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Thursday, June 23, 2016

More Ballarat...

I love Ballarat...it is the buildings there I think, that prompt me to make that statement. The city has kept the elegant old buildings of yesteryear unlike my home city of Brisbane...the 'powers that be' tore so many down here, leaving relatively few 'historically significant (and beautiful) old buildings.
This visit, DH and I stayed in the lovely George Hotel in Lydiard St...a street full of beautiful old buildings. 
  I didn't take a photo in our hotel room but all the old features had been kept...fancy cornices and ceilings, and the hallways leading to the rooms were magnificent. However I did take some photos near the entrance while DH was settling the account on the day we left...
It just so happens that the TV show Dr Blake's Mysteries is set in Ballarat and that various locations around the city are used in filming...especially buildings in Lydiard St, where we were staying!

On our walks, I snapped photos of other old buildings too of course...a repurposed building; bakery downstairs and 'executive' apartments upstairs.
Across the road from the bakery...
We found these old buildings after walking down a lane way from Lydiard St...



More repurposed buildings which form part of the Federation University Campus...



The street behind that part of the uni camous...


Across the road from Her Majesty's Theatre in Lydiard St...


This building in the right of next photo which was diagonally across the street from our hotel, is on the site of where the troopers assembled in 1854, ready to march on the miners holed up at the Stockade. 

This post only shows a tiny part of the wonderful old buildings in Ballarat. In 2012 I also wrote  post about this city where I waxed lyrical about the buildings...so nothing's changed!
Once again DH and I didn't have time to visit the wonderful Sovereign Hill at Ballarat. It is a huge open air museum devoted to the history of the area. Ideally a visit there would be over 2 days. Both of us has visited Sovereign Hill before...in my case over 37 years ago! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ballarat, Victoria...

I've written about our visit to Bendigo, but we also spent 2 nights in Ballarat, another old gold mining town. Ballarat was the scene of a big rebellion by the gold miners against the government and its mining licence fees. This event took place in 1854 and the miners had erected a 'fortress' out of bits and pieces known as the Eureka Stockade, from behind which they fought off the government's troopers. Sadly the miners were defeated but this event is part of Australia's proud history and has been referred to as the start of Democracy in this country and has even been described as the beginning of an Australian Identity. 
The last time DH and I were in Ballarat, a large new building (M.A.D.E.) was being erected on the site of the rebellion. That was in 2012, and that building is now well and truly completed. The letters in M.A.D.E. stand for Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. 



Before we walked through the Museum, we met up with a fellow blogger Vireya, for a coffee and a catch up. And I didn't get a photo of Vireya 🙄! 
It was too dark in the museum to take photos and flash photography wasn't allowed. I loved the various exhibits and learned a lot about this part of Australian history. There were large touch screens which made learning fun and very informative. Visitors could learn about the social and economic conditions of the time and the effects on the population of high levels of immigrants. I hadn't known that there were quite a few women on the goldfields and lots of children. I always imagined it was just men roughing it in the terrible conditions. Another fact I had never considered was that many of the Indigenous people became miners too. 
There was also a display of gold jewellery from the1800s...there was so much and it was very ornate and ostentatious. Apparently success and power of people were judged by a show of wealth. 😒
My absolute favourite exhibit was the Power of Words which featured famous speeches. While the speeches played, the names of techniques used in the oratory are listed and projected on the wall of the exhibit as they are used by the speaker. As you can guess, Martin Luther King Jnr's speech is one, as is Paul Keating's 'Redfern' speech and Churchill's speech to the British public to name just 3.

I spent quite a bit of time walking around the grounds looking at the artworks which were fascinating. 

The Eureka Circle...


Even the children's playground, built in the style of a fort, had some 'redcoats' ( soldiers)...
The grounds are beautiful...I enjoyed watching these ducks on the small lake...
Long view...
It was bitterly cold the morning we were there, so I didn't spend too much time wandering around the grounds...which was a pity. 
This museum is a wonderful asset to the city of Ballarat. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wool on Sunday...



Tired of local  shops like Spotlight not having a good range of circular needles, I decided to look online. I've been finding that if the stores have the size needle that I want, they only have that size in a 40cm. That measurement is taken from the tip of one needle, along the cable and then to the tip of the second needle...not very long for someone who knits throws. 
I found a local seller on EBay but the only brand she seemed to be selling was Hiya Hiya. I had never used stainless steel needles before, but decided to give them a try. 
I found them very light compared to my usual aluminum circular needles, but that's certainly not a problem. The 'join' where the cable is attached to the needle is very smooth...unlike some circulars I've used. I love using these needles...they are so lovely and the yarn moves easily over the needle. 
To test my new needles, I naturally cast on a new throw...as you do. It's yet another 'chevron' 😉

Over the years I've toyed with the idea of buying the circular needle interchangeable sets. I guess because I use a limited range of needle sizes and often have a few projects on the go at once, all on 6.5mm needles, a set hasn't really appealed. 
And of course I'm linking with Rainbow Hare for Wool on Sunday. https://rainbowhare.com/2016/06/19/wool-on-sundays-113-halfway/

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Friday Night Sew In...

