Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Orange F.O.O.D. Week 2011: Millthorpe in the Evening

This area is famous for its sunsets, so as our cottage was set on a hill and facing west, we were looking forward to relaxing on our veranda with a glass of something local and enjoying the view.

However, it turned out to be more a case of put on hat and gloves, rush out onto veranda, photograph sunset, rush back inside and thaw out in front of the fire.
But it was still possible to enjoy a glass of something local.

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We then went out to dinner at the local (rather glamorous) pub for their steak and chips night.  Although it was just at the other end of our street, we drove, as it was so cold.  Because I travelled with cabin baggage only (to make a quick getaway from the airport for my gig when returning to Brisbane), I didn’t bring any heavy winter clothes.  Luckily, our cottage was equipped with some soft light blankets for snuggling up in front of the fire, so I borrowed this one to wear out to dinner.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Orange F.O.O.D. Week 2011: Orange in the afternoon.


The streets of Orange were lined with spectacular autumn colours.



Orange boasts many gracious buildings, including the vast Canobolas Hotel, where we had lunch the next day.  The hotel is presumably named after Mt Canobolas, the local hill.

At 1,395 metres, Mt Canobolas is the highest mountain in the central west region of NSW.  The name comes from two Aboriginal words, “coona” and “booloo” meaning two headed beast, or conjoined twins.  (I looked that bit up after I came home.)



Borrodell Vineyard, on the slopes of Mt Canobolas.  It snows here in winter.

Here, there are also cherry trees, plum trees, heritage apples and 500 Black Perigord truffle-bearing oaks.  We’ll have to come back in truffle season.


Brangayne Vineyard is also established on the slopes of Mt Canobolas.  Brangayne was the name of the wise handmaiden (with magical powers) of the Irish princess Isolde, in Wagner’s  opera Tristan and Isolde. 

In the opera, Isolde is being escorted by Sir Tristan from Ireland to Cornwall to become the bride of King Mark.  Unfortunately, Tristan and Isolde fall in love with each other.  To sort out this inconvenient situation in the only way they see possible, they ask Brangayne to prepare for them a Drink of Death.  Instead, Brangayne gives them a love potion which fills them with “irresistible longing” for each other – to me, this doesn’t seem to have been a particularly helpful plan.

However, it did provide the name for Brangayne Vineyard, as being a place where magical potions are prepared.

The following pictures were taken at Brangayne Vineyard, featuring their stunning Golden Ash trees.





I didn’t find myself in need of any magic potion to become thoroughly bewitched.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Orange F.O.O.D. Week 2011: Cook Park

Planted around 130 years ago, Cook park is “arguably one of NSW’s finest parks” (from the Orange 2011 Visitor Guide) and is classified by the National Trust.


IMG_8587Cook Park is also very English in character – the early settlers were obviously more nostalgic for the trees of their homeland than appreciative of Australian native trees and plants!



Right at the front gate was an English holly tree, covered in berries.



Holly tree.



It must have been disconcerting for the early settlers to have their holly with berries in April.



This tree (Cedrus Atlantica glauca) was planted in 1978 to commemorate the centenary of the first planting of trees in Cook Park in 1878.  So this tree is over 30 years old.

In fact, it was to come and have a closer look at this very striking tree that we came into the park at all.



Flowers of Cedrus Atlantica glauca.



Orange was ablaze with these stunning Golden Ash trees.



Cook Park colour.



Cook Park colour up closer.



Nestled in the park was the delightful art deco Alf Blowes begonia conservatory (1934).  We were lucky to catch the end of the begonia season – the flowers were magnificent!


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Begonias are endemic to rainforests in South America, where they are now endangered in the wild.  The name “begonia” was given to this genus to honour Michel Begon (1683-17100), a French botanist who collected begonias from Santo Domingo while stationed there with the French Navy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Orange F.O.O.D. Week April 2001: Millthorpe in the Morning

The entire exquisite village of Millthorpe, established during the NSW pioneering era, is classified by the National Trust.  The village centre has cobbled, bluestone-bordered streets and splendid buildings of heritage architecture.  At 965m above sea level, Millthorpe experiences four distinct seasons, with snow in winter.
The village was established as an agricultural community around 1867, after the discovery of payable gold at nearby Ophir in 1851.  The local farmers decided that a Flour Mill would be an astute investment for the community.  The Mill was originally planned to be built at nearby Spring Hill, but the site was changed to Millthorpe (then called Spring Grove) by one vote, as some of the Spring Hill farmers failed to attend the meeting.  To reflect the importance of the town boasting the Flour Mill, the name of the village was then changed to Millthorpe.
We were lucky to be there in autumn, with vibrant cool-climate foliage.  But the temperature to us felt like the dead of winter!
Suitably rugged up, but still freezing, we set out for an early morning walk.
Out the back door.

Fresh figs in the back garden.

Millthorpe cottage.

The “ascending march of verandas up Pym Street” – very similar to how it would have looked c 1920, apart, of course, from cars, TV aerials and wheelie bins.

The Railway Hotel, established in the early 1900s, glowed a brilliant orange, rivalling the stunning autumn trees.

Millthorpe Railway Station, built in 1886.
When the railway station was built, Millthorpe became one of the largest rail centres in NSW, shipping flour, chaff and later peas and potatoes  to Sydney and other markets.
As the 20th century arrived, chaff was no longer required, and the grain industry and potato market both relocated.  Thus, the beautiful historical buildings of Millthorpe were left alone as development bypassed the village, and Millthorpe almost died.  It was only in the late 20th century with the rise of the food, wine and tourism industries that Millthorpe has been rediscovered and newly appreciated.

“If God didn’t make little green apples…..”

Autumn vine.

Autumn leaves.

Grand Western Lodge
This is a former pub which has now, we were told, been converted into a mental hospital.

Somehow, it seems sacreligious to hang washing on a balcony like this.

IMG_8528   Morning shadows

Bank of NSW.
This is now a B&B.

Home again.

Orange F.O.O.D. Week April 2011: Day 1.

The F.O.O.D. (Food of Orange District) Week celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

John, Judy and i flew from Brisbane to Sydney, then drove from Sydney to Millthorpe, 27 km east of Orange, where we were staying.

  IMG_8396Brisbane Airport

Apparently it is easier to make a sign than to fix the door lock.

I know we live “down under” but that doesn’t mean  everything is back to front and upside down here.


IMG_8417In Katoomba, we had lunch at the Common Ground restaurant, run by the Twelve Tribes community.  This Christian community lives and works together, sharing possessions in common, with an emphasis on high moral values and caring for each other.  See www.twelvetribes.com

The food is wholesome and delicious – Judy and I had pumpkin soup with their own crusty bread – just perfect for the weather, which was windy and freezing.



The Three Sisters, Echo Point, Katoomba, Blue Mountains.



The Three Sisters from further back.


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The Three Sisters with John and Judy.


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The beanie that May, our next door neighbour, knitted for me, was put to good use.  Although sunny, it was bitingly cold and blowing a gale.

After Katoomba, we stopped in Bathurst for a cup of tea, then continued on to our cottage in Millthorpe.



Our cottage was delightfully appointed.  This is John and Judy’s room.


IMG_8464 My room.



Dining room.



Leadlight on the back door.



Welcoming cheese platter.  There was also a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge. 

We drove into Orange for some groceries.  It is a very pretty town, with some beautiful autumn foliage.  It was also very cold!  Brisbane had a top temperature of 27 degrees that day, while Orange’s temperature varied between 4 and 11.  What a shock!


IMG_8482Our first day concluded with a very civilised dinner in our cosy dining room.