Monday, May 10, 2010

Uncle Harry Saves the Day

I am tired and cannot think tonight. Yet, I have an urge to post. I guess I must be well and truly becoming a blog junky.

Well we were out and about again on the weekend.

But because I can’t think I’ll put on my Uncle Harry hat and play the tour guide.

Two hours drive from our humble abode lies the Central Victorian town of Clunes.

Clunes, like many towns in Victoria was founded during the 1850s Gold Rushes.

In fact Clunes was where the first gold was found in Victoria and was the home of the first gold rush in the then Colony of Victoria.

Clunes had a boom in the early days. Like many gold rush towns it went into decline when the local mines closed. Development stopped dead.

Today walking down the main street is like stepping back into the Nineteenth Century (apart from the cars).Most of the shops look like they are still in the 1800s including the sign-writing.
In fact I guess most of the “old” signage is in fact not too old. The town was used as a set in the 2003 film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger.

Clunes is today taking advantage of the time warp it seems to be caught in with some businesses aiming squarely at tourists and day-trippers (that would be me).

Some carry things to excess
Of course there are all the conveniences we expect in the Twenty First Century.
Including a "modern Garage".

Like many of the gold rush towns there was enough money around to build some reasonably impressive public buildings.

The Post Office.The Town Hall and Police Court.And finally a building to keep the writer (and reader) in me happy.
The original library.


Kathleen Jones said...

Nice tour Al! We saw a couple of places like this in Western Australia. They had English names like Northampton and Blenheim and were just like stepping onto a stage-set. Except for the line of utes parked in the street, each one with a vicious ridge-back or doberman snapping in the back and the line of blokes at the bar inside - not a woman in sight!

Al said...

Hi Kathleen,
Happy you enjoyed it.
I always have to chuckle at Oz place names like that. None of them are at all like the originals.
Outback WA (or Queensland for that matter) are very "blokey". Utes and dogs become a statement of belonging.

Ellen Brickley said...

Great post, Al, thanks :) I like reading about Australia. Blame Bill Bryson's Down Under. . .

Old Kitty said...


Oh I love the library!! Especially the word "FREE LIBRARY"! Brilliant.

What a great tour - thank you. Clunes really is stuck in between a timewarp - cowboy/outback/victorian and modern! Phew!

Take care

Piedmont Writer said...

This looks exactly like some towns in Nevada. They still have that antique-y feel. Nice post, thanks for sharing.

Culture Served Raw said...

Wow I want to be in the library! Love these towns, though so out of my way to visit! Thanks so much for sharing these photographs


Jaydee Morgan said...

Loved the looks of some of these buildings - especially the town hall, post office and library.

Ann said...

Great buildings. It was like stepping back into the 19th century. And as usual your photo's are wonderful.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Blog Junkies Unite! I know I check my blog roll for your posts all the time, even though I might not always comment. I loved the old buidling pictures-- reminds me of the old pictures of Downtown San Francisco.

Jemi Fraser said...

Gorgeous buildings - I love buildings with charaacter!

Palindrome said...

I love old buildings like that! Thanks for posting them.

Myrna Foster said...

Piedmont Writer beat me to my comment. Those pictures could have been taken in some of the old prospecting towns in my state, especially around the area where my dad grew up.

Al said...

Hi Ellen,
Another internet acquaintance is a big fan of Bryson’s Down Under. I can see I’m going to have to grab a copy. I wonder if a review from an Aussie’s perspective would be interesting.

Hi Kitty,
I liked the library too. Most of the public libraries from the period down this way have “Free Library” as their sign. I’ll have to look into it but I guess there must have been other libraries around that charged some kind of fee to lend books. Kind of like the 19th Century version of a video library?
Clunes certainly is trapped in a timewarp.

Hi Anne,
I suppose like Clunes the Nevada towns stopped “developing”. I’m only too happy to share.
HI10 May, 2010

Hi Valerie,
I love libraries so I know what you mean. Some of the towns in the Southern Highlands of NSW and in the Blue Mountains have a similar feel. They’d be a bit closer to home for you. Happy to share.

Hi Jaydee,
I thought they were well worth pointing my camera at them. But then I’ll point it at almost anything.

Hi Ann,
They are great aren’t they? Just like a time machine. And once again thank you!

Hi Christy,
I agree, raise the Blog Junkies banner with pride! I’m pleased to hear you visit, even if you only lurk.
When you think about it our gold rushes started only two years after California’s ’49 rush, so they were contemporary “new” architecture. Unlike San Francisco some of the gold towns here stopped dead.

Hi Jemi,
Aren’t older buildings so good?

Hi Hannah,
Pleased you liked them, you are welcome.

Hi Myrna,
Ah well I guess you’ll just have to sue her for copyright violation :-)
I don’t know which state you are from. California? Nevada? Alaska? Where else did you guys have gold rushes?

Susan Fields said...

Great pictures - thanks for the tour! I loved the movie Ned Kelly. Of course, I'd like almost anything with Heath Ledger in it. :)

KarenG said...

Nice tour. Thanks! I've said it before here, I think, that where you live reminds me a great deal of the American West.

Al said...

Hi Susan,
Thank you, only to happy to post my "adventures". I haven't seen the Heath Ledger Kelly movie. Heath was such a fine actor I should grab it some time.

Hi Karen,
Happy you liked the trip! I guess like the American West a lot of Oz was settled by Europeans in the mid to late 1800s, so it makes sense that the architecture was similar. Plus like in your West our early settlers were starting from scratch.

Myrna Foster said...


Al said...

Ok Nevada.
Sounds like a beautiful state.

Lisa said...

What a great town. I'm going to have to watch that Ned Kelly movie again. One of my son's fav shirts is a Ned Kelly tshirt that my parents brought back from Oz for my husband from their first visit.

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
It is a great spot.
I'll have to catch the movie too.
Does the shirt attract questions in the US ?