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Marysville

Marysville - beautiful Marysville. It was Victoria's "Camelot" A very pretty
little town with English Oaks
lining the streets, with quaint, old-fashioned shops and homes, and an aura of yesteryear,
a truly beautiful
and serene hamlet set in magnificent forest.

This is dedicated to all those who were touched by the Black Saturday bushfires and to the
brave fire
fighters who battled with the forces of nature.

Marysville Time

Marysville Before And After by BlossomFlowerGirl

Flowers of Marysville

Marysville

Steavenson Falls ~ after Black Saturday



Although I have been back to Marysville several times since that fateful day in February 2009, this was the first time I have been back to the Falls. I felt saddened and a sense of something lost. I filmed this on Sunday 7th November (2010) and as the area re-generates, will film that too.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Today is Christmas Day, and we celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Wishing you all a happy Christmas and for those who are unhappy or troubled, may the Spirit of Christmas fill your hearts with peace and joy and may the coming year bring better times.

"Mary's Boy Child" was written by a 1956 Jester Hairston and first recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1956. I have heard many versions and still think Belafonte's is the best.





God bless.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Marysville Christmas Shop Window

Here is another photo of the Marysville Christmas shop. I had forgotten to add it and it's easier to do another post rather than edit.

I stood in front of the bus stop for this photo - that's my backpack on the seat.

The Christmas Shop of Marysville

It seems appropriate somehow, to write about the Marysville Christmas shop at this time.

I remember seeing this beautiful shop filled with the most beautiful Christmas things - it was like an Aladdin's cave. Angels, baubles, stockings, decorations, and all so beautifully made and arranged.


The centrepiece was a round table covered with a green cloth and on it stood a tree with decorations - hand-crafted bells, and baubles studded with diamentes and glittery beads.

There was a young lass working behind the counter and I asked her about the shop - Christmas isn't all year long you see. She explained to me that at other times of year, it was a Ski and Ski hire shop.

I saw a lovely Christmas stocking ornament which I dearly wanted to buy - she said it was $9.95. I was going to buy it, but then she said that couldn't be right, so did some checking and found it was much more. From memory I think it may have been around thirty or forty dollars. Being on a limited income, it was really out of my price range, and I hummed and haaed as I debated on whether to get it or not. I made the decision to (regretfully) not get it - I reasoned that next year, finances may have improved and I would get one then.

It was a decision I deeply regret. For this wonderful shop is no more. Yet I have these photos to remind me of this special place.

The front window

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lady Talbot Drive

A beautiful scenic drive through forests, waterfalls and ferns is Lady Talbot Drive, named after the wife of Sir Reginald Talbot, Governor of Victoria from 1903 to 1908.

After having spent the better part of the day in the Mystic Mountains, I decided to go along Lady Talbot Drive.

Lady Talbot Drive - Phantom Falls Creek
It is said that a Mr Walker once fell over here while walking his dog, Devil, because he wouldn't take his sunglasses off at night. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it's a nice story.

I started out on this drive around 5.30pm and it was beautiful - lush and green with lovely picnic spots. After a while, the sealed road became a gravel road. I didn't realise it then, but I would be doing a "loop" - through Marysville State Forest and the Yarra Ranges National Park. Neither did I realise that Mt Margaret Road was an unsealed track and better suited to 4WD when the road was wet.

The road was wet in parts with large puddles and my tyres slid all over the place - I swear they found very pothole there was! It certainly would be a good place to practice your basic bush driving skills!


Deep Ferns
The tall Mountain Ash - Eucalyptus regnans, is the world’s tallest flowering plant, reaching heights of more than 100 metres. Extensive Mountain Ash forests occur in Victoria's Central Highlands (east of Melbourne), the Otway Ranges and Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland. They can reach heights of 150 metres and their girth can exceed 15 metres at the base. The only other species that comes a close second in height is the Californian Redwood ( Sequoia sempervirens).


Mountain Ash & Ferns
Mountain Ash can live for up to 500 years and they creates a shady canopy for a number of other native plants including Soft and Rough Tree Ferns and various wattle species. Numerous species of mammals, birds and reptiles inhabit Mountain Ash forest, as it provides nectar and seeds, nesting and roosting sites.

