has a population of 120
and a huge railway station. This is because the states
of Victoria and South Australia had different railway
gauges (the distance between each track on a railway
line). South Australia had standard gauge (4 ft 8 1⁄2
inches) and Victoria had broad gauge (5ft 3 inches).
This meant that all passengers and all goods had to
change trains on the border. Serviceton Station was
where this happened. It was in use for almost 100 years
(1889 - 1981). We arrived at the station and nobody was
around. After a while, a rather rough looking man came
over and just stood near us. I was a little unsettled by
his unexplained presence so I asked him if he knew
whether there were tours of the station available.
"Yeah, I can show yous around" was his drawled response.
Whereupon a large bunch of keys was retrieved from his
pocket and he opened the front door and spent the next
hour or so showing us every aspect of the station. At
its height, it included a kitchen for customers'
refreshments, dining area, ladies closet and waiting
areas, booking rooms for Victoria and South Australia,
general waiting areas and a customs office. In the
basement were large cellars for storage, guard areas, a
mortuary for bodies being shipped across the border and
a lock-up which was used for prisoners who were being
transported interstate. We were shown all these aspects
of the building and also the small flat for the use of
the Station Master. We found out that this gentlemen
lives in the town and took over custodianship of the
station because "there was nobody else to do it". He was
full of knowledge about the building and his love of the
place was palpable. I was reminded of the saying "Never
judge a book by its cover."
All stations should be
equipped with a piano!
I'm pretty sure this item
would not be for sale anywhere now. I remember it
from my childhood though!
On our way through Nhill, we stopped at the Australian
. This is a collection of about 50
pinball machines, the earliest from 1931. It was
possible to play most of them for $1.
Note the "flippers" on the driveway!
The oldest machine at the
Our last zoo visit for this holiday was
to the Halls Gap Zoo
. This is another
well-run wildlife park and it has a wide range of animal
The first wattle of 2022 (for
I can remember these
amusements well. They were in shopping centres in
my childhood and required a sixpence to operate!
How amazing to find one at Halls Gap Zoo!
We chose to do the meerkat
"experience" at this zoo. It was great!
A lovely rainbow, seen from
the township of Halls Gap.
Towards the end of May, our Director of Music at
St.John's, Lachlan McDonald, went on leave. We were
without an official Director of Music until August when
James Leitch, who is visiting from England, was
appointed for the rest of the year. James has fitted in
with the choir and organists really well. Having been an
organ scholar at Carlisle Cathedral, he knows his
"stuff" but leads with encouragement, gentleness and
sensitivity. Satoshi and I took James and his fiancée,
Caroline, to Phillip Island for a day. As we chose to go
on Thursday, 22nd September (the beginning of a long
weekend) we found that a LOT of other people had the
same idea so it took quite a while to get there. We
visited the Koala Sanctuary (where we found James had a
great skill for spotting koalas before anyone else),
Pyramid Rock, and the Penguin Parade. It was fortunate
that I had booked for this as all the tickets were sold
by the time we arrived. I assisted James to catalogue
all the choral music at St.John's. This was a bigger
task than we thought and took many hours to complete. I
enjoyed spending time with him because of our common
interest in Anglican Church Music.
My friend Chris Hepworth celebrated her 70th birthday
this year and Barbara McSkimming, Prue Field and I
treated her to lunch at Cloudehill
in Olinda. We met each other through
teaching at Chatham in the middle 90s and the friendship
has endured. We had a lovely lunch and then wandered
around the beautiful gardens.
Prue, Tim, Barbara and Chris
Musically, I enjoyed a variety of concerts. These
included MSO concerts where the orchestra played the
music during the showing of a film: "Fantasia" and
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1". The MSO
chorus sang Rossini's "Messe Solennelle" at the
Melbourne Recital Centre. Other choral concerts included
Mendelssohn's "St.Paul" and Haydn's "The Creation". The
Gilbert & Sullivan Society put on a concert at a
private garden in Sassafras called "Come into the
Garden, Maud". This included a number of old Victorian
Songs and was most enjoyable. The musicals "Cinderella",
"A Christmas Carol" and "The Phantom of the Opera" were
all great (the last being an indoor production at
Melbourne's State Theatre, not the one in Sydney!).
There was an organ recital given by Thomas Heywood in
the Melbourne Town Hall to celebrate the organ's 150th
birthday. It was also a pleasure to attend several
concerts in which Jenny's and Darryl's grandson, Ben,
participated. Ben plays the oboe and has been studying
music at Monash University.
Very sadly, I had to say goodbye to my lovely cat, Min,
on October 10th. She was over 17 years old which is a
pretty good innings for a cat. I was, of course, very
upset about her passing. Her main objective in life
(apart from eating) was to sit on my lap. She loved
nothing more than sitting there while I watched TV or
DVDs and she slept on my bed almost every night. It's
easy to say "Oh, she was only a cat" but she was really
part of the family. She had been gradually failing (from
kidney disease) for several months so it was not a
sudden shock when she needed to be put down but the
final parting was still very difficult. Because she
hated going the vet, the vet came to our house and Min
passed from this life laying on my lap in familiar
My favourite photo of Min as
Min in 2014
The last photo of Min, a little over a week before
After about a month, I began to think about a new
kitten. A search of pet adoption websites was fruitless.
I found an advertisement for kittens at a pet shop (on
behalf of an adoption agency). I visited the shop and
found some lovely black and white kittens together with
a sign that read "No further applications for adoption
will be received". Asking at the counter, I found that
there had been 100 applications for those 5 kittens! Oh
dear. A little while later, we heard that one of
Satoshi's sister's cats had had a kitten but that they
were going to keep it. A little while passed and then we
heard that they had decided not to keep it. We made the
trip to Chisato's place in Melton on Saturday 19th
November. I decided that the little kitten would
The first meeting with Fudge
Two weeks later, we made another trip to Melton, this
time bringing Fudge home. She has been very confident
and curious since the moment she arrived. Butterscotch,
on the other hand, was not so sure - there was a bit of
hissing at first. We kept them separate for a while,
then gradually allowed them to see each other a little
more each day. After about a fortnight, they got on very
well. Now, there are just a few hisses from Butterscotch
when Fudge jumps on her (fair enough, I'd say!)
Fudge learning to use the
Fudge has grown a lot in the month we have had
her. She was born on the 20th August so she is
four months and two weeks old as of 6th January.
As you can see at the top right of this photo, the
curtains have suffered a bit!
The end of 2022 did not turn out as expected at all. I
tested positive to COVID (for the first time) on
Tuesday, 13th December. Fortunately, although I had most
of the classic symptoms, they were mild. Unfortunately,
I missed out on a lot of teaching and many of the “end
of year” functions at school. It took until Wednesday,
21st December for the RAT to return a negative result.