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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 548875 times)
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Tibrogargan
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« Reply #640 on: July 25, 2007, 03:20:14 AM »

MIGALOO'S BACK

Article from: The Courier Mail…By Peter Michael …July 25, 2007 12:00am

FRAMED against the blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, the world's only documented white humpback whale yesterday surfaced off Port Douglas in far north Queensland on his annual migration from Antarctica.
The elusive 40-tonne Migaloo, named after an Aboriginal word meaning white fellow, thrilled those aboard the dive boat Silversonic near Undine Reef with his first confirmed sighting in weeks.
"It is one of the most amazing sights," said skipper Shane Down. "Migaloo was not doing anything spectacular, just cruising north with his two bodyguards either side."
The passengers were nevertheless rapt with the appearance of the 40-tonne whale.
Migaloo is the star of the annual migration of about 8000 humpbacks up the east coast of Australia from Antarctica each winter.
When he surfaced he appeared remarkably like the tip of a big iceberg coming out of the deep.
"Two dolphins surfed his bow wave," photographer Marc McCormack said.
"He shines like the colour of the moon and leaves an emerald trail of water after him.
"He's like an envoy from some other more spiritual world."

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« Reply #641 on: July 25, 2007, 03:29:55 AM »

CITY OF GLADSTONE

The Gladstone Region is a unique area of Queensland - a region where opportunity awaits. The city of Gladstone is developed on hills overlooking the focal point of its economic development - the natural deepwater harbour. The Gladstone community has grown dramatically from a "sleepy hollow" township to a major industrial city in less than 20 years, yet has retained the charm of a coastal resort setting with an enviable lifestyle. As the centre of the Southern Reef, access to two of three Queensland coral island resorts offers visitors the miracle of the Great Barrier Reef. To the south of the city lie the shires of Calliope and Miriam Vale. From idyllic, secluded beaches to scenic National Parks, these shires complete the diversity for which the region is renowned.



Gladstone is a harbour city which has captured both the enthusiasm of its citizens and the attention of the world. From a "sleepy hollow" township a quarter of a century ago, this dynamic, modern city basks in a sub- tropical climate with islands, waterways and beaches on the doorstep offering year-round boating, fishing, swimming and surfing. With a sound industrial base established, and further development proposed, Gladstone is proud to have won the Queensland Tidy Towns Award for seven out of the past nine years - an impressive example of the way tourism and industry can proceed in harmony and be supportive of each other.



The Gladstone Region lies only 500km from Brisbane and offers visitors close access to The Great Barrier Reef. The clear aquamarine waters and underwater miracle of the reef provide one of the best fishing and scuba diving locations in the world. A variety of resorts, family style accommodation and a camping experience are available. The region surrounding Gladstone is a diverse and fascinating one, with an adventurous outdoor flavour complementing the busy, urban environment. From the beachside towns of Boyne Island and Tannum Sands to the idyllic, secluded beaches of Agnes Water/Town of 1770, from scenic national parks to the spirit of the outback in a 4WD - the options are endless.



The landscape of Lake Awoonga is perhaps one of the most striking in the region, created by the expansive waters of the lake and the ragged beauty of the peaks of Mt Castletower National Park. While the scenery is magnificent, so too is the recreational opportunity with the lakeshore and the recreation area firmly established as a popular inland beach". Kroombit Tops is a large plateau which straddles the intersection of the Calliope and Dawes Ranges. As the most western point of the region, this is the Blue Mountains of The Gladstone Region.



Charter Boats are an important industry in the region with departure points at Gladstone and Town of 1770. Sport fishing means taking a trip to the reef to catch coral trout, red emperor and spanish mackerel.
Visitors can also experience the excitement of annual events such as Gladstone's Harbour Festival, the 1770 Commemorative Festival, the Great Muddie Expo and the catfish fishing competition.



The Port of Gladstone is a busy one, with hundreds of ships visiting each year to import and export valuable cargoes. The major export is coal, with the port rated as the sixth largest coal port in the world. The handling facilities utilise leading edge technology to service inland mines linked to the port by the highly-efficient Queensland Rail network. Gladstone is also the grain port for Central Queensland, with our other exports including cement clinker, fly ash and general cargo, with imports of fuel oil, caustic soda, ammonia and petroleum products.



Gladstone Tondoon Botanic Gardens were officially opened in October 1988 to coincide with the Australian bicentenary. This is one of Australia's few totally native botanic gardens and the display areas specialise in the plants of the Port Curtis region and Far North Queensland. Tondoon Gardens is part of a conservation strategy to ensure that the nations environmental heritage is passed on to future generations. The gardens are approximately 8 kms from the city centre, and extends over 55 hectares.  The dominant feature of the site is Mount Biondello which forms the northern and western boundaries, and, together with its foothills, encloses and protects the lower valley creek flats where the main display and lake are located.
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« Reply #642 on: July 26, 2007, 03:52:35 AM »

WARRUMBUNGLE NATIONAL PARK AREA, N.S.W.

The ancient trachyte spires of Warrumbungle National Park are testament to the violent volcanic activity that occurred in the area – and created sensational bushwalks.  The Warrumbungles are the remnants of a colossal volcanic upheaval that spread ash and lava over a 50-km radius 13 million years ago. This is one of the few places where rainforest can be found in such arid surroundings.



Coonamble is a pleasant place surrounded by good farming country. It’s the gateway to the wetlands of the Macquarie Marshes and the rugged scenery of Warrumbungle National Park.  There are opal fields to the north, and the Pilliga State Forest, with its stands of eucalypts and salt caves, close by.  Coonamble’s name derives from an Aboriginal term meaning "full of dirt". In 1840, James Walker was the first to lease land in this district, which he called the Koonamble Run.  The town began life in 1861, but fire destroyed almost all the 19th century and early 20th century buildings in the main street in 1929. Many buildings were later restored in Art Deco style.



Coonabarabran is the closest town to the craggy peaks and spires of the Warrumbungle Ranges. Warrumbungle National Park is popular for bushwalking, camping and encountering wildlife. The area is great for stargazing, and is the location of Australia’s largest optical astronomy research facility, Siding Spring Observatory.  The name Coonabarabran is thought to come from a local Aboriginal word for ‘inquisitive person’. Australia’s only known Chinese bushranger, Sam Poo, was active in the district during 1865. The rugged mountains and dense scrub provided him with a perfect hide-out.

Coolah is the gateway to Coolah Tops National Park. The sub-alpine park combines tall eucalypt forests, waterfalls, giant grass trees, scenic forest drives and panoramic views. The wildlife is abundant and includes the greater glider, a 1 m-long nocturnal possum, which can glide for up to 100 m.  The Australian expression, ‘beyond the black stump’ – a phrase meaning beyond the limits of settlement – is said to have derived from Governor Macquarie's proclamation of where land could be bought, let or settled in the Coolah area. The Aboriginal name for the area means ‘place where the fire went out and left a black stump’.   Coolah Tops National Park is home to Australia’s largest gliding possum, the greater glider, 300-year-old grass trees and the largest snow gums ever recorded.



Escape to Dunedoo, a pretty town adjacent to the Talbragar River. It boasts a landscaped park and recreation area that extends almost the entire length of the main street. Dunedoo was named after an Aboriginal word meaning "swan". These birds were once common on nearby lagoons.  Part of the 1978 movie, "The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith", was filmed in the old picture theatre at Caborra, near Dunedoo.

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« Reply #643 on: July 26, 2007, 03:56:03 AM »

FUNNY PET PICTURES





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« Reply #644 on: July 27, 2007, 03:58:19 AM »

LAKE EYRE DISTRICT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The Anna Creek Painted Hills, previously called the Secret Painted Hills, is a spectacular and recently discovered section of the pristine Breakaways country in the far north of South Australia. It is a rocky outcrop of large and small hills, which emerge suddenly out of a flat, desert landscape. The hills are approximately 20 kilometres x 18 kilometres in size. It is believed that the Anna Creek Painted Hills are the leftover effects of 50 million years of climate change, with the climate going from glacial to wet and semi-tropical over million of years. The changing colours of the hills are believed to be a result of oxidisation. The deep red is due to the oxidation of iron in the rocks, while the white sections are where iron has leached away.



