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The aim of this travel and photography adventure was to revisit an area we had not been back to for a number of years. The Strath Creek region, Victoria – Australia is so green during this time of the year as winter rains help to ensure the landscape is lush, and the creeks have running water; unlike summertime where the landscape can be dry and leave the creeks to run with little-to-no water at times. My husband was the driver and my daughter joined us as well which was a lovely treat for us as her parents. She is a keen bird photographer whilst I enjoy landscape photography. Our first stop was at the Murchison Gap Lookout which overlooks the ‘Valley of a Thousand Hills’ region. The views from this outlook are just breathtaking and because we were visiting here during the week, it was quiet and peaceful. There were a number of birds inhabiting the surrounding bush-land which made my daughter happy! The air was fresh and crisp; the sun shone for us long enough to take some good photographs, and time enough for us to enjoy our time together.
‘VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS’ – STRATH CREEK
This part of Victoria is very picturesque and we didn’t have to travel far from where we live to be amongst this beautiful region. Murchison Gap Outlook proved to be the best place to view the ‘Valley of the Thousand Hills’. A noticeboard found on located provided the following information:
Murchison Gap: Prior to the cutting being created, the former Bradford-Flowerdale Road depicted in the far right image, utilised a different route over Murchison Hill. Buggy drivers would cut saplings at the top of Murchison Hill to use as a brake on the steep descent. At the bottom of the hill the buggy drivers would dispose of the used saplings, which created a pile that when considered too big, would be burnt off.
The view from where you are standing overlooks the ‘Valley of a Thousand Hills’.
The small image to the right is the same view, taken some time between 1900 and 1930, from a point along Murchison Spur Road. Murchison Spur road is believed to have been originally used by early miners, timber cutters and saw millers.
If you continue along the Spur Road you will enjoy the view from many vantage points, including perspectives similar to the ones pictured.
Original Selectors: The Murchison and Mackenzie families, who lived in the Strath Creek are between 1838 and 1870, were the founders of Kerrisdale and Flowerdale Stations respectively. Along with Reedy Creek Station, these properties were the original three squatting runs of the area, that incidentally all met at this site. Farquhar Mackenzie, former Lieutenant in the Scottish Regiment, arrived in NSW in 1836. He travelled south to the Goulburn District in NSW a short time later. In March 1838 he mustered all his stock together to follow the route travelled by Hume and Hovell and arrived at the Goulburn River, Victoria, in May 1838. He then travelled up river to King Parrot Creek and settled a large tract of land. In July 1841 Farquhar’s cousin, Roderick Mackenzie, arrived in Melbourne with his wife. He purchased part of Farquhar’s land and named the property Flowerdale after his family property in Gairloch, Scotland. Roderick built a stone cottage in 1842 and in July of 1849 Roderick died of consumption and the property was sold. In May 1842, John Murchison moved his family from NSW and joined Farquhar to continue farming the remaining land, which they called Kerrisdale after Farquhar Mackenzie’s family property. Murchison Gap is named for the original squatter of Kerrisdale, John Murchison (Murrindindi Shire Council/Mitchell Shire Council/State Government of Victoria 2015).
PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT USED
During this landscape photography exercise – I used my new compact system camera a Sony A7 Mark II – Full Frame with a Sony A FE24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Lense. For some of the shots I used the camera hand-held, and for others, I used the camera mounted on a tripod with a remote timer. I am still getting use to understanding the abilities of my new camera and lense, but it was such a pleasure though to use, and good for someone like myself trying to learn to be a better photographer! I also used my Samsung Galaxy S6 mobile phone for quick spontaneous photographs and gain GPS location readings.
On my return home, I downloaded all the photographs into Adobe Lightroom 6. I developed a small selection of photographs. During the process of developing them I was able to see what I needed to address during my next photographic adventure. Please find both above and below the best of what I took during this travel and photography adventure!
- Please click on the images to view in full and find camera setting details
SLIDE-SHOW OF ALL PHOTOGRAPHS
VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS PAINTING
Details: Abstract Painting No. 51 Titled “Valley of a Thousand Hills”, June 2010/March 2011, Acrylic on Canvas, 220cms Length x 120cms Wide x 3cms Deep, Painted by Abstract Artist – Karen Robinson. NB: Please click on this link to view my Abstract Paintings Portfolio
Painting Story: It was in June 2010 that my daughter, my husband and I decided to travel up through the Strath Creek region of Victoria (Australia) for a fishing day – my husband loved fishing. This was the first time we had all gone fishing together since the death of our son Ben on 5th November, 2009. Ben, our 25-year-old son was killed instantly in a single vehicle car crash. As a family, our lives had been shattered by his loss. It was the first time, since Ben’s death that we found the courage to go off and do something like fishing. We went with mixed feelings and an emotional struggle, in getting truly interested in what we were doing. But it was easy to see that it was a day of reflection, for the three of us.
It was a beautiful, fine winter day! The air was crisp and clean. The area was green and the trees were in Autumn mode. As we drove through the region, my spirits were up lifted by the beauty of the area. My daughter and husband organised themselves to fish and I went about taken photos which I liked to do. I could see by the look on my daughter’s face that she was quietly reflecting. My husband was off in another direction also deep in thought. It was clear, we were all thinking about our Ben whilst amongst Australia’s beautiful bush-land. I came away that day with my spirits lifted and a step closer to being able to live without our son in our lives. The quietness and solitude of the day shared with my loved ones, amongst the stunning beauty and tranquility of the area named “Valley of a Thousand Hills” Strath Creek region (Victoria, Australia) was all we needed to feel at peace. Even if just for the day. Hence this became my inspiration for this painting called “Valley of a Thousand Hills”.
Featured in the painting is a large English Elm Tree. Whilst driving through this area, we came across a property named “Kerrisdale Station” 852 King Parrot Road, Strath Creek. The entrance had these magnificent, large English Elms lining the driveway down through to the homestead. Their strong, dark trunks and branches held a display of beautiful lemon, yellow and pale green autumn leaves. Another Station in the region called “Strathglen” had Lipstick Maple Trees lined either side of a long road, stretched into the distant hills. These trees had a single, slender trunk with branches like arms reaching up into the bright, blue sky. They were dressed with pretty pinks, golden yellows, amber, orange and deep auburn leaves. These trees which would have been planted by early settlers where a strange contrast within our Australia bush. But so beautiful within this magical setting of the Strath Creek region!
Re-visiting this region did bring back some sad memories of my last visit to this region back in June 2010. Now, 7 years along from then – I was able to enjoy the company of my husband and my daughter, doing what we enjoy doing together. Being out and about experiencing the natural wonders of the world really does rejuvenate the body and soul. Photography is just another way I can improve my sense of wellbeing and at the same time – be creative! It definitely works for me and once more we finished up our day in high spirits which is a good outcome for the three of us…
Happy photography all!
Please click here to visit my ‘Photography – About’ page where you will be able to find blog links and photographs about other photographic adventures…
© Karen Robinson – June 2017
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!