Saturday, January 30, 2016


It's a whole new experience here - I see so many pieces of history that I never knew existed.
Saturday I rode with a local cycling friend. I said I wanted to completed an 85 kms circuit that took us up the Burke and Wills track through a location of Spring Fields - Mia Mia. Neither of us were prepared for the bit of Australian aviation history that we stumbled across. Here in central Victoria, the very first flight in an Australian built plane took place. It is a most unsuspecting place that such an historic event would take place.  Like the Wright Bros, Wilbur and Orville who were from farming areas, John Duigan and his brother Reg built a similar bi-plane and flew the craft on their family property of Mia Mia just about 35 kms from Kyneton.

Along this lonely quiet stretch of road, a monument stands, to mark a very significant piece of Australian aeronautical history. John Duigan flew the first Australian plane built with the help of his brother Reginald.
Just about half way into our 80 kms ride we stopped to take in a little bit of Australian history.
Along with the plaque was a pictorial showing John Duigan's first flight. His latter history in the aeronautical field is most significant. Check it out on Wikipedia where I was able to lean more about John and Reg.
John Duigan sits in the biplane he built and like the Wright Bros,  was a pioneer of flight.

I wonder what new pieces of local history are around the corner to surprise me next?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Horses on the Horizon

My morning bike rides excite the senses - smells, sounds, scenes.
This particlar morning was overcast, a little chilly for mid summer morning but that's the Victorian Central Highlands for you. It's all new to me, no cars, no traffic lights - just the fresh air and the smells of the country.
On the horizon I saw three horses. One took my attention as he did me - he gave me a glance and then went back to grazing.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Kyneton has three main streets with two sets of traffic lights, one set being a pedestrian crossing. The main tourist drag is Piper Street. From Melbourne, you enter Kyneton via High St, turning right you enter Mollison St which is the commercial shopping area. Less than 500 metres you turn left into historic Piper Street. We had a friend stay this weekend and took her for a walk down Piper Street.

Piper Street is full of art and craft shops, antique shops with cafes, restaurants, bakeries and two hotels. Many of the buildings retain their original architecture and are built from a mixture of bluestone and/or timber which was plentiful in the mid 1850s as Kyneton grew. One of the original stonemason business operate to this day.

In 2011 the census recorded a population of 6650 however in that time with all the new housing in the outer areas of Kyneton, I'm sure it will have grown significantly. Explorer Major Mitchell opened the area in 1836 and not far behind the first settlers opened the land to farming. The Humanitarian Caroline Chisholm settled here with her family in 1857 - She appears on our stamps and banknotes. You can read more about this amazing woman here.

Even the infamous Bushwhacker, Ned Kelly features in Kyneton history as he was tried for "Robbery under Arms" at the Kyneton Courthouse in 1870.

I was reading only today that due to the very low pollution levels in the area that it is very popular for Astronomers to view the southern skies. After riding the bike over the last few weeks here, I can feel my body being cleansed by the fresh country air and Sue says she is not getting any bouts of asthma.

Later in the day we went to see our block of land in Trentham - we had settlement last Friday and now its ours to start building. A few big Gum trees need to go and several smaller trees will be cleared but there are many that we will retain that add a softness to the property. We are told that there is a big old kangaroo that lives by the creek that runs at the back of the block on the government reserve. There are signs that he likes to roam our property in the early hours of the morning and at dusk.
Last visit, we had a group of ducks that also liked to wander through.

I'm excited - this is all ours now!!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Rains Came

It was only yesterday morning I noticed that the Campaspe River was just a trickle and the land in the area being parched after weeks of hot summer weather with temperatures reaching 40C plus. This morning the rains came. Hopefully there will be enough to start the river flowing again and add some green to the area.

The rain over Victoria after a heat wave over the last two weeks.
In contrast to the rains, only yesterday I did a short early morning ride (the day's temperature was mid 30s) to beat the heat. I saw the sun rise around 6.30 am through the trees and and in the far distant horizon were the rises of Hanging Rock and Mt Macedon.

To the very left is the rocky outcrop of Hanging Rock and rising to the right  is Mt Macedon.
It was only a few days ago, a friend sent me some very early photos of the town where our block of land is. Trentham's early attraction was their falls, supposedly the highest in all of Victoria. We took a visit to the falls last Friday and like the Campaspe River, it was just a trickle. The creek that runs at the back of our property is Trent Creek and runs into the Coliban River which in turn is the source of the waterfall you see below. It is a major source of water that supplies many of the surrounding towns as it runs to the dams of  the Upper Coliban, Lauriston, and Mamsbury and then meets up with the Campaspe River at Lake Eppalock.
I knew nothing of this little river that begins its 89 km journey starting virtually on our doorstep near Trentham.
Trentham Falls, most probably taken in the early 1900s

The Coliban River that flows through Victoria's Central Highlands - again probably from the  early 1900s.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Being a Tourist in our new Home

Sunday we took a drive to discover some of the outer regions of Kyneton. As you drive north and west of Kyneton you find yourself on the other side of the Great Divide, a mountain range where the temperature is cooler and the land greener. The locals tell us that this side of the range, the winters have been dry and with temperatures this summer in the high 30s, the land is parched. Yet there is a harsh beauty that invites the camera to come into play. Handy to have my iPhone with me.

