The Archdale Bridge …

Out on the boundary of the Central Goldfields Shire there is a spot on the map labelled Archdale. Oddly it’s easier to find on Facebook than it is on the ground. And you learn from Facebook that there is no recommended place eat, no recommended place to stay, no recommended place to drink and nothing to see. The reason is very simple. Apart from the odd farm-house there are no buildings. You wonder why they bothered to give the place a name.

I drove through the area some time ago. I was on my way to check out the Dalynong Flora and Fauna Reserve which I had heard was a good chunk of not too badly disturbed woodland habitat. I noticed an old wooden bridge and made a note to come back and photograph it one day.

It’s not an easy spot to photograph, there is a new bridge parallel to it and it is surrounded by River Red Gum woodland. From most angles you either can’t see it or you have a modern concrete structure intruding on the ambience. It’s just a sad old bridge crumbling slowly into the Avoca River. There are no sign posts leading you there. Facebook doesn’t love it.

I wanted to catch it in the evening light so I spent some time poking around. I was rewarded by a pair of Rakali chasing each other’s tails in the water.

Rakali, Hydromys chrysogaster

The bridge was built in 1863 and is the oldest wooden bridge in the State of Victoria and one of only two to survive the great floods of 1870. It is heritage listed and from the statement of significance we learn that …

Archdale Bridge is technically significant for its humped timber deck, designed to permit the ready flow of flood waters. Humped bridges were not uncommon in an era of horse-drawn vehicles, but were impractical with motorized vehicles; very few survive.
Archdale bridge is one of very few timber river bridges surviving in Victoria to possess large squared-timber pier ‘caps’, combining with squared and shaped corbels. Those heavy caps, over ten metres long, are cantilevered beyond the outer piles and fixed to the pile tops by mortis-and-tenon construction. They represent very rare examples of early bridge-carpentering traditions.

I think Facebook is wrong. There’s plenty to see in Archdale. This bridge is beautiful and deserves a bit of love.

Night Shift …

The old plough had been sitting in one corner of the farm for so long that the wheels had sunk into the ground. The two hardest parts to getting this shot were moving the plough to this position and getting out of bed at 3am.

The bright object to the left of the Milky Way is Jupiter. Saturn is also visible but much less obvious. It’s lower in the sky just to the right of the Milky Way. The brightest object out to the right is a double star named Peacock which is 3328.13 light years away. I know this only because of Stellarium which is a wonderful bit of free software well worth checking out.

The Milky Way …

YouTube is a remarkable resource. As well as how to poach eggs in the microwave I have learnt from and been inspired by some excellent photographers. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that all the good English landscape photographers have north country accents. One of the best bits of advice in landscape photography is stand in front of a better landscape and the north of England is blessed in that regard. Once you’re hooked it’s not an insuperable effort to go further afield.

Richard Tatti is a local not a pom, he lives not far from me and he also plays to his strength. Not landscapes but nightscapes. He is well worth checking out <HERE> or find him on YouTube or Instagram.

In many places light pollution makes the stars hard to see. I live 15km from the nearest town which in any case is not very large. Just walking out my door at night is all it takes if the sky is clear. You can see the glow of Maryborough in the lower right corners of both today’s photos.

The Milky Way season is upon us. The galactic core is not visible in the middle of the Australian summer but we can now find it in the east in the early morning. As the season progresses it will move through the south becoming higher and visible for more of the night before shifting to the west and becoming an after sunset phenomenon.

So here’s my favourite tree again …

You can now check me out on instagram click <HERE>

The Fergie …

The tractor is a 1953 UK built Massey Ferguson TO30 and it’s parked just a few yards from my back door. It was a clear sky last night and there was a smallish window between the Milky Way making its appearance and moon rise. I set up the camera, worked out my lighting and went to bed with the alarm set for 2.45 am.

I think it was worth it …

The bright “star” tucked in the left side of the Milky Way is the planet Jupiter.

Waanyarra …

The miners of Waanyarra didn’t have far to go to Morton’s Welcome Inn. Nor did they have far to go to the cemetery.

Most of the gold rush era graves were marked with wooden memorials. They have fared badly, most are gone and with one exception the remainder are illegible. Three plaques at the gate list the names and ages of the people known to be buried here although the exact locations are unknown. Very young children figure prominently.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.       Matthew 24:44 – King James Bible

Among the few headstones there is one for Michael Morton. This is likely the man who built the old Welcome Inn. The name is right, the place is right, the era is right. There is an inconsistency in the age however. What I know of Mr Morton was gleaned from a descendant writing <HERE>  which gives him as 19 years of age in 1847 therefore  77 in 1905.