Walking in Tower Hill

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Some 30,000 years ago a volcano erupted in s.w. Victoria, Australia.   As hot magna rose up from deep in the earth it came in contact with the subterranean water table.    A violent explosion followed and created the shallow crater lakes and islands that are now known as Tower Hill.  Artefacts found in the volcanic ash layers show that Aboriginals were living in the area at the time of the eruption.

Europeans arrived in the area in the late 1830s.  Tower Hill contains some of the most fertile soil in Australia so the early settlers cleared the natural forest to graze stock.   The aboriginals lived in an uneasy truce alongside the whites and can be seen camping in the foreground of this 1855 painting by the artist Eugene von Guerard.

http://ianluntresearch.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/von-guerard-tower-hill-1855.jpg?w=634&h=357

The area was declared Victoria’s first national park in 1892 but little was done to protect it.  By the 1960s relentless land clearing and over grazing meant the place was severely eroded and degraded – there was even a rubbish dump in the area.  Around this time von Guerard’s painting, which had been held in a private collection,  was donated to the local regional gallery and went on public display for the first time.    His accurate depiction of the vegetation before the land was cleared inspired environmentalists to undertake the massive task of regenerating the area. These days descendants of the original Aboriginal tribe, the Gundjitmara people, manage the area.

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As the forest returned the native animals returned of their own accord.

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Going for a walk in Tower Hill – the bush closes in,

outside noises drop away – birds sing,

the wind murmurs through the trees.

At this time of the year the wattle is in flower.

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Depending on the day the light can be golden DSCN8650 DSCN8656015 - Copy (2)

or it can be shadowy and mysterious 013 - Copy

Water is never far away

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and reflections hover in the stillness DSCN8738

Alone in the bush an energy asserts itself – the energy of renewal –  of regeneration  –    of hope

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Prompt:  Jo’s Monday Walk

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28 thoughts on “Walking in Tower Hill

  1. This is a stunning post, Suzanne. “Depending on the day, the light can be golden” would go well with Ron’s challenge too 🙂 “In the light of art, a dying landscape is reborn” sums it up perfectly.

    1. Oh I am glad you found this post Paula. I hoped you would. I did think about posting more bush images for the challenge but by then I was fixated on writing about the underground city.

        1. You’ve got me searching through my archived photos on Tower Hill – there are lots that show the golden light in the forest. I will make a post of them and link to your challenge.

  2. A great post, and a wonderful story. The uses of art eh? Both Warsaw and Dresden were reconstructed using 18th century paintings, and now Australian landscape. Photos and words do justice to the place and its history. How close is it to home?

    1. Tower Hill is about 10 k from here. 🙂 How amazing that Warsaw and Dresden were reconstructed from paintings. Have you blogged about it?

        1. I went to your link. What a fascinating post. I really enjoyed it. Particularly the details about how it was painted. How interesting that the artist used a camera obscura. Maybe all the greats of that era did – that means we can stop beating ourselves up about not being perfect at drawing.

  3. Truly fabulous! Thank you so much, Suzanne 🙂 My favourite bits- the haibu is beautiful- and that light on the water through the tree- glorious! I’m so chuffed you’ve walked with me. I saw you in my Inbox earlier and was planning to visit as soon as I could. And here you are! Thanks, again 🙂

    1. Gosh – what a quick reply. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. (the layout is a bit weird – WordPress is playing tricks on me).
      I just left a comment on your blog about your walk – it looks positively magical.

      1. It’s raining gazillions here so I’m trying to get ahead of the game on the blog 🙂 WP has been messing again. Earlier today i had no Header photo. I thought your layout was for effect so now worries 🙂

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