JustClik News and Blogs

Views, news and features about the Goulburn Valley. Showcasing a variety of local writers and their views.

Old Boundary Hotel Cruise

Old Boundary Hotel Cruise

Old Boundary Hotel, 2 Milroy Street, Bendigo — 123km, 1hr 28m

This is one of my favourite cruises because of the literal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — beautiful food.  I have been visiting the Old Boundary Hotel for a number of years and the food has always been consistently excellent.

The Boundary's steaks are something.  Prices start around the $30 range.  The seafood and pork dishes are also hard to pass up.  And for those who aren't so hungry, there's a range of entree dishes and salads to suit.

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Longleat Winery Cruise

Longleat Winery Cruise

Longleat Winery, 105 Old Weir Rd, Murchison — 31 minutes drive from Shepparton

Longleat is a picturesque Victorian vineyard on the west bank of the Goulburn River at Murchison. The 16 hectare property grows Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for premium red wines and Semillon and Riesling grapes for delicate white wines. There are 9 hectares under vine with room to extend plantings to around 12 hectares.

The oldest vines are 27 year old Shiraz from which we produce our premium red. The Cabernet, Semillon and Reisling vines date from the early 80's.

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The Sandman was a Love Child

The Sandman was a Love Child

Legend tells us that an entire automotive culture came from a mistake.  The run of Holden's uprated utilities and panelvans — Sandman — from the 70s is said to have started with an error on the floor of the Holden factory.

Many a terrified father can testify to that sinking feeling when the latest suitor turned up in a panelvan to take the daughter out to the drive-in.  Upgraded sound systems, mirror balls and shag pile carpet were part of the common treatment.

The yarn goes that in 1974 a GMH production guy wrote down the wrong codes for the next day's utility builds.  Instead of it being a regular build he wrote down the Monaro GTS code, R268, for the ute.  Half a day later a gleaming metallic green ute, complete with sports pack was sitting in the lay off area with people admiring it but scratching their heads.

The Sandman had been born by accident completely out of wedlock of the normal production rules.  It was an oddball that won the hearts of those on the shop floor and would soon prove to be a profitable line for Holden.  And soon others would follow ... creating their own version of Aussie iconology.

The Sandman captured the sex, surf and sand zeitgeist of the era perfectly, fanning a panel van customisation fad that lasted for a little while, and prompted Ford and Chrysler to release their own competitors – the now-forgotten Sundowner and Drifter. 

Powerful dealer Kevin Dennis had heard about the ute and immediately ordered half a dozen — the glory days of sports utes and vans were launching an entire culture.  The early marketing of these products was aimed at the youth male.  And the marketing gurus had decided to package it in surf and outdoor culture.  Despite the obvious reasons for owning a mobile bedroom, the Sandman had appeal as a recreational vehicle.

Holden got to work on completing the package with striping, bucket seats and sports rims.  The inspiration for the HQ Sandman stripes came from a US model the Pontiac Judge (which looks a bit like a Monaro).

The cool guys who owned Sandman's had shelled out nearly 150 per cent over and above the stock panelvan price.  Holden was making huge margins on these "rare" builds.  Next to the party was Chrysler, first with its Town and Country ute.  Again it was an uprated product, derived from a stock ute with bits of Charger and a vinyl roof and striping.

The Chrysler really dipped its toe in the water with the creation of the Drifter.  This was a head-to-head battle for Sandman's market that only lasted from 1977-78.  The Drifter van and ute were put into production and for a short while there was a Charger Drifter.  All of the Drifters had striping.  The van's was seriously over-the-top — making Starsky's Torino stripe pale into insignificance.

Ford's effort, last to the party and by all means a product copy of the Sandman.  it included options from the Falcon GS Hardtop, such as comprehensive instrumentation, bonnet scoops, slotted sports road wheels and driving lights, with side protection moulding´s and rear side glass deleted. Side and rear decals were included in the package.

Holden and Chrysler ceased production but Ford perservered with the last Sundowner appearing during the XD series.  For a short run, Ford also released an Escort panelvan dressed up in Sundowner striping.

One significant marketing effort was made by Chrysler, jointly with Coca-Cola and with Melbourne rock radio station, 3XY, creating the Denim Machine.  It was a Drifter on steroids (see photo) that created a lot of interest over the Summer with one lucky person winning the extreme machine.

