Tag Archive | architecture

Gold Fever

An Australian Point of View #3 Sovereign Hill

On the main street of Ballarat there’s a memorial commemorating the centenary of the discovery of gold in 1851. It is dedicated to the miners who toiled on the gold fields and has a replica of the second largest gold nugget ever found. The Welcome Nugget, weighing almost 70 kg and worth £10,500 at the time, was discovered at Bakery Hill in 1858.

More than 25,000 people flocked to the gold fields in western Victoria. Miners with hopes of riches came from around the world and others, who saw the money-making opportunities, provided the goods and services the miners needed. Another life-size replica, even bigger than that massive nugget, allows 21st century visitors to travel back in time to experience life on the gold fields in the 1850s.

Sovereign Hill is one of Australia’s most visited tourist attractions. History comes alive at the open-air museum located on the site of original gold workings.


Cobb & Co coaches once carried passengers and parcels of gold from Ballarat to Melbourne. At Sovereign Hill, teams of Clydesdales pull handcrafted replica coaches and drays through the streets.


On Main Street the grocer, apothecary and drapers sell traditional wares. A popular store is the confectionery, where raspberry drops, toffee apples and humbugs gleam like crystals on the shelves.

There are two hotels, a theatre and a school where today’s students can dress up in knickerbockers and braces, bonnets and pinafores for an 1850s school day. Those who work at Sovereign Hill dress up too; the streets are filled with redcoated soldiers, demure ladies and policemen ready to check for mining licences.

Closer to the gold mine, the blacksmith turns out horseshoes and mining tools. A boiler attendant works around the clock to keep up a constant supply of steam for the mine engines. At the smelting works, a three kilogram gold bar worth $100,000 is melted in the furnace before being poured into a mould to take shape again.


Down in Red Hill Gully, calico tents and bark huts like those the first miners lived in dot the hillside, and a makeshift store sells the necessary fossicking tools.



Modern treasure hunters pan for alluvial gold and, if they’re lucky enough to find some, they can take it home.


Like most of those hopeful miners of the 1850s, they won’t be retiring on their earnings!

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

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Cityscape

An Australian Point of View #1 Capital Cities

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with a land mass of 7,692,014 square kilometres. Despite its size, Australia is composed of just six states and two territories, all with their own capital city. Every capital has its own distinctive architecture; some buildings are more well-known than others, but each plays a part in the story of its city.

Brisbane, Queensland

The heritage-listed Albert Street Uniting Church, completed in 1889, is dwarfed by the surrounding city tower blocks. By the early 1900s it was the main Methodist Church in the city and is now the home of Wesley Mission Queensland. With its Victorian Gothic architecture and its inner city position, the church is a popular wedding venue.

Melbourne, Victoria

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s busiest Performing Arts complex. Construction began in 1973 and the buildings were completed in stages, the last being finished in 1984. The steel spire is 162 metres high and is surrounded at the base by a ruffle of steel mesh reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu.

Adelaide, South Australia

The scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval has been keeping track of cricket matches since 3 November, 1911. The heritage-listed Edwardian scoreboard is the only one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and is still manually operated.  A tour of Adelaide Oval includes a visit inside the four storey scoreboard.

Perth, Western Australia

The Bell Tower in Barracks Square houses the Swan Bells, a collection of 18 change ringing bells. Twelve of the bells come from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London and date from the 13th century. They were gifted to the city of Perth during Australia’s Bicentenary, while the Bell Tower was completed in time for Millennium celebrations.

Hobart, Tasmania

The Shot Tower at Taroona, just outside Hobart, was built in 1879 and was, for four years, Australia’s tallest building. Lead shot was produced in the tower for 35 years. Next door is the home of Joseph Moir, who constructed the tower and other landmark buildings in Hobart. The shot tower is still the tallest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Government House, on the Esplanade in Darwin, is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory. Completed in 1871, the house is the official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The Victorian Gothic design is complemented by wide verandas, which help to cool the house in Darwin’s tropical climate.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. This is the second Parliament House and replaced Old Parliament House, which was in use from 1927 to 1988. This new building was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II during Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms adorns the front façade, and an Australian flag the size of a half tennis court flies at the top of the 81 metre high flagpole.