Last night was really a 'crochet in' rather than a 'sew in' here at my place. DH watched football, yelling occasionally at the TV, and I worked away with my hook and yarn.
I often get squares that have been donated to K4BN that are a bit tiny, so mainly at Knit and Natters, I add rounds to these squares to get them to 25 cm. And I now have a bundle of twenty 25cm squares...
But as I need 30 squares to make a decent sized blanket, last night I crocheted some more squares...but just 'middles' for now. I'll extend them to 25cm at a later stage. 
I'm just using scrap yarn at the moment. At the next Knit and Natter, I'll start adding rounds to make these 25 cm squares.
Linking up with our lovely hostess Wendy here for FNSI.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

More of Bendigo...

After our visit to the woollen mill we headed off to another 'icon' of Bendigo...the Bendigo Pottery. I first went there in the 1970s when the old wood fired kilns were still in operation. This pottery is 150 years old and needless to say it's the oldest pottery in operation in Australia. 
The buildings where those old kilns were, is now a large display and retail area...



The gardens at the pottery are lovely...especially the rose garden...
A closer look at the lovely orange/gold coloured rose...

In the gardens are some rather striking sculptures...




The chimney in the distance...
We had a late lunch here and also bought a coffee mug and a can of Castlemaine Rock ( candy) as a thank you to our neighbour who was feeding Ecuardo the Cat while we were away. There were lots of lovely items for sale which we completely resisted as we are at the 'decluttering/downsizing stage of life! 😉

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wool on Sundays...

I'm writing this post one day late, while I'm sitting at Melbourne Airport waiting for our flight home. A visit to Bendigo always means a visit to the Bendigo Woollen Mill, so that's what this post is about. 😉
Since our last visit in 2012, there is now a gateway from the mill to the vintage tram depot next door...
So DH headed over there for a while, while I checked out the mill shop.
Lovely crocheted bunting in the large room at the back of the shop...

A little play area for tots...

An area for coloring in or drawing for the older children...and somewhere that husbands can sit too after they have checked out the tram depot. 

There are 3 large areas in the mill shop and the place is packed with beautiful yarns, patterns, divine samples and other 'bibs and bobs' associated with knitting, crocheting and spinning. I didn't find much that I wanted in the remnant bins this time, unlike my last visit. But I still found lots to buy...some for me and some for others. There's a big bag of yarns in my suitcase which is now on its way to the luggage hold of the plane...so I'll share those another time. 
Joining in with Rainbow Hare's Wool on Sunday

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bendigo...

My birthday was last month and my gift from DH was a trip to Bendigo to visit the Art Gallery there which has been showing a Marilyn Monroe Exhibition. It closes in July, so with no time to waste, we headed off from Brisbane on Thursday morning...


In Melbourne, we picked up our hire car and headed for Bendigo...the car had NSW plates this time! 😉


And today was the day for seeing the exhibition but I had to wait patiently till 11.30 am as that's when our tickets were for. So plenty of time to take photos of the giant statue of Marilyn in a lovely park just down the road from the gallery. 

There is a statue of Queen Victoria is in that park; some how I don't think she would 'be amused' by this more recent (but temporary) statue...

Here's a closer look at Marilyn...quite a big statue isn't it??

While we were waiting for our 11.30 session at the gallery, DH took the opportunity to take some photos of the historic trams doing tours of the city...
But soon it was time...

And the last opportunity to take pictures before we went in...


To be honest I never really was a great fan of Marilyn Monroe as she had died long before I became a movie goer, but I did see some of her movies in my teens when they were shown on TV's midday movies during school holidays. But I love costumes so that's enough for me to want to see the exhibition. 
Well I wasn't disappointed! The costumes were magnificent! Many of her costumes are in private collections now and have been loaned by these owners for this Exhibition. 
But there were also clothes and accessories on show from her private life and they were beautifully made and were very classical in style; not showy or revealing in any way. On show was a loose 
shirtmaker frock that she wore during her pregnancy in 1958; she later miscarried. We saw makeup that she used in her off screen life, her books, records and some jewellery. I learned that she was quite an astute businesswoman, who renegotiated contracts with the studios who had been 'ripping her off' financially. She set up her own production company; the first woman to do this in Hollywood. There were lots of snippets of her movies showing in various places in the exhibition...a huge variety of roles...not just blonde bombshell type roles. I was quite impressed in fact.
What a great birthday gift!