Rippon Lea Visit
A group of enthusiastic members and partners visited Rippon Lea on 12th September.
We were split into two groups and shown the inside of the mansion by very knowledgeable tour guides.
Rippon Lea was originally built in1868 for Frederick Sargood, who made his money selling soft goods on the goldfields. The property was a large self-sufficient farm, about twice the size it is now. Originally the mansion had 15 rooms; currently it has 33 rooms. Sargood moved in with his first wife and their nine surviving children.
There were 7 maids, a butler, 7 gardeners, a coachman and groom. Sargood was a typical man of the Victorian Age – visionary and practical. This resulted in an elaborate underground watering system being installed and the house having its own electricity supply. Unusually for its time, the house had internal toilets. Sargood was a keen gardener who was particularly interested in orchids and ferns. A large number of plants were imported.
When Sargood’s first wife Marion died giving birth to their 12th child in 1878, he returned to England. In 1882, he returned to Rippon Lea with his second wife. The mansion was extended with a second floor at the rear of the building, as well as the tower being built.
Sargood was knighted in 1890 and his business continued to prosper with the mansion continuing to be renovated and developed until his death in 1902.
Rippon Lea was sold having several owners before it eventually being bequeathed as “A Gift to the Nation” in 1972 when on its owner Mrs Louisa Jones’ death, passed to the National Trust as owner.
After the tour, some of our group walked through and enjoyed the extensive gardens. Some of us then enjoyed a relaxing lunch at a local café.
Overall, the outing was a very enjoyable experience. Thank you to Bruce Wilson for his choice of venue and his organisation of the outing.
Maldon Self Drive Trip
Twenty four of our members and their partners had a wonderful time last week on our self drive trip to Maldon and Castlemaine. This type of trip gave us the luxury of being together as a group as well as some independence while travelling. It’s a good combination.
Our trip began when we met for lunch at Malmesbury. The local bakery sold good pies and sandwiches which we ate in the nearby botanical Gardens.
We had a quick look at the fascinating Malmesbury viaduct which was built in the 1880s and is still in use today before moving on to Castlemaine where we spent some time on a self guided tour of the historic buildings in the town. Our day ended as we settled into our motel at Maldon and had dinner at the Kangaroo Hotel.
On our second day we had a relaxed morning with a walk around the town of Maldon and it’s goldfield era streetscapes. There was time to visit some local historic areas that related to mining before lunch in one of the town’s cafes. In the afternoon we rode on the goldfields railway – a steam powered train from Maldon to Castlemaine.
We had just enough time for a quick beer at the Railway Hotel before our chartered coach brought us back to Maldon. We had another sumptuous meal at the historic Kangaroo Hotel before returning to our motel.
On the final day of our trip we made our way home are individually following various routes through nearby goldfields towns
Day Trip to Phillip Island
Twenty Eight of our members and some guests had a wonderful day at Phillip Island on November 26. After a comfortable drive in our chartered coach we spent most of the morning looking at the artefacts and memorabilia at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum. The museum cafe put on a delicious lunch which we all enjoyed.
In the afternoon, we moved on to the Antarctic Experience at the Nobbies Centre and learned a lot about wildlife in the frozen continent. It was especially interesting to be able to see us on an ‘artificial reality’ screen in the company of killer whales and penguins. This was the last of our three trips that was subsidised by a grant from the Boorondara Council.
Three Day Benalla Self Drive Trip
National Aviation Museum, Moorabbin
Our Members set out from Box Hill after car pooling and enjoyed a ninety minutes conducted tour of the Museum, both undercover and outdoors. From vintages planes, including an alleged petrol tank from the Red Baron’s aircraft shot down in April, 1918, to a range of RAAF fighters, bombers and helicopters, domestic airlines, together with a wide range of single engine aircraft, gliders and engines, conventional to jet.
An interesting display and commentary from our Volunteer guide. Lunch followed at the local RSL Club before heading for home.
Friday 27 April saw 20 Club members, one Guest and one spouse, at the North Balwyn Bowls Club. Nineteen played and three attended for lunch. There was a brief introduction on how to play Bowls and then the Group split into 6 teams of three and three competitive matches took place.
Prior to the Bowls about 14 members visited the Men’s Shed that had been opened especially for our Club. It was explained to us how the Shed came into existence and how it operates. We inspected the comprehensively equipped Shed.
North Balwyn Bowls Club was most supportive providing us all with a set of bowls each and a coach. The Bowls was followed by a pre-lunch drink and an ample BBQ lunch again with a beer, red or two.
Puckapunyal Tank Museum Outing
A most enjoyable day trip was had by all on Friday April 20th when we visited the Puckapunyal Tank museum, courtesy of last year’s Boroondara Council Grant.
Our departure at 9.00 am from the Aquatic Centre was followed by a most enjoyable coffee and cake break at a ‘truckies stop’ just past the Kilmore turnoff. It’s amazing just how busy these places are and the fact that they operate 24/7.
