Saturday, 27 April 2013

looking for Miles

I am working towards an exhibition at The Front in Lyneham at the end of May. For some weeks now I have been working through ideas for the theme and content of the show - and up until recently nothing really seemed quite right.

Then I remembered by original idea for the space and it clicked. I would do something about Miles Franklin.

Some of you may remember my post from earlier this year which touched upon the subject and I started to explore some of the pioneering cottages around Canberra that would have existed during her time.

I discovered that Goulburn has a Miles Franklin self guided walking tour. You can download the brochure and take an independent tour of the city observing many of the buildings that she wrote about in her novels. Thankfully many of these buildings still stand today although their original use may have changed. My particular favourite is the Old Police Station that has been converted into a fabulous second hand book store. I found a great book too - but that is a story for another time.

Argyle Emporium for second hand books.
It used to be the Police Station.

I also stumbled across an old gas street lamp with a great sign. 

Gas lamp post
Auburn St 1879
last in existence
After the walk ( it was a beautiful autumn day) I decided to try and find the place where Miles lived in Thornford where she wrote My Brilliant Career. Talking to the ladies in the local history musuem they pointed me in the direction of Thornford, just out of Goulburn. I could get there via the highway or take the back road, so I decided upon the road less travelled to see what adventures I might have.

I discovered the most amazing old pise cottage and my imagination ran away with possible stories about the inhabitants of this place. 

details of the pise wall construction
This cottage didnt seem to match the location of where I thought Miles Franklin's house would be so I continued my search.

Further along the road I saw some chimneys sticking out of the over growth. I couldnt resist the temptation to explore further.

Excitedly I explored the ruins admiring the old mud brick chimneys and slab hut construction.

I remembered reading in Miles Franklin's diaries about her old house in Thornford. She wrote that the old house had gone and nothing remained but the mulberry tree and bed plate, but that the dairy was still standing. Perhaps I had discovered her house after all!

When I got home I re-read her diary entries, and the diary was pise. So disapointing! This place wasnt Miles Franklins home after all. Its funny to think that such a well known Australian author can be so obscure at the same time. 

The search continues.....


  1. Hi Kate! I am following you too now! You should go to Talbingo! Miles Franklin everywhere you look :)

    1. Good thinking 99 - it is on my list of places to visit :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails