The World is an amazing place .... go and be in it

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

From ‘The White Lady’ to a black demon...

I’m hoping to redeem myself a little from ‘sight ticker’ to an ‘in the moment being’ after the marathon race through the Great Ocean Road.  Arriving to the gorgeous seaside town of Anglesea as twilight folded we were eager to start early in the morning to explore it. Unfortunately the drive had exhausted us and along with enjoying an evening with friends, our early morning became a little later than hoped, however our friends were wonderful tour guides and treated us to the 'real' Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.   What a divine pair of villages.

Anglesea is a small close-knit community with an enormous encompassing spirit and nowhere is this more evident than in a community garden that would WOW the beard off Costa from Gardening Australia! 

The Anglesea Community Garden was abundant with succulent produce – plots of organically grown vegetables and fruit trees companioned planted with beautiful flowering plants to encourage the bees and distract to pest. A pizza oven sat in the middle of garden, bringing the community together for social gatherings as they enjoyed the fruits of their labour.  The garden was set in the public community precinct and  is surrounded by native garden beds planted by the local AngAir landcare group with beautiful mosaic artwork carried out by local artists adorning the pathways and public buildings.
Our next ‘garden’ to visit was to the beautiful heritage listed heathlands of Anglesea.  The area of Anglesea and its surroundings hold one quarter of Victoria’s plant species with over a hundred varieties of orchids alone growing in the surrounding environment.  We’re told we must come back in the spring, as the area is a sea of colour when the wildflowers bloom and flourish.  Although it isn’t spring now, we are still surrounded by spectacular colour.   
As we head further into the heath lands, Big M and I are shocked to see straight across from the ‘protected lands’ is a massive ugly open cut coal mine.  A huge dirty black hole scaring the magnificent bushlands that surround it.  The coal from this mine feeds a power station for an aluminium smelter.  And it sits less than eight hundred metres as the crow flies from the town!  I’m flabbergasted!... 

I know the smelter is important to the area, supplies jobs and industry but to have the mine so close to such a pristine wilderness as the National Heritage Heathlands, not to mention, next door to a beautiful seaside village. Surely there is a better way to fuel it’s power station?  A more environmentally alternative power source.
Although we were getting the ‘locals inside tour’ we couldn’t not visit the beautiful beaches and headlands of Anglesea. Spectacular!  We were amazed to see the evidence of an enormous landslip at the southern end of the village and amused to learn how it ‘disrupted’ one chaps plans. 
In 1903 this chap rowed out to the shipwrecked vessel, the ‘Inverlochy’ and ‘borrowed’ a case of whisky and buried it for later. The very next morning at 4am the landslip happen and ‘buried’ it further.  
Just around the corner from Anglesea is Aireys Inlet and upon visiting it I felt as if popular culture was blending with reality.  Our first stop was to the newly open 60’s Roadhouse, where Big M was in his element.  The fabulous American style ‘milkbar’ is filled with garage/automobile memorabilia with a showroom any racing enthusiast would drool over. 


About eight vintage racecars from various eras sit behind glass with a front row seat in the bar.  Not only was it that they were vintage cars that excited Big M, but also the fact that he had seen a number of them at various time in actual racing action.  From the milkbar, I feel like I've stepped into 'art imitating life' when I'm introduced to the owner of the local Bookshop and after hearing how she had started the local writers festival (now in its third year) I could have sworn it was the plot and quite possibly the inspiration for the June Loves novel – The Shelly Beach Writers Group..... I wonder.....
The final must see was the magnificent “White Lady”, the Split Point Lighthouse.  A stunning white tower with red cap and the star of the ABC TV show – Round the Twist.  She stands so majestically surrounded by a mass of green shrubbery that must look so amazingly colourful in the spring.  Below,  waves crash against the cliffs and jutting from the ocean sits one loan limestone formation, perhaps an apostle cast out of the group – Judas? 

As we leave (and inadvertently add another rubbish tip to our ‘tip-rat tour’) we vow to return and plunge ourselves once more into this wild south-west coast line of Victoria that is indeed a breathtaking icon.

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