A riot in Central Melbourne

9 10 2011

Presenting the riot of sights and colours that is the Queen Victoria Market in Central Melbourne – a perfect way to spend an lazy Sunday morning:

Queen Victoria Market brings a riot of colours to Central Melbourne.

Green and Red Apples.

Bell peppers.

Amarillos.

Oranges.

Some of the juiciest tomatoes I have seen.

Giant custard apples.

Pineapples.

More oranges.

Asparagus.

Love the variety at the deli outlets.

A tart - looks yummy!

Baguettes.

Something fishy.

Selection of cheese.

Pasta!

Rose wine.

Popular doughnut van.

Wigs.

Textiles.

At a toy stall.





The reward for stealing a horse – holding $0.25M in her hand?

5 10 2011

It was to our horror that we discovered that we had a horse thief amongst us, just as we tucking into the main course of the lunch we were having on the Main Street of an early but already thriving Ballarat. It was midway into the main course when a man dressed in a blue uniform and armed with a sword – a policeman I guess, stormed into the quiet dining room in which we were seated and read out charges of horse stealing and furious riding to Deenise, one of the bloggers with us.

Firing of guns on Main Street. Were they aiming at a horse thief furiously riding down Main Street?

Main street in the Ballarat of the 1850s - where we found out we had a horse thief in our ranks.

Bills stuck on a wall - no 'Wanted' sign and no sign of trouble.

The horsethief in happier times.

Oh dear! Charges were read in the dining room just as we started on our main course.

It wasn’t of course at all real – but part of the fun we had at Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill where we were transported into the heat of the mid 1800 gold rush on which the city was built. Sovereign Hill, referred to as an outdoor museum, is a recreation of Ballarat in its early years, where one can have a feel of what it was like in the days of the gold rush, as thousands of migrants descended on a an area where one of the most significant finds of gold at that time was discovered. It was also at Ballarat that the largest nugget at the time and the second largest ever, the massive 69 kg Welcome Nugget, was discovered by a group of miners in an underground mine in 1858 and this is re-enacted in a replica underground mine which can be visited at Sovereign Hill.

It was all part of the fun of being in Sovereign Hill - a reacreation of the gold rush town of Ballarat in the 1850s.

The find of the second largest gold nugget ever found is reenacted in the replica Red Hill underground mine which visitors can descend to for a feel of the conditions the underground miners faced.

Walking down Main Street gives a feel of the dusty wild, wild west like town, where one can stumble on soldiers, miners, and townsfolk dressed in the costumes of the day, as well as shop at shops that are decorated very much like what one expects of the shops of the day. It is also possible to take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the area – past buildings that would not have been out of place on the set of a wild west movie.

A scene from the wild, wild west.

The Post Office.

Soldiers marching down Main Street.

Horse drawn wagon rides are available.

The view from the wagon down to Red Hill Gully Creek.

The ouside of the replica underground mine.

A church.

Livestock can also be found to add a feel of what conditions were like.

Candles from a candle maing shop.

Soda bottles in a grocery shop.

One of the more interesting activities that are available is at Red Hill Gully Creek where one can pan for real gold amongst tents and shacks that would have resembled the area during the gold rush days. It was quite interesting to do it – not that I was any good – it was Deenise and Yiwei who did find a few bits of the shinny metal. We also had the opportunity to dress up in costumes resembling the dressing of the period and have our photo taken – which was quite a blast.

Panning for gold at Red Hill Gully Creek.

An oldtimer demonstrating the technique.

The inside of a Chinese miners tent - Chinese made up a substantial portion of the miners' population then.

A replica Chinese temple.

The tent city.

The highlight of the visit was probably the gold pour for me. It was where we could watch 3 kg of gold being melted over a furnace and poured in light of the orange glow of the molten metal into a mould and cooled down – and after everyone had left, we had the opportunity to have a feel of that 3 kg of pure gold – worth close to a quarter of a million Singapore dollars! And for half a minute – I felt rich!

The glow of molten gold during the gold pour.

A quarter of a million in gold in the hands of the horse thief.


Australia’s foremost outdoor museum – Sovereign Hill recreates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851 when thousands of international fortune-hunters rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of riches. By day, Sovereign Hill is where Australia’s history comes to life – from the hustle and bustle of Main Street where costumed ladies and gents parade their new-found wealth, to the excitement of the Red Hill Gully Diggings where you can pan for REAL gold.

Sovereign Hill
Bradshaw Street
Ballarat VIC 3350
Tel: (03) 5337 1100
Fax: (03) 5331 1528
www.sovereignhill.com.au


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.






And she sang, as we sat and waited til’ our billy boiled, putting a damper on the fire

5 10 2011

After two wonderful days in which I was able to develop a deeper appreciation of what Melbourne has to offer and experience an activity packed excursion to Phillip Island, I wasn’t sure if my choice of the third and final day’s activity, an excursion to Ballarat, was going to be a wise one, as I really wanted to have the chance to have a better feel of the city especially having heard about how much more Melbourne has on offer. I wasn’t to be disappointed though – as not only did it give me the chance to see (and feel) some of the well known creatures of the Australian Bush at the Ballarat Wildlife Park, but also take a step back in time to a world that existed in the mid-1800s in and around Ballarat.

The third day involved a visit to Ballarat Wildlife Park.

The blue skies we woke up to that morning may have been seen as a sign of good things to come, but then, the grey skies of the two previous mornings were not really an indication of the fun filled days we were to have. The skies were indeed blue – brilliantly so, so much so that they deserve mention. The ride of a little more than an hour was fairly pleasant, taking us past the apple and pear orchards of Bacchaus Marsh along the way, and it wasn’t too long before Tony Poletto of Tourism Victoria pointed a sign welcoming us to Ballarat out close to where we passed a medieval castle – Kryal Castle that’s probably worth a visit on my next visit to the area.

The road near Bacchaus Marsh - an area where apple and pear orchards can be found.

Kyral castle - a replica medieval castle on the road close to Ballarat.

At Ballarat Wildlife Park, we were welcomed by a curator Julia Leonard, who made a short introduction and led us to a cabin in the park where she had a little treat in store for us, right under the shade of what might have been a coolibah tree at the front of the cabin. Borrowing from the lyrics of that famous song Australian song Waltzing Matilda, it was there where Julia sang as we watched and waited til’ her billy boiled. What was boiling in the billy, was the famous billy tea – tea brewed in a billy, a tin can, suspended over a fire and flavoured by the addition of eucalyptus leaves, that was supposed to be swung around a few times to sink the leaves to the bottom of the can. Over the fire, we were also able to try our hand at baking damper – a traditional scone like soda bread prepared in the outback made of flour, water and baking soda, at the end of a stick. It was a good thing that there was pre-prepared damper waiting for us in the cabin, as I promptly got mine burnt. There was an assortment of condiments such as butter, jam and golden syrup and even vegemite that we could spread on the damper – much like a scone. I like it – as I did the strong eucalyptus tea that Julia poured out for us.

The cabin we had the damper and billy tea in.

Deenise Yang and Huang Kee Hong baking the damper, as Julia looks on.

The billy (it should really not have a spout!) and our damper being burnt.

Loved the aroma that reached my nose as the billy tea was being poured.

The pre-prepared damper with a selection of condiments which included vegemite!

After that very interesting experience, it was time to wander around the park with Julia. We were first able to feed some very tame kangaroos – ones from Kangaroo Island where there are no predators. It was quite a treat to get up close and personal with them – and have them eat out of my hand – as it was a treat to see two joeys in their mother’s pouches.

One of two very tame Kangaroo Island kangaroos we saw with joeys in their pouches.

Another joey in its mother's pouch.

The mother and her joey.

Other treats were in store for us – I stared right into the eyes of an emu, looked at the sharp and long fangs of the Tasmanian devil (the first time I had actually seen the famous Tassie devils), patted Koalas, including a baby Koala (one of the few places you can pat a Koala) and said hello to Patrick the wombat, as well as saw a host of reptiles including snakes. I enjoyed meeting Patrick in particular – wombats are a lot bigger than I imagined them to be – an adult wombat can weigh as much as 40 kg, but they did not look any less adorable than the cute soft toy replicas we often see being sold.

Staring into the eyes of an emu.

Close up of the feathers of an emu.

A koala at the wildlife park. The wildlife park allows koalas to be petted.

An adorable baby koala peeking through the fur ball that is its mother.

Patrick the orphan wombat, who weights 32 kg. A full sized adult can weigh as much as 40 kg.

Cute and adorable, but they do bite!

A poison gas breathing tortoise? A giant tortoise - the ray of light is a reflection off the glass panel.

Not a two-headed snake - but two rattlesnakes colied up together.

A lizard on a tree.

