Saturday, 29 October 2011

Dry Stone Wall

Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 800, 34mm, f8, 1/30
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A dry stone wall forms my front yards fence. This wall also runs for about 1000 metres around the street block, forming a 80,000 square metre or 8 hectare compound. Shown on the map below. There appears to be two houses, that appear to at least partially be original dwellings. The houses are surrounded by an extension of this wall to form yards that separate them from the compound.

Screen Capture from Google Maps
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Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 320, 26mm, f16, 1/100
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Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 800, 32mm, f8, 1/60
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Dry stone walling emerged in Australia in the mid 1800's in areas where a proliferation of stone in the landscape was the result of land clearing. In the case of Bendigo this activity seems to have coincided with the Gold Rush that started in the 1850's. There would have been lots of stone available from the diggings and many Anglo Celtic and European migrants for whom stone walls were historically and culturally significant in our early settlement. This availability of relatively cheap skilled immigrant labour and maybe the need to protect crops from rabbit plagues necessitated the building of these walls.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 800, 18mm, f8, 1/40
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Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 200, 170mm, f9, 1/250
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Local gossip has it that this area was the site of the first Cobb & Co station in Sandhurst (renamed to Bendigo). Later the main settlement moved down to its present central location as the Bendigo Creek was a more reliable water source than the nearby Spring Gully Creek. It is said that the settlement included a walled orchard and market garden and this wall is what remains, sometimes fully and sometimes partly around the perimeter.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 800, 24mm, f8, 1/60
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This broken section below shows the method called 'Hearting' where small stones and clay are used as filling or packing inside the two external walls. These “Double” walled constructions are made by placing two rows of stones along the boundary to be walled. The rows are composed of large flattish stones. The walls are built up to the desired height layer-by-layer (course by course), and at intervals, 'Throughstones' where heavy, large stones placed at regular intervals along the wall to tie the two sides together. These have the effect of bonding what would otherwise be two thin walls leaning against each other, together with 'Hearting, greatly increasing the strength of the wall and give the wall its A shape side on. It appears that the easier availability of wire and higher wages resulted in a decline in full construction of stone walls after the 1880’s.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 200, 36mm, f16, 1/125
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Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 800, 24mm, f8, 1/40
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Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-f5.6 @ ISO 200, 36mm, f9, 1/200
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1 comment:

  1. Very informative and interesting Wayne nice to know the story behind the photo.

    ReplyDelete