Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gold Rush: Blanche Barkly a story in the landscape

Encouraged and inspired by storyteller and friend Susan Pepper and of course, the amazing Margaret Read McDonald (Twenty Tellable Tales), I have been working on a series of Tellable Australian Tales. One of these is the story of the 'Blanche Barkly'.
In 1857, the ‘Blanche Barkly’ was the largest gold nugget found in Victoria.

The names of some of the famous nuggets makes for humorous reading.

I have just returned from a trip to Kingower where the BB was unearthed. There is now a winery bearing the name of the nugget, who I should mention was named in honour of the daughter of Governor Barkly. There are many 'Barkly Streets' in the older parts of Melbourne - no doubt named after the G.

I visited the Kingower cemetery to see if I could learn more about the story and found myself in a peaceful and beautiful environment - stones and paths thick with wild flowers: calocephalus, wahlenbergia and arthropodium (don't you love the names.)

Then I stumbled across the grave of Mary Anne Catto 1862. The Catto's co-owned the store at the Kingower field and the claim from which the BB was found was just behind the Catto and Forbes store. Could Mary Anne be part of the story I wonder?

Now I really want to try one of those wines!

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