Every time I drive into Warrnambool I see the odd structure sitting over the skylike, and because is to so noticeable I instantly want to find out what it is. Okay, you can also see the steeples and towers of the various churches as well, but you can generally tell that they belong to the churches (which is quite helpful when you are looking for a church, because you can see the steeples and towers, but unfortunately they generally don’t tell you what that church actually is – though I’ve never accidentally wandered into a room full of cultists).
So, I guess the question that arises is what is there to do in these gardens? Well, there is something, but I will get to that in a bit because what is one actually supposed to do in a garden? Well, Voltaire suggests that one can find peace in a garden, especially when one is tending it. The thing that I would suggest is what does one do with a work of art – admire its beauty of course, that is why art exists. An artist is somebody who can turn something ordinary into something beautiful (even a urinal – though some may argue that that is not exactly art, but then again they probably don’t see anything beautiful about that). So, what does one do in a garden? One wanders around it admiring its beauty and experiencing the peace that seems to emanate from its existence.
There were a number of these baskets around
As well as the peaceful beauty of the place there were a number of things that caught my eye, such as those baskets above, as well as a few other oddities as well, including a well, an old cart, and a couple of odd sculptures:
That well looks a bit different to the normal garden
Well, actually there are two wells, the one above, and another, more traditional well, upon which hangs the bell from one of the many shipwrecks off the coast of Warrnambool.
The other thing that I wonder about is: who does the gardening? Since Fletcher Jones no longer exists, and the gardens are kept in such a pristine (or almost pristine) condition, them somebody has to come out here and pull out the weeds, prune the trees, and make sure that the place doesn’t become a jungle. Also, there are even a couple of patches containing vegetables, which means that somebody has to come a plant them, and then pick them when they are ripe. Well, there is probably an answer (and I suspect that answer is either the council, or work for the dole), but I’m not going to go out of my way to try and discover it.
Anyway, you are probably thinking that this place is basically an abandoned factory with some gardens that still draw in the tourists and that is basically it. Well, once again you would be wrong because there is actually more to this place than simply the gardens. In fact, in a part of the factory there is what could be considered a second-hand, antique supermarket.
When I first looked over the place I noticed that there was a sign advertising the markets, and I suspected that it was going to be little more than your average farmer’s market with a number of stalls selling fruit and veg, some butchers, and a number of other stalls selling odds and ends that probably have little to no use except look pretty. Well, other than the nursery outside, I couldn’t find any stalls selling any form of produce that you would expect to come from a farm, but what I did find was two levels chock full of second hand goods and antiques. In fact there was so much in this area that it literally took me the good part of an hour to make my way through here, and even then I couldn’t see everything that was on offer since my friend sent me a text suggesting that I should hurry up.
In one way you could consider that this is one massive garage sale, however there seemed to be more stuff in here than you would expect to be able to full every single garage in Warrnambool, and that is counting the newer developments. Sure, most of this stuff was probably handed down from the older generations, and there certainly was quite a few items that you would have found in the average household from the 60s and 70s. I even noticed some things that I remember seeing in my great-auntie’s house, as well as items that my Mum may have had when I was a kid.
Mind you, when I mentioned stuff from the 60s and 70s, that included crates full of vinyl records as well as numerous shelves crammed with books. Most of those books were pretty ordinary, however there were some that simply by glancing at them I could see that they were worth a packet. In fact there was an edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost going for over a hundred dollars.
From what I gathered the entire place was set up into a number of rooms where the room would be rented out by somebody who would then fill it full of stuff. In a way it simply looked like a massive garage sale, however as I have suggested, there was more stuff in here than I would have expected to fit in all of the garages in Warrnambool. Maybe these markets are tourist attractions in themselves, though it did have more than just oddities that you find sitting on mantle pieces. For instance there was quite a lot of furniture, and even the shelves upon which the stuff would rest were also for sale (though I wonder what would have happened it all of the shelves were sold).
Well, as mentioned, there is an awful lot of stuff here, both second-hand and antiques, and I simply managed to resist the temptation to load up with antiques to take back home. However something does draw me back to this place, even if it is simply to get my hands on Paradise Lost (though there is a nice edition at Readings Books for $30.00).
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