Surreal Silos and bound for Bendigo

Community Highlights Oceania Surreal Silos and bound for Bendigo

A big gap between posts! I'm blaming it on being in places with little to no phone coverage for days on end especially here in Tasmania from where I'm catching up. So here goes from last time.
Passing through some other quirky named towns like Mittyack, Nandaly, Sea Lake, Berriwillock, Culgoa, Nullawil, and Dumosa we enjoyed some more fantastic examples of Silo art starting with this one at Sea Lake. The detail is incredible.

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Nullawil had the next silo art and some clever metal sculptures. I loved this painting of a bloke with his cattle dog - quintessential outback Australia. The miniature version of the silos with the Nullawil sign includes a donation box - all the silo art features have them and the proceeds support local charities or events that are essential for these rural communities.

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Our next surprising find was Wycheproof (pronounced as it looks - Witchy proof) which lays claim to the world’s smallest mountain.

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There's an impressive old court house on the (short) way to the the smallest mountain.

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Here I am standing on top of it (the mountain not the court house) with the road stretching out behind me and some interesting rock formations that I thought were perhaps offspring of the World's Smallest Moutain.

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The long drop toilet (can it be considered a ‘long drop’ on the smallest mountain?) has some scary signage not seen on other such toilets. It really is a 'loo with a view'. The falling off sign perhaps relates to the mountain and not the actual receptacle - anyway it shows pretty graphic consequences!

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We were on a mission to get to Bendigo for an essential repair to our camper. This wasn’t part of our loosely planned itinerary but it was a case of 'needs must'. Bendigo, like Ballarat is a centre of gold mining in Australia and has much associated history. The city centre has a shopping area but still features some beautiful old buildings including this Thai restaurant with an incredible ceiling, in a former bank building which we visited after a drink in a rooftop bar with a side terrace. Oh and there are delightful old tourist trams in Bendigo - often full of delightful old tourists.

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Nearby Castlemaine is a very pretty town - also an old mining centre. My favourite place there would have to be Book Heaven.

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I'd been looking during our entire trip for a copy of 'The Witch of Portobello' by Paulo Coelho. This was a book club choice before we had left Perth WA and I'd been unable to source a copy. I had a good feeling walking into this treasure trove of a book shop - nine rooms packed to the rafters!

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The lovely lady responded immediately to my question for this title with, 'Yes, we have two copies actually.' To my delight (but not surprise) she took me straight to the shelf and I was more than happy to buy a copy.

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The lady - who had been in the bookshop industry since the early 1970s told me that Barry Humphries was a long time customer from when she and her husband had a bookshop in Melbourne. When they moved to Castlemaine and set up Book Heaven, Barry Humphries visited one day and told her 'You look very familiar'. She quickly replied, 'So do you!' They laughed and laughed 😉. Mr Humphries died in April 2023 after complications from a hip operation but the lady in the bookshop said that came about due to a fall he'd had in the February - apparently while reaching for a book on a high shelf.
And I didn’t enjoy the book after managing to find it!
After a couple of days getting our camper sorted we did more sightseeing - off to Echuca - home of the paddle steamers on the mighty Murray River and famous for the historical TV series 'All the Rivers Run' filmed there in the early 1980s. On the way to Echucha we did have a giggle at the sight of three big, burly blokes looking ridiculous perched on a miniature railway in Elmore!

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Here's the very young looking Sigrid Thornton and John Waters in their signed poster of the TV series.

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The boat used in the series as 'The Philadelphia' is actually 'The Pevensey' seen here behind a more modern vessel on the Murray River.

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And the book by Nancy Cato on which the series was based.

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Another famous (and the oldest) local paddle steamer is the Canberra - originally launched in 1913 as a single decked boat and in 1945 the upper deck was added.

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Paddle steamers were not just for the blokes - here's the lovely Lucy Lavina Conner who lived on the Canberra with her brother - she could fish, make nets, drive and fire the boats - bet she wasn’t dressed like this while doing those things! I have the Monty Python 'Lumberjack' song in my head as I write this bit.

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The Murray, like most rivers in Victoria is a murky brown colour - explained by the amount of tannins from leaves and bark. A couple of days after we were here there were massive storms which caused flooding in this area and the river here would have been a lot higher than when we saw it.

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Just outside of Echuca ia a 'Thong Tree' - yes, these kind of thongs!

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The little town of Rochester, on the way back to Bendigo also has some amazing silo art and street murals. The possum, kingfisher and platypus are just fantastic.

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There's also 'Iddles Lane', named after local resident cop Ron Iddles whose interesting life story (The Good Cop) was written by Justine Ford and this was later made into a Logie winning TV doco by Foxtel. Ron was a twin and I felt for his mother where it states on the mural that they weighed 8lbs 4oz each (3.74kg for those of you well-versed in new money) when they were born in 1955!

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This brilliant mural was done in just 11 days in January 2020 by Tim Bowtell who has done many of the silo art paintings too - what a talent!

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Back in Bendigo we explored some more - as the name suggests the Bendigo Bank originated here and there are a few ladies I know who would be interested (and perhaps disappointed) to see the very modern facade of this fine old institution!

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There's plenty of prettier architecture in Bendigo, including the sandstone built (in 1895) Sacred Heart Cathedral which features a statue of Australia’s only Saint, Mary MacKillop and with a spire 87 metres high (yes I'm sticking to new money now).

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In contrast is St Killian's church - impressive as the largest wooden church in Australia.

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Bendigo turned it on for Christmas 😊

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And finally - a game you can only play in Bendigo if you are of a certain profession!

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Next time - Goldmines, memorials and storms.

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

Posted Sat, Feb 17, 2024 | Australia | Comments