About Lady Talbot Drive
Lady Talbot Forest Drive is a round-trip of aropund 46 kms and takes about 2 hours if driven at a leisurely pace without stops. Lady Talbot Forest Drive is an unsealed track that follows a winding path through eucalyptus forest along the Taggerty River. The drive begins a few minutes from Marysville, approximately 500 metres east of the town’s centre on the Marysville-Woods Point Road and continues through the Marysville State Forest and the Yarra Ranges National Park. There are magnificent tree fern gullies and creeks lined with ferns and mosses, old growth myrtle beech forest and waterfalls cascading over huge granite boulders. There are several lovely spots along the way for picnics.

My "journey" along the drive
I left it too late in the day to start the drive - it was dark and I had my headlights on full beam. And having no mobile, driving alone in pitch black on bumpy roads, not being able to see what or where I was heading or indeed how long it would be before I reached "civilisation" was a bit hair-raising I can tell you. I eventually saw a map showing the way and realised then that it was a 'loop' drive. I was ever so glad when I came out on the road near Buxton. Fortunately, I turned in the right direction, and had a nice hot cup of coffee at the BuXton Roadhouse.
But I'm glad that I did that drive, scary though it may have been. I had intended going back to Marysville and doing it in (proper) daylight hours, but sadly circumstances decreed that wouldn't be possible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yarra Valley 9 March

Sunday 9th March 2009

These photos were taken on the 9th March - one month after Black Saturday. The bushfire that swept through the Yarra Valley was the same that later destroyed Marysville and so have been included here.

I'm heading off to the Yarra Valley today, don't need any wine, but we have to do our bit and help out. Heard it on the radio the other day - the road to the Valley is open and people are being encouraged to go. Picnic basket already packed, thermas at the ready, Just waiting for my visitors to leave before I head off.

This is the route I would travel each time I went to Marysville - via the Ring Road, through Yarra Glen, Healesville and the Black Spur.

AS I headed up to the Yarra Valley today, music blaring, I didn't know what to expect - not really. Turning right from Diamond Creek Rd then hanging a left into the Eltham Yarra Glen Road, what struck me first was the fragrance - it wasn't there. Except for a few fleeting seconds, then it was gone. Each time I've travelled this road before there was the most beautiful smell which would linger as I'd wind my way up to Yarra Glen. A few kays past the Antique Store at Watson's Creek, the trees on the left were black and dead, stark and empty. A large, white, wooden cross was on one of them. I turned the music off. It was a sombre drive.



Steels Creek Road
I'd intended going to De Bortoli, and mistakenly turned up the wrong road - Steels Creek Road. As I ventured further, I was surrounded by black trees, their leaves dead and withered. I passed a winery - Yileena Park, and pulled up, checked the map, then decided I'd go to this small winery instead. Turned round headed back. Dianne, the owner of the winery welcomed me, and tasting their wines, she began to speak of that terrible day. I didn't like to ask too many questions.




Dianne's Story


This is what she told me - the sun was blood red, and the last time she saw that was on the day of the Ash Wednesday bushfires, and she knew it was going to be bad. The fire came from over there, she pointed to the west, over the gully and as it neared the winery, suddenly the wind changed direction and raced up the hill. Some of the vines were lost, she changed into denim jeans, long heavy cotton shirt, blundstone boots and heavy jacket. The fires were all around - the cypress trees across the road survived, the house didn't. Her son fought the fire which had caught on the roof of her house up the hill, for 5 days she didn't have a bath or shower - there was no water. She spent the next three days on the roof with buckets of water.

City people don't understand, they think once the fire has gone through it's over, but it isn't. The trees can burn for days, or weeks, the underground root system is still burning, and can restart new fires. The eucalpytus trees were burning, and the oil from them rose high and exploded - fireballs the size of cars whizzed ahead of the fire front and started new fires - where they landed were random, the heat was intense, between 1400 and 1600 º C - one lady had large bronze statues about 4 foot high, the radiant heat burnt them and there's nothing left - not even a melted blob to show they ever existed. A man in Kinglake - his pottery moulds for the kiln melted.

There won't be a vintage this year, even though not all the grapes were burnt, those that survived cannot be used, because once fermentation starts, the smell, and taste will be akin to an overflowing ashtray days old. She said tell people we are open, for people to start coming back to the valley. The local councils have been turning a "blind eye" she said since that day - if you had dead trees on your property, you were not allowed to cut them down. Many trees have blown over with the wind - helped she said by a chainsaw. Dianne told me since that day, you look at things with new eyes - all the possessions we have, that we surround ourselves with, do we really need them? She told me of one lady who had a "good" dinner set that she kept for a special occasion - the dinner set is gone, why do we have things that we don't use? Just to keep - better to use them now, while we still have them. She said we surround ourselves with possessions but in the end, they're not important.



