Our Summer Days Out

Our summer is much more mild than usual but this week we have had some nice days that made it very pleasant to be out and about.

Our first day out was to go for a drive down to the Morning Peninsula to Seawind Gardens and have a picnic lunch. We picked up a baguette and some cheese and then and headed to this property that is now a National Park and run by Parks Victoria. A large group from a local historic car club were meeting nearby, and had their cars parked in the carpark.

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This Cadillac Eldorado Coupe had a bonnet (hood) long enough to land a plane on. It could have doubled as an aircraft carrier.

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The car that most caught my eye was this 1932 Model T Ford Utility. I am told that my grandfather owned one of these for use in delivering orders from his grocery shop. As stories go, this car had an engine is as simple as an engine can possibly be. There was no oil pump – all lubrication happened by splashing the crank through the oil pan, drenching the moving parts with oil. There’s no water pump, either. Neither does it have a a fuel pump. It’s all gravity-fed from a tank under the seat to a simple carburettor with two adjustments – an idle stop and a mixture needle. Apparently my grandfather had to drive up steep hills in reverse so that fuel would continue to flow to the engine.

Yesterday, we had a nice historical surprise. Not knowing quite where to go for another afternoon out, we ended up following our nose to the town of Sunbury, about 35 kilometres NE of Melbourne. We had forgotten just how historic this place really is..

Just outside the town is an old homestead called ‘Emu Bottom’. It is the oldest existing farmhouse constructed by settlers in Victoria (1832) and so named because “it was on low lying ground and the haunt of numerous emus”.

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The main homestead and some of its outlying buildings were constructed from “local stone, dry coursed with creek mud”. It is a rare example of early Australian colonial architecture.

Nearby, we came across the old Rupertswood Property. We first came across this rather grand building, only to find out that it was only the gatehouse.

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The main house is one of the largest houses constructed in Victoria and, although now subdivided, still has significant farm land. The estate once had its own private railway station (until its closure in 2004), as well as its own artillery battery.  

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The house was completed in 1876 for Sir William Clarke a land owner and pastoralist who was one of early Australia’s wealthiest men. Throughout its life, the building has several owners. In 1927 it was bought by the Roman Catholic Salesian Society, which used the mansion and surrounding property as a boarding school for boys. The school later became co-educational, relocated into separate premises nearby, and is now known as Salesian College, Rupertswood.

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Rupertwood has a couple of fine ovals and is home to the Rupertswood Cricket Club. It is famous as the home of ‘The Ashes’. Most Australians will know this as the name of the regular Test cricket series played between England and Australia.

The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s 1882 cricket victory at The Oval, its first Test win on English soil. It was previously unheard of for  a colonial team to win against the home country of the game. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia” 

After England won two of the three Test Matches in a later tour of Australia, a small urn was presented to the English Captain by a group of Melbourne women. It contained the ashes of a wooden bail, or perhaps a woman’s scarf, and were humorously described as “the ashes of Australian cricket”. It is still the trophy that both teams aspire to win when they play each other.

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By the way, I have been developing a new website called Grumpybums Photo Gallery. I have over 80,000 photos in my collection and have decided that rather than have them just sit on a disk on my computer, I should share them more widely. I invite you to have a look at this new site. If you like what you see, you might consider subscribing to it and I’ll regularly send you an album of curated photos, all on a different theme.

Click here to have a look at it.

 

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