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July 2, 2014

Well after 5 days here at Halls Gap with Sandra, Dennis & Molly we are going our separate ways for a while as we are heading to Ballarat after being invited there by new friends Kathy & Robert who had 20 acres just outside Ballarat. Robert has offered to help Bruce check the other axle before we move further.
We had been warned by many people what sort of weather to expect at Ballarat when we got there. Arrived at their home on Monday the 16th after travelling down through Ararat. All set up so the men pulled the axle off only to find the worst- a crack on the same van side as the first axle-in the same position.
First Bruce rang the manufacturers of the axle which was put on the van in Jan 2012.
They wanted the axle to be taken into a caravan place in Ballarat to confirm the crack- with photos.
Next they wanted to see new compliance plates (2012) to prove that all was legal- so sent photos. We not over weight at all.
They refused to make a new axle unless we got TWO new bigger ones made- hey we had just put one new one on 2 weeks ago! Cost for 2=$2,500. Not happening.
Rang the makers of the first one (Adelaide) on 18th. All good as they knew they had to make an identical one as previously made & sent up to Wentworth.
It was put on overnight transport from Port Wakefield 23rd for Melbourne & it then arrived here in Ballarat 2am this morning.
25th Bruce & Robert into town to collect, van ready to go by 12md.
End of story until we get back home & going to take this further with the axle manufacturer in Brisbane.
On top of this our stove at home has had to have a new thermostat installed.

Now a few photos of some beautiful buildings in Ballarat. Because of the weather we really have not been able to do to much on the tourist side of things. Everyone says must go to Sovereign Hill but not wandering around in the rain. Because of the way to see a lot of the “sights” in there a full day is needed to be able to catch certain shows at certain times & as well as paying entry fees a lot of the shows are an extra entry fee. At the moment the $ need to be watched rather carefully!.

These buildings are obviously looked after & look as though they have recently been restored.
While we have been with Kath & Robert we have had some genuine Chinese meals as their daughter-in-law is a lovely Chinese woman. Now know how to make a beautiful sweet & sour sauce. Kath, LuMai
& I have been taking our turn cooking the evening meal. Our van can be seen through the trees.

Saturday 21st we were invited up to Tallarook to spend the night with the Dalben family whom we met at Kerang in 2011 for Easter with Caravanners Forum members & we have spent the next Easters with them. Left Ballarat about 8.30am & for about 30ks drove through fog & rain then all of a sudden we met sunshine. Driving up the Hume highway we got to their home about 11.30 & into a warm fireplace & foggy overcast weather again. The weather was clear enough to see the Melbourne skyline.

Sunday morning after Joe cooking us bacon & eggs for brekky we went up to Seymour to have a look at the new Vietnam War memorial site, which was not even started last year when we were in Seymour.
It really is a beautiful site even for anyone who had no one involved in the war.

Standing close to the wall reading the names is not difficult and when viewed from a distance the photos on the wall become much clearer.
Instead of coming back down the Hume Highway we went to Kilmore then across to Tooborac in this sort of weather.

We were doing about 30 kph for about 30klms. Could not believe how many vehicles we met without their lights turned on! The country was mainly, from what we could see, sheep & cattle properties.
Kyneton and Trentham were 2 other towns we passed through before reaching Dalysford.

Do not have a clue as to what this, on the side of a pub, is meant to represent.

The beautiful old Kyneton railway station.

These statues are just sitting beside the roadside approaching Trentham. They are so life like. Would like to know the reason! Maybe if I “googled” them? Just did that & they are fibreglass & manufactured for sale by TWO BIG FAT WOMBATS in Trentham. Now we all know & I am sure that you will all sleep better to-night for knowing that little bit of useless information!

Now there is a beautiful sunshine but bitterly cold. Into Dalysford & noticed the Lost Children’s Monument sign. Decided to go to the tourist centre to find out the story, but, there was not a parking space available in any of the streets in town- no one obviously about to leave a park so we did not stop. There had been markets that morning & apparently it is a very , what is the word? trendy spot for a coffee on a weekend. Here is the site to read about the tragic fate of these 3 boys.

