Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Great Hall at the University of Newcastle was open for business at the weekend. Academic and cultural events are seen in this centre opened in 1973 and built as a result of a public appeal. A tapestry adorns the wall and a pipe organ is both ornamental and is a fitting instrument for symbolic rituals.
I entered the hall. What was blazoned across the stage? Keep Watching the Ministry.....that you fulfill it.
Very apt but this line is from the Scriptures.
Had Art, Science and Religion been transformed into a meta-trinity? Packaged into an educational commodity of great potential. The names of subjects crossed my mind. Towards Nirvana and Capital Raising; The Tao of Management, Gender studies and the Papacy; Symbolic Order and Opus Dei; Extatic Levitation and Civil Engineering. I had vaguely heard of the end of history or was it.... the end of knowledge?
I realized the hall was full of chatty folk and children who were eating their packed lunches. No, this was really a church conference using the hall and taking their lunch break.




Sunday, June 28, 2009

Regulations have got tougher so as to protect building workers from accidents.
SafetyLink, at this site: http://www.heightsafety.com, is a local company and a manufacturer of Height Safety Equipment to be seen on ABC TV.
In non-technical general terms, those who work on the top of a building, are now held on the end of a wire, attached to an 'archor', and the small archors are permanently installed across the roof-tops. This together with a safety fence or scaffolding, with a fence, provide a safer place from which to work.
SafetyLink has made an eyebolt and anchor with outstanding properties and other safety products that lift the standards of quality and safety to new heights.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Both a patent medicine and a long enduring product?
Pasha Bulker memorial.
The word Pasha is an important title used around the areas of Turkey and Egypt. It also appears to be associated with the names Pavel or Paul which, just to be quirky, mean small or humble.

This red work of art has a very narrow beam heave-to behind a commonplace metal barrier, while on port side is a 'no parking' sign and a submerged metal slab forms a very solid obstacle for any sailors on deck without their sea-legs, not that pedestrians need be shelted from all risk, yet the setting could be a little more spacious and see worthy. This ingrate should walk the plank.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Generations of photographers will be drawn to this installation. It will prove to be their thriller.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Early watercolour: Entrance to Newcastle Harbour by Frank McNamara.
Original was in the possession of the then National Art Gallery of NSW.

Almost the same view as the Pasha Bulker went aground in 2007 with rescue of the crew in progress.
Is it possible that the crew and others were put in more danger by the rescue than if they had remained on board until the storm abated?
Pasha Bulker memorial. The dark coloured 'plate' is from the actual ship.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nobbys Waterfront.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

M V Pasha Bulker aground in 2007 and recent intrepretation.
Rudd Gate. Local politics is beset with the Ute-Gate affair.
Vocab: Ute or utility or pick up, vehicle, the front half is like a sedan motor car. Rudd: the Prime Minister.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nobbys Beach.

Today: Sign in a clinic :
DOCTORS
DON'T FORGET!
INTERESTING PATIENT'S

What do they have in mind? Also, misuse of the Apostrophe is not unknown and comment about this is seen in the columns of the Sydney Morning Herald and strange examples make their way into collections.
I'd be the first to admit to my uncertainty about both punctuation and expression but while I am locked in this 'zone of proximal development' (Vygotsky) and in haphazardness, I notice more points now about the written word. I believe the apostrophe is omitted from place names, for example, Nobbys Beach.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ship ahoy and ahull.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Edoardo Piazza, from Europe, was fueling up for the next stage of his own 'Tour de Cairns' shortly before he left rainy Newcastle for Port Stephens and the north. Cairns is a few thousand clicks away in tropical FNQ or Far North Queensland.
He is no novice and has cycled the western coast of South America and a memorable gallery of photos is published on his site here.
Amazing!

Friday, June 19, 2009

CityRail is the environmentally friendly way to go. The sign boards are displayed by a 'flick of a switch'.
The biggest roundabout in town has an old Bunya Pine left growing in the middle.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Hand held camera! Universal health cover is an outstanding benefit that requires stupendous government funding and this prosaic shot is of a Medicare office which covers several federal programs: Medicare rebates, Family Assistance, PBS (a terrific scheme that subsidises medications) and Childhood Immunization register. The citizen still pays part of the cost of any medical service.
However, prevention is better than cure but instead we get totally carried away over high-tech medical intervention.

