Despite it being a Summer’s day, there was an inclination of gloom in the town of Daylesford. Situated 114 km west of Melbourne within the Goldfield district of Victoria, this country town is one of our regular favourite places to visit.
Daylesford belongs to the mineral springs region of the state. There are many relaxing local day spas, including the well-known Hepburn Springs Resort. Enjoy a calming mineral water bath or a therapeutic massage at this popular tourist attraction.
On this particular trip, our agenda was slightly different! We were on search for comics! “Archie” comics! As my teenage daughter is quite the keen Netflix “Riverdale” fan, she has developed a passion for these old reading texts, which I used to have an interest in many, many years ago😉
Daylesford has an abundance of antique shops, where one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Crammed with knick knacks of all sorts, these treasure troves of bargains and delights will retain your curiosity and interest for hours. Hence, success! Our search was not in vain, as we claimed the treasure and my daughter departed with four original “Archie” comics.
There are many dining options in the town of Daylesford. A variety of cafes and restaurants line the main street. But, alternatively on this day, we decided to have a picnic at the local Botanical Gardens.
Wombat Hill Gardens are situated on top of an extinct volcano, flaunting remarkable views of the town and neighbouring countryside from the Pioneer’s Memorial Tower. A twenty-five-metre-high historical lookout tower, situated within the gardens, with an extremely tight staircase. With trees over a hundred years old, picnic grounds, scenic walks and a café, these gardens make an ideal point to take a break.
Afterwards we decided to uncover a few of the many gourmet food trails of Daylesford. A local smallgoods factory we headed to, selling homemade salami and cooked meats, was closed that day. As a result, we noticed the road sign “Lost Children’s Memorial”, and curiously decided to investigate.
With the crisp smell of eucalyptus in the air, whilst travelling on a road, that lead to a salami factory, we learned of a heartbreaking, historical story of three young boys.
On June 30 1867, three boys, (two brothers aged seven and four, and their friend aged five) headed out on an adventure in search of wild goats. The boys soon found themselves lost within the bush and being the middle of winter, the weather was extremely cold with severe frost.
The panicked stricken boys eventually found shelter in the hollow of a tree, eight kilometres from the centre of Daylesford. Apprehension set in when the boys did not arrive for dinner that evening, resulting in hundreds of volunteer helpers, join together as a search party, that incredibly lasted a few months. Eventually, a settler’s dog, made the discovery of the children’s lifeless bodies, beyond the forest, in the hollow of a tree, huddled together for warmth.
For one hundred years, that tree became a shrine on behalf of the children, until one day it was blown over by a severe storm in 1950. The townspeople then funded a large memorial, that sits upon the boy’s communal grave at the local cemetery.
Today, a second shrine along with a message tree, stands on a road side, less than one hundred metres from where the original tree stood at the end of Wombat Forest.
This being the same road we took to visit a salami factory, but instead came to uncover a tragic heartfelt story that remains an important part of the history, of this small town of Daylesford.
Dark clouds rolled over the town of Daylesford that day…
One of the many cafes in Daylesford
A fountain in Daylesford after Christmas
“An antique is anything old with class” – John Bartlett
Classical old book shops
Are you an “Archie” fan?
Wombat Hill Gardens
The Pioneer’s Memorial Tower look out, at Wombat Hill Gardens.
The road that leads to the memorial
A brief story of the children
The message tree