Tag Archives: Chewton Central Victoria

If I Do It All Over Again

My shipmates and I liked the sea lions, and envied their lives. They were all either fat or dead; there was no half way. By day they played in the shallows, alone or together, greeting each other and us with great noises of joy, or they took a turn offshore and body-surfed in the breakers, exultant… Everyone joked, often, that when he “came back” he would just as soon do it all over again as a sea lion.
Annie Dillard

I have thought of that if I am called upon to do it all over again I would ask to be a lappie, beamed down to a home where I would be taken out three times a day to run, frolic joyfully and sniff map. But I do understand why Dillard, upon returning to the Galapagos, realised that, rather than returning as a sea lion she would come back as a palo santo tree, standing on the weather side of the island. Standing there she could be “a perfect witness”, able to simply look, be mute, wave her arms a lot and be a source of holy wood.

If I do return it will be a bit like returning after having lived with fairies! Nothing will be as it is now! Everything changes! But that is nothing new! I have not always lived alone with lapphunds! I reinvented myself when multiple deaths changed the world I had known. Perhaps I will come back in a very different form. I might come as an iconic Boab Tree and silently dispense creative bush medicine to those who understand. Of course, unless I end up in some kind of alternative universe, that will not shield me from the loss and grief so much a part of life on this planet.

Who will you be and how will you live if you do come back for another round on planet earth?

Sniff mapping at St John’s Chewton

This lovely, original old church has a distinctive old bell tower behind it! Services are held at 6pm each Saturday.

Historic Chewton streetscape!

It is a short drive, along the Midland Highway, from Castlemaine to Chewton! Although much has been collected and documented since the gold rush, Chewton’s early history is a story that has never really been told. Edward Stone Parker (Assistant Protector of Aborigines) kept detailed records of how the protectorate worked but that was in the 1850’s and 1860’s after the Europeans arrived and gold had been found. The lives of the local Jaara people, and the natural environment, were reshaped by this contact.

Major Mitchell led an expedition that camped in the Golden Point area (naming Expedition Pass) in September 1836, and his diary describes this area as he explored Expedition Pass to Mt Byng (now Mt Alexander) and to Mt Macedon.

Following Mitchell’s Australia Felix Expedition squatters moved in to the area and established large stations. Dr Barker established a large run covering the Harcourt, Barkers Creek and Faraday areas, including Specimen Gully where early gold discoveries were made in 1851. Reports of these sparked an explosion of activity in the local creeks and gullies with the initial focus on Forest Creek at Golden Point below Expedition Pass. Downstream was a shepherd’s hut, an outstation of the huge Strathloddon Run. This hut was to become a reference point for several early reports, maps and histories of the gold rushes.