This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2017 Travels May 1


There had been a rather leisurely preparation and pack for this short trip, in amongst tests, scans and appointments. With the news that a necessary specialist appointment would not be until May 17, we had a clear fortnight – and were away!

John was up early and sent the dog in to wake me at 8am. Crude, but effective. 28 kilos of dog doing a flying leap onto the bed, than going into the so-happy-to-see-you routine, is impossible to ignore.

All organized, dog on board, house locked up, Terios on back, we drove off down our street at 10.15 am. A couple of hundred metres along, John managed to collide Bus with a large green wheely bin, fortunately empty. It was minding its own business on the nature strip, but he was trying to activate one of his dashboard gadgets and strayed from the road. There was a most impressive noise, and bin bounced off, somewhere. Obviously, our solid bull bar was not going to be injured, and he did not stop to check on the welfare of the bin. According to John, it had no right to still be out there, since collection day was last Friday.

The day was cloudy and cool.

Took our usual route via Yarra Glen, Yea, Seymour, Heathcote.

There is a property between Coldstream and Yarra Glen that I always look at with interest. Once it used to have alpacas grazing but now there were very handsome sheep, with black faces and legs. I don’t know the breed, but they are much more attractive than the standard variety plain white sheep.

Topped up the fuel, as usual, at the Glenburn servo, where there is plentiful room to get the rig in. $1.149 cpl for diesel.

Stopped at the old railway station rest area at Yea – mainly for a comfort stop for the dog. We walked her across into the area that once was tracks, and let her have a run. Ungrateful creature! There was one small patch of mud where a tap was dripping and, of course, she found it – and wallowed in it before either of us could reach her. I swear the look on her face meant something like “I know you are cross with me – but it was worth it!” I’d gone to the trouble and expense, last week, of taking her to the grooming service at the Animal Aid, for a bath, so we would have less of a doggy smell about the place. Now there was a distinct swampy doggy ambience.

Old railway station Yea

After Yea, there were some encouraging patches of blue sky appearing to the north.

Next stop was Heathcote, for lunch from the bakery there. John took dog for another walk, firmly on the lead, while I did the buying. A pastie and sausage roll for John – he had been looking forward to the yummy pastries from here, for days. Egg and lettuce sandwich for me, a couple of coffees and a pumpkin and garlic scroll to have with tonight’s soup. $29 in all. Supporting small town economies…

I had been coming through Heathcote regularly, over the fifteen years that daughter had been living in Bendigo and had noticed how much this small, historic, Goldfields town has revitalized in that time – much of it due to the impact of tourists.

1.30pm when we left Heathcote for the last leg to Marong. Good timing as far as making our way through Bendigo before school traffic time.

John was happy with the feel of the new clutch. He had feared it would be very stiff, but not so. The gear changing seemed smoother and easier.

Lake Eppalock must have been really full as Mt Ida Creek, just to the west of Heathcote, was overflowing its banks. This links to the Lake and I can’t remember seeing it this full, here, before.

Our Garmin, with me carefully checking its instructions against my paper map, took us on the through traffic route that skirts the centre of Bendigo. It involved a few turns and the need to be in the correct lane in advance, but was not too hard.

Arrived at the Big 4 Marong Holiday Park at 2.30 and were allocated en-suite site 1, the same as we occupied last time here. We would be comfortable. The site cost $37.80, after discount.

I had not let daughter know we were going to be in the area until we were actually on our way, given how things had been going for us, lately. We decided not to actually meet up with them until tomorrow, because John wanted to nap for a while and then see if he could get his newest tablet working as a mobile hot spot/modem for the internet for our laptops.

Both ventures were successfully accomplished. I relaxed on my bed, and read.

Tea was cucumber soup brought from home, some slices of cold roast beef left from the weekend roast, and the scroll, which was very nice eating.

After tea, rain started and lasted for most of the very chilly night, but we were snug and cosy in Bus.

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2017 Travels April


I succumbed to another round of the mysterious allergy that had sometimes affected me in recent times so tests and treatments were needed. As well, a new leg ulcer had developed. I was starting to think the two might be linked somehow. So medical stuff delayed us through the rest of April.

