It’s lucky I’m use to driving. With 2.5 weeks of touring already behind me, 3600 kms (give or take a few ks) takes in a whole lot of country. From the vast open spaces of western QLD to the south of the state through to NSW and the waterways of the beautiful midnorth coast, I feel quite blessed to be seeing so much of our wonderful land while Im touring to promote Absloution Creek. As always I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s warm welcome and while it’s great to share some of my life through my talks every day means I discover something in return. In sharing my story I usually learn a little of someone else’s. It’s a privilege to be given a snapshot of someone else’s world, whether it be a shared anecdote, story or perhaps a suggestion of an area of interest I should visit if I have the time. Time is something I finally found in Ballarat today, with half a day free of engagements I wandered through this marvellous city with its heritage buildings forged in the glory of the gold years.
Wow, I love Australian history and walking along the streets of Soverreign Hill, a replica goldmining town – the odd building is original dating back to the 1850s – I was like a kid in a lolly shop. Each building; forge, post office, haberdashery, bank, hotel, undertaker etc, is located in its original position with contents (coffin ruffle liner anyone?) and I couldn’t help but feel the frizz of energy that envelops the 32 acre site. Other highlights included seeing the Eureka flag and the gold museum. Tomorrow I intend to sneak in a quick visit to the old cemetary where gold diggers and troopers face off across the sacred ground, their monuments from the Eureka Stockade battle rising confrontationally into the air.
One of my talks today was at the Mechanics Institute. Here gold was bought and sold with dealers straining over the second floor balcony to the trading floor below. Today the building is undergoing a major refurbishment and it houses a collection of rare books from the 1850s on and will soon reopen the original Minerva theatre on the second floor. The building houses a great library and is home to the Modern School of writing.
Tomorrow I’m off to Euchua for an evening function and then the Shepparton library on thursday afternoon. In the meantime … heavens it is darn cold here tonight!