Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Saturday That Was.

6.55 am Saturday morning and I'm out on Beach Road, Mentone. Its about 18 kms from Melbourne's CBD and the temperature at that time was a pleasant 16 degrees. The sun had been up for about an hour and we were expecting a 35 degree day. The day's ride took in the prettiest beach side scenery over 110 km.

At 7.00 am overlooking Port Phillip Bay, I just had to stop to admire the place that we sometimes take for  granted. This is  our usual cycling surroundings. It changes with the seasons and the time of day. Did I say that we sometimes take it for granted - it never never ceases to offer a feeling of calm.
Many artists including the Australian Impressionist, which later formed the Heidelberg School movement painted around Port Phillip Bay. Plaques depict the local area, many of the paintings are well known as are the artist. Streeton, Condor and McCubbin to name three. This painting shows Keefer's Pier where until recently we would buy mussells and  further along is the Great Southern Hotel, now the modernised Beaumaris Hotel. It was a very grand hotel in years gone by.
I found this photo from the local Historical site and it is almost the same as the painting.

The hotel was built in 1889 and judging by the way the people to the front are dressed, this photo may not be much later. The road was still a graded sandy surface.
Possibly taken in the 20s or 30s  judging by the cars and the now surfaced road.
Today the modernised hotel lacks the charm of the past. I must ride or drive by it several times a week. Further down  Beach Road is our local pub and it retains its old world charm due to being heritage listed. Its a shame that the Great Southern Hotel no more than a few kilometres was renovated during the 60s when we were pulling down "old" buildings.

Les Omara started Corsair Cycles in the local area many years ago. My father and he raced during the same period. His grandson has paid tribute to Les with this great early photo of him.
My morning ride finished with a cool drink rather than a coffee - the temperature was threatening to climb into the 30s later in the day and I'm sure it was close by 11.00 am when I arrived home.

Just another little bit of history regarding the large photo in the background of the smiling cyclists. The bike shop/cafe is the revamped Omara shop. Its been in existence in the local area for more years that I can recollect. I do now the founder, Les Omara who sadly passed away not long ago was a cycling colleague of my father Jack. I believe that the shop basically has only ever had three locations in all these years. Jae Omara, Les's grandson took over the shop and sold me my first modern bike on my return to the sport in 1999.

After a great ride with my friends this morning, the rest of the day was taken up with a little nap before Sue I headed out to do some shopping. Tonight we join friends for dinner and tomorrow, I'm off to the Historic and Classic hill climb meeting at Rob Roy in Melbourne's northern hill country of Christmas Hills, near Kangaroo Grounds.

I'll tell you more about our Sunday watching classic cars tomorrow.

Way back in the early 90s I started writing a history on the Hill and after 12 years, we finally self published the book. We even collaborated on a DVD that mirrored the book. I expect tomorrow I will be meeting more people that can add to the history of the Hill and I will enjoy listening to their stories. I also hope to sell some more books.
And just in case you're interested - here's my website:
I'll post on the 75th Anniversary of Rob Roy Hillclimb tomorrow night.


  1. Interesting post re cycling and we love the old historic photos. Such a shame the hotel has lost its character!
    Your sunrise photo is superb, well done.

    Have you thought about putting your book on kindle? I have sold about 3 to 4 each month and sometimes more of my little 1953 Trek.
    Enjoy the Hill Climb and take care D & N

    1. Diane,
      We need to talk about the e-book thing with Kindle. I've actually started downloading "Wednesdays in France" to a Kindle Template.

  2. I don't own a kindle but the majority of my friends do and, as Diane says, this could provide another market for your book.

    I love the feel of a book but find that I have bookshelves full, both in the UK and France, and find it very hard to let them go. At some time we will downsize in the UK and have to make decisions about all sorts of things we hold dear.

    Anyway... Interesting post with some great photographs, old and new.

    1. PS Enjoyed your post about Le Grand-Pressigny. Our house is a few km away at le Petit-Pressigny.

    2. Hi Gaynor - I also enjoy the book in my hands and sometimes using it as reference. Books become friends.
      Hopefully when we return to the Loire in 2014 we can say hello to you and Jean and Nick.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks you Duncan - Welcome. I shall return the favor by checking out your blog.


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