Last year, we had set out to explore some of the Victorian goldfields region, but did not get as far as we’d planned, running home ahead of the deluge that flooded some of the places we’d been heading for.

Part of that trip was to have allowed John to visit the site of the second one-teacher school he’d had in his early career – Boolite. So, we could try again for that. It would work in nicely with visiting some of the rather new phenomenon of the painted grain silos of the Wimmera region, which I was curious to see.

In my somewhat stop-start forays into researching my ancestry, had recently discovered that a hitherto – and apparently twice bigamous – great-grandfather was buried in the Wedderburn Cemetery, I wanted to visit that to see if his grave could be found. It might throw some light on his life subsequent to totally disappearing from Tasmania around the time of grandfather’s birth, about 1865. His use of two different surnames had obscured the facts for a while, too.

A middle name that could double as a surname was useful!

So there were the bones of a short swing through the Wimmera and our first trip for 2017. It would also be the first outing of Bus since the new clutch was installed, late last year.

Later in the year,  we would probably need to revisit Canberra and John’s family there – maybe even get in a couple of visits, as they would be off overseas on another posting, next year.

The north coast of NSW beckoned, too. The area around Coffs Harbour was a favourite two-week school holiday destination, in our working days. There was so much of that coast, from Newcastle north, that we had not really explored.

So, still no shortage of ideas about where to go.

We issued an invite for friend M, recently back from a few weeks exploring New Zealand, to accompany us. But she thought she’d be too busy planning her coming jaunt to Paris and England.

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2017 Travels March


With autumn’s onset, our thoughts – well, mine – turned seriously to this year’s travels.

Back in summer, we’d talked about doing a 3 or 4 month trip this year, to be away through the worst of the Melbourne winter.

A friend, actually former boss from one of our working holidays, was now based at Dimbulah in Far North Qld. We had been reading his latest book – Camp 64 – the story of his 2011-2012 solo walk from Camooweal to Birdsville following the Georgina River system, and using goats as pack animals. This sparked the idea of heading north again, visiting some places we had yet to see, and maybe calling in to have a yarn at Dimbulah.

The cover of Owen’s latest book

With that in mind, I had started a serious hunt for house sitters. The length of time was too great for the as-hoc arrangements we’d had for the past few years.

I e-mail contacted some fifteen sitters advertising on the housesitters site we’d used years before. To no avail. Some were already booked but had not updated their ads. Others really did not want to be in Victoria in winter. Couldn’t blame them for that.  So I put in my own ad for house sitters wanted, specifying a mature-aged couple, with no pets. I already knew, from past experience, that we would get replies from any number of younger, single people, often with both children and pets. And thus it proved.

We are not as prejudiced as people might think, from the above. Although our swimming pool is fenced, we simply do not want to take the risk of having children living here that we are not supervising ourselves. Some of our carpets never fully recovered from the less than house trained dog that our home minding son had, years ago. So – no pets, no kids.

After replying “Thanks, but no thanks” in effect, to a number of people, I was left with three possibilities. All had the added benefit that they were already around Melbourne, so we could meet in person to discuss the role. Theoretically, anyway. One lot proved very difficult to pin down, with several broken appointment times, and in the end I jettisoned that one as too unreliable to bother with.

Then, I thought we’d found a very suitable couple. We’d met here, they had seen the place and were keen. We arranged the date for them to move in here and thus for us to be away on our travels. Then came the news that the owners of their current sit wanted to stay overseas for another three months, so they would not be available after all. Damn.

Then, the final possible phoned to say they had just accepted a sit that started earlier and went longer than ours, which suited them better. That phone call came an hour after we were due to meet here for afternoon tea. The scones went into the freezer.

I couldn’t face starting the whole rigmarole all over again. So North Qld was off the agenda. It was more my idea than John’s anyway. It would just have to be more of the shorter trips, where leaving the house wouldn’t be an issue.

We started to make tentative plans for the first of these to be after the Easter school holidays, in mid-April this year. Threw some destination ideas around.

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2016 Travels November 29


Bus repair place was organized. RACV sent an experienced operator and truck to move Bus there.

