Tag Archives: Porpunkah

Pianists from the Past

2014.01W.25I have been acquainted with many different pianos over the years but few of them have made their way into a photograph such as we have for this week”s theme.

It was part of the life of many a girl to learn how to tinkle the ivories, to play a pretty tune, to accompany  a singalong around the piano,  to be able to play a waltz or a barn dance for a bit of dancing, and once even to sit on a stage at a grand piano to accompany a school choir.

But the earliest photo I have was taken in the beer garden at the old pub at Porepunkah in 1953. It was called the beer garden but it was simply a ramshackle lean-to at the back of a quaint old pub.

Porpunkah Hotel Beer Garden 2. Jan 1953I have mentioned Porepunkah before in  Honeymoon in he Snow – 1929    as it is where you branch off from the valley road to go up the mountain to the Mount Buffalo Chalet.  This Ovens Valley was a great place for growing tobacco until recently  Because the Chalet was “dry” guests would often wander down to the Porepunkah Pub for a bit of variety.

Later a young one started to take an interest in the piano

Sally at piano 8 monthsThis piano is rather special as it had belonged to a family whose only son was a talented pianist.  But he died of polio at age 17.  When it became clear that the family could no longer bear to have his piano in the house we were lucky enough to buy it.

The young one later learned to play.

Sally at pianoShe later  put it to good use

Lachlan Rod Sally Diane sing-songBut nowadays none of us go anywhere near a piano.

And with a little hesitation I add this newspaper cutting c1952 from the Castlemaine Mail.

Fire Brigade DanceStudents will do anything to earn some money and all you needed was  to be able to  keep a good regular beat. Good on our fire brigades.  I turned on the news at 7 am this morning to hear that a grass fire was under way about 5 km from here on the outskirts of town.  It was soon brought under control  by men with 17 fire trucks .  The section of our Country Fire Authority which deals with these fires are volunteers and we can’t praise them highly enough. At the moment the idea is to tie a red balloon to your fence or tree or car  to show that you appreciate what our volunteers are doing for us.

red balloon 2I’ve wandered off topic.  But our volunteers needed to raise money and Saturday night dances (with a piano being played) used to be one way of doing that.

Honeymoon in the Snow – 1929

Last week I was sweltering in a bushfire story and this week Sepia Saturday has suggested we look for our snowy photos.  So I will go to the Mount Buffalo Chalet in the Australian Alps in Victoria in the winter of 1929 and this time let the pretty pictures tell the story.

Mt Buffalo Chalet Aug 1929The Mt Buffalo Chalet is a guest house which was built in 1910 and was run by the Victorian Railways. Unfortunately it was burnt down in 2006.

Arriving or Departing Mt Buffalo 1929Take the steam train to Wangaratta,  bus along the Ovens River valley to Porpunkah then up the mountainside to the grand old dame.  Well swept of snow.

Mt Buffalo Sled - Charles Vera 1929The honeymooners, Charles and Vera Fricke (nee Tansey) from Castlemaine.

Holidaymakers (inc Vera centre) 1929Time to make some new friends.  Vera second from left, back row.

Mountain Hut Mt Buffalo 1929Stop off at a hut for a cuppa.  Notice in these photos how the women are all wearing jodhpurs.   They were fashionable wear at the time and not just for horse-riding.

Snowman Charles Vera Mt Buffalo 1929Time to build a snowman.Vera skiing 3 Aug 1929

Or to practice this increasingly popular hobby of skiingMt Buffalo Skiing Aug 1929

And admire the dramatic landscape.

On another matter I recently read the book Journey to the Stone Country by Alex Miller.  At one stage it was discussing whether conserving old properties was the right thing to do or whether conservation destroyed the spirit of the people who had lived there, I don’t necessarily agree with that but I can appreciate the point they were making and have written a little about it elsewhere, illustrating with an example from my family’s past.

Journey to the Stone Country – Alex Miller and Ideas on Conservation 

2014.01W.06Click on Sepia Saturday to find links to more Snow Stories.