Wouldn’t it be great if you could get from Daylesford to Ballarat and Melbourne by train. That was the dream in the 1800s, before cars, and in 1887 a rail line between Daylesford and North Creswick made travel to Ballarat possible.
That lasted until the 1970s when the final link – the Carlsruhe to Daylesford line – closed. Now only a coach and rail service is available.
But the Daylesford Railway Station lives on, with weekly heritage train rides to Bullarto as part of the Sunday Market – brought to you by the Spa Country Railway Volunteers.
Last week, COVID seemed only a dim memory at the Market. Perfect weather saw crowds and stall holders in droves. Cliffy’s and the Daylesford Hot Chocolate Shop were doing a roaring trade next door.
Food stalls, clothing, knick knacks, books, CDs, tools and all manner of soaps and cosmetics were there for the buying. People of all shapes, sizes and dress codes brought their kids and dogs.
There was music, the odd cat tethered to a tree and the train museum for entertainment.
There were cars parked up and down the Street, loud motorcycles, pedestrians risking life and limb as they crossed, tooted by grumpy drivers, all watched by bemused coffee sipping diners outdoor contemplating country life and the cost of Daylesford real estate.
From tomorrow many more of the restrictions we have been living with will be lifted. In particular, masks no longer will be required, except in limited circumstances including workers in hospitality and retail, travel on public transport, visits to hospitals and some school students.
For many that will be a welcome step. But 10-20 Victorians are still dying from COVID each day – an increase of more than 10 percent on the daily average daily death rate before the pandemic. A year ago that would have been catastrophic, which just demonstrates how times have changed.
For the moment, life will have more or less the pre-COVID normal rhythm of places like the Daylesford Sunday market.