Wednesday, March 30, 2016



While we were sleeping in after the Ghost Tour, (actually  I did not get to sleep well after hearing all those spooky tales!)  May was already up early and  she decided to walk up to the cricket ground (which was pointed out by the guide last night) by herself. 

long isolated hike to the cricket ground.

the ghostly cricket grounds empty and flat on top of the mountain.......
imagine the horsepower and manpower to level this place for the love of English cricket

She said it has some great views up there...

After checking out of the hotel, we drove around to view those "ghostly" sites mentioned last night during the tour.

heritage building the Windsor Hotel.
If you are "good", you can see little Emily sitting on the top left window!! 
She was burnt to death when her long hair caught fire with the candlestick and her "ghost" has been seen sitting at the window, playing with her hair!!!  By the way look the door  upstairs... one that open up  to nothing but straight down... what a death trap!  

the Shrine memorial of Walhalla...

the Band Rotunda - from where you can hear the faint music of the band playing.

the unusual Walhalla Cemetery, notice how its perched high on the steep mountain slope. 
It is rumoured that the coffins were buried standing upright. However the guide told us that's not true. But to see over 1100 graves make you realise the extreme hardship and difficulties that the miners faced those days.
The guide also told us about the bride Rhoda living at Spetts Cottage. Rhoda was jilted at the altar and people have seen "her" wandering in her wedding dress crossing the road! And in fact one of the lady in our group that night also affirmed that she had seen an aparition in her own wedding photograph where she held it at the Spetts Cottage. Well, these spooky tales told in the middle of the night were really frightening.  
But the tour was really more a heritage walk in the dark as the guide lead us through the town and it was a very good way to know the history of Walhalla. 

the Train Station was closed due to the accident yesterday.

Thus ended our weekend trip.  

On the highway back, we saw this sign and decided to stop by..

Could not hear any music....all was very  quiet ...

No,  it is not another "ghost" building.   
We were informed by the handsome guy that normally they have singing/muscial performances some sort of "open mic" sessions. 

Workshop and museum of musical instruments...they also do restoration and tuning of the pianos.

the "baby" piano 

the "grand" piano..
Bought these pretty bookmarks.

We had our dinner at Woodstock Pizza in Lygon Street back in the city.  

the cured hams and the cheese!

waiting for the rest of family to arrive

Deep fried calamaries
We also ordered the Arancini rice balls - cheesy rice balls... devoured before I remember to take photo.

mushroom pizza

eggplants pizza

prosciutto pizza and also a 4 cheese pizza 
These are worth the waiting, though a bit too long even though it says cooking time 3-4 minutes only!

So by the time we finished dinner, it was rather late and windy as well.  The purpose of having dinner in the city was to find and see the neon sign of Little Audrey at Victoria Street in Abbotsford!   

The Little Skipping girl- a popular feature in Melbourne - even in their stamps and souvenirs!.
The sign belongs to the Nycander Company, a producer of malt vinegar called "Skipping Girl Brand Pure Malt Vinegar".   This was Australia first animated neon sign in 1936. The sign was later dubbed as "Little Audrey", a commonly used phrase in Australia at the time and in the Little Audrey stories, the girl was wide-eye and naive. The original sign was removed when the building was demolished and this is the new sign and it came under the Heritage List now.  This sign is lit by  solar energy now  and it comes alive only at night.   

Sunday, March 27, 2016



Find it rather hard to have positive thoughts at night after the  ghost tour .....
in fact could not sleep well!!!hahaha

We started our trip early morning... yes,  temperature going up and we are glad to escape to the cool mountain.

Coffee stop midday 

love this- drink your coffee with chocolate... yummylicious and yes it was dark chocolate..

entering Ghost Town now...... 
the surroundings were quiet and seemed like we were the only one going along the road.....  
Walhalla is about 133 km from east of Melbourne city and take about 2 hours drive.  Gold was discovered in this deep valley on 26/12/1862 by Ned Stringer. During the boom period from 1863 until 1914, the settlement was one of the richest gold areas in Australia and  there were over 3,500 residents but now there are only about 20 permanent residents, but the figures could be more on weekends with families visiting back here, for example our guide for the ghost tour was a 4th generation and he came back on weekends to conduct the tour.     

There is even a  barrister office  and dental clinic in the town.

Our accommodation -the elegant boutique Star Hotel which was refurnished and re-opened in 1999.
The original Star hotel  built in 1873 was destroyed by fire caused by a faulty hot water service (not sure whether there were any deaths).  However we can only check in after 2 pm as the door was locked.   The facade is a replica of the original intricate ironworks..

So we went to next door... the GreyHorse cafe which premises was formerly a barn.

their popular pies and sausage rolls...and coffee of course. 

