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Published: June 21st 2013
In the bush on the outskirts of Panmure, way down the highway from Melbourne, in South West Victoria lies a secluded classic old Aussie Bush Shack. A retreat from the world, gradually added to and built up over the years by a family friend of ours, a place where men meet and share a bbq, some beers, some stories, go hunting and take the slow pace of life for a Sunday afternoon... It is a classic place built from what was gathered around the bush & nearby, the 'make do' attitude and 'she'll be right'..
Armchairs and seating are crudely axed out of old tree logs, an outside toilet offers options of indoors & out-outdoor versions for your comfort or needs! Old bits of corrugated iron from water tanks and old farm sheds are re used to make walls for the shack or shelter for the wood heap. The bare essentials are all you need here. An iron kettle, a BBQ made from a 44 gallon drum cut in half, rakes, axes and shovels at the ready, an old fire fighting watering can. Bathrooms consist of an old bath basin sitting on a log in the middle of the gum
trees, stools and chairs made from gathered bits of wood attached to logs...
There is a massive stack of fire wood at the ready to keep all snug on a winters day, the smell of smoke around the bush fire, peaceful and secluded. In recent years the owner has added a sleeping shack for when he wants to spend his nights out here. The walls are shaped from upstanding logs of trees, inside next to the makeshift bed hangs an old tin cabinet to store food suspended from the ceiling...
The man and his friends gather here each Sunday, have done for many years... they go hunting together, bring their prey back to cook on the BBQ, sit back, relax, have a few beers, tell their stories, no doubt reminisce, time out from there hardworking farming schedules....
Apparently I was the first woman to enter this enclave, usually a mans domain. I felt very privileged to see first hand the ingenuity and freshness of such an intimate retreat. I don't know if I really was the first woman, but it was a rare occurrence to have female company there. To my surprise the men were very
pleased for me to document and photograph the shack and surrounds, they were very proud of their domain and I can see why.
I love how this is keeping a link to bygone days and old ways of country living. It reminded me of my childhood on the farm, making do with what you have at your disposal, not always needing to go out and buy a new tool etc, but making one from what resources you had close by.
It was an especially fresh experience for me, grounding me back to my farming Aussie roots, as I now live in Dubai, a place that couldn't be more different to this!
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