About 70 people crowded into the small Chewton Town Hall on January 16 for the launch of Ken McKimmie’s Chewton Then and Now, a collection of articles written over a number of years for the Chewton Chat.
These articles are remembered with great affection and interest by readers of the Chat, and the publication of the collection is welcome. It’s a series of photos, paintings and drawings showing selected sites around Chewton, usually about 100 years apart. As such, it is a set of snapshots in time, and is a poignant and instructive illustration of how things have changed in our district since white settlement. Though of course centred on the Chewton area, it will be of interest to anyone keen to look at how things have been happening in the whole goldfields area over the last hundred plus years.
Although most of the interest in the book is in the areas of work, and social observation, there are some remarkable images of the natural environment, the most striking of which is the photo of the Expedition Pass reservoir taken in 1878. The stripped hills around the reservoir are a reminder of the reckless exploitation of timber in that era, and show just how dramatic the recovery has been.