Creswick Forest, Victoria.

Have I worn out my welcome yet? No posts for six months and then suddenly I’m churning them out once a week. It’s seems to be all or nothing in this joint.

Before I start, I know you’re all eagerly awaiting an update regarding my floors. Having mentioned them being sanded and polished in the previous two posts, I thought a third update couldn’t hurt, plus I can sense your anticipation through my alfoil helmet when I put it on at night. Regarding the timber, I must have been the world’s unluckiest man. Who would have thought in a Melbourne winter, they’d be no wind for over a week? Not a breath of it. I spent a week with doors and windows open, 24 hours a day, and not a hint of a breeze came through. Is this possible? Only in the last couple of days have the blinds begun to rattle and move (the rattling is due to one being improperly affixed. I must secure that, as it’s a bit dodgy. Another I opened the other day fell off. Luckily it wasn’t above the chair I usually sit on. Is this the longest piece within brackets you’ve ever read?) A floor polishing tip? Get it done in spring when there’s at least one gale per week.

Lastly (what? Two whole paragraphs of this crap?) another tactical error, adding to having them done in the wrong season, is I forgot about any food lying around. The other day, I picked up a big, juicy apple and sunk my teeth into it. In one way it was enlightening, as I knew what floor polish smelt like, but now I know what it tastes like as well. How good’s that? Yes, it tasted like a condensed ball of carcinogenic crap, with a burning aftertaste. The only bonus is my teeth are now shiny and should be good for 7 to 10 years before another polish.

Phew, enough of that. On to the walking business. You’ll be pleased to know (did you ever have a choice?) it’s yet another retro post. All this started due to a problem last year. Simply put, my computer was about to explode from an abundance of photos, so I transferred thousands to an external hard drive. Only recently did I look at some of those images and realise how many day walks I’d never bothered to write about. This stroll through the forests around Creswick is one of them. Sure, the photo above may say autumn leaves, but it wasn’t this year. No, this was back in May 2014 and it reminded me of quite a busy month. I picked up Glenn ‘Guru of Good Times’ Tempest’s, Victoria’s Goldfield Walks, and adjusted my OCD into flat-stick mode. As a result, previous posts for the Daylesford Forest,ย Tipperary Track,ย Three Lost Childrenย and now this one, were all walks I did in about 10 days. How did this one miss out? I’ve no idea. Hopefully you don’t expect me to know everything?

Anyway, Creswick. It’s walk number one in the book and reading the notes, I must say, it didn’t really excite me. There didn’t seem to be a lot to it, but when I reflect, I’ll happily admit my lack of interest was wrong. I’ll even say it was one of the best day walks I did last year. Is this possible? I think so, as I found the points of interest to be, well… um… interesting. It’s all subjective though. My interesting could be your nightmare.

On one of those typical, balmy autumn days, I had an easy drive from the west and reached Creswick around midday. Starting a walk is usually nondescript, but not this time. As I hopped out the car like an obese gazelle I was met by raised voices and general screaming. Huh? I ensured the hullabaloo wasn’t directed at me by checking my pants were on. They were, so what could the fuss be about?

Scanning the area I managed to identify the source of the ruckus. In the main street, some disenchanted youngsters (they were about 35 years old) had walked past a food establishment which had some chairs and tables outside. The rules of society say you should just walk around these obstructions, but these blokes must have been anarchists. Instead, they kicked the tables and flipped a few chairs over. This of course, elicited the owner to come running outside and he threatened to include them in the specials for evening. It was a wild scene and as I was slipping my pack on, I wondered if I’d actually driven to Deadwood instead of Creswick.

Leaving all the action behind, I headed off on a civilised walking path…

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…before soon heading off into something that remotely resembled bush. This is part of the Goldfields Track, a 210 km saunter from Mt Buninyong to Bendigo. Maybe I should do the lot one day? Sure, if I can get my head around it, as there are a few logistical problems.

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Anyway, I knew the bush wouldn’t last long, as only a short distance away was St Georges Lake, which was my first point of interest. Reaching the edge…

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…it reminded me a little of Daylesford Lake. Both are nice spots and if you’re after a bit of history, I’ll quote directly out of the book, ‘…built during the height of the gold rush to provide water to the Creswick State Battery for crushing quartz…’. There you go.

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St Georges Lake, Creswick

I began a slow wander through the tall trees lining the lake, whilst catching the reflections of the sky on the water.

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It wasn’t the only colour though. A number of fungi were dotted around. Visually these look great, but I’d be a little concerned about eating one. I know what floor polish tastes like and I’m imagining one these could be slightly worse. If it’s possible.

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I was taking my time and absorbing the sights, until I came across this…

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…and it made me wonder. Maybe it’s a reflection of my previous work, but I’ve always had an interest in memorials to the departed. I’ve read many a roadside cross over the years and even included one in a post last December. I was intrigued by this adjoining the waters edge, so I did a little reading and it opened up another thought.

