In the sticks at the Stick Shed
To be honest, I hadn’t intended to visit Murtoa. I was on my way to Mildura and got caught up at the Road works just north of Horsham. I was waiting, waiting, waiting and when we were stopped again I knew it was going to be another 15 minute wait. I was right beside the intersection… so I turned right. Murtoa was only 20kms off the highway and I thought the detour would be better than waiting.
When I got to Murtoa, I immediately saw the beautiful Rabl Park. There are two gorgeous bridges there over the water. And the water was so still. I had to stop and check them out.
So, a quick bit about Murtoa. It is a small country town with a population of 1000 people. It almost seems to be a bit forgotten. You will find plenty of buildings representing the bygone era. Very photogenic if you like old architecture. But there was one building that I wanted to visit. The Stick Shed.
The Stick Shed opens from 10am until 2pm every day. The entry fee is $10. I got there around 12 so my timing was perfect.
From the outside it doesn’t look anything special. It is long but not impressive.
But when you walk in…WOW!!
Look at the above photo and you will a couple walking about 3/4 way down the shed. This shows you the scale of it all!!!
Down the far end of the shed
The ceiling just rises up and up with the amazing long poles increasing in size to the centre. The height and the length of it is just purely awesome. It was a photographer’s delight!
So, what is the Stick Shed and why was it built?
It was built in 1941 to store grain during World War II when exports were restricted and there was a glut of wheat.
The shed is about 270m long, 60m wide and 19m high on the ridge. There are 560 unmilled poles (or sticks) to hold up the corrugated iron roof. The building is on the Australian Heritage List.
To photograph inside the shed you need a wide angle lens and a tripod. There are openings in the roof which provide good light to see but I found it needed a slightly longer exposure in camera. I generally used 0.3 sec, f 5.6 and ISO 200.
Now you might be saying, “Gill – what are those green things of light?” And the answer is, I have no idea. There were almost in every shot. I was trying to figure out where they were coming from as I could clearly see them on the back of the camera but could not see them with my eyes. I walked from one end of the shed to the other and back again taking several shots from various angles and only a couple did not have green blobs.
I actually asked the lady at the admission entrance if there were any reports of ghosts in the shed. And yes I did feel rather silly. She replied that no-one had passed away during the build or during its use that they were aware of. She then added that I was not the first to ask. She commented that other people had said they felt a presence. So, I will leave that one up to you as to what you believe.
Regardless, the building is well worth a visit so put it on your photography wish list.
And if you plan to head this way, then make sure you check out the nearby Rabl Park Reserve in the township of Murtoa. It is work a visit and a shot or two as well. On a calm day you get gorgeous reflections.