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    Goulburn art road trip

    Posted in blogjune
    June 15th, 2015

    This weekend I journeyed to Goulburn with Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) on an art road trip. There weren’t too many surprises as I’d planned the trip based on last month’s visit, but it was worthwhile to go there as a group and enjoy the sights on a slowly-emerging clear-sky Winter day.

    Green Penguin books at The Argyle Emporium, Goulburn

    A bibliolawn

    Travelling there, I went past the Canturf fields at Fyshwick, who always have fun signage (they are competing with church billboards, I guess). You often need to read the slogans aloud to make sense, this week’s was: “Mown and grown in Fyshwick”. I must admit that I didn’t get it for a few kilometres (for non-Canberrans, this alludes to an area which includes many sex shops). A previous slogan was, “Looks good mown, eh Lisa?” and Dale photographed a more political one. If you can think of a punny line, Canturf will give you $250! I just wish they had an archive of all the signs. Or is there one? I saw these aptly-themed books during our bookshop visit later in the day.

    As we made our way from Canberra to Goulburn, the car crawled through thick fog, like the misty landscapes in the new Mad Max movie. I didn’t see any creatures on stilts, though.

    Our pit stop at Grit Café yielded no vegan options (again) – but I did sneakily diversify my request by asking if any of the sweets were “dairy free”. The waitron said that they had “gluten free” but I just made a sad, lactose-intolerant face. It looks like they haven’t had the raw vegan cake since April so it must be seasonal veganism. There is a market for this! I wish we had menu equality for vegans and gluten-frees!

    I had a good #PatADay by honing in on a puppy as soon as I parked the car. My patient and delightful road trip partner K watched [in surprise?] as I bounded over to my new acquaintance. The dog’s companion said “You’ve made a friend for life”, but then they walked away! Obviously no lifetime guarantee, then. They didn’t know I’d be happy to rent a faux-pet for the day. It was lucky I had this pre-emptive pat as I had mistakenly thought that there were real alpacas at our next destination…

    Yarn at The House of Alpaca, Goulburn

    String & stones

    The House of Alpaca was a nice place to visit, but sadly no alpacas live there. In the shop, a measurement for some of the woven garments is 18 microns – I assumed this meant that 18 micro-alpacas (tiny, as in, desktop toy size) grew all the wool for it. I didn’t ask so I am hopeful that this is correct. After all, when the animal is bigger, it broadens the micron as the fibre stretches. That’s how important micro-animals are to the rural economy in making fine, fine fibre – and no doubt to The Borrowers as well.

    In the factory, I learnt that things which look like suspended pine cones are called pirns, the threads they release are a bit like the sight-string in Splatoon or whale baleen hair. There were just so many threads! Even more than you’d see in a crime movie’s thread-and-pushpin wall diagram. Some of the machinery reminded me a little of the inventions in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was quite inspiring to hear how the business has grown, and their use of the quote “Work on the business, not in the business”.

    Book spine poetry at the Argyle Emporium, Goulburn

    Violette girt by sea

    Visiting The Argyle Book Emporium again, still proved overwhelming. It was such fun to see the reactions of people new to the space, to witness their shock, awe and overwhelm. Basically, there are heaps and heaps of books. Many left with lots of purchases! (I suspect though, even if several books are sold, the stacks and piles are like quicksand, with no gap created from the recently plucked). I enjoyed leading people to my favourite section (through the main entrance, turn right, right again under the stairs, left around the stairs, through the small room, down one step, past the records and to the right – yes it’s a labyrinthine former police station!), which has high ceilings and a lounge area.

    Lion and Lambs at Wunderkammer, Goulburn

    Lion and lambs

    It was good to see Wunderkammer at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery again, this time with the benefit of Angela explaining the works and intention behind the exhibition. The show is only on for a few more days, and has a very environmental take on taxidermy and traditional curiosity cabinets.

    Horse 2 by Jenny Bell at Goulburn

    Horse 2 by artist Jenny Bell

    I loved this construction exhibited in the Gallery’s entrance, Horse 2, by Jenny Bell (on loan from the Peter Fay Collection). So evocative of the landscape – I’m sorry that I didn’t take a good photo but it is too lovely not to share in any case.

    Alpaca toy by Sherri Smith at Gallery on Track, Goulburn

    Hi! I’m cute

    We missed out on The Papillon Tea Room (their last Saturday sitting is at 2:30pm), but we did manage to find Gallery on track! Lots of local crafts on display, including this Alpaca wool cutie by Needle felting artisan, Sherri Smith. Sherri is also running a Needle felting workshop this Sunday through the Goulburn Handweavers and Spinners Inc. Uncannily, there is a similarly-named fibre artist, Sheri Smith in Oregon doing pine needle basketry (could be the same person just different elements of the multiverse!).