·  "Deep in the South Australian outback lies the painted desert a fragile lunar landscape of ochre-red and mustard yellow rock weathered over millions of years and as large as a regional city ... People are already comparing these areas in terms of their tourism potential to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Bungle Bungles".  



·  These clay and iron-oxide formations are estimated to cover an expanse of 20km wide and 10km long. The Painted Desert is according to Dr. Gehling,  the leftover effects of about 50 million years of climate change - the climate has gone from glacial to wet and semi tropical over millions of years.  



·  Adelaide University geologist John Foden said the rock formations were extraordinary - it seems to me something to do with deep weathering and erosion of an ancient landscape - the changing colours were a result of oxidation. Station owners were doing their utmost to protect the site due to its fragility and would in no way allow four-wheel drives to be able to go there.  



William Creek is South Australia's smallest town (Population 16) The town is surrounded by one of Australia's largest cattle properties, Anna Creek Station which is almost half the size of Tasmania.  The old Ghan railway, which passed through William Creek, ran from Port Augusta via Quorn, Hawker, Parachilna, Copley, Farina, Marree, Curdimurka, William Creek and Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. Construction of this narrow gauge line started in 1878. The old Ghan line was used for the last time in October 1980, but the William Creek Hotel lives on.  William Creek was established as a railway watering and service point on the narrow-gauge Great Northern railway when it reached there in 1885. The site had already been named in 1859 by explorer John McDouall Stuart after the second son of John Chambers, a pioneer pastoralist and a staunch supporter of Stuart’s explorations. William Creek – effectively half way between Marree and Oodnadatta – has always been a tiny settlement. Even at its peak before the Ghan line was moved further west in 1980 there were only a few cottages, a small school and a hotel/store.



The tiny township is the closest settlement to Lake Eyre North, which - dry or very occasionally flooded - remains a significant drawcard for outback tourists. There is a good airstrip at the township and scenic flights are available during the winter ‘season’ or at other times if there is water in Lake Eyre.



The hotel at William Creek now has an almost legendary status and is the only ‘watering hole’ on the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and Oodnadatta. With the closure of the hotel at Tarcoola, the William Creek pub is the only iron hotel left trading in South Australia. As an original pub it provides a rare insight into an aspect of outback history and is filled with unique momentoes left by thousands of visitors.


 
 Anna Creek Station is the world's largest pastoral lease in the world. Covering over 30,100 sq kms, 5.5 million acres, it runs up to 18,000 head of cattle, depending on rain conditions. Anna Creek is huge - bigger than Belgium, half the size of England, five times larger than its nearest United States competitor and is about 8,000 sq. kms larger than its nearest rival in the N.T. of Australia, Alexandria Station. Anna Creek Station was originally located at Strangway Springs (see map) when first purchased by Julius Jeffreys and Partners, John Warren and William Bakewell in January 1863. The partnership mainly ran sheep and in “The Great Drought Years” between 1864 and 1866 was stocked with 7,300 sheep. Sheep were constantly subjected to attacks by dingoes so cattle became the main focus of the station with limited flocks of sheep being kept about the homestead for domestic purposes.   



Pelicans over Lake Eyre

   The station was relocated to its present site, about 25 kms from William Creek, in approximately 1872 and almost surrounds the small town. John Hogarth managed Anna Creek Station until 1893 followed by his younger brother Thomas until 1913. George Warren followed for 12 months, then his younger brother Francis until 1918. The station was then sold in 1918 to Malcolm Reid and Leslie Taylor.Malcolm Reid was a brother of Sidney Reid, who was married to Sir Sidney Kidman's daughter Elma. It is generally considered that Anna Creek Station did not come into Kidman’s hands until 1934 but in fact Kidman interests did possess 33% of the Anna Creek Shareholding by at least 1927. Reid continued to manage the property until the formation of the “Strangways – Peake” syndicate in 1934, when Kidman placed his own manager, Archibald McLean, on the property. Anna Creek Station remains one of the Kidman properties where 15 people living on the station with another 6 on the outstation – Peake. The previous manager said once that, "Although running a station these is not as hard as it once was but it still not for the weak-hearted. Some days it gets so hot that tyres simply explode."
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« Reply #645 on: August 04, 2007, 03:00:07 AM »

This looks like a great idea for new mothers, but also could be a way of spending your baby bonus to make this guy rich :

$1000 A NIGHT MOTHER'S RETREAT


Article from: The Sunday Telegraph…By Clair Weaver…July 29, 2007 12:00am

A LUXURY six-star retreat, boasting 24-hour service and gourmet food, will open soon for rich, frazzled mums.
The Mothers' Retreat at Lavender Bay on Sydney’s prestigious North Shore, charging up to $1300 a night, is planned as a haven for women who want to rest and recover before returning home to reality.
Believed to be the first top-flight centre of its kind, the retreat is housed in a multi-million dollar, harbour-view, Victorian-era mansion.
The retreat is the brainchild of Sydney obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Keith Hartman, who believes new mothers are routinely being discharged from hospital too soon after giving birth.
Although a stay is not cheap (from $750 a night), mothers are being encouraged to spend their $4000 baby bonus on recuperating and learning mothering skills that could help them avoid post-natal depression.
The retreat has 13 suites with facilities such as plasma TV with cable channels, individual air conditioning and extra-large bathrooms.
Other features include a beauty salon, a conservatory, nursery, private gardens, sitting rooms and a wide veranda with views.
Guests will have 24/7 access to post-natal midwives, Mothercraft nurses and lactation consultants to help them care for newborn babies.
An in-house chef from award-winning Sydney restaurant Flying Fish will provide meals, which include morning and afternoon tea.
Dr Hartman said he would open more retreats interstate and overseas, if the Sydney move was a success.
"I've been delivering babies for 30 years and in that time, the length of stay in hospital (for new mothers) has got shorter and shorter,'' he said.
"Originally it was 10 days, but now it is on average about three or four days at a private hospital and two or three days for a public hospital.
"Often people go home without breastfeeding and mothercraft skills established, which can lead to feeling depressed, out of control, in a downward spiral.
"Everyone gets $4000 from the Government, so that would get a few nights and is a very good investment.
"If people go home more competent, confident and rested, they are likely to be able to deal with the whole challenge of motherhood more successfully and therefore be less likely to get post-natal depression.''

Typical View from Lavender Bay :

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« Reply #646 on: August 04, 2007, 03:02:38 AM »

MARMO-SET COMPLETE AFTER MONKEY'S RETURN

By Tara Ravens….July 31, 2007 05:27pm

A WEE monkey kidnapped from one of Darwin's top tourist attractions has been found, traumatised and desperate for a drink, but otherwise OK.
Two teenagers from Palmerston near Darwin city in the Northern Territory  are in police custody over the theft, which occurred last Friday night.
Workers at the popular Crocodylus Park park woke last Saturday to find a hole in the monkey enclosure and the marmoset - worth about $2000 - gone.
The monkey hunt ended today when police, acting on a tip-off, searched a house in Palmerston.
The park's chief scientist Charlie Manolis said his team was thrilled at the return of the marmoset, which has distinctive tufts of white hair sprouting from its ears.
"I haven't seen him but he was stressed and dehydrated so the keepers are giving him a feed and then he'll be back with his buddies where he feels more secure," he said.
"They were all quite distressed by the whole thing ... they are tiny little things and they are gregarious animals who don't like being alone."
After the theft, the other two monkeys in the enclosure went off their food and stopped jumping on the keepers when they entered the enclosure, he said.
"They shake almost when they are really frightened. We are just overjoyed to get him back."


