03 November, 2013

Country Towns 8: Chum Creek

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Chum Creek - 27 October to 1 November 2013

Our four night stay from Monday 27 October to Friday 1 November 2013 was at Chum Creek which is about 4 km from Healesville. We were most impressed with the décor and the facilities of The Pines Cottage (TPC), which was probably built in the 1940s. The owners have modernized the interior and have given a lot of thought to what visitors require for a comfortable stay. In a nutshell TPC is a stay away from home. Past experience of renting holiday cottages is that there is always something that can be improved on. This was not the case at TPC. 

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As is usually the case when we go away for four nights, we go out for entertainment and a lunch on two separate occasions and for the remainder of the time we listen to music, watch dvds, and engage in our interests: I spent a fair amount of time mastering some of the workings of my Nexus 7 tablet, while Patsy was content to get on top of what she calls office work. For entertainment we visited the TarraWarra Museum of Art, and had lunch at the De Bortoli vineyard.

De Bortoli restaurant was a bit of a disappointment in that, in spite of our making an early reservation, we were located with another couple in a room adjacent to the restaurant. A room which was devoid of atmosphere and, what is worse, from where I sat I could not avoid being distracted by having to look into a room where two members of staff were assisting a photographer to photograph a variety of wine bottles. The meal and wine was OK but nothing to rave about. A glance to my right allowed me the consolation of admiring the vineyard.That incident was definitely not worth the high dollar we paid for the meal.

Should we in future be ushered into a side room at another restaurant in the Yarra Valley then I will let the host know why we will not be staying for a meal.

In our short experience of the Yarra Valley restaurants attached to vineyards, we can recommend the restaurants at the Shantell and Bella Vedere vineyards. To be fair to De Bortoli, on a previous occasion we enjoyed a tasting of wine and cheese.

Patsy and I are not really into driving from vineyard to vineyard with the sole purpose of tasting wines and stocking up with bottles. We lack the knowledge and experience required to select a superior wine. Be that as it may we have the ability to pick out a wine which satisfies our taste buds. Our experience at the Medhurst vineyard exemplifies our style. Prior to lunch one day, we visited the small cafe at the Medhurst winery where we tasted some wines, made a purchase of six bottles,  and then we each enjoyed a glass of wine that we had tasted as we proceeded to share a platter of a variety of meats and cheeses. Of the many times we have stayed near vineyards, that was the only occasion we bought wine.We have no intention to arrive home with a boot full of wine, as it is more economical to buy wine at a local wine emporium.   

For our Mini Festival of Films we watched Performance, Before Sunset and 7 Psychopaths

I happily agreed to one task delegated to me by Shelly the owner of TPC - feed the chooks and the birds. For this task we were rewarded each day with two eggs which in turn provided for two meals of boiled eggs, and eggs and bacon.

I enjoyed photographing the birds; a galah, crimson rosella, and king parrots. A mild invasion of cockatoos saw them take over the bird seed container, and after that they pecked away at the left-over seed of the chooks.

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Towards the end of each day we were entertained by several bunnies which emerged from the bushes onto the backyard lawn where they hopped around and munched away at the grass.

There are currently two exhibitions at the TarraWarra Museum of Art:

 Rethinking Russelll Drysdale: Defining the Modern Australian Landscape; and

Future Memorials: Jonathan Jones, Tom Nicholson & Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy

Russell Drysdale

The TMA is the first exhibition to explore the outback work of Russell Drysdale (1912-1981) through the media of painting, photography, and drawing.

Russell Drysdale's paintings focus on the landscape of the desert regions of Australia, and the people who eke out an existence amidst harsh environmental conditions.

Among the paintings is a copy of a news report in the Sydney Morning Herald in which Drysdale and a reporter recorded the devastation caused by a drought in the Wentworth region in 1944. This drought was considered to be one of the worst in Australia's history. It was from this experience that Drysdale was inspired to paint the interior of Australia. Prior to this period, artists were more concerned with landscapes of the coastal and well grassed lands of Australia.

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Future Memorials

Having completed our viewing of the Rusell Drysdale paintings we drifted into the end room where a large window provides a stunning view of the surrounds (for many visitors the view and the window frame combine to create a work of art). In the foreground is the vineyard on the side of a hill above a valley. The valley, hills and mountains in the background are dotted with numerous trees and bushes and a series of paddocks; a mosaic of different colours of which shades of green are prominent.

Below the window is a pile of bricks arranged in an arc. The height of the pile of bricks, enough to build a chimney, rises up from the outer edge of the arc until they reach the wall just below the window. Attached to the black background of the high walls are large squares of white paper on which are written historic details of John Batman's claim to Melbourne, and that William Buckley, a convict who had lived with aboriginals on the Bellarine Peninsular for 30 years, had built Melbourne's first chimney for John Batman. The artist also recorded that, as a consequence of the founding of Melbourne, the Wurundjeri people were forced off their lands and compelled to live at Coranderrk. We were surprised to learn that it is from the TMA window that one looks out on part of the Coranderrk reserve. 

Patsy and I spent a lot of time reading the fascinating history of the founding of Melbourne and the impact it had on the aboriginal tribes.

This display was created by Tom Nicholson


The concept for a memorial to aborigines dispossessed by Batman's treaty was initiated by Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, a senior Wurundjeri elder, who came by chance across a buried brick at the Corranderrk cemetery, burial place for 300 Kulin nation people. Aunty Joy in collaboration with artists Tom Nicholson and Jonathan Jones intend to make more broadly known the history of Corranderrk, and they plan to build seven monuments along the old boundaries, using bricks that may (or may not) have been used to construct the original buildings on the reserve.

Upon leaving this room we entered a long narrow hallway. On display were bright yellow fluorescent tubes arranged in triangular patterns on the walls. The aim of the artist was to create an avenue of wattle which leads out onto panorama of the Corranderrk reserve. Towards the exit end of the hallway we stopped to look at a wooden parrying shield made by William Barak in 1897, and which features a distinctive carved diamond pattern; the same pattern as that of the yellow fluorescent lights in the hallway. The yellow lights refer to Barak's and his father's prediction of their own death for both stated that they would pass when the muyan (wattle) bloomed.

This display was created by Jonathan Jones, a Kamilarol / Wiradjuri man

Future Memorials ends on 9 February 2014

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