Sometimes places close to home are the places we over look the most. The places we least explore, places that we have the least inclination of making a day trip to, or at least a morning drive to. Sometimes these places we’ve been to before but they aren’t in a direction we usually travel through and they change, they grow, they become more appealing and of several towns near me that come to mind which are all these things, Meeniyan is one of those as I just described. Set in a small valley along the South Gippsland Highway, bordered by the Tarwin River to the west, Meeniyan has in recent times grown and in doing so has become quite a ‘weekend away destination’. Last Saturday, with little planned for the morning, myself and my son made the drive to this relatively small town with no real plan other than to see what was there and how much had changed.
I had known that things had been changing at Meeniyan and more little unique stores had popped up, I wasn’t exactly sure what, but we weren’t disappointed. As we made our way from the car down towards the gallery at the corner, the shops temporarily end and the vista opens up as you gaze through Meeniyan Square, the new heart of the town. Last year we attended evening markets here, where the atmosphere is amazing; the smell of freshly smoked meat hangs in the air, people lounge in the evening light under the Silver Birch trees on bean bags, chairs, and hay bales as wine from the local wine store Dr. Folk is sipped between conversation. If wine isn’t your thing, local beers or Gippsland cider is also available. Stallholders border the square selling everything from hand made soaps and jewelry, to sculpture and clothing. But not today, on this particular morning, the square was quiet, and the smell of smoked meat was replaced with the coffee scented steam rising from my cup.
A permanent small clothing store is open to my left inside an old renovated shed, and a couple sit having breakfast in the Meeniyan Pantry portico to my right, my little man on the other hand has become restless and we make our way to the bakery in search for a cookie or cake, he decides on the cookie. The shop in which the bakery resides is relatively new I believe as I’ve never previously noticed it on other visits, but it’s quite in keeping with the town’s overall appeal and aesthetic which is nice to see. Back out onto the street and we wander up to the gallery; three rooms inside consist of the works of three different artists, today all were paintings; landscapes and abstracts, to wildlife and animal portraiture. Other things were planned for our day by this time and we made our way back up to the car, but not before stopping for a quick look inside the sculpture gallery, of which everything is available for purchase, we left before I convinced myself to buy some artwork from within however and made our way back home. It’s nice to see more places like this locally, I feel if this is the new standard, country towns will become all the more appealing again, a sense of returning to a community, and that can only be a good thing.
thanks for looking