Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Leaving Parkes behind knowing we would be back in a couple of months for the Elvis festival, we made our way to Darlington point where we camped right on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.
Along the road we saw hundreds of very mature cactus fully laden with fruit.  What happened to the Cactoblastus Moth and why isn't he doing his job

Our rig on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River
Note the yabbie pot in place under the white float (just as well I didn't have the pan on ready
Not a sound could be heard well into the night except a few lonely birds and the yabbies scurrying away from our pot that we put in.  Still, it was great sitting out under the trees watching the river flow past at quite a reasonable pace winding its way into the mighty Murray and eventually out to sea.

Our next stop was West Wylong where we met up with John and Jenny Varady from Mackay for a quick cuppa, a catch up and then on our way again hoping to catch up further south before Christmas.

After getting a really great Port in the Territory called F(&a;?G GOOD PORT we tracked down where it was made and went to the winery to get more - which we did.  This was at Yarren Wines at Yenda.
Our little camp site in amongst the other vans and mainly tents at Maldon

Our next major event was the Maldon Folk Festival (are you keeping up Shel, Pat will be onto you again). Maldon is a very small old country town between Ballarat and Bendigo where a lot of very alternative people get together every year for their music festival.  Not really our thing but we can now cross it off the list (not that it was on it). We walked up the street following someone in a lovely A line skirt, blouse and shoulder bag - along with bare feet and a beard!!!  Another was dressed as Robin Hood, another in a full kilt regalier.  We went to a bush and old time dance there though which was a lot of fun.

We also did a market there which topped up the coffers a little bit.  We went up the street next day to sit outside a lovely old pub and watched and listened to about 21 people play Irish music with flutes, accordions, violins, a harp and a Bodhran (Irish Drum)
We left Maldon for Ballarat where we stayed for about 5 days and boy was it cold (about 6') we spent one day at Sovereign Hill which is a replica of the early Gold Rush Days and it was very interesting.
The local butcher 1850's style got the meat in and got rid of it quickly to those who could pay for it before it went off with the offal being fought over by the town dogs and those who couldn't afford to buy good mutton 

Digging for gold in the replica boom town

In the gold smelting room a worker poured a 1kg bar of solid gold worth $250,000.00


which cooled solid very quidkly but was still glowing red and hot enough to ignite a wooden stick but after dropping in water cooled to touch by hand in  seconds

This was very quickly put into the safe before anyone could get their hands onto it

The British soldiers marching through the village keeping the peace

The town even had a bowling allly.  Stuart tried his had at bowling 1850's style where the bowl is held so and rolled down a slightly curved ally to the pins at the other end.

Ballarat is a very old city with buildings dating back to about 1853 - less than 80 years after the landing of the First Fleet in 1788.

An example of some of the old buildings right through Ballarat

This beautiful old church was built in 1840

but the church was actually established in 1847

We spied this beautiful rose bush growing through the roof of a house in the little old town of Buninyong

I am pretty sure this is a Warratah flower but couldn't find someone to verify it and I haven't seen one up close before.

At the Botanical Gardens in Ballarat is the home of Adam Lindsay Gordon, poet who lived in the area.  Who had a sad life and ended up committing suicide before all of his work was published

The cottage now houses craft items made by people in the community for sale

More of the beautiful churches in the Ballarat area

Just out of Ballarat is a castle called Kryal Castle which is a replica of a medieval castle complete with drawbridge and moat

It is currently under renovation and so we couldn't go in but could see medieval knights etc inside the doorway

From Ballarat we made our way closer to Melbourne to Werribee where we stayed for 2 nights on the shore of Port Phillip Bay at a caravan Park.  We went to the open range zoo there but I was a bit disappointed with the lack of animals we could see and was exhausted by the time we got back.
Love the Meekats, there were 5 and they were full of antics always with 1 on guard duty though

We are surrounded by large market gardens with rows and rows of leaf vegetables like lettuce, cabbage cauli's etc. with big semi's loading it all up by the huge box full early in the mornings to head to the market.

We went another 30 odd kilometres into Melbourne where we are staying at a park at Laverton and once again I fly home for the boarders Christmas Party getting back on Friday night in time for Andrew's 30th birthday Party which we will hear about next time.

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