John managed to get the clutch to work just enough to back Bus off the grass, for the tow truck. But it wouldn’t work at all at the other end – Bus had to be pushed into the workshop bay.

A too-common sight for us…

The repair place does the servicing and fleet maintenance work for one of the large bus fleets of the eastern region. John reported that this included several Coasters.

The burnt-out clutch would be replaced and the flywheel machined as part of the repair. Didn’t mean anything to me, but John seemed to think this was good.

M decided the Yorke Peninsula was too wet and windy and came straight home. So maybe we wouldn’t have had a great time there, anyway.

The Bus repairs cost us $2,500. John decided he’d take it to that place for routine servicing, from now on, so that was one benefit to come out of the saga. The other was that he didn’t miss any Saturday bowls, after all.

And the 2016 wet weather continued…


2016 Travels November 13


Today’s aim was to reach Mildura, or close to it.

We managed to leave home at 8.45am – something of a record for us. It was raining steadily, but looked like it might be clearing, a bit. Or maybe that was wishful thinking?

Being a Sunday, and reasonably early, John decided we’d brave traffic on Eastlink and the Tullamarine Freeway, and take the Calder Highway.

Only a couple of kms from home, that ominous revving noise we’d experienced on the last trip, appeared again. By the time we reached Croydon, it was starting to happen in top and third gears, as well as fourth. By East Ringwood, there was a bit of a smell, too. We decided to turn around and head back home.

Part way back, we stopped and took the Terios off the tow, to make it easier for the struggling Bus. There was a definite acrid smell about the rig, now.

I drove the car behind the Bus. A couple of kms from home, there was a huge cloud of smoke came out from under the Coaster. I flashed my lights at John, who pulled over. The smell of something burning was very strong.

We agreed that Bus was not going to get up the last, fairly steep, hill to home.

I phoned the RACV, feeling pleased that I’d taken out their new Tow Pack option, last year. No problems, they said, they would arrange a tow truck for us.

I took the dog and drove home, leaving John to wait for the tow. When the truck arrived, it turned out to be the operator’s first day on the job. Not a good sign. He tried to charge John $300 before loading up Bus, which John refused to pay. Operator made a phone call, which straightened him out about a RACV job. Then he set about loading Bus onto the tilt tray, which took quite a while.

Bus had to come home because, being Sunday, repair businesses were closed.

Now comes the hard part…

Offloading at home was not easy. It had to happen out on the street, and Bus would have to stay out there. Ours is a narrow, dead-end road, and we are on a slope. What was that about “life” and “easy”? The operator managed to scrape the tow hitch receiver on the road, before realizing that the angle meant he needed to run it down wood planks, off the bottom of the tray. We supplied some planks!

That didn’t sound good…

Eventually got Bus off the truck. John enlisted some neighbours to help push it backwards so it was half on the nature strip, half on the road. There was no activity at all, in any gear – totally burnt out.

Not sure about this process…

Then our hapless tow truck driver had to do a multi-point turn in a neighbouring driveway, to get away. Hope his first day on the job got better…

Unloaded the fridge again. Emptied Bus of things like the laptops and camera, and the assorted pills that keep us alive. Put out a warning reflective triangle in front of Bus and hoped all would be well for the night.

Phoned M to let her know that she would be remaining on her own.

Back in September, I’d researched bus repair places, as an alternative to the local Toyota dealer, whose capacity to deal with a Coaster was limited. At that stage, John had not been inclined to act. Now, I resurrected the details of the bus repair place in readiness for tomorrow.

I told John that, despite the fact that it was quite chilly, and that we were now home, dinner for the next three nights would be the cold meats and salads that I’d made for the trip. Like it or not!

Obviously, I was less than impressed with the whole abortive episode. But did agree with John that “it could have been worse”. Like we could have broken down in the Melba Tunnel, or out in the wilds of the Mallee. I refrained from pointing out that it could have been better, too…

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2016 Travels November


Son’s wedding a month previous had been a wonderful day, with his two children acting as attendants. They had even managed to crack a partly sunny, dry day – by no means certain in a Melbourne spring.

