A Shay-geared locomotive scales the section of The Commonwealth Oil Corporation’s Wolgan Valley Railway on the Newnes side of the famous Glowworm Tunnel in 1907. The route had only opened earlier in the year, which was very new in this image.

The Commonwealth Oil Corporation mined shale oil between 1907 and 1932. The building of the route was overseen by Henry Deane, an engineer who worked for The New South Wales Government Railways as well as on other railway and tramway projects in Australia.

The route’s primary purpose was the movement of goods; however, passenger services were also provided. The line was thirty-two miles (fifty-one kilometres) long to Newnes from the junction of The NSWGR’s Main Western Line.p

Four Shay geared locomotives were imported to work the route. The largest of these was No. 4.

Shay locomotives are ideal for working on lines with tight bends. The locos were scrapped after the line’s closure, though assorted parts have been preserved.

Information credit:




1998 Great Vanilla Slice Triumph


The Great Vanilla Slice Triumph began in Ouyen in 1998 after then-Victorian premier Geoff Kennett claimed the vanilla slice from the town’s Mallee Bakery was the best he’d ever tasted.

Over the years, the competition attracted entries from around the state and South Australia.

In 2012 it moved to Merbein.

There’s not a lot to do in Ouyen.

Of course, you’ll want to see the largest mallee stump in Australia – it’s right there in the middle of town.

But after that, options are limited.

And now the event that put Ouyen on the map has moved elsewhere.

The story goes that when Jeff Kennett visited the town in 1998, locals challenged him to give them an event to boost the local economy.

They suggested the Formula 1 Grand Prix – he countered with the Vanilla Slice competition.

Jeff personally supported the Triumph, acting as a guest judge until 2005.

For 13 years, local volunteers coordinated the event, which attracted hundreds of entries.

But, eventually, the work involved took its toll.

Perhaps regretfully, in 2011, Ouyen decided to award the rights to host the Great Vanilla Slice Triumph to another town in the Sunraysia district – Merbein.

Merbein added a new dimension to the Triumph with the National Dried Vine Fruit Bake-off, including Sunmuscat Slice, Sultana Muffin and Plum Pudding sections.

This was, of course, in addition to the traditional Vanilla Slice section and an Innovative Vanilla Slice award, open to professionals only.

In all other areas, there were awards for apprentices, amateurs and juniors.

But the hero remained the vanilla slice, where judges were looking for “a custard with a creamy smooth texture and a balance of vanilla taste with a crisp, crunchy pastry topped with a smooth and shiny glaze fondant”.

Sharps Bakery of Birchip won the 2016 competition. And for the first time, a South Australian bakery was placed in the top three, with the Banana Boogie Bakery of Belair coming in second.

Banana Boogie also won first place in the professional Sultana Muffin section and second place for its coffee and walnut vanilla slice in the Innovative category.

It More than 18,000 vanilla slices were consumed in the course of the August weekend. And consequenctly, everyone made pigs out of themselves and hospitals far and wide were packed out with belly pains 🫣

Then controversy descended.

After the event, Merbein’s volunteers announced that they, too, had had enough and ceremonially awarded the Great Vanilla Slice Triumph to the town of Birchip.

There was a local connection – the 2016 winner, Birchip’s Kevin Sharp, was an ex-Merbein lad.

But the burghers of Ouyen weren’t happy.

It seems the Triumph wasn’t Merbein’s to give, as Ouyen still owned the rights and wanted the festival to remain in the Mildura municipality.

Despite being 229.1 km south of Mildura, Birchip is still officially in the Mallee.

Instead of the mallee stump, though, it has another big thing: the big mallee bull, commemorating ‘Big Red’, a legendary wild bull whose name was used for many years to instil fear into local children.

A whole lot of bull and prize-winning vanilla slices – that promised to bring the punters in.

Well, this year, 2023, guess who won 🏆 the Great Vanilla Slice award 🏆 SHEPPARTON NORTH BAKERY. FUNNY thing that I think they made it all up. Because no one in Shepparton ever knew. 😂🤫 congratulations, Shepparton, at least you were saved from going to the hospital with a belly ache 🫣🫣🫣🫣


Wisdom @storyville

Today’s story is the next chapter in our Life and what happened next…

With every word comes a step with every step comes another word that is the ‘ Book of Wisdom ‘ God writes next …..

In You in Me in You as it reverses itself from In Me in You In Me God writes the next ……

The word that brings ‘ Wisdom ‘ from the pages of the ‘ Book of Life ‘ begins with a journey, a path, some might say, and each comment will be added every day to make a sentence into a page, and many chapters will hold our gaze as the ‘ Magic Pen of God Writes ‘ next …..

This page will say neither You nor Me will judge another and their ‘ Book of Life ‘ you may see as we will meet people who are ‘ Poor Heart ‘ like You and Me was at the very start, then next …….

A daily life of two images made in the ‘ Image of God ‘ so long ago brought together in ‘ Love of God ‘ on that day and their ‘ Book of Life ‘ it begins on that day as next ……

l Must say as A&M created this way from all that God wanted to say to write in You and Me each day and next …….

l say to All in Kindness & Love In Peace & Truth who read this chapter today to read your ‘ Book of Life ‘ this way, thank God for your life and silently 🙏🙏 for God to enter your Heart & Lifelike A&M do every day ……..

Next theres more ……



Wisdom @storyville


Today’s story is about ‘ Wisdom & Love ‘, and for Me does not mean you have to be sure to gain ‘ Wisdom ‘ but that you ask God silently in 🙏🙏 like You and Me to come into Your Heart & Life …….


Now l was just 14 when God came and was there with Me, but it took until l was 30 before l would feel that God had entered My Heart & Life …….


It then was God teaching and Me learning that l would gain a ‘ Wealth of Knowledge of the ‘ Word of God ‘ that had come into My Heart & Life …….


Then it took many more to walk that ‘ Path of God ‘ as first l had to learn there was no ‘ Right Or Wrong ‘ and that all that God wanted Me and You to learn is the Truth in Our Heart & Life ……….


Now as l learned and as God taught the “Word of Love ‘ that had entered Me like you was the ‘ Light of God ‘ that was spoken by God so long ago when what was said became our Heart & Life ……..


That was and is ‘ Wisdom ‘ Now of the ‘ Word of God ‘ in You & Me as each day we both silently 🙏🙏 and ask for nothing in our Heart & Life ………….


So l say to you All today in Kindness & Love, In Peace & Truth, to be like A&M just silently 🙏🙏 to God each day and ask nothing for yourself and ask God to bring ‘ Wisdom & Love ‘ into your daily life and then one day when God does say that ‘ Light of Love ‘ will come into your Heart & Life and forever stay ……




Famous Poets


HYMN – Barry Tebb

How I love the working-class girls of Leeds,

Their mile-wide smiles, eyes bright as beads,

Their young breasts bobbing as they run,

Hands quick as darting fish, lithe legs

Bare as they scramble over the Hollows

With brown-soled feet and dimpled bums,

Half-covered with knickers and short dresses,

Full of flowers and their delicate ears,

Perfect teeth and flickering tongues,

The Fragile bones of their cheeks,

The soft Sweetness of their soprano voices dying

Away into the unforgotten magenta and Yellow-ochre of innumerable twilights.