Victoria Street – York Street Walk

This not one of my usual walks, in fact it is a walk that I had never done before, and am unlikely to do again because it is a bit too long. I mainly did it to draw a circle around all the walks that I normally take, with the exception of those along Scott Parade. On most mornings I pick routes within this circle, often using some of the subsidiary streets that run north and south within this area. (I now realize that I have not recorded some of these intersecting streets in these walks, perhaps I will come back to them later.)

This walk starts out along the Bunny Track but takes the steps just after the underpasses that leads up to Victoria Street. From there this walk travels along Victoria Street to the west, first on the north side and crossing to the south side at Queen Street. At this time the fish and chip shop is not open. Further along we pass the various buildings of the St Alipius catholich church including the hall, church, bishop’s house and schools. A year or so ago all the railings were deeply festooned with ribbons regarding the child abuse that occurred at St Alipius, but most of them have now blown away.

On this walk I went all the way down Victoria Street to the roundabout with the Eureka Flag flying in the middle. This is situated on Bakery Hill and marks the location of the monster meetings of miners and supporters in late 1854 that led to the rebellion at Eureka a few weeks later.

From the end of Victoria Street there is short linking street to Main Road which was the main road into Ballarat during the gold rush era. It leads eventually to Geelong which was one of the landing ports for the migration to the gold fields and which was easier to traverse rather than attempting the trek direct from Melbourne, even though the distance is considerable shorter.

After a short walk along Main Road you come to York Street and from there this walk goes almost direct to the top of the street, taking a little diversion up Klein Street to view the shops and the entrance to the Warrenheip Gully walk we’ve used a couple of times earlier. What I find interesting is the gradual change in the architecture as we walk up York Street, from the small cottages of earlier times to the brick veneer of post war years and, after we reach the crest, the much more modern developments on the reverse slope.

At the roundabout after the crest of the York Street hill we turn left and walk down Fussell Street, then along part of Eureka Street, all locations I’ve photographed before, cutting across to Charlesworth Street and then home. By the time I got there almost three hours had elapsed and I was feeling quite tired, but chuffed that I’d done it.

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Water Street – Yarrowee Creek Walk

My discovery of the Warrenheip Creek on my walk up Hummfray Street had intrigued me. Looking at a map of the area I saw that it flowed into the Yarrowee Creek behind the Brown Hill Pub not far north of the street. The creek flows northwards, apparently from the region of Mount Warrenheip to join with the Yarrowee and I thought it would be interesting to find where it flowed. Not taking my camera, I previously walked up Old Melbourne Road to see where the Warrenheip Creek flowed under the road and found that it flows further north along an easement behind a new housing development, but only as far as the development extends before the path is blocked by a large paddock. I could see, on the other side of the paddock, more developments and what looked to be a continuation of the easement through which the creek continued to flow northwards towards the Yarrowee.

This is not a walk I had done before. I had thought that one day I might take the walk along the Yarrowee Creek to the east rather than my other walk to the east towards the center of town, but had not got around to it. I have walked up Water Street on several occasions, but not as far as its crossing of the Warrenheip Creek. My search for the continuation of the Warrenheip Creek prompted me to think of joining up the two possible walks, and that is what I did.

It turned out I was right, that the new housing developments off Water Street to the south have created an easement that makes it possible to walk alongside the creek until the path is blocked by the paddock I had previously approached from the other side. No doubt that land will be developed for housing one of these days and the easement thus created will make it possible to walk along the Warrenheip Creek from Old Melbourne Road north towards the Yarrowee. What I did not anticipate is that the short distance that the Warrenheip Creek flows between Water Street and Humffray Street may be private property. There appears to be no permanent path way and in theory the way is blocked at the Humffray Street end by a fence which has fallen down or been pulled down some time ago, making access possible.

The prepared path begins on the other side of Humffray Street and follows the flow of the creek a short distance before joining the Yarrowee. From there paths run to the north towards the freeway or to the west to follow the Yarrowee as it flows through some picturesque ponds and wetlands, before coming to the continuation of Stawell Street that runs up behind Black Hill to North Ballarat. From there it is a relatively short walk down to the intersection with Humffray Street, along the side of Russell Square, over the Stawell Street footbridge, across Victoria Street and home.

I did this walk early on a weekend day. As a result there were more people than usual using the path, particularly along the picturesque length of the Yarrowee track. On the other side of the creek, on the Brown Hill reserve. there was a cricket match being played, but I was too far from it to be tempted to stop and watch the play for a while.

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Warrenheip Gully – Eureka Street Walk

This one is like many of the other walking routes I can use in East Perth. I can make it as long or as short as I like by taking the relatively short walk down Stawell Street and down past the little shopping center (where you can buy relatively good hamburgers) to the entrance to the Warrneheip Gully path. Heading along to the west, there are six cross roads before you get to Main Road where you can turn either to the right or left, south to York Street or north to Eureka or other streets and paths to head for home. This gives a lot of options for the amount of exercise I with to indulge in and the kind of landscape I want to look at as I go.

The nice thing about this particular walk is that it combines some nice natural aspects on the way to the west along the Gully path and then some interesting architectural variations coming up Eureka Street on the way back. Eureka Street, like many streets in this part of Ballarat, conveys a sense of the continuing history of the city with some buildings – usually cottages – dating back to the late 1800s, some more modern buildings and quite a few reconstructions and renovations. It is also interesting that there are the remains of quite a few shops along Eureka street but most of them are now closed, only the corner store and the cupcake shop surviving on the north side and the Italian restaurant and the take-away pizza place on the south side.

Towards the top of Eureka Street I cross the road to walk through Eureka Park, taking in some of the memorials to the 1854 event, the failed museum, the pond, the swimming pool complex and the back of the hall, and thence home.

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An Armstrong Whitworth Argosy in 1/144

Those of us of a certain age (and beyond) may remember seeing the big old Armstrong Whitworth Argosies sitting on the tarmac at Essendon Airport. They were purpose designed freighters with a pod fuselage based on the idea that if you could open them at both ends it would be quicker and easier to unload and load them. (This fad has since passed and all freighters these days are either civil versions of military cargo planes of civil airliners converted to carry freight.)

Argosy a

Just about the only air route in Australia on which air freight was profitable for airlines was across Bass Strait from Essendon to several airports in Tasmania. At one time there were three freight airlines flying this route but it didn’t last long, partly because the competition drove down prices and sent two of those carriers broke, and partly because the major domestic airlines could carry a lot of freight in the holds of their 727s and DC-9s. One of the companies to go under was Brain and Brown, which imported an Argosy for the service, registered VH-BBA. However, the more well financed IPEC drove Brain and Brown out of business and then bought that carrier’s Argosy, which ended up flying in IPEC colours.

For some years now I’ve been badgering poor Peter of Hawkeye about decals for an IPEC Armstrong Whitworth Argosy. Every year when I’ve gone to Expo I head first for Peter’s stand and ask him when the Argosy decals will be ready. Every year so far he has replied ‘Soon’. However, the other day my years of badgering paid off when I got a phone call from Peter saying that the IPEC decal sheets were almost ready, being printed in 1/72 and 1/144, and would I like to try a set, gratis. I was unable to refuse his kind offer.

This left me in a quandry. I have acquired two kits of the Argosy in 1/144, the Welsh Models resin kit and the Mikr Mir injection moulded kit. Neither of these was cheap, but then I suppose that kit manufacturers are liable to make more money from Bf109s and P-51s than from kits of lumbering old cargo planes, so the law of demand and supply kicks in, and we should count ourselves lucky to have even these two options.

The imminent arrival of new Hawkeye decals for the IPEC Argosy forced me to make a decision; which kit I would use. The obvious choice is the Mirk Mir kit which is a magnificently engineered thing with a detailed cockpit (for 1/144), a full interior of the freight deck, tiny little transparencies for the windows and detailed undercarriage bays. The molding is very crisp and the kit comes with masks for all the transparent parts, a nice little set of etch details and a decal sheet for quite a few different civil options.

Argosy b

On the other hand, the Welsh Models kit is simplicity itself with the major airframe comprising only six parts including nicely detailed wings and nacels moulded in one part and the two tail booms and horizontal stabalizer moulded in one part. For all that simplicity, the molding itself is very fine and precise. There might a couple of little details that could do with some defining, but nothing serious. However, there is no liglhtly engraved surface detail, no windows and none of that lovely interior detail that the Mirk Mir kit has.

