My I Spy: something beginning with ‘V’

Verily it seems as though this alphabetical quest is slipping along at speed now as the tail end veers into view. There was a variety of objects vying for my attention, and this is what I have spied.

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Vases

Vases

This is a sample of my vase collection. In recent years I have taken a fancy to coloured glass and have been accumulating bottles and vases such as these – lovely with flowers from the garden or with the sunlight shining through as they are clustered on my kitchen windowsill.

Victorian Bow Wagon, West Wyalong

Victorian Bow Wagon, West Wyalong

Victorian Bow Wagon

This was spied at the extensive museum at West Wyalong. Wagons such as these carried untold tonnes of wool and grain across the Australian landscape in the 1800s and early 1900s. The sheer size of the wagon can be appreciated up close, or in paintings such as Across the Black Soil Plains by G W Lambert. There is additional history about this painting here. One of my ancestors owned a wool wagon which is part of the collection at the Western Plains Cultural Centre – there is a link to the wagon and its history here.

Lithgow viaducts

Viaducts at Lithgow

Viaduct

These railway viaducts are near Farmers Creek at Lithgow. The original viaduct was a single track which was part of the Great Western Railway, forming a vital part of the extension of the railway from Lithgow to Bathurst and out to the central west of NSW.  It dates from 1870 and is one of the oldest stone arch railway viaducts in the state. The original plan was for iron girder bridges but economic constraints intervened and the stone arch was erected instead. As the demand on the railway line increased, a second track was required. The second viaduct was built in 1921.

Verandah at Elizabeth Farm

Verandah at Elizabeth Farm

Verandah

A wide verandah is an essential part of Australian homesteads to take advantage of cool breezes and provide shade during long, hot summers. This verandah is part of Elizabeth Farm, one of the oldest houses in Australia.

Violets

Violets

Violets

This late entry has been sitting on my kitchen window sill for a couple of years now. There was a spurt of leafy growth over the past month or so and now there are a couple of purple blooms to make me smile whenever I spot them.

Have you spied anything vibrant beginning with V lately?

Check out what Autumn has spied here, as well as atman.art.studio on Instagram.

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My I Spy: something beginning with ‘S’

It seems like the alphabet is slipping along now as the tail end sneaks into view. With so many things beginning with S to choose from, the hardest part was deciding what to share. Here is what I spied.

Shadows, Elizabeth Farm

Shadows, Elizabeth Farm

Shadows

The play of light and dark is of interest to me, and this photo was taken on a late winter afternoon at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta. The shadows are cast in part by the gnarled branches of a large frangipani tree, along with jacaranda branches waiting for the layers of leaves and blooms to bud.

Scorched, Hargraves Lookout

Scorched, Hargraves Lookout

Scorched

This burnt landscape is on the way to Hargraves Lookout, near Blackheath. The threat of bushfire is a constant part of mountain life. Vegetation control and back burning is used to minimise risk, but the reality is that bushfire is unpredictable, voracious and frightening. In recent travels to the northern beaches of Sydney and the mid north coast of the state, there were acres of scorched vegetation stretching into the distance. A sombre reminder of the danger of fire.

Snail

Snail at Blue Mountains Organic Co, Lithgow

Snail

I would not normally seek out snails for photographic purposes, but this giant snail, perched on the edge of a shelf, was too good to resist. It resides at the Blue Mountains Organic Co, a cafe in  Lithgow. I do have a close-up photo but it is mildly repellent so I’ll leave it for now.

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

This blue sheep is one of many garden ornaments in my Mum’s garden. They peek out from garden beds, lurk in the midst of flower arrangements and are suspended, in some instances, from trees. Gnomes are a popular choice, and the old cement gnomes of my childhood have had various coats of paint over the years. The sheep stands out for me, not only because of the vibrant hue, but it calls to mind an image in a story by fellow blogger and Writer in the Mist, Therese. You can find Therese’s blog here.

Shark Tank, water reservoir, Katoomba

Sharks on Tank, Katoomba

Sharks

Murals are increasingly popular and prevalent in the mountains. There is a side road in Katoomba which has recently been turned into a one-way street to make it safer for the foot traffic checking out the artistry on the walls. This underwater scene featuring toothy sharks is on a water reservoir on Narrow Neck Road.

Have you spotted anything spectacular starting with ‘S’ lately?

Keep an eye on Autumn’s insightful spying here, as well as atman.art.studio on Instagram – I loved her Jenny Kee photo. Recent highlights from Autumn include quacks and quaquaversal as well as reflections on the letter R. Next, it’s time for T.

[Photo: snowman spotted at Medlow Bath last winter]

Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta

Located on a rise that would have once commanded a view of the growing settlement of Parramatta, Elizabeth Farm remains a treasured property with its status of oldest European homestead in Australia. It is located near the Parramatta River, and construction commenced in 1793. The house had various additions over time and grew from a simple bungalow to a substantial homestead with servants quarters. It was the home for John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their family, before changing hands over the decades until it was purchased by the Swann family in 1904. It stayed in the Swann family until it was transferred to the Elizabeth Farm Museum Trust in 1968.

The property is now managed by Sydney Living Museums, and it feels much more like a living space than a typical house museum where there is much to see but access is firmly limited by thick red ropes. The property has been filled with replicas of period furniture, and you are invited to touch, sit, be at home and to have a unique experience in the house. Guided tours are available as well as iPads with additional content about the Farm for self-guided visitors. The content includes photos, newspaper reports and recollections from the time of the Macarthurs, and also from the Swann family whose occupancy played a significant part in the preservation of the property. They were a large family with nine daughters, only one of them married, and they used all of the extensive property between them.

But it is the property’s association with the Macarthur family that is primarily on display. From the the hall entrance off the wide verandah with the dining room on one side and the drawing room on the other, there are many references to the Macarthur family throughout the house. I was particularly taken by the smaller rooms at the end of each side of the front of the house with their windowed alcoves looking out into the garden. These sunlit rooms were a contrast to the bedrooms at the rear of the house, especially the blue room which is kept in shadow in reference to the difficult times that John Macarthur spent here when his mental health declined before his death in 1834.

There is much to enjoy in the shape of the house and the servants quarters, the courtyard and the gardens, along with the kitchen with its big old range and copper saucepans lined up along the mantle. The kitchen garden was inviting with hearty silver beet, including heritage varieties, their yellow and scarlet stalks translucent in the afternoon light. The garden is a joy, modelled on letters and diaries outlining the botanical delights of the garden in the 1830s. Spending time in this historic house is like heading back to an earlier era, and you can nearly forget that you are within an extensive business and residential area, just 23 kilometres from Sydney.

Have you been somewhere that made you feel as though you have stepped back in time recently?

[Photo: view of the front of Elizabeth Farm from the carriage loop]

My I Spy: Something beginning with ‘D’

In the past week I have been nearly spoilt for choice as I have kept an eye out for ‘D’ objects on my travels. A drive through the Megalong Valley on Saturday including spotting daffodils (they are just coming out and are beautiful) as well as donkeys resting in a paddock. Unfortunately the donkeys had scarpered by the time I had a chance to return to photograph them. So here is what I have spotted instead.

Dogs and doorknockers @ Katoomba

Dogs and Door-knockers

Dogs and Door-knockers

How could I resist? Two for one! Spotted this window at Katoomba featuring some impressive door-knockers, including two kookaburras on the far right, as well as cast iron dogs.

The Drummer

The Drummer

Drummer

This fine figurine was given to me by my brother who has a knack for quirky presents which become treasures. The air of concentration combined with the attention to detail make me smile whenever I spot him. March to your own beat.

Doorways at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta

Doorways at Elizabeth Farm

Doorways at Elizabeth Farm

One of my enduring obsessions when I’m looking to take a photo in a house is to frame a room with a doorway. Elizabeth Farm at Parramatta is the oldest colonial house in Sydney and is one of the most welcoming house museums I have been in. The furniture is modelled on the style of the relevant periods but it is replica – you are encouraged to sit, touch and relax in the surroundings. The shape of the house with its separate kitchen, servants quarters and courtyard provided many opportunities for photos of doorways. This is from the dining room looking through the entrance and into the drawing-room, the final door looking out onto the garden. A delight.

Diorama at Hydro Majestic Pavilion

Diorama at Hydro Majestic Pavilion

Diorama at Hydro Majestic Pavilion

This diorama contains a model version of the Hydro Majestic, reinforcing the sheer scope of the motel as it clings onto a kilometre of escarpment. It is located on the remnants of the old stage, and behind it are doors and screens from earlier periods.

With thanks again to Pip Lincolne for prompting me to play with her post, and my eagle-eyed blogger on this search, Autumn. And now I’m looking out for ‘E’.

Spying: A  B  C