When we arrived in Melbourne we set up outside Aunty Adrienne and Uncle Christopher’s retirement village in their private lane. XO XO XO later (lots of hugs and kisses) we went down to their house, James and I loaded with Lego. We we got inside James and I instantly started building my sailing ship and his truck. The next day we went to Lygon St to wander around all the shops and we found Brunetti’s, a gourmet cake shop that stocked ice cream, gelato, macaroons, cakes, muffins, eclairs and lots more amazing treats! Then we continued to walk down the street to the park. Some very loud motorbikes went past which was very annoying.When we arrived at the cool looking park I had a look around and then went straight to the swings (I really enjoy swings). Then we headed to the Museum of Melbourne which was right next door and had lunch in the café. We went to the evolution Gallery which was quite interesting. Firstly I looked at the Fossil exhibit and there was a giant Teridactil hanging from the roof. Next I stuck my head in the Gemstone Gallery which had a 3D movie. You sat in a circular room and the walls acted as one big movie screen. The next exhibit was about Marine Life. It had lots of fossils of ancient marine animals and even a squid from a sperm whales stomach. Next there was the Wild Gallery which had lots of stuffed dead animals which included (but was not limited to) a snow leopard, lion, various birds of prey, a water buffalo, a thylacine and a grizzly bear. Then we went home.
On another day we caught public transport (trains and trams) to Saint (click,click – bang) Kilda. The one thing I learned that day was that trams are an absolute nuisance because they get in the way of traffic and take up half the road.
Bye from Sam.
That night we went to Sovereign Hill’s Sound and Light show, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’. When we arrived we walked down a big underground passage and entered a ginormous theatre. After watching a short film we went outside to the gold panning area where they did a recreation with sound effects of a miner getting trapped in a mine shaft by a rock fall. Next we boarded two modern limo gold buggies with two carriages in tow. With a little break from the action I was able to process the information, the miners were paying more that the squatters (farmers) but you had to be a land owner to vote. The miners were saying they should be able to vote because they were paying more than the squatters and so on and so on. When we arrived at our destination we arrived at a big theatre and the front walls slid open. It revealed a scene of miners tents, mine shafts, a house, a circus tent, the Eureka Hotel, and the Government Barracks. this part of the story was about the miners building a stockade and rebelling against taxes. Bently, escaped convict and owner of the Eureka Hotel murdered a miner but in court he talked about his way out of the crime. After that incident, the miners decided to burn the Eureka Hotel in anger against Bentley.
Some of the phrases said by the miners in the show were; ‘come out and fight you coward’ or ‘come out and fight like a man Bentley’. Then a flaming cart went past on rails and the stockade was built. Sunday was the day the stockade was stormed by police. Not very many of the miners were there at the time, not being expected to be attacked on a holy day. Then the stockade fell and it was time to go home (all the fire was real!).
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Morning! The next day was the same except we did the Red Hill tour. It was very dimly lit and it was based on the story of one lucky miner finding the Welcome Stranger, a ginormous gold nugget. Then we headed over to the gold museum to finish looking around. I watched the end of my film and then walked around observing the various golden artifacts, which are either in picture form or are real. Then we left Ballarat and that was the end of that.
When we arrived at Sovereign hill we decided to look at all the shops on the main street. Next I stuck my head inside the candle makers and got to see them “growing” candles by dipping them in melted wax. After that I continued to walk around and eventually stumbled across the gold panning area and meandered around the Chinese camp. I learnt a lot about Chinese culture on the gold fields.
Then we regrouped at the gold pour to see a $150,000 gold ingot being poured. After that we next door to see the confectionary demonstration to see some sweets being made. Today the confectioner was making Acid drops. He poured out the melted sugar onto a tray and mixed in some sulphuric acid – just kidding, it was really citric acid. Then he divided the mixture into ten big blobs and passed them through a set of rollers that moulded them into the right shape and let them harden. They looked like little marbles joined together by a thin sheet of crystallised sugar. Once they cooled he picked up the sheets of hardened lollies and banged them hard in a sieve to separate all the little balls. After that he brought some around to the counter so we could have a taste. They tasted very sour although I quite enjoyed them.
After that I had a look at the wheel making demonstration. I got to see how wooden coach wheels are made. They were surprisingly quick to make with the right machinery. Though I later found out that the wheel hubs took between five to thirty YEARS to dry out properly! After that we went down to the gold panning creek. We spent roughly 2-3 hours there panning for gold at the creek. They sprinkle 3 gm of gold flakes in the creek each day and in the Christmas school holidays they put in a 3 gm nugget each week. I found about 10 flakes but nothing bigger than a grain of sand.
Then we went over to the Gold Museum. It had lots of real gold and even more fake gold. There was an interesting section on bikes (I had no idea bikes were related to gold especially since they were not gold bikes! And gold bikes would be absolutely pointless as they would be too heavy to ride). I enjoyed watching a movie about how gold forms, but before I could see the end of it we had to go home.
See you late alligator, Sam.
After doing abseiling the previous day we headed off to the Halls Gap Zoo. First things first, we did a Meerkat Encounter. The instructors put some carrot, apple and celery in your hand and said to hold it up high until the photographer was ready. One cheeky Meerkat tried to jump off the flower pot next me and get a snack!
When I lowered my hand one immediately ran onto my lap and started eating. When the food ran out and we got up to leave, one of our furry friends tried to sneak out with us. After that we walked around the zoo. There were lots of animals including cheetahs, cassowaries, deer, does, ostriches, giraffes, an albino peacock, bison, alpacas and wallabies.
I very much enjoyed my entire zoo experience.
Bye from Sam.
… And the rope snapped but I managed to haul myself back over the edge and we went straight home!
Gratefully that did not happen :-).
After I reached the bottom it was James’ go. He went down about 30 cm before he had to be hauled up because his harness waist band was in the wrong spot and it really hurt him! After that he went over the edge again and with lots of encouragement he made it down. The first thing he said was “I’m not doing that again”. Mum came down – slow and steady she was, making her way down the face, 13 meters to go, 10 meters to go, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, touch down! After that I sprinted up to have another go. I went a bit faster this time and paused half way down for a photo. Next dad came down and I got a photo of him. When he got to the bottom he said it was quite uncomfortable to stop like that. Three more goes later and it was time for us to go home. I thanked our instructor very much and got in the car.
When we got home James and I found a good area with lots of divots, jumps and drops to ride around. We had loads of fun. When I went to the loo that night we saw some people tight rope walking on a ratchet strap tied between two trees. He even let us have a go, but it was really hard. Coming soon, the zoo…
Bye from Sam