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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 577984 times)
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MuffyBee
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« Reply #720 on: October 07, 2007, 12:04:02 PM »

The article and pictures about Mary Poppins is very cool.  Thank you Tib.
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« Reply #721 on: October 13, 2007, 01:13:49 AM »

Yes Muffy - there is a lot of history to be discovered when researching some of these little towns.  My own knowledge of our Australian history and geography is certainly expanding to what we were taught in school!  A lot of these facts would have made it a great deal more interesting and entertaining.

I have found another quirky town for today with an annual patchwork quilt festival which should interest some craft loving monkeys.
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« Reply #722 on: October 13, 2007, 01:23:59 AM »

NORTHAMPTON, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

One of the oldest settlements in Western Australia outside of Perth. It was declared a townsite in 1864, some 20 years after rich copper deposits were discovered at Wanerenooka Hill. Northampton was awarded 'Historical Town' status by the National Trust in 1993. Northampton is located 51 kilometres north of Geraldton on the fringe of Western Australia's wheat belt. It has been listed by the National Trust as an historic town.



The Northampton/Horrocks Beach/Port Gregory area is steeped in historical significance. From Aboriginal cave paintings near the Bowes River mouth to the various buildings constructed by convicts in the 19th century. Springtime is wildflower time in Historic Northampton with the area a blaze of colour and the atmosphere is loaded in history.



In 1848 Cornish and Welsh miners began lead mining with copper mining soon after in 1855. Nearby Port Gregory was used as a mineral port, and a convict hiring station with a Captain’s residence, recently restored, existed at Lynton. 1879 saw the first private railway in Western Australia. It ran for over 100 years from Geraldton to Northampton. The railway station and tracks can still be seen, with the embankment of one of the old railway bridges visible from the Cottages’ West Veranda.

The non-denominational Gwalla Church (1861) was the first Church built in Northampton. It was constructed by Joseph Horrocks, who arrived at Fremantle as a convict in 1852 and worked as a medical attendant at the colony. He received an unconditional pardon in 1856. Horrocks settled in the Northampton area and attempted to establish his own village at Gwalla. Horrocks died in 1865 and was buried in the church cemetery, which was also the first cemetery in the district. The Gwalla Church is today in ruins and the cemetery in also in a state of decay.



The Northampton townsite was surveyed and declared in 1864. At this time it was simply known as 'The Mines'. It was renamed 'Northampton', in honour of John Stephen Hampton, the governor of WA, and an English country town, in 1871.  Chiverton House was constructed for the manager of the Geraldine Mine between 1868 and 1875. The building became Northampton's first bank in 1908 and is today a museum.
Local government was established in 1871 with the first administration office in Northampton being constructed in 1898. A new building was constructed in 1957 and later extended. The original building is now a library.



The former police station, quarters and courthouse (circa 1884) was constructed in Victorian Georgian-style. The stone and corrugated iron building housed the courthouse and police station for more than 80 years.



The Sacred Heart Convent was built in 1919 to a design of ecclesiastical architect Monsignor John Hawes. Hawes designed a number of churches in the mid west including the tall and slim St Mary's in Ara Coeli Church (1936) in Northampton. The mixed Gothic and Byzantine-style church with its rough hammer dressed red sandstone exterior and green roof tiles is the largest parish church designed by Hawes. It was built by a local contractor.


 
Right next door you will find the Sacred Heart Convent built in 1919 which was also designed by Monsignor Hawes. Nuns from this convent reached far and wide founding convents in Roebourne, Carnarvon, Nanson and Port Hedland.



Join the Northampton locals on the second Saturday of the W.A. third term school holidays to see an exquisite array of colourful displays of old and new patchwork quilts of all descriptions hung from buildings up and down the main street.This is a must for anyone who loves crafts and the memories of yesteryear. If you enjoy a street parade you will love the Northampton Airing of the Quilts as old cars, costumed people and a band make the day more colourful.





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« Reply #723 on: October 13, 2007, 12:56:24 PM »

I find the Aboriginal cave paintings fascinating.  Very cool.  Thanks again, Tib.
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« Reply #724 on: October 14, 2007, 02:31:04 AM »

DROUGHT IN AUSTRALIA

Following are some comments on our drought.  Although the figures quoted are for 2006 not a lot has changed and even though there have been some rainfalls and even isolated flooding and storms it has not been in the areas where it would do the most good.  Rain seems to avoid the water catchment areas and the regions that are dependent on melting snow for their water storage supplies have had very little snow over winter.  Our outback or the centre of our continent is little more than a dust bowl, and now salinity is a big problem for water holes and rivers as well as pollution.  The main population areas which are on our coastline are subject to severe water restrictions and a lack of foresight by the powers that be over the past few years leave us with a continuing problem and little respite in the foreseeable future.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Rainfall trends are important from an environmental and an economic perspective. For thousands of years, Australia has experienced strong year-to-year variations in rainfall. These natural variations and any more extreme variations or changes in the normal scope of variation that may result from anthropogenic climate change that may result from anthropogenic climate change are important indicators for the condition of the atmosphere.



