Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Australia Diaries Part 6 - on the road again

It only seemed like a couple of days before we were back on the road again, this time to Bendigo, a medium sized town in country Victoria, about a five hour drive from Churinga. The occasion was a weekend of meetings of the Victorian Green Party. I was warmly welcomed as a fellow Green from the UK and wished well in the coming election and then spontaneously invited to stand up and say a few words - into a microphone and everything - I was very glad to get back into my corner and carry on my knitting but it was also lovely to be surrounded by people who are equally concerned and interested in the environment.

I did get some time, however, to slip out and explore the urban environment. Bendigo clearly shows that it was built on prosperity back in the 19th century, prosperity, I understand, largely based on gold mining. There are many imposing buildings designed to showcase this new wealth. I always like to look upwards when I visit a modern town as a lot of the more interesting architecture is above the rather uniform modern shopping street.

Look at this riot of ornamentation high up on a rooftop, largely out of sight.

Leon and I also came across this rather exuberant decorative brickwork along the side of a building.

He has asked me to use the pattern to design him a hat. I think it can be done...

As in any environment, decay stands side by side with new development. I was struck by the way that this ruined building created a confusion between indoors and outdoors. It is clearly considered a rather photogenic location as later in day we came across a wedding party having some photographs done in the 'courtyard' which I imagine was once somebody's home.

Digressing momentarily on the subject of ruins.... Leon and I came across this abandoned house on our travels.

At first glance it looks like one of the fairly common abandoned homes that you come across as you drive around Australia which make you think about what life was like in this country when it was very young and without much in the way of infrastructure and people needed to make their homes with whatever materials came to hand. I am used to seeing the ubiquitous corrugated iron roofs but what made this building so interesting was what had been revealed when the corrugated iron slipped off.

Before the advent of corrugated iron people used to roof their houses with wooden shingles cut from the surrounding trees. Leon tells me that very few examples of these roofs remain in the area and that we were very lucky to see one.

We also managed to have a walk through the park at the centre of Bendigo. Some of the trees are familiar and European . Others aren't. This one looked like a giant monkey puzzle tree.

But just looking at the trunk with all its folds and texture it reminds me of a great elephant's foot.

Just in case you thought that this was no longer a knitting blog there isn't a knitter in Australia who doesn't know what the highlight of any visit to Bendigo is...

Could I leave empty handed? Of course not. On my visit, Lyn had been knitting a baby blanket with some gorgeous, beautifully soft grey yarn. I just had to have some. Here is my skein of Bendigo Luxury 4ply in a colour called Red Earth which is a rich, wholesome brown. It comes in large, satisfying 200g cakes and is quite easy on the purse as well. Whilst not labelled merino it is every bit as soft as many yarns that I have knit with labelled as such.

Of course, I had to cast on straight away so here is my third travel project - the beginnings of a Haruni lace shawl. So far it is knitting up into a warm, substantial shawl.I am finding the pattern easy and straightforward to follow and have decided to add a few repeats to ensure that as a warm shawl it is large enough to swaddle myself in.

In my next post we go back to the Lakes, I find another wool shop and have fun with a church ladies' luncheon club....


drkknits said...

ah luxury. what a gorgeous yarn. and such beautiful detailed photos! i am headed to that very place myself in a month or two, yay!

LynS said...

Like drk, I'm also off to Bendigo in July for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Sale. Your photos make me anticipate the trip with even more pleasure. I'm so pleased you managed to buy some of the Bendigo 'Luxury' - enjoy it!

Linda said...

Fascinating about the roof on that house, I love things like that! The wool mill sounded a great place to go!