Argosy c

On the other hand again (modellers could often do with at least three hands) the engine nacels on the Mirk Mir kit are split right down the middle and getting the leading edges on the air intakes around the propellers on them to come out looking good would be a real test of skills. The propeller blades do not look particularly realistic and do not look very robust, and I’m not a builder of interiors on such small models.

More importantly, as I often like to misquote from some long forgotten movie, ‘A modeller’s got to know his limitations.’ My limitations do not run to tiny little windows and, while the prominent vanes around the top of the fuselage may be a little over scale on the Welsh Models Argosy, I know that I would make a complete hash of trying to apply all those tiny little etched metal vanes with the necessary precision and, just as importantly, not knock them off during the modelling process. I’m sure that somebody out there has made an absolutely outstanding model of an Argosy from the Mirk Mir kit, but I know deep down that I don’t have the skills to achieve that level of outstandingness. In the end I decided that I had less chance of making a mess of the Welsh Models kit, and that’s what I decided to make. Besides, the Welsh Models kit is for a -100 series Argosy and the Mikr Mir kit is for a -200 series, but since VH-BBA was a 100 Series I decided to go that way.

The Welsh Models kit proved a real bugger to make, even with its few parts. Mainly the problem was that the wings, the fuselage and the booms and tail were all different sized where they joined up. Only a millimeter or so, but that’s a significant difference in 1/144. Already I was beginning to think that I may have made the wrong decision.

Argosy dArgosy e

Having overcome those problems, and with the Hawkeye decals in my hand, it was time to get on with painting the model and applying the decals. By this stage I was disspirited. It turned out that the yellow I planned to use was too deep in shade after three coats are applied even though it looked just right when I applied one coat over a white base. It also seemed to me that the tail pylons were a little too low on the wings so that the yellow did not come down as far on them as it does on the real things. After contemplating this problem, and facing the problem of sanding back this yellow, doing all the remasking and finding a better yellow, I decided to press on with things as they were, muttering to myself that most people wouldn’t know the difference and I’ll probably forget about it too, I hope.

The issue of the pylons sent me back to the Mikr Mir kit which I had decided to put aside in favour of the Welsh Models kit which was, by this time, not looking like the best choice. One of the most difficult problems I’d had with the Welsh Models kit was in achieving the right angle where the wings and pylons met, and this was built into the Mikr Mir kit. (Fortunately for me, the angle of that junction built into the Mikr Mir kit was about the same as I’d achieved with the Welsh Models kit.) It also occurred to me that the best solution would have been to use parts from both kits, in particular the Darts and the upper fuselage of the Welsh Models kit. By then, however, it was too late.

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The first test of the Hawkeye decal sheet was the thin black lines that run along the fuselage and pylon sides. This is nerve wracking process requiring a great deal of patience, very steady hands and a lot of very harsh language. I imagine that this project will be a lot less nerve wracking for those making the 1/72 kit than this 1/144 one and this might be a reason for making an Argosy using the Mach 2 kit (but don’t quote me on that). As I’ve already noted, the pylons on the Welsh Models kit are not quite as they should be so while the length of the decals is right-on they are a couple of millimeters too high where they come up under the tail planes. This is easily solved with a sharp blade. Similarly, the decals that go on the fins are a couple of mm too long for this kit, again easily solved.

I should note that, as usual, I gave your decal sheet a coat of Tamiya clear varnish before using them, to give them the gloss needed to match the surfaces they were to be applied to and to give them a little extra strength. This proved most useful, I think, in all the decal pushing around necessary to get the black line decals to go where they should. However, before giving the decals that clear varnish I cut out the decals for the anti-dazzle panel and radome and gave them a coat of matt varnish.

