Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mt Alexander Goldfields Run

Spent a few hours riding throught the Castlemaine – Yandoit area, the scene of the worlds greatest alluvial gold rush, Gold was first found in the Mount Alexander area in July 1851. By October of that year 250 diggers were looking for gold, and by December 1851, there were 20,000 searching for the shallow alluvial gold that was found along the creeks that flowed out of Mount Alexander to join the Loddon River.  Only three years later, most of the alluvial gold had been taken and the population had dropped to about 7,000, and has remained static ever since.

On the way back through Chewton I stopped at a cairn I’d seen many times before but never read:

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The diggings area is now an historic reserve.

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Search for Arthur Bayley

I’d been reading the history of Southern Cross, where my ancestors moved to during the Western Australian gold rushes, and learned that Arthur Bayley, the discoverer of the Coolgardie gold fields, was buried up the road, at Avenel.

So I decided to make a day of it and took the long route on the Guzzi.  It was 8C when I set of and dropped to 6C as I crossed the Great Divide…which reminds me of a Hoagy Carmichael song* about making love to fat girls…but I digress. In my New Zealand possum fur socks and heated grips, I laughed at the cold.  Nice run up through Heathcote and Colbinabbin and past the Waranga Basin to Murchison for a coffee.

Over the river and onto a few kilometres of freeway to Nagambie.  I sat on the speed limit in sixth, the motor just ticking over, and was passed by every four-wheel driving MILF within cooee, so that by the time I was through the roadworks associated with the Nagambie bypass, I was last in a convoy of single-driver MILFs!  “Does my bum look big in this Ford Territory?”  Not from where I was viewing.  Hubby was playing golf and the kids were dumped at granny’s and the girls were reliving being 17 at a MILF convention!

Turned off to Avenel and parked at the cemetery.  It was easy to find Bayley’s grave; it had the biggest memorial in the cemetery.  Arthur Bayley (1866-1896) and William Ford (1852-1932) set out from Southern Cross in 1892 with five horses and provisions for two months.  They found the exposed reef and nuggets at Fly Flat and pegged their claim. Eventually they sold their claim for 6000 pounds.  Bayley bought a farm at Avenel but died aged 31, apparently from the privations he’d suffered during his five years in the Western Australian outback.  Ford died in Sydney aged 80.

I had a chat to an old lady at the gate (the days of chatting to MILFs recedes, I fear) who pointed to the grave of Red Kelly, Ned Kelly’s father.  There’s a push on to have Ned Kelly’s remains transferred to Avenel (he’s been exhumed and every relevant shire wants a piece of him).  When he was 10, Ned saved a boy from drowing at Hughes Creek, Avenel.  That boy’s descendants became famous footballers for St Kilda, Hawthorne, South Melbourne and Essendon – the Sheltons.   Life is strange…but compared with what?!  (That’s not an original thought – acknowledgments to Stevie Forbert).

Tracked home via Seymour and Pyalong, where I took a couple of pics looking south-west towards the great Dividing Range, the Cobaw State Forest and Lancefield:

* Huggin And Chalkin

I got a gal who’s mighty sweet
Big blue eyes and tiny feet
Her name is Rosabelle Magee
And she tips the scales at three-oh-three

Oh, gee, but ain’t it grand to have a gal so big and fat
That when you go to hug her, you don’t know where you’re at
You have to take a piece of chalk in your hand
And hug a ways and chalk a mark to see where you began

One day I was a-huggin’ and a-chalkin’ and a-chalkin’ and a-huggin’ away
When I met another fella with some chalk in his hand
A-comin’ around the other way over the mountain
A-comin’ around the other way

Nobody ever said I’m weak
My bones don’t ache, my joints don’t creak
But I grow pale and I get limp
Every time I see my baby blimp

Oh, gee, but ain’t it grand to have a gal so big and fat
That when you go to hug her
(You don’t know where you’re at)
(You have to take a piece of chalk in your hand)
(And hug a bit and chalk a mark to see where you began)

One day I was a-huggin’ and a-chalkin’ and a-beggin’ her to be my bride
When I met another fella with some chalk in his hand
A-comin’ around the other side (over the mountain)
A-comin’ around the other side

She’s a mile wide!
(Chalkin’ up a markdown and yellin’ “No More!”)
When I met another fella with some chalk in his hand
A-comin’ around the other side (over the mountain)
Over the Great Divide!!

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