The food Tahini (from sesame seeds processed to varying degrees) is nice and is a fat that is not high in cholesterol and I notice how our Middle East folk must have long known its benefits and like it in their recipes.
Other pastes from nuts like almonds or peanuts and delicious avocados are alternatives to butter and all help lower the saturated fat intake although fat is essential as the main source of some vitamins and things. The margarine spreads with 'natural plant sterols' that lower cholesterol are other means of changing our fat intake.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not many of these signs remain on the railway stations and this set is at Newcastle station which is on the end of a branch line, the closure of which is under debate.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Horse country. Brown is the new white in fencing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Coolamore Horse Stud. Upper photo.
While I was cruising along, in the early afternoon, on a sunny day, on a country road, past the horse studs, out of Scone, in the Upper Hunter, I noticed a green field where the horses were frisky and a fox was seen running across the field and I watch until it disappeared into the vegetation. What was fox up to? For a citysider it was a rare sighting.
But, I believe the fox is a nuisance and is an unwelcome introduced species. Similar to the troublesome possum in NZ.
My grandmother knew a song:
Oh! the fox he went out one shiny night and prayed for the moon to give him light,
for he had a long way to travel that night, before he returned to his den o,den o, den en o
for he had a long way to travel that night before he returned to his den o....

Shopping by tender for used or recycled goods

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The denouncement of Mister Possum is in the words and music of a rock song, which is not exactly a la Acca Dacca (the band) or not Dame Edna's (the female impersonator-entertainer) possum but is about the cute (Australian) animal that is a real pest in Te Aroha (New Zealand) since its introduction in 1837, for without any natural predators it wrecks havock with their environment.
The strategy is to fly them back to Oz!

Here, rabbit, fox, cat, carp, myna birds and cane toad are our serious introduced pests.

Oh, No Mister Possum by Erin Devlin illustrated by Greg O'Donnell. Penguin Group, New Zealand. 2008. Words, music and CD.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Guerilla photography! Accident ahead on the F3 yesterday.
The dynamics of merging into one lane always creates more trouble then it seems it should.
Luckily, rarely have I been caught in slow moving traffic on the F3 between Sydney and Newcastle. With few exceptions, I have found that the train service is always on time.
Admirable work has painstakingly ground-up the rocky sandstone formations that stood between the roads and allows an extra lane with a neat median strip south of the Hawkesbury. Up to a point, it seems, nothing is too good for the motor car.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We've been plunged into winter today.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

From the master cake maker at Sweet Poison in Market-Town, Newcastle West. Yesterday, poison was mentioned in another context. Sweet Poison appeared on here early May but the best cakes have been left until now.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Yes, that graffiti is a distraction. Here is a Kawasaki KLE 500, an adventurer tourer for town or trail set in the urban tarmac jungle that is Newcastle.
Hey, Mad Men can read a review and one on the MCN site says:
...the original KLE 500 was made from 1991 to 1998 and was then reanimated in 2005 but hard to know why, the new KLE500 is uncomfortable, underpowered, uninspiring and uncommonly greedy...
'One man's meat is another man's poison'.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Laman Street, Newcastle, is lined with large Morton Bay Fig Trees along this portion with the Art Gallery and other heritage. Several of the trees were removed because they were unsafe and eventually all of them will need replacing with other species.

Civic Park is on the left on a lower level and the festival, the Cultural Stomp, was in progress Saturday.

Monday is the Queen's Birthday holiday, one of two or three long weekend holidays each year including Australia Day, two days at Christmas, one at New Year, four days at Easter, and Anzac Day are the holidays enjoyed by many of us; increasingly those in retail and entertainment (and other jobs) often miss out.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Australian Ute. General Motors Holden currently has Australia's best selling cars and remains in business in some degree of independence from the USA, and perhaps our government always supported our car makers.
The Commodore model in the photo has variations on the basic that are all made in this country. One version was exported to the US as a Pontiac but the plug has been pulled on that.

Otherwise, Holden's range of small, medium and large cars and utes are largly derived from overseas probably from Korea and elsewhere.
Strong rivalry traditionally comes from Ford and Toyota was right up there before.

