I am fascinated by old buildings and ruins. Most of the ones I have seen have been in South Australia. I am glad some old buildings have been maintained because, excuse the clichť, ĎThey donít build them like that anymoreí. Ruins hold their own fascination and have a beauty about them.
Modern buildings may be convenient and cost effective. However, I love the character and style of many of the buildings constructed here in the first few decades of European settlement and like to take photos of them.
At 64 Pennington Terrace North Adelaide Authorís own photo
Some old churches and cathedrals are magnificent with their spires and original stained glass windows. Many are still used for their original purpose.
St Peterís cathedral North Adelaide Authorís own photo
Church at Goodwood Authorís own photo
Church at Strathalbyn Authorís own photo
Some smaller churches are now used as cafes, restaurants or private homes. There are large stately homes which have been renovated and are used as function centres. Old horse stables may have been converted to apartments or a gallery.
Urrbrae House (1890s) Authorís own photo
There are old railway station buildings which have been converted into restaurants, cafes, museums, art galleries or tourist information centres. They have electricity, phones, indoor toilets and other modern conveniences. Most now have air conditioning. When I am in one of these old buildings I try to imagine what it would have been like originally.
One such building, found at Hawker in the Flinders Ranges is the Old Ghan Restaurant and Gallery. The original railway station was timber. After it burnt down a stone and brick building was built in 1884. The station closed in 1970, and in 1989 was purchased and restored to become the restaurant and gallery.
Old Ghan Restaurant and Gallery. Authorís own photo
Old houses are fascinating but can take lots of work and money to maintain. I love walking around suburbs and towns looking at old houses, admiring lacework, brick quoins and leadlight or etched glass. It is interesting to look at real estate internet sites to see what people have done with the interiors of some of these old houses.
Old double storey house at North Adelaide. Authorís own photo
Some old houses in country regions have not fared so well. I look at a ruin and wonder who built it and why. Why did they choose this location? What were their plans and dreams? I find the history of different areas very interesting but sometimes sad.
Some years ago my family spent a couple of days near Farina Ruins, situated about 55 kilometres south of Marree. Farina, originally called The Gums or Government Gums, was established with the hope the area would become a successful wheat and barley growing region. A number of copper and silver mines were excavated near the town. In its heyday there were about 600 people living in Farina. There were five blacksmiths, two breweries, two hotels, a church, post office, school, general store and an underground bakery. The post office closed in the 1960s and no one lives in the town these days.
Ruins at Farina Authorís own photo
In 1852 Kanyaka, a cattle station was established about 40 kilometres from Quorn. It became a sheep station a few years later. At one stage there were about seventy families living there. After severe drought the station was abandoned in 1869. I wonder about the families that lived there. What was it like for the women who were bringing up children in those tough times?
Kanyaka ruins. Authorís own photo
I have been inspired to write poems after wandering around a ruin. Some ruins are very isolated. The wide open spaces and clean air have an appeal but would sure be lonely. In an emergency it would be frightening to be so isolated especially back in a time where there were no phones, cars or Royal Flying Doctor Service. Sometimes all that remains of an old house is a chimney and fireplace.
Only a chimney and part of the fireplace remain. Authorís own photo
Buildings and ruins from yesteryear are both interesting and inspiring. While some are plainer and more functional others are decorative and display craftsmanship. With their mellow stonework, fancy lacework, and beautiful windows they make modern buildings look boring in comparison. However, I definitely appreciate the comforts and convenience of newer buildings.