"A land of sweeping plains"; Australia is the driest land on Earth apart from Antarctica. In 2006 the Bureau of Meteorology recorded severe deficiency (rainfall in the bottom 5% of records since they began in 1900) throughout Tasmania, Victoria, southeast New South Wales, patches of West Australia and the area of south-east Queensland centred around Charleville.



Cows at Fort Constantine in drought-stressed central Queensland. With little water in dams and dried up rivers, farmers are forced to sell or slaughter stock. In one Victorian sale yard alone in October 2006 over 67,000 sheep were sold.



A satellite image created from data collected between May 25 and June 9 2006 shows much of Australia’s vegetation was stressed or less healthy than the five-year average from 2000 to 2005. Brown areas show stressed vegetation and green areas show areas where vegetation was healthier than average. Some areas of Australia have been in drought for more than 10 years.



An Australian woolgrower and his dog visit a drought-affected paddock on a property near Goulburn, 150 km south west of Sydney. As at January 2007 93.2 per cent of New South Wales was in drought. Although the current drought is thought to be due to natural variation in climate, the CSIRO predicts climate change in Australia will cause a rise of up to two degrees C by 2030 and six degrees C by 2070. This could intensify naturally occurring dry spells.



The near empty Pejar Dam, a former water supply for Goulburn. Goulburn has been on level 5 water restrictions since October 2004, with all outside town water use banned and water use limited to 150 litres per person per day



The Molonglo River meanders through drought-affected farmland south of Canberra, the capital of Australia. 2006 was the driest year in 100 years for many parts of Australia, including the Australian Capital Territory.



A stationary tractor awaits better conditions in a barren field near Canberra. Much of New South Wales has been declared in 'exceptional circumstances', recognising the 'unprecedented severity, length and extent of the current drought', according to the Australian government's drought relief fact sheet. Exceptional circumstances enable farmers throughout the state and territory to claim drought relief from the government.



Salt-rich dams in drought ridden land near Perth, West Australia. Most of the country’s drought depleted 2006 wheat crop will come in from the West Australian wheat belt after widespread crop failure in the eastern states. Wheat giant AWB has suspended exports of wheat from eastern Australia to help meet the domestic demand.



A bore water tank during drought near Mossgiel in New South Wales. A national water audit released in October 2006 has warned that tapping into bore water to substitute for fresh water may be draining rivers, such as the troubled Murray-Darling River system, which stretches across three states and feeds town, rural and environmental needs in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.



Drought-affected farmland along the coast of South Australia, 500km west of Adelaide. South Australia is Australia’s driest state. Agriculture here relies on recycled water as well as irrigation from the Murray-Darling River. Most of the water for South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, comes from catchment areas in the Adelaide Hills, however in dry years it increasingly relies on the already stretched resources from heavily tapped waters of the River Murray.



The country called lucky in the 1950’s is still the world’s largest supplier of wool, according to the Australian department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australia produced 42% of the world’s greasy wool from 2004–2005. But falling wool prices from extreme drought in Australia’s eastern grazing lands and a shift to synthetic fabrics has made riding the sheep’s back a dangerous pastime. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2002–2003, sheep and lamb numbers in Australia dropped to their lowest level since 1947.



Depression has hit rural areas hard. According to beyondblue, a national organisation looking at issues surrounding depression in Australia, incidences of depression, characterised by physical symptoms such as feeling tired and losing weight, are the same in rural and metropolitan areas. However in rural areas suicide rates are higher, with one male farmer committing suicide about every four days.

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« Reply #725 on: October 14, 2007, 02:39:16 AM »

A story of one town but typical of many more around the country :

DROUGHT PUTS TOWN'S SURVIVAL AT RISK

Pia Akerman and Andrew Faulkner | September 29, 2007 … The Australian

A BITTER wind stirs the red dust, bringing tears to the eye in Terowie, South Australia. A town that was once the heart of a thriving agricultural district is today a shadow of its former self: the water is gone and so are most of the people.

Terowie grew up on the margins of viability in a heartbreak reach of rural Australia, straddling the railway and Goyder's Line, which was what used to separate the country that people could make something of from that which would support little more than the odd bedraggled sheep, saltbush and weeds.

The trains stopped running years ago when the railway between Broken Hill and Adelaide was rerouted.

Abandoned shops -- boarded up or with faded lace curtains drawn -- in the main street are a sad reminder of what was once a hub of farm trade.

What little rain used to fall has dwindled away as the worst drought anyone can remember tightened its grip. Last year's rainfall was half the already low historic average of 347mm.

In Terowie, population 200 (one-10th of what it once was), and 200km north of Adelaide, people are asking themselves: can we still make a go of it?
It's a question that resonates as never before in rural Australia.

This week, Labor's spokesman on climate change, Peter Garrett, backed a national audit of the nation's productive land to determine whether some historically marginal farming and grazing areas had now slipped over the edge of viability and should be abandoned.

Unkind souls are now talking about a "Garrett Line".

Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran is bitterly opposed to such an exercise.
"Labor's plan to decide which parts of Australia can and can't be farmed poses an ominous threat to many farming families who are already under significant stress from the impact of the drought," Mr McGauran told The Weekend Australian.  But the remaining residents of Terowie and the handful of consolidated farms it services are uncertain whether their community has a future.

