Woods Point

August 3rd, 2013 | Photos, Poems for adults

I went on a great drive with my son Thomas earlier this year through some of the most remote towns in Victoria. Woods Point, the A1 Mining Settlement, and Gaffney’s Creek are all old gold mining towns set deep in the heart of the forest.

We drove from Melbourne to Marysville. Shortly after leaving Marysville, on the road to Lake Mountain, we had to pull over briefly while a car rally was finishing. We had only resumed our journey for a few minutes, when we found this lying on the road.

Lyrebird

This dead lyrebird had clearly been hit and killed by a car. It was still warm and soft. It had signs of severe bruising, and a broken leg. I carried it to the side of the road. The surrounding bushland was part of the Yarra Ranges National Park. You do surely have to question the wisdom of allowing cars to race through areas like this.

Shortly after, we found evidence of a different kind of carnage on the road.

Toyota Hilux copy

This Toyota Hi-Lux was also still warm, but the driver was nowhere to be seen. Presumably he had come around the corner too fast, skidded and flipped. No doubt he had been picked up by a passing vehicle and taken back to the nearest civilisation.

Yet more carnage awaited us.

Wombat 1

This dead wombat was being eaten by a dog as we came around the corner. Our vehicle scared the dog off. It was still soft, though not warm, and very possibly also a victim of the recent car rally. Again, I dragged it to the side of the road.

At last we were able to put the violence behind us, however, and we arrived at the beautiful little hamlet of Woods Point.

Woods Point 1 copy

Woods Point 2 copy

Woods Point 4 copy

Woods Point 5 copy

Woods Point 8 copy

Woods Point 9 copy

The original plan had been to buy Thomas some late breakfast at Woods Point, but the shops were closed at Woods Point, Gaffneys Creek and Kevington (there weren’t even closed shops at the A1 Mining Settlement!) and it was about 5 pm before he got his breakfast, a hot pie at Jamieson.

The storekeeper at Jamieson explained that the local pie rep was an old school friend, which is why Jamieson, some distance off the Mansfield-Mt.Buller road, was stocked with pies. I asked if pies were also available at Kevington, but was told it was ‘too far down the road’ – hence this little poem.

You Can’t Get Pies at Kevington

You can’t get pies at Kevington.
It’s too far down the road.
You can buy pies at Jamieson.
They get a constant load,
And also at Mt. Buller
They frequently are stowed,
But you can’t get pies at Kevington.
It’s too far down the road.

Woods Point doesn’t get them.
Nor does Gaffneys Creek.
Both these tiny mining towns
Must turn the other cheek.
The outlook at the A1
Is exceptionally bleak,
And you can’t get pies at Kevington.
It’s too far down the road.

Mansfield gets a ton of pies –
As many as they need.
They truck them up the highway
With efficiency and speed.
Bonnie Doon and Yarck and Yea
From pielessness are freed,
But you can’t get pies at Kevington.
It’s too far down the road.

© Stephen Whiteside 27.05.2013

Once leaving Jamieson, it was a relatively short trip to Mansfield, and then it was down the Maroondah Highway to Melbourne, and home.

All in all, it had been a great – and memorable – day!

3 responses to “Woods Point”

  1. Elizabeth Curtain (nee James) says:

    I had a great grandfather called Henry George Callaway (born in Castlemaine Vic in late 1863-1946) (grew up in Bendigo – son of former Mayor of Castlemaine and mine manager Alfred Callaway from Bristol in Glouchestershire, England 1830-1888) who was with the Colonial/ Australasian Bank and ” apparently” rode shotgun to escort shipments of gold from the A1 mine via Gaffney’s Creek and Woods Point etc. To “Melbourne”. So I found your artical rathef interesting.

  2. Barry Howard says:

    Dear Stephen,
    I realise it has been some years since you created your Woods Point webpage but I thought I’d write anyway to let you know I really enjoyed seeing the photos of the old place and reading your great poem, they bought back some good memories for me.

    For almost four years in the last half of the 1980’s I was an underground miner at the dear old A1 Mine and my time there rates high among the best experiences of my life. My wife and I both lived and worked at the mine. She in the office, laboratory, and ball mill, while I was employed as underground shift boss, carrying out mining and rehabilitation operations underground, mainly on 17 Level South drive, 19 Level North drive 21 Level South drive. We lived in a small but comfortable cottage on the lease during these years. In November 1989 I terminated my employment at the A1 when the mine was taken over by a new company.I did not like their methods of operation, and they did not like mine so someone had to go. We’d made a lot of friends at the A1 mine and, in a melancholy moment, just before leaving the area I wrote the following short poem.

    “Leaving” by B.R.Howard.

    We travelled a rough road to get here
    But we knew in the end we would win,
    Yet we find now the going is tougher
    And our welcome has worn a bit thin.

    So we reckon it’s time to be going,
    Though we’re leaving some good friends behind,
    And there’s really no way of knowing
    What rough road in the future we’ll find.

    But there’s one thing we do know for sure,
    That, no matter where that road ends,
    If we turn ourselves ‘round just once more,
    It will lead us back here, to our friends.

    Thanks again for reviving good memories
    Regards,
    Barry Howard,
    Victoria.

    • Stephen says:

      Many thanks for getting in touch, Barry. I feel privileged to have prompted a response such as this from somebody who actually lived and worked there – great poem, too!

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