DAY 136: Mining the past

14 Jan

IT took me a while to dig up the best hijnks to be found in my goldmining town, but it seems these places have been full of idiocy for centuries. Hyuck hyuck!

The ‘Changing Face of Victoria’ exhibition at the State Library has on display an 1855 diary of an unknown miner, written in tight script and fair humour. He’s a likeable chap. He drinks ginger beers to ease his hangovers, heralds the arrival of new prostitutes, ponders the escape of a Bengal Tiger from the travelling circus (which ran off down the main street of Ballarat), and marvels at the theatrical delights of showgirl Lola Montez. Lola carried a bullwhip, drove men to death by alcoholism and duels, and devised the Tarantula Dance, in which she’d frantically paw at her body and tear off her clothes, as if to locate an errant arachnid.

It wasn’t all fun and japes, though. Our man also details the murder of the local butcher and a pub fire that killed 11 people, including six of the newly shipped prostitutes, which must have been very disappointing.

Maybe historians will find a cache of this blog, long after I’ve deleted it in a fit of regret, and will study the descriptions of cow hugging, train gangers with hard luck tales, and execution of perfect donuts, hypothesising as to whether this was the norm in the region, circa 2011.

A mean newspaper depiction of Lola.


Keeper? It’s a hefty historical exhibition so I’ll have another peruse. I like coming out of these places and imagining everyone I pass on the street is from olden times. Put a bonnet on them and hey presto.

One Response to “DAY 136: Mining the past”


  1. DAY 162: Getting spooked sideways by the Castlemaine Theatre Royal « Hey man, now you're really living - February 11, 2011

    […] on hand for her to pet. It was almost a throwback to the diva-ish behaviour of syphilitic showgirl Lola Montez, who graced the stage in the 1850s. Known for wearing no undies, her routine provoked a fight […]

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