Springtime wedding

Since then, friend M had been wandering about in SA for a few weeks. Her travelling companions had, however, needed to head home. So…

We planned to meet up with her on the Yorke Peninsula, where we’d not been before, and spend a couple of weeks sightseeing and relaxing by the sea, there. The Driver was even prepared to sacrifice a couple of Saturdays of bowls, so we could fit this in before hot weather eventually hit Melbourne and we became tied to garden care for the summer.

Lovely in springtime but a tie in summer…

On our last trip, an intermittent revving that may have been clutch or gear-related had appeared in Bus. John had decided, in his wisdom, to wait and see if it got any worse, before taking action. Somehow, I didn’t think it was going to disappear of its own volition, but what would I know of things mechanical?

Did all the usual preparations, including moving all the potted plants into one shady area, where it would be easier for our flat tenant to water them.

I cooked up some chicken drumsticks and pork strips, to be our meals for the first three nights. Made some potato salad and coleslaw, that would pass through the quarantine checks between Mildura and Renmark.

M was going to suss out a dog friendly caravan park, by the sea and let us know what our destination would be.

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2016 Travels September 12


There was light rain all through the night and the morning seemed distinctly damp and dreary. I was up at 8am and did the usual dog walk.

Had my little radio on whilst I was having my breakfast coffee and did not like the weather forecast I heard. The Bureau was issuing severe weather warnings, with a lot more heavy rain to come, especially around here and to the west and north. It was expected to be a prolonged bad weather event.

When John surfaced at 11am, I suggested to him that we bail out and go home today, before the really bad weather set in tomorrow. Heading further west, as originally planned, was clearly not a good idea now. He agreed, even though we’d paid for another night here. I think he was sick of feeling cold, damp and confined, too.

We got away at 12.30pm.

As we were driving away from the Park, there was a sudden revving type of noise from Bus engine. We both thought “slipping clutch”. I was tense for a while, but there was no repeat, so relaxed somewhat.

I had thought we would head to the Calder Highway, then home on the usual route from Bendigo, through Heathcote. But as we travelled through Daylesford, the GPS issued different directions to mine. John obeyed the machine. I had another look at the map and worked out that we could head over towards Kyneton, which GPS had us doing, but then go on up to Heathcote and home. John was quite happy to travel on C class roads, so we headed on through Lauriston.

The Campaspe River

The roads were mostly fine to good, with a few slightly lumpy sections, in places. It was basically an easy route and a pretty drive, through mostly open country to Heathcote. Another new line for my map of roads we have travelled…

Threatening skies on the way to Heathcote

At Redesdale, there was an unusual warning sign – for a narrow bridge with a curved top.

Don’t see many of those signs

At 4 metres high and 3 metres wide, it was fine for us. But it was a very unusual bridge over the Campaspe River – a narrow stream here – with stone posts in the centre of the roadway. That section was hilly, down to the river valley, and back out again.

Not a truck friendly bridge

Reached Heathcote at 1.45. Stopped in the usual side street area, by the oval. John took dog for a run, whilst I went to the bakery for lunch – a sausage roll and pastie for John and a ham and cheese sandwich for me. Plus a big coffee each.

We had that revving noise happen again, not far from Heathcote. Again, we were in 4th of the five forward gears and on a flat road at the time. It was strange, because Bus had not displayed any issues on the hilly sections we’d been on.

Went straight through Seymour, now both being somewhat anxious to reach home.

There was so much surface water lying in the paddocks between Seymour and Yea, and full dams. There were some ominous low storm clouds hanging on the hills to the north and east.

Turbulent skies near Yea

When we reached Yea, the fuel gauge had just ticked on Empty, so John didn’t take the chance of trying to make it to Glenburn, It took 86 litres in what we thought was a 96 litre fuel  tank! Was $1.209cpl – more expensive than it would have been at Glenburn, for sure.