"Around this area, a lot of people have actually gone off the farms, and only one or two families are surviving," said Leonie Pratt, owner of the Terowie general store. "Because of the drought, they have had to sell up. You are losing not just the family, but the generation of families, which then affects the school."

Peter Mattey, who runs 16,000 sheep on his property near Terowie, believes a new assessment needs to be made about what land is sustainable for agriculture.  "There are still some people trying to do a bit of crop growing outside Goyder's Line, but even the marginal areas just inside Goyder's line I think will come into question over time if they're not already in question," he said.

"If you don't like dry times, you're better off going to live somewhere else because you're going to get it. It's a fact of life."

Mr Mattey, whose family property started 130 years ago with 12 milk cows, has progressively bought departing neighbours' blocks, and now holds 44,000ha.

"We have had an exodus of people off the land over the past 10 years," he said. "When you have only got eight or 10 families left, and you lose two or three of them, it's quite a big impact."

The Terowie primary school -- with 25 students, none from farming families -- uses a bore for taps and toilet water and buys drinking water from the general store. Last week, they ran out of water.

Kay Matthias, manager of the South Australian branch of the Rural Financial Counselling Service, said: "The family farm as we used to know it in those areas no longer exists. Mum and dad fight it out until the end but the young ones move away."

Locals say the rainfall drops an inch (2.5cm) for every mile (1.6km) north of the road between Jamestown and Hallett, in South Australia's mid-north. Some say growing the region's traditional staple of cereal crops is now a waste of effort.

"Absolutely," Ms Matthias said. "I couldn't support that any more. That is a reality. That will happen. Governments can't continue to prop them up either."

Traditionally, stoic cockies have shied away from seeking the kind of help she offers. Not any more. They are coming forward because the next-door neighbour has seen a counsellor, or the man across the road, or the bloke at the pub. About 40 per cent of farmers in the region already get by with the help of Canberra's "exceptional circumstances" assistance.

"Things are so tough that people just don't see it as welfare any more," Ms Matthias said. "It's a very emotional thing. I mean, farming's in the blood. But a certain amount will leave the industry, not just in that area, but across the state."

Goyder's Line, the 1865 boundary drawn by then South Australian surveyor-general George Goyder, notionally divides cropping from pastoral land, but locals fear the combination of drought and climate change has shifted the marker south, making the country unviable.

The community is ageing as the farmers' children seek greener pastures in the cities or the mines.

Terowie school principal Pam Cregan said perhaps settlers and more recent farmers should have paid more attention to Goyder and his famous line. "I think he knew what he was talking about, that man," she said.

Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board general manager Des Bilske said at the very least some marginal country might have to go back to pasture.

Even then, the outlook was bleak. "Most of the property owners don't want their children to take over the farm and the kids don't want to take over the farm anyway," he said. "Quite often, the parents send them off to get a university education, saying it's too hard."

With fewer people on the land, is there a future for places such as Terowie? "That's the really tough thing," Mr Bilske said. "Unless there is something else to hold the town together, with the big corporations taking over, there's fewer people employed locally."

Hopes were raised and dashed when a front drifted tantalisingly across the state in the middle of the week. Parts of the Riverland received 10-15mm of rain but most of the Terowie area missed out on significant falls.

For the area to remain under crops, and for the town to survive, a monumental turnaround is needed.



Leonie Pratt, postmistress at the Terowie Post office and owner of the general store, in the town's main street. Picture: Kelly Barnes.

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« Reply #726 on: October 20, 2007, 03:27:14 AM »

ABORIGINAL ROCK ART REVEALS WORLD THAT TIME FORGOT



One of the 203 cave paintings found in rugged terrain near Sydney (Australian Museum)

Hundreds of Aboriginal cave drawings, some as old as the Egyptian pyramids, have been discovered in rugged woodland near Sydney in what Australian scientists are calling a major find.

The cave containing 203 rock paintings up to 4,000 years old were kept secret for eight years after a hiker stumbled upon it in rugged parkland in 1995, scientists told reporters. The inaccessibility of the area in the Wollemi National Park, about 150 km north of Sydney, kept researchers from conducting a full-scale investigation of the find until May this year.

"It's like an ancient world that time forgot," said Dr Paul Taçon, an anthropologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney, who led the expedition. The cave holds 203 paintings, stencils and prints in "pristine condition", depicting humans and god-like human-animal composites, birds, lizards and marsupials, he said.

There are life-size, delicately drawn eagles, kangaroos and an extremely rare depiction of a wombat, Taçon said, describing how the images were painted in 11 layers during a period from around 2000 BC to the early 19th century. There are also stencils of human hands, boomerangs and other tools.

"We've never seen anything quite like this combination of rare representations in so many layers," Taçon said. The exact location of the site - described as a rock shelter about 12 m long, 6 m deep and 1 to 2 m high - was being kept secret to prevent damage by vandals or sightseers.

The parkland is so rugged that it was not until 1994 that scientists were amazed to discover trees that had been thought extinct for 150 million years. Now known as Wollemi pines, there were only 43 of the trees found in a gully, of a species that covered the planet when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

The Premer of New South Wales state, Bob Carr, told reporters it was remarkable discovery which confirmed the richness of Aboriginal culture and spiritual life at a time when civilisation was blossoming around the world.

