Mt Fraser near Beveridge north of Melbourne. It's not just me visiting these places.

I have made several paintings of Mt Fraser, mostly because of its proximity and ease of access from Melbourne. It used to take me no more than an hour to get there which meant I had plenty of time to sketch from different locations and make detailed sketches; get plenty of "material." I never paint plein air because I hate flies; flies in Australia are a nuisance and turps attracts them. Setting up and packing up are messy. I like to travel light and sketchbook and pencils are enough.

 

Beveridge is well known amongst local history buffs as the birth place of Ned Kelly. I was making some sketches of the Kelly house one day when the current owner, Dave,  came up the driveway in a fabulous American convertible. He stopped to see my sketches then offered to show me the interior. What a humble place it was, just two rooms and a chimney and how different from the "average home" of Australians a merely 150 or so years later.

 

However back to Mt Fraser. It is a double cone scoria volcano with a massive slice out of one side where the scoria is mined. On the Hume Highway side of the volcano, on the road that leads to the entrance of the farm on which the volcano sits, there is a monument to Hamilton Hume and William Hovell. Hume and Hovell were two colonial explorers who went looking for grazing land and an overland route between Sydney and Melbourne. It is said that when they climbed Mt Fraser, they could see Port Phillip Bay and knew they had done it. I always felt a bit sorry for Hovell that the Highway didn't include his name. Apparently they never got along so maybe it's just as well. One can jump the fence next to the monument and climb to the summit. There are two high points and a surveying marker sits on the higher one. From here one can see the other volcanic peaks of Bald Hill a.k.a. Melbourne Hill to the south and the well known Pretty Sally to the north west. Port Phillip Bay was not visible from the summit when I was there in 2003; only a brownish smog cloud with skyscrapers peeking through.

 

Before writing this post I did a quick Internet search for Beveridge and Mt Fraser, just to fact check and see what else is out there. I found two new-to-me photographic records of Volcanoes in Victoria. One is included in a biographical blog of a Melbourne school teacher and WWII vet called Arthur Beaumont Shannon.  Arthur had many hobbies and one was to visit and photograph as many of the volcanoes as he could. There is no information about cameras, film or dates, but Arthur had had art training and the photographs are both strongly composed and take in a variety of viewpoints.

 

The other blog is quite extensive. Written by two people only identified as Penny and Natalie, Victorian Volcanoes has a large and detailed gazetteer with high quality photography. It's a very comprehensive and good looking site. However neither blog has any contact information, any place to leave comments and no way to find out more about who wrote these. Pity!! It's the age of the connection economy, the communication age, blog authors also need to be accessible, not just obscure Australian land forms!

 

 

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