More farewells than Melba
26 Aug 2011
|I just wanted to use that cliche...
We are now in Sandhurst….
Gold Nugget Caravan Park is OK, sites a tad difficult to get onto because of the height above the kerb. Free internet though - unmetered and high speed…..
We had a packed day today, gold mining in the am. Maybe I should have called this post “Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to work we go”…. The Central Deborah mine tour was interesting; we only went down to the 2nd level but the geology was interesting, the miners of old missed the mother lode by 8 metres and it was discovered when they were digging the new tunnel to get the tourists some fresh air, there is now also a function centre on level 2 as well. There is plenty of pyrites to touch but the real gold is under a glass screen.
After the tour we drove to the Beechworth Bakery (awesome looking vanilla slices - they should move the competition to Bendigo) for lunch and a recap of our mine adventure then drove back to the mine tram terminus for our pm Talking Tram Tour. Maybe I should have titled this post “How to see Bendigo in an SW5 in 1st notch”. We did ride in an old Melbourne tram an SW5 built at Preston workshops in 1937 (the S designates it as having sliding doors which were a recent innovation) that ground along, yes you guessed it in 1st notch. I kind of would have preferred to travel in a real Bendigo Tram alas no…. Mind you Bendigo Tramways have come a long way and are now a big commercial interest, I mean they would have to be if they can spend AU$3,000,000 on depot renovations. So we did not get into the depot BUGGA!!! No, I should have titled this Post “How I miss the Eaglehawk tram...” Oh and guess what? I was looking for a pic of a tram enroute to Eaglehawk and discovered that there are plans to replace the existing buses with, yes, a tram to Eaglehawk…..
Very progressive city is Bendigo…….
Some of the architecture in Bendigo is really inspiring, magnificent and well preserved due in no small part to the astute actions of the Bendigo Trust. Maybe I just like iron lace and stained glass but every one commented on it so it’s not just me, such is the opulence that Gold can bring. The Shamrock Hotel is magnificent and such notables as Nellie Melba ( I’d like to attach an audio file of Melba singing” there’s no place like home”) and Lola Montez appeared there on stage. Lola created quite a stir. In June 1855, Montez departed for a tour of Australia to resume her career by entertaining miners at the gold diggings during the gold-rush of the 1850s, arriving at Sydney on 16 August 1855.
Historian Michael Cannon claims that "In September 1855 she performed her erotic Spider Dance at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne, raising her skirts so high that the audience could see “she wore no underclothing at all" . Next day the Argus thundered that her performance was 'utterly subversive to all ideas of public morality'". Respectable families ceased to attend the theatre, which began to show heavy losses." At Castlemaine in April 1856, she was "rapturously encored" after her Spider Dance in front of 400 diggers (including members of the Municipal Council who had adjourned their meeting early to attend the performance), but drew the wrath of the audience by insulting them following some mild heckling.
She earned further notoriety in Ballarat when, after reading a bad review in The Ballarat Times, she attacked the editor, Henry Seekamp with a whip. The "Lola Montes Polka" composed by Albert Denning was later rumoured to have been inspired by this event, but as the song was published in 1855 and the incident with Seekamp occurred months later in February 1856, this is scarcely probable. She departed for San Francisco on 22 May 1856, having had her fill of the turbulent Australia. Yes they are still mining gold in Bendigo but like all new mining it’s highly mechanised and very deep underground, 2.5 km I think the guide said…
The tours can be bought as a package and the tram tickets last for 2 days which is handy if you want to get on and off.
There is lots to see and do in Bendigo….