And, just when you figured the Sandman was dead-and-buried, it popped up as a concept vehicle.  Holden toyed with the idea back when the VT Commodore-based VU ute range was released at the 2000 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. Designed by Australian designers Mambo, just one van and wagon concept were shown, before the company elected not to take it into production.

And most recently, the VF series resurrected the old brand to try and maintain some interest in declining Holden sales.  A dressed-up ute and station wagon wearing the Sandman stripes and optional ghastly bright orange shag seat covers and parcel shag.

For me, there is nothing like the original Sandman, with the Drifter and Sundowner coming second and third.  Of the ute builds, the Town and Country by Valiant was the pick of the bunch.  All of them are becoming harder and harder to find in original trim and can pull some serious prices.

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What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

Australian place names contain riddles.  Many of our town names are borrowed from Aboriginal language.  Many are the result of mis-heard interpretations but others are faithfully represented.

It is fascinating to dig deeper and find the "meaning" or localised use of many town names attributed to Aboriginal language.

Some of my favourites came about from a stint with a newspaper in Albury-Wodong.  My editor sent me out on a familiarisation trip to learn the pronunciation of local towns and to meet come characters who would become long-term contacts for stories.

Numurkah (Gnamulka) means "war shield", although some now think this is mistaken.  However when you consider that Wunghnu is said to mean "hunting boomerang" or an act of war "to hatchit the tendons behind the knee", perhaps war shield is correct.

Tallygaroopna (originally Tallygaroopnu) is believed to mean "tall trees".  The "oopna" seems to be a common thread, as Mooroopna is said to mean "deep water hole" (others say "ghost spirit).The native name for Shepparton was Kannygoopna meaning "place where big fish are caught".  So it appears the "oopna" refers to big, deep or tall.  Ardmona's name came from a farm named ‘Ardmona’, owned by Charles and Lochie McDonald.

It is thought that the name Kialla was derived from that of an Aboriginal sub-tribal group, "Kiaella".  Undera is believed to have come from the Aboriginal word for rat.  Cosgrove is probably of Irish origins, meaning "triumphant".  Pine Lodge most likely referred to an abundance of the Callitris tree, typically known as Murray Pine.

Dookie district was surveyed, taking in much of the Emu Plains pastoral run. Local lore has it that Mrs Turnbull, wife of the station's proprietor, was so unhappy at the prospect of survey and possible farm subdivision that the surveyor suggested a place name derived from the Singhalese word "duka", meaning sorrow. Mrs Turnbull had lived in Ceylon. Duka was re-spelt Dookie.

Echuca is believed to mean "meeting of the waters", referring to the Goulburn and Murray River meeting point.  Tatura comes from the Aboriginal term for "small lagoon"  Kyabram is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word Kiambram meaning "Thick Forest".  Moama is from the word for "burial ground".

It is thought that Barmah derives from an Aboriginal word "paama", meaning "meeting place".  Gunbower is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "twisting", possibly a reference to a creek or river meander.

Reverend Joseph Docker settled Benalla in 1838 creating a pastoral run called Benalta Run, said to be from an Aboriginal word for "musk duck".  Cobram is named after the Aboriginal word meaning "head/head station", as Cobram was the head pastoral station in the district.  Barooga is named after the Aboriginal word meaning "my home".

Wangaratta is believed to have come from Pangarang language meaning "nesting place for cormorants".  Tarrawinge is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "emu".  Tatong is Aboriginal for "unseen".

Yarrawonga is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "place where the wonga pigeon rested", or "water running over rock".  Mulwala's name is believed derived from the Aboriginal word for "rain".

Albury was first named Bungambrawartha, meaning "favourable place for tall talk".  Corowa comes from the native word "Currawa", a pine from which aborigines procured gum for fashioning spears.  Euroa is from Eurawa, meaning "push, shake, thrust".  Thurgoona means "darter or diving bird", probably a cormorant.  Ettamogah means "let's have a drink", kinda obvious when you think of the pub.

Gooroombat comes from "Coorambatti" and means "nonsense"..  Here's an odd one — Nagambie is believed to have come from the word "Nagomba", meaning woman's breasts.  Puckapunyal means "middle hill",  Tungamah equals "bush turkey". and Yarraweyah is "strong wind".  Katamatite is believed to refer to the local creek.  Katandra is thought to refer to "song of birds"  Wilby is thought to come from Aboriginal "wilpy", meaning "hut".