"This reminds us [that] 4,000 years ago, when you had civilisation flourishing in Mesopotamia, when you had the power of Egypt, before China was united, while Stonehenge was being built, we had Aboriginal people in these lands, on the outskirts of the Sydney basin," he said. "This is eerie, because it's contact with a very old Australia and it's why we've got to honour our Aboriginal people."

"We know so much about the history of other cultures across the world ... but we know very little about our own," said Samantha Mattila, a spokeswoman for the Australian Museum. "This is at the backdoor of Sydney and it's untouched, it's pristine."
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« Reply #727 on: October 20, 2007, 03:36:33 AM »

TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL ART

Aboriginal Australians traditionally used art as a means of communication or expression in different forms such as rock engravings, cave paintings and designs cut into trees, wooden articles such as boomerangs and on their bodies (scarification). The symbols of their artwork were expressions of their beliefs, the Dreamtime and Dreaming stories or in some cases were records of specific events. Whatever they drew, engraved or painted onto such surfaces as sand, earth, rock, trees or wood had significant meanings to them.



The term art, broadly interpreted, also includes story telling, song, music and dance. These forms of Aboriginal art were often sacred because of their connection to the Dreamtime and Aboriginal spiritual beliefs, or because they were accessible only to initiated adults. Other stories were secular (non-sacred) and included stories for children and those that recorded major events such as great battles, memorable hunting expeditions or the arrival of Europeans and others into their country.



Traditionally there were large variations in the style, symbols and materials used in the production of art in different regions of Australia. This diversity included bark paintings and wooden sculptures with intricate cross-hatched designs, delicate engravings on pearl shell in the West Kimberley, symbol-based sand and body designs of the Central and Western Desert, engraved rock in Tasmania and rock art in Cape York and central Queensland.



"Around the beginning the Ancestral Beings rose from the folds of the earth and stretching up to the scorching sun they called, "I am!" As each Ancestor sang out their name, "I am Snake", "I am Honey Ant", they created the most sacred of their songs. Slowly they began to move across the barren land naming all things and thus bringing them into being. Their words forming verses as the Ancestors walked about, they sang mountains, rivers and deserts into existence. Wherever they went, their songs remained, creating a web of Songlines over the Country. As they travelled the Ancestors hunted, ate, made love, sang and danced leaving a trail of Dreaming along the songlines. Finally at the end of their journey the Ancestral Beings sang 'back into' the earth where they can be seen as land formations, sleeping."     
Semon Deeb, Jinta Desert Art

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« Reply #728 on: October 20, 2007, 03:53:55 AM »

ABORIGINAL ART

Aboriginal art really involves story telling, myths, rituals, sorcery, and magic, where the artist describes their Dreaming, the stories of creation, their beliefs, and their spirituality. The strong relationship between the ancestral beings of the 'time before time', the Dreamtime, with the landscape and every living creature they created forms the basis for this art. The ancestral spirits came to a land devoid of features and created everything -- the rivers, hills, plants, animals, people, and the relationships between people and animals. When finished, they changed into landforms, animals, stars, or other objects. To the Aboriginal people, the past is still alive and will remain so into the future.   
    
Aboriginal rock art is more than 40,000 years old, a time span five times greater than the age of the Egyptian pyramids. Was this transition to creativity due to new capacities for abstract thinking and complex speech or did greater social and economic complexity produce our first information revolution? Recent discoveries suggest that artistic ability did not evolve, but appeared explosively. Rock art gives us descriptive information about social activities, material culture, economy, environmental change, and myth and religion. One problem with obtaining such information is identifying the subject. Is that a tortoise or an echidna in the top photo? The images can also be distorted from reality due to religious beliefs. Is that a real human figure in the third photo or a mythological being? Direct dating of rock art is notoriously difficult. In the Kimberley, Aborigines claim that the oldest art, the Bradshaw paintings, were made by the birds that pecked the rocks until their beaks bled and painted the images with their tail feathers. The ancestral creators can be found on rock walls from the huge mouthless Wandjina figures of the Kimberley east to the giant Gangi Nganang of Keep River National Park to the large creation figures of the Victoria River. In Western Arnhem, Aborigines distinguish between the oldest rock art known as Mimi Art, younger images of the ancestor beings when they entered the landscape, and more recent pictures created by their people. Aborigines maintain that that the Mimi people inhabited the land before the Rainbow Serpent created the Aborigines. The Mimi people painted small dynamic images, taught the Aborigines how to paint, hunt, sing, dance, and talk, and then became spirit beings. Archeologists have placed the many styles in a chronological sequence delineated by environmental changes and historic events. In western Arnhem, archeologists recognize three periods: Pre-Estuarine (drier climate, extinct animals like thylacine), Estuarine (rising sea levels, marine fauna like barramundi and salt water crocodiles, Rainbow Serpent), and Freshwater (freshwater fauna like magpie geese, goose feather adornment). Images of freshwater fauna showing internal anatomy (X-ray style) appeared in the last 3,000 years. More recent pictures record contact with Macassans and later Europeans (e.g., boats, guns). Likewise, there are material changes as boomerangs are replaced by composite spears and broad spearthrowers, which, in turn, are replaced by long spearthrowers. Aboriginal rock art sites are dynamic representing an accumulation of images over thousands of years. This makes it difficult to understand the site in a chronological sense for each generation may repaint and reinterpret the images and, thus, renew the life and spirit of the country. One of the most prolific and well-known Kakadu rock painters was Najombolmi (c.1895-1967), who repainted the famous Anbangbang gallery at Nourlangie Rock in 1964, probably Australia's most famous rock art panel.



