Specimen Vale Creek Walk

There are a lot of advantages to living in East Ballarat, one of them is the walks that one can take through the natural and built environment of the area.

For the past four or five years I’ve been making regular early morning excursions along the streets and pathways of the area. Walking through this tranquil and interesting environment has been a good way to start the day (and I’m told it’s also good for me, healthwise).

Since we are likely to be leaving this area in the coming few months I thought it would be interesting for my own memories of this place to take my camera on these walks to photograph what I see. Then it occurred to me that putting an ‘edited highlights’ version on the www might be interesting to others who do not have the opportunity to enjoy this mixed natural and built environment.

This walk from Hemsley Park down towards the city center is one of my favourites with the option of walking along the Specimen Vale Creek path towards the city and then coming back along either Victoria Street or Eureka Street, or back along the path. There are also a few cross streets so you don’t have to walk all the way down the path, which is useful when my energy levels don’t feel so high.

On this occasion I walked up Stawell Street to the Eureka Park, which celebrated the Eureka Rebellion of December 1854 (which lasted two or three days), taking in some of the monuments there and the museum (which was not a financial success and has been closed), before heading on down Eureka Street as far as Princes Street South. This whole area has a history dating back to the 1850s gold rush so there is a wide variety of buildings in unusual settings on the ridge that the street follows.

Specimen Vale Creek is one of the waterways in the area that was so damaged by gold panning in the first years of the gold rush that it had to be reconstructed years later. I find it interesting to look at the different treatments the waterway was given, bricks in one place, bluestone blocks in another and, in other places again, concrete. (It would be interesting to learn the history of these waterways and how they fit into the history of Ballarat.)

The Specimen Vale Creek path ends back at Stawell Street, just across the road from Hemsley Park. I’ve included in the final few photos to show what happens to the creek, initially as a large diamater pipe hidden under stones on the north-east side of Stawell Street and then as ornamental ponds in the Estate itself. On the other side of these ponds it runs, as a pipe again, along an easement behind our place here to emerge at Charlesworth Street, which I will photograph when I take my camera on another walk around the area.

 

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