Friday, March 1, 2013

Malmsbury Psalm

Starting more or less in the middle of my journey to Malmsbury, about 100 km north-west of Melbourne, here lies the vicarage of Saint John's Anglican church, the outdoor loo, seen on the left, available to any visitor as they enter.
Bypassed by the nearby Calder Highway, the town may have lost some helpful income, but it has retained its courageous charm. The railway station, especially the disused side seen here, is getting to be genteelly dilapidated.
Founded sometime in the 1850s as a supply stop between Melbourne and the Mount Alexander goldfields, Malmsbury has not yet and never will be, I hope, been afflicted with too much make-up.
The train takes you across this viaduct, "believed to be the finest example of this particular kind of construction within Australia", one of a number if discreet signs informs me. It was built of locally-sourced bluestone in 1860. Beneath it is the not entirely rapid Coliban River, straddling the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens.
Not really a tourist destination, the Gardens look more like a slapped-together arboretum. I was happy here. Sometimes it's nice to go somewhere where things are just allowed to age.
Oddities abound, ignoring makeovers and the demands of the bullish consumer altogether. Sigh.
There are some gems, such as this Arbutus, its cinnamon colour strikingly necessary.
As lovely as this - installation, one-time fountain, memorial? I do not know and I do not need to know.
Someone sensible has made this beautiful cafe out of what they found about them, without getting too precious. Tree-changers have been moving into Malmsbury, slowly and carefully. I am sure I'm not the only one who recognises something very touching in a past allowed to speak without being pushed onto centre-stage.
Malmsbury doesn't scream. I crossed the capacious main street several times with only a single distant car once or twice nosing in the distance.
I ate my lunch in the Gardens, attended by my fan-base, quackers of various nationalities, needing a bit of sandwich. There was almost no-one else there.
No-one has demanded that this ruinous shed should be removed from the main street. Hurrah! Live and let live.
Nor this hay-shed, also in the main street. This is, after all, a farming community...
...a pretty one
and an honest one.
I come back to the vicarage, or the sometime garage of the vicarage. I hope the vicar forgives me, taking shots of his private life, or the parts of his private life I'm sure he is glad have not been renovated.
Here then is the spire of Saint John's Anglican church, sporting its rooster. This has been the driest summer here for 30 years. Lately, though, we have had a presage of autumn, some rain falling into our outstretched hands.
The author, seen against a pine at the railway station, heedless of a rationalised world.


  1. Dear Faisal,

    I'm glad that you are back, or at least popping in on your way hither and thither.

    I do like Malmesbury. I like its higgledy piggledy-ness. We did think of living there at one stage. Maybe we will one day.

    Bye for now


    1. Dear Kirk,
      It's good to be back now, to have found the inspiration to be back.
      You'd know that many of the nearby towns have been zapped into revival, but I ike Malmsbury for its quiet.
      It's where I'd like to retire to.
      Bye Kirk,

  2. Faisal, so good to see you back! What a lovely, gentle and loving post. Now I want to visit this beautiful and, as you say, honest, town. Gorgeous photos, thank you!

    1. Thankyou Carol. Sometimes it's healthy and necessary to draw back, even when it's hard to explain. On the other hand, I could only come back now because I felt revived and ready to resume. I hope you get down this way to visit.

  3. Glad to know you are revived. A beautiful place untidy, there is something to be said for the worn out.

    1. Its not what I'd call worn-out, Paul. Maybe my selectively chosen pictures suggest that. It's actually quite alive, with a beautiful nursery, places to stay, a couple of cafes, art/craft galleries and retirees. But yes, being off the beaten track, and slower than some surrounding, hipper towns, it's more of a backwater. Not one without a spine though, and not one that looks ready to crumble.

  4. What a wonderfully picturesque village? town?
    Like you I hope it will be allowed to retain its charm.

    I love the arbutus, I can never get one to grow in my garden; I’ve tried several times, they always died. Maybe I should have just one more go?

  5. Friko, hi. We actually don't see too many Arbutus down in this part of the world, which makes Malmsbury's slightly casual selection all the more remarkable! But then, we get alot of the dryness I believe they prefer, which you'd have trouble finding, in your neck of the snowscape.
    We don't say 'village' here, as a rule. Malmsbury would be a town.
    If it can have some dryness and heat, I'm sure your final attempt will triumph.

  6. hi faisal, so we ended up having our blog-breaks and 're-entering' at about the same time. I find it interesting, reassuring and unsurprising that though people miss us, it all goes on as usual regardless of whether we are part of it or not. I haven't been to Malmsbury for years. In fact, possibly have never been to Malmsbury, just through it. You present it in a very enticing way, sounds a perfect place to chill out.

  7. hi catmint, I can't help but feel sometimes you have to pull out of something if it's not working for you as it was to give yourself the time to find out where you want to go. It was only at the last minute, really, I decided to go to Malmsbury and thus renew my posting. It felt like the timing was just right.
    Yes, it all goes on, the outlooks, the personalities, the stories. I feel better now, to re-connect. To be honest, I'd felt all the words were coalescing into a giant soup ("too much information"), but I realise I can pick and choose and be here as little or as much as I like.
    Go to Malmsbury one day, when it's cool.

  8. i love this little place, unglamorous and simply itself. thanks.
    oh, and that bark!

  9. Faisal, An interesting place. I am especially drawn to the cinnamon colored tree. It seems this town is on the verge of becoming a ghost town. I hope you are finding some relief from the heat as your autumn nears. I will miss winter.. Strange, huh? I enjoy spring, but it allows summer to bully it's way in much too soon. You had some pretty handsome luncheon partners. Have a wonderful weekend. Bonnie

    1. Hiya Bonnie. No, Malmsbury won't be a ghost town...there's too many like me want to see it humming along, or more than humming along, even. Growing.
      Me? I LOVE winter. It's not harsh here, but gosh the cold's good. And it's good especially because we have about 6 months of heat. Which heat I am beginning to say goodbye to.
      You too, my friend, have a lovely weekend.

  10. That Arbutus tree is something new to me, and how exotic it seems!
    This seems to have been a good trip Faisal

    1. Hi Demie! Yes, I loved going to Malmsbury - a peaceful place. Yes, the Arbutus is striking - don't know if it would survive in Norway!