This blog about my travels is now four years old.
I started this blog exactly four years ago in the dining room of my son in Sydney. He had just set up the domain name and busily went about teaching me how to blog. He was a good teacher for I was soon off and away with blog entries. And I haven’t let up in the intervening years. I try to post every day but during the last two years I have also been trying to complete my Master of Arts in Creative Writing which has impacted on how frequently I have been able to write articles here. I’m also in the last stages of completing the writing of a novel for children as part of those studies. It has all taken a lot of my time.
During the life of this blog I have written about many places, including a visit to Thailand and trekking in Nepal. By far the majority of the nearly 600 articles are as a result of travelling here in Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and my home state of South Australia of course.
I’d like to thank all my many regular readers, those who have occasionally dipped into various pages and especially those who have taken the trouble to leave comments. I value you all – you people make this blog a worthwhile endeavour.
A special thanks to my son Sim’ who looks after the background administration of this and my other blogs, keeping them ticking over nicely.
The city of Bendigo in central Victoria is a very historic city. It boasts many beautiful old buildings of the Victorian era of the nineteenth century. Some of the more modern buildings make an interesting contrast with the old. One such building is the very modern Bendigo Bank building shown in the photo above.
While we were passing by alarm bells were coming from the building. No-one seemed terribly perturbed and the building didn’t seem to be in the process of being evacuated. I’m not sure exactly what was happening.
On my last visit to Bendigo I had a brief visit to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. We had on previous occasions stopped here for either morning tea or lunch. Some years ago this was a very pleasant, well mantained park with a pleasing collection of native and exotic plants.
A feature of the gardens was the large pond – a small lake really – filled regularly by the nearby Bendigo Creek. This lake was home to a wide range of native and introduced water birds, adding to the attractiveness of the park. On this visit however, the lake was completely dry, with no birds.
Centrally located were also several large aviaries containing a range of native and exotic birds. By stretching one’s imagination and generosity of spirit, one could consider calling this a very small zoo. A more accurate description would have been to call it a small fauna park.
On this latest visit I was very disappointed at the poor state of the whole gardens, and the deplorable state of the animal collection. Either you have animals and birds on display in an attractive way – or you have none at all. The sad, run-down condition of the wallaby enclosure spoke volumes. Whoever is in charge either has no interest in the display or no budget to improve things – probably both.
The large ugly looking aviary in the photo above shows the cockatoo enclosure. It was once a monkey cage. at least that would be mildly interesting. The poor parrots in it were quite bored and most of the species represented could easily be seen outside in the natural environment by any amateur birder.
To be fair to the local authorities, the region has been undergoing severe drought conditions over the last decade. The drastic water restrictions meant that the lake could not be filled, nor could the exgtensive lawns be watered much. Many of the exotic plants were showing signs of stress.
Since my visit the local city council has announced a total revamp, extension and upgrading of the botanic gardens. This is long overdue. The plans can be seen here.
The most prominent building in a city of beautiful architecture would have to be Sacred Heart Cathedral in the heart of Bendigo, Victoria, about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne.
This magnificent building was commenced in the 1890s and was officially opened in 1901. Built in the midst of a depression – to give out of work miners an income – it is a lasting and glorious testament to the vision of the early settlers of this lovely city. While the official opening may have been in 1901, work continued on the building for the next 100 years.
While I didn’t enter the cathedral on this visit I did so some years ago. It is an unforgettable experience in a land where there are few grand structures on this scale.
You can read a great deal more information about the cathedral here.
Another of the wonderful historic buildings in the regional city of Bendigo is the Hotel Shamrock, pictured on this page. This city bristles with beautiful old buildings like this one. I haven’t ever stayed in this hotel, in fact, I haven’t even been inside it.
If the interior is as beautiful as the outside, it is sure to be magnificent.
Bendigo is about an hour and a half car trip from Melbourne, along a fine modern freeway.