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What is it when a particular place draws you? Some landscapes or places engender a particular feeling, yet without any reason for it. When I drive from Bendigo to Ballarat, there is a seemingly unremarkable location with potato farms and a volcano where I feel as though I am home. Why? I wonder if in a previous lifetime this was my country. I have not stopped to check the exact location and if anything is recorded there—I’ll do that next time I head that way.

I travel between Bendigo and Melbourne on the train, and love to look at the spillway from the Malmsbury reservoir. Check out 10 excellent images of the Malmsbury Railway Viaduct here. One wet year I noticed that both spillways were overflowing, and I loved the symmetry, the colours and the energy of the vista from the train. It reminded me of a 19th century landscape painting, such as by John Constable.

Every time I go past on the train I have to check the water level and if it is flowing. If I forget to look, or it is too dark, I get annoyed with myself. At the moment only one spillway is overflowing, which is less symmetrical, although still good to see. While on the train going past it last week I resolved to go there in person to look, and connect with the space. Jim and I did a road trip, which was fun in itself—it has been a while since I travelled the Old Calder—and we took a picnic. A train went over the viaduct while I was there and it was odd to be on the other side of the view.

There are some beautiful old bluestone constructions that relate to the original reservoir work. They are growing some impressive lichens.

Being there seemed to satisfy the longing, and it was good to explore the dam wall and the spillways. It will be interesting to see how I feel about the space next time I go past on the train, and if my perspective and passion are different.

1 dry2 Jim walking3 spillway4 lichen5 train on viaduct

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