Yesterday afternoon was just as glorious as the previous day (and mentioned in the previous post) and a fine promise of the lovely Autumn weather to come (over the next few weeks).
Autumn and Spring are my kind of weather with warm sunny days, cool breezes, intermittent rainy days to refresh the earth/air AND………… in my mind, excellent walking weather.
(we won’t count today which is overcast, cool and intermittent spots of rain on my balcony floor so far, hence me being indoors writing and uploading this post).
I decided to go back to Pipermakers Park to take some photos of the wonderful mosaics to share with you. Yesterday I walked along the western perimeter of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve and straight through the landscaped area up-river to the Park. For a change, I walked the shortest possible route without stopping to do any photography on the way. It took exactly 10 minutes from my back door to the Park’s Colonial garden ruins.
I decided to make this another long post and include some of Pipermakers Park’s history, as I find the whole idea of manufacturing companies making a herb and vegetable garden and building bluestone cottages for their workers in the mid 1800s, absolutely fascinating.
The mosaic below is enormous (about 15 feet across?) and filled with interesting colours and details.
Sadly, the 12 bluestones worker’s cottages from the mid 1800s are no longer visible (well, not that I saw in my walks around the area), only a couple of bluestone factory buildings and garden ruins. I notice the garden paths have been raked and some of the dead grass in the herb garden replaced with bark mulch on Wednesday’s visit. This is only a tiny segment of the work and money required to restore such a vast site to its former glory.
The Herb Garden looked rather stark with its empty beds, but at least you can see some of the mosaics a little more easily. and some bluestone rock wall ruins (which may have been the worker’s cottages at one end of the garden???). The information office seems to be open on a Tuesday, so I’ll drop in sometime soon to see what else I can discover. My knowledge of the history of the area is certainly very sketchy at best.
I took a hand brush over to the park yesterday to clean twigs and small stones from some of the mosaics and it was interesting to see how well some of the colours and patterns have withstood the test of some 150+ years.
At the risk of making this post far too long, I’ve summarised the early history from a couple of Mr Google’s websites.
- Pipemakers Park is an eight hectare reserve located on Van Ness Avenue on the Maribyrnong River in Maribyrnong. It is located in the Maribyrnong River Valley and includes flood plain and a steep escarpment along the Van Ness Avenue boundary.
- Prior to European settlement, the Marin Balluk were the people of the area occupying land extending to Kororoit Creen to the west and Sunbury to the north.
- They were part of the Wurundjeri Tribe and members of the Kulin Nation. Archaeological evidence further upstream has proved the presence of Aboriginal people in the Maribyrnong River Valley for more than 40,000 years, however no archeological evidence has been found of Aboriginal activity in the reserve itself.
- The river was a valuable food source, and the escarpment offered good viewing points of the valley, however the area was probably not a major camping site due to the tidal nature of the river, it lacked a fresh water supply.
- The area was explored and settled early in Victoria’s European history, with survey and land licences occurring in the 1840s. Pastoral activity quickly gave way to industrial uses with Raleigh’s boiling-down works established in 1848.
- The Melbourne Meat Preserving Company occupied the site in 1867 followed by Australian Frozen Meat Export Company in 1880.
- The Hume Pipe Factory occupied the site in 1912 and production halted in 1974,
- In 1978 the area was purchased by the Melbourne Board of Works. A Bicentennial grant of $2 million in 1987 supported development of the site and in 1988 Pipemakers Park was opened.
The Melbourne Meat Preserving Co. pioneered meat preserving by the vacuum process, as the Australian Frozen Meat Export Co. pioneered bulk freezing and is credited with the first successful frozen meat export in the world.
Since my bookshelf has a couple of books (and the TV series) of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s (1874 – 1922) early exploration of the Antarctic and mentions the tinned meat he carried on the ship ‘Discovery’, I wondered if those cans had originated from The Melbourne Meat Preserving Company? Who knows? Perhaps it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that many early Antarctic voyages included tinned meat from this site?
And this is enough typing for this Easter weekend break.
(alright, I didn’t type it all……. I did cut and paste much of it from Mr Google)
Phew! 😉 🙂 🙂