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« Reply #647 on: August 04, 2007, 03:06:24 AM »

A BLAZING TRAIL WARMS COLD MOUNTAIN

Neil McMahon in Thredbo….July 31, 2007

A TRAGEDY born in darkness was remembered in a blaze of spectacular light. Rather than commemorating 18 deaths last night, Thredbo chose instead to celebrate 18 spirits with a flaming human chain that brought the slopes to exhilarating life.
This, the village had been told, was how the mountain's blackest hours should be marked, and how those who had perished in the landslide 10 years ago should be remembered.
"This is a place of life," the Reverend Harvey Sloane told hundreds at a memorial service yesterday afternoon.
People come to the mountain to live life to the full, and the 18 who died on July 30, 1997 were those sorts of people, he said.
"We honour them by living for them. We honour them by laughing for them. We honour them by making the most of the life that we have."
More than a thousand heeded the call - young and old, some who knew those who were lost 10 years ago, many who did not.
Thredbo hosts a flare run every Saturday night, but this was an event of a different order. In 1998, on the first anniversary, the village aimed for and set an Australian flare-run record; 745 people took to the slopes. That mark was broken with ease last night.
Fourteen hundred people had registered. The number that turned up was still being tallied last night, but if they all took part they set a new world record.
The official world mark is 1321, set in Switzerland.
It took an hour to ferry them by chairlift up the slopes. Flares were lit, and down they came in a swooping spiral of fire that ended near the village centre just before 7pm with a spectacular fireworks display whose climax was gentle rather than explosive: 18 red lights were sent skyward and settled slowly and gently onto the snow. Then the village converged for an appropriately Australian celebration: a sausage sizzle and a beer.
This was not a day or night devoid of solemnity. Tears crinkled the eyes of many at the afternoon service as the names of the 18 dead were read out, each one punctuated by a single tolling of the bell outside the chapel. Susie Diver, whose brother-in-law Stuart was the sole survivor of the tragedy, read the name of Stuart's wife, who had drowned beside him after Carinya and Bimbadeen lodges collapsed. Her voice cracked as she said it: "Sally Diver."



Mr Diver is in Thredbo, but did not attend the memorial service. His agent, Harry M. Miller, said he would be marking the moment privately, perhaps conscious that his presence would cause a media stir and distract from the mood of quiet reflection.
He has since remarried, and is building a home with his wife, Rosanna, on the South Coast. In an interview in the latest issue of the Australian Women's Weekly he speaks at length of his recovery from the ordeal of 1997, as well as the traumas he has faced since. Rosanna was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after their 2002 marriage, and the couple are unlikely to be able to have children.
He had survived it all, he said, through the love of his family and friends, the strength of his second wife, and with the aid of long and thorough therapy.
"The way I see it, every day is an anniversary. I miss Sally, I miss the others who died. I try to remember those people and be positive in that memory every day. I honour them every time I think about them."
At the service, Mr Sloane said those who had experienced the tragedy first hand shared a unique bond.
For many it is that special bond that has brought them back. It is a reunion of sorts, a sad one but nonetheless full of smiles and shared memories.
The tears flowed 10 years ago, Mr Sloane said. "The brokenness was shown." Today like war veterans, "when they come together with people who have been in a similar situation, then they can share".



Swooping spiral of fire … the flare run to remember the victims of the Thredbo tragedy lights up the slopes. Fourteen hundred people registered for the event.

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« Reply #648 on: August 05, 2007, 01:57:56 AM »

ANNUAL DAY TO HONOUR IRWIN

Article from: Sunday Mail….August 05, 2007 12:00am

ORGANISERS hope an official day of celebration for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin will become a public holiday. The first annual Steve Irwin Day, on November 15, will attract the interest of millions of people worldwide. Irwin family spokesman John Stainton told The Sunday Mail yesterday that thousands of fans of the late Wildlife Warrior were expected to join festivities at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast. Mr Stainton encouraged all Australians to take a day off for Steve and do something in his memory. He said those who decided to go to work should wear khaki.

The Crocodile Hunter died, aged 44, when a stingray's barb pierced his chest while snorkeling at Batt Reef in north Queensland on September 4 last year. Mr Stainton said the official anniversary of the tragedy would be a "private, low-key affair" for Terri Irwin, family and friends. The Sunday Mail understands Steve Irwin Day will include a concert featuring international stars at Australia Zoo. Other events, including a surfing contest and golf day, may also be held.

Mr Stainton said he hoped the event would one day become a public holiday. "A special day where everyone goes out to plant trees or do something Steve would have loved," he said. Premier Peter Beattie said there were no immediate plans to make November 15 a public holiday. "Steve was a pretty down-to-earth bloke and I doubt he would have wanted too much fuss," Mr Beattie said.
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« Reply #649 on: August 05, 2007, 02:02:48 AM »

TEN YEARS RUNNING MAKES TWO MILLION DOLLARS

Sunday 5 August 2007

There was a record turnout this morning for The Sunday Mail Suncorp Bridge to Brisbane 2007 Fun Run with thousands of people running, jogging or walking the 12km main event from the Gateway Bridge to New Farm Park and the 4.5km short course from Breakfast Creek.

Congratulations to all who competed in this years event once again you have made The Sunday Mail Suncorp Bridge to Brisbane Fun Run a resounding success.

This years major Beneficiary, Surf Life Saving Queensland wish to thank all entrants in this years event your participation will assist greatly to The Year of the Lifesaver and to the future of Surf Lifesaving in Queensland. Over the past 10 years the event has raised over 1.93 million for charity. This year the milestone will be smashed with over 2million raised since the event started in 1997.









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« Reply #650 on: August 06, 2007, 03:46:52 AM »

GATEWAY BRIDGE,  BRISBANE

The Gateway Bridge and Motorway were established to provide a critical link between the Pacific Motorway to the south and the Bruce Highway to the north, and a much-needed city bypass. The link also services important regional facilities such as the Brisbane Airport and Port of Brisbane.



The bridge and motorway approaches were completed in December 1985 and officially opened in January 1986. Around 200,000 people attended the opening festivities and walked the new impressive bridge.



When constructed, the Gateway Bridge structure was a unique achievement and included:
·   A 260 metre long cantilevered concrete box girder main river span which was the longest in the world at the time.
·   An erection truss weighing 650 tonnes which was the largest in the world at the time.
·   Construction work carried out up to 50 metres below the river level and up to 65 metres above it.
·   A bridge structure between abutments which is 1,627 metres in length.
·   A structure which is divided into a southern approach of 376 metres, a northern approach of 731 metres and the main river span structure of 520 metres.
·   Long approach structures (viaduct) with tall piers which were required to obtain the necessary navigation clearance height of 55 metres over the river.
·   Construction of the bridge structure, toll plaza complex and motorway which cost $A135 million.



The Gateway Arterial was constructed in two stages and was completed in 1986. Due to increasing demand, the Gateway Arterial was duplicated and upgraded to a motorway in the 1990s. Traffic using the motorway has grown at 8% annually (data to year 2000). The motorway approaches to the river crossing are reaching capacity, now averaging over 85,000 vehicles per day.



The Bridge owes its distinctive shape to air traffic requirements restricting its height, and shipping needs for navigational clearance – providing a narrow envelope in which to construct a 1.5 kilometre bridge. The Gateway Bridge stretches 1.63 kilometres across the Brisbane River with its main span 260 metres long and is 64.5 metres high.
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« Reply #651 on: August 07, 2007, 03:15:09 AM »

MAKING THE STARS FEEL AT HOME

Article from the Courier Mail….Matt Connors….August 07, 2007 12:00am

THE tropical setting and brilliant blue water help, but the secret to north Queensland's success as a movie location is the laid-back locals.

Filming on the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks WWII mini-series The Pacific starts next Monday near Port Douglas, and resident film veteran Karen Jones believes the relaxed community makes it possible for Hollywood's A-list to turn off their game face. "It must be a breath of fresh air for them," Ms Jones, a film location manager, said. "Port Douglas is used to having a stream of celebrities and they can come and go without being harassed."

Hanks slipped in almost unnoticed last week and Ms Jones said the casual vibe of the north also impressed Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughy, whom she worked with last year on Fool's Gold.