Yankee Hat Rock Shelter, Namadgi National Park, ACT (AUS)
Description: 7 m x 2 m freeze with sixty-eight pictures or motifs in red ochre and white clay. Subjects include human-like male and female figures, dingoes chasing a kangaroo, long-necked tortoise or echidna, Bogong moth, koala, and a tall bird (?emu). There are also abstract designs. Date unknown.



Bradshaw Painting, Kimberley, WA (AUS) Description: Bradshaw paintings were first discovered by Joseph Bradshaw in 1891. Many consider that the Bradshaw paintings are the earliest rock art in the Kimberley. They are characterized by dynamic, graceful figures with elaborate headdresses and body ornamentation. Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of quartz grains in a mudwasp nest covering a Bradshaw painting yielded a date of 17,000 BP (Roberts et al., 1997, Nature, 387, 696-699). In October 2003, Richard Roberts presented preliminary findings at a conference at the University of NSW. OSL dates of wasp nests from rock shelters in the northern Kimberley and eastern and western Arnhem yielded dates of at least 34,000 BP. Bradshaw paintings may not be the earliest rock art in the region for the dated motifs include partially infilled hand stencils and X-ray style animals.





Wandjina -- Ancestor Creatures Top: Ingelari Site, Katherine, NT (AUS) Bottom: El Questro Wilderness Park, Kimberley, WA (AUS) Description: Images of Wandjina typically have a large mouthless face with enormous black eyes and a beak-like nose usually surrounded by a band with radiating lines projecting outwards. Before the time of creation, the landscape was flat and featureless. The Wandjina, the ancestral creatures of the Dreamtime, came across the sea, down from the sky, and out of the ground. They created the world and all it contains and laid down the rules governing all aspects of human behavior including the proper way to live on the land. After they were finished, the ancestral spirits went into the landscape or continued their travels.





Dynamic Figures Ubirr, Kakadu National Park, NT (AUS) Description: The thin, stick-like figures and animated stances are typical of the Dynamic Figure tradition. On the top is a more recent Dynamic figure showing a running male carrying hunting gear and a goose feather fan, which is characteristic of the Freshwater Period. On the bottom is an early Dynamic figure depicting an individual with upraised arms typical of mimi paintings.



Thylacine, Ubirr, Kakadu National Park, NT (AUS) Description: This Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) was photographed at the rock art gallery at Ubirr in Kakadu. The Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) became extinct on the mainland about 2,000 years ago, which places a constraint on the minimum age for this painting.



White Man Wearing Derby With Two Pistols Delamere Station, NT (AUS)



Anbangbang Gallery, Nourlangie Rock, Kakadu National Park, NT (AUS) Description: The figure on the upper left is Namandjolg who broke the incest laws by sleeping with his sister on the ledge above these paintings. He later became Ginah, the great salt water crocodile. On the right is Namarrgon, Lightning Man, who wears his lightning as a band connecting his arms, legs, and head. Stone axes on his knees and elbows provide the thunder. Namarrgon and his wife Barrginj (lower left) are parents to Aljurr, the Leichhardt's grasshoppers that appear as the first storms break. Namarrgon, Barrginj, and their children entered the land from the north during a time of rising sea level, rain, and thunderstorm. Namarrgon now lives at Namarrgon Djadjan, Lightning Dreaming, three tall cliffs along the Arnhem escarpment. At the base of the gallery are family groups of men and women. Namandjolg, Namarrgon, and Barrginj were added to the gallery by Najombolmi (Barramundi Charlie) in 1964.

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« Reply #729 on: October 20, 2007, 03:58:10 AM »


Now Two interesting websites for all those monkeys that like to delve into the unknown :


http://www.theozfiles.com/history_australian_ufo_history.html


http://www.mysteriousaustralia.com/Mysterious_Australia_Homepage.html


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« Reply #730 on: October 20, 2007, 09:23:51 AM »

I think the Wollemi pines (all 43 of them!)  are most interesting.  And it was thought by scientists these trees were extinct.  I hope with good care and scientific advances the trees can continue to live and grow.  Thanks Tib Smile
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« Reply #731 on: October 21, 2007, 12:51:43 AM »

I am amazed Tib.  I would love to see a TV special about it since I will probably never see it in person. 
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« Reply #732 on: October 21, 2007, 10:56:38 AM »


Now Two interesting websites for all those monkeys that like to delve into the unknown :


http://www.theozfiles.com/history_australian_ufo_history.html


http://www.mysteriousaustralia.com/Mysterious_Australia_Homepage.html


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Very cool and very interesting...
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« Reply #733 on: October 27, 2007, 01:34:56 AM »

Thank you CJ1 and Muffy Bee.  I have found more information on the Wollemi Pines and they are now becoming available in specialist plant nurseries here and soon to be available in USA.

