The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


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Silos in the High Country

I’m still on the Victorian Silo Art Trail but this time I’m in North Eastern Victoria, roughly in the area from Benalla to Yarrawonga and bordering the High Country.

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I based myself at Broken Creek Bush Camp, about 15 kms to the west of Benalla (more about that at the end of the blog).

GOORAMBAT

There’s double value at Goorambat because not only are the silos painted but the little Uniting Church has a beautiful mural behind the altar.  As part of the 2018 Wall to Wall festival, Goorambat silos were painted by famed iconic Melbourne Street artist Dvate, and Sophia at the Uniting Church was painted by Adnate.

Goorambat Silo Art, Victoria

Goorambat (5)

Wall Art by Adnate

DEVENISH

Continuing along the Devenish Road we do in fact arrive at Devenish which features my favourite silos on this particular trail. The artwork is of both a First World War nurse and a modern day combat medic.

Devenish Silo Art, Victoria

At Devenish Silo Art, Victoria

 

The Devenish Silosartwork was unveiled on Anzac Day Eve 2018 and coincides with the 100 year centenary of the end of the First World War. Fifty young men and women from the Devenish community enlisted in military service for the First World War.

 

ST JAMES

Well here is a bonus I didn’t expect! The little town of St James is in the process of joining the Silo Art Trail and I happened to pass through when artist, Tim Bowtell, was working on his massive painting of G.J Coles, who opened his first store in the area which grew into the huge Coles Supermarket chain.

St James Silo Art

I’m not sure what he has planned for the adjoining silos but he is working on them until the end of April so if you are in the area pop along and see him at work.

TUNGAMAH

Tungamah was the first of these north eastern Victorian towns to sponsor Silo Art and here it is the last on my trip along the Silo Art Trail.

I’m so sorry that Tungamah doesn’t promote itself apart from the silos because it was a pretty little town with some wonderful historical buildings, green parks and gardens and well maintained homes. It is nestled on the banks of Boosey Creek and you can camp there, only a short walk to the General Store and pub. It’s a place I’d like to go back to and explore further.

Happy Campers:
The Broken Creek Bush Camp is a fabulous place to base yourself to view this particular Silo Art Trail but personally I don’t need an excuse to go back there – the hosts, the facilities and the size of the place make it a winning combination for a few days camping. It’s $7.50 per person per night, $1 for a shower, there is a massive camp kitchen and water and toilets are available. There is no power for RVs but there is power in the camp kitchen if you need to charge up the phone or computer. Friday night is pizza night and Doc and Cathy, the hosts, will be selling their delicious wood fired pizzas for $10. Yum!

A couple of weeks before arriving in this area I went to Rochester, which also boasts Silo Art. This was very special to me because the Motorhoming Club I belong to  (CMCA – Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia) has a chapter called the Kingfishers and it is my home chapter. The Azure Kingfisher is our symbol as depicted on this silo.

Well, I’ve seen the Silo Art of Victoria! There is so much more to look forward to in other parts of the country and I know they will become magnets that will draw me in their direction. I look forward to you joining me on that journey, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Silo Art at Sheep Hills, Victoria


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Following the Silo Art Trail

Throughout February this year I followed the Silo Art Trail in Western Victoria, an adventure that had been on my bucket list for some time. NOTE: If you follow my daily blog, The Daily Snail, you will have shared this journey with me as it happened.

Map of Western Victoria Silo Art Trail

RUPANYUP

I started from Rupanyup (Ruh-PAN-yup). These silos were painted by a Russian street artist Julia Volchkova and represent the youth of the area and their involvement in team sports.

Rupanyup Silo Art

Rupanyup Silo Art

What else is there to see in the area?
1.     It’s only a two minute walk into town from the campground. Like many of these small towns there are many closed shops but there is a couple that cater to the tourist like the Teapot Cafe and the original Cust’s Store.

 


2.     Next door to the campground there is the amazing Woods Museum. They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and Woods Museum …. well, you can make your own mind up about it.

 

3.     It’s an absolute must to travel west a few kilometres to Murtoa to view the ‘stick shed’, built during the second world war using the only materials available at the time – timber. It was a grain storage facility until fairly recently and is the only one of its kind still standing in the world.

 

Happy Campers:
I made myself comfortable in the great little campground at Rupanyup managed by the locals. It was dry and dusty as most of the country is at the moment, but was nestled on the banks of Dunmunkle Creek and only a short walk into town and to the silos. $10 a night for power, $1 for a 5 minute shower and toilet block open 24 hours. There is also a dump point.

 

SHEEP HILLS

The land throughout this whole area is dry, so dry. Most of the dams have very little water in them, if any, and the photo on the left shows you what the drive to Sheep Hills was like. The Silos were like a burst of colour in a barren landscape. They were painted by Melbourne street artist Adnate and you can find out about him and his inspiration for this silo art here.

 

 

Sheep Hills Hotel, Victoria

 

Unfortunately the tourism factor was not enough to keep the local pub open and this wonderful old building is no longer pulling beers – or pulling crowds. I bet there’s been a few good yarns around the bar here over the years.

 

BRIM

Guido van Helten would have to be one of my favourite silo artists. He captures the character of his subjects so well you feel like you’ve met them in the street, or at the bar, or over the fence. As an aside, the tree I parked under nearly stole the show – magnificent!

 

Brim Silo Art, Victoria

ROSEBERY

Although these silos dominate the local landscape they would be my least favourite on this Silo Art Trail – somehow they don’t seem quite so … momentous? The Rosebery Silos were painted by street artist Kaff-eine.

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The silo on the left captures the grit, tenacity and character of the region’s young female farmers, who regularly face drought, fires and other hardships living and working in the Mallee. In her work shirt, jeans and turned-down cowboy boots, the strong young female sheep farmer symbolises the future.

Descriptions from siloarttrail.com

 

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The silo on the right portrays a quiet moment between dear friends. The contemporary horseman appears in Akubra hat, Bogs boots and oilskin vest – common attire for Mallee farmers. Both man and horse are relaxed and facing downward, indicating their mutual trust, love and genuine connection.

 

 

LASCELLES

Love these silos! When I first saw them I was a little disappointed as I thought the paintings were fading into the background of the silos but the more I studied them the more natural it seemed that these ‘locals’ were part of the environment, not separated from it. The couple are painted on the end wall of each silo and you can read about the artist, Rone, and his vision for these silos here.

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Happy Campers:
I had an ‘overnighter’ at Lascelles, staying in the community campground with power, showers, toilets and water available for $10 a night. The bonus was it was next door to the pub so I wandered in for dinner, met some fellow travellers, and feasted on a good old pub parmy! (served by the cook with bare feet!)

PATCHEWOLLOCK

Patchewollock is the northern most silo town in the Wimmera/Mallee area –  the end of the trail ….

Completed in late 2016, the artist ……….. portrays an image of the archetypal Aussie farmer – faded blue “flanny” (flannelette shirt) and all. Hulland’s solemn expression, sun-bleached hair and squinting gaze speak to the harshness of the environment and the challenges of life in the Wimmera Mallee.

Description from siloarttrail.com

This whole Silo Art Trail is only about 200 kilometres from whoa to go and could easily be done in a day but if you are carrying your home with you, as I do, why not slow down and spend a little more time exploring the surrounding areas.

 


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Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Part 1

Have you seen the bumper sticker that says “Not all who wander are lost” ? How true that is for me and my lifestyle!

My wandering this year took me a distance of 11,572 kms, spending a total $2536.45 on 1745.6 litres of fuel (ULP). Age crept up on old Brutus the Beast and he also cost me about the same amount in repairs and maintenance ($2,591.75) but I have to say that he hasn’t missed a beat since Johnno in Cunnamulla gave him a thorough tune up. (Well, we did have a bit of a hiccup in Mudgee but that’s another story!)

In January I ‘wandered’ from Bundaberg to Bingara – a distance of just over 1100 kms – to look after a dear little dog, CJ, while his owner went overseas.

 

I loved my time in Bingara looking after CJ and I met some lovely locals that I enjoyed Wednesday coffee mornings with and also Aqua Aerobics at the pool next door.

I took a different route back to Bundaberg, covering some roads I hadn’t been on before.

 

There was time for a quick trip to Gladstone to catch up with a friend I used to play trivia with before I was due back in Bundaberg for my next house sit. What a contrast Gladstone is – from smoky industry to pristine bush and beaches.

By the end of April I was back to Bundaberg for my house sit that took me through to almost the end of June. I looked after 2 dogs – a rottweiler and pomeranian, and 3 cats, one of them being a 5 week old kitten. What a time waster that little kitten was, but I sure loved her, little Daisy Mae.

