George got a call on Friday morning about a job in Koroit, which is about 350 kms west of where we live. It's a four hour drive each way. Both the kids had made arrangements to meet up with friends, so he suggested that the dog and I come along to keep him company. So the road trip was away!
Koroit is a tiny town in the Western District of Victoria, which is prime farming land. Volcanic plains, very fertile, very bucolic. I hadn't been that way for ages so I;m not sure how it fared during our lengthy and destructive drought, but recent rains have certainly greened it up and it all looked very lush. I went to Koroit on a school camp in Year 8 and haven't been back since, but retained fond memories of it. The coastal area, not very far away, remains familiar as we have been for several holidays at various spots along there. We stayed inland this time, however.
I found this sign nailed up outside a shop. It amused me because I live in Glen Waverley, and I was in Koroit, which, as I mentioned, is 350kms to the west of Glen Waverley. There were other old station signs there too. I can't remember what the shop was, but obviously the owner liked old station signs.
This is an old post office. It is actually still the post office. But it is of historical interest because the Australian author Henry Handel Richardson (real name Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson - like the Brontes and George Elliot she thought she had a better chance of publication under a man's name, and personally who would not rather be called Henry than Ethel!) lived there for a while when her mother was post mistress. The Richardsons moved around quite a lot and it is certainly not the only old post office in Victoria with a plaque stating that she lived there. According to Wikipedia these places include Chiltern (I have seen that post office too), Queenscliff and Maldon (I cannot go to Maldon in case I bump into a member of a certain family, which has more members than the Mafia, and who still, I think, resent me because their son/cousin/etc dumped me in 1983!) (I did take a photo of the plaque but you can't read it, it is rather worn and needs polishing!) I imagine most non-Australian readers will never have heard of her. Many Australians of my age had to read The Getting of Wisdom at school. I disliked the book but rather liked the film, partly because large slabs of it were filmed at Ormond College, where I was living when I saw the film. In later years I read her trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney and rather enjoyed it, in fact I've read it twice and will probably read it again at some point. It is a faintly fictionalised account of her childhood and is a fascinating way to learn a lot about the history of Victoria.
Koroit was largely settled by Irish immigrants, and the local history society has an interesting map in its front window, showing the local surnames that came from the various counties of Ireland. I was amused to notice that none of them came from Waterford, though they came from many other counties. That means that I am not related to anyone in Koroit. If any of them had come from Waterford, I would have been. My mum says (quite seriously) that we used to only be related to half of Waterford, until X married Y, who was related to the other half. So for the last couple of generations we are related to the whole of the city, and probably the county. This is the original school house in Koroit, dating from the 1850s, and is apparently one of the only Irish model school houses still in existence in ... Australia? The Western District? I can't remember. Anyway, it is a distinctive style; the two 'wings' on either side are classrooms, and the bit in the middle is the teacher's residence. It is no longer a school, of course, there is a modern primary school elsewhere in the town that looked rather inviting.
Bobby snuck along for the ride. He had heard that there are lots and lots and LOTS of lady sheep in the Western District. You're right, Bobby, there are - but they don't climb trees!
Bobby thought you should read a bit more about Koroit's Irish heritage.
It was a pleasant day out, but very tiring. An 8 hour round trip leaves one feeling very stiff and sore! And poor George had to spend four hours at a fire scene working very hard. I explored the delights of Koroit. Which are not quite sufficient for four hours, actually. But there were two excellent tea shops which made very good coffee indeed, and I poked around very happily, and went for a long walk, and then rescued the dog from the car and took her for a long walk, and read my book, and read Facebook on my phone, and enjoyed the country air and a mild sunny day. And got to spend lots of quality time with my hubby :) I forgot to take any knitting, which was a shame, but I spend the whole trip down helping George by taking notes and making phone calls for him, and then it was getting dark afterwards, so there wouldn't have been any real car knitting anyway.