Marysville - Yarra Valley

Located in the foothills of Melbourne's closest ski fields, Marysville is a picturesque town, a place to enjoy peace and quiet and appreciate the wonders of nature. As we head towards winter here in Australia, the autumn colours were glorious on the day I visited with a girlfriend last week.

Established in 1863 as a stopover for diggers travelling to the goldfields, Marysville, now just an hour from Melbourne, evolved into a popular honeymoon and resort destination.

The town thrived until early 2009 when the Black Saturday bushfires wiped out almost the entire town.

The new Visitors Centre includes a small exhibition in recognition of the tragedy. The photo below gives you an idea of the intensity of heat.

Phone box - Marysville after the 2009 fire

Terry Ross lost his lovingly restored ute - thankful he saved his house and his life was spared.

Terry Ross - Black Saturday destruction

Due to a massive relief effort and the tireless work of the locals, many businesses reopened and friendly locals are still happy to chat about the rebuilding process.

The regeneration around Marysville is truly remarkable as you can see from my photos of the town and surrounding parks and memorial gardens - which includes a monument to those that lost their lives - at least 15 in Marysville alone and the brave people - both locals and rescue workers that continued tirelessly to save lives and property.

(The Black Saturday bushfires, now known as Victoria's darkest day, killed 173 people. Another 414 people were injured. More than 450,000 hectares had burned and 3500 buildings including more than 2000 houses destroyed).

Despite this tragedy the locals have rebuilt their homes and livelihoods. Chatting with them was a pleasure as they described how their lives have been enriched by the generosity and support of friends, family and fellow Australians.

Their positive spirit was evident at the pub where I enjoyed a light lunch and at the Visitors Centre – where we browsed some of the quirky giftware and a beautiful cluster of blossoms from the red flowering gum – a botanical piece created by Lynne Stone – regulars may remember Julie wrote a post about her work recently.

A large space is taken up with a gallery – currently featuring the art works of Ian Wood:

His careful use of colour together with an attention to detail show deliberate intricacy. Colours intertwine for a gentle or tumultuous ride into places where it seems nothing stands still. His art is inspired by the new unique colours and ancient textures of Australia.1

Marysville Vistor Centre; Gallery; Quirky pottery; Art by Ian Wood; Lynne Stone's gum flowers

A highlight of Marysville is Bruno’s Sculpture Garden, which Anne featured in an earlier post. Such a thrill to meet Bruno and meander through his magical garden.

Bruno’s Art and Sculpture garden, Marysville, Victoria
Taking you on a journey around the garden and art works created by Bruno Torfs in Marysville- destroyed in Black Saturdeay fires and rebuilt to be even more inspiring.

Driving to Marysville from the central Yarra Valley is across the Black Spur. Mist hung over the stands of trees - so straight and tall, as we wound our way up and over the hills – the forest floor filled with tree ferns, while overhead majestic Mountain Ash dominated the mountainside. As you can see below, breathtakingly beautiful.

Despite the catastrophe of the 2009 bush fires, we had an uplifting day in Marysville: the autumn foliage, the beauty of the bush and parks, the magic of Bruno’s Sculpture park, the atmospheric drive over the Black Spur. As often is the case, it is the spirit of the community that stays with us.

1 Excerpt taken from storyboard at Marysville Visitor Centre.
All images are my own photos unless otherwise stated.