Opposite the GreyHorse Cafe is the Band Rotunda. 

The bank is an important form of entertainment for the miners on weekends. 
The guide told us that people staying at the Star Hotel have reported hearing sounds of band playing  in the night!! (so tell me, how can I have a peaceful sleep after hearing that?)

People Choice Award winning Hotel..

Do you know that there are other "Walhalla" around the world?
Walhalla  meaning "the Valley of Gods"

As we were checking in, we were told by the guy  that there have been an accident at the train station. Apparently one of the service men's leg  was caught by the engines and had to be taken by helicopter to the hospital!! What a nasty accident and we were told most probably there will be no train service tomorrow. This is the steam train goes around the mountains of Walhalla.    

Our room could open to this small garden. 

big high ceiling rooms with air-con...a blessing as it cut off the noise and the creepies crawlies 

Ferrero Rocher -sweet welcome 

bright spacious toilets.. 

After refreshing ourselves, we decided to take a walk around ..

part of the fireplace of the Junction Hotel ...
socalled because it was located at the junction of the road

remaining wall of the Junction Hotel.  

Most of the houses were either pulled down and shipped to other towns while some were abandoned as the mine closed down and people started to move away.
The guide told us that some purposely burnt down their houses to claim insurance from the government before they left.  Later they were not allow to claim anything unless they re-built the house on the same spot... what a smart move by the government.

This is one of most successful gold mine -over 13 tonnes were produced in this mine until it closed in 1914!
The building on the right is the school and this is area where most people were able to capture aparitions on photographs during the Ghost tour!!  We did not take any photographs at all during the tour ... guess it is not our Chinese habit to do so.   The children have a hard life and infant mortality rate was high too... imagine walking in cold winter to the school and there are as many children's graves as there are adults in the cemetery.  

inside the ticketing office .... beautiful tea-towels. 

the crusher.... how the rocks are crush before they can find the specks of gold within. 

Now its helmets we have to take when ready to go down the tunnel. I can imagine the miners getting their cap and a candle for their shift!

We were given these gauze caps to wear beneath the helmets ... for cleanliness sake! 

ready to go inside the bowels of the earth

dank wet underground tunnel which extended to a depth of 923 metres below to the machinery chamber which is some 150 metres below the natural surface.  The machinery chamber where the  gold is separated and the melted down.  There is an inclined air shaft which was driven out to the side of the mountain which we saw later at night during the Ghost tour as we had climbed up the path on the side of the mountain where the horses carried the heavy load.  The horses were lowered down the shaft with all legs tied together and there, they will stay to work until they died.  Really such pitiful lives for the animals as well.       

Mr. Richard demonstrating how the miners drilled the holes in the rock wall.....lots of accidents could happened when the hammer hit the hands instead of the iron rod which the other person is holding. Don't forget that the miners did not have electricity at that time and only one candle is all they have for a shift! 

The tour took about 45 minutes and we were glad to be back in the open air. 

One last look .... 

Walhalla Fire Station... 

the Lolly Shop... 

old David Bowie poster 

this is the bank vault where gold were stored 

the General store 

the Walhalla pub. 
The Star Hotel also offers breakfast and dinner as well.   Best to make reservations before dinner otherwise could be fully booked for the weekend.    

the postmaster living quarters
We went back to  hotel shortly 

wood heater 

you can borrow the cds and books from the hotel. 

having a cuppa of tea in the classic living room 

free coffee and tea and chocolates......

We decided to drive around the surrounding towns to see what we can have for an early dinner before the ghost tour.

Thomson River Bridge - part of the railway trail.  
When the river floods, the water would reach the bottom of the lattice girder. 
There were some camping grounds nearby as well.

The nearest towns are Rawson and Erica. These are small townships and we could not find any nice restaurants in Rawson and finally managed to find this general store in Erica that was still opened.  

the dining area and the other side is the general store and post-office. 

knick-knacks for sale..

pre-loved books for sale... 

Ice-cold original Australian made Ginger Beer...

Our "All-day breakfast set" for dinner...good value meals.

Full tummies and happy faces.

After dinner, its time to drive back to Walhalla.  My sister had bought tickets for the Ghost Tour, a night tour around Walhalla.  We gather at the General Store  by 8pm.  There is  small museum attached to the store and you can find a lot of the article from the "golden" age.  The guide was a 4th (or was it the 6th generation and I cannot recall his name!) of the printing store. There were 12 of us that night and we were each given a LED light lantern and soon on the way out.  Now this is the only place in Walhalla where you walk in the middle of the road without any fear of traffic on a Saturday night.  As the guide led us through the township, he related to us stories of the lives and hardship of the early settlers and also the testimonies of witnesses to the ghostly aparitions as well.