Having spent about three hours on that, I gave the decals a dose of Micro Sol and retired for the night. They looked pretty good the next morning when I started applying the window decals. To give myself a guide about where to place the windows I scanned the instruction sheet and reduced it to the size of this model (88 percent as it turned out) and stuck it onto the model as a guide to where the place the decals. I also used it as a guide to placing the rear door. Again, this is fiddly work, but I think the end result looks pretty good. Unfortunately, the instruction sheet did not include a drawing for the location of the windows on the other side of the fuselage. Using some kind of logic known only to modellers, I thought that the windows would be the same on the other side of the fuselage so I printed out a flipped image and used that as a guide. Later I discovered my logic was flawed and windows were not the same on both sides of the real thing, even though they are on my model.

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After that, everything went reasonably well. The decal sheet, when it is released, will be a good one. I pointed out some problems with the instruction sheet, but they won’t effect the decals themselves. But, as with all models I expect, when you’ve finished it you know where all the faults and problems are, and the parts that would be better with just a touch more work. Here, however, poor memory and poor eyesight are a boon and this model looks very nice to me a few weeks later.

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Models for March

This was not a very productive month with a few project being finished off from earlier weeks.

The Compass A300-600 was made from a combination of the 1/144 Braz Models fuselage and the rest from the Revell Beluga kit.  The decals were from Hawkeye, as usual for Australian airliners.

A300 aA300 b

The Yokosuka R2Y1 is the Fine Molds 1/72 kit made straight out of the box.

R2Y1 aR2Y1 b

The 1/72 Sud Aviation Vautour IIB was also made straight out of the box, though be warned that the undercarriage legs are too short and need radical surgery to bring them to the right length.  The metallic finish is the result of airbrushing with about five different shade of AK Xtreme Metal aluminium which I then buffed up with Micromesh.

Voutour aVoutour b

Toe models that I made earlier are the ancient 1/72 Matchbox Handley Page Halifax B.I and the Matchbox Hawker Tempest F.2.

Halifax aHalifax b

Tempest aTempest b

Yarrowee Creek Walk

This is a pleasant and relaxing walk. Usually I don’t go as far as I did on this occasion but cross over the creek at one of the earlier bridges. This time, however, I had some time to spare and I was interested to see what was further along the path. I was tempted to go even further but already the walk was starting to tire me and I still had to walk some distance to get home.

One of the things I find interesting about many of the walks around East Ballarat is the juxtaposition of the natural and built environments, and the changes evident in the buildings in different parts of the town. It seems that the walk up Stawell Street to the creek is mainly through an area built from the 1960s with a few buildings from earlier years dotted among the newer houses. Coming back from the creek along Princess Street we pass through some of the earlier working class areas to reach and cross over the railway line. I have no idea what the big new building is that has recently been opened in Gent Street, a school and apartments perhaps, but it juxtaposes the older weather board buildings on the other side of the street. Dyte Parade runs along side the railway line on the opposite side from Scott Parade and has an interesting mix of houses. The old public school and the community garden on the corner of Queen Street are a nice touch of variety, and then it’s on to the Bunny Track and home.

I’ve recently been reading a new book on Ballarat and goldfields history which includes a chapter on the way in which the city’s natural environment was destroyed in the 1850s by alluvial gold mining on the surface which turned Ballarat into a moonscape. After the surface gold had been mined and deep leed mining began, turning Ballarat into a permanent city, the people began replanting the city. This means that almost all of the natural environment dates from the 1860s and later. It is very enjoyable to walk through all the same.

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York Street Walk

I try to avoid walks that do not involve footpaths because old knees and ankles do not appreciate the additional work and protest later. Still, the walk up Eureka Street and then up the rougher ground of Fussell Street to the top of York Street is almost worth it for the houses that have been built at the top of the street and the views back to central Ballarat the street offers.

Usually, however, I walk down Stawell and Kline Streets, past the little shopping center and the entrance to the Warrenheip Gully to York Street, which is only a hundred yards or so further on. Then I go along York Street to Queen Street and then up to either of the four main ways back towards home; Warrenheip Gully, Eureka Street, Specimen Vale Creek or Victoria Street. On this occasion I walked on a little further to Otway Street and then up to Hopetoun Street, which made a diverting change with some interesting small houses and many garage doors. The short walk down Rodier Street is always pleasant, leading as it does to the Specimen Vale Creek walk, and home.

There is little in the way of natural beauty or variety on this walk but I find the varieties of architecture and settings that people live in interesting.

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