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« Reply #734 on: October 27, 2007, 01:45:08 AM »

WOLLEMI PINE

Wollemi Pine is believed to exist in only one location which is within 200 km of the heart of Sydney, Australia's largest city. There are less than 40 trees. This makes it one of the rarest plants in the world. It belongs in the plant family Araucariaceae but has distinctive features.  However it has very different features from any known living pine. Its closest relatives are probably the extinct pines which were a dominant feature of the landscape of what is now Australia during the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods - between 200 and 65 million years ago. These pines are known to us only from fossils.

Conifers tend to be dark green but the leaves of Wollemi Pine are a light green - varying from bright lime green on younger foliage to apple green on mature foliage. The leaf structure is extremely complex and unusual. The upper branches of the trees are tipped with bright green female cones and brown, cylindrical, male cones (the trees are bisexual). The trunks of Wollemi Pine have a highly unusual brown, knobby cork-like bark which has led it to being dubbed 'the Coco Pops tree'. Indeed it appears to be a true "living fossil", most closely related to extinct species of Araucariaceae in the fossil record in southern Australia about 50 million years ago.

The family Araucariaceae is an important group in studying the history of our flora. Araucariaceae had a world-wide distribution in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods 200 to 65 million years ago. Since the great extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous period, Araucariaceae have survived only in the southern hemisphere.  The present occurrence suggest a  Gondwanic distribution, linked to the time when Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America and India were all parts of the great supercontinent Gondwana.

Wollemi Pine, is so distinctive that it represents a new genus and must have been an evolutionary line distinct from any other surviving plant group for at least 65 million years. The new plant is related to Araucaria, which includes Australia's Hoop Pine and Bunya Pine and the Norfolk Island Pine, and also to Agathis including the Kauri Pine of New Zealand.  Wollemi Pine is a conifer ('pine') whose nearest living relatives are native pines of Australia and New Zealand: Hoop Pine, Bunya Pine, and Norfolk Island Pine. 

The single known population of Wollemi Pine is in a rainforest gully within Wollemi National Park (487,648 ha). This is the State's largest wilderness area - located West of the Putty Road between Sydney and the Hunter Valley.

The mature plants are between 27 and 35 metres high with trunks up to 1 metre in diameter. However the tree can grow taller: one fallen trunk is 38 metres long.  During the Jurassic Period (208 - 144 million years ago), the continental mass which we call Australia was part of the great supercontinent of Gondwana, together with Africa, South America and India. What is now the east coast of Australia lay close to the South Pole, but worldwide climates were uniformly warm to hot and wet.

From the Cretaceous Period (144 - 66.4 million years ago) modern flowering plants began to evolve and gradually displace the conifers in the Southern Hemisphere. Because of the extreme danger to the plant from illegal seed collecting, the location of the population is being kept secret.



Close up of foliage



Male Cone

Wollemia nobilis is a tree conifer in the plant family Araucariaceae with its closest relatives being the Kauri, Norfolk Island, Hoop, Bunya and Monkey Puzzle pines. The discovery of the Wollemi Pine in 1994 created great excitement amongst the botanical world as it was presumed to have been extinct, only known to botanists through its appearance in fossils dating back 91 million years and then disappearing around two million years ago.

Wollemi Pines are restricted to approximately 40 adult and 200 juvenile Wollemi Pines growing in the Wollemi National Park of New South Wales, 200 km north-west of Sydney. The rare nature of the Wollemi Pine has seen it listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Federal). The two sites that the trees grow in are located between altitudes of 670 - 780 m in a deep, shaded sandstone gorge.

The Wollemi Pine is a tree, which can grow up to 40 m in the wild with a trunk diameter reaching up to one meter. The bark of the tree is bubbly in appearance, chocolate brown colour in colour. It is monoecious, meaning that each plant has both male and female sexual reproductive cones. These cones appear at the end of branches, the female cone always growing above a male. The Wollemi Pine has two types of branches, one that grows upright looking like a trunk arising in most cases from the base of the tree, and another that grows laterally and bears sessile leaves. One amazing characteristic of the Wollemi Pine is that of every plant growing in the wild has the exact same DNA, making the species even more special.

The cultivation of the Wollemi Pine is similar to other conifer species. Plants can be grown from seed or struck from tip cuttings. If growing plants from cuttings then a strong breeding hormone is recommended (5,000-10,000 gms/litre) to promote root growth. Striking plants can be placed in cells or tube pots filled with river sand. Most plants will take six months to strike but this is variable depending on type of stock plant, season, and growing environment. Once the plant has struck, pot it in a standard conifer mix (70-80% pine bark; 20% river sand) and water it in accordance to the time of year. An interesting note about striking the Wollemi Pine is that cuttings taken from the top of the tree will produce a vertical growing plant, whilst cuttings taken from the bottom of the tree will produce horizontal growth.