What struck me too was patches here and there of greenery - I saw two purple flowers growing by the road side amid blackened grass and stumps. One hill is blackened and dead, the one to the right was untouched.
Further up the road, I saw chimneys here and there standing, nothing else, just the chimney - debris and rubble around them. I took some photos but not of the chimneys, I felt that I was looking at something I shouldn't have, so I photographed the trees. I never knew there could be such a dark shade of black.



Near the Kinglake turnoff

I overshot the mark for Pinnacle Lane, and couldn't pull over so kept on going, and the further I went, the darker and blacker and deader the area became. The road branched to the left - a gravel road heading to Kinglake, I turned around and headed back. Three burnt trees had large pink crosses painted on them. Going up Pinnacle Lane was almost worse. Turned onto the Melba Highway and went to Yarra Glen for coffee before coming back home.

This was the saddest drive I've ever done. I drove in silence - the music stayed off.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Lolly Shop




Saturday, July 25, 2009

Uncle Fred and Aunty Val's Olde Style Lolly Shop




Friday, July 24, 2009

Uncle Fred and Aunty Val's Olde Style Lolly Shop


The wonderful world of goody-num-nums

Strolling down Murchison Street one sunny afternoon, I spotted this wonderful old shop - what I dubbed as "Ye Olde English Lolly Shoppe" - Uncle Fred & Aunty Val's Old Style Lolly Shop and as I entered the building I stood in awe with mouth-watering delight. I was like a little child whose Christmases had all come at once. There were so many yummy lollies and chocolates of every description.

I bought chocolates, lollies, boiled sweets, candy bracelets, truffles and all the "stocking fillers" for the Christmas stockings. I am ashamed to say I gobbled up most of the goodies reserved for the stockings. Naturally, I had to go back and replace them. But ohh, such scrumdiddlyumptious treats.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Steavenson Falls

Today, I just saw a photo of this beautiful area as it looks after the bushfires and was saddened to see a bare, brown place, the lush ferns and greenery gone.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Steavenson Falls

Victoria's highest waterfalls, the Steavenson Falls descend 84 metres to the bush and fern-fringed Steavenson River below. The Falls were named after John Steavenson, who first visited the site of what is now Marysville in 1862, the falls opened to tourists in 1866. They are a popular attraction and at night are illuminated by floodlights powered by hydro-electricity created by the thundering water.


You can hear the sounds of gushing water long before you see it. They are a mere 5 minute drive from Marysville - just follow Falls Road from the town centre through luscious tree ferns and forest to the car park. A short walk of 350 metres gives you your first sighting. Spend some time ambling along one of the many walks available around the Steavenson Falls Reserve - they range from easy to more difficult.



At the bottom of the Falls at the Steavenson River.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Day In The Park

Marysville Visitor Information Centre I went to the Visitor Centre to use the computer. An older chap said it was a couple of dollars for (I think) about half an hour. Anyway, I logged on to the computer on the right (there were two) and found it was ohh....so....s l o w.....Took simply ages for a page to load and then it froze. Nothing worked, told the chap then switched to the other computer.

He went off-shift when a younger fellow came on. He was a very nice old man and let me stay on the net without having to pay extra.




The Footbridge in the Park
Then it was time for lunch. I had made a picnic lunch, a thermos of hot coffee, and some fruit and after having a wander around went and sat in the park. There I met a lovely lady from Adelaide who had come over to visit her daughter, but the daughter had other ideas. And she was here for two weeks staying at a motel. We had a lovely time chattting about this and that and all the while, we were surrounded by all this greenery - lovely trees, little footbridges. It was an idyllic spot. The sun dipped beyond the horizon and sadly it was time to go.

Marysville had worked its magic and grown on me. I fell in love with the place.

Monday, July 20, 2009

There's No Fish'n'Chips Here!


Well do I remember my first sight of Marysville - I was camping at Narbethong, and couldn't face cooking, and wanted some company and I thought fish'n'chips that's what I'll have. But there wasn't a fish shop around so I went to Marysville. As I turned into the town, everything was closed up.