    Successfully finding Gallery on track was much more enjoyable that our attempt last time – ending up at wrong end of the street, under the scary bridge (no doubt houses many trolls).

    A note for the keen-eyed: even though this post was meant to be “Goulburn vegan mini-break III” …I only ate some fruit at the Alpaca morning tea and didn’t check out any food places, hence the different title! My other two Goulburn vegan mini-breaks can be read with the Goulburn tag. As such, vegan-recommended places I haven’t visited still include Ban Thai and Goulburn Workers Club, plus the Greengrocer café. Apparently Madison’s Restaurant has a good high tea, not sure about the veganics of this, though.

    We didn’t stop at Collector but I’d like to see if the Dreamer’s Gate is still there. It’s well summed-up by the Atlas Obscura, “One man’s artistic vision is a small town government’s legal battle”.

    Our trip was definitely a success, there is so much more to Goulburn than a big ram statue (but we still love you, Rambo). Perhaps one day there will be a Big Alpaca?

    Goulburn vegan mini-break II

    Posted in Lifestyle
    May 10th, 2015

    We trekked up to Goulburn to research for an upcoming Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) roadtrip.

    Last year our chapter visited Braidwood. In the years to come perhaps we’ll go to Cooma, Gunning, Gundaroo, Murrambateman (nearby Crisp Galleries), Mittagong (antiques/crafts and I’m excited by veg*n places like nearby Berrima Health Vegetarian Café) or Crookwell (they have a Potato Festival! …need I say more?).

    Vegan breakfast at Grit Cafe, Goulburn NSW

    Vegan breakfast at Grit Cafe

    Our first stop was Grit café, which had been recommended for its vegan options. The food was nice (a modified big breakfast) but I’m sorry that I got a bit hangry with the lady at the counter, because she opened with the vegan options being salad. Regrettable.

    My modified big breakfast was still enjoyable and they are able to veganise smoothies with soy or almond milk. Next time it would be better to call ahead, to see if they had any raw vegan desserts like the scrumptious-looking ones in their facebook albums.

    I do feel bad about my poor manners, but it was also the disappointment of huge anticipation for their cakes and vegan-friendliness.

    Sex Bomb ad in Pub window, Goulburn NSW

    Sex Bomb ad in Pub window

    We enjoyed the toy shop in the main street which sells a projector painting set which claims “The children have it, with a color of the sky.” I remember having the sky when I was a kid. Less on the sliding scale of family-friendly was a painted sign in the pub’s window but sadly we weren’t there on a Wednesday.

    Detail of Marilyn Psuchake’s 3 Poles, Goulburn NSW

    Detail of Marilyn Psuchake’s 3 Poles

    Marilyn Psuchake’s 3 Poles were stunning, Here+Now was my favourite one, with the mosaics providing a preview of the local buildings. There is a great shot of them (as a group) by creakingbones. I should have been more organised and looked at the Art in public places brochure.

    The Lilac City Markets were just wrapping up and were high on the chutney index, and it was intensely windy so all the petals were flying off the nearby rose garden. I can see why it’s called the City of Roses (but the next festival isn’t till March). Apparently the “go-to” markets are 3rd-Sunday-of-a-month at Riversdale Homestead and the 4th-Saturday-of-a-month Goulburn Brewery Craft Markets.

    Detail of Amanda Stuart’s mongrel country (nil tenure), Goulburn NSW

    Detail of Amanda Stuart’s mongrel country (nil tenure)

    The Library was closed which was disappointing, but it helped us to find the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. These dogs (Amanda Stuart’s mongrel country (nil tenure), 2013) were guarding the outside. This image of another iteration of the sculptures out in the “wild”, which gives such a joyous and free feeling of bounding across open country.

    Inside, the Gallery’s gift shop had some inlaid coloured clay plates by Sugden/Hamilton (I recognised them from last month’s visit to Braidwood).

    The current exhibition is Rod McRae’s Wunderkammer, filling the gallery with installations focused on taxidermied animals (all ethically sourced), addressing environmental topics. It was confronting, but that’s what made it work – and I saw a sad connection with all the roadkill on the way back home.

    Hydrangeas growing in Goulburn, NSW

    Hydrangeas and a pretty window

    We had a few misses with antique shops, because Glenholme Antiques and Collectables is now closed (the owner has retired). I consoled myself by looking at the hydrangeas. These were one of my childhood flowers and the colours are an interesting indicator of soil condition.

    Café Book is also closed on weekends which was disappointing as I’d like to see their book stock. Other places that we should try next are Shaw’s Antiques, Michael’s Old Wares and Collectables, Accolade Antiques and Yarra Glen Pottery.

    We tried to find Gallery on track but must have taken a wrong turn, in any case we were treated to a small informal graffiti show under the bridge.