"It's a very low-key approach and everyone enjoys that. You can go and have breakfast at a restaurant and no one really pays any attention," she said. It is high praise for the local community given her role as location manager is to find the ideal settings for films such as The Thin Red Line and South Pacific. For The Pacific, the locations had to remain accessible to Port Douglas but double as war-time Guadalcanal and Peleliu.

"Episode one begins with the beach landing at Guadalcanal and we've created a big coconut grove and a lagoon on the beach front," she said.

The mainly unknown cast of the TV mini-series finishes "boot camp" this week in preparation for filming, which runs in far north Queensland until late November then moves to Melbourne.



MILITARY bearing . . . Karen Jones on the set of the WWII film The Pacific in Port Douglas, made to resemble Guadalcanal.

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« Reply #652 on: August 08, 2007, 02:53:25 AM »

PORT DOUGLAS AND MOSSMAN, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

Picturesque Port Douglas, hub of the region, is just 70 kilometres north of Cairns international airport along a spectacular scenic coastal drive. Holidaymakers relish Port Douglas’ natural beauty and excellent year round climate. Its relaxed seaside village ambience blends superbly with the vibrant atmosphere of tropical style and sophistication. It captures visitors by the heart and has made Port Douglas a favourite international destination.Nestled at the end of a peninsula, the tranquil waters of a natural harbour on one side of the village embrace a lively marina.



Along the other side of the peninsula stretches the breathtaking sandy sweep of beautiful Four Mile Beach.Soak up the sunshine on the beach, stroll among the village shops, galleries, historic buildings and the seaside Sunday market. Play a round of golf, visit a rainforest wildlife centre, relax over sundowner drinks at a boardwalk café, or dine on a delicious tropical dinner at one of the many fine restaurants.



Port Douglas is the closest gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. A natural wonder abundant with incredible biodiversity. Colourful coral gardens of every shape and form, home to an abundant array of tropical marine life.



There’s a reef tour to suit every style, making it so easily accessible that everyone can experience this extraordinary underwater world.The World Heritage rainforests are also within easy reach of Port Douglas. The lush green coastal strip of the Daintree, Cape Tribulation region to the north of Port Douglas is home to some of the oldest forests in the world and is a treasure trove of rare plant and animal species.



The mist topped mountains beyond Port Douglas cast a magic spell that lures visitors along the short scenic drive north to Mossman, a picturesque little township nestled at the foot of the mountains among the bright green fields of sugar cane. A friendly town, Mossman invites you to enjoy its genuine Tropical North Queensland hospitality as you explore the country stores and historic pubs along the wide tree-lined main street. The region's sugar capital the Mossman Central Mill throbs and hums its way through the sugar cane crushing season (June – October) when it is possible to do guided tours of the entire process inside the mill. The quaint cane trains rattle back and forth through the town hauling in the harvest and out in the fields you might chance upon the breathtaking sight of a cane fire in full force.



Five minutes west of Mossman you will discover Mossman Gorge, a very accessible and scenic section of the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park. Here the Mossman River tumbles its way over and around huge granite boulders that line the gorge creating cool clear freshwater swimming holes. Awe inspiring tree-clad mountains rise sharply up from the river banks. Walk as far as the suspension bridge across the river or explore the 2.7km rainforest loop trail.



The Gorge is home to the Kuku Yalanji people, the area's traditional Aboriginal landowners who strive to protect their natural heritage as they share its unique qualities with visitors. Guided bushwalks are available that give a rare insight into the special relationship the local indigenous people have with the rainforest, while traditional dance performances and artifact displays portray their rich cultural heritage.

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« Reply #653 on: August 09, 2007, 03:53:29 AM »

DAINTREE FOREST AND CAPE TRIBULATION, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

The Daintree Rainforest has a history that stretches more than 135 million years. This history is written on every plant, animal, waterfall and rock in the rainforest, and is one of the prime examples of evolution on the planet. There are plant and animal species living in the Daintree Rainforest older than human life itself, and this is what makes the area so remarkably beautiful and important.  The rainforest has survived the wrath of Mother Nature - violent volcanos, global climate changes, the rising and falling of sea levels, fires, glacier movement, and thrashing cyclonic winds. Perhaps the most dangerous threat to the rainforest now is tourism. For this reason, measures have been put in place by government authorities to restrict movement by people within the rainforest. Whether these rules are affective or not is up for debate, but there is no question that the ecosystem is fragile and visitors need to be careful of their interaction with the environment.



Sir Joseph Banks first recorded the area in European history in the 1770's. This man was travelling on the HMS Endeavour with the famous Captain Cook. The British led voyage signalled the beginning of European colonialism in the southern Pacific region. By the early 1800's, explorers were battling through the thick jungle of the Daintree hoping to find settlement locations - or even better, gold. But the thick lush rainforest proved brutally impenetrable, so it was left alone to continue living as it had for millions of years beforehand. But only for a little while.  By 1897 better tools and the potential for economic gain from the area had led to increased efforts to settle in the area. Freehold land in the Daintree was gazetted in an attempt to attract settlers to the area. During the 1930's, pioneering families were encouraged to settle and farm 160-acre portions of land. It was designed to stimulate economic recovery in the area after the great depression. The tropical climate was ideal for fruit crops such as bananas, watermelons and pineapples. A commercial timber industry was a major success, bringing an economic boom to the area.



In 1902, German botanist Ludwig Diels found a rare flower that had many characteristics of a primitive flowering genus, Calycanthus. This was previously unknown in Australia. Other examples of the genus had been found in Asia and North America, but the specimens Diels collected were in poor condition and he was unable to find any more than his original finding. He was also unable to make a proper identification of the plant. Sixty-Nine years later, the flower was discovered again in morbid circumstances. Four cattle belonging to local farmer John Nicholas from the Daintree Tea Company were unexpectedly found dead in their paddock. A veterinary officer was summoned to check the reasons for the death of the four cattle, and while he was at the property he witnessed the death of two more. Autopsies revealed the partly chewed remains of large seeds in the cattle's stomachs. After scientific examination, it was found that that the seeds produced a poison similar to strychnine, and they were responsible for the death of the cattle.



After the Second World War the timber industry in the Daintree Rainforest came to life again with the return of soldiers from around the world. A local timber mill built a wooden punt designed to ferry timber trucks across the Daintree River. But this failed when the punt capsized. A better attempt, this time with a steel punt barge, was successful in 1954. During the 1980's, the Daintree Rainforest was the centre of arguments between conservationists and the timber industry. The conservationists argued that continued logging of the ancient old-growth rainforest was unsustainable and putting too much strain on the ecosystem. Controversy surrounded the creation of the Bloomfield track - a 4WD road through the rainforest along the coastal fringe, all the way from the Daintree River to Cooktown. Protesters halted the construction of the road temporarily, but eventually it was built providing unprecedented access to virgin tropical rainforest. The road was created without proper engineering, and as a result it has remained a rough 4WD track for all of its life.



In 1987, the Australian Federal Government headed to an election with a policy to list the Wet Tropics as a World Heritage site and halt logging. This sparked controversy throughout North Queensland from fears of an economic downturn and job losses. The government won the election and nominated the Daintree Rainforest as a World Heritage area.  Opposition came directly from the Queensland State Government, and took the federal government to the High Court of Australia to challenge its ruling. In 1988, the Wet Tropics area was given a World Heritage listing. The conservationists had a major victory to celebrate.  A year later, a new Labor Queensland State Government was elected, and one of its first actions was to withdraw the High Court challenge against World Heritage listing. The Daintree Rainforest has been in safe hands ever since.



The historical significance of the Daintree Rainforest cannot be understated. In addition to the ecological heritage and importance of the region, the hardship endured by European pioneers in the area should likewise not be forgotten.  Buildings of worth in the area are the Timber Gallery, built in 1925, and Red Mill House, built in 1930. Both structures are made from timber milled where the Daintree Riverview Caravan Park stands today. In constant reminder of the ferocity of Mother Nature, these buildings remain a part of the ecosystem by way of the termites that eat the wooden foundations.



