Ballarat Begonia Festival Parade – Day 4 of Road Trip March 2020

Monday 9th March 2020

Since my post on our visit to the Begonia flower display and festival, fellow blogger Paol Soren (aka John) went along on the Tuesday, after all the crowds had gone. His post has more wonderful photos of the blooms, and also more detail on the beautiful statuary in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens. You can find it here.

On the Monday, John went in to Melbourne to watch the much larger Moonba Festival Parade. Bill and I were happy to stay in Ballarat and see what they had to offer. We weren’t disappointed. John prefaced his post with an “Extreme Photo Alert” and I have to give a similar warning. If you have the time, grab a coffee or three and watch the slideshow; or perhaps you’ll prefer to just get a taste. Trust me, these are only a small selection of what we took on the day.

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If you’ve got to this point of my post then you have had a taste of the wide variety of participants. Ballarat residents from multicultural backgrounds gave colour. Bands – jazz, brass, pipes, and so on, provided music. State and private schools from little to big kids added the “too cute” factor. Community groups and clubs came to show off their toys (cars, steam rollers et al), or to spread their message. The union march was particularly relevant, as this holiday weekend – Labour Day – is to celebrate the introduction of the eight hour working day. The fight for a fair go for workers still continues, as evidence by the Nurses and Midwives group.

The parade finished with the Chinese dragon, a symbol that represents the large number of Chinese who came to this area during the gold rush. More on that in the next post.

The Ballarat Tramway Museum is next to the Botanical Gardens, so after the parade we wandered down there for a look. When Ballarat trams stopped running in 1971, volunteers stepped in to preserve their memory, and a section of track beside Lake Wendouree was retained for their use. The oldest in the fleet is an 1887 horse-drawn.

Ballarat Trams (4)rs

A number of trams are under restoration in the workshop, and many more are operational and were running with free rides for the festival attendees. As well as the above tram, there are others one hundred years old. This one was built in 1915.

Ballarat Trams (2)rs

Between the tram shed and the Botanical Gardens is the Ballarat Fish Hatchery. I’d forgotten to mention in the previous post that we visited this after we’d finished in the gardens. The hatchery was established on the edge of Lake Wendouree in the 1870s and today is run by volunteers. They farm brown and rainbow trout, harvesting eggs by gently squeezing the female, and combining them with the ‘milt’ from the male. All that was explained in a video, which, once seen, can never be forgotten 🙂  Visitors can stroll around the various tanks and ponds, however, without the video, it would have been difficult to understand the whole process. Some of the fish are released into the lake, the majority are sold to people who are stocking dams and so on.

(Another thing I forgot from the day before was the vital ingredient in the eggplant / aubergine stuffing – pomegranate! )

Also nearby is the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial dedicated to more than 35,000 held prisoner during the Boer War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.

The nurses have a specific panel. Many readers will instantly recognise the name of Vivian Bullwinkel , the sole survivor of the massacre on Bangka Island (now part of Indonesia), when 21 army nurses and 1 civilian were herded into the ocean surf and shot from behind by Japanese forces. She and and a number of the nurses listed on the memorial went on to survive the camps of Sumatra.

POW Nurses rs

We had no difficulty finding the name of Cyril George Staples – a distant relative who I met in person much later in his life. Cyril was a Sergeant in 2/5 AGH (Australian General Hospital) and was taken prisoner by the Germans in Greece, 27 April 1941, part of the contingent who stayed with the servicemen who could not be evacuated.  He was held in Stalag XXA in Thorn, Poland for some years until he was repatriated on a POW exchange in 1943. He was promptly directed to rejoin his unit, now in New Guinea, first at Bootless Bay near Port Moresby, then to Morotai. The 2/5 AGH ceased to function in November 1945, and Cyril, who had studied accountancy while imprisoned, returned to a long and successful civilian life.

Cyril Staples rs

After heading back into town for a hearty lunch at a busy pub – so many were out and about on this holiday Monday – we then returned to the Arch of Remembrance, where John had taken us a couple days before, so that I could photograph the most recent statue, this one dedicated to the mothers, in The Garden of the Grieving Mother.

And that was a wrap for our short-stay in Ballarat. Next in the plan is to continue west, on our way to Adelaide.

33 thoughts on “Ballarat Begonia Festival Parade – Day 4 of Road Trip March 2020

    • You’re going to love the next silo, and the tram we went on yesterday. Would you believe Sydney has just implemented a tram again? So glad to see them back, unfortunately, early reports are that it is slower than watching paint dry.
      This time in history will become just that, eventually. Oddly, I am reading a book on the first 50 years of one of our leading hospitals, written in 1960. Some of the original nurses were still alive and in their nineties, and their account of the Spanish flu epidemic is quite low-key. A bigger problem was the dangers of typhoid. Many nurses died of it.
      We’re well so far. It’s an each-way bet whether we are safer on the road or at home, given we live in a dense community of 250, and have aged-care living attached. We’ll be home in a week, so let’s see what happens in that time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Each-way bet seems to be where we at the mo in the UK with the whole ‘virus’ affair. I am not happy with how our government has handled it so far. Poor leadership all round. However Johnson thinks he is coming across, it certainly isn’t Churchill – more like Neville Chamberlain at the moment.
        I am in the middle of Hilary Mantel’s ‘The Mirror and the LIght’, which is none too cheerful either with plague outbreaks and all kinds of deadly, infectious diseases a feature of the 1530s. Doctors, nurses and carers have always been on the frontline and they often are under-appreciated. Keep safe, and wash those hands!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We decided to abandon the trip and arrived home last night. We’ll keep a low profile for 14 days just in case. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy at home 🙂
          There was a time when I thought the UK must have been virus free. At first there didn’t seem to be any news coverage of what was happening your way. Even now, the number of reported cases seem low compared to your population.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Glad you are back home and safe. Busy at home sounds good to me.
            It really is not good here. The reason why reported cases was so low compared to population is that they stopped testing people even those suspected of having Covid 19 unless they were admitted to hospital a couple of weeks ago. And, now it is really only the death number (a known number) we are seeing reported. Unfortunately for England a couple of weeks at least have been lost due to conflicting political ideologies – saving the economy or saving peoples’ lives. Difficult choice that one for some of our political folk. Breathtakingly unbelievable don’t you think?

