Exhibition to showcase Bellarine scenes

July 31, 2022 BY

The Old Court House Museum in Drysdale, home of the Bellarine Historical Society. Photo: MATTINBGN/CREATIVE COMMONS

THE Bellarine Historical Society will help raise the profile of the Old Court House Museum with a celebration of art and writing based on historical objects and events.

To be held next month at the museum in Drysdale in association with the Port Arts Network, A Fly on the Wall is a collection of local artwork depicting scenes of the Bellarine Peninsula.

Paintings will be for sale.

The visual art display will also be complemented by an evening of storytelling, short historical fiction stories and poems created around both fictional and real events occurring in the area before 1950.

Local writing groups were invited to create the stories, which will be read on the night by the authors themselves.

Eileen Jenkins’ sketch to accompany her poem “Mabel’s Mangle”. Photo: SUPPLIED



The poems include “Mabel’s Mangle”, by Eileen Jenkins:

Mabel knew a change of clothes would make folk look like new,

So, she laundered in her garden shed to earn a bob or two.

We were the best of friends and together laughed and cried,

Until she threw a wobbler and up and went and died.

Our times were hard, my littluns hungry… but she left for me her mangle.

I washed all day and hung it out, on flapping lines to dangle.

It brought in pennies, paid for bread. No longer were we poor.

My sheets were whiter than the clouds, which drifted past our door.

I washed George Cole’s fine linen bits and sheets from the town’s hotel

The locals sent me more and more. My name was known to sell.

And then one day the Chinese came, as gardeners they were known.

The biggest pumpkins in the town were seeded and then grown.

But then they started laundering too; my business disentangled.

Prices fell a notch or two, as customers were wrangled.

Bit by bit my goodwill went and bellies growled quite empty

The littluns begged down on the pier from touring Melbourne gentry.

But soon the Chinese left the town. They’d heard of hills of gold.

True stories of the wealth they’d see in Ballarat were told.

The men who saw them leave the town cared not a jot for yellow.

They liked much whiter faces, just like every other fellow.

My business thrived; I took on help to get the washing done.

I charged a little more of course; hard scrubbing was no fun.

Once more I used my tub and turned the wooden handle.

My laundry was a great success, thanks to Mabel’s well-worn mangle.

Founded in 1977, the Bellarine Historical Society has been operating out of the Court House Museum since the 1970s.A Fly on the Wall, presented by the Bellarine Historical Society and Port Arts Network, will be on show at the

Courthouse Museum, 11 High Street, Drysdale, on August 27 and August 28 from noon until 4pm on both days.

For tickets to the August 27 evening event, which will run from 5-7pm, head to trybooking.com/CBDKX