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Subject Topic: Aussie Cols Xmas Hols (Pt 3) Post Reply Post New Topic
01/4/2021 at 12:22pm
 Location: Melbourne Australia
 Outfit: Windsor Rapid Off Road Van + tents
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Hi all,

My previous report ended with us having just picked up Kristie. We had shown her some art sites as well as having a swim in a gorgeous water hole before heading back to our van on the shores of Lake Wellington.

That evening we were treated to a lovely sunset, when that was over we settled around the fire and just absorbed how good it was to be back out in the sticks, especially after spending so much of the previous year literally being stuck at home.

The girls were still punching out the zeds when I captured the next mornings sunrise, so peaceful and serene. Then a couple of pics of our own private beach before we broke camp and headed off on the next stage of our trip.

Our first stop (after we had the welding on the van fixed) was just south of Sale at the historic, heritage listed hand operated “Swing Bridge”. Designed by John Grainger (father of the famous pianist and composer, Percy Grainger), it was constructed during the years 1880-3 replacing a low level bridge which restricted access to the Port of Sale for the sizeable steamships that plied the waters of the Gippsland Lakes.

Pedestrian traffic only now, the precision workmanship that went into its construction is quite impressive. It is the oldest operational Swing Bridge in Australia, and possibly the only hand operated one as well.

Only a few hundred metres back towards the main road, underneath an over pass, these fabulous examples of local mural art can be found.


An Eastern Water Dragon.

An Azure Kingfisher.

We stopped at Woodside to photograph their historic St Gerard’s Catholic Church. It was built in 1904 and “Blessed” in early 1905.

I loved the picket fence, it really gave it some character. As the day was pretty warm we decided to pop down to the coast for a swim before we continued our trip.

Woodside Beach’s surf life saving club and some pics of their beach.

This beach is also not far from the south western end of Gippsland’s famous 90 Mile Beach, which is actually 94 miles/150 kilometres long.

We now headed for the Tarra Valley Caravan Park which is located at the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges about 20 ks on the other side (west) of Yarram. The reason we were in this part of Victoria was Jen and I wanted to show Kristie the Tarra Bulga National Park as well as some recently completed art work in the town of Yarram itself.

The world famous Mongolian born street artist Heesco (who now resides in Melbourne) had been asked to turn the town of Yarram into a destination for art lovers. The project was dubbed “Heesco Town”, it was a joint effort between local residents, business owners and Heesco himself. They all wanted to create a tourist destination for the area, one that had suffered greatly due to the effects of recent bushfires and with the effect of Covid lockdowns had had on the community.

As we entered town the first of Heesco’s work was right in front of us.

The subject matter is explained in this next pic, a lovely connection between man and his faithful pet/dog.

On the corner of the road leading out of town to the caravan park is the towns historic Mechanics Institute, that was also the next art site we saw.

Amazing detail and unusual subject matter. When I got home I researched the connection of the lady, royal figure and the sinking of the Titanic.

Ada Crossley was a local lass who impressed all in the region with her vocal exploits. She was sent to Melbourne to be coached by the states best, they soon realised her talent and encouraged her to travel to London to pursue her craft and career.

Whilst there she sang for Dame Nellie Melba who apparently was brought to tears by what she heard, long story short, she became a world sensation. In 1898 she sang before Queen Victoria, the first of at least 5 private performances and soon became a royal favourite, singing at many ceremonial occasions as a requested soloist.

In 1910, King Edward VII passed away, it was Ada that the royal family chose as the Soloist to sing at his funeral. During the service, Ada performed to over 9 sovereign heads of state, they ruled over most of the known world, 36 crown princes and other territorial heads of state – the Pacific, Asia and the Middle East, including President Roosevelt from the USA; plus many other dignitaries.

In 1912 the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southport to New York. As it sank the ships 8 band members chose to play the hits of the day to help calm the passenger’s during that horrific night.

The last song they played was ‘Nearer My God To Thee “ as the Titanic slowly slipped beneath the icy waters, that song was Ada’s world wide hit at the time.

It’s amazing the things you learn as you travel around our country, keep your eyes, mind and heart open and you will be rewarded. An Australian great who through time has been forgotten. I raise my hat to Ada Jemima Crossley. (1871 – 1929)

We are not caravan park type people but when we book them, we or more to the point I, try to select ones that are more natural in their settings (if possible) and choose a site that gives us as much privacy or as nice an out look as they have. I booked this park and site only hours after lockdowns had been eased, quite awhile before our intended visit.

The park and our site.

The view from under our awning and the Tarra River behind our van.

Recent heavy rain had clouded the water a bit but it was still nice, although a tad Piccadilly. Late that day and early evening as we sat outside just chillin, I was taken by the symmetry and abstractness of the trees above, so took these.

Next day we went for a drive up into the Tarra Bulga National Park.

We stopped beside the road to check out this.

Click on the next pic for a short clip of the falls.

We went on a rainforest walk to Cyathea Falls, Cyathea cunninghamii (the Slender Tree Fern) can grow as high as 20 metres and is one of two prominent tree fern species growing in the park.

And the beautiful Falls themselves.

We then drove onto the main picnic grounds and Park info centre for morning tea, before heading off on our next walk. A couple of nice “Birds” there!