After a couple of days at home with Simon & Sandy I was off to the Sunshine Coast to house sit for relations, Larissa, Walter and their 3 boys. They have a beautiful property in the hinterland and I had cats, dogs, chooks and sheep to feed. It’s here I had a disagreement with a ram and ended up with a black and blue thigh where he butted me to the ground! I called him Rambo after that and kept my distance! The other animals were a lot friendlier.

In this first 6 months I spent a total of $141 on accommodation – caravan parks, showgrounds and freedom (donation) camps.

My next 6 months took me much further afield and was one of the most enjoyable trips I have done in my 5 years of travelling…… but more about that, and a further breakdown of expenses, in Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Part 2.

Stay tuned ….

DISCLAIMER: The motorhome in the featured image is, unfortunately, not mine – but I did take the photo 🙂  Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utes in the Paddock, Ootha


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Utes in the Paddock

Every now and then someone comes up with a crazy idea that captures the imagination and becomes a reality. Utes in the Paddock at Ootha, New South Wales, is a typical example of this. Ootha is situated about 430 west of Sydney and boasts a population of 94!

Ootha

They are all Holden Utes – what could be more Australian than that – and several artists have displayed their own interpretation of the iconic ute! Unfortunately the paint work has deteriorated on several of them and they are fading away but I hope you can get an idea of this crazy initiative in the middle of nowhere.

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You’ve gotta love the Aussie sense of humour 🙂 Thanks Ootha for keeping it alive!

 


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Chocolate, Cheese and Raspberries

When you arrive in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania it’s only a short drive to three of the most iconic tourist destinations, Anvers Chocolates, Ashgrove Cheese and the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. They offer you a trio of tastes – and even some free camping at Christmas Hills.

House of Anvers

The first taste sensation you’ll discover is the delicious Anvers House of Chocolate. As their website says Belgian Chocolate Skills & Tasmania’s fresh clean climate combine to create the supreme chocolate experience. Now if you’ve done an overnighter on the Spirit it might be a tad early for a chocolate fix, so plan to do it on the way home. My thinking, though, is that it’s never too early for chocolate! They open for breakfast at 7am so that’s a good reason to pop in. As their welcome sign says “Give me Chocolate Now!”

There is also a chocolate museum you can explore that gives you the history of chocolate since the Aztecs, with moulds of old easter eggs and specialty chocolates. If you’re in luck you can see the chocolate being made. And I dare you to resist the wonderful display of chocolates to buy.

Before you settle down to breakfast here, though, read on for the other tasty delights ahead!

Ashgrove Cheese

A little further down the Bass Highway you’ll find Ashgrove Cheese, another well known breakfast stop and a place to stock up on treats for Happy Hour. Colourful cows welcome you to the shop, but glance across the road for the real thing.

The shop stocks all the varieties of cheeses made at Ashgrove plus a wonderful selection of other Tasmanian products such as sauces, jams, cider and relishes. It’s interesting to see the cheeses all stacked for aging. And yes, they are open for breakfast if you’re hungry by now.

But wait, there’s more!

Keep driving along the Bass Highway and you’ll arrive at one of my favourite destinations…

The Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm

The Raspberry Farm at Christmas Hills is more than just a cafe. There’s a lovely lake you can walk around, pretty gardens to enjoy a coffee in, views of the huge greenhouses that grow the raspberries, and best of all you can stay overnight in their big rig carpark! It’s truly an indulgence to wake up in the morning and wander in for raspberry pancakes (for me) or more traditional breakfast food if that’s what takes your fancy.

Now come for a walk with me around the grounds ….

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You don’t have to go very far when you arrive in Tasmania to enjoy the wonderful fresh food that Tassie is famous for. This is my Trio of Tastes, chocolate, cheese and raspberries, to tempt you to explore even more.

Meander River, Deloraine Tas


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Delightful Deloraine

I loved Deloraine the last time I visited in 2014 and this time around I think I love it even more.

deloraine-map

It has a real arty vibe to it with Galleries, Art Shops,  Coffee Shops and Op Shops lining the steep main road that curls around bends on its way uphill from the Meander River as you approach from the East.

Cross the river, cross the railway line and wend your way through the town. So many quirky little shops invite you to explore …..

Here’s one of my favourites. It’s called Elf on the Shelf. I’m pretty sure I know how to speak Zombie – give me a couple of drinks and I can demonstrate it for you, but if you want to study it yourself you can buy the book here.

