Ken has never forgotten being taken on picnics with his family as an 8 year old boy, with his little sister. They often went to New Gisborne which is about an hour's drive from Melbourne these days, but 60 years ago it would have taken a lot longer, with no free ways and many unmade roads. The picnic ground they used to go to is still there, and today we drove up there, as Ken wanted to try and find an old house he remembered playing in as a child.
It was a perfect day for a drive into the country. We stopped at the Gisborne township for lunch - chips for him and French toast for me.
Further along the street I found a shoe shop that was selling the same shoes that I recently bought in Eltham, but for $10 cheaper! So I bought another two pairs - they are so comfortable, and as I was already wearing red clothes, I left the red shoes on all day, and I could have kept them on indefinitely!
After that nice little interlude, we drove out of Gisborne and found the park that Ken's family used to visit all those years ago.
Here is Ken walking along the road, immersed in his memories. He learned to ride a bicycle here, and saw his very first platypus in the creek.
We drove for miles along these roads, seeing no other cars and very few houses. It was so quiet and peaceful. Every so often we would stop and I'd take a couple of photos, like these, which don't do the views justice.
I leaned on this gate to have my photo taken, and Ken was going to pose for me, leaning against the fence adjoining it, but....
He only got a small zap, but I got a bigger fright, wondering if his ICD (defibrillator) would react! He seems okay, but it will be interesting to see if anything shows up next time he goes to the Austin hospital for his regular check up!
He couldn't find the house he was looking for, so we went back to Gisborne and checked out their library. We were introduced to the ladies of the local historical society, who were very interested to hear about Ken's childhood experiences. They sent us around the corner to the local newspaper office where there were three more people who knew even more about the local history, and they knew the house that Ken was talking about. It was actually the first house built in that area, in 1864, and several generations of the original family lived there, but as the older family members died and the younger ones moved away, the house was left to rot, and was eventually demolished and the land sold. When Ken first saw it, it was empty, but still in good condition, but on subsequent visits, he remembers seeing it vandalised and falling down, and that was why he was keen to find out the story behind it.
Gisborne is just one of many little country towns around Victoria that has a lot of history attached to it. I know what Australians call history is laughable compared to England, Europe and Asian countries, but it's our history and we are proud of it!
This court house was built in 1856 and is well preserved, as is the little bluestone jail behind it.
We are planning to make the most of Melbourne's glorious spring days and go on more of these day trips. One of the best things about being retired!