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s exactly the same here re balancing economy versus health. Although there was some speculative coverage that UK was deliberately stalling to create “herd immunity”. I’m not looking at Facebook much, but there is plenty of criticism there both for and against each decision of our government. Dislike him or love him, our PM is earning his stripes at the moment, even if he does seem to be waiting to see which lead to follow. We are now effectively in lockdown, as I see you are too.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, we certainly are in lockdown too. Oh I think there definitely was a few days when it really does appear they considered gambling on the herd immunity solution. That was until numerous number crunchers in the wider scientific community pointed out the predicted nightmare death toll. Incredibly one of Johnson’s closest advisors has blogged on eugenics and not in a disparaging manner either! Of course they are now all busy back peddling and denying.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh I’ve come across this Dominic Cummings and his outlandish ideas before. It’s like some B-grade horror movie seeing these people get the ear of the leader. And now comes the news that Boris Johnson himself has tested positive. We live in interesting times.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh you are so right there. B-grade horror movie is a perfect description. I totally despair. It gets even better – I am being very sarcastic here – if Johnson becomes seriously ill and is unable to ‘lead’ our country the next up for that role is one, Dominic Raab, our Foreign Secretary. Now, earlier this month when asked about organising repatriation flights from Peru for stranded ex-pats, this was the exchange in the House of Commons,

            “Emily Thornberry Labour ‘why are there 60 UK citizens stranded in Lima’

            Dominic Raab Tory Minister ‘We are working very hard to repatriate any UK citizen stranded in the Philippines’

            Emily Thornberry ‘Lima is in Peru’.”

            Honestly, you just couldn’t make this up.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Laugh, cry, scream, – or pull the covers over my head and don’t come out until they have all gone away: not sure which way to react to that.
            I think it’s time to re-read Lord of the Flies. Maybe this is some kind of Armageddon to reset the right-wing political landscape. But if we can fight over toilet paper, then we can hardly be trusted to “lead” ourselves.
            Is this a case of better the devil you know?


          • Yes, mmmm, yes – at the back of my mind I have been considering the fallout of all this and the Lord of the Flies scenario has featured although I have really tried not to think like that. Unlikely to come to ‘lead’ ourselves if yesterday’s power grab in Hungary is anything to go by. The slightest chink in the armour of democracy and those of a fascist tendency move incredibly fast ‘for the good of the people’ whilst those on the left are still arguing amongst themselves. I hope we in the Western Democracies don’t go down the ‘Hungary’ road, but I wouldn’t put it past Trump and his supporters to overreach big time.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, I didn’t see anything about Hungary on our nightly news. It might have been on SBS (multicultural station). I’ll check it out.
            I know a year or two back Poland was teetering on the brink of being taken back by the old socialist powers who had been hiding in the wings.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Gwen and Bill keep on going while you can St Patrick’s function cancelled at Links just back from QE2 great time now ship is floating in ocean somewhere no passengers once you are home you may never leave again enjoy Marion

    Liked by 1 person

    • Things are tightening here too. No gatherings of 500. Supermarket shelves empty. We talked about making a dash for home but we are still keen to get to towns that were affected by the bushfires. So for now, we continue on (and I am days behind in blogging)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gwen – sounds like your road trip is going very well! You’re doing what so many (myself included) fail to do – in-depth exploration of your own territory! Love the great parade! Sadly, my future travel plans seem to be in limbo tied to COVID-19 – sorry to mention that. It’s like a screenplay or sci-fi novel. Everything in this little college town is being cancelled or delayed and meetings involving 250 or more people are prohibited. I’m still signed up for embassy notifications in African countries visited in the past – Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda and blah, blah blah. The one from Mozambique this morning – “all travelers arriving at Mozambique ports of entry who have been present in the United States during the past 14 days will be required to self-quarantine in Mozambique for 14 days”. YIKES!!! Continue to enjoy your trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ve been restricted to gatherings of less than 500. Every day, new news. Who knows? We could be in more danger at home, given we have aged care attached, and so much movement of people.For the time being we are continuing on, as this trip was designed to include bushfire affected towns. We love travelling overseas, but also took a deliberate decision to see more of Australia, so we try to do a road trip each year.


    • I remember you pointed us towards Dr. Blake the last time we were in Ballarat! I can definitely see the show using one of these cars.
      Cyril was a wonderful man. Did so much for others too. Amongst many accomplishments, he published “The Staples connection” which documented “the transplanting of the family of George Edgar Staples from England to Australia”. George, hailing from Sussex, fathered 20 children!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ooh those old trans look wonderful Gwendoline. There’s something about trams that I love and I always try to seek out Transport Museums on my travels. We’re in Germany for the weekend and just enjoying a leisurely big breakfast in our hotel. Nothing is going to clip my wings if I can help it and I’ve no intention of wrapping myself up in cotton wool!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gwen – what an amazing blog! So much information! Thank you! And not a mention of the infamous virous! Back here in the Gong we’re on hold to know if our annual Irish Night can go ahead on Tuesday! Keep having FUN!!!


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