There were a few old buildings I would have to got photos of but maybe next time!
Into the second week with Kath & Robert at their Ballarat home- waiting for axle to arrive from Adelaide. I rang the carrier in Melbourne on Tuesday morning , 24th, to be told that it had arrived in Melbourne & would be carted up to Ballarat by 2am Wednesday. Great news.
Bruce & Robert went in to collect first thing Wednesday & by lunch time everything was back together.

Thursday we decided to take a day trip back to Ararat for a look around, as the weather looked as though it was going to be “reasonable”. Had gone about 10 ks & the boss realised that he did not have his wallet with his medical certificate. That’s OK- I took over the driving but that meant that I could not take photos. Bruce does not use the camera a lot but did get some while we were travelling. We went straight to the tourist centre to see where we should drive.
Our first spot was up to the lookout- & the wind!

Had to take a photo of this street sign!
There are certainly a lot of old, fascinating buildings in this city- with various histories. The first one we saw was J Ward, completed in 1861 This infamous bluestone building was originally a goldfields prison then in 1886 became a temporary home for the criminally insane, later becoming a ward of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum, housing the most dangerous men in Victoria. The ward was closed in 1991 & is now a tourist attraction.

Tour time were not convenient so had to miss out. Next we drove to the Arandale Mental hospital which was constructed between 1864 and 1867 as the Ararat lunatic asylum. At one time had 500 employees. To-day the complex had 63 buildings, including a forensic unit built 2 years before the facility closed in 1993. Despite being closed the facility housed female prisoners until 2001 when it became a campus for TAFE. Tours are also available. Many of the buildings are in a terrible condition.

It was possible to drive around the various buildings but could not see inside as tours on Sundays.
Driving out in the distance could be seen the Ararat prison.

Pyrenees House completed in 1886. The Architect was directed to erect a Queen Anne style structure fashionable in the 1880s.

The remains of the sand drier is at the railway station complex. This is what remains of the sand drier which was used to blow sand dry, which was then loaded onto trains. When the train brakes were needed the sand was dropped down a hole by the means of a lever, onto the train tracks to assist the brakes to be more efficient! Ingenious?
We had a Subway lunch in Ararat as it happened to be beside a fruit shop as well as opposite Woolies where I needed to get food.
On the way back noticed this building so had to stop for a photo (I was driving) .

All the properties around here are either cattle or sheep with a few horses as well. Everything is so green. The property owners spend literally hundreds of dollars planting their hedges- they are everywhere & by no means small. We are assuming that they are to assist with wind breaks.

Friday 27th we said goodbye to wonderful new friends, Kath & Robert. Their hospitality was over & above what they had to extend to us. We shall certainly be keeping in touch. One great thing which I learnt while there was how to make a great Sweet & Sour sauce (pork) as their daughter-in-law is a delightful Chinese woman. She also cooked honey chicken wings & neither of the dishes was anything like what is served in a Chinese restaurant. Thank you LuMai.
We had decided to spend that night at Molesworth (been there before) then head down to Croydon Hills to catch up with best friend’s son whom we have not seen since Bundaberg about 15 years ago.
We took a different route back up to Seymour by leaving Bacchus Marsh then up through the hills to Kilmore.

The properties through here certainly look very prosperous. The size of some of the horse studs, & the up keep must cost a fortune. Fortunately the weather was good with full shine most of the day. Back in Seymour we filled up with fuel then headed east towards Yea & Molesworth.

Jut another hedge.

Unfortunately I cannot remember in which town that “The antique Centre of Victoria’ was situated.

The trees are covered in new fluffy growth after the fires. Once again a tiny town with beautiful buildings, but with the van behind it was not easy to find a park & was getting a little late.

The rolling hills around here are so green, with very large herds of cattle and sheep, with an occasional llama minding the sheep.
We crossed the Hume highway before Seymour.

The Molesworth recreation grounds have a lot of permanents with only 2 powered sited for tourists. There was no TV reception and very limited mobile. It is situated on the banks of the Goulburn river.

ballarat, ararat, seymour vietnam vets memorial, kilmore.


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One Comment
  1. Good to see you are having a lovely time. we are at Carrum Downs at the moment for about a week or so, then heading to Traralgon, then onwards to Gippsland, Cold Cold at the moment !!!!!!!!!! deciding to live in the tropics after this

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