Arrived in Beechworth on Saturday, after seeing Heath in the morning, to give him his early Christmas and birthday present – a skateboard, plus protective gear.
Beechworth is NE of Melbourne, one hour from Albury and Wangaratta. Ya-Itma-Thang, the indigenous clan who were the first people to occupy Beechworth until the 1850s, when over 5000 Chinese, as well as many other diggers from other parts of the world, descended upon this little town to find gold. We came here 30 years ago and looked for gem stones at Reedy Creek, closer to Eldorado. Some of our finds were quite impressive, but our panning for gold turned out to be more fun than prosperous! We were encouraged by the owner of the caravan park, who proudly showed us a small Vegemite jar of panned gold, which, to us, weighed a tonne, and he trustfully kept it in the glovebox of his unlocked truck!
Sunday, we were out looking for orchids and we were very successful, although the Crimson Spider Orchid eluded us. We met up with the rangers and asked them about it and they said they wouldn’t tell us where to find it, even if they knew. Isn’t it our National Park too? Unfortunately, they told us that people dig them up. The few spoil it for the many.
Today we walked through the shopping centre (which has retained much of its character), trying to find place to make us picnic platter and we came across The Beechworth Pantry. We bought an antipasto platter, with prosciutto, ham, salami, char grilled capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, artichokes and marinated olives and mushrooms, with two bread rolls. We took our platter to Woolshed Falls and only managed to get through half of it. We finished with a piece of passion fruit sponge each. After we packed up, light rain started to fall, so we will enjoy the rest of it tonight.
We are staying at the Beechworth Holiday Park, once known as the Silver Creek Caravan Park. The creek is polluted, and looks like something from Queenstown, Tasmania. One plus, is a pizza oven in the dilapidated camp kitchen, resulting in a yummy lunch – no tea required!
Russ went out this morning to the Powder Magazine and on the Gorge Drive – I was making pizzas! The Powder Magazine was completed in 1857 and was used to store gunpowder used in gold mining.
The gorge drive crosses the picturesque Spring Creek.
At the end of the gorge drive is an old stone bridge that was completed in 1875, no mortar was used in its construction and it is still in use on the main road into Beechworth. The channel below the bridge was cut in solid granite to lower the level of the creek so more gold could be sluiced.
We are moving on to Eldorado tomorrow.