Destroyed by Fire: Wesleyan Methodist Church ruins, Tarnagulla

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This charred shell of a grand old country church sits on a low rise in the Goldfields town of Tarnagulla, west of Bendigo.

The foundation stone was laid in October 1864, and the church opened in 1865 with a seating capacity of 300. It was damaged by fire in 2000, and is now privately owned – presumably by someone with a sense of humour, as there is a flock of pink plastic flamingos posted around the front.

Out and About: Dunolly, Victoria

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A misunderstanding took me to Dunolly, in the Victorian Goldfields Region, recently: I had been led to believe there would be a Swap Meet held there, as some signs along a wayside said so.

Unfortunately, upon arrival it became clear there was no Swap Meet, and the signs had been up from the previous year’s event – more fool me, for not noticing the date was one day out of plumb.

Anyway, the lack of Swap Meet didn’t dampen things, as Dunolly is a very interesting town to wander about, and for a Sunday in the country it was surprisingly busy. It is also home to the most amazing building materials salvage yard, and well-worth the visit if that’s your thing.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, STARTING AT TOP:

  1. Help the what of the what?
  2. Fantastical garden decor
  3. i cannot find you but there is a face on the moon it looks like you
  4. P. McBride 1852, Ironmonger
  5. Dunolly welcomes you…
  6. Established in the Goldrush days
  7. G.S. Williams
  8. Lan-choo tea for your teapot
  9. Eagle Star Insurance
  10. Groceries Hardware
  11. The absent Swap Meet, advertised in a shop window
  12. Town Hall, porthole to the balcony
  13. Town Hall, where the wild things grow
  14. Bet Bet Shire, 1864
  15. Huge, creamy yellow roses for the bees
  16. CLOSED sign on old sheet music
  17. Pick the living critter…
  18. Beautiful crackled paint
  19. Dereliction in the Billiards Hall
  20. Corner garage, closed

Clunes Booktown 2013

Clunes Book Town 2013

Each year Clunes, a picturesque Goldfields village thirty minutes north of Ballarat, turns into an International Booktown – the main street is closed off, and popup bookstores appear in most of the shops, while book stalls line the footpaths. When a dear friend suggested a cultural outing, I didn’t immediately leap at the suggestion…until I saw the advertising for Clunes Booktown Festival and just knew it would be the perfect weekend destination for two librarians.

The interesting thing about the Booktown crowd was how subdued it was: despite the perfect autumn weather, live music, a Punch and Judy show, and kids’ activities, the crowd was very quiet, respectful as though in a large outdoor library. People didn’t jostle one another, or talk loudly on phones, or yell at their kids/dogs/each other. It was very civilised and soothing.

Please click image to view full size.

Talbot: a delightful Goldfields town

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Since first visiting there in 2008, I have wanted to return to Talbot, situated south of Maryborough in the Victorian Goldfields region. It is a town well-endowed with handsome brick buildings, but – lamentably – the glorious curved main street “Scandinavian Crescent” is filled with mainly vacant shops. Despite this, the town attracts a thousand visitors to its farmers market each month, and the shops that are open (secondhand books, antiques, accessories, a gourmet cafe, and more besides) are certainly very appealing to the visitor.

Talbot: Scandinavian Crescent

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Talbot’s main street isn’t very long, and most of the shops are vacant, but it’s still very picturesque. I got chatting to a local antiques dealer, who explained that Scandinavian Crescent curves around the gold seam line, and the street and buildings were built upon the original goldrush tent camps.