We have only ever owned one Holden, for a while, that we bought off a relative mainly to please them. And, for a while, only one ever Ford, and it was very unwieldy but I'm forgetting the Ford Transit but it was just for a tour.
Below is seen new stock arriving namely a blue Holden Cruze CD, if I'm correct.

Coal mining has spread beyond the Hunter Valley and the population around Gloucester is in protest about planned expansion of mines in their area. Very undignified for little Strathford beside Avon.

Yesterday, State Politicians were reminded of the problem in a protest by the farmers - to no avail.
Other politicians (Federal) are found-out about suspicious actions or have ripped off the system (in England) for which they step down - is that all? - is that as good as it gets? Is that penalty enough?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Passing the Avon River near Stratford, south of Gloucester and to the north of Newcastle on a rainy day.
On another point, while it is nothing new, certain problems on a computer, can be resolved with Systems Restore. At least, XP can be safely returned, by magic, to a date before a disaster occured.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

If you are not pressured for time, or are not tied to the tried and true, or are not worried by a hour or two on a lonely, dirt road without take-aways or cafe latte then the Great North Road is for you.
There you can get in touch with the days of convict work-gangs and early settler-pioneers as you follow this alternative path to Sydney through pleasant contrasting scenery from the Hunter valley via Wollombi, Bucketty, St Albans, Wisemans Ferry, Dural and originally on to Ryde and Five Dock in inner Sydney.

Convicts build the road between 1826 and 1836 and their civil engineering can be seen at various points while a section of special interest is by-passed altogether with access given only to walkers and bicycles (according to the official brochures). It was the path that the early settlers took to reach the Hunter Valley.

Beginning at the village of Wollombi the route south takes in Laguna and Bucketty. (Several turn-offs go to other destinations including a sealed road to Central Mangrove which offers another route to Wisemans Ferry etc).


Above is Murrays Run culvert: The most elaborate of the culverts just beside the road between Wollombi and Bucketty and restored by the local community. Other sites of interest can be found along there.
Near the intersection at Bucketty is Mt McQuoid Bucketty precinct.
Above is a rock cutting with the road surface cut into the bedrock and below, a large culvert with winged walling are among the structures in the precinct which is beside the busy road.
The Great North Road continues, possibly as a dirt road to the South West as St Albans Road, while the other road, typically buzzing with motor bikes, goes to Central Mangrove.

Soon the St Albans Road Ramp is found and forms a section of the road, seen above. Two stone walls up to 4m high and 50m long support the roadway. Over 170 years of continuous use shows the lasting quality of the workmanship.

In this vicinity, somewhere near the Mt Manning intersection and sign, (still north of the Mogo Camp Ground) the Great North Road itself continues south and disappears into the bushland to emerge at Wisemans Ferry.

This special section of the road is extensive and has steep grades and many features of note that can be seen by hikers as it is closed to vehicles (although they have invaded the initial area).

Instead, any car tour will continue south-west on the dirt of the St Albans Road.
Below, the Mogo Camp Ground, off St Albans Road, south of the featured Road Ramp, has basic amenities, camping ground and shade trees.



Above, once-upon-a-time, an intrepid little Renault 4 had no trouble on the dirt. Only very heavy rain would make four wheel drive de rigueur.
Saint Albans Common has a unique feature. Other historical features can be sought out along the way.
From the hilly tree-country a descent is made by interesting narrow winding road to an unusal valley and a lakeside drive.
The small village of St Albans has an old working pub and a rustic beer garden under the trees. The Macdonald River is close by, the valley has narrowed and is crossed by a large wooden bridge which at that time was 'held together' by Bailey bridge sections. The river floods at times.

It seems that one can drive south either on the east or on the west side of the Macdonald River to roll on down to the Hawkesbury River, which is still some distance away, so, one can cross this bridge near the pub for the western side for a pleasant drive to the Hawkesbury which is a wide river and crossed by the additional, up-stream vehicular ferry (which is not far from the Wisemans ferry itself).

From the south, the 'closed' section of the Great North Road can be approached, on foot etc, near the area of the Wisemans Ferry crossing.











An informative, artistic booklet named Explore the Convict Trail Great North Road is from Tourism New South Wales and the RTA and has been used for data and it explains the whole story and refers to more historical features on the Sydney side.