One of the first actions the town's people took in the middle of the Millennial Drought was to create a farmers and producers market in 2004. Held on the second Sunday of the month in Girgarre Park, there are about 100 stalls, including flowers grown by local grower Duncan Roderick and the fragrant honey from local apiarist Gary Beavis. One of the things that distinguishes this market is the chook auction. More than 500 chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, quails plus the odd ostrich are auctioned from 9am to noon. The auction is held by local livestock agent Les Mitchell, a man with a big voice and the gift of the gab.
The Girgarre Memorial Hall is a flurry of activity as the women of the town prepare for the unveiling of their five handmade quilts. Every tiny panel of fabric has been hand dyed or painted and stitched to create tableaux depicting the past, present and future of the little town. The unveiling is on May 11 and coincides with a special two-day quilting workshop called The Painted Landscape being held by internationally renowned quilter Gloria Loughman. Attendees will need to bring their own sewing machine, but morning and afternoon tea, plus lunch, will be catered for by the local community.
Girgarre Memorial Hall, May 11-12, $250 a person, book at girgarrequiltworkshop.eventbrite.com.au
World-renowned audio-visual artist Robin Fox is coming to Girgarre on June 9, when he is creating an amazing laser show called The Great Girgarre Constellation in the memorial hall. He is also shooting a 200-metre-long laser beam down the main street in a work called The Girgarre White Beam. Starts shortly after sunset.
Call 0415 581 135 for details or book tickets at girgarre.com.au
Although the town might not look much at first sight, its real beauty lies in its people. Girgarrians are truly warm, giving and hospitable. Behind the memorial hall is a camping site where grey nomads and backpackers are welcome to camp free for four nights. "We love this little town," say Queenslanders Fred and Maree Henrichsen, who had pulled up in their caravan. They are contemplating returning for the Jigaree Jammin, held on the fourth Saturday of the month, an afternoon of music, song and workshops held at the hall.
For camping information contact campaspe.vic.gov.au
There used to be a railway station at Girgarre. Until the 1970s gorgonzola and romano-style cheeses made at the cheese factory were loaded onto trains and sent across Australia and around the world. Now the railway easement is a three-kilometre walking trail that leads through the sugar gums, past the cenotaph and the soldier settlement memorial. For now it is a peaceful spot for a stroll, the serenity broken by the sound of earthworks for the new cheese factory being built next to the abandoned one.
Next Week: Deer Park
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Copyright Richard Cornish 2017
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter