Tuesday, May 28, 2013


So, as I was saying the other day when we were so rudely interrupted by school uniforms and lunch boxes and readers, while we didn't find any mushrooms on our forest adventure, we did find another sort of treasure. Real treasure. Old treasure.

As we were walking up to the house following the path the gorse muncher had uncovered a few days before, we came across an old gold miners' camp complete with lots of bits of old crockery and glass.

During the mid 1800s to mid 1900s Daylesford was full of thousands of workers looking for gold. Our farm has a few mines dotted about and an old race running through it.

I'm not sure I have the words to convey the feeling of coming across this little camp. Part curiosity, part excitement, part feeling like we were trespassing, part awe, part respect and part fascination.

First we examined the pile already collected. The patterns on the the shards of ceramic, the letters on the glass bottles, the handles broken off and the different shapes and sizes. And then we wandered around and started searching for more in the nearby area - slowly uncovering and digging up pieces to add to our puzzle.

As we came across each piece we'd slowly dig around it and pull it out. Miss Pepper liked to spit on and wipe them to uncover their design but we were happy to wipe them on our pants.

Treasure hunting is so addictive. Long after farmer Bren left us we were still saying 'just one more piece' and 'what if the next one is a complete jug'...

At one stage, digging out what farmer Bren thought might have once been a rubbish bin, Miss Pepper wondered if there might be ghosts around. The ghosts of the people who ate off and drank from these implements way back then. So together we made a list of some of the questions we'd like to ask these ghosts if they came.

What is your name? Where are you from and what language do you speak? How long have you been here? What is your job here? Have you found anything interesting or valuable? Do you live in a tent or a hut? Do you have a family/children? How many people are working in this area with you? What will you eat today on those plates? Did you break the plates and bottles when you left them or did they decay over time?

It's funny to think that a couple of months ago we were on an archaeological dig in Israel unearthing pieces of ceramic from 2,500 years ago, and here we were digging up 150 year old ceramic and being as excited. 

This treasure is part of our farm's history and therefore part of ours.

We're not sure what we'll do with our discoveries. Maybe we'll leave them in the pile we found them in, maybe we'll make a mosaic or maybe something else will come to us. In the mean time this basket full is doing the rounds of classroom show and share.

I just feel happy about the added layer of history it adds to our farm's story and the questions it's making us ask and think about.

Have a wonderful Tuesday my friends.
May your travels be filled with treasures.



  1. What a fabulous find - how neat to know you have history like that in your backyard so to speak. Get your girls to make some mosaic pavers for stepping up to the vege patch. Lots of fun - especially if they need to smash them up a bit more.

  2. I love the questions you would like to ask, I would like to ask them as well.

  3. aw Katie. so so beautifully captured. xxx

  4. How wonderful. How absolutely wonderful!! Brilliant to find these treasures on your land. I can completely understand the fascination and the questions. Love a bit of history!!

  5. I love a farm treasure hunt and all of those unanswered questions. I often think about the women who might have lived at these sorts of places and wonder what their lives were like.

    Beautiful, warm photos and words as always x

  6. How precious! We have lots of treasure on our block... unfortunately it seems to be old beer bottles (well from the '80's anyway).... and plastic pots from plants.... not so nice! Lovely Kate xx Rach

  7. Oh wonderful Kate! We have a collection of tiny broken china pieces, mostly willow pattern, that we've found in our garden over the years. We keep them on the piano. I love them very much. x

  8. I wonder how much more you'll find? Maybe there will be little coloured bottles or even some whole pieces yet. How exciting to find them all of a sudden!

  9. So magical. When we first moved into our house I found a tiny medicine bottle while digging a new garden. Now it sits on my kitchen window sill and it's the perfect size for the little flowers my boys pick for me.

  10. OMG!! What a magical find. Wow, I would be beside myself to find such little treasures. I do hope you make a mosaic just outside your front door or a small mosaic table for your beautiful cubby house!

    Guess what!! I was in a bookshop today and I saw your book leaflet on the counter, a book sales lady was there showing the owner all the new books. Can't wait to see it on the shelves and on my shelf!

  11. that sounds like so much fun! Our acreage where we are building our house was farming and housing land for the miners when Beechworth had it's gold rush boom...maybe I should do a bit of foraging for treasre too xx

  12. Your girls will never forget that incredible experience, how very exciting!

  13. How cool! Can't wait to see what you create with it!!
    Jana @ 333 Days of Hand Lettering

  14. How lovely... Thank you for sharing. Having recently started a blog I have vowed to stop just lurking and start commenting, saying thank you when I read something lovely. I don't know if you remember, but I'm the English lady who thought our dogs could be twins. I've lurked and hovered for ages and check back often for updates... Thank you x

  15. This:


    Or this:


  16. By the way - I really envy you - I love "real" treasure :)

  17. Oh what an exciting find! How about a mosaic-ey center piece for your kitchen garden? :)

    I'd love to find some buried treasure someday...hidden potatoes are about the extent of my finds so far! ;)

  18. That is so exciting. You wouldn't get me back inside if I found treasure like that (well maybe the cold weather)! Sounds like great inspiration for a story. Can't wait to see what else you unearth.

  19. What about a big glass vase full of the bits and bobs?

  20. How exciting & fascinating! A beautiful history to discover.

    Sar xx

  21. Magic. I wonder what you'll do with all the bits? I think a little mosaic would be so lovely - and more dangling glass. I do love that :)

  22. Your photographs capture the magic of your treasure hunt so beautifully! I look forward to seeing what becomes of the treasure!

  23. Brilliant. That is so totally brilliant. What great finds! What catalysts for wondering, dreaming, imagining... enchantment overload.

  24. What an incredible find to stumble on! Sure to spark the imagination.
    I agree that a mosaic would be lovely.. but also even just putting the prettiest or largest pieces behind some glass (or even wire) inside a frame.

  25. Wonderful! Are there any local records you can research to find out about the various miners, there they were from originally etc?

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  27. Wow! Even scattered amongst a cottage garden would be lovely. Or a mosaic as you said. Such a lovely story behind it, and pieces of real history of your land.


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