Road trip adventure!


I love to explore. This weekend had both the Newstead short story and Clunes book fair on so we made our way to those parts. In-between book buying, reading, listening to stories and eating cake with friends we went driving and walking and photo taking. The weather was spectacular, the autumn sun was very generous. Kidlet and I did drawing in my new sketch book ( Which I will post later ) – she drew a naughty woman who cut the hill in half and had a fanny on her head.

^ babe ^




We decided to stay the night in a motel, all sleeping in the same room. We haven’t done that in long time so it was really fun. It also meant we could go to the fire stories and stay for the whole event. I didn’t know how long we would last, but we managed to stay AND I managed to toast some marshmallows for us to enjoy.



The stories and music were great, kidlet danced and danced. I especially enjoyed the reading by Kirsten Krauth and Joe Dolce’s music and stories.



^ Photos by Gene! ^

The next morning we were greeted by a cup of tea in the warm sun, bird prints all over our car and chats with Lin while the horse next door trotted proudly about. We didn’t stick around, opting to take back roads from Newstead through Moolort to Clunes, so I could take some pictures.




^ Kidlet took this! ^

We came across and old bridge and pulled over so I could take some snaps. I took the wrong lens but found it to be so beautiful I had to get the other two to join me.


This is the McLennan Bridge – you can read about it here.






It is so beautiful.

Eventually we made to to Clunes and ate bagels in the sun. It was quite busy by the time we had arrived. I’ve never seen Clunes like that! We looked at some books and popped into see a few things. We got to see Tai Snaith and Nicholas Jones in action. Which was pretty special as I was just reading Tai’s latest book to kidlet just recently.


After that we though that maybe we should go home as we were running out of steam.
How awesome is Victoria!

First of the first


First layer completed!
I’m wrecked now but in a really happy way. This is the first oil painting I have started in almost a year.

I had forgotten how wonderful it is to work in oil paint. Though both my drawing and painting tend to be figurative, I do find that they are both very different and to now have both back in my life is a huge relief.


Hello, sun


The sun is out today – dizzying and dazzling us. We kicked the ball about and kidlet collapsed with laughter more than once. It amazes me how things can be timeless, repeatedly bringing joy to each childhood – like kicking balls, blowing bubbles and cardboard boxes.

The birds were out and in the distance we could hear the sheep – the ones we frightened the other day.


We read books and I played twinkle, twinkle on the ukelele while kidlet sung it. SO CUTE. The tips of my fingers are way sore but it was totally worth it.


We took out gumboots off and walked about on the soft, damp grass then onto the warm, flat brick and wooowowow – it is one of those days where you feel so bloody happy to be alive.

I am now cooking split pea soup with winter veggies – turnip! I can’t wait to eat it but it won’t be ready for a few hours. So then I really have no excuse not to finish the new drawing that I am doing.



I like to explore and visit places – especially ones rich in history. I heard about Aradale through a pamphlet “Ghost tours – Lunatic asylum” – complete with salacious language and spooky font. But I wasn’t really interested in a sleep over with people I don’t know. Even the very thought of that makes me anxious, however I looked it up online and saw that there were day time tours too.

The website is here: Aradale Tour Information


We learnt about people like self mutilator Garry Webb ( interesting write up about his case here: Garry Webb Discussion )
He had cut off his own penis three times – it was really interesting what the guide told us, but a bit disconcerting how many people from the tour group mumbled how it was “good” he killed himself and “he should have done it earlier” and when the guide told us his girlfriend killed herself not too long ago, the same reaction.


The nurses quarters were interesting too – it was an opportunity for the local girls. However they had to live on the site for their three year training and had curfews.

Isolation rooms, women’s hospital.

Room, women’s hospital.

The women’s hospital was sad – isolation rooms for when they were ‘distressed’. The paint colour and details in the window shutters reminded me of quaint little towns I had visited in Germany.


Kitchen, butchers.

Feeding chart.

TC1 – Training Client 1, were the people who had just arrived to the asylum. The guide told us that 15 ( ward 15 ) required soft food, as they had no teeth.

Main Dining Hall.

I felt this space to be reminiscent of a set from a Tim Burton film. It was so odd, the rest of the place was like a rabbit warren with tiny rooms. Then you came out to here and it was just huge, a wide open space that overwhelmed and dazzled.


Bell at main entrance.

At this point the guide was talking about women being committed who were suffering post natal depression. I wandered off to photograph other things and didn’t really listen as I still find that stuff very difficult to listen too. Apparently he had said that some of them never came out again.


The men’s quarters was more run down, it had been vandalised. It was a little bit more eerie at this point.



The morgue wasn’t as disturbing as some I had seen, a few people hopped up onto the tray. If you look online there’s a number of people posing on it – each to their own, I guess!


I really enjoyed the two hour tour, the guides were informative and very funny. I’m still reading up on history about this place and I wasn’t as affected by the space as I thought I may have been.