the foot of picturesque Mount Shadwell,
is located in the heart of the vast pastoral area of the Western District
of Victoria. This vibrant rural township's heritage is still evident today,
featuring numerous historic bluestone buildings which date from the mid
19th century, many of which are classified by the National Trust. Probably
the largest collection of these buildings is located in Mortlake's Shaw
St. Bluestone Precinct, the second most prominent in the South West region.
Complementing this is the area's
rare geological formations and precious wildlife.
visitors first come to Mortlake they are greeted by a sign claiming Mortlake
as the Olivine capital of Australia. Olivine is a mineral formed in the
area more than a million years ago deep under the earth's crust, and is
today used by the local Shire as a road surfacing material. Large pieces
of the rock are called bombs and are usually egg shaped with a rough, pitted
surface similar to the outer casing of agate. When cut open the sparkling
green Olivine crystals are found. Mortlake
is known to have the largest deposits of Olivine (pronounced oliv-een)
in Australia. Olivine is a gem made
up of sparkling green crystals which can be found in the Mount Shadwell
Quarry and is used in construction or made into some very attractive jewelry.
area also includes some very unique and diverse wildlife, ranging from
the Eastern Barred Bandicoot colony near Hexham through to the Peregrine
Falcons at The Peak near Dundonnell. Other birdlife includes various species
of Parrots, waterfowl, Kingfishers and Honeyeaters, not to mention the
area also features the intriguing Striped Legless Lizard, which is, unfortunately,
an endangered species due to the reduction of its natural habitat of dense
tussocks of Kangaroo Grass or Spear Grass. On top of this are the Koalas,
Kangaroos, Emus, Platypus, Wallabies and other native animals.
is also within easy reach of the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians
(Gariwerd) and the Goldfields. This
makes a quick road trip an easy and worth while
way to spend a day. There are many
places to stay in the area and all of them are
comfortable havens from the troubles
of the weary traveller. And with its natural
and historical attractions no one
can deny that Mortlake is well worth a visit. .
Majestic Old Buildings
below are the many fantastic bluestone buildings that can be found
in the township of Mortlake, though there are so many others to be found
in the surrounding area. For a better guide to their location contact the
Mortlake Visitor Information Centre at 108 Dunlop Street, Mortlake or phone
03 5599 2899.
While in Mortlake, stop for a
snack in the friendly atmosphere in one of the oldest buildings in the
region Celtic House. After being a derelict building for 20 years, Celtic
House has been refurbished and now holds two tea rooms and a gift area
and boasts the title of "the most unique coffee shop in the country". Using
an Irish theme and decorated with African ornaments it is a must to visit
while in the Olivine capital.
area is bristling with facilities that cater for those with the sporting
urge, be it squash at the Activity Centre, football, cricket and tennis
at DC Farran Oval, swimming at the Mortlake Swimming Baths, fishing be
it at Tea Tree Lake or the Hopkins river, golfing at the Mortlake or Framlingham
Golf Courses, horse racing at the Mortlake Racecourse, skateboarding, motorcycling,
basketball, netball or athletics.
which is located 1.5 km to the north of the town, is one of the many scoria
volcanoes found in the southwest. It is made up of a cluster of up to four
eruption points that have formed cones of scoria that overlap, all of which
are thoght to have formed within the last million years.
Opened in 1873.
Erected at a cost of 400 pounds.
Donated and opened by Thomas Shaw in 1893.
Old Post Office
This building was opened in 1864
and served as the Mortlake Post Office until 1912.
This bluestone building was constructed
in 1864, It has a "D" classification by the National Trust.
Built in 1877 at a cost of 1057
Andrews Uniting Church
Opened in 1862.
James Anglican Church
Built in 1862, opened in 1865.
Built in 1867.
Church & Old Primary School
Founded in 1857 by the Presbyterian
Church and was used as both Church and School until 1861.
This wind powered flour mill was
established in 1856. The impressive chimney was added in 1861.
These historic cottages date back
to the 1860's.
Commenced in 1883 and finished in
The Attractive bluestone cottage
was built in the 1870's.
This fine example of basalt masonry
was built in 1867 and has a "c" classification for it's simplicity of design.
The double-storey bluestone stables
were used by early travellers and Mount Shadwell Hotel patrons to stow
their horses in while they enjoyed the Hotels hospitality. Today the stables
have been transformed into a quality motel. Adjoining it is the popular
hotel which was established in 1842 and licensed in 1855.
The scoria comes from beneath
the earths crust and is ejected as particles ranging in size from ash (up
to 4mm), lapilli (4 to 32mm) and finally blocks or bombs (ranging from
32mm upwards). The bombs are often egg shaped due to their solidifying
from a liquid or semi liquid form as they plummet through the air.
few of these bombs when broken are full of a sparkling green crystal which
is known as olivine. At Mount Shadwell these crystals also contain two
types of pyroxene crystals. The quarry supplies the scoria and olivine
as budget material for road maintenance and construction. Olivine can also
be made into fine jewelry.
way to take a trip into the past, apart from building a time machine, is
to come and visit the Koonendah Private Museum, which is located on the
Noorat Rd, The Sisters. The museum was originally The Sisters Presbyterian
Church, which was purchased in the late 1980's with the intent of housing
a collection of old family furniture, items and memorabilia.
For a chance to go olivine fossicking
please contact the Mortlake Visitor Information Centre on 03 5599 2899.
Museum was moved in 1990 to its present site in a pleasant garden setting
and a variety of fascinating items have since been gathered, ranging from
musical instruments to military items. Visits can be organised by phoning
Tom & Bev on 03 5592 6240. Not to be missed!
© The Gateway BBS Camperdown
Art & John Hamilton