Going in for the kill! Lab mice being fed to a Tassie devil.

A Tassie devil baring its fangs.

The short visit to the wildlife park was one that I thoroughly enjoyed, not just for the unique experience of billy tea and damper but also for the opportunity it provided for me to see many of the iconic creatures of of Australian outback really up close and in the case of the koala and kangaroos – to pet them – something I am sure would appeal to visitors with children. For the four of us – the experience probably made us feel like kids once again – and I was certainly thankful for that. Next stop on the third day was Sovereign Hill – to hunt for gold, but more importantly to also stop for lunch.


Ballarat Wildlife Park is set in 116 hectares of beautiful peppermint gum woodland and is dedicated to the care and appreciation of Australian wildlife in its natural surroundings. Proprietor Greg Parker uses his considerable breeding expertise to develop an array of Australian fauna such as wombats, Tasmanian devils, goannas, crocodiles, birds and koalas. It’s a favourite with all visitors.

Ballarat Wildlife Park
Cnr Fussell & York Streets
Ballarat VIC 3350
Tel: (03) 5333 5933
www.wildlifepark.com.au


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.






Flying on the new Star to Melbourne

4 10 2011

Together with nine other bloggers, I was jetted comfortably and efficiently on a new star to Melbourne – Jetstar that is (one of the very kind sponsors of the trip). While I would have, prior my recent experience, probably not have given thought to flying on a low cost carrier on what is a long-haul route, Jetstar’s long haul services would now be one that comes first to mind in considering the choices on routes served by the carrier. The Singapore-Melbourne route is a relatively new one, having been launched in December 2010, and is served by two of Jetstar’s widebody Airbus A330-200s on a daily service to and from Melbourne. This adds a choice of a no frills, low-cost, pay only for what you need alternative to full fare carriers serving the route.

Jetstar's Singapore to Melbourne service was launched in December 2010.

Boarding the plane was an efficient and no fuss experience, and making my way down the aisle, I soon found my seat and sank straight into it – having had a long day trying to get some errands done and packing for the trip. The seats were comfortable – and I had no complaints at all with the leg room on the standard seats – the neatly arranged cabin and the comfortable leather seats providing a clean, fresh and uncluttered feel to the cabin. Based on information on Jetstar’s website, the seating in the economy class cabins of the A330s, which are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, are pitched at 31 inches apart and at 17.5 inches wide, are comparable to similar non-budget airline seating arrangements.

Jetstar inaugural A330 service from Changi Airport (source: Jetstar's YouTube channel).

Again with little fuss, a short pre-flight safety demo by the cabin crew was provided prior to take-off, and we were soon airborne, with the cabin attendants distributing comfort packs – packs which included a synthetic fleece blanket and a zipped case (which can be re-used as a neat pencil case) with a very necessary set of ear plugs, an inflatable neck pillow, eye shades, a toothbrush and toothpaste – pretty useful items for the long journey – the toothbrush especially! These can be pre-booked with the flight (it was included in the ticket that Jetstar kindly arranged for us) or can be purchased on board. Also available on the flight as part of the in-flight entertainment service are Video-on-Demand (VOD) units which can be hired. Again, these can be pre-arranged or hired during the flight. Included with the VOD units are earphones which the passenger can keep – an adapter allows the earphones to be used for flights with other airlines as well. The VOD units provide a selection of the latest movie releases, TV programs, music videos and audio tracks – more than sufficient to keep one entertained on a long flight. I managed to catch an interesting Japanese movie, Rebirth, on the VOD unit either side of dinner that was served before catching some needed shut-eye the flight seemed to lull me into.

Video on demand units can be hired offering latest movie releases, TV programs, music videos and audio tracks.

Meals (along with snacks and beverages) which are also available for purchase on board or pre-booked as ours was, came nice and hot – the small portions perhaps adequate for some – may not be to the liking of those with a big appetite – but that does help to reduce waste as once again – one pays only for what one intends to eat. On the journey to Melbourne, I found it hard to resist having the stir fried beef with noodles. That was, to my surprise, tasty without being too soggy – airline meals are sometimes drowned in too generous amount of sauce or gravy. Also pre-arranged with the ticket was breakfast at the end of the outbound flight, and lunch and dinner on the return flight.

My lunch on the return flight. A range of hot food, snacks and beverages can be pruchased on board or pre-purchased with the ticket.

