2016

I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: "a bleak and scary building"

I was going to devote this week's blogs in preparation for my trip to Pentridge tomorrow, delving a little into its history, but instead it is turning into a series on other regional gaols: Parramatta, Bendigo, and today Geelong. Kerryn Goldsworthy reminded me about the Geelong gaol, which is indeed a true bluestone beauty. I love the way the photographer here has tried to get under the imposing bluestone gateway. This is becoming a common theme: the way dark bluestone walls tend to loom forbiddingly....

Like Pentridge, this gaol was built by prisoners, between 1849 and 1864. In the meantime, they slept on "high security barges" on Corio Bay. The gaol seems to be a mixture of basalt (bluestone) and brickwork. In this photograph, it doesn't seem so dark and grey...


I will certainly go and visit this gaol but in the meantime, here is the article Kerryn sent me. It is full of the evocative language that is one of the subjects of my study. The gaol is a "bleak and scary building", and I particularly love this sentence: "In today's terms the prisoners lived in appalling conditions with freezing blue stone walls and iron bars." There's a real awkwardness here in trying to translate emotional affects from present to past and back again. 

You can do a normal tourism tour, but there is also, of course, the haunted ghost tour, with very scary picture:

I've never been a zombie or horror buff of any kind, and have never been on a scary ghost tour (though there were moments under Edinburgh Hill that felt distinctly creepy), but maybe in the interests of research I'm going to have to change my ways. Yikes!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie, I've been following your blog for a while and just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading it! Not just the bluestone posts, which are fascinating, but all your other reflections and insights into your academic work as well. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks! It's fun to be back blogging again,after quite the hiatus.

Philip said...

Bluestone has a temperature now - ironic given its origins but reminiscent of Dante's hell?