Around Glenburn, we came up behind some sort of vintage car that we eventually worked out was left-hand drive. He was going a bit slower than us, which was why we’d caught him, but wouldn’t slow to let us past. When there were overtaking lanes, he kept going just a bit too fast for us to be able to get past him, after allowing other tailed back cars to go by. It was really annoying. He was also wandering over the road, noticeably. John though maybe his steering was loose. I thought he may have had a liquid lunch! If it was the steering, it must have been a cow of a thing to drive. We remained stuck behind him all the way from Glenburn, over the Range and all the way to Lilydale.

That car…

From the roundabout on the Yarra Glen bypass, one can usually see the hills of home in the distance, but today they were covered by cloud.

Home is under those clouds…

There was another episode of the revving at the Yarra Gen roundabouts. It went on a fraction longer, this time. Clearly, to me, this was becoming a significant issue.

Reached home at 4.15pm. Bus had trundled up the long, winding uphill road leading towards home with no problem.

Took less than an hour to unpack the fridge contents, other perishable food, assorted electronics and gadgets that don’t stay in Bus – and a large basketful of washing.

So – our planned several weeks trip was rather drastically curtailed. In light of the subsequent weather, and major flooding in the areas we’d planned to be, the right decision had been made.


Nights away: 10

Accomm cost: $384.80

Discount gained: $35.20

Fuel cost: $165

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2016 Travels September 11


The day was fine, but overcast and rather gloomy.

I walked Couey in the Gardens, which was a really pleasant way to start the day.

It was time to move on. We were reluctant to head west and further away from home, with the possibility still of deteriorating weather. We’d never visited Daylesford, just to the south, so decided to go there, whilst we waited to see what the weather would do, next week.

I phoned the Daylesford Caravan Park, on instructions from John to query whether they had decent TV reception and free wifi. The answers were yes, and no. Today was the day of the month when we get access to the next 8Gb of data, so the latter was not a problem. I booked a site with a slab for two nights.

We were out of the park at 10am and on to a route we had not travelled before.

 A day of gloomy skies

The country was undulating green pastureland with some woodland areas. In one area it looked like grapevines had been planted – but I wasn’t aware that this was a wine area?

Grape vines?

We came into an area where there were some rocky outcrops and then old stone walls evident, like those in the Western District that were built of volcanic scoria rocks.

Rock wall craft

From that I assumed that Mt Franklin, coming up on our left, was once a volcano. It had the right shape.

Mt Franklin

We had been passed, somewhat before the Mt Franklin area, by two motor cyclists, then a couple of minutes later, by a third. They had all waited behind us until it was clear to pass. John commented at the time that the last rider did not seem to be riding as confidently as the first two. Then, just south of Mt Franklin, we came around a bend and could see some vehicles stopped in the road a way ahead. We stopped behind a short line of cars that were going our way and waited while a man directed oncoming cars and a caravan past one of the motorcyclists, who was face down on the road, on our side. As there were several people stopped and assisting, including one using a mobile phone, we moved slowly past, when the man waved us through. The downed rider was moving his legs, clearly in much pain, but at least still alive. I couldn’t tell if he had come off his bike by himself, or whether a vehicle had also been involved. There was a bend in the road, just past where he had fallen. It is always horrible, encountering something like that.

The ill-fated motor cyclist

We were not far out of Daylesford and were soon there. An ambulance passed us, heading out, but not with siren or flashing lights – a good sign.

Drove past a big market event, on through town and out the Ballan road, to the caravan park.

Our powered site cost $34 a night. No discounts here.

The slab on our site was actually a bricked area, with gravel and grass around it. It would be more solid underfoot than the Castlemaine grassed site had become with the rain. The site was a good size. There were lots of large conifer trees around this park. The amenities were nearby – good – and were clean and adequate. There was a dump point across from the park entrance, and an oval which would be a good dog run area.

Daylesford site

After set up, we drove back to the markets. It was almost midday by then. Walked around. The area of stalls was quite extensive, but very heavily dominated by second-hand bric a brac and general junk. This sort of stuff seemed to characterize market set ups in these parts. There were a few fresh produce stalls of different kinds – this was what interested me. Also some clothing vendors and the ubiquitous fragranced oils and candle offerings.

The market was by the old station where there were historic train rides on offer. Something a bit different.