Based on my experience with Jetstar in which the flight on the whole was comfortable and comparable with that of a full fare airline sans the frills of full fare airlines in which baggage allowances (baggage allowance according to one’s needs can be pre-arranged with the ticket on Jetstar), meals, in-flight entertainment, pillows and blankets, in some cases similar comfort packs, and one that I would definitely consider for my next holiday to Melbourne – especially when it allows me some additional pocket money on the trip!


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.






Rush hour on Summerland Beach

2 10 2011

Leaving A Maze’N Things, it looked like we might be in for a cold, wet and windy evening, as we headed towards what would be the evening’s rush hour on Summerland Beach – that of the daily frenzied (if you can call it that) procession of individuals in black and white suits back from their day in the office. The rush hour is one that is one that certainly isn’t a pain to be caught up in – that of the Little Penguins of Phillip Island, returning from their daily duties in the office that is the cold waters of the Bass Strait.

A detour en route to the rush hour on Summerland Beach - a drive by the Nobbies with the promise of stunning views of the rugged western coastline of Phillip Island facing the Bass Strait.

With a wee bit of time to spare before we need to make our way to catch Summerland’s evening crush; we were able to take a short detour to the wild, wild, west of Phillip Island. It is on the western tip of the island where we find the rugged geographical features known as the Nobbies that overlook the rough white waters of the Bass Strait breaking over the rocks that dot the coastline. The stunning views we were treated to standing on the high windswept cliffs that are the Nobbies that evening were made even more dramatic by the storm that appeared to be brewing – the precipitation in the atmosphere painted a spectacular rainbow that seemed to promise a lot more than a pot of gold. It wasn’t just stunning views of the coastline that we got as we made our way to the intended destination – the heads of several wild wallabies on their evening’s forage through the tussock grassland that surrounded us were very much in evidence.

The stunning geographical features of the south western coastline of Phillip Island known as the Nobbies.

The spectacular view of the white of waves breaking on rocks to the setting of the sun.

The Nobbies and the wind tossed tussock grassland on the high cliffs.

The breaking of waves over the rocks that dot the coastline.

The rainbow over the Bass Strait that the precipitation painted.

View of the coastline on the approach to Summerland Beach.

Sunset greeted our arrival to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade’s visitor centre, as did signs prominently displayed that reminded drivers to look below their parked cars for penguins when they were eventually prepared leave after getting their fills of the evening’s procession. We were soon armed with a cup of hot chocolate and an MP3 player – an audio guide included with the tickets for Penguin Plus that provides commentary with information on the penguins, their habitat and their habits, and ready to brave the stiff breeze that brought a chill to the boardwalk that led us to the beach.

Sunset greeted our arrival at the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre.

The grey of the incoming storm mixed with the fading light of sunset.

Signs reminding drivers to check under the car for penguins.

Several options are provided to allow visitors to get up close and personal with the penguins – Little Penguins that at 30 centimetres high are the smallest penguins in the world. Penguin Parade provides general viewing from tiered seating on stands by the beach. The option which we got – Penguin Plus, allows a more private viewing at an area where more penguins come up the beach – this is limited to 150 people each evening. More private viewing options are also available. The popularity of viewing penguins at Summerland Beach has increased substantially since the initial viewings were organised in the 1920s (now attracting over half a million visitors each year) – and steps were put in place to minimise human impact and damage to the habitat in the 1960s with fences and boardwalks constructed, which today boardwalks allow visitors to get close enough to the penguins to be able to observe them at arm’s length. Photography in any form, with or without the use of flash is not permitted to protect the penguins.

The procession of Penguins takes place every evening on Summerland Beach (photo courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks).

Getting up close allowed us to observe the habits of the penguins that waddled up in waves in the safety of numbers, with tummies full of the day’s harvest of fish that would be regurgitated to feed nestlings. Sensing danger the scout penguin pauses – preening with oil from glands to keep their feathers waterproof – the penguins in the parade behind the lead penguin doing the same. Despite the rain that came down as darkness fell and the stiff cold wind that blew across the beach and the boardwalk behind it, it was a wonderful experience getting that close to the adorable little creatures in their natural habitat – I had only previously come close penguins separated by the thick glass panel of the zoo enclosure.

The boardwalks allow visitors to get up close to the penguins without disturbing the penguins or their habitat (photo courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks).