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« Reply #654 on: August 10, 2007, 05:54:23 AM »

And now something for the chocoholics among us  Laughing

THE CADBURY CHOCOLATE FACTORY, CLAREMONT, TASMANIA

A tour of the famous Claremont Chocolate Factory is a rewarding experience. You’ll see our delicious chocolates being made – and enjoy free samples.  The Factory Tour includes entry to the Visitor’s Centre. You will encounter fascinating insights into the history of Cadbury Claremont - and some of the characters and products that have made Cadbury a part of growing up in Australia. On the tour, you will see how some of your favourite Cadbury products are created, and learn the secret of ‘that great Cadbury taste’.
As well as being a modern facility with computerised and robotic production lines, the Cadbury Claremont Factory has 18 heritage-listed buildings.  The historic Conching Machines, featuring solid granite rollers, were installed sixty years ago and still operate.



What is chocolate? ... Food of the gods

'Theobromo cacao', meaning 'food of the gods', was prized for centuries by the Central American Mayan Indians.  The Aztecs introduced cocoa to the Spaniards, who took it back to Europe in the 16th century. But, as it was very expensive, only the rich could afford it. Modern chocolate manufacturing allowed more people to buy chocolate and Cadbury’s were among the first popular products.

Ingredients

The flavour of chocolate differs depending on the ingredients used and how it is prepared. Real chocolate is made from cocoa and its ingredients include cocoa butter, an expensive part of the cocoa bean. Compound chocolate is made, instead, with veg etable oils and doesn’t have the same fine qualities as real chocolate. Only the best ingredients are used to make delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.


'Theobromo cacao'- The Cocoa Tree

A little like an apple tree in size and shape, the cocoa tree grows best under the canopy of tropical rainforests. A native of the central and South American rainforests, cocoa trees are now cultivated in many tropical locations around the world. Th e cocoa tree has broad, dark leaves about 25 centimetres long, and pale-coloured flowers from which bean pods grow.

Cocoa beans

The cocoa tree bears two harvests of cocoa pods per year. Around 20 centimetres in length and half a kilogram in weight, the pods ripen to a rich, golden-orange colour. Within each pod are 40-50 beans covered in a sweet white pulp. The coco a beans are purple in colour and two centimetres long. Cadbury buys quality cocoa beans from Indonesia, Malaysia and Ghana. The raw beans undergo a lengthy process to prepare them for chocolate making.



Processing cocoa beans ready for chocolate making involves six main steps:

Fermentation

After harvest, the beans are fermented in heaps or 'sweating' boxes for about two days. During fermentation the cocoa pulp clinging to the beans matures and turns into a liquid.

Drying and bagging

Fermented cocoa beans are dried either in the sun or artificially. After quality inspection they are shipped to the Cadbury/MacRobertson processing factory in Singapore.

Winnowing

The dried beans are cracked and a stream of air separates the shell from the nib, which is the part used to make chocolate.

Roasting

The nibs are roasted in special ovens at temperatures between 105 and 120 degrees Celsius. Roasting helps develop the chocolate flavour and aroma, removes moisture and darkens the colour to a rich, dark brown.

Grinding

The roasted nibs are ground to produce a fluid called cocoa mass, the main ingredient for chocolate making.



Pressing

The cocoa mass is pressed in powerful press machines to extract the cocoa butter, vital to making chocolate. A cocoa solid called presscake is left, and when this is milled it makes cocoa powder, which is used for drinking chocolate and cooking.

The cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder are then quality inspected and shipped to Cadbury factories in Australia and New Zealand, ready to be made into chocolate.

Full cream milk

There’s a 'glass and a half' of full cream dairy milk in every 200 grams of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. Cadbury buys 65 million litres of fresh milk each year. Farm fresh milk is purchased from 90 Tasmanian dairies to make Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. The milk is collected from the dairies and stored in stainless steel chilled vats at the Cadbury factory.



Sugar and spice and all things nice

Cadbury buys around 27,000 tonnes of Australian cane sugar per year to make chocolate and many other Cadbury confectionery products.

And because variety is the spice of life...
Ingredients like fruit, nuts, nougat and biscuit are used in the range of tasty Cadbury treats. Chocolate bar centres like the wafer for Time Out and the honeycomb for Crunchie (this recipe is a closely guarded secret) are prepared in Cadbury’s factories



Caramello Koala is a delicious fun snack made from Australia’s favourite chocolate, Cadbury 'Dairy Milk' Milk Chocolate filled with a flowing caramel centre.

Australians have enjoyed Caramello Koala for over three generations and admired his laid-back attitude to life. Although Caramello likes to stay out of the limelight, children and adults alike cannot help but be charmed by his wholesome, friendly nature.

Caramello Koala has always remained true to his bush heritage and can often be seen floating down a river with his friends singing along to his favourite tune.



Seventy years ago Harry Melbourne invented our beloved Freddo Frog. When MacRobertson Chocolates was looking for a new idea for their Children’s range, a chocolate mouse was most preferred.   Harry Melbourne, who was employed at MacRobertson, knew this would not sell and in 1930 created Freddo Frog.

‘I told Macpherson Robertson (the owner of MacRobertson Chocolates) women and children were afraid of mice and a chocolate mouse would not sell’. When Harry pitched the idea to Macpherson Robertson he said ‘I’d like to see one, make one up and bring it over to my office. I did and three days later the Marketing Manager said I had backed a winner.’

Today, Freddo is one of Australia’s most popular children’s chocolates and is available in a number of delicious flavours.


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« Reply #655 on: August 10, 2007, 06:00:43 AM »

CHOCOLATE AND BANANA CAKE

INGREDIENTS
·   50 g very soft butter
·   1 cup sugar
·   1 egg
·   3 ripe bananas, mashed
·   1½ cups self-raising flour
·   ½ teaspoon cinnamon
·   1 tablespoon milk
·   75 g (3 rows) Cadbury Dark Cooking Chocolate, finely chopped
·   50 g pecan nuts, chopped
·   1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

1.   Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the butter, sugar and egg together in a bowl. Stir in the mashed bananas. Add the flour, cinnamon and then the milk. Stir through the chocolate.
2.   Pour into a greased and lined loaf pan. Sprinkle with the nuts.
3.   Bake for 40–45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out cleanly.
4.   Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, then cool in the pan for 10 minutes before taking out to cool completely.



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My note :
Cadburys have a very long history originally from England and involving several well known confectionery firms.  I will post some of this history in my next article.
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« Reply #656 on: August 11, 2007, 03:30:15 AM »

HISTORY OF THE CADBURY CHOCOLATE FACTORY

1824 The one-man business John Cadbury, a young Quaker, opens his grocery store at 93 Bull Street, Birmingham, England. He is 22 years old and sells tea, coffee, hops, mustard and a new sideline, cocoa and drinking chocolate, which he prepares himself using a mortar and pestle. This one-man business is the foundation of Cadbury Limited - today one of the world’s largest producers of chocolate. John Cadbury has a considerable flair for advertisement and promotion. His plate-glass shop window, the first in Birmingham, attracts considerable attention.

1831 Manufacturer of cocoa and drinking chocolateBusiness is brisk in Bull Street and, due mainly to growing sales in cocoa and chocolate of 'superior quality', the business is expanded to a rented warehouse and John Cadbury becomes a manufacturer of cocoa and drinking chocolate. The earliest preserved price list of 1842 shows 16 lines of drinking chocolate and 11 lines of cocoa powder, with product names such as Churchman’s Chocolate, Spanish Chocolate and Iceland Moss.

1847 The first Cadbury BrothersMoving the business to a larger factory in Bridge Street, Birmingham, John Cadbury takes his brother Benjamin into partnership. They are now known as Cadbury Brothers, Birmingham. The company receives a Royal Warrant as manufacturers to Queen Victoria. Despite this, business begins to decline during the mid-1850s and the company enters its most difficult time.

