Trip to Victoria - 23 April to 7 May 2005
Pamela and Margot Hawkless (see photos below)

Pam and I had the most wonderful trip to Victoria - the weather was positively balmy - Melbourne was 29 degrees and other than one day on the Great Ocean Road and the night watching the penguins on Phillip Island, we were in T-shirts the rest of the time. Needless to tell you that the car boot was filled with heavy parkas, coats, woollen scarves - much of it never worn! Absolutely no car hassles, no traffic to speak of, no huge crowds where we visited. Every day was a treasure. 

Highlights included:

Seeing Wallace Simpson (Hawkless) and his wife Bettie in Kiama (son of Theresa Pearl).

Sharing a motel with about 40 bikers (Ulysses Club) at an RSL Motel in Lakes Entrance - many of whom attended the dawn service at the local Lakes Entrance memorial at 6am the following morning - perhaps Vietnam Vets. 

Meeting and staying overnight with Pat and Allan in Sale (and meeting their delightful little dog, Tigger). 

Countryside in the Strezlecki Ranges in the areas around Mirboo North - fabulous forested country - travelling down to Wonthaggi and Phillip Island; elegant Portsea, Sorrento and Rosebud on the drive to Melbourne along the Mornington Peninsula. (We tried to phone Tony and Anne in Mirboo North, but they were not home at the time.)

The diminutive fairy penguins as they tentatively crept out of the sea, checking for danger at the water's edge for several minutes, and hightailing it in a bunch of anywhere between 5 and 50 across the beach to the burrows in the sand dunes. This went on for about an hour - perhaps 300 or so arriving at nightfall - we were lucky to have low tide (large expanse of sand to watch them waddle ashore) and a brilliant full moon which rose out of the ocean. The boardwalk - raised about 24 inches from the ground - on the way back to the car provided opportunities to see dozens of penguins strolling about the grounds socialising, and "talking". 

Melbourne with its efficient trams, wide streets, Crown Casino, Shrine, St Kilda restaurants. 

The towns of Lorne, Apollo Bay, and the winding, spectacular Great Ocean Road, the wild seas, salt spray, being buffeted by a gale which was blowing on that particular day. 

Port Fairy - visiting such a delightful town with the Moyne River and its protected port.

Meeting Tom Bartlett, his sons, Donald, Neville, Melvyn and their families in the Port Fairy area and in Portland. Tom took us on a guided tour and we saw so much of the areas with so much family history ... the cemetery in Yambuk, the Crags, coastline, original Bartlett property at St Helens (Manunda). Tom's extensive knowledge and recall of the history of the area and its inhabitants is fascinating. He was born in Port Fairy over 90 years ago.

Seeing a koala (in the wild) in a tree in Don and Von's front yard.

Tom's son Mel taking us on a guided tour of Portland where he and his family live. Mel had a vast knowledge of the town eg it is home to the largest aluminium smelter in the world (Alcoa and joint venture partners) and Mel described how bores are drilled for water - which leaves the ground at 110 degrees C. The steam is used to generate power for the town. Portland is impressive, boasting a safe, deep-water harbour with large shipping entering and leaving daily. A special treat was travelling on a restored tram for a tour of Portland - a superb circuit around the harbour front - the tram and tram museum all built, staffed and maintained by volunteers in the Portland community - including Bartletts.

Tower Hill, an amazing landform consisting of a crater of an extinct volcano high over the Port Fairy coastline.

Meeting Ian, a Dyson descendant living in Port Fairy and researching his family; made contact with Liz, a Dyson descendant who lives in Melbourne - Internet search (eg. Google) on "Dyson Genealogy" and sign up to the website/chat room. Liz and sister Joanne run the site.

Visiting Helen in Warrnambool whose husband Dick is a descendant from Violet Hawkless.

Browsing around the newly-built ex prisoners of war memorial in Ballarat - a Bartlett company, B.A.M. Stone Pty Ltd. provided the bluestone and black polished granite used at the memorial. We discovered in Warrnambool that a descendant of Mary Ann and James Bartlett, Michael Bartlett, had died in a prisoner-of-war camp in Thailand during WWII - we photographed his name on the wall along with the brother of my father Allan Arthur Hawkless. 

Seeing six stately draughthorses pulling beer barrels in a Carlton wagon at Warrnambool. 

Driving through Victoria's secondary roads from Ballarat to Shepparton and a leisurely Hume Highway journey through to Albury, and to Gundagai.

Last night on the road in quiet (highway by-passed) Berrima and surrounds looking at bakeries, bears, Scottish shop, jams and preserves in light, misty rain. 


Just two: one serious in that the countryside throughout rural NSW and Victoria is hideously dry and brown in most parts other than a bit of forest around Orbost and Mirboo. The only other lowlight - and with tongue-in-cheek - is cleaning one very dirty car at trip's end and returning to reality and work on Monday 9th May.


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Just about the only time we needed coats and hats Tom and Pam, The Crags, Yambuk Memorial stone to Mary Ann and James Bartlett in Yambuk cemetery
Thank you to everyone who made our journey so memorable; it was wonderful to meet members of the Hawkless and Bartlett families, to learn more of our common ancestry, to experience such warm hospitality, to share family knowledge and history, and just to enjoy visiting an area where our great-grandfather, Robert, was born (Merri River). 
Pam and Margot