To bring a wonderful day out on Phillip Island to a close, from Penguin Parade (after checking for penguins under the car), we made our way to Taylors Waterfront Restaurant where the scrumptious treat of a huge seafood platter that included oysters, lobsters, king prawns, mussels, octopus and calamari awaited. The restaurant is one that is situated on cliffs that overlook the Bass Strait and must provide spectacular views in the day time – the view that we got that evening was no less spectacular, with the full blast of the stiff wind from the sea sweeping over the cliffs driving the rain that was falling horizontally to the huge window panes as we dined to the sound of the weather cock spinning furiously on the roof. A couple of us – Pete and Valyn were crazy enough to brave the wind and the rain and take a walk around on the outside. The coffee and ice-cream that we finished with also brought to a close what was a long but thoroughly enjoyable day out on Phillip Island – a must visit for anyone visiting Melbourne.

Taylors Waterfront Restaurant by night.

The huge seafood platter was a wonderful treat!

The force of the wind coming from the sea over the cliffs blew the rain horizontally against the windows of the restaurant.

Two mad bloggers braving the wind and the rain outside Taylors - the cliff drop was just beyond the edge of the grass that you see.


Phillip Island Nature Park

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade, the star attraction of the Phillip Island Nature Park, has been delighting visitors for many years with little penguins making their way up Summerland Beach each night at sunset. Over 500,000 visitors make the Phillip Island Penguin Parade the third largest visited natural attraction in Australia.

Phillip Island Nature Park
Summerland Beach, Ventnor Road
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5951 2879
Fax: (03) 5956 8394
www.penguins.org.au


Taylors Waterfront Restaurant
5 Phillip Island Tourist Road
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5956 7371
Fax: (03) 5956 6540


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.






Delusion and illusion on Phillip Island

1 10 2011

A visit to Phillip Island provides one with the opportunity to live out one’s delusion, as well as have one’s mind stimulated (or confused) by some very smart optical illusions at a curious attraction, and this was just what we did after that lazy but refreshing after lunch stroll around the Phillip Island Heritage Farm. We first found ourselves at a Grand Prix Circuit – the Phillip Island Circuit, one that hosts a series of events each year which include a Superbike World Championship and the MotoGP and provides some rather spectacular views of the of the rolling hills in the area and of the Bass Straits that it faces. It is here that those of us with delusions of being a race car driver could imagine what it is like to be one by getting behind the wheel and racing down the circuit – well almost – it is on a 760 metre scale replica of the circuit in a Go-Kart.

The delusions and illusions offered by Phillip Island may have got to some of the bloggers.

That was just what four deluded bloggers did – Pete, I guess was the most deluded of us all – zipping down the track immediately out of the pit at a breakneck pace, lapping all of us at least twice in a ten-minute frenzy, completing nine laps. For the rest of us it was a little closer, Valyn, despite spinning out of control and hitting the tyre wall and Eric, both completed six laps and I completed seven.

A rainbow greeted us at the Phillip Island Circuit.

Tearing down the track - well almost.

Lap time print-out.

The next stop after getting a speed fix was where we stepped into a world where the mind finds it hard to comprehend what the eye sees. Stepping into the Illusion Rooms of A Maze’N Things – a curious but delightful attraction created by Mr. Geoff Moed, one’s perception of reality and what one sees is put to the test – nothing’s quite what you see here – Valyn for one looked a lot bigger than we thought she was and some of us looked like we flew. This was certainly one time that I thoroughly enjoyed being confused and one place that I would certainly be back to if I pass by the same way again. Besides the Illusion Rooms, A Maze’N Things offers visitors a chance to get lost in an outdoor maze with two kilometres of passageways (which takes an average visitor 45 minutes to complete) and several other activities. For more information on the Phillip Island Circuit and A Maze’N Things do visit the respective websites found in the information below.

It wasn't just Pete ... it seemed to get to Valyn too! Just what was she, and Pete in the first photograph doing? Scroll down to the last photograph on this post to find out.

A giant Valyn in the Shrinking Room (photo courtesy of Amaze'N Things).

Off the vertical? Han Weiding of omy.sg, Valyn and Pete.

A dainty dish?

Painted illusions.

The answer to what Pete and Valyn were up to - drinking from a magic floating tap.


Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

With a history of action on the track dating back to 1928, the Phillip Island Circuit offers visitors the chance to re-acquaint themselves with all aspects of motor racing, as well as get a glimpse of life on the island in times gone by. The island is hosts stages of the World Superbike Championship, the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and V8 Supercar Championship. When no races are being held, anyone can enjoy the thrill of go karts or hot laps in a HSV Holden.