As we drove by this area, we must have seen at least 100 kangaroos bounding through the paddocks with their young. A rear treat for us recently displaced city folk.
We passed a sign that said Granite Hills and they weren't fibbing. Over a length of about 500 metres, there were these rocky outcrops of granite rising from the earth.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Escape to the Country

Yes - I know - its a corny title. We've watched all those series and have friends in France that have done just that. Kyneton for the next 10 months is our rural France, its what we experienced and loved in our now six trips to that lovely country. It taught us much and gave us courage to make a move from the city. I'm sure we will say, "why didn't we do this earlier".

Well that's the end of "Melbourne our home by the Bay" Blog - It's time for a title change.

Just a simple old bluestone building in one of the main streets of Kyneton ( there are 3 main streets) It has a history that will be missed by driving thru in a car.
Our new house will take all of this year before it will be ready to move in. We have our first meeting with the company at our block next Friday. There's some clearing of the land, soil tests and then permits to be considered. Once all that is finalised, the building may take another 6 months.

Kyneton will have plenty to keep us interested with markets, festivals and just discovering our new surroundings. Sue did go to the local markets yesterday and chatted with many of the local producers. One of them, a baker, has a business in Trentham where we are building. The people we meet from Trentham seem enthusiastically proud of their village of 1400 people.
Touches of Georgian architecture that litters Tasmania can also be found here. Kyneton was established a very few years prior to the great Victorian Gold Rush of the early 1850s.
Maybe we should explain the locations - Kyneton is about an hours drive to the Melbourne CBD. Our old home in Mentone is about 45 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. Work from Mentone was around 1 hour on a good day - 90 minutes on a bad day. Kyneton is 45 minutes from work and I encounter only one set of traffic lights. The freeway from Kyneton to my office is between 80 and 110 kph from the off ramp, I have less than 1 km to the office - How good is that?

I suspect that I will find many Ghost Signs as I discover Kyneton
Today Kyneton has 5 hotels that I have discovered (so far) but I suspect in its past history it had many more. This building was once the Queens Head Hotel. Was that Antoinette it was named after? 
We'll tell you more about our country life as time goes by, the towns and little rural villages, the shops, and the foodie delights of the Central Highlands. Join us on this new exciting time on our Blog.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

I'm Over This - NOW!!!!!

I mention that we went to Kyneton with the work van full of belongings and then went to one of the local Pubs there. Well I filled the van once again and am off to the new abode - twice in three days. I think I will enjoy another beer with my friend who is helping me tomorrow.

I can't believe how much this van has taken to our new home for the next 12 months. Three trips so far and still I think we need to do another. NO! We leave the rest to the professionals for the rest.
Its going to be a very busy week with friends arriving from Paris on Tuesday. Next Thursday the removalists arrive to take all the big stuff - white goods, lounge, family, bedroom, and dining furniture.
With the help of our wonderful friends, the cupboards are now bare, and pristine clean. Hopefully the new owners can now just move in and enjoy the home that has given us the wonderful memories of the last 33 years. This whole exercise has confirmed to us that we are blessed with a great circle of friends - OR, are they happy to see us leave - OR are they looking for a counrty house for weekend visits (anytime).

Next Saturday I will ride with my friend from Paris to meet my cycling buddies and to enjoy Melbourne, our home on the bay.

Which reminds me - our blog will need to change its name - any suggestions????
Tree Change Transition. The Country Life. Rural Rants. Hmm! Maybe not.

Friday, January 01, 2016

We found a great Pub

This week we will have done 3 trips to our new what will be our home for the next 12 months at Kyneton. After driving the company van with a load of belongings in weather around the low 30's, we needed a beer. I found this pub with a beer that Sue enjoys a few weeks back - it's appropriately called Bicycle Beer.

I think that the Royal George may become our local while in Kyneton. I discovered after a bit of a chat, that the owners actually live in our future village of Trentham. We both enjoyed a serve each of Calamari with a couple of pots of Bicycle Beer in the very relaxing ambiance of this pub.

Sunday, we take another trip, hopefully our last in the company van with another load of belongings. Late next week the removalists take all the big stuff and then we are out of here. After 33 years, will we be sad to leave. I think Sue may be but I'm looking forward to a new life (Sue is as well but is sad with all the memories of this house).

Keep tuned - many new tales to come.