Sydney, New South Wales

The Sydney Opera House, opened in 1973, overlooks Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. Every year, more than eight million people visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and it hosts more than 1,500 events and performances. The Opera House becomes a focal point during Sydney’s Vivid Festival each June.


Participating in Becky’s #RoofSquares Challenge

At the Top of the Cliff

Exploring England #35

High above the town of Whitby a Benedictine abbey stands in ruins, another victim of King Henry VIII’s 16th century dissolution of the monasteries. Perched on East Cliff, Whitby Abbey overlooks the North Sea and the hills and dales of North Yorkshire.

A church has stood on the site since 657 AD; these ruins date from the 13th century. After the dissolution, the monastic buildings and the surrounding land became the property of the Cholmley family. The Abbot’s house was extended in the 17th and 18th centuries and is now the visitor centre and museum.

Where monks once lived a life of devotion and prayer today’s visitors stand in awe, gazing upwards at what remains of the ornate stonework. A light breeze whispering through the cloisters echoes songs of worship from the past.

On The River

Fondly known as the River City, Brisbane is defined by the broad stretches and tight bends of the Brisbane River. The 76 year old Story Bridge is one of 15 crossings connecting both sides of the city. Many watercraft use the river each day, including the paddle boat Kookaburra Queen: the view from her deck is perfect.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ H2O

A Loo with a View – The Road Trip Edition

Round Australia Road Trip#32

Bush loos, city loos,

Practical or pretty loos,

Loos with info,

Loos with style,

With views like this,

you’ll take a while!

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Victoria River, Northern Territory

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Lake Argyle, Western Australia

Lake Argyle, Western Australia

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Marlgu Billabong, Western Australia

Marlgu Billabong, Western Australia

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Bungle Bungles, Western Australia

Bungle Bungles, Western Australia

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Geikie Gorge, Western Australia

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Windjana Gorge, Western Australia

Windjana Gorge, Western Australia

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Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia

Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia

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Port Denison Fishing Fleet, Western Australia

Fishing Fleet, Port Denison, Western Australia

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Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia

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Cape Bauer, Great Australian Bight, South Australia

Cape Bauer, Great Australian Bight, South Australia

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Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Sometimes the view is on the loo.

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Kununurra, Western Australia

And when there’s no loo

A tree will do!

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De Grey River Free Camp, Great Northern Highway, Western Australia

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Round Australia Round Trip #15

On 19th November 1941, the Australian Navy cruiser HMAS Sydney II engaged in a sea battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia. Both vessels sank and while most of the crew of the Kormoran were rescued, the 645 personnel on board Sydney all perished.  The loss of HMAS Sydney II and her crew is still Australia’s worst naval disaster.

A memorial commemorating HMAS Sydney II and her crew stands on a hill overlooking the city of Geraldton, on the mid-north coast of Western Australia.

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From a ship’s propeller to the flock of silver gulls and the dramatic sculpture of the Waiting Woman,  the symbolism incorporated in the memorial is full of emotion, and is best explained by the plaques on the granite wall surrounding the site.

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Despite many intensive searches, the location of both shipwrecks was unknown for more than 60 years. They were finally discovered on 16 March 2008, lying of the floor of the Indian Ocean at a depth of more than 2 km.

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Even though she was placed here long before they were found, the Waiting Woman looks towards the exact site where the ship and her crew lie. Was it an eerie coincidence or the hand of fate guiding the sculptors?

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A Look Around Darwin

Round Australia Road Trip #2

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, in the part of Australia more fondly known as the Top End. It’s a laid back kind of place with a tropical climate and a relaxed lifestyle. We lived in Darwin for more than two years in the 1980s and it was still in rebuilding mode after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. This was my first time back in the city and after 30 years I expected to see some changes.

In some ways, Darwin is very different. There are many new buildings, roadways and many more shops and businesses. In other ways it seemed as though very little had changed – the people still have the same easy going attitude to life and they are as friendly as ever.

The biggest change is the trees. In 1984, the landscape was dominated by new homes with new gardens. Now, there are trees – big trees – in every garden, on the footpaths and lining the highways. It’s green and lush, with tall palms, banana trees and spreading poincianas filling the skyline.

It’s definitely a change for the better.