Wollemi Pines can be grown outdoors in most climates of Australia. Given the size of adult trees it is not recommended for small yards unless it is grown in a pot. In the first couple of years it should be grown in half shade however after this time period it can be grown in full sunlight. Sandy soil with good drainage is recommended. Be wary of waterlogged soil, either through over watering or poor drainage. Watering should be increased in the summer months especially when the tree breaks (opens it new leaves) around November-December, although this may vary depending on your location in Australia. The Wollemi Pine can handle frosty conditions and in the wild occasionally has to cope with snowfalls. The tree can be fertilized once a year with any general fertilizer such as Aquasol. Fungal infection can occur, especially Phytophthora, this is more likely when grown in a pot.

Derivation of the name:

Wollemia – This is the Latin form of the word Wollemi, the name of the National Park in New South Wales where the trees are found.
nobilis – The species epithet is a tribute to David Noble who discovered the first stand of Wollemi Pines on an abseiling trip in 1994.

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« Reply #735 on: October 27, 2007, 01:52:46 AM »


Two excellent websites to read more about Wollemi Pines :

http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

On menu at top of site go to : Science then to : Hot science topics

This site also takes you to other information about our Botanical Gardens in Australia and should interest most plant and flower lovers.
   


http://www.wollemipine.com/

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« Reply #736 on: October 27, 2007, 10:37:56 AM »

Thank you for more info about the pines, Tib.  I think they are very, very cool.   thumright
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« Reply #737 on: November 03, 2007, 02:05:38 AM »

MELBOURNE CUP

Melbourne Cup Day is Australia's most famous Tuesday. At 3.00 pm AEST, on the first Tuesday in November, Australians everywhere stop for one of the world's most famous horse races - the Melbourne Cup.

It's a day when the nation stops whatever it's doing to listen to the race call, or watch the race on TV. Even those who don't usually bet, try their luck with a small wager or entry into a 'sweep' - a lottery in which each ticket-holder is matched with a randomly drawn horse.

Since 1877, Cup Day has been a public holiday for Melbourne, and crowds have flocked to the track. By 11.00 am on the first holiday, the Flemington grandstand was packed to its 7,000 capacity, and by 3.00 pm, 150,000 people were estimated to have gathered - thronging the hill beyond. The party atmosphere often means that champagne and canapés, huge hats and racetrack fashions overshadow the business of horse racing.



American writer Mark Twain said of a visit to the Melbourne Cup in 1895:
Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me.

Fashions and race culture

The Melbourne Cup has long been known as an urban fashion parade. The race track was one of the few places in colonial Australia where high society and the lower classes came together socially. The first Australian race meet, held in 1810, established the culture of the Melbourne Cup and was organised in Sydney by Governor Macquarie as part of a plan to improve the cultural life of Sydney.

The racecourse was designed as a neutral meeting place for colonists of all classes - military officers, convicts and free settlers. The Subscriber's Ball, organised with the 1810 race meeting, was attended by 'all the Beauty & Fashion of the Colony' (Sydney Gazette, October 1810).

At Flemington, from the 1880s onwards, the crowds transformed the race meetings into a fashion spectacular. During the 19th and early 20th century... while the wealthy dressed in their finery and rode in carriages out to the racecourse, ordinary working people (including milliners, dressmakers, tailors and bootmakers) made the expedition on foot to see their handiwork on display.

With waning crowd attendances in the 1960s, the Victoria Racing Club Committee held the first Fashions on the Field competition at Flemington in 1962 to encourage female racegoers back to the races. The cut of frock which has had most influence on Australian fashion was the mini skirt worn by English model Jean Shrimpton at Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on 30 October 1965.

Prizes, sweeps, bookies and the 'tote'

The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 at Flemington Race Course and was won by Archer, a horse from Nowra, New South Wales, beating the local favourite, Mormon. The prize was a gold watch and £170. Dismissed by the bookies, Archer took a lot of money away from Melbourne, 'refuelling interstate rivalry' and adding to the excitement of the Cup.

In the late 1880s and 1890s, Carbine dominated the racing scene, and carried the greatest winning weight ever in a Melbourne Cup. For over a century, only two horses had won the Melbourne Cup twice: Archer (1861, 1862) and Peter Pan (1932, 1934). However, Makybe Diva won three Melbourne Cups between 2003 and 2005.

Even through wars and depression, the Melbourne Cup racing carnival has been one of the stayers of Australian cultural experience. Australia is one of the few countries where bookmakers are allowed to operate on course offering starting prizes (SP). This was legalised in 1882 and 1896 in an attempt to stamp out off-course SP 'bookies' who paid out on prices being quoted on the racecourse. Before the telephone, on-course prices were signalled with flags.

This legislation did not stop SP bookmaking off-course. It is said that every second Australian household in the 1880s and early 1900s, on every Saturday afternoon, the average punter went to a local pub, corner grocer, barber or milkman and placed a bet with their SP bookie. From 1916, the bookies competed against a 'totaliser' machine, known as the 'tote', invented by George Julius, an engineer working in Western Australia. The machine calculated changing odds and the paying of dividends to winning punters. As the world's first automatic totaliser, Julius's company designed and supplied racecourse betting equipment throughout the world.

The spirit of the Melbourne Cup was captured in a series of Australian Women's Weekly covers during the 1940s and 1950s by staff cartoonist, William Edwin Pidgeon (1909 - 1981) known as 'Wep'. The 1950 illustration shows office workers crowded around a radio to hear the race call. In 1953, a family is seen making their 'sweep' draw in their loungeroom, and in 1959 the innovation of television was illustrated.