The Information Centre is at the top of the hill and it’s a MUST SEE visit if you are in Deloraine. In the forecourt is the statue of a famous race horse, Malua, who won Adelaide Cup (1884),Newmarket Handicap (1884), Melbourne Stakes (1884) Oakleigh Plate (1884), Melbourne Cup (1884), Australian Cup (1886) and then went on to win the Grand National Hurdle (1889). What a champion!

But it’s when you step inside that you will discover the amazing Art in Silk exhibition, with a movie that tells you how it was developed as a community initiative and the stunning panels they created. It truly is spectacular. It does cost to view it but it is something you won’t want to miss! These photos were taken when I last visited. It’s a wonder they are not worn out I have shown them to so many people 🙂

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Drive around the back streets and you’ll discover lovely old homes like The Manse, with outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.

Happy Campers: There is a Free Camp for self contained vehicles as you travel into Deloraine from the East. Turn right at the Police Station and follow the road around. The camp is well signed. It’s only a short walk into town.

Deloraine is a short detour off the Bass Highway that links Devonport to Launceston. It’s about 55 kms from Devonport and only 50 kms to Launceston. If you are looking for somewhere to stop when you get off the ferry (or you’re on the way there) this little town is well worth a visit!

 

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Historic Ross

I wondered about using ‘historic’to describe Ross as so many places in Tasmania could easily have this descriptor, but Ross somehow fits it so well.

You detour off the Midland Highway to discover this pretty village which has done its best to preserve many of the old houses and landmarks that Ross is now famous for. Ross is about a 1-hr drive (78 km) south from Launceston and a 1 hr 30-min drive (121 km) north from Hobart.

Ross, Tasmania

Ross was first surveyed in 1807 and when Governor Macquarie visited in 1811 he named the river after himself – how’s that for an ego! Ross was proclaimed a town in 1821 and has built its reputation on the superfine merino wool that is produced in the surrounding area.

At the crossroads in Ross the intersection is known as The Four Corners of Ross, each corner named to reflect the character of the building located on that corner. There is Temptation (the pub), Salvation (the Catholic Church), Damnation (the town gaol) and Recreation (the Town Hall). Easy to see where my interest lies as I only took a photo of Temptation and luckily managed to capture Recreation in the background! The Man O’ Ross hotel was well patronised this Saturday afternoon.

IMG_6762Ross

The information centre has a wonderful display of luxurious merino garments and also houses the Tasmanian Wool Centre, celebrating the importance of wool in Tasmania. This centre receives over 70,000 visitors annually …. not bad for a town with a population of around 270 people!

Only a few metres up the hill from the Information Centre is the Uniting Church, opened in 1885. Not by any means one of Ross’s oldest buildings but it is impressive sitting on the hill.

The Ross Bridge is arguably one of Australia’s finest historical monuments and really quite beautiful. After much delay, its construction was placed in the hands of two stone mason convicts who were promised a pardon if the bridge was successfully completed. They finished the bridge and received their pardon in 1836 after working on it for 15 months. Its unique feature is the 186 carved arch stones depicting Celtic symbols, animals and ‘notable personalities of the day’.

This first photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, on a dark, grey day I visited Ross. Yesterday, however, was sunny and clear and shows a totally different mood.

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

The southern side of the bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Northern aspect of Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Archways showing carved arch stones

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Detail of the carved arch stones

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

View to the south from Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Can you decipher the date from the Roman numerals?

The ‘dark’side of Ross is its convict history and particularly the Ross Female Factory, one of five established across Tasmania. It operated for 7 years from 1848 to 1855 and in that time accommodated between 60 and 120 women at any one time. The women were typically unmarried and in their mid twenties but it was still necessary to have a nursery wing which catered for about 40 infants. There is only the overseer’s cottage left on site so it is hard to imagine the hive of activity this green grassy area would have been in the 1850’s.

 

Inside the cottage are story panels that provide some detail of the life at the time.

You don’t have to venture too far from the main street to discover the lovely old flat fronted homes so typically English. Here are just a few of the many that line the streets of Ross.

And no visit to an historic town would be complete without a visit to the local cemetry where gravestones mark the passage of time and tell the stories of local families.

If you are travelling between Hobart and Launceston along the Heritage Highway take the 2km detour into Ross for all sorts of reasons – to discover its convict history, indulge yourself with a fine merino garment, buy a scallop pie from Bakery 31, eat one of the best vanilla slices you’ll ever have from the Ross Village Bakery , explore the antique shops and admire the well preserved old buildings. Your 2km detour will take you back in time as well as off the beaten track!