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Back Beach Road
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5952 2710
Fax: (03) 5952 3160
www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au


A Maze’N Things

At A Maze’N Things you can marvel at the mental confusion of objects defying gravity, rooms flooding without getting wet, a huge magic tap floating in mid air, or giant people shrinking into tiny versions of their former selves.

A Maze’N Things
Cowes VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5952 2283
www.amazenthings.com.au


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.






Amess next to Phillip

29 09 2011

Crossing over a bridge over wetlands that line the eastern tip of Phillip Island to tiny Churchill Island, one is transported back in time to a delightful world that existed at the end of the 1800s. It is a place that is significantly from a historical perspective being the first place in Victoria where European settlers first began farming in the 1850’s. There exists today a working heritage farm – an ideal place to pause en route to the attractions of Phillip Island and perhaps grab a bite at.

Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a delightful place to stop by on the way to the other attractions of Phillip Island.

A family of Black Swans seen at the wetlands on Phillip Island on the way to Churchill Island.

The passage over the road bridge provides magnificent views of the wetlands on both sides. Once on Churchill Island, one is welcomed by the greenest of meadows where highland cattle (no kidding!) and sheep are seen grazing. The cattle and several game animals that included rabbits, quails and pheasants were introduced by a certain Samuel Amess to the island to “maintain fond memories of the land of his birth” – the land of his birth being Scotland. Amess was a very successful stonemason and builder who became the Mayor of Melbourne. In 1872, Amess purchased Churchill Island, building a homestead as a seaside holiday home as well as maintaining a farm on it. The house, Amess House, has since been conserved along with the farm and is well worth a visit.

A road bridge connects Churchill Island to Phillip Island.

Highland cattle were introduced to Churchill Island by Samuel Amess.

A lamb chasing after its mother on Churchill Island.

For us, the visit started with the all important food stop at the café (which uses organic produce from the farm) where I had a good plate of fish and chips and a good warm cup of hot chocolate. And, while waiting for food to be served, we ventured down to a scented patch of purple – a plot of lavender that danced in the wind. The meal and the wide opened spaces must have got to some of us. First Eric Lim was spotted chasing a goose around the well-manicured gardens adjoining the heritage farm and then Peter, hilariously attempted to confuse a chicken that he was one of the gang! Fortunately for the chicken and probably for us, he failed miserably and we could continue on our tour of the farm.

A plot of lavender on Churchill Island.

Fish and Chips I had for lunch.

Eric chasing a goose down one way.

The terrified goose.

And up the other way.

Pete doing a chicken dance.

Amess House, left in a condition that it might have been in when it was first occupied in 1872, provides a good idea of the comforts of an upper class home of the era. Based on information provided at the house, it was occupied by three generations of Amesses, Samuel and his son and grandson, before being sold, passing through four other hands before the Government of Victoria purchased it in 1973.

Inside Amess House.

A child's bedroom.

Around the house and several other heritage buildings, the farm, which looks very much like it could have been used as a set for Little House on the Prairie complete with not just animals but farming implements of the day, is arranged. Sheds at the far ends of the farmyard include a blacksmith’s workshop and a sheep shearing station and it is here, that visitors to the farm are able to watch a host of farming activities such as cow milking, blacksmithing, sheep shearing, and working dog demonstrations. The farms also hosts a collection of farm animals and visitors get to meet clydesdale horses, highland cattle, sheep, ducks, chickens … and even non-farm animals such as peacocks. It is also possible for visitors to take a short horse drawn wagon ride around the farm.

The Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a working farm with chickens and other livestock.

Sheep at the farm.

A peacock in the heritage gardens.

Buildings within the Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

Heritage farm buildings.

Heritage farm buildings.

Visitors are able to take a horse drawn wagon ride on the farm.

The blacksmith's shed.

Valyn wandering around the farmyard.

With all the activities that await one at the farm, a visit there will be a treat not just for the children, but for everyone else – it was certainly one for me, and judging by the smiles on the faces of the other bloggers – it must have been one for them as well. More information on Churchill Island Heritage Farm can be found on the Phillip Island website.


This is a repost of my post on the omy Colours of Melbourne 2011: My Melbourne Experience site. You can vote for your favourite blogger at the My Melbourne Experience voting page. Voting period is from 15 September 2011 to 5 October 2011 and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $3000 which include Jetstar travel vouchers and Crumpler limited edition laptop bags.









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