1861 The second Cadbury BrothersJohn Cadbury retires in 1861 and his sons Richard and George, then 25 and 21, take on the challenge of continuing the family business. Thanks to the dedication and sheer hard work of these two men, the Cadbury business survives and prospers. Dissatisfied with the quality of existing cocoa products, including their own, the brothers take a momentous step, which not only has a great bearing on their future prosperity, but is to change the whole of the British cocoa business.

1866 Cocoa essence ’Absolutely pure - therefore best’. Most cocoas at the time include additives such as potato starch or sago flour to soak up excess cocoa butter. The Cadbury brothers visit Holland and bring back the Van Houten press. This press is able to remove so much cocoa butter from the cocoa beans that additives are no longer needed in their cocoa. During this period, parliament is debating ’The Adulteration of Foods Act’. Cadbury’s unadulterated cocoa essence is heralded as a breakthrough product, helping to pass the act and receiving a great deal of publicity.

1868 Chocolate and Richard Cadbury’s chocolate boxesUntil now, cocoa has mainly been used for drinking. The plentiful supply of cocoa butter left after pressing the cocoa beans makes it possible for Cadbury Brothers to produce a wide variety of new kinds of 'eating chocolate', further improving their trade. Refined plain chocolate is made for moulding into blocks, bars and chocolate cremes. The quality of products produced by the firm is such that in the 1870s Cadbury Brothers break the monopoly that French producers have enjoyed in the British market.

1879 The move to BournvilleBy 1878, George and Richard and their 200 employees outgrow the Bridge Street premises. In 1879 they build a new factory on 14 acres (5.7 hectares) of meadowland on the banks of the Bourn Brook. It is called Bournville because it sounds fashionably French. The factory site has a good water supply and room for growth. It adjoins a railway and a canal, linking it with the Bristol docks, from where cocoa beans are delivered by Cadbury Brother’s own barges. Within 10 years the number of employees grows to 1,200. The Cadbury brothers are pioneers in industrial relations and employee welfare, setting standards that are followed by other enlightened employers. Cadbury Brothers is the first firm to introduce the five-day week and Bank Holidays. Young employees are encouraged to attend night school. Workers facilities provided by the company include: sports, medical and dental care, education, kitchens, heated dressing rooms and recreational gardens. Employee Work Committees are established to discuss employee issues with management. Cadbury becomes famous for its enlightened attitude and many companies follow its example.

1880 Frederic KinchelmanCadbury Brothers, already the first name in cocoa, now set out to make themselves pre-eminent in chocolate confectionery. Among the many innovations in the factory is the appointment in 1880 of M. Frederic Kinchelman, a master confectioner from Europe, who is engaged to impart the secrets of his craft to Bournville employees. Cadbury is soon making chocolate-covered nougats, pistache, bonbons delices, caramels, avelines and other delights, along with chocolate of the finest quality. 

1893 Bournville VillageGeorge Cadbury, in addition to advancing working practices, is a housing reformer and is appalled by the slums that are the norm for most Birmingham workers. In 1893, he buys 120 acres (49 hectares) near the Cadbury factory and begins building Bournville Village, with the aim of providing affordable, quality housing for wage earners. Bournville Village has 143 airy, cottage-style homes. The estate is open to all, not just Cadbury workers. In 1900, George forms the Bournville Village Trust, a separate entity to the Cadbury Brothers business, which oversees the ongoing development of the village. By 1915, rates of general death and infant mortality in the village are half those of Birmingham as a whole.

1899 Cadbury Brothers Ltd Following Richard Cadbury’s sudden death at age 63, the business becomes a private limited company. George, as Chairman of the Board, is joined by his sons Edward and George, and Richard’s sons Barrow and William, as fellow directors. The company has trebled in size, with more than 2,600 employees. New innovations include laboratories, advertising offices and employee education and training. Cadbury establishes a design studio and local artist Cecil Alden is commissioned to do a series of posters and press advertisements.

In 1919, Cadbury Brothers Ltd merges with J S Fry & Sons of Bristol, whose product range complements that of Cadbury.

In 1920, the purple and gold colours are used in the pack design for Cadbury’s flagship brand - Cadbury Dairy Milk. This sees them firmly established as the Cadbury corporate house colours.  The Cadbury script logo is introduced in 1921. Based on the signature of William A Cadbury, it is used on sales catalogues, seal designs, special boxes and stationery. It is not used across major brands until 1952. The 'glass and a half' symbol is first introduced in 1928 - as a poster and press campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk. The icon symbolises the goodness, quality, freshness and superiority of Cadbury chocolate.

1922 Cadbury Australia

The Cadbury merger with J S Fry is an outstanding success. The new company, ready for expansion internationally, decides to build a factory in Australia. Cadbury’s first overseas order had come from Australia back in 1881 and Australia has since developed into an important market for the company. Cadbury and Fry are joined by Pascall, and the new Australian company is called Cadbury-Fry and Pascall.  Claremont, in Tasmania, is the chosen factory site because it is close to the city of Hobart, has a good source of inexpensive hydro-electricity and, importantly, a plentiful supply of high-quality fresh milk. The Claremont factory is built on the same model as Bournville, with its own village and sporting facilities.

1939-45 The war years : Cadbury becomes the official supplier of chocolate to the Australian Armed Forces. Cadbury ration chocolate is supplied in brown-paper wrappers and made from a special formula, so that the precious parcel does not melt in the heat of the tropics or in the desert, where Australian forces are stationed. Keeping up the supply to the troops and to customers at home requires a tremendous effort from Cadbury employees. The Claremont factory operates day and night, but is not always able to maintain supply to stores at home.

Over the next 40 years Cadburys merges with MacRobertsons, Schweppes, and Red Tulip.
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« Reply #657 on: August 12, 2007, 03:30:36 AM »



A year after Steve Irwin died, his best mate is still grieving :


Article from: The Courier Mail….By Glenis Green ….August 11, 2007 12:00am

BIG boys don't cry and Wes Mannion's jaw clenches to fight back the lump in his throat as he talks about his best mate, Steve Irwin. It's been almost a year since the seemingly indestructible Crocodile Hunter died in that encounter with a stingray, but emotions are still raw. Not only has Mannion had to step in to fill the boots of one of the most popular Aussie icons and keep Irwin's Australia Zoo dream alive, he has had to do it while still grieving for the best friend he also regarded as a brother. "There's not a day I haven't thought about Steve simply because he's been so much a part of my life," Mannion, the director of Australia Zoo, told The Courier-Mail in an exclusive interview ahead of the first anniversary of Irwin's death on September 4. The weirdest thing is that, as time goes by, I miss him more and more. The first six months you miss him. Then a few more months go past and that's when the reality sets in and you really start to miss him and that doesn't go away. It just gets heavier and heavier."

Mannion, 37, who first chummed up with the eight years older Irwin at the tender age of 14 after his childhood passion for snakes led him to the zoo, says Irwin's death last year was the hardest thing he had ever had to go through. Mannion said the freaky nature of Irwin's death – stabbed through the heart with a stingray barb – had made dealing with it a little easier in one sense. "It was fate. Thousands of people swim with stingrays every day of the week."

Mannion said he had never seen, nor wanted to see, the controversial film footage of his friend's last moments and was relieved it had been destroyed. He said he would also guard the secret of whether Irwin was buried or cremated and where his remains lay. "Steve, as much as he was an open book to everyone, he was a private man as well," he said, but added that talk of a commemorative statue of Irwin somewhere on the Sunshine Coast was "a cool idea".

Mannion said that even in his own grief his first thoughts were for Steve's wife, Terri, and their two young children, Bindi and Robert. "My main concern was the kids and Terri because no one was as close to Steve as those three. We (the family) all just stuck together – nothing broke apart. At the end of the day we had to get through that shock, that realisation. I still do (sometimes) expect him to come walking through that door, because everything I do in my life revolves around Steve. Like when I go surfing. I've only been surfing once since the accident. Every morning, Steve and I, we used to go surfing."

