I was singing that great Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid song, “Raindrops keep falling on my head”as we pulled up to the gate of our good friend’s property perched high on Bundawallah Mountain, overlooking the very picturesque township of Berry, the Shaolhaven River and heads to the south, and north to Gerroa and Gerringong. What a beautiful vista!
Even though it was raining it still provided that wonderful feeling of bliss, this is my time, my time to be inspired by the beauty that surrounds me. There is rain forest at the western edge of the property with mid aged Australian cedar trees, deep green, fanning canopies that provide a haven to the many varied local native birds, with ferns and bracken at their feet and tree ferns towering into the green.Down on the southern edge a vista straight from the Sound of Music opens up – lush green, grassy paddocks fall away to the south, mountains and mist, clouds and distant paddocks and cattle grazing with the occasional Mmmhh breaking the quiet of day.
To the north, a couple of neighbour’s dwellings huddle into the deep folds of the land, with silvery wisps of smoke rising upwards in the cool air. A little closer to the fence and the view opens out to a herb and vegetable patch, the size of a tennis court. Rows and rows of delicious green vegetables ready to be picked right now.
As I walked to the back deck of the farmhouse the view to the east opened out, Mount Coolangatta, a mountain of dark and bright greens, shaped like a pyramid resting quietly against a grey blue patchy sky.
Silver serpentine, adorned with she oaks, swamp mahogany and port jackson figs, the Broughton Creek wends its way through quiet dairy paddocks, disappearing and then reappearing through a copse of tall, broad Eucalypts and reflecting the river banks as it flows its 20 kilometre journey to the mighty Shoalhaven River.
Tilled and fertile fields lay in earthen browns and russet reds, while flaxen crops lay in wait to be harvested into bales, shimmering in the afternoon light. The patchwork of fields with their demarcations of neatly planted pines, she oaks and fruit trees criss cross the rolling plains and hills, rolling onto the horizon to meet the uplands, the last land formation before the sparkling sea.
All day the south and north bound traffic flows along the black grey ribbon of road, with tall golden poplar trees flanking the shoulders of the road. No sound is heard other than the breeze sighing through the wattle trees and the occasional chatter of Fairy Wrens, that dart and flirt along the fence line.
Timber, stone and copper spires of churches and administrative buildings and a railway station, two storied mansions and turn of the century shops set the mood of Berry, first occupied by the Wodi Wodi people.
Berry, a town founded in the early 1800′s is reminiscent of a Victorian era township, complete with a railway line to Sydney, a mill, a dairy, a bakery, a butchery, stables and blacksmith, a constabulary and courthouse, a tannery, a boat builder, a post office, two hotels and a phalanx of well to do homes, all of which have added to the romance of this enchanting south coast scene.
Fully inspired by this wonderful environment and with sketch book in tow, this was a great opportunity to spend a wonderful weekend drawing and painting this merry scene. Great landscape design ideas came to mind for recreating miniature aspects of this glorious scene laid out before me.