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Author Topic: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle  (Read 7866 times)

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Offline siemanthepieman

Bran Castle Old Town was built outside the original castle walls, but within the extended walls that were erected in about 1936.

This update is of the Old Town circa 1986.

17.1  - The Old Town is renowned for its fine cobblestone groundwork and although the commercial buildings are seemingly getting forever newer and forever taller, its skyline remains dominated by Bran Cathedral, especially at night.

17.2 – The Deputy Mayor’s house is tucked away up the back of the suburb and is a very nice pile of bricks.

17.3 - Not surprisingly, it is outdone by the Mayor’s house, which draws large crowds on the weekends when it participates in the region’s Open Garden Scheme.  People are fascinated by the large eucalypts and the beautiful beds of wildflowers. The sheds up the back keep the Mayor’s classic car collection safe from those who would like to obtain such a collection without actually paying for it!

17.4 – Of course, the crowds also stop to look at the impressive Mayor’s statue just across the road from the Mayor’s house. Indeed, the Mayor, vain as he is, can often been seen over there admiring his own fantastic image case in impressive stone.

17.5 – The Old Town is nowadays a curious mix of the old and new. Some say, under their breath of course, that the old money that sits on the Council is easily swayed in planning and development decisions with the passage of a few bucks under the board room table.

17.6 -

17.7 – Some pockets are a bit more cohesive than others. Here you can see the Grand Medina in Bran Castle (bottom right) and its sister hotel, the Grand Medina Old Town (upper right) in close proximity to one other. Yes the names are decidedly boring and also very confusing. If the chain had a dollar for every time a guest rocked up to the wrong hotel …

17.8 – This old apartment block in the middle of town was built before Old Town even existed. When it was built, it was very cheap housing - a nice building, sure, but outside the original castle walls and not in the middle of anything. Now it is prime real estate right in the middle of town (the Mayor’s statue and house is just to the right of shot and the main commercial block just to the bottom). Those who bought in early are now sitting on a nice little nest egg and can obtain good finance against their equity for things like Competition Blue Dodge Vipers with speed stripes to go with the V10 under the hood.

17.9 - The main commercial block

17.10 - An overview at night to finish off


Mayor: David McQueen
Deputy Mayor: David Brown
Number of Councillors: 8
Population: 278
Median Age: 39
Average Household Income: $107,000
Average Education Level: Bachelor level tertiary education (partially complete, still enrolled)
Jobs: 1400
Council Jobs: 85
Primary Industry/Tax Division: Office Services, Hospitality/Tourism
Notable Features: The Cathedral, Kirin Corner, Mayor McQueen's garden.

Motto: cum fide a malo pro-tegimur
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 07:35:17 PM by siemanthepieman »

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline Nanami

Interesting cobblestoned town! I mean its really cobblestone everywhere, both street and the sidewalk.

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman


Callistemon was Bran Castle’s first truly wealthy suburb.  Early on, it was comprised entirely within the castle walls. Eventually, it came to include a pocket of homes beyond the castle walls as well.

18.1 – Here it is in about 1970. You can see the part of the suburb inside the castle walls to the lower left and the part outside the castle walls is to the upper right. The industrial area to the lower right falls outside the suburb entirely.

Those of you who have been following along might recognise the part of the suburb inside the castle walls from Update 7 and also recognise the part outside of the castle walls as having been started by that enterprising group of builders in Update 12 who built the downtown who settled a small little community half way between the downtown area and Bran Castle itself. It wasn’t too long before that little group of worker’s huts snaked back around on both sides and joined up with the rest of Callistemon.

18.2 – Of course, in such a suburb the Mayor and Deputy Mayor enjoy a pretty nice home. You can see them both here to the middle left. The Mayor’s house is surrounded by a formal hedge with fields of white daisies, while the Deputy Mayor has the exact same house (!) just on a smaller allotment and surrounded by a low stone wall instead.

18.3 – A closer look at the Mayor’s house.

18.4 – The small commercial centre of Callistemon developed quickly. Originally a neat but rather clumsy arrangement of pretty generic looking offices  …

18.5 – Some rather nice town planning some more interesting developments, including a quaint little church with a substantial rear garden, a very well regarded little elementary school and a much more cohesive scheme of sidewalks and paving amongst the shops and offices.

18.6 – A closer look at the school.

18.7 – And a closer look at the church. A substantial monument was built at an important cross-roads to honour ‘The Forgotten Explorer’.  Sometime during the 60’s King Schmo II discovered that he was not actually the first person to sight the bay that become New Portland and that Dietrich ‘Hugo’ Rich had actually spent 100 days riding through the wilderness of the Greater Isle of Schmo and actually reported back to King Schmo I this area of untold promise. Of course, the King did not pay due attention to Dietrich’s reports of his travels, much to his son’s delight now.

18.8 – By 1975, the commercial area was nicely developed, with a fairly cohesive ‘look’.

18.9 -

18.10 – For no particular reason, the King was rather fond of this nice little corner leading out to the highway.

18.11 – By 1987, the back part of Callistemon had been overtaken by the mega-rich. The Port had been open for a number of years and many well-heeled trade merchants, particularly the Dutch, took a shine to the region. They settled in and, before long, Callistemon was home to the region’s first mega-mansions.

We’ll come back to have a closer look at this part of the suburb in a future update.


Mayor: Marlboro Dietenhofenn
Deputy Mayor: Paul Smith
Number of Councillors: 16
Population: 385
Median Age: 23 (yep, lots of rich parents means even more rich kids)
Average Household Income: $312,000.00
Average Education Level: VET/Business College or equivalent (plenty of sharp business minds here, but not too many PhDs)
Jobs: 970
Council Jobs: 45
Primary Industry/Tax Division: High Wealth Residential
Notable Features: Bran Castle's richest suburb, The Forgotten Horseman Memorial

Motto:  Concordia Integritas Industria
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 06:18:17 AM by siemanthepieman »

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline Nanami

Another interesting update! although I find it funny where the road mostly full with buses.

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman


Wow. 45 days approaches rapidly some times! Black Forest didn't develop quite as much as hoped for this update, but alas, work and family come first.

Nanami: As always, thank you for your comment. The bus routes are in their infancy in the region and Callistemon is in the middle of the only route. It's popular! So popular it's a wonder none of the school children have been killed crossing the road outside the school yet.


Black Forest is a small suburb just outside the castle walls, on the opposite side of the hill to Callistemon. It started as a small group of what were basically shacks against the river (seen across the bottom of picture 19.1, those on the north side of the river and to the left of shot were the start of the suburb, those on the south shore are actually on crown land and not part of Black Forest at all) and nothing much happened with the suburb for a number of years. Back then, it wasn't really a suburb and didn't have a name.

In more recent times, two significant developments occurred.

In 1962, a terminus train station was built and the suburb quickly expanded from about 120 residents to about 980 that same year. The station was nestled amongst the thick forest in the area to give arriving passengers a 'sense of place' as they pulled in to the station and it was the forest from which the name of the suburb was eventually derived.

Then in the late 70's another 'boom' hit when a new hospital was built. The medico's all built nice new houses close by and things like parks and schools and shops got a nice little boost as a result of the extra employment and money around the place.

By the start of the 80's it was nice little suburb, well serviced but still holding on to its close knit small community roots.

19.1 - An overview from early on, about 1967/68

19.2 - The station that really got it all started in 1962. Curiously, despite it being perfectly placed for the purpose, there was no bus service either into Bran Castle or to the holiday locations close by along the river. It was a terminus in the true sense of the word. Perhaps the Mayor will fix it now that it has been pointed out! The Mayor, by the way lives in the row house at the bottom of the shot, with his domestic and garden staff to the left and his deputy to the right.

19.3 - Of course, the junction just outside the castle walls was seized by a few smart local businesswomen to take advantage of the passing traffic.

19.4 - One little pocket of the neighbourhood was built during an era when Asian architecture was really in vogue.

19.5 - The hospital, sandwiched between a petrol station and a record store. Many nice homes were built close by by the doctors who worked there and a lovely park was constructed just across the road.

19.6 - And to finish, another overview as we leave off with Black Forest circa 1979 or thereabouts.

Facts and figures to follow.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 06:13:56 AM by siemanthepieman »

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman

Initially, Burbank was nothing more than a few enterprising young chaps who were cheeky enough to ‘set up stumps’ on the otherwise unused land outside the walls of Old Town and build a few modest little houses for themselves. In 1951 the suburb actually became a suburb when the mothers of the children of the men who worked in Newport started demanding a high school at which their youngsters could be properly educated beyond Year 7. It was a boom time for the region and the constituents wishes were the King’s commands.

20.1 – This shot shows the bulk of the suburb as it existed in 1954 when the school was first opened. Amazingly, the first serious incident involving a student straying on to the dirt road running between the school buildings and the playing fields didn’t happen until some 8 years later in 1962.

20.2 – There was a few commercial offices and a little diner close to the school, but otherwise nothing but houses really …

20.3 –
… from the roundabout just outside Old Town to the east …

20.4 - … right up to the rails to the west.

20.5 – As the suburb grew, the councillors at least had the presence of mind to keep a large expanse of land vacant for a large bushland park in the middle.

20.6 – They did, however, let most of the agricultural land get overcome by development. Amongst many others, the Mayor took up in a Spanish styled mansion in the northern parts of the suburb where there used to be a bit farming take place. Eventually, grumpy old Farmer Joe (with his beloved strip of farmland running alongside the railway) was the only farmer left in the whole suburb.

20.7 -

20.8 – It wasn’t long until the suburb extended all the way to the railway line abutting Cowandilla in the east …

20.9 - … and started curving right back around to Bran Castle (out of shot to the left).

20.10 – As it grew, the Council had money to start building some niceties such as sound walls along the railway and playgrounds for the many young families who moved in.

20.11 – Some larger commercial zones developed …

20.12 – with new schools and medical clinics to boot.

20.13 – The Council even relaxed its zoning policies. First it let in medium level residential development and  then …

20.14 … whilst not without its problems …

20.15 – full scale high rise commercial development.

20.16 – Of course there were perks that went with the additional tax dollars, like ponds and walking trails in the park for the residents.

20.17 – And unforeseen riches for the little petrol station owners who got in while land was still cheap and the suburb undeveloped.

20.18 - By the 1980s, the suburb was (mostly) a sight to behold. Thanks to the kit homes that were used for 99% of new home construction at the time and the neat orderly rows of houses, there is something very Edward Scissorhands about the suburb. In fact, many people say that this is the where the film’s creator, Tim Burton, grew up.

20.19 – Of course, all rapid growth brings a few problems and Burbank was no exception. This seedy little strip consisting of a cheap motel, a couple of ‘gentleman’s’ clubs and laundromat and some low rent offices popped up just as one leaves the suburb for Cowandilla. Don’t even ask what goes on in the well-trodden patch out the back!


Mayor: William (Bill) Burton
Deputy Mayor: Kim Boggs
Number of Councillors: 16
Population: 4,827
Average Age:27
Average Household Income: $98,000.00
Mode Education Level: High School or equivalent
Jobs: 5,657
Council Jobs: 248
Primary Industry/Tax Division: Education and Insurance
Notable Features: High School students - untucked shirts, short tartan skirts and poorly tied ties. Lots of holding hands up the back of the buses. Bad music, played loud in oversized headphones.

Shield/Crest: Subject to outcome of a school design competition (results under review on allegations of vote stacking and fixing).
Motto:  Educationem campester in medium de speramus

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline kelis

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These residential zones are really well done. keep up the good work.

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman


kelis -
Thank you. There are many more to come. Hopefully not too repetitive.


Midguard is actually slightly a slightly older suburb than Burbank. Although there were many houses that pre-dated the train station, it wasn’t ‘christened’ as the subrurb of Midguard until 1947 when the station opened to the public.

To its inhabitants in particular, it is the true heart of Bran Castle – it has the main station for the workers who flock (or should that be ‘trudge’?) to and from Newport each day and it received the high voltage power the Newport feeds to the city and transforms it to the 240v that the workers need to boil their kettles to make their coffees to actually get out the front door and off to work each day.

Midguard and its inhabitants were a pretty straightforward proposition. Loads of workers and their families living in modest homes, a few little shops (it was in desperate need of a small shopping centre with a supermarket) and a handsome train station to ferry the workers to work each day.


21.2 – Along with the 8.37am from Midguard, the 5.08pm from Newport (seen here arriving at Midguard at 5.19pm) was the most popular (and longest) train between Bran Castle and Newport each day.

21.3 – The Mayor loved nothing more than sitting out front admiring the power lines.

21.4 – Of course, as soon as Burbank got sound walls and playgrounds, Midguard wanted the same. Midguard got a library too. Take that Burbank!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 05:53:58 AM by siemanthepieman »

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline kbieniu7

Well, those suburbs are actually a little bit scary for me. All houses packed up and nothing but dirt roads around them :D However, going back few updates, I like to see some more historical-looking buildings, as well as more modern commercial zones (fortunately with asphalt roads!) in New Portland  :)

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman

kbieniu7 - Thanks, but there are plenty more packed suburbs and dirt roads to come.

Cambria is one of smallest suburbs, if not the smallest suburb, in New Portland. It consists of two fairly distinct clusters of homes – one group just out the back of Bran Castle Central Train Station and the other abutted right up against the shire line adjoining Port’s Corner (not shown to the left of picture). Although long inhabited, it wasn’t recognised as a suburb until 1952 when the commercial establishments set up shop opposite the train station’s rear car park.


22.2 – The businesses in Cambria do very well thanks to their proximity to the train station, but there are less than a handful of them - three small retail outlets (two convenience stores, one computer/home technology store), two commercial service offices and a nice enough motel directly across from the station carpark. The residents are a clucky lot who won’t allow much more commerce than that in their lovely little neck of the woods.

22.3 – The north west section of the suburb is the pick for families, with a nice little school within walking distance from pretty much all homes.

22.4 – The suburb is small but prosperous and the Mayor isn’t short of a dollar. Nevertheless he has only modest digs, albeit on a nice sized plot. Rumour has it the Mayor is a bit of a lothario. And that is on pretty good authority as the pines across the rear of the yard don’t provide anywhere near as much privacy for the various (and numerous) hot tub visitors as the Mayor thinks!


Mayor:  Steven W. Gottschalk
Deputy Mayor: Currently vacant
Number of Councillors: 7 (Normally 8, but Deputy Mayor vacant)
Population: 423
Average Age: 52
Average Household Income: $63,000.00
Mode Education Level: Year 10
Jobs: 64
Council Jobs: 1 (station car park ticket collector)
Primary Industry/Tax Division: Retired
Notable Features: Not much, just a nice little quiet neighbourhood.

Shield/Crest: None
Motto:  De currus parcum tesseras enim rely
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 02:37:00 AM by siemanthepieman »

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Re: From Schmotenton to New Portland - the rise (and possible fall) of Bran Castle

Offline siemanthepieman

Port’s Corner is one of the few suburbs in New Portland to have part of its boundary align perfectly with the boundary of the Shire within which it is situated (see left of picture below, which is where Port’s Corner meets Cambria in the Shire of Portsview). It is another small suburb, which sprung up around the terminus station built in 1963 when the King decided the little strip of land between the lee side of the hill and the train line was another nice little spot just ripe for development.


23.2 – There was a large IT Polytechnic across from the station and lots of cheap housing throughout the suburb. The rest of the shops around the station catered to a student crowd, it was well serviced by public transport and the suburb was quickly rather full to bursting with IT geeks-in-training.

23.3 – As with all educational institutions, there were good students and those that lacked ‘application’ to the learning tasks at hand. Inevitably, those who lacked educational rigor ended up without work, drinking and smoking and failing to pay rent because all their ‘hard-earned’ was spent on partying (at least when the good students failed to pay rent it was because of the price of their textbooks). This meant they didn’t look after their houses and their landlords certainly weren’t putting any of the non-existent rent money into repairs. These students seemed to migrate to the edge of the suburb where the rent was cheaper and the long walk to school didn’t bother them because they never went. In the end, there was a couple of small pockets of houses inhabited by Polytechnic dropouts which became the blight of the suburb. Even the civic services generally wouldn’t bother to attend in the case of emergency. No one knows what came of this poor little house. Certainly, the fire department never came to find out and none its neighbours were there (at least not sober or interested enough) to find out.

23.4 – That little fire actually spread far enough that it opened up a nice little vacancy big enough for a small primary school. The area was soon filled with a few nicer homes, big enough and nice enough to accommodate a family (rather than a group of unruly students!) and they spread primarily along the road running next to the train line back to the station and near the primary school itself. There was a neat little tunnel connection to the neighbouring suburb of Hawthorn too.

Still to come.

Deputy Mayor:
Number of Councillors:
Average Age:
Average Household Income:
Mode Education Level:
Council Jobs:
Primary Industry/Tax Division:
Notable Features:


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