Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Paddle Steamers at Echuca

Another Paddle Steamer at Echuca

Old Main Street at Echuca

Scots get every where with their pies - Maldon

One of the old buildings at Maldon


Sylvia's Comments

The next morning saw us heading into Bendigo to explore. Bendigo began as a gold-rush town, expanding rapidly from 1851 onwards to become one of the state's largest inland towns. It has many fine late 19th centaury buildings, erected with the wealth won from the ground. In its heyday Bendigo had the deepest gold mine in the whole of the world and produced more gold than California fields. The last mine to close, the Central Deborah Gold Mine, was in the 1940's and is now preserved as a museum and offers underground tours. Over the period that it operated it produced almost $17 million dollars worth of gold. We took the tour and had a personal guide in Daryl who made it come to life as his grand father had worked there.

After the mine trip we took the talking tram around the city. All the trams are vintage ones and the tour takes in the tram museum where the collection is housed. Anyone with an interest in trams would really like this museum as you can wander around the trams and see the restoration taking place. One tram that was on display had been restored through a dole to work programme run by the local authority and the Salvation Army. The museum is staffed by all volunteers.

Following this we had lunch in a really lovely restaurant which had only been open a week and then set off on the Beautiful Buildings tour of Bendigo, one of which was the local prison which had been built in 1859 and was only closed this year in January. I'm sure the many prisoners it housed did not appreciate that they were actually residing in a beautiful building.

On the next morning (Tuesday) we went back to the Central Deborah Mine to look through the museum and then on to the Chinese Museum. There were a lot of Chinese who arrived to make their fortune at the goldmines. They experienced a great deal of hostility from the Europeans who imposed a landing tax of all Chinese people getting off boats in Victoria. Not to be fooled they got off the boats at Adelaide or in New South Wales and walked the rest of the way.

We then set off for an hours drive to a town we had been recommended to visit called Echuca. This was once Australia's busiest inland port, with a truly magnificent wharf more than a mile long built from the timber of red gums. It has been preserved for visitors and has many old restored steam boats, some still burning wood to generate the steam required, wending their way up the Murry River. It is also the starting point for tourists' whishing to hire luxury, modern house boats for river holiday trips.

On our return to the campsite I insisted Jeff stop at the kangaroo field so I could get some photos. It was funny, as we stopped many stood up on their back legs looking at us with as much interest as we were looking at them.

On Wednesday morning we set off on our travels heading towards Ballarat taking the country roads we had been recommended. We stopped in a small town called Maldon, which was also a gold mining town. The region we are in is the gold mining area and there are designated gold mining tour routes marked out for anyone interested. We had a walk around the town looking at the old buildings It has many fine houses built with intricate wrought iron work balconies, which was the style then. We stocked up with supplies; this has been one of our pleasures in that we stop at road side stalls or local towns and villages to buy fresh local produce.

Our arrival in Ballarat caused a bit of strife between the driver and navigator as I took him all the wrong way. Jeff wanted to follow the signs for the tourist information as the site said it was next to a tourist information centre. I informed him that according to the camp site instructions it was next to Eureka Centre Information not the general tourist centre. So we toured around. At one point we saw another campervan heading in the opposite direction so turned around at the next roundabout and followed him, thinking it would lead us to the camp site. However he turned off to a tourist attraction and we were left on our own again. Fortunately at the end of the road we picked up signs for our camp site and followed them.. Guess what it is next to the tourist information centre. I don't know what he was moaning about; I gave him a tour of Ballarat and got him to the site. However it is not over yet, on arriving at the site the driver missed the opening and turned down the next street, into another housing estate. I am saying nothing.

The next morning saw us heading into Bendigo to explore. Bendigo began as a gold-rush town, expanding rapidly from 1851 onwards to become one of the state's largest inland towns. It has many fine late 19th centaury buildings, erected with the wealth won from the ground. In its heyday Bendigo had the deepest gold mine in the whole of the world and produced more gold than California fields. The last mine to close, the Central Deborah Gold Mine, was in the 1940's and is now preserved as a museum and offers underground tours. Over the period that it operated it produced almost $17 million dollars worth of gold. We took the tour and had a personal guide in Daryl who made it come to life as his grand father had worked there.

After the mine trip we took the talking tram around the city. All the trams are vintage ones and the tour takes in the tram museum where the collection is housed. Anyone with an interest in trams would really like this museum as you can wander around the trams and see the restoration taking place. One tram that was on display had been restored through a dole to work programme run by the local authority and the Salvation Army. The museum is staffed by all volunteers.

Following this we had lunch in a really lovely restaurant which had only been open a week and then set off on the Beautiful Buildings tour of Bendigo, one of which was the local prison which had been built in 1859 and was only closed this year in January. I'm sure the many prisoners it housed did not appreciate that they were actually residing in a beautiful building.

On the next morning (Tuesday) we went back to the Central Deborah Mine to look through the museum and then on to the Chinese Museum. There were a lot of Chinese who arrived to make their fortune at the goldmines. They experienced a great deal of hostility from the Europeans who imposed a landing tax of all Chinese people getting off boats in Victoria. Not to be fooled they got off the boats at Adelaide or in New South Wales and walked the rest of the way.

We then set off for an hours drive to a town we had been recommended to visit called Echuca. This was once Australia's busiest inland port, with a truly magnificent wharf more than a mile long built from the timber of red gums. It has been preserved for visitors and has many old restored steam boats, some still burning wood to generate the steam required, wending their way up the Murry River. It is also the starting point for tourists' whishing to hire luxury, modern house boats for river holiday trips.

On our return to the campsite I insisted Jeff stop at the kangaroo field so I could get some photos. It was funny, as we stopped many stood up on their back legs looking at us with as much interest as we were looking at them.

On Wednesday morning we set off on our travels heading towards Ballarat taking the country roads we had been recommended. We stopped in a small town called Maldon, which was also a gold mining town. The region we are in is the gold mining area and there are designated gold mining tour routes marked out for anyone interested. We had a walk around the town looking at the old buildings It has many fine houses built with intricate wrought iron work balconies, which was the style then. We stocked up with supplies; this has been one of our pleasures in that we stop at road side stalls or local towns and villages to buy fresh local produce.

Our arrival in Ballarat caused a bit of strife between the driver and navigator as I took him all the wrong way. Jeff wanted to follow the signs for the tourist information as the site said it was next to a tourist information centre. I informed him that according to the camp site instructions it was next to Eureka Centre Information not the general tourist centre. So we toured around. At one point we saw another campervan heading in the opposite direction so turned around at the next roundabout and followed him, thinking it would lead us to the camp site. However he turned off to a tourist attraction and we were left on our own again. Fortunately at the end of the road we picked up signs for our camp site and followed them.. Guess what it is next to the tourist information centre. I don't know what he was moaning about; I gave him a tour of Ballarat and got him to the site. However it is not over yet, on arriving at the site the driver missed the opening and turned down the next street, into another housing estate. I am saying nothing.



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