Saturday, August 20, 2011

American Author visits Ballarat in 1891

In 1891 Mark Twain stepped onto the platform of Ballarat's grand 
railway station where he penned
his timeless prose about Ballarat
and its newfound wealth. 

"Forty-five years ago the site now occupied by the
City of Ballarat was a sylvan solitude as quiet as
Eden and as lovely.  Nobody had ever heard of it.
On the 25th of August, 1851, the first great gold-
strike made in Australia was made here.  The
wandering prospectors who made it scraped up two pounds and a half of gold the first day - worth £600.  A few days later the place was a hive-a town.  The news of the strike spread everywhere in a sort of instantaneous way - spread like a flash to the very ends of the earth.  A celebrity so prompt and so universal has hardly been paralleled in history, perhaps.  It was as if the name BALLARAT had suddenly been written on the sky, where all the world could read it at once."

From 'Following the Equator'
by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

The fact that, during the 19th century, one of the world's most influential writers and one of its best-known singers, Dame Nellie Melba, were both drawn to Ballarat, is testament to the town's cultural heritage.

Dame Nellie Melba

With its wide boulevard planted with elm trees and lines with grand statues, you'll see evidence everywhere of Ballarat's spectacular rise from humble mining settlement to wealthy city.

Explore Ballarat today and you'll discover that history isn't confined to dusty old books and stuffy museums.  In Ballarat, there is a living and breathing history.  A history immersed in stories of romance and mystery.  A history steeped in legendary tales of tragedy and triumph. A history you can be part of every day.

Ballarat's Avenue of Honour

I'll be like a kid in a lolly shop when we move to Ballarat!

Source: BALLARAT, Victoria's Goldfields, Official Visitor Guide

P.S.  "Ballarat" came from "Balla" and "Arat", derived from Aboriginal words meaning elbow or reclining on the elbow (resting or camping) and place.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Last Month of Winter

Yesterday morning, through the window
(I haven't washed the outside yet!)

Well, we're gradually getting there; still have some more sifting, sorting and tossing 'treasures' accumulated and sitting idle in the shed and barn.  The house is sparkling; I've been filling, sanding, undercoating and painting, particularly in the laundry where a little puppy chewed his way up the architrave and made a real mess of the door eight years ago!  I should have taken before photos!


It's rather wet and chilly again today, so I'll have to wait for a couple of nice days to paint the doorsteps. Only 25 more days of Winter and then we'll put the house on the market. Very soon we're spending a few days at BALLARAT, to have a look around.  Of course, we can't go house hunting until we have a buyer here.

The Manchurian Pears are 'popping'

The past month has flown; mainly because I've been busy but three weeks of that was taken up with watching Le Tour de France and the fantastic end result, our very own Cadel Evans winning it!!  It's the first time we've watched it in entirety and we now know so much more about road cycling events; the terminology, the tactics and, of course, we've seen so much of that extraordinarily beautiful country and the commentators came across with the history of each town, chateau and église.  It will be something to look forward to from now on.

Another result I'm really thrilled about is that 14yo Jack Vidgen won Australia's Got Talent last week!!  I wrote about Jack here. The first prize was $A250,000 and he has a contract with Sony but, this is not America, he only has his Mum and his invalid Father, so I hope that the industry gets behind him. Personally, I also hope that he furthers his studies!!

   "♪And a Cocky in a Desert Ash♫"

Thank you, everyone, for dropping in and leaving a comment and I apologise if I haven't replied.  I most probably won't post for another month.  Actually, as much as I love blogging, I'm feeling quite liberated and might stick to this precept!