Milawa was named in 1874 after being known only as "The Square" for many years prior. The word Milawa is aboriginal in origin and is said to mean "flat land".

Whroo is for "waterhole" and comes from the Aboriginal word "wooroo".  It is thought that Waranga is derived from the word for "sing"  Dhurringile means "crouching emu".

Rushworth comes from old English referring originally to Rishworth in Yorkshire, meaning "rushes".  Ballendella was named Bamawm East until renamed after the Ballendella Parish.  Originally Rowe's camp, following a survey Rowechester was named. In 1855, it was renamed Rochester.

Toolamba means "small lagoon circled".  Gigarre is Aboriginal for "sour".  Congupna is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word describing a large fish, probably perch. 

Zeerust appears to have come from South African language referring to an area strong in farming, particularly citrus.  Yabba Yabba, now shown on maps as Yabba North and Yabba South, is 30 km north-east of Shepparton. It was named after the Yabba Yabba pastoral run (1850), the name thought to be derived from an Aboriginal expression describing "talk".

Boomahnoomoonah is believed to mean "big red kangaroo" although some think it mean "big water".  When driving past Boomahnoomoonah, you often go by without noticing because the signpost is often stolen as a collectible.  Upotipotpon means "plenty of grass"

Tittybong — If your looking, it's just north of Teddywaddy. And apart from being a place west of Kerang, it is an expression for action of the female appendage leaping from it`s cotton, underwired prison.  Teddywaddy comes from an Aboriginal expression meaning "muddy water".

Deniliquin is said to be derived from "the sandhills".  Yackandandah is from the word "Yag-gun-doona" meaning "hilly country" although locals will tell you it refers to "water running over rocks".  Tangambalanga is believed to refer to "fresh water crayfish" or "very large yabbie".

Thoona is meant to mean a "village surrounded by hills".  Although mistaken for an Aboriginal word, Baddaginnie was the name given to the local township by Ceylonese railway workers building the Melbourne-Sydney rail line in the 1860s. According to local legend, when provisions failed to arrive at the settlement, the Ceylonese men named their camp ’baddaginnie’ meaning "hungry" in the Sinhala language (bada is ’stomach’ and ginnie is ’fire’).

Tatong derived its name from "Tatong Run" an Aboriginal word meaning "water hole".  The "Baw Baws" (Mt Baw Baw) was believed to have a boiling water hole in which aborigines could be sucked up and die a horrible death.  Hence, Baw Baw, meaning bad water at bottom of mountain.

Corryong (originally Caryoong) means "belt made of possum wool".  Nar Nar Goon means "koala".  One of my favourites is Bringyadogalong — it sounds Aboriginal yet it's made up and appears on Army survey maps as the name of a property near Upper Gundowering.  Upper Gundowering means "good camping place or home".  There is no Lower Gundowering.

Dederang is "hailstones".  Gooramadda — parting of the clouds. On the Victorian side of the Murray River, at Howlong, the natural land formation and thermal currents create this unusual phenomena on one side of the river it can be raining but dry on the other.

Bendigo is an odd one.  It sounds Aboriginal yet it is derived from the name of a boxer called "Bendigo" Thompson.  Wycheproof means "rushes or grass on a hilltop".

This is a never ending effort, as there are so many links to Aboriginal language in our town names and places.  We will endeavour to put out a more comprehensive ready reckoner in the future.


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The Truth is Out There — Murchison Meteorite

The Truth is Out There — Murchison Meteorite

A little bird tells us that some exciting "X-Files-like" events are unfolding in Murchison. The Murchison meteorite is about to become famous once again.

It's arrival is approaching the 50 year mark and for that anniversary there is talk of NASA scientists revisiting Murchison to do further testing.

These days NASA has much more sophisticated instruments and its figured that more accurate and interesting science can be gleaned from the space rock.

JustClik has discovered the renewed interest in the meteorite is because it is such a pristine example of space debris and the fact that it is older than our sun, making it a key to some of the most unfathomable questions about life in our universe.

A former NASA scientist told us that if guys from the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboritories) do visit Murchison, they would be drawn fron NASA proper or from its satellite research station, in Canberra.

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