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Thread: Western Vic, Wimmera Region. (Final Report)

  1. #1
    Forum Enthusiast
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    Jan 2015
    Northern Suburbs Melbourne

    Western Vic, Wimmera Region. (Final Report)

    Hi everyone.

    Well it was time for another drive; not far north of where we were camped along some back roads is the Granite Church. When doing my research for our trip I came across it and itís name fascinated me, and I have been known to take a few pics of the occasional church so I wasnít going to pass up this opportunity.
    The Church itself is of weather board construction, the reference to a Granite Church is where it was originally built, in the community of Granite Flat. Nothing within miles now other than the church, it has been restored over time but it was first built in 1881and it is still functioning as when we were there on Sunday morning the organ could be heard being played.

    Back roads again as we headed for Watchem.

    If ever a place felt like a ghost town, Watchem did. We never saw a soul any where but there was evidence that people had once frequented this place as they had a pub although closed, it wasnít shut if that makes sense.

    Their Catholic Church was a substantial one, I honestly donít think it is used now but a lovely building anyway.

    The Uniting Church down a side street looked a bit worse for wear though, trust the ďMicsĒ to again have the biggest and best Ha!

    The main reason we came to Watchem was to check out a camping area beside their lake. As I mentioned earlier nearly all natural lakes in the region were mostly dry but a few are artificially kept full for tourism reasons. Their lake and camping area were very impressive with a lovely swimming area with good clean facilities. Again being a long weekend it was surprising that there was no one there and at $10 a night it was one to put in the diary for a possible future visit.

    Our next stop was at the Brim Silos, and what a tourist attraction they have become since they were painted with murals depicting characters from the region.

    Brisbane artist Guido van Helten completed the work on the 30 metre high silos in January this year, and since then there has been a steady stream of visitors to the site, so many in fact that a car park had to be built opposite to take all the cars.

    A great way to create interest in an area that prior to the murals would have had very few visitors other than the occasional traveller passing through.
    In addition to the silos we decided to spend a bit of time checking out what else there was to see at Brim, and yes a couple of there more substantial buildings were again churches.

    Morning tea beside Brim Lake where there is a lovely camping area with excellent facilities, another place that would be good to stay at. There were a number of vanners there taking advantage of what was provided.

    7 ks north of Brim was this historic site, the plaque says it all but the Treated Pine poles are most likely not original, Ha! although I believe the mesh is.

    We now headed directly east to Wycheproof, this unique town is famous for a number things, one being the width of the main street. When the town was being planned they made it wide enough for a large bullock wagon set up to be able to swing around in it. The street was also handy when the railway came to town as they could put it right up the middle as well.

    The Post Office and Court House were substantial brick buildings from the late 1880s

    Many of the buildings in the main street have wide verandahs as this area can get very hot in the summer.

    Across the road from that is the old Shire Hall which is now the main bakery in town. This is what it looked like not long after it was opened and a few pics from inside it today. (Note the tables)

    That last pic was where we consumed one of the fattest and best pies we have ever had.

    The other thing that Wycheproof is world famous for, is a small hill a k from town that is officially the worlds smallest mountain. Rising an impressive 46 metres above the surrounding plains altitude sickness is something not to be feared once you reach the top.

    In a park along the main drag was a statue commemorating the king of the mountain, an annual event where prizes are given in a race to the top of the mountain. To make it interesting each competitor has to carry a chaff bag weighing 65 kgs on there back, sounds like a lot of fun!!!
    A hundred metres or so from that was the towns picturesque war memorial.

    It was heads down and bum up now and we were soon back at our van. I strolled out onto the pontoon to capture this afternoon reflection as the still conditions continued and a couple of pics of some fungi nearby.

    As the evening descended upon us, I left Jen in charge of the fire and drove a rugged track to the southern end of the lake, to take advantage of the location to photograph the sunset. You never know whether you will strike it lucky but I always try to be in a spot to take advantage of a ripper, if it occurs.

    Another very cold night, no probs with a roaring fire and the right attire. I needed a pee at 2.30am, I lay in our warm bed and tried not to think about getting up but when nature calls, nature calls. A hoody on and then my warm coat and a pair of thongs and I was out. Such a lovely scene that I had to take a couple more night shots. When I was standing on the pontoon my thongs started to stick to the ice on its surface, not sure what I would have done if they did get stuck/frozen to it. Iím pleased to say that all extremities survived another freezing night/outing.

