For someone who has spent her entire life in western Victoria and Melbourne, Gippsland was another world. I went there once when I was 14, when my dad attended a job interview for a school in Traralgon. I remember a haze over the town, a funny smell and one of the teacher nuns whom we knew from Ararat say, “It’s the ends of the earth”. We moved back to Geelong instead.
Then I meet a boy from Leongatha, and I soon found myself spending quite a bit of time going through towns like Tooradin, Kooweerup (home of big drains and asparaguses), Loch and Bena. Lots of hills, green grass and cows were my first impressions of South Gippsland. My other impression was his mum’s slices :).
We don’t go down as much, but we went down on the weekend to catch up with old family friends, participate in a charity walk for MS and spend the night with my sister-in-law at Toora, home of windmills and more cows.
Kerry my sister-in-law has a huge backyard in which the kids ran amok. Miss BG played with the dogs, helped feed Layla the horse, while Master BG, refrained and swung on the tire. We visited Kerry’s primary school which has just been rebuilt, and her neighbour Don, who had a 4-day old calf, a dalamation called Lucky (we called him Bottomley Potts, all covered in Spots) and a tractor!
We returned laden with homemade tomato pickle, tomato sauce and a pumpkin. Miss BG slept most of the way home, and I had a nanna nap going through Melbourne. In all, a great family weekend!
And for further reading, I heartily recommend…
Blue above the trees– story of a pioneer life in Gippsland. The title refers to the sky which was only visible on tracks, as the forests were so densely packed.
Lady of the Swamp– true crime/mystery set in South Gippsland. I later learned Mr BG used to live on a farm in Tarwin Lower very close to the scene of the crime.