Blog 230 The High Country 25th – 27th April 2012


Yes this is the last blog before the accident over seven months ago. I have been having regular check ups with the specialists and everything is mending well. We have been getting involved in bike things again and life is slowly turning more normal.

In this blog we enjoy the remaining section of our Australia trip, we think we saved the best till last. The high country of Victoria, it was getting cold coming into winter but it was beautiful. Sadly the SD card in the camera at the time of the accident had a lot of these photos on it so we have only been able to recover some.

Blog 230 The High Country 25th – 27th April 2012

We were headed for Beechworth and passed this massive Red Gum tree sculpture called the Phoenix Tree. The artist incorporated many creatures amongst the roots and the Phoenix is in the centre. Like all artists a good imagination was necessary to see the work but we appreciated the tree root as art itself.

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In February 1852 gold was discovered at Spring Creek, Beechworth. The wealth from the gold rush built Beechworth but these days it more well known for the court house that tried the notorious Ned Kelly. The court house only closed in 1989 and also housed Ellen Kelly, Ned’s mother. The other historical buildings of note were the town hall, the timber lock up, the telegraph station and the sub treasury. In total gold worth more than 4 billion AUS dollars in today’s money was mined from Beechworth and this was the sub treasury to Melbourne.

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We experienced the court house and Ned’s holding cell. Born in Victoria 1854/5 to an Irish convict father Ned clashed with the Victorian police as a young man and following an incident at his home in 1878, police parties searched for him in the bush. He killed three policemen and the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws. He was captured and sent to jail after a final violent confrontation with the police which took place at Glenrowan on 28 June 1880. Ned and his accomplices had dressed in home-made plate metal armour and a helmet. A picture of a replica is below. He was convicted of three counts of capital murder and hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in November 1880. His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.

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It was a cold day, cold enough for the heated clothing and we were glad of it. We also stopped to sample a pie at the famous Beechworth bakery. It was Anzac day and Beechworth town was a buzz with servicemen and women. Beechworth is a picturesque historic town with lots of colonial weatherboard buildings and old cars.

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Heading back to George’s we passed this historic tobacco kiln built in 1957. After the tobacco leaves were tied to a stick over 500 sticks were hung on the rack, the furnaces were then lit. The temperature rose up from 30degs to 74degs and the humidity was controlled by the fire and air vents in the roof and floor. The leaves took approximately 7 days to cure and yielded about 500kg.

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We made the decision to ride up Mount Buffalo late one afternoon right up to the horn a spectacular lookout point on the summit. We do not normally ride at dusk because of the risk of hitting wild life but the views and the sunset kept us there until it was almost dark. It was great to see the wombat that strolled out in front of us and the sunset at the horn was worth it.

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Next day we rode the alpine circuit stopping at the view point to look down on the town of Mt Beauty which we later passed through. A group of Italians posed for a photo whilst they looked at the bike. The weather was stunning and it was real mountainous country. We did switch back after switch back before arriving at Falls Creek Alpine village where we had lunch. Falls creek is one of the three ski resorts up here and the village like its name suggests is very alpine looking.

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At the summit it levelled out, the plateau was very different from the mountain route up. There were stunted and twisted snow gums (white eucalyptus trees) in every direction. Here the tarmac ended and we travelled the plateau on the twisty dirt road passing small lakes. We were also high enough to find some real snow but sadly our camera’s SD card was damaged in the accident and we have no photos. Our route back down was on the Great Alpine road where we passed Mt Hotham one of the other ski resorts.

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The next morning we organised where we were staying that night as we were headed into Melbourne city centre ready to sort the crating of the bike to South America. Then we chose a nice back way through Whitfield, a route we had done previously in the pouring rain. This time the weather was beautiful and we stopped at Powers lookout to enjoy the fabulous view. This lookout, high on a ridge overlooking the King River Valley, was well used in the 1800′s by Harry Power, a notorious bushranger who would watch from this lofty position to see when the mail coaches were coming and wait in ambush. From his vantage point high up, he could spot the dust rising in the far end of the valley to the north. This would give him time to ride his horse down from the ridge to meet the unsuspecting driver of the coach, which usually carried money too.

One of the trees was so twisted it was hard to believe it was still alive and growing. We had a pleasant lunch in the beautiful surroundings.

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From here we took a devious route to the old Hume highway where we stopped at a massive gum that had fallen, it towered over both of us even lying on its side. From here it was an easy run through Longwood where the farmer had made an interesting sculpture from farming implements. Avenel was a typical little town with its grain store circa 1870. It was only another 5 or so km’s to Seymour and Youe and Maree’s caravan park, We never did make it……..

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Next Up :- the crash and beyond.

 

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