Hurstbridge

Six reasons to visit Hurstbridge

1 WINTER WINE FESTIVAL

THE hills around Hurstbridge are dotted with little family-owned wineries, mostly making estate wines from hand-picked grapes and many producing ‘‘natural’’ wines. The Winter Wine Festival sees six of the region’s wineries opening their doors and serving meals around the fermenting tanks or down in the cellar among the barrels. At Lovegrove Vineyard at Cottles Bridge, enjoy three Middle Eastern courses and glass of wine for $25. You could start with Thai finger food at Redbox Vineyard, move on to a beef and burgundy pie at Hildebrand Ridge Organic Winery, before finishing with some freshly baked Apted apple pie and cream at Shaws Road winery.

For details see winterwinefest.com.au or call 1300 660 072.

2 HISTORY

IN 1859, an English surveyor called Hurst arrived on a property called Allwood on the flats at Diamond Creek. A few years later he built a bridge across the creek, later called Hurst’s Bridge, and shortly thereafter was shot by a bushranger called Robert ‘‘Bourke’’ Clusky. Hurst died, Bourke was tied to a dray under a tree until the constables arrived and was later hanged. You can find Hurst’s grave under an old douglas pine tree by the kindergarten, and the tree under which Bourke was tied up is a little further towards Diamond Creek. These and other historical sites, including the 1918 concrete arch bridge designed by John Monash, are marked on the map called Hurstbridge Heritage Trail available from the Wattle Cafe, 804 Main Street, daily 9am-6pm, 9718 1378.

3 DAY TRIP BY TRAIN

THE train to Hurstbridge was built 100 years ago to transport apples (and apple cider made at Allwood) down to Melbourne. From Eltham watch the suburban sprawl and graffiti give way to bushland scenery, with great gums towering over meandering creeks. Hurstbridge’s street scape is lined with 1900s weatherboard shops. Ignore the razor wire of the rail yards and wander along to Saunders Mechanics Shop (941 Main Road), a living museum to automotive history. It was built about the same time as the rail line and houses a deteriorating 1945 Ford tow truck. an originai wiring diagram for a 1965 Ford Falcon and some heritage nude calendars – displayed without a hint of irony. For a meal. visit the Wattle Cafe (804 Main Street. daily 9am-6pm) for a bowl of soup or homemade pie by the log fire in a room built to house train passengers in 1912.

4 FARM GATE

YOU can still buy really good apples at Apted Orchards farm gate honesty box. $4 for two kilograms. Look for a little house 864 Strathewen Road, Arthurs Creek. They also grow citrus around Hurstbridge. Keep an eye out for a roadside cart on Kangaroo Ground-St Andrews Road labelled “Lemons. Limes and Leaves” selling West Indian, Tahitian and limes {and leaves), $3 for a one-kilogram bag.

5 ARTISTS

MARGARET Summerton is an artist who lives in Hurstbridge, paints portraits, often using multimedia, and was so enthralled in doing portraits of boxer dogs she had to have one of her own. Tess the boxer shares her studio and is overseeing a massive crochet train Summerton is producing with local crocheters celebrating the Hurstbridge train line’s centenary. There are more than 40 artists working in 26 studios, some of which are open by appointment. See the Artists Open Studio brochure at www.ntatourism.com

6 SACRED SITE

KANGAROO Ground Memorial Tower is a commanding. almost mediaeval-looking tower built in 1926 as a memorial to those who fought in World War I. It sits on what was once known as Garden Hill. a site significant to the Wurundjeri people. In the grounds is a sapling grown from the Lone Pine at Gallipoli. Sitting on top of the structure is a fire lookout station manned in summer. Inside the tower is a spiral staircase that leads to one of the most breathtaking views in the state the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range. the snowcapped peak of Donna Buang, the waters of Westernport and Bass Strait beyond, and the block of concrete towers of Melbourne’s central business at the end of the Yarra river. Free entry, closes at dusk, Melway: 272 G10

From the article by RICHARD CORNISH The Age – Life and Style – 6 June 2012

Hurstbridge Wattle Festival

Each August Hurstbridge hosts the Wattle Festival with the highlight being a Steam Train which runs a shuttle service between Eltham and Hurstbridge stations during the day. Many stalls and displays are open in the main street for all to enjoy. Attractions include vintage cars, Motor Bikes and BMX Bikes, Free Cobb & Co coach rides- travelling along the main street, Free double-decker bus ride around the precincts, music, roving entertainment, fairies, face painting, buskers, balloon artists, Heritage display, heritage trail, Animal nursery and much more.

Hurstbridge Farmers Market

The Hurstbridge Farmers Market is an all weather market held on the first Sunday of every month, excepting January, from 8.30am to 1pm. Located in Fergusons Paddock in the delightful rural setting of Hurstbridge township. (Melways 185 J8)