I bought some walnuts in shell, a kilo each of Victorian and Tasmanian ones. John bought a bag of chilli flavoured peanuts and a bag of Fuji apples. I bought a home made olive bread loaf for our lunch.

John developed cramps in his legs, so it was back to the car. He let me drive back to camp. Had to be bad for that to happen!

On the way back, went to Coles as John was out of “his” milk. There is a rigid divide in our household between full-fat and low-fat milk consumers… I got him some ham to go with the bread, some Brie, and a bag of mandarins that was on special.

By the time we got back to Bus, John was feeling better and took dog across for a run on the oval while I made lunch. The bread was yummy, especially with the Brie, and the hummus dip – another thing John didn’t eat.

He didn’t want to do anything else today, except play WOW on his laptop.

I drove alone to the Information Centre and browsed there for material about things we could do here. Coming to Daylesford had been John’s spur of the moment idea, but he didn’t really know why or what he wanted to do here. I could not find much that was promising. It was too wet and cold to go walking in the bush. Apart from that, Daylesford seemed to be heavily into eating, drinking and indulging in mineral spas. Sharing bath water, no matter how mineralized, with a heap of other people didn’t appeal, either.

Back at Bus, I had a nap for a couple of hours, having not slept very well the last couple of nights.

Unusually shaped branches on the conifer

Our perception was that Daylesford was a cold, damp and cheerless place. There were some showers – a light drizzle – during the afternoon. Just enough to make it seem rather miserable.

I decided that I liked Castlemaine much, much better.

Tea was roasted chicken drumsticks, cooked in the electric frypan, outside Bus. I boiled some asparagus for John and sprouts for me.

We watched Australian Survivor, then John watched a film and I read. I went to bed around 11 and slept well. John stayed up till 3am playing WOW.

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2016 Travels September 10


This morning was much drier. Whilst it still felt damp, there was no rain falling when I got up.

Did the usual morning walk with Couey, through the Gardens.

I drove to the shopping centre and bought some supplies at the excellent IGA supermarket. This was an interesting place, because it had been integrated, in part, behind the façade of an old building. Very well done.

Bought the Saturday papers, then went back to Bus, where I read these for a while, until John was up and breakfasted.

Back into Terios, to go driving again. John wanted to visit Taradale and look at the school there, which was the third school he’d taught at, in the late 1960’s.

Passed through Chewton, which looked interesting, but we didn’t stop.

The whole region is a treasure trove of old buildings of all shapes and sizes, and I could certainly spend a lot more time here.

I was navigating us, and got myself totally disoriented in Malmsbury, somehow. Think it was due to mixing it with the new Calder Highway, which wasn’t on my maps. At a T intersection, told John to turn right, but he reckoned Taradale was up the road to the left. He was correct. I don’t think that where I thought we were, was actually where we were…

The Taradale Primary School was still there, functioning, and in the old building he remembered.

Taradale Primary School

According to a local who John got talking to, the school had been on the verge of closing, but was revitalized by a new Principal and was now flourishing. Good to hear. But the old school house that John had lived in, was no longer there.

Showing the school as it was

I wandered about and took photos while John was talking. It was a very pretty place, in rolling hill and valley country.

Taradale country

Some of the old houses had become weekenders for people from Melbourne. I presumed that, with the Freeway now nearing completion, it would not take long to get here from the city, so maybe some would become full-time residences.

The new Calder Freeway would also have cut right down on traffic through the little towns along the old road route – another drawcard for people from the big smoke.

From the area near the school, the Taradale Railway Viaduct, completed in 1862, was visible along a valley.

…and in the distance…

This was a high and impressive structure, still used by the Melbourne to Bendigo trains – of which we saw one crossing, but I was not quick enough to photograph it. They move fast! In the days of the steam trains, an engine and carriages chugging over the viaduct would have been quite something to see.

Taradale Railway Viaduct

The original stone piers of the structure were strengthened with steel supports, in 1933, because trains had become heavier than when the viaduct was built.

Signs around Taradale provide a wealth of information

We drove down the road that goes under the viaduct and along for a distance.

