Collector of Dreams

Wattle the herald of spring

Wattle the herald of spring

 The Federal Highway, a 4 lane highway, dips and curves through the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range, eventually  joining the Hume Highway and fast tracks Canberrians 300 kilometres from Canberra to Sydney

But today we will only go approximately 90 kilometres to explore the inland city of Goulburn

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The highway by-passes many small villages on its relentless rush from point A to B, but the joy of slow travel is to take the road less travelled and what interesting and delightful discoveries are waiting to be found. So it was when we noticed the sign for “Collector”. Now who could resist wanting to see a village with a name like that.



The sun sparkled on this small pond and the raucous sound of the “motorbike frog” filled the air. It was a joy to see the soft green leaves cloaking the trees on the side of the pond. A definite photo stop…

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Further along the road the local Hotel was once the refuge for the Ben Hall bush-ranger gang.

“The hotel’s dubious claim to fame is linked to the murder of Constable Samuel Nelson by John Dunn a member of bushranger Ben Hall’s gang on 26 January, 1865. The hotel changed its name to the ‘Bushranger’ after the incident.”

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Now it is for sale. Any takers out there? Have you $755,000 to spare?

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It was closed but we snooped around peering through windows.

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Now here is a very interesting piece of information…

The Paranormal Guide lists it as a potential haunted hotspot.

“The Bushranger Hotel is said to be haunted by a former publican, who continues to go about his work. Glasses on the bar are moved by unseen hands, and even found to be stacked when a staff member leaves and reenters the room. At other times glasses just shatter while they sit on the shelves,” they note.

“White, whispy figures have been seen travelling through the doorways, accompanied by the step of heavy shod boots. If you are a woman and are staying in the hotel, you may be fortunate enough to have the sensation of your hair been stroked and run through with invisible fingers.”

The hotel was also the subject of a documentary, and has been investigated by West Sydney Paranormal.

WOW! I only found this after checking the hotel in Google. Here is another interesting site about the present owners.

Next to the Hotel is another interesting place.

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It is an old books and rare items shop. Look inside. Hundreds of books, but it is only open by appointment.

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But then I looked across the road. WHAT is this???

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I take a closer look.

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There’s no one around, it looks as though it has been deserted for quite a long time, so I go round the back.

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It certainly has been well reinforced. I think a major dream has been under construction here. My curiosity is running wild and when a young bloke comes by I ask if he can tell me about it.

Yes he could as his father lives next door. He remembered when he was at school watching as  Tony Phantastes, the art teacher at Goulburn High, slowly created his “Dreamer’s Gate”. All along the front had electric wires running through and lights installed. Tony would turn them on in the evening, lighting up his dream.

“Collector is also famous for the controversial sculpture Dreamers Gate by Tony Phantastes, built between 1993 and 1997 to commemorate, among other things, his father’s life. A Gothic structure of cement and chicken wire, the artist and the Gunning Shire Council have been in constant battle regarding the structure since 1999.[9] The plot in which the sculpture stands is now for sale and the sculpture itself under demolition orders.[10]”   (Information from Wikipedia)

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This is the gateway round to the back. Tony had planned to build an art gallery and coffee shop.

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This is his field of dreams. How very sad. My young informant thinks he has gone somewhere north and hasn’t been seen in Collector for quite a while now.

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Slowly we drive away leaving behind the dreams of yesterday, now dying and turning to dust.

Just as we turn back onto the Federal Highway I notice signs of new life arriving in Collector. Roads and paving are being constructed and a new housing development is rising out of the earth waiting for commuters to build and create a new dream. Working in the city but living in this idyllic and eccentric country town.

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As we leave this funny fellow waves goodbye.


Our day out has just begun and we are half way to Goulburn, but I will take you there tomorrow.

(To be continued….)


Categories: Australia, Canberra, Collector, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “Collector of Dreams

  1. Incredible what you can find, Pauline! The frog is amazing, as are the gates and I rather like the chap outside the book shop too 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Have a happy week 🙂


    • Thanks Jo will be round to go on the walks soon but only have a week left and am trying to fit in the last few things we want to do before heading back home.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh that hotel is wonderful! I hope someone who loves it buys it and maintains it. Those sculptures are genuine works of art and should be perserved. Wonderful post as always~


    • The highway now bypasses the village so I guess they have lost a lot of previous customers. It is a pity to see all that dedication and dreams being reduced to dust. Thanks for your comment Cindy


  3. I liked all the stone and bricks mix in the first photos – and wow – what art that “Dreamer’s Gate” is – and sad that it will be torn down – but I guess that is the cycle of life – and also not all art is viewed as worth keeping – funny to think that some artwork is revered as keepsake while other pieces are viewed as trash and set for demolishing – hm.
    enjoyed this – and the little wave goodbye was cute.


    • Art is certainly in the eye of the beholder Y but I think some “Art” is made by the marketing and the charisma or infamous character of the artist.


  4. OMW that frog really does sound like motorbike. ‘Dreamers Gate’ is indeed a strange and fascinating place, Pauline. It does look very sad and forlorn. So glad you didn’t meet any ghosts at the Bushranger Hotel. 🙂


    • When we house sat at Geraldton we had one or two of those motorbike frogs in the garden and they just keep revving all night… 😦


  5. There are certainly some unusual towns in Australia and I reckon you get to find them all! I found this place a little too unnerving for me, I won’t be putting in an offer on the hotel! Isn’t Lake George the one that disappears? I remember my ex-in-laws telling me about a lake that every so often completely evaporates and I know it was near Canberra as we drove past it.


    • Yes you are right Jude, I checked it in Google (where would we be without the all knowing Google???) It has no inlet or outlet and in drought it does dry up, it was dry from 2002 to 2010 during our last big drought.


  6. What an interesting post, pommepal. At each photo, I thought, now that’s my favourite and then the very next item outdid it! That motorbike frog is aptly named! And Phantastes gates is so sad. But, tough choice though it is, my very favourite is the photo of the Dividing Range and Lake George – the colours are stunning.


    • Thanks for the comment Jill, I love the way the light reflected off the Lake George photo. It was actually taken on our way home in the late afternoon.
      I thought it was a very sad story about the Dreaming Gate, so much work and big dreams squashed by a council with no vision.


  7. how does Dreamer’s Gate looks in personal? is it frightening? i think not many people will see the art in the structure if it looks frightening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was one of those such unexpected finds that it actually took my breath away. It had a very sad and neglected feeling with all the overgrown weeds and grass and neglected vehicles (there were 2 more that you can’t see in my photos) that I didn’t find it frightening, just overwhelmingly sad that an artist should be forced to walk away from his dreams by an uncaring council.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sandra

    the gates remind me of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and Parque Güelle both by Antoni Gaudi. Fantastic by Phantastes?!


  9. How sad that the sculpture will be demolished! What a fabulous trip- I’m so glad you blogged it so I can travel along too!


    • The council are so heartless to squash a man’s dream, it is very sad. I was quite taken with this small rather eccentric little village, well worth the detour.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a stunning post. You really show the glories of the road less travelled. You also prove over and over that the journey trumps the destination. I’m eager to see what you find in Goulburn, a city I the ink I’m familiar with. You’ll prove otherwise, I’m sure. I love the story of the gate, and your images of it are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. One of my favourite sayings is ” Life is the journey, not the destination” There is so much more to see in Goulburn than I expected and a number of galleries are only open at the end of the week, so we are going for another visit tomorrow.


  11. pattisj

    So much work in Phantastes gates. Sad he can’t make it the reality he dreamt of. Beautiful scenery along Lake George.


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