    There was another lovely sunrise the next morning, which I captured in short quick strolls from our fire.

    What a stunning time we had whilst camped at this magnificent spot. There were only 3 other groups camped there and at such a distance you never heard them or hardly saw them. Hot showers flushing toilets and scenery to die for (figuratively speaking!) and at a cost of $5 per night. If you wanted power that doubled, such good value.

    The trip home was another convoluted one, as many virgin roads/tracks as possible were driven and crossed off my atlas. In doing so we saw some lovely places of which these next pics are just a few.

    St Arnaud is a beautiful town and a longer visit would do it more justice, but we were passing through so here is a bit of what we saw.

    On the main street there are some superb gardens.

    Even though it was winter, due to the warm Autumn there were still some lovely coloured foliage about.

    A statue of the man who St Arnaud was named after, Jaques Leroy De St Arnaud.

    And another statue nearby of a local and national hero.

    Backing onto the park is the historic Scots Church which was built in the mid 1870s with additions being made to it in the early 1900s.

    Our next stop was at Talbot, officially declared a town in 1861 it was in existence well before that when gold was discovered in the area in the early 1850s. Many of the buildings from the 1860s 70s are still standing today.

    Rumours of gold being found in Victoria during the 1840s first started here, but the government kept it quiet, fearing mobs with unruly behaviour. Then in 1849 ex-convict Thomas Chapman's who was working as a shepherd had his life changed forever when he discovered a 32 ounce nugget at Daisy Hill, which is a short distance from Talbot. This was the first confirmed gold find in Victoria, and gold was soon to be found all over the region.

    It was not until 1852 that a major find was revealed and the rush was on to Talbot, but by 1857 the gold had seemed to dry up and most left the town for other finds nearby. In 1859 two miners from Sweden and Norway decided to dig in a new location and were immediately successful and within four months 50,000 miners set up camp again and the rush returned to the area.

    Continuing the theme of historic churches, here a couple that are prominent when entering town.

    The former Wesleyan Church, constructed in 1862-1863, is the oldest surviving church in Talbot, now privately owned.

    A street scape showing a couple of old buildings and the next pic is of the post office which is just to the left of those first buildings.

    In the same street is this old church built in 1870. (What is a Primitive Methodist?)

    The old town hall building built in 1865.

    And right across the road was this lovely building with very ornate lattice work.

    Not all the buildings in town were in tip top condition but the majority were, this was the exception.

    Just up the road from that was London House.

    Not sure whether you can buy this today, but old advertising just added to the scene as we strolled along these fascinating historic streets.

    This street scape shows a number of old buildings.

    The next three plaques are from the first 3 buildings above.

    And finally, the very last photo I took on our long weekend, a lovely residence on the out skirts of Talbot, just before we drove the final leg to home.

    I hope you enjoyed seeing what we got up to on another relaxing weekend away.

    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

  2. #2
    Ah Granite Church. A dear friend of ours (who has since passed on) grandson was the Pastor there. We visited the church on our way back to Sydney from WA in 2016 so as to take a photo for our friend who was unable to travel there. The grandson has since moved on to look after another church but is not what you would expect of a country pastor. Full dreadlocks, played AFL and was the local weatherman. ABC open did a feature on him a few years back.

    On the question of Primitive Methodist the following may help.


    Primitive Methodism

    The Primitive Methodists were a major offshoot of the principal stream of Methodism - the Wesleyan Methodists - in 19th Century Britain.

    In the early decades of the 19th century there was a growing body of opinion among the Wesleyans that their Connexion was moving in directions which were a distortion of, not to say a betrayal of, what John Wesley had brought to birth in the 18th century.

    Eventually a Methodist preacher called Hugh Bourne became the catalyst for a breakaway, to form the Primitive Methodists. Probably 'primitive' was used to clarify their self-understanding that they were the true guardians of the original, or primitive, form of Methodism.

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  3. #3
    The Boss Smokey2.8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Sth Sydney
    Watchem and it lake camping looks perfect Col. Australia holds so many hidden and not so hidden gems around every corner. We just need to get out there and explore.
    Your time effort and expert photography is most appreciated.

    Adam aka Smokey

    2.8's Sound great, but a worked 3.0L goes better

  4. #4
    Junior Member peter01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    another great read
    2014 GLXR Triton auto -- towing a 2013 Ezytrail camper trailer

  5. #5
    Forum Enthusiast
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    Jan 2015
    Northern Suburbs Melbourne
    Thanks guy's for your encouragement.

    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

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