Buried History.

On our way back down the hill from the Sawpit camping area yesterday, we stopped at the Narrawong Cemetery, where there are some beautiful historic graves.

The rural setting is beautiful and tranquil, and I can’t help thinking it is a lovely spot to be laid to rest. 

It’s easy to see who were the founding and/or prominent families of the area, simply by observing the number of very old headstones bearing the same surname.

Separate from the other graves and marked by an obelisk rather than a headstone is the grave of William Dutton, who built the first house in Portland in 1828. Portland, now only about fifteen minutes’ drive away from Narrawong and the main city in the region, is the oldest European permanent settlement in Victoria.

Dutton died in Narrawong in 1878 at the age of 67, having made a name for himself as a master mariner, sealer, whaler and farmer. 

References:

William Dutton: Australian Dictionary of Biography
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dutton-william-2011

Portland: A Short History
http://www.visitportland.com.au/portland-a-short-history/

A Hidden Gem in the Narrawong State Forest: Sawpit Camping Area

One of the things I always try to do when I am out and about on a road trip or holiday is to see something new or visit a place I haven’t visited before. 

Even though we are camping at the same place we’ve camped at every January since 2014, there are still new things to explore. Last year we visited the wonderful Bay of Whales Gallery nestled in the hills above Narrawong.

Today we ventured up to Mt Clay in the Narrawong State Forest to check out The Sawpit picnic and free camping area. It’s only a short distance from where we are camping by the Surrey River at  Narrawong.

It’s really gorgeous up there. The natural bush forest is beautiful, a glorious natural canopy above the blackened tree trunks, reminders of bushfires In years past. 

The camping area is well designed, providing numerous sites for campers to spread out from one another.

Walking tracks enable visitors to immerse themselves in the environment on walks of different lengths, and the historic lumber cart and log display are reminders of the history that gave the area its name. 

Everything is clearly signposted, including a reminder for campers to take their rubbish home: given that everything was clean and tidy, it’s really encouraging to see that most of the visitors have been conscientious in that regard. 

Still, it seems that things are not always easily understood, as demonstrated by my own friend’s response to the following sign: 

Friend: “20 minutes one way. Why would you only go one way?”
Me: ”It’s a loop…”
Friend, after a few moments of thought: ”Oh. Yeah.”

What surprises me most is that many people don’t even know it’s there. It really is a hidden gem.