Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beechworth - Echoes of History

My first visit to Beechworth was in 1972. Yes, nearly forty years ago. So, it stands to reason, that things will have changed in the interim: the town will have changed; and, I will have changed.

And the way history is perceived and presented has changed.

In the year 2000, I gather, a sizeable amount of government funding was dedicated to Beechworth, to enable its story to be preserved for future generations. The tagline, 'Echoes of History', is the public face of this programme.

The result is a sterile, bureaucratisation of a provincial town. I guess it was either that or history as a 'reality show'. Needless to say, I was gobsmacked and disappointed. But I will be the first to say that I have changed equally as much as Beechworth has changed.

In my mind's eye, I had visions of a tumble of junk, of dirt, of old people with flowing beards working in blacksmith's shops, of slabs of decaying wood roughly joined together into huts. Was this what Beechworth had been in 1972? I am no longer sure.

But Beechworth today is fit for the busloads of senior's groups who are plonked down in the main street for an hour or so, and who spend their time in gift-shops and bakeries.


Mark said...

Not my cup of historical tea either Julie. Everything must be perfectly preserved and made tidy and boring. I prefer the tobacco sheds from previous posts, I bet there were no information boards/souvenir shops there!

freefalling said...

Looks like you had a great trip (Beechworth aside).
I've never been to Myrtleford before - that butter looks awesome.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Well the photos don't look very inspiring but I wonder if that is because you were not inspired. I find that, a town puts me off and I don't want to photograph a thing.

Julie said...

I have more to show of Beechworth, but you are right. I was bored out of my tiny brain in this section. But I found other stuff elsewhere, once I walked away from the official stuff.

I find, with photography, that once I see something I really like, my eye kicks in.

Beechworth said...

Hi Julie, I think it would be fair to say that wherever you travel the best things are usually away from where the 'official' line sends you. The 'historic precinct' can be a bit flat. Maybe next time try the Ghost tour or Gaol tour, the short drive to Woolshed Falls, Lake Sambell or some of the magnificent wineries. Jamie