Sunday, 28 August 2011

White plum tree

It is the white Plum Tree
Seven days fair
As a bride goes combing
Her joy of hair.

As a peacock dowered
with golden eyes
Ten paces over
The Orange lies.

It is the white Plum Tree
Her passion tells
As a young maid rustling,
She so excels.

The birds run outward
The birds are low.
Whispering in manna
The sweethearts go.

It is the white Plum Tree
Seven days fair
As a bride goes combing
Her joy of hair.

John Shaw Neilson

Spring blossom makes me want to sing and chant all those lovely poems I learnt as a child.
John Shaw Neilson's poems are very singable. He's one of my favourite poets, a local Victorian, always a poor man - often working on the roads. His poems seem simple but grow richer and stranger as you reread them


Sunday, 21 August 2011


Daffodils early in the morning

And daffodils late in the afternoon.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Steam train joy

Steam Rail Victoria, a group of volunteer steam train enthusiasts, brought a couple of trains up to Ballarat again this weekend.

I love steam trains, and am fascinated by the rapidly vanishing industrial history of Ballarat, so I had the best trip today, travelling out of Ballarat station to Sulky and back - and travelling a little way into the past.

Look at this beauty, made over 130 years ago, when trains for the vast network of state railways were made in  Ballarat's Phoenix Foundry, right behind the town hall.
I was ecstatic to be riding behind this engine!

While she was being filled up with water,

the carriages were shunted up to the station by the engine with real muscle.

This is the train that the blokes all admired - you can see why.

It is a great old engine, made about thirty years later when the state railways had started to make their own trains.

The Steam Rail blokes got properly grimy and coal dusty.

We were travelling in the old wooden Victorian Railways country carriages.

I'd forgotten how much the old trains rock along. It was hard to get things in focus.

In these old, wood panelled carriages I had the ultimate luxury - not available on modern trains trams and buses - I could open the windows to the cold air!

I could taste and smell the coal smoke - lovely!

Unlike cars and buses, trains go by people's backyards. 

backyards tend to be unfussed and informal.

If you want to play around in a treasure trove of railway photos - bridges, crashes, railway footy teams, rope workshops - and all for free, try this link to the Public Record Office Victoria