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  • Writer's pictureTupur Chakrabarty

Daylesford 1.0

It was the 1st of July 2023. Despite being in the dead of winter and knowing that Daylesford was generally colder and wetter than Melbourne, we decided to take our chances. For most of the 130-kilometre drive, the morning sun lingered, leading us to foolishly hope that it might be a lucky day, that we might not have to endure the rain. It wasn't and we had to.

Just a few kilometres before the C141 exit/Ballan-Daylesford Road, the sun made a swift exit as the rainclouds rolled in. In the span of the 30 kilometres we drove on Ballan-Daylesford Road, the windscreen wipers changed from intermittent to fast to very fast.

When we arrived at Cliffy's for breakfast, the rain had stopped. After a brief wait outside (, because we hadn't pre-booked), we were ushered inside and sat at a long, high table. The original shelves and counters from the early 20th century were stacked with all sorts of preserves, condiments, cookies, lollies, cordials and wines. The decorations were rustic, quirky and charming.

Rakesh and I had Turkish-inspired Eggs, but the pita sort of bread did not go too well with the beautifully poached eggs; ShNaajh enjoyed her scrambled eggs on sourdough toast though. We bought a 50g jar of Billy Tea - a blend of lapsang, lemon myrtle, eucalyptus and Ceylon tea - for $12.99. This is by far the most expensive beverage I have ever bought and I can't say I love it!

Given the weather, we briskly walked to our next destination, another indoor venue - The Convent. The magnificent building with a striking red dome cannot be missed.

From a private residence, the building became the Holy Cross Convent in 1892 and remained so until 1973. Then it was a community centre for a few years, but maintaining the property was becoming so cumbersome that it was abandoned in 1981 and gradually fell into a state of dereliction.

That was not the end, however, and thankfully. Tina Banitska, a local ceramic artist, bought the building in 1988 and undertook the massive task of restoring it to its present state. The Convent Gallery was opened in 1991.

Once inside, we followed the route suggested by the lovely staff at reception (and also the flyer): taking the original staircase down to the basement, where the Music Room used to be and the Museum currently is; then climbing the stairs to the very top - to the infirmary and bell tower; and then coming back down to walk through the galleries, the chapel, the St Lawrence Room, the foyer and the St Michael's Room.

The infirmary had a story; or maybe two! The staff at reception said there was once a fire at the Convent - I cannot remember the year - and while the rest of the building was damaged, the infirmary survived. The lady offered two explanations - one divine, the other not.

The infirmary was where dying nuns, those who were believed to be closest to God, spent their final days, and it was their last prayers that shielded the small, narrow room from the fire.

To the non-believer, however, it would be decades of burning fire in the infirmary, to provide warmth and comfort to the departing nuns, that conditioned the brick walls and wooden floor to withstand the fire.

The infirmary has been left in its original state. Standing in the room feels like being wrapped in a story.

After our fill of impressive art...

...we went to the garden. The paved path wound up through rain-drenched plants and bushes and led us to the Wombat Hill Trail. The view of the town, even on a misty day like that, was well worth the hike through the muddy and slippery trail.

We did not go far though as it had started raining again. The walk was no longer enjoyable because we had to keep our eyes fixed on the trail to avoid a fall. We headed back and drove to Lake Daylesford hoping that the rain would stop soon.

It did. When we arrived at the lake, even the sun was out. The lake was like a vision!

We followed the gentle slope of the path through the park and arrived on the bank of Lake Daylesford, a man-made body of water from 1927. Having missed out on the Wombat Hill Loop walk, we were hoping for a walk around the lake. The circuit, known as the Peace Mile Walk, is probably about three kilometres. 40-45 minutes was all we needed to complete it, but the rain was clearly in a hurry to return and did so as soon as we stopped by the lake to take in the view.

We left a wet and cold Daylesford at around 2:00, a little disappointed but still glad we'd visited. We'd seen enough to want to return to the charming town in warmer, drier and sunnier conditions. That's why I'm calling this post Daylesford 1.0.

Will there be a Daylesford 2.0?

If this post has piqued your interest, then you can watch a video story of our visit to Daylesford on YouTube.


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5 commentaires

23 févr.

its a beautifully woven tale... and packed with important information too for someone who hasn't yet been there! 🍂


11 févr.

Very picturesque. Next time you visit, go to The Amazing Mill Markets - Daylesford. Worth browsing! Angela


11 févr.

Driving 130 kilometres to visit a new place is so my cup of tea. Nice story about the infirmary. :) Allan


09 févr.

Did you all miss the Sulphur spring at Daylesford? I'm sure there will be a version 2. The smell of pine trees permeates the air. Thanks for the beautiful write up! Anita

Tupur Chakrabarty
Tupur Chakrabarty
09 févr.
En réponse à

Yes, the Mineral Springs Reserve is on our wishlist for Daylesford 2.0 - fingers crossed! Thank you for reading, Anita 😊

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