The Arches, on the Dargo Road, approximately eight kilometer outside Briagolong, in East Gippsland, Victoria was the enchanted world of Archie and Edna Hair. It was a magical world that I was privileged to regularly visit with my parents, brothers and sister during the 1950’s.
On many Sundays we headed off, in the Austin, stopping briefly at the General Store at Briagolong to buy Mrs Hair an ice-cream. The Arches had no running water or electricity and since Edna loved ice-cream my mother always took her some. It was a challenge to keep the ice-cream cool until we had navigated the winding eight kilometre stretch to reach the Arches, but it was a small gift compared to the gift of wonderment and enchantment that surrounded us during those regular monthly visits.
Archie and Edna Hair’s home was in the bush on State forest near the popular swimming hole known as the Blue Pool, which is just north of Briagolong in Gippsland. Both houses on the property looked like something out of a Mother Hubbard storybook and neither had mains power or town water.
Archie had enlisted at Traralgon into the 23 Battalion during WW1 and saw service at Gallipoli and France where he was wounded. He returned home in 1919 to farm at Willung before finally retiring with Edna to do a bit of gold prospecting.
Archie had a wooden box, the contents of which were a source of fascination. He called it his “Box of Wonders” in which he kept simple things that he had collected from the bush. He held us captivated as he spun elaborate stories associated with each rock, tiny fragment of pebble, brown bottle or prized bird’s nest.
There was a large “listening tree” nearby under which Archie told us tales of the forest. He also set up treasure hunts around the bush for the local scouts or other visitor groups and would lend them his unique handmade walking sticks… some with secret compartments containing clues.
Edna died on 10 May 1966 aged 75 and Archie on 21 December 1980 aged 89.
Now, over 60 years later, whenever I meditate and wander down a path towards my ‘happy safe place’ I invariably head back to the Arches. When I do I can see my parents having afternoon tea with Edna in her small sitting room, and Archie feeding his pet Kookaburra and Skipper their pet Kangaroo. I wander up the small stair case to a small loft bedroom and curl up on the camp stretcher and dream of treasure hunts, gold prospecting, biting into one of Edna’s ‘kisses’ and sipping home made ginger beer.
Messages from Edna and Archie
I asked Edna and Archie what I should be pushing towards.
Edna: 9 of Pentacles: Shadowlands Tarot
You know financial security and have enjoyed the finer things in life. Now it is important that you focus on this spiritual journey that you have embarked on. Take risks! Spread your wings and fly! Explore creativity without restriction.
Archie: 8 o Pentacles: Shadowlands Tarot
Time, patience and perseverance are the key to your success now. Keep building this new skill using the tools you have discovered. Don’t hold back your enthusiasm even when it seems compulsive, obsessive. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep pressing forward. It may feel as though you are training for a marathon and in some ways you are. I am happy to cheer you on.