Having arrived at Puckapunyal at around 11.30am, and after all the ‘red tape’ as regards identification was satisfied we parked and then wandered through the Museum.
Situated at Hopkins Barracks the Museum preserves and exhibits a range of artefacts and memorabilia promoting the history of Australian cavalry units from the early days of the Light Horse to the present day technology of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps.
Australia’s cavalry and armoured forces fought in all the key conflicts of the 20th century including the Boer War, World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, and peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Rwanda.
It is a little unnerving when you look at the size of some of these tanks and pause to consider what it must have been like to see one of these machines bearing down on you or alternatively what it must have been like to have been a crew member and being confined inside one of them.
At the end, a short drive followed into Seymour we enjoyed a very pleasant lunch at the Seymour Club before beginning our trip back home via the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Walk.
This Walk is a meandering red earth path set in native trees and grasses that resemble rubber trees and rice paddies which are synonymous with Vietnam. The centre piece of this Walk is the wall, made up of panels of Digi Glass with the name of every Serviceman and Woman who served, in their various capacities in that conflict. The names are separated only by the Service in which they served and are in alphabetical order.
A good trip followed back down the Hume Highway and, as always, it is always surprising to see the number of transports vehicles of all sizes making their way out of Melbourne for their overnight trek up the Highway.
Visit to Vincent Van Gogh Exhibition At the NGV
This was a chance in a lifetime to see 40 Van Gogh paintings in one place. Our outing was fully subscribed and our 20 participants enjoyed an excellent guided tour provided by Mary Hoffman, one of the Gallery’s volunteers. She covered in considerable detail the various techniques and painting styles in the pictures together with the key episodes in Van Gogh’s colourful life.
We were all issued with headphones which meant that we could catch every word, no matter our distance from Mary. We came away with a greatly enhanced understanding of this great artist.
The following pictures show us listening attentively.
Fire Services Museum Excursion
Fourteen of our members visited the Fire Services Museum on August 16. Although it was a rainy day, we enjoyed seeing some of the history of both the Melbourne Fire Brigade and the Country Fire Authority. The museum is located in the original Eastern Hill Fire Station and both the building itself and the many areas displaying equipment and memorabilia were very interesting. A delightful lunch followed at the Mr Told Cafe in Parliament Place.
Twenty eight members of the club and some guests enjoyed a day of fine weather and a wonderful environment on our recent trip to Daylesford. We began with a visit to the Convent Gallery which was a very beautiful old building. It was originally the home of the gold commissioner and had for many years housed a convent.
Some of the original Nun’s cells could be seen on the upper level of the building but we decided that they were a little too small for us. The gallery now houses some stunning pieces of art. A short but sharp walk took us up hill to the Wombat Hill Cafe in the centre of the Daylesford Botanic Gardens where we enjoyed a free glass of bubbly and a tasty lunch.
After lunch, the hardy members of the group walked down to the Main Street of the town whilst those who were less energetic enjoyed the scenery of the Botanic Gardens.
Shrine of Remembrance
Just before Anzac day, twenty two of our members visited the Shrine of Remembrance. We began by looking over the new galleries that have j
ust been opened underneath the main building. They contain a wonderful set of displays, photos and memorabilia about Victorian people’s involvement in war
from the Crimean War through to our current involvement in Afghanistan.
One of the highlights was to see one of the only two remaining life-boats in which the soldiers landed at Gallipoli. We then broke into small groups and had a guided tour of the Remembrance Areas of the Shrine which was led by one of the Shrine Guides.
We appreciated their extensive knowledge of the way in which the Shrine remembers those Victorians who have served in the many wars in which we have been involved. A delightful lunch at Cafe Alma followed our tour.
Spirit of Tasmania
Eleven hardy and brave members visited the Spirit of Tasmania on a very wet, cold and windy day as our May outing. After a warming cup of coffee and tea, we had a very interesting tour around the passenger areas of the ship including the dining area, lounge and other public areas available to passengers.
We inspected a number of different types of cabins as well as the seating areas of the ship. The general consensus was that this is quite a luxurious way to travel – especially in comparison to some of the older vessels that were used to create a sea-road between Melbourne and Tasmania. Lunch after the tour was at a comfortable cafe opposite the light-rail terminal and then it was back to braving the wet and cold weather as we headed home.
Cruise on the Maribyrnong and Lunch at the “Boathouse”
It was a fine sunny day when our party of 25 boarded the “Blackbird” which we had chartered for 3 hours. We chugged our way upriver from Saltriver Place near Dynon Bridge in Footscray to the point where the river becomes unnavigable below Avondale Heights. Along the way we were entertained by a fascinating commentary about the rich and varied history of the Maribyrnong. On the return journey we moored at the “Boathouse” owned by one of the judges from the MasterChef series where we enjoyed a good lunch from an unusually varied menu.