Viaduct close up

When John had been Principal of the school, he established a plantation of pine trees – to bring in future revenue for the school – out this way somewhere, and he wanted to see if he could find the place. In an area of bushland reserve, we took the unsealed Plantation Track, and followed this for quite some way, as it wound through the bush. There were some slightly boggy sections. It actually felt quite remote.

Couey seemed interested in the bush smells and was actually up and sniffing out of the window. Usually, she lies on the back seat with her head down as close to the floor as she can manage. Would get her whole body down there if she wasn’t restrained by her car harness. She does not like car travel. A wallaby or small kangaroo hopped away from in front of us, but I don’t think she saw it. We stopped in a small clearing, and John gave her a run and threw the ball for her.

We didn’t find any sign of a pine plantation – but it was over fifty years ago!

Retraced our way, back to the sealed road, then followed this until it ended up against the new freeway. Then we went back the way we’d come, to Taradale.

I wanted to look at the railway station, where several old buildings constructed from bluestone remain, though the verandah that was once over the platform has gone.

Taradale Railway Station platform and goods shed

The two-storeyed station building and a goods shed were really solid structures, dating from 1862.

As it was…

Trains no longer stop at Taradale and haven’t since the early 1970’s. However, the Melbourne to Bendigo rail route is still very active and the trains pass through here. There is a double line because it is part of a passing loop.

Station buildings

It looked as though the old station was being used as a residence. Reckon that could be a bit noisy, with the passing trains. But I guess those old bluestone walls are pretty thick.

Old Taradale Railway Station

We returned to Castlemaine, back the way we came. Again, experienced some confusion and wrong turns, due to the new freeway impinging on old roads.

Our explorations around Castlemaine

Had a late lunch, then watched football on TV. It was finals time in the AFL.

I took Couey for a really long walk through the Botanic Gardens, She’d had a really active day and spent the evening being suitably quiet and tired.

Tea was lamb, honey and rosemary sausages. John had a corn cob with his. I had an egg.

Watched yet more football.

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2016 Travels September 9


The steady rain of last night continued over much of today as well. It had turned quite cold, too.

I slept in a little. Was rather reluctant to get up and face the miserable morning. Eventually, with no choice, dug out my rain jacket and took Couey on her morning constitutional. With great good sense, she did not want to go far or stay out any longer than necessary, either. I dried her off with one of the several old towels we carry for such occasions, and put extra protective sheets and towels over my bed before she went back in Bus – since that was her preferred daytime sleeping area.

I spent much of the day sitting in Bus, doing quilting – hand sewing pieces of fabric together.

Castlemaine site

John phoned Telstra and bought an extra Gb of data, so he was able to play his WOW game.

After lunch, the rain eased a little, so we set out to follow the drive around historic Castlemaine, following a guide obtained from the Information Centre. It was interesting, although it would have been better to stop and look properly at some of the places featured in it, like the Railway Station. But John was driving, and only wanted to cruise slowly past each place, while I read out extracts from the Guide.

The route took us to the northern part of town and through a creek ford. This was flowing, but still very shallow and was no problem for the Terios.

There really are some superb old houses in Castlemaine. With some excellent gardens.


Half way through the tour, came to the old flour mill, which was being re-purposed as a kind of indoor permanent market, and associated businesses like a micro-brewery. It is great to see these superb old places being made relevant again. This one was still being set up.

John wanted to browse, here. We spent some time in a cavernous display area that housed old furniture, some household and industrial used items, ranging from vast filing cabinets, through hospital screens, to art works. There were some very nice tables made from reclaimed timber.

The adjacent space was even larger, containing lots of individual  “stalls” – mostly the usual second hand market things like crockery, books, clothing, kitchen wares.

After a bit of browsing, I found it rather repetitive and boring – and cold – so I went back to the car and waited there whilst John finished his wanderings.

Not sure what this bush was…

The rain had become heavy again, so we went back to Bus for the rest of the day.

John went out again to buy fish and chips for tea.

Watched football on TV.

Bus is better than the van was, on such days. As the ceiling and exposed upper areas of Bus have a type of felt/carpet surface, we did not get the condensation on metal surfaces that was an issue on really wet days in the van. And – touch wood – to date, we did not have the worry of leaks.