"Creswick - My Real Home Town" Creswick by Kate-Me

Creswick Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 93 photos

Creswick

Creswick is the town I was born in, and still live in (but I always worked in Ballarat and spent more time there, so use it as my 'official' home for VT)

These pages will be a work in progress -
I enjoy creative writing a lot, and I intend to do these pages in a couple of different dimensions:

The Present
and.... the Alternate Reality (from 2003)

Why Alternate reality?
That's because my town in 2003 underwent temporary metamorphosis... due to the arrival of a Hollywood film crew which spent 2 weeks in town at the end of April shooting the re-make movie of Salem's Lot (based on the Stephen King novel)

Past history: Creswick's past is closely linked with gold - as this small town, as many in the region, was founded on gold discovery around 1851 (as well as some already established farming but this development was much slower)

Here is a photo of the Rotunda in the main street, just before it got its new tin roof in 2003, with the Post Office in the background (one of the older buildings in the town, 1862)

Present Day

Let me paint a brief present day picture of my little town.
Creswick, population 2500
One main shopping street. Earliest remaining shop built 1856 (formerly Cosy Corner Milk Bar, lain empty for many years now but soon to have a new lease on life in 2013.....
By Australian standards, this is, in fact a historic town (but when one has been to Europe, for example, it sure doesn't seem that way any more).
Most shops date back to the late 1880's, some from the early 1900's. A few are brightly painted, a couple a little sad and tired and worn, needing a coat of paint (as you find with many old small Australian towns)

Alternate Reality: April 2003:
Enter: One Hollywood film crew, to film the Vampire horror movie "Salem's Lot" (remake of the 1979 version)
The movie (released as a US mini series but we were able to buy the DVD via the internet in USA) stars Hollywood's Rob Lowe.. (looking just as young as I remember when I saw him last about 15 years ago in St Elmo's Fire). PLUS Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, and well known Australian actor Rebecca Gibney, and others.

Soon after the crew's arrival, in what seemed like only 24 hours...shops were painted, all of the several empty shops were filled with 'American window dressing', current shops received fake window displays, new names and itentities...solid facades (like on the post office) also went up.
Gee, what can be done with a town in just 2 days! (Under normal conditions, it usually takes about 20 years for a small town to see progress like this).. there were tradesmen hard at work in various locations, trucks everywhere, strangers in dark glasses wandering the main street (is that because vampires can only come out at night????)...so much never before seen activity.
And it was not just cardboard facades (like in Ned Kelly, filmed 20 kms away in Clunes) much of this remodelling was quite solid!

On April 28 more trucks began rolling in in preparation for filming and long trailers for the actors and support caravans soon followed....Rob Lowe's caravan was one of those parked in a grassy park area beside the bowling green.
Interested locals started milling about already, looking to spot action (ANY action).

Monday April 28.
Little action happened on the first day (unless you call laying fake foam snow on the now blocked off main street/highway action). It was autumn, but the movie called for winter...hence freshly pumped snow almost every day, blanketing much of the main street and fliming areas.

Personnel included a couple of police, some crowd controllers, guys with headsets, walkie talkies and mobile phones...and street ushers (especially to help one little old lady cross the street to the shops, because she no longer knew where to cross, as they had removed the traffic lights! She was so bewildered it was almost funny, and we watched her give the 'usher' a friendly pat on the back as he found her a safe place to cross)

The fake snow was quite interesting.
Some of it was large rolls of white foam, laid on the road, scrunched around a bit, then wet, and then glittery white/clear stones scattered over the top to give it that 'snow glistening in the sunshine' look. Other snow came pumped from large cannisters. The cars were very different too - I'm sure many locals haven't seen left hand drive cars before - American cars and jeeps ...and an old black American hearse parked outside the Returned Serviceman's League building (which was converted into Grazino's Funeral Parlour!)

Beside the Funeral Parlour was the still as yet to be operating "Red Heap Cafe" (Norton's Cafe for the film and painted green and blue, all decked out inside like a cafe, when 3 days earlier it was only a shell and old floorboards, not at all ready for use and hire by the production crew)

Norton's Cafe was attractively furnished for the shoot...The menu had items I'd never heard of..and seemed rather funny to us.

Wednesday 30th April.
A much larger crowd of people in the town centre than usual (where shops were still all able to be open but with no parking access) Not only locals, but out of town visitors, some who came from an hour's drive away to see the film set...and perhaps catch some action.
We were there a while, and saw precious little.. mostly extras doing their outdoor walking parts. Still no sightings of Hollywood stars (except 1 sighting yesterday of Donald Sutherland, briefly)

A few days later, we finally spotted Rob Lowe. He became easier to see as he appeared in more outdoor scenes near the Post Office. My husband, who was an extra for the filming day of May 7, was pleased to get the opportunity to shake his hand and get a couple of pics of him. Rob also posed for photos and signed several autographs that day.

The fiery explosion of petrol tanker- meets-petrol-station in the very early morning of the 9th was almost like a grand finale, despite one day of filming still to go. A huge crowd of around 600 people of all ages stayed up, and braved the chilly evening, hanging around behind the barricades at the bottom of town, between two of the pubs, to witness the event. It finally happened after much waiting, at 2.30 am, a couple of hours or so after the time it was supposed to occur.
On Friday evening the filming came to a close and surprisingly by mid morning on Saturday, most of the town was already back to its normal state, with only some 'snow' slush and a few facades remaining of what had successfully become a little American town in Maine.
The whole movie adventure provided our town residents with much to talk about for a long time to come, and one of the most satisfying results for me was not just the publicity of showing our town off to the rest of Australia, but seeing how the movie brought even total strangers in our town together with a common interest, each with their own tales to tell.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A leafy small town, with not too much progress
  • Cons:Not a lot to offer young travellers, but nice scenery
  • In a nutshell:A good place to live, but not exactly on the tourist map by itself.
  • Intro Updated Aug 10, 2013
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Reviews (39)

Comments (4)

  • Donnylass's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2004 at 1:26 AM

    I think the best bit of VT is reading about places like Creswick that are not the usual tourist stuff - great pages - thank you!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2004 at 3:47 AM

    Never ceases to upset me how pages of this quality hardly rate yet a picture of someone's cat rates 5. Keep up the good work, someone cares!

  • Sep 8, 2003 at 8:13 PM

    Excellant home page, nice albums and travellouges.Many many happy returns of the day..Wishing you a happy birthday...

  • truus_s's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2003 at 12:36 AM

    Looks a lovely place to live!!Much info!!Thanks

Kate-Me Used To Live Here!

Kate-Me

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