This walk is a combination of a couple of paths I normally take. But since my camera battery went flat last time just as we were approaching Victoria Street I thought I’d continue the walk along Scott Parade as far as I normally go, and then come back along Victoria Street rather than along the Specimen Vale Creek path.
I started along the path that runs on the other side of the railway line from Scott Parade, and crossed over at the road and foot bridges at Queen Street that I’d just reached last time.
That path starts with the Bunny Track that crosses the Specimen Vale Creek path just before it comes to an end at Stawell Street. It is the alignment of an old railway track which used to run, so I’ve heard, down to Bunninyong, but certainly to somewhere south of Ballarat. All that is left now is part of the alignment from Eureka Street through to the railway line where it once linked in to the main line. I don’t know if there was once a bridge for Victoria Street over the line, the two footbridges over where the line used to be suggest that there might have been one, but it seems that if there was a structure there it has been replaced by the tunnel which is a much more recent construction. In either case, the walk along the alignment up to the railway line is very pleasant.
Just before we get to Queen Street there is an old public school building which seems to have been taken over for some other purpose these days and, on the railway side, the Ballarat Community Garden which is full of growing vegetation, the occasional person and some chooks.
The walk along Scott Parade continues along much as before, and runs all the way to Humffray Street North, past the old East Ballarat Station and some old and rusting locomotives and rolling stock, but the King Street footbridge is about the limit of my range on foot these days. However, since we were so close to the Bakery Hill shops I thought I’d take a quick look at them, and perhaps breakfast at Hungry Jacks.
Victoria Street, being the first entrance to Ballarat from the Melbourne direction, is suitably grand. Closer to the city we have schools on both of the road, St Alapius and Sisters of Mercy, which tells you something about the early days of Ballarat when Ballarat East was the poor part of town, in comparison to the much more substantial western end of the city. The catholic schools and church are in east Ballarat (although there is also St Pats up in the west). However, from the perspective of a person wandering around the area on foot, Ballarat East is much more interesting than the western end of the town.
Crossing over Victoria Street at Queen Street we come to one of the city’s famous fish and chip shops. In the days before they built the Ballarat bypass all traffic from Melbourne to Ballarat and the country areas beyond used to flow along Victoria Street and this shop was about the first place travelers could stop for refreshments. These days the quality of the food there can be quite variable and is, generally speaking, not to be relied upon.
Continuing along Victoria Street there are some interesting houses and gardens, until we come to the white picket fence which marks where the old railway alignment passes under the street. We can peer down to the walking path we walked along an hour or so earlier. Then past the old pub which used to be the watering hole for the workers on their way home from the station that used to exist just down in the cutting where the line passes under the street. Then we turn right into the Stawell Street South, taking in the vacant land where the Orphanage and later Damascus College used to be on the left and suburban houses on the left, then some views of the Hemsley Park estate on the left, the start of the Specimen Vale Creek path on the left, and it’s home.