Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Clunes, the town that time forgot

Today Bucko and I went for a drive to the town of Clunes, 25kms NW of Ballarat, Victoria.  On a previous trip to the country, we had briefly stopped in Clunes to take  photos of one of the town’s old bluestone churches; that was all the time we needed to make the decision to return.

In the days of the 1850s Victorian Gold Rush, Clunes was the first town with bankable amounts of gold in Victoria.  The National Trust have listed Clunes as Australia's most original 19th Century town, with more than 50 buildings of historical significance.  

As it turns out Clunes is a hidden gem! The main thoroughfare by-passes the actual town by one block.  The information centre, as usual was a our first port of call – not that we could find anything there – it was closed and only opens Thursdays and Weekends!! Anyway, we were not daunted, we (I) was on a mission to photograph another gorgeous bluestone church (St Pauls), that we had glimpsed on our previous visit.  (to view St Pauls in more detail,  click on our other Blog at left - Churches along the Wallaby Track ).

After photographing St Pauls we followed a sign directing visitors to the historical section of town. WOW! As Paul and I drove down to the main street, a few old shops came into view, including a butcher. IMG_3360   IMG_3362IMG_3361

Directly facing us across the road, on opposite corners of the main street, are two old corrugated iron garages, one still being used for repairing cars.  An old Europa (I think it was?), Pegasus sign still sits up on the edge of the garage roof, (click on the photo to zoom in for the Pegasus), and the words of an old Shell sign are faintly visible above the garage doors. IMG_3357  IMG_3355

Turning left into the broad main street we both gasped; we would not have been surprised if a woman with a long dress and parasol came strolling down the street!  Clunes is often used as a film and television set and it is easy to see why.   Old shops, wide veranda covered footpaths, with the signs of the original owners i.e. Bootmaker, Hairdresser etc still painted on the windows and above the doorways.   The gutters in the street are a deep and wide, and are made of cobblestone, like many in the town of Ballart and surrounding villages.

However, the strangest part of being in Clunes is, most of the shops are only open for a few days each week; either Wednesday to Saturday, Thursday to Sunday or Sunday only!  When we were there the few shops that were open, and doing a good trade included a Bakery/Tearoom, Ice-cream/Coffee Parlour, Bookshop, Pharmacy/Post office, Greengrocer and the Garage.  The local IGA(grocery store) was also closed.  Paul and I like to support local businesses, so we had our lunch at the Bakery/Tearooms, then strolled along the street. 

IMG_3384Clunes has a small park, with a path up to the old Post Office and Town Hall  on the by pass road,  which now proudly displays a new and  modern, timber and galvanised steel Bandstand with a seating area; IMG_3386 flash looking corrugated iron loos (toilets), and a new two plate BBQ; all courtesy of Kevin and the recent stimulus package!

On a wall of an old building, along the pathway to the park, is a painted information sign, yippee!!  I was able to identify three more churches in the town as well as another old State School.  Off we went again, up the hill to find the North Clunes State School 1875, still  in use today.  The South Clunes State School is now the Clunes Information Centre, and a Bottle Museum. (to view Victorian State Schools in more detail,  click on our other Blog at left – Schools along the Wallaby Track ).

If you are interested in viewing and/or reading about some of Clunes churches and Schools, why not go to our other Blogs.  Click on the links in this postings or the links in the Canzaus Kids other Blogs section to the left.

To view an album click on View Full Album link below.  To view single photos in more details, just click on them.  - Enjoy

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