Saturday 27 November 2021

Heesco Town aka Yarram, Victoria

Coming home from Sale we took the south road because I had seen a brochure for Yarram. Also known as Heesco Town, it is a town full of murals by the street artist Heesco.

Heesco Khosnaran is a Mongolian-born street artist who moved to Australia more than twenty years ago and has become a well respected street artist and silo painter.

He was asked by a local artist to paint a mural on the inside walls of the Bull Bar and Gallery in Yarram. This led to the vision of having the whole town painted, then he was stuck in Yarram during the lock-down and the rest, as they say, is history. In fact he is still painting and was 'at work' the day we were there.

Unlike Benalla these paintings are inside and outside buildings and many centre on local history, from First Nation to refugees. One moving work was paid for by the Vietnamese man who owns the bakery and is painted along his side wall. He had been a boat person and decided that this was the best way he could thank the town and Australia for all he had received since arriving here.

We didn't see many of the interior ones but these are some of the exterior wall murals.

 A recent mural in the park commemorates the part volunteers and others have played in the last two years, with bush fires and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a Thank You to all the frontline workers  who have cared for Victorians, and was commissioned by Office of the Governor of Victoria.

Visit Yarram and see how Heesco has transformed a small town into a big attraction. I did see a couple of the indoor murals but was unable to photograph them so there is more to see!

Great job Heesco and committee of volunteers!

The Archibald Prize and a Visit to Sale

 A trip to Sydney to see the entrants in the Archibald Prize, Australia's leading award for portraiture was on the planning radar but border closures cancelled those plans. What a surprise to find that the exhibition was going to Sale in Gippsland. Another small opportunity to travel.

Getting to Gippsland in mid October without going through Greater Melbourne was nigh on impossible but we arrived without too much stress. A look at the shops indicated that business was improving and, even better for us, many restaurants were open (with restricted numbers).

The Burito Bar was our dinner choice and what a pleasure it was; fun, tasty food, friendly service and only five tables. Business was saved by an extremely busy take-away and home delivery service.

Next morning we took a pleasurable boat ride on the waterways. The " EMV Rubeena" is a fully restored 110 year old boat and the captain had an extensive knowledge of all facets of the area and an entertaining way of presenting it. This trip comes highly recommended.

After a quick lunch it was off to the Gippsland Art Gallery at the Port of Sale where we spent 2.5 hours looking at the Archibald Prize 2021 portraits, and later some other art. I was a little disappointed with the Archibalds, not so much with the quality of the work but I felt the selection was very contrived. Two or three artists from all the so called minority groups made me suspicious about the selection process.

These were my favourites.

Repose by Mirra Whale

Gareth Sansom by Benjamin Aitken

Trent mango tree, all the colours of the rainbow, Trent by Victoria Atkinson

Del Kathryn Barton is a good listener by Matthew Clarke

Me and my sisters by Eunice Djerrknu Yunupinu

Artist - Joe Ferlonger by Jun Chen

Blak Douglas by Euan Macleod

Fozzy by Julian Meagher

The Winner - Guy Warren at 100 by Peter Wegner

Apprentice - self portrait with Papa K (aka I do see colour) by Matthew Lynn

Portrait of Timothy Vernon Moore by James Morrison

In the end, I believe the best portrait won despite its potential emotional selection. Guy Warren is a previous Archibald Prize winner (1985) but this year he was the subject of the portrait, celebrating his 100 years.

We finished our visit with a look at the amazing works by Annemieke Mein.


The opportunity for some retail therapy after nearly two years with nothing but on-line shopping was enjoyed. Not one of my favourite things, this was a novelty!

Then  quick trip to the coast at Golden Beach.

Another chance to escape my own cooking, we ate at Khatti Curry Lounge and enjoyed hot, hot curries and Indian beer.

Our two nights at the Matador Motel made for a much needed and much enjoyed break from all the restrictions of the previous 19 months. Sale is a great spot for a get-away with lots of walks, historic features, gardens and more to entertain you.

We came home via Yarram so read my next blog to see what we did there!

Friday 22 October 2021

Pandemic, Pandemonium and a short stay in Warrnambool

The COVID-19 pandemic rolls on and along with it the constant changing of restrictions and new 'important' actions for us to follow. Terms like 'social distancing', wearing face masks, curfews, 'get the jab' and more took some keeping up with. 
Are we allowed to cross into the 'border bubble', can we visit, just where is the edge of the Greater Melbourne lock-down area, how many can gather and where? So confusing!

Sign in whenever you enter a public location, now get the Service Victoria app, you need photo ID proof of residence to enter this cafe, do you have your Double Vaccination certificate? These things change weekly and now we are having to request proof of vaccination from our Travellers social group. It seems that entry to most public places is dependent on producing evidence of vaccination. No Vax, no entry!

With all these restrictions the Delta version of the virus has still caused greater problems in Victoria with much higher infection numbers and more deaths, especially in younger people. 

The tension continues despite the fact that Melbourne was released from its long lock-down on Friday. The city has spent more than 260 days in lock-down. Victoria has reached the required vaccination rate to allow this to happen. It is expected that we will reach 80% double vaccinated and 90% single vax by next week-end, and this will mark the beginning of what has always been called 'the new normal.'
Victoria will be aligned with the Federal regulations and the Roadmap to Recovery. That will be a great relief in one sense as the damage done to inter-state relations & rivalries has been enormous.

Our Travellers group has had to cancel two more planned trips. First to fall was ten days in Broken Hill and surrounds, then the Cowra, Bathurst & Mudgee trip was cancelled (for the second time).

Personally we have managed a three night trip to Warrnambool in August, mainly to re-visit the McNamara/Macnamara family history locations and search for more leads on the elusive first arrival in Australia in about 1854.

                      Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and Museum

  Tower Hill was where the original McNamara family originally settled. It is an        inactive volcano, the crater is 3 kms wide and 80 metres high. It is now a State    Game Reserve.

    The Tower Hill Common School at Koroit is a building of historic importance

    Hopkins Falls were in flood when we visited, a spectacular 90 metres wide and       only a 12 metre fall.

   We visited both Tower Hill and Warrnambool cemeteries and were thrilled to find    a burial place we had been looking for for years. We have arranged to have a        plaque placed here to commemorate this 2x great grandfather.

                                     Us visiting Warrnambool relatives

It was good to get away from home for a couple of days but not really like a normal visit as many shops were shut, the restaurants were closed and even the fish and chip shop we planned to go to was closed. 

Difficult times for all but especially for tourist towns.