One of the Parks main tourist attractions is the walk to “Corrigan’s Suspension Bridge”. Frank Corrigan was the head Engineer of the Alberton Shire and a supporter of the original Tarra Bulga National Park proposal and declaration.

Who or what was Tarra, to have a Town, River, Valley and National Park and other bits and pieces named after you, you must have been pretty special, to be an Aboriginal and to have died 155 years ago, it is even more remarkable. Charley Tarra was the person who was given that significant recognition well prior to the time it was normal to acknowledge the locals in such a way.

In 1840 Charley was chosen as a guide to assist an expedition to be the first to climb and then name Australia’s highest peak. They left an area near Goulburn NSW climbed to the top and then made their way through the Victorian Alps finally arriving at Corinella on the shores of Western Port Bay.

Members of that party said many times, if it wasn’t for Charley’s tracking ability and bush skills they would have all died on a number of occasions. He was the reason that success was achieved.

After visiting the National Park in the morning we returned to Yarram in the afternoon to check out more of the many murals that had been painted in town, here are just a few.

That one was designed to be an iconic Australian farm image that everyone could relate to. It isn’t of anyone in particular, but when Heesco painted the piece everyone wanted to know who the person was and the name of the dog. It was suggested the community might want to decide, they quickly chose Kevin Heggen (a long-time local farmer who was a ‘gun shearer’ back in the day, and his good mate Ted). Kevin is happy enough for the myth to unfold.

The next one I’m showing you is painted on the side of the Yarram Bakery. Its story is an emotive one, the owner of the Bakery (Liem Nguyen) tells the story.

“I settled in Yarram in 1983 as a refugee from the Vietnam war, I have never forgotten the welcome I received from the then Fraser Government as a boat person fleeing persecution. I remember vividly the warm welcome into Australia, people with open arms.”

“All this time I have worked hard and have been trying to figure out how I can ever say thank you in a public way to Australia for taking me in.  When Wayne asked me if I would get involved with a painting on the wall of my business, I thought, this is my chance to say thank you Australia. That’s all I wanted, to say thank you.”

Local Wayne Tindall (Artist/film maker) who was instrumental in many of the designs said,

“Liem was positive right from the start, it had to be something about the persecution and the horror trip he took to get here where thousands perished. I came up with a design but insisted that he had to feature in it. He was reluctant but I managed to grab a photo and mocked up the design. Heesco was listening to Liem talking to me about his ordeal and immediately decided that the image had to be in monotones, to reflect the enormity of the suffering Liem had witnessed.”

This next image is on the side of a building owned by Peter Stone and Wendy Bouker, Peter was asked about his ideas for the mural.

“I chose Ralph Vale, who for me was an obvious choice. Ralph was a Bullocky back in the day…he died about 10 years ago now. He lived up in Hiawatha (a nearby rural location) and was known and loved by many in the area…. a traditional old timer.”

“Ralph represents the early settlers that made this area what it is today. I thought it was important to commemorate him on my building, and judging from the public response, I think I made the right call.”

This mural depicts Kara Healey in the Tarra Bulga National Park, she arrived in the Park in 1949. In 1952 she effectively became the first female park ranger in Victoria. The lyrebird is a reminder that natural areas such as the the National Park are important refuges for our native wildlife.

On the main drag near the southern edge of town, we saw this caravan “for little people” It needed a bit of work, t as the roof didn’t look water tight anymore!!

Back to our van for a rest, as always it had been a pretty full day. Next morning we broke camp and headed off on the next part of our trip.

It wasn’t long before we had our next photos in the can, so to speak. We soon arrived at the small town of Alberton. In its heyday it had several buildings such as stores, hotels, even a police magistrates and court of petty sessions, it is now a small farming community.

The Victoria Hotel opened in 1891, the owner wanted to be part of what was happening just up the road, he said. “We decided on a heritage image that was not too bright but one that would stand out boldly and be seen clearly from the South Gippsland Highway. It had to be a period image & of course hotel related, hence us picking a gentleman unloading old kegs by hand.”

Only a few ks from there was our next destination, Tarraville. It is notable for its old wooden Church being Victoria's second oldest timber building, having been built in 1856. It is unique in another way; it was constructed without the use of nails or screws!! Tarraville was also the birthplace of Ada Crossley but I have already told you about her.

The Bell Tower is a wonderful piece of carpentry, beautiful in design and construction.

By late 1844, the village had some 50 buildings, mainly constructed of brick. In 1851, a government township was surveyed, by the mid 1850s Tarraville was the largest town in Gippsland, with seven hotels at its peak, numerous stores and businesses, a police station, courthouse and gaol. A school commenced in 1856, but private schools had operated from 1848. A mechanics' institute hall was built in 1859 and a tollgate was installed at the bridge over the Tarra River.

Today there are just a couple of houses, the church I have shown you and this school, basically that’s it.

We’ll end this one there, covered a bit of ground and a fair bit of history this time around.

Regards Col and Jen.

The worst day above ground, is a whole lot better than the best one under it. Live life to the fullest while you can.

01/4/2021 at 12:51pm
 Location: Wigan
 Outfit: VWSharan. Sport 442.
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Very impressive murals.

The Victoria Hotel is reminiscent of an Edwardian Hotel/pub in the UK.

Many thanks.

11/12/2021 at 5:45pm
 Location: Stourbridge
 Outfit: Tent: Outwell Nevada MP
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Thanks again for another great story.

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