Remembrance Day - almost a year ago. Mr K and I did a little trip to Walhalla - the most amazing and quaint place I have ever been to. Of course, I am yet to go to Tassie, but until then, this town is number one on my top 10 list. It's funny that we went here on Remembrance Day 2011, as this little place keeps popping into my head - at random times and places and has done for 12 months now.
It was on a trip to Melbourne, or more precisely, Victoria, I am a Sydney sider by birth, and true to form, Melbourne as a city, holds very little appeal for me. Give me big open harbours and sand-stone historic buildings any day. The Victorian countryside however, I do like. We went over to VIC for a few days R&R and exploring and one of these exploring days found us winding up the hills to a little ghost town called Walhalla. It held a certain pull for us as Mr K's grandmother was born and raised there. We even have a fern on our patio that originally came from here, handed down the generations.
I was expecting a typical old gold rush town, with some weatherboard buildings and remnants of a past place and time. What I wasn't expecting was how breathtakingly beautiful it was and how it evoked in me a very strong connection and compassion for the people who built this town, who lived, loved and died here and for the tiny little population of just 9 people who now call this home. Settled in 1863 as a gold rush town, and in its heyday a peak population of 2000. Which doesn't sound a lot until you see where these people built their houses and business's. It's a river valley, very narrow with very steep sides. The flat part is only just wide enough for the river, a road (narrow one at that) and one house block.
Everything else is built into the side of the steep hills. If you have ever been to Wales, this will remind you of it, especially the flavour of mining and stone walls. We walked from one end of the street to the other, absorbing the ghosts of past dwellers. We walked up the steep hill to the cemetery, where the graves are dug into the side of the hill. It's a beautiful, peaceful place to rest - for the living and non-living.
I spoke excitedly that day, when I saw a little cottage for sale. Could we move here and live this life? I know I could - Mr K just smiled wanly at me - too scared to say anything else. I think it reminded me of a place I lived as a child, on the McDonald river, a tributary of the Hawksberry. There were just 5 adults, and myself and baby brother, living in this little area on a permanent basis. Walhalla took me back to this place of innocence, of simplicity and peace.
I could just see myself living here ...