Mannion said while there had been no days when he thought he could not continue on without his friend, he drew some comfort from the fact that Irwin had always lived in the moment. "Steve lived probably the equivalent of three lives," Mannion said. "I'm not saying he knew when he was going (to die). But he certainly knew he was here for a short time and whether that time was 50 or 60 or 70 years, for Steve it was too short so he was just going flat out. He was a machine and that's why we've all gone for (his dream) and not fallen over and crawled up in a ball and gone to sleep. He tried to jam as much as he could in a short amount of time. The only time that didn't happen was when he had his kids. He was an incredible father, an absolutely awesome dad and he put so much time into the kids. That's the only time when I can honestly say he ever slowed down. Like, if he was in a meeting and Bindi would come up and go 'daddy, daddy' he wouldn't go 'uh-uh, this is a really important meeting, off you go'. He would grab her and play with her and love her."

Mannion said that, next to his family and wildlife conservation, Irwin had loved his zoo with a passion and saw it as both his sanctuary and major goal in life. It's a passion matched by Mannion who has vowed to do anything he can to keep it going and expanding. "Sometimes I think: 'I hope people don't think I'm trying to be Steve here', that people understand where I fit in the picture and that I'm not and never will be (Steve) but that he was my brother. The one thing I want to do more than anything in life is to keep his dream alive. I've been in a lot of documentaries with Steve over the years but it's not my passion. I can do it, but I ain't Steve and I'm never going to be”.



"Bindi will be Bindi. She's not going to be Steve. She will be what she wants to be and do what she wants to do. And the great thing about (young) Bob is that he's ended up with Steve's personality and he'll be like 'I'll just go and do what I want to do'.Terri is such a fantastic mum. She's not going to pressure them to do anything or say 'you can't do it' because people will say I'm pushing you into it. Anyone who's spent time with Bindi knows she does what she wants to do. She knows how to get her own way and she's a typical nine-year-old. There's a couple of things she has to do and one is school and the other is brushing her teeth at night – other than that she understands she doesn't have to (do anything). She has fun. Bindi's a wonderful little kid and she'll be what she wants to be. At the end of the day you can't pressure your kids to do anything because if you do they'll buck it."

Mannion said Australians tended to handle death really badly. "It's like 'let's not talk about it, let's sweep it under the carpet, let's get rid of the photos, don't mention his name', instead of embracing that person," he said. Which is why Mannion is glad that all the Steve Irwin signage still abounds at the zoo as well as everywhere else to continue promoting the Irwin brand and his conservation message. "We haven't had one complaint at all (about the signs). Everyone loves it."

Mannion said that, while he was not surprised by the outpouring of love and grief in the wake of Irwin's death, he was pleasantly surprised that so much of it came from Australians who had tended to knock the Crocodile Hunter's exuberant style in the past. "That would have meant a lot to him (Irwin). Looking down, it really would have meant a lot to him. He'd have gone 'wow, I did make a difference' which was all he wanted to do."

Mannion, who still bears the scars from being attacked from behind by a crocodile while helping Irwin clear flood debris at night from one of the zoo's enclosures six years ago, said his friend had helped save his life then and had always shown unflinching loyalty and courage. "If I was to have one person near me in any situation, he would be the one. Once he believed something was right he would back you 'til the cows came home. When you're with people all the time you get to see their true colours and no one is perfect, but his loyalty was uncompromising. It was nice to know you had someone like that in your life."



Mannion is now pushing on with Australia Zoo's massive development plans, with an estimated $200 million-plus set to be spent in the next 10 years as the zoo expands to more than 300ha from its original 2ha humble beginnings when it was started by Irwin's parents, Bob and Lynn Irwin. Staff numbers are expected to rocket from 550 to up to 2000.

But Mannion said one of the things he had learned from Irwin was to take the time out to put family first and enjoy the journey as well as the destination. With his wife, Jodie, at his side as the zoo's assistant director and their young son Riley, 2, Mannion said he now realised – as Irwin did – that parents should take a leaf out of their children's books. "Kids have an attitude to get on with things and have fun," he said.
"Steve was a jokester as well, always into having fun. He'd get bored pretty quick. With Steve there was always something exciting happening and if there wasn't he'd say: 'let's make it exciting'.

"There will be no one like Steve ever again. He was one of a kind."
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« Reply #658 on: August 13, 2007, 03:25:46 AM »

MINE COLLAPSE, BEACONSFIELD, TASMANIA

At 9:26 pm on April 25 2006, a suspected seismic event triggered an underground rock fall at the Beaconsfield gold mine in northern Tasmania. Geoscience Australia said that the earthquake had a magnitude of 2.2, at a shallow depth.  Earlier speculation had suggested that mine blasting had caused the collapse.Three of the miners working underground at the time were trapped,and early reports suggested that 14 miners whowere underground at the time had managed to scramble to safety. The mining company, Beaconsfield Gold Mine Joint Venture, relesed a press statement saying they held "grave concerns for [the three miners] wellbeing".

Larry Knight (44), Brant Webb (37) and Todd Russell (34), were the three miners who remained unaccounted for. Knight had apparently been killed in the initial rockfall, but Webb and Russell were still alive, trapped in part of the vehicle in which they had been working at the time of the collapse, known as a teleloader or telehandler. They were in a basket at the end of the telehandler's arm, where they had been applying steel mesh to the walls of the tunnel, ironically in order to prevent rockfalls. It was initially misreported that the two miners were saved by a slab of rock that fell on top of the basket, however in a Channel 9 exclusive interview broadcast on May 21 Webb and Russell stated that this was incorrect and that the "ceiling" above them was merely thousands of individual unstable rocks precariously packed together. The cage was partially filled with rock, and the men were partially buried under some rubble. Webb seemed to have been knocked unconscious for a short time, and Russell's lower body was completely buried. When Webb awoke, the two were able to free themselves and each other from the fallen rock by cutting through their clothes and boots, which were stuck in the rock, using stanley knives.

The miners were able to survive by drinking groundwater, seeping through the rock overhead, which they had collected in their helmets. Webb also had a muesli bar with him, which he offered to cut in half and share with Russell. The men initially agreed to wait 24 hours to eat it, but they continually extended the time, until they decided to eat it on April 29. They then ate small pieces of the bar at a time, to make it last as long as possible. However, Russell later lost a large portion of his half of the bar when it fell out of his pocket.



Part of township with mine shaft in background


On April 26 a remote-controlled earth mover began clearing the rock underground. On the morning of April 27, at 7:22am, the body of one of the miners was found in the shaft.At around 8pm, the body was retrieved and was identified as the body of Larry Paul Knight, 44, of Launceston. He was the driver of the telehandler.

Rescue workers did not proceed further through the rubble past the back end of the telehandler because it was unsafe, instead choosing to blast a new tunnel across from the main shaft to the side shaft, aiming to come out in front of the telehandler. On April 29, they began blasting a new tunnel, detonating at least six large explosive charges to form the tunnel. The blasts dislodged rock inside the cage of the telehandler, which Webb and Russell attempted to clear, although as the blasts came closer, rock was dislodged faster than they could clear it.Russell recorded the date and time of each blast on his clothing, so that if they died as a result of the blasting, the rescuers would know that they had been alive prior to a particular blast. Both Webb and Russell also wrote letters to their families on their clothing.The two men sung The Gambler by Kenny Rogers (the only song they both knew) in order to keep up their spirits, as they waited for successive blasts to occur in the tunnel. At one point they could hear rescuers talking, and shouted at them to be quiet so that their singing would not be interrupted. At 5:45 pm on April 30 2006, Webb and Russell were found alive after being trapped underground for five days, being detected by thermal imaging cameras and a microphone. One miner found a direct route to the trapped miners, across the rubble in the side shaft, and was able to get close enough to the basket of the telehandler to shake Russell's hand. This was where a remote-controlled loader had got to the back of the teleloader, but this route was deemed unsafe for rescuing them. Webb and Russell themselves did not want the rescuers to attempt to reach them through the rubble, because to do so would require them to cut through the wire on the side of the cage, which was under considerable tension from the pressure of the rock above. The two men were afraid that cutting the cage would cause it to collapse. Rescuers immediately halted blasting in the access tunnel, and instead drilled a smaller hole through the approximately 14.5 metres of rock between the head of the access tunnel and the part of the side shaft where the miners were trapped. Webb and Russell directed the work by listening to the sound of the drilling and judging the direction. The hole was about 90 millimetres in diameter. A PVC pipe was used to line the hole, which was used to deliver fresh water, food and communications equipment to the men.