Phar Lap

Phar Lap is perhaps Australia's most famous racehorse, combining stamina and speed. Foaled in New Zealand in 1926 by Night Raid out of Entreaty he grew to 17 hands. Over his career he won more than £65,000 in prize money and won 37 of his 51 starts. From September 1929 he was the favourite in all but one of his races. Phar Lap became the darling of Australian race crowds during the Great Depression of the 1930s - winning all four days of the 1930 Flemington Spring Carnival including the Melbourne Cup carrying 62.5 kg.

Phar Lap is the only horse to have started favourite in three successive Melbourne Cups. He came third in 1929, won the race in 1930 and ran eighth in 1931.  The jockey who rode Phar Lap to victory in 1930 was Jimmy Pike. Pike was born in New South Wales in 1892 and did his apprenticeship in South Australia. He is best known for his partnership with Phar Lap on whom he won 27 races from 30 rides. Pike also won two Caulfield Cups, six VRC Derbies (four of these in a row) and two Cox Plates, and was so renowned as a jockey that even to this day, racing experts and punters often say of a jockey that he 'rode it like J. Pike'.

In 1932 Phar Lap was sent to Mexico for the Agua Caliente Handicap, the world's richest race at the time. Sixteen days later he died in San Francisco in suspicious circumstances, some believing he was poisoned. The opinion of the University of Sydney's School of Veterinary Science in 1932 was that he died of colic of unknown causes. The debate about how Phar Lap died continues today. In 2006, a report by the Australian Synchotron Research Program stated 'arsenic in the horse's hair structure was consistent with a large, single dose of arsenic'.

After his death, his bones were donated to Dominion Museum in New Zealand (now the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), his hide was mounted and put on display at the Museum of Victoria, and Phar Lap's big heart resides at the National Museum of Australia. Phar Lap's heart was remarkable for its size, weighing about 6.2 kg, compared with a normal horse's heart at 3.2 kg. Since then, the phrase 'Has the heart of Phar Lap' as a way of describing what it was to be Australian and proud, has become part of Australian slang.



Makybe Diva

In 2005, Makybe Diva made history by being the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times, winning consecutive races in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Jockey Glen Boss rode Makybe Diva in all three of her Melbourne Cup wins.

Makybe Diva's trainer, Lee Freedman, says the mare has proved herself to be 'one of the all-time greats ... I don't think the country has seen a better horse in the past 30 or 40 years'. As well as the three Melbourne Cup wins, Makybe Diva won a Sydney Cup, an Australian Cup and the BMW at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney.

In July 2006, Makybe Diva was inducted into the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. In October 2006, a bronze statue of Makybe Diva was unveiled in the South Australian city of Port Lincoln, the home town of her owner Tony Santic.

Trainers

Etienne L de Mestre trained five Melbourne Cup winners between 1861 and 1878, including the first Melbourne Cup winner Archer.

Bart Cummings is known as the 'Melbourne Cup King', as he has trained a record number of Melbourne Cup winners since 1965. Bart has won 11 Melbourne Cups, and in five of those wins he also trained the runners-up.

Lee Freedman, from a well-known racing family, trained the winners of the Melbourne Cups in 1989, 1992 and 1995. Lee also had success at the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and the Golden Slipper.

One of the world's most challenging horse races

The Melbourne Cup is one of the world's most challenging horse races and one of the richest (total prize money for 2005 - $AU5.1 million), and is the highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival.

The race is run over 3,200 metres and is a handicapped race. This means that the better the horse is, the more weight it has to carry in the race. The greatest weight carried to victory in a Melbourne Cup was Carbine, who carried 10 stone, 5 pound (66 kg) in the 1890 Melbourne Cup and was ridden by Bob Ramage. Phar Lap carried a greater weight, but not to victory. Phar Lap, in his last Melbourne Cup campaign in 1931, carried a 10 stone, 10 pound (68 kg) handicap. Even a horse with a heart as big as Phar Lap's couldn't overcome the extra weight, and the race was won by White Nose.

The Cox Plate, a weight-for-age race run late in October at the Moonee Valley race course, also in Melbourne, is considered the race most likely to provide an insight into a horse's form. But even this is unreliable as a predictor of likely Melbourne Cup performance.

The distance and the handicap ensure that the Melbourne Cup is a horse race in which the occasional punter has as good a chance of picking the winner as those who follow the form. It is a day when all Australians are considered to have an equal chance on the turf as well as on the lawn.

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« Reply #738 on: November 03, 2007, 02:10:04 AM »


A good website to find more information about the Melbourne Cup, this years field and the fashions.

http://www.melbournecup.com

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« Reply #739 on: November 03, 2007, 02:17:04 AM »



Monkey friends : I may not have a chance to post for the next three weeks.  We are having interstate visitors from Western Australia (Hi MuminOhio!) on their first trip to Tasmania and we will be occupied showing them around the northern half of our beautiful state.  I will check in as often as possible so please feel free to post any questions etc.

For those who are interested in our state's native timbers, here is a very good site for you to enjoy.

Make sure you check out the gallery and the slideshows of some of our highlights.

http://www.tasmaniantimbers.com.au/index.html

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....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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