this beautiful old 'Jubilee Primitive Methodist Church' built in 1861 (didn’t see any primitive methodists around) to the old gold diggings in the Castlemaine area.

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Less than 20 minutes after seeing the gold diggings under blue skies there was an ominous change.

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Our plans to camp near Castlemaine changed due to another massive storm front so again luckily for us we had an invitation to stay with friends Lynda & Dave in the beautiful Yarra Valley so we headed down the highway towards their place.
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This was the view from their kitchen window as we arrived.

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And the same view 24 hours later - the three UFOs are reflected kitchen lights!

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The storms cleared for a few days and on New Year's Eve we visited the beautiful town of Marysville - well known for being a ski resort in winter but also the centre of a month long bushfire starting in the Murrundindi township lasting from 7 February to 5 March 2009 - such was the intensity!

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Forty lives were lost on what became known as Black Saturday. The bushfire memorial is in a tranquil setting and cleverly reflects the date onto the ground.

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We celebrated New Year's Eve with a pub meal and left around 11:40 pm. Despite Dave's careful driving after an evening of alcohol abstinence we clipped a wombat in the middle of the road as we drove across a bridge - bang on the stroke of midnight. Sadly it was killed on impact. A check of the pouch revealed a small leg sticking out. Lynda called the local wildlife rescue number and left coordinates after Dave and John moved the dead mother to the side of the road. It was going to take about an hour for the rescue person to arrive. The next morning New Year's Day Lynda received a message (with a brief video) to say that baby girl wombat was alive and well and mature enough to thrive - a lovely outcome to the accident that killed her mother and a big thanks to the dedicated wildlife rescue team.

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Welcome to 2024!

Deja vu or Groundhog Day? We were back in Bendigo on 2 January for a camper repair job. Once again we encountered a storm - this time with hail bouncing like ping pong balls and just as big! I thought John had found a kid's mouth guard but it was a hailstone!

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The Central Deborah Goldmine was our next tourist attraction to visit. It produced 929 kg of gold during its time and still has some historic workings as well as the modern production process. The exposed fools' gold and real gold is behind thick perspex so no chance of trying to grab a souvenir.

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The tour guide was excellent and didn’t kill anyone with his explosives demo.IMG_0208.jpeg
Many of the original buildings and equipment are still retained, including the showers and change rooms where the workers had to strip off after every shift and well - you can imagine the lack of dignity in being 'checked' for trying to smuggle out any gold nuggets!

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A plan shows the levels of the mine - we only got to level two! I preferred the 3D model showing all the levels and 15 kms of tunnels going to 412 metres deep with 17 levels!

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Still this gold mine is small when compared to the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie and the Boddington Gold Mine, both in WA.

Repair job done we left Bendigo to get away from caravan parks and back to the roads less travelled. Via some more surreal silo art at Colbinabbin.

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We also came upon the old Colbinabbin Homestead - seemingly abandoned but heritage listed. We would love to have camped in the grounds but didn’t!

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We ended up camped at the Moora Racecourse!

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Next post - Forests, lakes and rivers.

This featured blog entry was written by GraveNomads from the blog Big Lap of Oz.
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By GraveNomads

Posted Wed, Feb 28, 2024 | Australia | Comments