Stones Record Family Losses

In the first few years of the colony, mortality was very high, but the common childhood infections were absent until the 1830s. From the 1880s, there was a sustained decline in mortality from communicable diseases, and therefore in aggregate mortality, while maternal mortality remained high. Some details included with photos.

The Past Dwells Here

An entire past comes to dwell here! Gaston Bachelard 'Poetics of Space' In the summer of 2011, on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula on Scotland's west coast, excavations revealed the only known Viking boat burial to be excavated on the British mainland in modern times. The vessel survived in the form of more than 200 rivets, many … Continue reading The Past Dwells Here

Harsh Times on the Goldfields

Life in the 1850's in Hobart Town was not easy. Like my great grandfather it is  likely that this family were drawn to the Victorian goldfields, from Hobart, lured by the prospect of finding gold and making a fortune. Disease was rife upon the goldfields, where poor sanitation meant that refuse and excrement were liable to … Continue reading Harsh Times on the Goldfields

Mail Box Spotting and Front Yard Art

"The mailman, if he's extra tired, would pass them in his sleep, It's safest to address the note to 'Care of Conroy's sheep', For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go astray, You write to 'Care of Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh'." A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson, "The Travelling Post Office" The Bulletin, 10 March 1894 … Continue reading Mail Box Spotting and Front Yard Art

Suffer the Children

Life on the goldfields was particularly harsh on children. They were often used as a source of labour and could earn small amounts of money for errands. Their young immune systems were still developing and children were highly susceptible to diseases that sometimes ran through mining communities. However, even the young were drawn to the … Continue reading Suffer the Children

Become Rock Nerds

Majestic mountains, breathtaking canyon views, gorgeous arrays of sea stacks and beautiful sandstone arches are but a few of Mother Nature's wonders that beckon photographers worldwide. These geological features lure artists of all kinds to paint, preserve, photograph, or sculpt. They've been cut by rivers, uplifted by faults or folds, carved by the wind, and … Continue reading Become Rock Nerds

Unknown Goldfields Miners Grave

'Since Saturday morning, the scene (on the goldfields) has greatly changed - then a tent would be seen here and there, but now they are becoming inconveniently crowded ... On Saturday, dozens were arriving at a time; on Sunday, hundreds; Monday and Tuesday, one continuous line of new arrivals.' Argus, 8 November 1851 KALIMNA PARK … Continue reading Unknown Goldfields Miners Grave

May They Have Found Peace

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms Maya Angelou   On a quiet country back road, near the Newstead General Cemetery, lie two burial markers of interest. One is simply called Chinese Ground. The Chinese were not welcome on the Australian goldfields. They were thorough workers, often picking meticulously through the discarded … Continue reading May They Have Found Peace

Geological Lesson in Castlemaine

  "This upward facing fold, called an anticline, is a nice example of how the gold-bearing strata in the Victorian goldfields are folded. The curved stratum, about 50 cm thick, is composed of sandstone and interpreted to have been deposited as a turbidite—an underwater sediment-rich, turbulence deposit. This particular one involved a lot of sand and … Continue reading Geological Lesson in Castlemaine

Mixing with Trees

"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new … Continue reading Mixing with Trees

Spring is Coming

Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina that “spring is the time of plans and projects.” With  the passing of equinox, July inspires us to seriously lift our game. Slow, cosy winter days are replaced with big plans for action.  There are many  spots to find little signs that Spring is coming. Here, in July, in the … Continue reading Spring is Coming

Who Castlemaine Remembers

"The past does not lie down and decay like a dead animal. It waits for you to find it again and again." "The Gilda Stories" ~Jewelle Gomez At the time when I was running the Soul Food Cafe I created a number of features which are stored in the Box of Wonderment. One was The Dig … Continue reading Who Castlemaine Remembers

Things I Love About Castlemaine

Many years ago, in another life, in a parallel universe, I gave my heart and soul to the creation of the Soul Food Cafe. The Creativity Portal was just one major site that featured the work that I was doing.  Facebook completely changed the online environment and the shift that came with it, along with … Continue reading Things I Love About Castlemaine

Germ of Australian Independence

Much is made of the Eureka Stockade, a rebellion that took place in Ballarat. However, 160 years ago, in 1851, 15,000 protesters gathered on the Forest Creek diggings in central Victoria to object to higher gold license fees. This gathering took place at what has come to be known as the Monster Meeting place at … Continue reading Germ of Australian Independence

Treasure Hunting in Blanket Gully Road

Ochre was the most important painting material used traditionally by Aboriginal people. It is mined from particular sites and is a crumbly to hard rock heavily coloured by iron oxide. The source material was traded extensively across Australia in the past, with some material traveling many hundreds or even thousands of kilometres from where it … Continue reading Treasure Hunting in Blanket Gully Road