We all enjoyed an excellent day out.
Visit to Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi with lunch at RACV Inverloch
We recently enjoyed a visit to the Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi. This proved extremely popular so we hired a 12 seat minibus in addition to our normal 25 seat Rosa bus.
The RACV Resort at Inverloch proved a very good venue for lunch especially as most of our members had not previously been there previously.
Chateau Tahbilk Outing
Below are photos of club members enjoying an outing to Chateau Tahbilk Winery near Nagambie. We had a very good turnout for this “Goulburn River Excursion” centred on both the winery and its wetlands.
Perfect summer weather provided an excellent backdrop to a thoroughly enjoyable day as these photos attest.
The Royal Historical Society of Victoria and a Visit to the Australian Red Cross Exhibition
To some people, the name RHSV sounds like it might be an organisation of little current interest, maybe dry and dusty and boring. No way! As several members discovered when we went to their premises to our October outing.
We went there to see the ‘Red Cross in the Great War’ exhibition which was really interesting, but got more than we bargained for! An unexpected, personally guided, tour of the building which also houses a veritable treasure trove of historical documents, printed and hand-written, and photographs and journals.
The building itself was also of some significance, having itself been involved in our military history, having been built just prior to World War ll for the Australian Army Medical Corps.
And so it was ironic that this building should now be host to an exhibition of memorabilia from the archives of the Australian Red Cross and its activities during and after World War l. The Red Cross displays of photographs, the programs and publicity for fund-raising, and the photo record of activities was fascinating, even though it preceded our living memory!
Some of the photos recorded the people at home, others the nurses involved and others showed some of the occupational training of the returned servicemen to help equip them for places back in their community here. Needless to say we were again reminded of the enormous input of the Australian Red Cross in times of need, especially when we discovered it all began back in those turbulent times in 1914.
We enjoyed the hospitality of the RHSV, with a short talk and a ‘cuppa’ and a tour of their premises and, later, members had lunch at a nearby pub. Another beaut day out, even if not as well attended as we had expected. But it’s worth knowing that the resources of the RHSV are available for our private study and, if this is your interest, you can to drop in some time and they’ll be happy help you pursue your family history research problems.
An Introduction to Lawn Bowls
Our coach for the day made sure we understood, before we started, that the we are not throwing a ‘ball’.
“They are BOWLS”, John(Club Coach) said. “We bowl them, and they are not entirely round. “If you look carefully”, he said, “you will see they are shaped differently on one side”, and promptly demonstrated. Well, that was a revelation: it’s not a ball! OK, but then how do you tell which side is what? Ah, I see, there’s a little yellow dot, on the side with the smallest circle, on these practice bowls, and that’s the side that gives you ‘bias’, and you absolutely must learn this! And here’s me thinking I am completely unbiased! It soon became apparent that almost all of us were novices with a lot to learn about this game! By the way, ‘Jack’ (or is that ‘Kitty’?) is the little white ball to aim for, and he/she/it is totally unbiased.
The coach explained some of those terms, like: ‘Bias’, ‘Weight’ (not mine!), ‘Draw’, ‘Forehand’, ‘Backhand’ (I wasn’t game to try that!), ‘Wide’, and some others I can’t remember, yet. We were shown how to place the ‘Mat’ and the best foot placement and how to make a ‘Delivery’. The weather was almost perfect, not too hot, and just enough of a breeze to blame when the length, or bias, or draw, whatever, caused the bowl to deviate from my carefully aimed trajectory.
After a few practice bowls, eighteen of us were carefully/randomly sorted into teams And were given titles like: ‘Skip’, ‘Lead’, ‘Second’, ‘Third’, etc. and had the sequence of play explained. And the fun began!
I think all of us could see a dramatic improvement after a few ‘Ends’, and we reckoned we had this game licked, “Nothing to it”, I heard several times. Strangely, we all discovered that our newly acquired skills evaporated at the next bowl, and being consistent was not so easy! The coach explained that the ‘play’ was dependent upon many factors, including the type and state of the playing surface (the green), the weather, the player and the style (and I reckon, the standard of the other players!).
I was pleasantly surprised at how much walking is involved and what a pleasant exercise routine it is. We all had a ball, woops, a great bowl, and afterwards went off to a pleasant lunch when we were able to skite about our new skills.
I hope we have another one of these adventures next year. Thank you especially to Colin Hamley together with Val who added her talents to the coaching by other Bowls club members on the day, and to Charles Povey, who got the ‘bowl’ rolling. Members who couldn’t make it to this day, won’t want to miss the next one!
By the way, the President of the Greythorn Bowling Club extended the welcome to any of us to front up between 4 and 7pm on Monday, Thursday or Friday for more lessons, or just a chat to discover the delights of their fantastic clubrooms, complete with a dining room and a fully equipped kitchen and a Bar!