Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Gippsland Sojourn

The title above comes from an album on cassette released by the Briagolong Bush Band in the 1980s, but I'll use it here to refer to our recent trip to Lakes Entrance and other places in Gippsland.

We set off last Monday and spent the night with Helmy and Gavin in Maffra. Gavin looks good—among other things we talked about the plans for his eightieth birthday in January. Needless to say, Helmy had baked a cake, at which Doortje pointed her camera!

It was a coincidence that I'd been looking to buy an album by the folk/jazz/blues singer Margret RoadKnight, recorded in 1987 and now re-issued on CD, and discovered that she lives in Kalimna West on the outskirts of Lakes Entrance. On Tuesday when we got to Lakes, I phoned her and we went to visit. (To reminisce a bit, Doortje had seen her perform in Melbourne in the late 1960s and we saw her in Bairnsdale in about 1990 and have an autographed LP record from then).
Anyway, we now have a couple of autographed CDs as well, and had a nice chat with her at her rural property.

On Wednesday we drove to Marlo to see the Snowy River and the Cape Conran coastal park. Saw some great coastal scenery, some beaut birds including blue wrens, and Doortje fossicked on the beach, as is her wont.  We had lunch at the Marlo pub and watched a rainstorm, the only one for the day, pass by while we ate. It was windy on the beach, though.

Next day we went to Nyerimilang homestead, a National Trust site at Nungurner. In our Bairnsdale days, I spent time doing a painting course, and a couple of times we visited Nyerimilang to paint the scenery, which is magnificent. The homestead is on a cliff overlooking the lakes.
The homestead had many period artifacts on display, including this clock, which we were both impressed by.

We visited our friend, Marion Pearce, Doortje's long-time work colleague, at Sarsfield. Marion's husband, Jumbo, died in April, and now she, too, has been diagnosed with bowel cancer with complications. Despite the sadness involved, it was great to see the family again—three daughters, May, Michelle and Linda, were all there, and it was difficult to know which one was Marion! And of course, James, Marion's foster son we knew as a little tacker, very proudly showed us his bungalow, with lots of Holden posters and massive audiovisual system.

More by fluke than management, we stopped at the Bruthen market, where we met Perran's sister, Liz, and her two boys. The previous day, we called in to see Perran's Dad, Rob, at Metung, after having lunch at the Metung pub and being entertained by the pelicans on the wharf outside the window. Rob's newest enterprise is probably best described as computer-controlled woodworking, except that in his case the whole shebang is designed by him from scratch, from computer software to router machine and computerised product design.
We were incredibly pleased (and grateful) that Rob gave us an example of his work, this "funky fiddle dish" carved out of a single piece of camphor laurel and beautifully finished. He (as Sea Eagle Designs) now has them available in retail outlets such as in Yarragon, and we saw the local sea eagle continually circling while we enjoyed a cuppa.

Before we left Lakes, and went back to spend one more night with Helmy and Gavin, we visited Lake Tyers and walked on the sandhill and beach there. This photo shows the entrance and the work of the waves in eroding the headland.
On the way back to Maffra, we had lunch in Sale and called in to see Terry and Roger, very old friends at Longford, and met one of their grandkids. 

We were almost a week away, and I must say that, if we have to have localities without desert sand, the East Gippsland coast and hinterland is a part of the world I'm very fond of, with lots of good friends. 
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There's a set of photos from the trip at

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