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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 536299 times)
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Tibrogargan
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« Reply #540 on: June 07, 2007, 03:32:36 AM »

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY


Every fisherman has a story about the one that got away.  This story is about the one that got eaten by a croc.  A very big croc.  It happened on the Mary River flood plain, a labyrinth of waterways, billabongs and swampy land spilling into the sea east of Darwin.  It is the sort of place that is awesome for its vastness, beautiful for its swamps teeming with bird life and fish, and frightening for what lies beneath: it is estimated that Mary River has more crocodiles per kilometre than any other river in the Northern Territory.



Up there you have kilometres of flood plain, interspersed with muddy brown channels, some wide and fast flowing, others no more than a swollen creek that gushed when the Wet was in full fury and will cease to flow when the Dry takes hold.



Where the channels are contained within banks, they are lined with a tangle of mangroves; where they have have spilled over, the muddy water has covered the grass plains with a silty sludge.  Nutrient-rich, it feeds the swamp grasses which grow to mid-thigh length, hiding who knows what.
Birds of prey circle lazily on the breeze, waiting for dinner to break cover; goose nests form perfect circles in flattened grass; crocs sun themselves on the banks and feral pigs wallow in the mud.  From the air, the grassy swath has a beginning and an end.  At ground level, it’s just impenetrable, the life and death struggle of daily life lost in a sea of green.



A day’s work for the helicopter pilots can include mustering stock, taking tourists to remote camps and on joy flights, and piloting groups on heli-fishing expeditions.  Anglers on these expeditions are flown to tidal channels running through country devoid of trees die to the salt.  



Barramundi are not dinner-plate size but party-sized and anything under 22 inches is thrown back.  When the fish stop biting they simple pack up and move on, flying low enough over the swamp to send crocs and feral pigs into muddy retreat and finally landing in long grass near a muddy channel lined with mangroves.  Once the fish start biting beware of lurking crocs.  You do not see them until  too late as they stalk silently through the swamp and the first warning is when they lunge and you hear their jaws snap shut.  They are so big and so confident that they just sit there with the fish in their jaws daring you to move.  When you finally gather your wits and run back out of strike range you can turn back to see the croc easing back sinking into the brown water as quietly as it arrived.  They may rise again metres away in the channel with the fish still in their jaws while slowly making their way up river.  An easy lunch.



GOULDIAN FINCHES

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« Reply #541 on: June 07, 2007, 03:40:09 AM »

BARRAMUNDI

Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790)

The Barramundi is one of Australia's most well known freshwater species. It is prized by recreational anglers because it is a strong fighter, grows to a large size (60kg) and is an excellent table fish. It is also the most important freshwater commercial fish in Australia.

The Barramundi is recognised by its pointed head, concave forehead, large jaw extending behind the eye and rounded caudal fin. It has a first dorsal fin with seven or eight strong spines and an second soft-rayed dorsal fin of ten or eleven rays.

Adult Barramundi are blue to green-grey dorsally, silvery on the sides, and white below. Juveniles are mottled brown with a distinct white stripe from the dorsal fin to the snout.

This species has been recorded from the Persian Gulf to China and south through Asia to Australia. In Australia it occurs from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia and around the north of the country to the Mary and Maroochy River systems in southern Queensland. It lives in a range of conditions in creeks, rivers and estuaries in clear to turbid waters.

Males and females migrate into estuaries to breed, and then return to their original river systems. Males over five years of age usually go through a sex transformation to become female.

The Barramundi eats a range of foods including fishes, shrimps, crayfish, crabs and aquatic insects.
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« Reply #542 on: June 08, 2007, 03:18:38 AM »

STARS TURN OUT FOR ‘OSCAR’ EVENT

June 08, 2007 12:00am….Article from: The Courier Mail

IT'S been a holiday of firsts for Aussie actor Hugh Jackman's young son Oscar while in downtown Bowen. Not only did the seven-year-old learn the basics of pastry and bread-making at a local bakery on the sly, but he also passed an Australian male rite of passage – his first rugby league match.

Local mum Kylie Maddern says Hugh – on a break from Baz Luhrmann's Australia – his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, Oscar and daughter Ava arrived like any normal family, with Hugh proud as punch to see his boy play for the first time. Apparently, the junior kids thought it would be nice to extend an invitation to Hugh's son to play with them, Kylie says. No one thought they would actually come.

But come they did, with both Hugh and Deborra-Lee cheering loudly for their son and his team. Kylie reveals that Hugh was there for a good half-hour or so, but still in costume so it is believed he got a phone call and had to dash off. But wife Deb' and Ava stayed and watched Oscar finish his game. For the record, the seven-year-old didn't score a try, but his team did win.



MAN of the moment ... Oscar Jackman with his dad, Hugh, was an eager ring-in for Bowen's victorious local junior rugby league team, much to the delight of dad, his mum Deborra-Lee Furness and sister Ava. Picture: Cameron Laird
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« Reply #543 on: June 08, 2007, 03:28:20 AM »

NIGHT HAWK SOARS OUT WEST

By Phil Hammond ….June 08, 2007 12:00am….Article from: The Courier Mail

THE world's only nocturnal hawk is on the increase in far western Queensland. The ghostly, elusive letter-winged kite is now nesting and breeding where autumn rains and floodwaters have brought the semi-arid zone back to life.

Bird locator John Young took The Courier-Mail  into the amazing parallel world of remote-area bird life, discovering six letter-winged kite nests in three days. "Every birdwatcher wants to see a letter-winged kite. They are one of the special birds of the desert," the Ingham-based conservationist said.

On an open flood plain, Young eased his LandCruiser 4WD across country, checking specific trees for signs of nesting. It had been 15 years since he had last seen a letter-winged kite in this area, but his instincts were on high alert. "If you don't understand the bird, don't know their subtle ways, you will never find them," he said. "I know they are around. I can smell them."



After half a dozen fruitless tree inspections, excitement peaked near a tall eucalypt, where binoculars caught the white of the bird in its nest. It was a male, in a nest built in anticipation of attracting a mate, Young explained. Minutes later, the distinctive, beautiful bird had launched itself into the air, showing off the black underwing markings which suggest the letter "M". First impressions were of a cross between an owl and a seagull – such is the kite's flying style on soft white downy wings. "These are the ghosts of the desert," Young said. "Here one day, gone the next, and for years, you might not see them. But it's a good season now and the rats have started." After rain and grass throws up seed, conditions are right for the native long-haired rat, rattus villosissimus, to start breeding. Checks of pellets below various raptors' nests confirmed they had been hunting the rodent, which Young said would develop to plague proportions. "There's a very strong theory letter-winged kites breed with their own offspring, because there's no other way they could breed so fast when the long-haired rats are plentiful," he said.

Long-haired rats are almost exclusively the diet of letter-winged kites, and conditions are right for two pairs of birds to increase their numbers to 50 in 12 months in a 10km wide area, he said. "Letter-winged kites go down to really low numbers when the desert is in drought. What is happening now, after such a great season, for the next two years we are going to have these birds breeding right across the desert regions," Young predicted.



Rod Bloss, president/secretary of the Gold Coast branch of Bird Observation and Conservation Australia, said birdwatchers could go years without seeing the bird. "I've seen two. When the rat plagues are on, they are not hard to find out Innaminka-Birdsville way, when you might see a number of birds perched in the same tree. But when there's drought, they move towards the coast sometimes, and there are unconfirmed reports they have been seen locally. "They are elusive creatures, very good at night hunting. They start hunting in the twilight and just before dawn is another main time when they are feeding."

The Letter-winged Kite is a resident of the interior of Australia, in drier and more open country generally than the Australian Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus notatus), with irregular irruptions especially into Western Australia.
A Small, mainly white, hawk unlike most Australian hawks, but difficult to distinguish from the Australian Black-shouldered Kite at rest, although it is larger, and paler grey. In flight it is distinguished at once by the under-wing pattern. The black shoulder patch is larger in fully adult individuals. The young of this species are plain brown, not streaky brown on the head, and have the black under-wing pattern well developed early. They can thus be distinguished as soon as they can fly.



This is an inhabitant of the drier interior parts of Australia, generally less numerous in areas where it occurs together with the Australian Black-shouldered Kite. It is also much more gregarious than that species at all times, and is nomadic, suddenly appearing for a relatively short period in large numbers into new areas following upon good food years. They may breed during these irruptions, or disappear without breeding. It is possible that these movements are connected with mouse plagues, at least in that these may allow large-scale successful breeding in the normal range. They are also quite irregular.

Individually the bird is shyer than the Australian Black-shouldered Kite and flies faster. It flaps heavily near the ground, but can also soar very gracefully, and when hunting it regularly hovers, like others of the genus. It tends to be crepuscular, roosting during the day at breeding colonies, and hunting in the dusk and by moonlight; these habits are perhaps connected with its food supply of mice, and vary according to circumstances.
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« Reply #544 on: June 09, 2007, 04:31:58 AM »

AUSTRALIAN BUTTERFLIES.

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary's 3666 cubic metre aviary is home to over 1500 magnificent tropical butterflies, all local to the area, including the electric blue Ulysses butterfly and the largest butterfly in Australia, the Cairns or Australian Birdwing.  The butterfly's beguiling aerial dances and their tendency to land on brightly coloured clothing, has inspired and delighted young and old alike.  The aviary, and the garden within it, took three years to design, build and landscape. At the time of opening in 1987, the sanctuary gained a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest butterfly aviary in the world. To date it still holds the record as the largest aviary in the southern hemisphere.

ULYSSES



Whilst living in Malaysia ,Paul Wright, who still owns and operates the sanctuary, was fascinated by the diversity of the tropical butterflies there, albeit that they were never seen often or for long enough. Knowing that a glimpse of these creatures lightens the hearts of all, he had a dream to create an environment where there was opportunity to experience these creatures in all their gracefulness and glory.

CAIRNS BIRDWING



On visiting Kuranda in 1968, Paul became acquainted with the locals, people and butterflies alike, and realised that the diversity and beauty of north Queensland tropical butterflies was equal to all those he had seen in Malaysia.  Situated just 27 Km west of Cairns, Kuranda offered the advantages of being readily accessible to people, as well as easy living for the butterflies, it already being their natural habitat.  The landscaping within the aviary is often remarked upon, especially by keen gardeners. Much care has been taken to create a natural rainforest environment, with special attention to the needs of the Ulysses butterfly. Hence there is both a rainforest under-storey and canopy, as well as a running stream, complete with waterfalls, creating a natural looking and feeling rainforest setting.  

RAINFOREST AVIARY



As the butterflies are all rainforest species, the aviary is designed to re-create their natural habitat and the correct food plants on which the female can deposit their eggs. These eggs are collected regularly by staff, and taken to a specially-designed laboratory where the caterpillars are raised until they pupate and eventually emerge as fully formed butterflies - ready to be released back into the aviary. This intensive handling over many generations has resulted in the sanctuary’s butterflies being far more "domesticated", hence their propensity to land on people.

SPECIMEN ROOM



Of all the eggs laid by a female butterfly on her foodplant, only 2% of the caterpillars in the wild will succeed to become adult butterflies. Caterpillars are easy prey for birds, and other larger insects, and are also exploited by certain wasps who will deposit eggs into a caterpillar, thereby utilising it as a host for it's young. Furthermore, some species of caterpillars easily fall victim to viral or bacterial diseases.  

LABORATORY



The laboratory established at the sanctuary is run under strict quarantine. Entry is limited to laboratory personal only, who observe strict hygiene regulations whilst carrying out their work of caring for the caterpillars. Food plants are changed daily to ensure that the caterpillar's diet is as close as possible to that which it would find in the wild, and the areas where they live are kept sterile. Laboratory staff consistently have a success rate of no lower than 80%. Food plant which is grown on the premises, is maintained by ground-staff, with close attention to using as little chemical intervention as possible in controlling pests.
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« Reply #545 on: June 09, 2007, 04:36:42 AM »

BUTERFLY LIFECYCLE
 
In the beginning, a female butterfly deposits her eggs onto a specific plant. The female has odour detectors which allow her to locate the plant, sometimes from as far away as two or three kilometres. The trick to encouraging butterflies into your garden is to cultivate these plants. You can easily find out which ones are tasty for the caterpillars in your area by ringing a reputable plant nursery.  Caterpillars are fussy eaters, and usually a species is limited to only one or two types of plants that the caterpillar will accept. If you were wondering why we don't see as many butterflies around as we used to, it's because the use of herbicides has reduced the availability of many of the weeds that caterpillars eat. No caterpillars, no butterflies!   



   (photo courtesy Glover)

Approximately four to five days after the fertilised egg has been laid, the caterpillar eats it's way out of the shell, often turning around and ingesting it. If the female laid on the correct plant, the caterpillar then goes on to eat it's first meal, and with a few exceptions, this meal is basically uninterrupted - these guys are the original eating machine. Being very small when it first emerged, the caterpillar soon becomes too big for its skin, and within a week, will attach it's hind parts onto a leaf by way of silk, rest for a while, and then literally walk out of it's skin. The new skin has enough stretch in it to allow further growth, and during it's time as a caterpillar, it will repeat this process another three times. Often the new skin differs slightly in pattern or colour to the previous one.  

SALT-BUSH BLUE



Each stage is called an "instar".When the caterpillar reaches the end of the 5th instar, a butterfly caterpillar will ready itself ,and letting go with all it's feet, hangs suspended from the "neck" and back feet. Some species are just secured by the hind parts and hang upside down. A day or two later, the head will dislodge and the skin will split open revealing the already complete pupa casing. The butterfly will form inside this case, and emerge some weeks/months/years later, again depending on what type of butterfly it is. Many butterflies use this period as a "hibernation" period.

RED SPOTTED JEZEBEL



When the butterfly finally emerges, it is a fully formed adult, with only the wings needing to be pumped up and dried. Then off it will fly, ready to play it's part in starting the whole cycle over again. And the reason for all this complexity? Two distinct advantages are that the adult form, eating nectar, rotting fruit or sometime sap, does not compete for food resources with the young. Being able to fly in the reproductive part of the cycle also means that the gene pool is greater than if restricted to a small area.

ORANGE PALM-DART

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« Reply #546 on: June 10, 2007, 05:38:29 AM »

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!

EUREKA HOPES TO WIN TOURISM EDGE WITH ITS BOX OF TRICKS.

Larry Schwartz…AAP.
 
WE'RE 285 metres above Melbourne when James Cockburn starts jumping up and down as if to dislodge us and send us hurtling from the highest "public vantage point" in the southern hemisphere. "Stop it!" someone begs.

Moments earlier, the Eureka Skydeck project director had cheerily taunted us: "Those of you who won't do it are chicken and should go home feeling very sorry for yourselves." Someone talks about writing a will — or having failed to do so — as the six-tonne glass cube on wheels called the Edge prepares to cantilever three metres out from the Skydeck, on level 88 of the city's tallest building, the 92-storey Eureka Tower.



It takes just 47.3 seconds and you're hovering in the air, where you remain for four long minutes. At first the glass on the floor is opaque. Then it suddenly clears. You can't help looking straight down to where Mr Cockburn says a colleague suggested they paint the outline of a fallen body. Before the glass clears, you hear the sounds of creaking chains and breaking glass. "We're trying to go … from comfortable to scary," Mr Cockburn says. Of why the bossa nova hit The Girl from Ipanema is playing, he says: "We're kind of sadistic, I suppose."

We're 30 metres higher than the previous highest vantage point in Melbourne, the observation deck on the 55th level of the Rialto Towers. The 2.1 by 2.6-metre cube of glass and reinforced steel, likened to a "giant matchbox", is designed to take up to 12 passengers at a time and hold at least 10 tonnes and withstand winds above 70km/h. The Edge was built from two tonnes of 45mm thick glass reinforced between steel framework.



But Mr Cockburn said the five minute ride is not for the faint-hearted. "It's a glass box that's sitting on wheels and we're rolling it out from the building," he said. "It's cantilevered into the building, so we don't actually structurally hold it into the building, it holds itself into the building." Mr Cockburn said the highest safety standards had been adhered to.

Organisers hope this world-first attraction will become one of Melbourne's biggest tourist drawcards. Visitors take a lift that deposits you on the 88th floor in 40 seconds. There you can wander about and, for an extra fee enjoy "the Edge experience".



"The ones who scream their hearts out when they get in this thing just make me so happy," Mr Cockburn tells media on a guided preview. He dobs in several people who have declined to enter the cube. "It's very, very safe," Mr Cockburn says. The experience is "fairly roller-coaster-like".

He concedes that he has been trying to overcome a fear of heights. "I've been skydiving and bungee-jumping," he says. "Work on this project has almost cured me, but not quite." Mr Cockburn said Skydeck 88 also boasted a terrace, viewfinders positioned to take in places of interest around Melbourne and sloping floors designed to "play with people's senses".

http://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

STATING THE OBVIOUS :

Skydeck 88 strongly recommends that you do not ride the 'Edge' if you have any of the following conditions:

- Fear of Heights
- Fear of Enclosed Spaces
- Sensitivity to Loud or Sudden Noises
- Pregnancy
- Heart Problems

My Note :  It has been mentioned this weekend that to date there have been several marriage proposals made in The Edge, all of which have been accepted.  Were they too petrified to say “no”?
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« Reply #547 on: June 10, 2007, 05:43:11 AM »

MORE COLOURFUL BUTTERFLIES

MOONLIGHT JEWEL



MEADOW ARGUS



FIERY JEWEL



CHEQUERED SWALLOWTAIL

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« Reply #548 on: June 10, 2007, 05:46:11 AM »

CAPER WHITE



AUSTRALIAN PAINTED LADY



AMARYLLIS AZURE



AUSTRALIAN ADMIRAL



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« Reply #549 on: June 11, 2007, 03:46:14 AM »

ZANY MAILBOXES

NED KELLY



WATERING CAN



THE LOCAL BREW



PENNY FARTHING



MILK FARM



MOTOR CYCLE

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« Reply #550 on: June 12, 2007, 02:57:13 AM »

GIRRAWEEN OUT OF THIS WORLD

By Rosanne Barrett ….June 12, 2007 12:00am….Article from: The Courier Mail

ITS massive granite boulders are reminiscent of outer space and now the Darling Downs' Girraween national park has been officially recognised by astronomers. "Near Earth Object" 15723, circling in an elliptical orbit between Mars and Jupiter, was this month named Girraween. The region's unlikely celestial fame emerged after a pairing between two amateur astronomers – one in Japan and the other at a B&B in Ballandean on the Downs.

LOCAL LANDSCAPE AT GIRRAWEEN NATIONAL PARK



Twinstar Guesthouse and Observatory owner Eiji Kato said the asteroid naming was "quite exciting" for stargazers and the region. "I suggested the name Girraween so the name of this magnificent park is preserved eternally in space," he said.

ROCK WALK IN THE PARK



Mr Kato was invited to name the asteroid by its discoverer, Tsutomu Seki.
Girraween National Park is located high on the northern end of the New England Tableland. The 11 700ha park has an average elevation of 900m and is cold in winter, hot in summer. Not far from the Queensland-New South Wales border, it has more in common with cooler southern climes than with most of the Sunshine State. Snow sometimes falls on Girraween. In any year, it’s always cold in winter.

TURQUOISE PARROT



The park’s eucalypt forests and heathlands support diverse birds, including the rare turquoise parrot and superb lyrebird. Common wombats graze on grassy areas fringing the heath and forest. Seeds in Girraween’s drier forests attract insects, birds and mammals. The glossy black-cockatoo uses its beak to crack sheoak nuts to get their seeds.

GLOSSY BLACK COCKATOO IN FLIGHT


[/b]
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« Reply #551 on: June 12, 2007, 03:10:43 AM »

This article deserves to be filed under WTF, or "more money than sense"

BIRTHDAY BASH FOR KOALAS

By Greg Stolz ….June 12, 2007 12:00am….Article from: The Courier Mail

HE has entertained royalty, heads of state and global television audiences in their billions, and is working with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg on next year's Beijing Olympics. But Australian creative guru Ric Birch will interrupt his Olympics preparations to stage a birthday party for two koalas. This won't be an ordinary cake-and-streamers affair, however, because these are no ordinary koalas. In fact, Birch is promising a multimillion-dollar extravaganza.

In his most bizarre assignment, the Olympics "ringmaster" has been commissioned to put on the first birthday party for rare twin koalas, born last year in a Chinese zoo. The twins have caused a sensation since their birth last October at the Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangzhou, southern China, attracting hundreds of thousands of excited Chinese visitors. Their parents are Murrumbidgee and Murray, two of six koalas sent to China last year by the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

SYDNEY OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY DISPLAY




The koalas are the first sent to mainland China and all six have had offspring, but the twins – the odds of which are as high as a million to one – have aroused huge interest. Such is the excitement that the safari park's billionaire owner, Su Zhigang, has hired Birch to stage the birthday party for the joey twins – dubbed Little Michelle and Little Amanda after their original Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary keepers.

Birch, who with Spielberg is artistic adviser for the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies next year, will take time out from Games planning to put on the koala party. "It seemed quixotic and oddball enough to fly halfway around the world to do," said the producer, who is based in Milan with an international events production company. "No koala will ever have had a birthday party like it, I can promise you that."

SYDNEY OLYMPICS DISPLAY



Birch is no stranger to working with animals, although not usually real ones. He made his name with Matilda, the giant winking kangaroo at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane before going on to produce events on a grand scale, including the Los Angeles and Sydney Olympics ceremonies and Millennium celebrations on Sydney Harbour.

He plans to use Guangzhou's picturesque Pearl River as a backdrop to stage the party, which is likely to include a floating parade of giant Australian and Chinese animal effigies, as well as a fireworks spectacular. The koala party, in the first week of October, will coincide with China's annual Golden Week celebrations and is expected to attract millions of Chinese.

THE LUCKY BIRTHDAY TWINS WITH MOTHER KOALA



Top Right : Matilda
Bottom Right : Millennium Fireworks, Sydney
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« Reply #552 on: June 13, 2007, 02:53:26 AM »

BINDI IRWIN MEETS DALAI LAMA

Article from: AAP….June 13, 2007 11:45am

ABOUT 5000 people have gathered at the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to hear the Dalai Lama talk about kindness to animals and the environment.

Monks at the 71-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's Dharamsala monastery are friends with the Irwin family.  Terri Irwin and daughter Bindi joined with the Dalai Lama at the talk, being held in the zoo's Crocoseum. The Dalai Lama will also use the visit to launch Kindness Week, a community project initiated by Karuna Hospice Services designed to nurture the spirit of kindness.

This afternoon about 15,000 people are expected to fill the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to hear the Dalai Lama speak on the issues of compassion and kindness. The free tickets were snapped up within two days of becoming available.

Premier Peter Beattie yesterday confirmed he would not be meeting the Dalai Lama as he had business on the Gold Coast and will be meeting with visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. But Queensland Governor Quentin Bryce will meet with the spiritual leader.



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« Reply #553 on: June 13, 2007, 03:01:19 AM »

HISTORIC AMPHITHEATRE REOPENS

June 12, 2007 12:00am….Article from: The Courier Mail

THE Carnarvon Gorge amphitheatre has re-opened following the completion of a three year, $409,000 project to make the iconic site safe and accessible. Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said the amphitheatre which is situated in Carnarvon Gorge, north west of Roma, had been closed since 2003. She said it became a safety hazard the rock to which the stairway was attached came away due to natural movement of the rock face. "Due to its remoteness and with about 40,000 people visiting the gorge section each year, public safety is paramount," Ms Nelson-Carr said. "The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) commissioned geotechnical surveys, built and installed a new access structure, put in visitor barriers, seating and pathways and upgraded walking tracks and interpretive signage."



The new walkway into the Amphitheatre at Carnarvon Gorge. It replaces a ladder which previously gave access. Pic courtesy EPA

"With the re-engineering and significant upgrade of access visitors can once again safely experience the splendour of the amphitheatre." Ms Nelon-Carr said the amphitheatre was one of many reasons the rugged 16,000ha Carnarvon Gorge section of Carnarvon National Park is the most popular tourist destination in Queensland's central highlands "The 300 million year old sandstone has weathered over time to form Carnarvon Gorge and this weathering continues today," Ms Nelson-Carr said. "The droughts and the floods that make this place what it is, also make it a very challenging place to manage. The new infrastructure had already proved its strength having survived flash flooding in February. The February flash flood certainly gave it a good workout and the engineers have given it the all-clear."



The impressive Amphitheatre at Carnarvon Gorge is finally more accessible. Pic courtesy EPA

Carnarvon Gorge is an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Queensland. Here, in the Carnarvon Gorge Section of Carnarvon National Park, towering white sandstone cliffs form a spectacular steep-sided gorge with narrow, vibrantly coloured and lush side gorges. Boulder-strewn Carnarvon Creek winds through the gorge. Remnant rainforest flourishes in the sheltered side gorges while endemic Livistona nitida cabbage tree palms, ancient cycads, ferns, flowering shrubs and gums trees line the meandering main gorge. Grassy open forest grows on the cliff-tops. The park’s creeks attract a wide variety of animals including more than 173 species of birds. Aboriginal rock art on the sandstone overhangs is a fragile reminder of the Aboriginal people who used the gorge for thousands of years. Rock engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings at Cathedral Cave, Baloon Cave and the Art Gallery include some of the finest rock art in Australia
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« Reply #554 on: June 13, 2007, 03:07:34 AM »

CARNARVON GORGE ROCK ART

As art galleries go, the ones at Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland have to be among the more unusual - you have to be prepared for a good walk to see them. It is ancient Aboriginal rock art and worth the 5.6km trek from the camping area at the entry to Carnarvon National Park.
The Egyptian pyramids weren't even a gleam in their architect's eye when this art was created. Very little is known about the Aboriginal people who occupied this land up to 20,000 years ago. But the work of their stencil artists - at a spot in the gorge known as, appropriately, the Art Gallery - is reckoned to be among Australia's finest. Stencil art of hands, of matched pairs of boomerangs, of shields or coolamons, and of stone axes are present in reds and mauves sprayed on sandstone cliffs.

Up to 80,000 visitors come each year to Carnarvon Gorge, between Roma and Emerald, to walk the gorge and be amazed at the rock art, which also includes freehand and engraved art, at Baloon Cave and Cathedral Cave as well as the Art Gallery. In freehand art, pigment was applied to the rock surface with a finger or possibly a twig brush. Stencils were applied by blowing ochre pigment with water from the mouth over an object held against the wall. The rock art is extremely fragile and an irreplaceable part of our heritage. Boardwalks enable visitors to view and photograph the art from the best possible vantage points.

Aboriginal people often describe the gorge as a place of learning - an area of great spirituality. This land still teaches its many visitors. A cultural trail, for example, identifies many of the sources of Aboriginal food and lifestyle. Aboriginal interpretive ranger Fred Conway introduces park visitors to the history of his people and their connection with the area.
But Carnarvon Gorge is more, much more, than Aboriginal art. It's an oasis rising 200m above the parched, sparsely-vegetated plains of central Queensland. Its towering yellow sandstone cliffs hide lush gorges cut by a creek that has dried up only twice in memory. The sandstone has weathered over millions of years and sculpted fascinating shapes of caves and outcrops.

And, yes: footprints of dinosaurs have been found in layers of rock in the park. Just as water has shaped the gorge itself, so it has created a home to a wonderful array of plant life, relics of cooler, wetter times, including cabbage palms, swamp mahogany, spotted gum and what is claimed to be the world's largest fern, the King Fern.

The park boasts a healthy wildlife, including more than 173 bird species and 54 different types of mammal. You'll see kangaroos and might even glimpse a platypus or echidna. The gorge was a favoured place in times of bushrangers who liked to hide out in some of the more remote canyons.
Of the many characters and identities, the infamous horse-stealing and cattle-duffing Harry Redford (Captain Starlight) and brothers, James and Patrick Kenniff, are best remembered.
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« Reply #555 on: June 13, 2007, 03:10:24 AM »

AERIAL VIEW OVER CARNARVON NATIONAL PARK



CARNARVON CREEK



CARNARVON ART GALLERY



CLOSE UP OF ROCK ART

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« Reply #556 on: June 14, 2007, 02:49:08 AM »

VICTORIAN SHEEP BUCKING TO BE WORLD'S OLDEST

June 12, 2007 - 4:01PM

A Dorset-cross hand-raised ewe named Lucky is set to become the oldest sheep in the world when she turns 21 years and six months in October. Lucky got lucky when her owner Delrae Westgarth adopted her after she was abandoned by her mother at birth and raised on a mixture of warm milk and brandy, as well as keeping her warm with hot water bottles. She has been a prodigious producer of lambs for Delrae and her husband Frank on their property at Lake Bolac in south west Victoria but at the age of 15 Lucky was moved away from the rams after she was unable to care for her young. She now has her own paddock, and the toothless Lucky is living the high life with Delrae hand feeding her oats, barley and hay. Most of the Westgarth's flock over the years have been sent for slaughter when they reach nine years old but Lucky, as the family pet, has escaped the butcher's knife. "I told Frank that Lucky was part of our family and he was not killing her," Delrae said. "She was born here and she will die here."

Delrae first became aware that Lucky was looking at a world record when her grandson Ben had to write a story for his class and chose Lucky as the subject. He checked the internet to find the world's oldest sheep and found that a wether in NSW had lived to 21 years five months and three days. The Westgarths have worked out if Lucky can live to August, and she is in good health, then she would be 21 years six months old. In the meantime, Delrae will continue with Lucky's special diet while Frank will do his bit with the occasional shearing.....AAP

DORSET EWE AND LAMBS



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« Reply #557 on: June 14, 2007, 03:01:23 AM »

ALBERT NAMATJIRA (1902-1959)



William Dargie : Albert Namatjira 1956 oil on canvas Queensland Art Gallery

Albert Namatjira was the first indigenous Australian artist to paint and exhibit professionally in Western style. He painted his country and was both prodigious and successful, producing approximately two thousand pictures and founding a school of painting that continues today.

GLEN HELEN LANDSCAPE



Namatjira, an Arrernte man, was born on 28th July 1902 near Ntaria (site of the Hermannsburg Mission, about 120 kilometres from Alice Springs) in the Northern Territory. Visiting artist Rex Battarbee first taught him the technique of watercolour painting. In 1936 Battarbee took Namatjira on an eight-week painting tour, giving him the only tuition he was to receive.

YOUNG GHOST GUM



Namatjira’s first solo exhibition of 41 works was held in Melbourne in 1938. All works sold quickly. Over the next ten years exhibitions were held in various capital cities of Australia and Namatjira became a celebrity. He was awarded the Queen’s Coronation medal in 1953; was flown to Canberra to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954; his portrait, by William Dargie, won the Archibald prize in 1956; and in 1957 he was granted full citizenship rights for himself alone and not for his family (a status denied to most Aboriginal people at the time). Before his death in Alice Springs on 8 August 1959 at least three films had been made about him.

HEAVITREE GAP



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« Reply #558 on: June 14, 2007, 03:11:51 AM »

ALBERT NAMATJIRA EXHIBITION

GALLERY NOTES AND PAINTINGS FROM A RECENT EXHIBITION

Introduction to the exhibition

Albert Namatjira is one of Australia's best-known artists, whose landscape paintings are iconic images synonymous with the Australian outback. However, one hundred years after his birth on 28 July 1902, Namatjira has become both a national symbol and a scapegoat for the social policies and aesthetic prejudices of the time, his art virtually ignored by the mainstream Australian art world.



Albert Namatjira Mt Hermannsburg Finke River c.1946-51 watercolour over pencil on paper National Gallery of Australia  

Namatjira's paintings express his relationship with the Arrernte country, particularly the Western Arrernte lands, for which he was a traditional custodian. Through his intense scrutiny of specific places and his sensitive response to their individual qualities, Namatjira enables us to see the Centre as a multi-faceted region of Australia. A region of extremes, central Australia is far from a 'dead heart'.



Albert Namatjira Kwariitnama (Organ Pipes) c.1945-53 watercolour over pencil on paper Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation

Water is a powerful presence; it is the central dynamic for change. Its absence or presence is the source of much of the diversity of visual forms and motifs that engaged Namatjira throughout his painting career. The 'red heart' is a misnomer for a land in which light and distance are key factors that shape perception, fragment forms and transform colour.  Namatjira developed a rich repertoire of compositional devices to express his experience of being in this world. In so doing, he expands our vision. He opens our eyes and our senses to new ways of seeing the Centre.



Albert Namatjira Mount Sonder, MacDonnell Ranges c.1957-59 watercolour and pencil on paper National Gallery of Australia
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« Reply #559 on: June 15, 2007, 05:42:25 AM »

$1.4M PAINTING STOLEN

Article from: The Courier Mail….June 15, 2007 12:00am

A VALUABLE 17th century painting stolen from the Art Gallery of NSW was expertly removed while the gallery was open to the public, police say. The $1.4 million work by Dutch master Frans van Mieris, titled A Cavalier (self portrait), was stolen from the Sydney gallery between 10am and 12.30pm on Sunday. Security footage from the gallery is being reviewed but police say there were no cameras in the small room from where the painting was taken. The artwork was about A3 in size, including its timber frame, and had an established value of $1.4 million, Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon said. Police said it appeared someone had expertly removed it from its mounting before taking it from the gallery, which was open to the public at the time.

Mr Capon said the theft was not reported to police until Monday, because staff had looked for the missing artwork in the gallery's storage facilities.  Security at the gallery was now being reviewed, he said. "I am deeply shocked. Well over a million people visit the gallery each year and this is a very rare occurrence as security measures at the gallery are sound and proven," Mr Capon said.

The artwork, which was painted in 1657-1659, risked damage unless it was kept in a climate-controlled environment, Mr Capon said. Police said gallery staff had been interviewed and had not been ruled out of the investigation. The Australian Customs Service and Interpol also have been notified of the theft. "Someone must know about the theft or may have been in the area at the time and noticed someone acting suspiciously," The Rocks local area commander, Acting Superintendent Simon Hardman, said. "I strongly urge them to contact The Rocks police or Crime Stoppers with even the smallest bit of information."


 
MISSING piece . . . Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon with a print of the stolen 17th century Dutch master. / News Limited picture
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