    The Argyle Book Emporium, Goulburn, NSW

    Just a small part of The Argyle Book Emporium

    We initially went to the old street address for The Argyle Book Emporium (don’t go to 176 Sloane Street, it’s now at 260 Sloane Street). We found them on the second go, and my goddess, it was astounding. Amazing. The building was previously the police station, and the strong holds are just full of books covering every surface, as though they’re melting Dali clocks draped everywhere. It was the highlight of our visit. They sell records too.

    Vegetarian option at 98 Chairs, Goulburn NSW

    Vegan option at 98 Chairs

    I had a great vegan dinner in June last year at 98 chairs, and they again made some custom menu options for us. The veganised roasted mushroom, garlic & Dutch cream potato soup was my favourite, then we had the vegetarian (for me, without cheese) combo dish (vegetable assiette, fresh spring rolls, kimchee, corn grain and miso salad, red cabbage, mushroom and leek pie). I liked the different elements on the dish but discovered I’m not evolved enough for kimchee. Mr Sonja loved the zucchini fritters too.

    I have yet to try the other vegan-recommended places (Ban Thai and Gouburn Workers Club).

    Mandelson’s luxury guesthouse foyer, Goulburn NSW

    Mandelson’s foyer, Goulburn

    We stayed at Mandelson’s, an 1846 historic guesthouse. It was very beautiful, and had the feeling of Professor Xavier’s mansion. There are lots of sitting rooms, they used to have high teas which I can vividly imagine.

    There is also an expansive quilting room which has lots of imported batik fabric (for sale!) and sewing detritus, which was why Claire (one of the owners) was keeping the door closed. The entryway has the original marble black-and-white checkerboard floor which would be suited to dramatic entrances (I wonder if the early Masonic presence in the town contributed to the choice of pattern? Pure speculation but could be an interesting theory!).

    Wataru the puppy

    Wataru the puppy

    No roadtrip is complete without some #PatADay action. We met another visitor, the owners’ grandpuppy, Wataru, who was just cuteness overload and so soft. He is bilingual so he can woof in Japanese (wan-wan).

    Goodman in Advertising. (1847, February 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842 - 1954), p. 1.

    Goodman’s ad (1847, February 11).

    Previous guests (back in the day) include photographer George Barron Goodman, who advertised for people to sit for portraits at Mandelson’s, when he was visiting in FebruaryMarch 1847 (Advertising. (1847, February 11). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.) and (Advertising. (1847, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.). He was making daguerrotypes, a precursor to the modern photograph.

    Goodman in Advertising. (1847, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842 - 1954), p. 1.

    Goodman’s ad (1847, March 22).

    Goodman also promoted his collection of views of Australia’s interior landscapes, which he employed as excellent embellished scenery for portrait backgrounds (Advertising. (1847, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1.). Perhaps Goulburn was added to this collection once he visited?

    Someone on Tripadvisor said Mandelson’s was “a bit like Cluedo” and I can see why – it would be a fantastic setting for a Murder Mystery party or lots of other events.

    The Big Merino's back view, Goulburn NSW

    The Big Merino’s butt, Goulburn

    On the way back, we didn’t visit the Big Merino (again) but here is a Merino butt pic.


    I was sorely tempted by Collector and the new café on the way past, but we ran out of time. I used to really enjoy Lynwood Café, and I agree with theyellowhouseintheU, it is a big loss, but she says that Some Café is really worth a visit – see yellow’s post. You can still buy Lynwood jam, though. I fell asleep for most of the way home.

    Goulburn vegan mini-break

    Posted in blogjune
    June 15th, 2014


    I had a mobile/computer free weekend retreat in Goulburn.


    The only photo I took was of my dinner from 98 Chairs. Their team was very accommodating (no vegan pre-warn, either!), and the chef even explained all the options (there were several! It’s weird when you have choices). Both soups were vegan (I had leek, broccoli and potato with toasted almonds) and they modified a main (Pressed puff pastry, pea risotto, roast pumpkin, mushroom, sundried capsicum, quinoa, & salsa verde = without the risotto). Everything was scrumptious, worth making the roadtrip from Canberra (thanks Liz P for the recommendation!). Apparently there’s a garden out the back, even during the cold weather maybe they could light up that space to make it a feature for diners.


    Vegan dinner at 98 Chairs, Goulburn NSW Australia



    I didn’t even get to see the Big Merino (even though I don’t wear wool. When I was little there was a giftshop in the underbelly), let alone eat at other vegan-friendly places.


    Next time I’d like to try the juices and raw vegan desserts at Grit Café, check out the options offered by the Goulburn Workers Club (recommended by Peanuts Funny Farm) and dishes at Ban Thai. I’d also like to see the castle, or if it’s not a castle, the reason for having a castle sign near Goulburn. A lair for batmerino?