On May 1 2006 rescuers were still 12 metres from the miners. They were also later sent a digital camera, a torch, dry clothes, magazines, iPods including music from the Foo Fighters, deodorant and toothpaste.They also received letters from their families, and were able to write letters in return. In one letter to his wife, Russell wrote "It's not much of a room we have up here." Russell asked for the previous Saturday's newspaper because he said he would be looking for a new job, after joking about losing his current one for lazing about.  One mine official questioned why Russell would want to look for a job, since he already had one, Russell in a later interview saying that he had replied, "I told him to stick it up his..."  They were also sent medical supplies, with which Webb was able to treat the injuries to Russell's leg, with advice from paramedics. It was also on May 1 that the two men also asked about Larry Knight, and rescuers told them that he had been found dead.



Brant and Todd peer out at rescuers

The rescue effort by drilling was put off on Monday 1 May because of the danger of another collapse. It was decided to use a raise borer anchored in concrete, with the last load of the concrete being delivered before dawn on Wednesday, May 3 2006. The machine cut a horizontal tunnel one metre wide. Later that day it was announced that the drilling to go the final 12 metres would commence within hours. At about 6:45pm, drilling of a 20cm pilot hole for the raise borer commenced. Using the normal procedure for this machinery, a pilot hole was drilled, for the larger diameter borer to follow. This took more than three days to complete. According to Beaconsfield mine manager Matthew Gill, the quartz rock which was drilled through was 5 times harder than concrete. The drill was capable of drilling through it at 1 metre per hour, but it was going much more slowly because of the danger of further rock falls, at a rate of around 460 millimetres per hour. (460 mm equals 18 inches)  Low-impact explosives were inserted into approximately 50 small holes that were drilled into the last section of rock. Drilling of the rescue tunnel commenced on Thursday 4 May at about 8:00pm guided by the completed pilot hole. It was gouged out to one metre and was planned to come up underneath the men's cage after passing through 16 metres of rock. The last phase was to involve a miner using hand tools to create an opening whilst lying on his back.

As at 7:00 am on Saturday May 6, the raise borer had drilled about 11 metres of the 14.5 metre rescue tunnel.  The mine decided on the shortened route late on Friday night. The major drilling operation was completed by 6:00pm on Saturday, with only a few metres remaining to reach the trapped miners. Several hours work dismantling and removing the boring machine from the escape tunnel were required before the final phase of the rescue commenced.  On May 7, the rescuers reached a belt of hard rock that they found hard to penetrate. As the diamond-edged chainsaws they were using had little effect, they reverted to using low-impact charges. On May 8 the horizontal tunnel was completed, with rescuers beginning tunnelling upwards in the short vertical tunnel, since the horizontal tunnel had been dug lower than the level of the miners.  At about 9:30pm a probe passed through the rock below where the miners were located, which indicated there was only a metre between them, including 400 millimetres of hard rock.

After 14 nights, at 4:27 am, rescuers, namely Glenn Burns, Donovan Lightfoot and Royce Gill, finally reached the men, one of them yelling "I can see your light" when he broke through the ground which was separating him from the miners, to which the miners replied "I can see your light too". Brant Webb was freed at 4:47am on May 9, followed by Todd Russell at 4:54 am. They were driven up the spiral shaft of the mine, arriving at a medical station at the base of the vertical shaft from the surface at about 5:30 am. They were checked by a doctor, and then sent up the lift towards the surface. About thirty metres from the surface, they got out of their wheelchairs, which were moved to the rear of the lift so as to be out of sight.  At 5:58 am both men walked out of the lift cage unaided "...punching their fists in the air to the cheers of the Beaconsfield crowds who had gathered outside the mine gate. Wearing their fluoro jackets and lit miner's helmets, the men switched their safety tags to 'safe' on the mine out board before embracing family members who rushed to hug them." Both were then transported to hospital in nearby Launceston just after 6:00 am local time. Russell had an injured knee, and a damaged vertebra which put pressure on his sciatic nerve, while Webb had injuries to both knees, several vertebra and his neck.

Less than six hours after they were rescued, Todd Russell joined more than a thousand mourners at Larry Knight's funeral. The funeral had been postponed constantly in the hope that both rescued miners could attend, before finally settling on Tuesday May 9 at 1:00pm. Russell attended after being discharged from hospital in time.



Todd and Brant walk from the mine to cheering family and onlookers

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« Reply #659 on: August 14, 2007, 02:55:49 AM »

BEACONSFIELD AND GOLD MINE, TASMANIA

Small town in the heart of the Tasmanian north-eastern apple growing district. Located 39 km north west of Launceston on the West Tamar Highway, Beaconsfield is a small town on the main road which runs up the western side of the Tamar River. It lies in the heart of an apple-growing district and, at this point, the Tamar River supports numerous oyster leases.  Like so many towns in Australia, Beaconsfield went through a series of names before reaching its present one. The town's site was originally known as Cabbage Tree Hill and, when goldmining began in the 1870s, it became known as Brandy Creek. The present name was given to the town in 1879, when it was proclaimed, by Governor Weld. It was named to honour the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield



Gold Pour

The area around Beaconsfield was explored by Colonel William Paterson in 1804 and the first Europeans settlers arrived in 1805. The first industry in the district was limestone quarrying which started as early as the 1820s and was carried out to provide George Town with suitable building material. It is thought that gold was first discovered in the area in 1847 although it wasn't until 1869 that alluvial gold was panned. By 1877 major gold companies were in the area and by 1881 Beaconsfield was known as the richest gold town in Tasmania. At its peak there were 53 companies working the goldfields and, for a while in the 1870s, there were two iron smelting companies working in the area.



High Grade Ore Sample

The Beaconsfield Gold Project is centred on the old Tasmania Reef Mine which is a gold-bearing quartz-carbonate-sulphide vein occupying an old fault structure which transgresses a series of sedimentary beds. The reef at Beaconsfield is in many respects analogous to the gold-arsenic-quartz, dilational-fill mesothermal deposits of Central Victoria, particularly those at Ballarat and Bendigo. The Tasmania Reef has an average strike length of around 350 metres, an average horizontal thickness of approximately 3.1 metres and dips to the south at an average of around 60 degrees.



Extremely High Gold Grade in Quartz Reef with $2 gold coin for comparison

The underground mine was operated from 1877 for 37 years, during which time approximately 840,000 ounces of gold were produced from 1,070,000 tonnes of ore at an average mill recovered grade of 24.3 g/t gold. With an average mill recovery of around 85%, the average head grade of the ore, after mining dilution, would have been over 28 g/t gold, making Beaconsfield one of the richest gold mines in Australia at the time. The mine was worked to a maximum depth of 455 metres. Economic conditions and technical considerations, in particular the inefficient mine pumping methods available at that time, led to the cessation of mining at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the subsequent flooding of the shafts and workings. The present Beaconsfield Joint Venture was formed following the reconstruction in late 1992 - early 1993 of the old Beaconsfield Gold Mines Limited into Beaconsfield Gold NL.



Stamping Bullion Bar

One of the town's major attractions, reflecting the fact that it was once an important gold mining town, is the Grubb Shaft Museum Complex. Located on West Street, which runs west from the West Tamar Highway, Grubb Shaft is a museum complex based on the gold mining era between 1877 and 1914. The construction at the major pithead of two huge Romanesque arches has given the town one of its most distinctive man-made landmarks. The arches were completed in 1904. Around this time, due to the success of the gold mining, Beaconsfield was the third largest town in Tasmania



Grubb Shaft Museum & Hart Shaft Winder House with headframe in background
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....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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