There was a 4WD stopped in the middle of Murchison Street and a man was leaning on the driver's window chatting with the driver. I pulled up alongside to ask directions, and lo and behold - it was the local copper behind the wheel! He told me no, I wouldn't find any fish shop in Marysville, the closest was at Buxton and he gave me directions to get there. We were both blocking traffic, but that nice policeman didn't seem to mind. I said cheerio and tootled off to Buxton where I had a nice old time eating in the dining area.



The Igloo Roadhouse at Buxton.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Death And Destruction

Friday 13 February 2009
From around the globe, people sent their good wishes for the embattled state of Victoria in Australia. President Obama offered his condolences and assistance. The Oregan News report a contingent of 60 fire experts are heading to the Australian fire lines.

Our firefighters have been fighting for days with very little sleep. Last Saturday 7 Feb, the temperatures in Melbourne were 46.4ºC 115.52ºF and in other areas it was 49ºC - 120.2ºF. The hot northerlies raged through my state with speeds of 80-100km. the wind was ferocious, when I stood on my verandah it was 48º - in the shade and the wind was so hot it burnt our legs. You could hear it howling and there was a noise in the distance - a thunderous, rumbling noise - it sounded like huge jets, only there were no jets. I have never heard winds like that before, and I hope to God I never hear them again. It was a most awful, awful sound. And it went on for hours.

And as we listened to the radio and the fire updates we knew that people were dying somewhere - it brought tears to my eyes to hear of the heart break and tragedy. There are 181 confirmed dead, but police suspect that could rise to around 200 - perhaps 300 after they have gone through Marysville. On that fateful day, we knew there would be many who would never see the dawning of a new day, never witness the opening of a flower bud, never see their children grow. As the horror unfolded we were numb with shock.
Towns and communities destroyed - wiped off the face of the earth. There is no more
Flowerdale. Marysville doesn't exist anymore.

And the true horror is yet to emerge. Marysville - beautiful Marysville. It was Victoria's "Camelot" A very pretty little town with English Oaks lining the streets, with quaint, old-fashioned shops and homes, and an aura of yesteryear, a truly beautiful and serene hamlet set in magnificent forest.

This was Marysville.





Of the 519 residents, 35 are confirmed dead, but it is feared it is much greater. And of the 700 or so homes and buildings - only 5 are left. Imagine Hiroshima - that is how Marysville looks now.



Death and Destruction


Now, it is a place of death and devastation. Bodies still lie in the streets - fallen where they burned. Police have been systematically going through burned-out houses and buildings looking for survivors and bodies. Some of the bodies are so badly burned they may never be identified.

Black Saturday is Victoria's darkest nightmare and the worst in our history.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ash and Rubble

Monday 9th February 2009.

I'm "lucky" I live in Melbourne. But from all points and directions of Melbourne, north, east, and west - that's where the bushfires are.
Last night the death toll was 93. Police found 15 more bodies overnight, taking the total as of this morning to 108. It is expected there will be more as police search through houses. buildings and burnt out cars.


Over 50 roads still remain closed. Several of the areas hardest hit - I stayed there not long ago and I remember the beauty, but now...? It is said these fires are worse than what was known as Black Friday - a day in January 1939.

So many people dead and we worry about our little lives it makes a lot of life's little problems seem very small.

Friday, July 17, 2009

HELL UNLEASHES ITS FURY - VICTORIA BURNS

Saturday 7th February 2009






















Hell hath no fury like a bushfire raging across hectares of grassland, farms and countryside, moving with the speed of lightning so fast that people who tried to outrun the fires were burnt in their cars. Cars litter the countryside bodies incinerated - the total so far is 76 - but that could rise. We sat and listened to the appalling news yesterday with a heavy heart knowing that there would be many who would never see another sunrise. Hundreds of homes have been burnt to the ground - razed, the scene looking like something out of a futuristic nightmare. Whole communities have been wiped out - not a single stone left standing.







Sunday 8th February 2009



There are 12 bushfires burning out of control across Victoria and 26 blazes in total.

In total, more than 700 homes have been confirmed destroyed.



Beechworth

Brittania Creek

Bunyip Park

Bendigo

Kilmore

Walhalla

Gippsland

Horsham



The blazes have grown to more than 210,000 hectares and are burning towards Taggerty, Crystal Creek, Connollys Creek, Glenburn, and Rubicon.



They have already burnt through Kinglake, Marysville, Buxton and Narbethong.







It could even be found in Wikipedia



These bushfires are even worse than the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.