You may have heard of a saying, which says there’s beauty and darkness in everything. When it comes to landscapes, I think this is true and the thought certainly applies to St Georges Lake in Creswick. Two people at the same location, viewed an identical sight, but they interpreted what they saw in two totally different ways. During my visit, it was peaceful and I reflected on the beauty of an expanse of water, which reflected a warm autumn sky. Another person saw the same sight, but his understanding of this quiet spot was completely dissimilar to mine. He could only see the darkness and used it, by concealing a body in the lake. Death stalks us from the time we’re born and sometimes the devil is just outside the door.

fallen-tree-st-georges-lake-creswick

With sobering, food for thought, I continued on, leaving the lake behind and headed into the dry bush, which again is part of the Goldfields Track. Along the way there’s an area of folly called ‘koala park’. The reason being is in the 1940’s, a breeding area for koalas was constructed, but the method to keep them contained was a little flawed. A fence, that possibly wasn’t high enough, meant they all escaped. I’m not sure if there are descendants in the area now, but scanning the trees didn’t reveal any and their traditional audible sound, which sounds similar to a Yowie stubbing their toe, couldn’t be heard either. The remains of the fence is still there though. I wonder why no one’s removed it? Surely it’s a trap for other animals? Maybe I’ll approach the council and get Smuffin to take it down, whilst I watch and supervise. I’m sure he’ll be happy with my idea.

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Wandering on, I was interested in a spot called Eatons Dam. Maybe I need to do some research, but all the walk notes tells me is it was a dam, which failed in the 1930’s and flooded Creswick. Huh? Is this true? Anyway, it seemed worthy of a diversion.

A year on, regarding the dam, I seem to remember being a little geographically embarrassed and unable to immediately find it. Then again, I might be thinking of something else I couldn’t find, which happens regularly. Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know I did track it down. The main thing which struck me is its stone wall is a lot bigger than I thought it’d be. If it failed, now I understand how it could have flooded the area.

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Stone wall – Eatons Dam

I walked the base to the creek, where the dam wall has opened. Barnes Wallis would be proud of the sight.

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As I mentioned earlier, when I read the walk notes I thought this would be pretty dull, but I actually found the dam fascinating. Then again, I still like to watch water circling around a plug hole as it goes down the drain, so maybe I’m easily pleased.

After some intensive stone wall examining, I continued on and I guess my only beef with the entire walk, are the areas where pine forests adjoin the track. Oh well, one can’t have it all. The cut tracks, made for vehicles did allow for some easy walking though.

It was on one of these points where I seem to remember (I think I’m positive. Maybe) my notes made no sense whatsoever. Something about following a rough vehicle track? I’m not sure if I was in the wrong spot, but the track I was on wasn’t rough at all. It was truck-worthy. Anyway, I was in the right area, but maybe not in the right spot, if you know what I mean. What I do know is I was keeping my eyes out for another feature. The William Guthrie Spence house site.

There was a bit of fanfare leading up to it. A sign pointed…

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…to an information board…

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…but alas, all that remained was bush and ghosts of the past.

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Oh well. I hope the Wikipedia entry satisfies you, as there’s not a lot to see at the house site.

I was well and truly on made-roads now, but there was still enough zen going on.

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One doesn’t always need to be bashing through the bush and I always think, time spent trudging on a bush road is always better than any day I’ve ever spent in an office.

I’d used up a fair bit of time, wandering around the lake, examining the old dam and looking for a missing house, so the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. Unfortunately, I was only half-way through the walk, so I had to speed the locomotive up. It’s not all bad though, as I often prefer the late afternoon, due to the nicer light for taking photos. Oh, as long as my headlamp is with me of course.

Next up, my notes mentioned a spot called the La Gerche Forest Walk. I had no idea what it could be (other than something to do with forests) and I was in two minds as to whether it would be interesting. Who’s John La Gerche? Well, here he is. He’s got his own photo on his own marker posts.

john-la-gerche-walk-marker

In order to explain who he was, I began to write what I’d read on an information sign, before realising this was a daft idea. How about I just give you a photo of the sign, where I was about to lift the details from anyway? I think this is a lot easier. Especially for me.

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Yep, I thought it would be fairly low-key, but maybe I was lucky with the autumnal conditions, as I found this little pocket of bush to be amazing. Fallen leaves abound…

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…and trees soared above.

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Okay, a lot of these aren’t native, but how amazing do they look? Oh, remember, I’m easily pleased.

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My late in the day wander was perfect as the low sunlight filtered through the trees. It wasn’t only enormous trunks rising above. The odd colourful fungi were dotted around as well. Here’s another one of those eye-catching red numbers.

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I left the forest area, thoroughly impressed, but the surprises continued. I stumbled upon a set of old stables.

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I’ve absolutely no idea what the story is with these (there’s about five of them). A faded sign says something about Peter Lalor (Eureka Rebellion fame) having owned a house in the area. Oh yeah, I Googled, ‘old stables Creswick’, and came up with nothing. I’m sure there’s a reason for why they’re still standing and I’m equally sure someone out there knows their full history. I hope.

I know they’re handy for the odd photo though.

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By now it was well and truly late in the day, as I popped out onto a road…

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…before commencing a speedy race around a Landcare Walk. I must get back to the area one day with a bit more time up my sleeve.

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Exiting the Landcare Trail, I found the Midland Highway…

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…and began walking back into Creswick. Even on this short piece of road walking, there was Park Lake to draw my attention.

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Then, the car was in sight. The yahoos had long moved on from attacking restaurant furniture and it was more or less dark when I began my drive home. Wrapping up, definitely an interesting wander and I might need to revisit the area, just to see some of the old historical buildings, which I’d missed.

So, there you have it. At just over 15 km, Creswick Forest, Victoria had more than enough to keep me interested, as it weaved through the old gold mining areas. As I mentioned in the last few posts, I’ve given the whole Goldfield’s area a bit of a run through, so I might drag out some of the pictures from those walks next. There was one I did in the height of summer, which hurt a bit, so that might be perfect for the next post.

Creswick? I think there’s plenty to see. Just don’t upset the bloke and his outdoor furniture at the restaurant.