Thursday, September 29, 2011


Blackbutt Nature Reserve is a good idea for things to do in the school holidays.  New work is offering more to enjoy there, thanks to Newcastle City Council. 
As well, Fantastic Mr Fox is a show on next week or 4 - 8 October.  Foxes have attitude but wonder why Mr Fox is fantastic?  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011




top: The Chaffey Pump.  This is the original pump installed by the Chaffeys when irrigation was first brought to the Sunraysia district.  The pump is now preserved near the art gallery (Mildura).
From vintage postcards:  In 1887, George and William Chaffey selected land in this barren area of red soil and stunted growth. They were Californians.  However, with the ample waters of the Murray River at hand, abundant sunshine and a dry climate the area, at the corner where the states of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales meet, was to turn from land valued at 2/6 an acre into a fabulous district of patterned greenery with values up to five hundred pounds an acre.
Geogre Chaffey, an engineer, knew the miracles worked by irrigation and saw the possibilities in this area. Nowadays, the Sunraysia district consists of a hundred square miles of properties planted to vines, mixed fruits and vegetable growing.

In 2011, the story unfolds with current debate about suvival of the Murray-Darling rivers, water usage and long-term management.
From Nucolorvue Post Cards.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Wide calm waters of the Murray provide excellent passage way for the paddle steamers.  This scene was taken between Mildura and Merbein. (South-west corner of the state NSW.)
Next, dipping grapes at Irymple. before drying.
Vintage post cards by Nucolorvue

Sunday, September 25, 2011



This is how it was. This bridge near Wentworth is typical of many which span the waters of the Darling or Murray Rivers.
Old postcards from Nucolorvue P/L.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Flannel Flowers growing in the wild.


Our past and our future.  In the background is an extensive new church primary school built in Branxton.  It is very large as this is a growth area probably and kids will be bused in.
Pictured is part of the existing old school which is quite reasonable. Easy come easy go.
 They say gains and losses are only on paper. A few weeks ago, it would have been possible to cover the cost of once in a lifetime indulgences with this weeks write down. Instead I count my blessings!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


School concert making the most of new school hall built recently by economic stimulus activity.  
Assembly halls have sprung up everywhere in the lucky country. Are we appreciative?
The public's response was painfully mirrored on ABC TV ?comedy, At Home With Julia,  (Prime Minister) where she was painted as inept.
Mr Wayne Swan, Federal Treasurer, at her side, also finds himself among a nation of whingers even when he is named Finance Minister of the Year slash World Best Finance Minister for 2011 awarded by Euromoney (sic) with a ceremony in Washington (sic).  
Far too much is made of personalities. Just give us decent government by expert work from appropriate work groups.  



In transit, potential conversations around the water cooler.  How are the office converstations in a Google workplace? Is the water in its original state? According to the Sunday newspaper, Google is voted one of the very best workplaces. Now that's good advertising.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


New retail centre on the other side of the Styx, Tueday evening.  They will have to brave any double dip recession although this country is not bearing the brunt.
This is not Thursday night shopping.  A textile factory was here once.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Just imagine how it is to be a radical.  I'm still the same old self but my ideas are extreme.  Climate change is not happening yet I have been known to mull over the ethics of taking a flight on a holiday whim, considering the hugh amount of fossil fuel that an aircraft burns and exhausts. The act of using a human or a donkey as a beast of burden so as to swan around mountain tops is another question. At least the donkey is not carrying a male bigger than itself. (yes, it is employment, but...)  And isn't Nepal riddled with malnutrition?

Prime Minister Gillard has an uphill battle.  In my books, she can do nothing better than finalise climate change leglislation.  If she has to sacrifice everything and become a martyr to the climate change cause she will be glorious and enjoy the view from the top.

My daughter just loved trecking in Nepal despite the effects of local illnesses, was it the altitude, and she carried her pac.

Monday, September 19, 2011


The tree of life.
 If, say, ten very large fig trees were felled, how much carbon would be released?  In terms of carbon sink, what if a suitable financial penalty became attached to felling a tree? And cost cutting is debated.  There's no time to lose.
After felling, if the timber were put to a noble use to build or furnish, for instance, the new art gallery, then the carbon would remain sequestrated and we could forever admire, feel good and rejoice over the trees that grew in Laman Street.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Many many church goers flocked to this sacred site then later the numbers declined.  Mount St Alphonsus monastery became empty,  pervaded with solitude and changed to a non-denominational wedding venue (according to the signage).
The members of the well know international religious order who built the monastery, came to Singleton in the Hunter as their first port of call in the early days and have recently left the Hunter area possibly for ever.
The large size of the monastery of 1887 makes it unique in Newcastle.
New innovative uses for the building can be imagined if we happened to have a bigger population.
If in doubt, turn it into a wedding venue (or aged care)!  Secular society still likes to hark back to vestiges of a church wedding. Same with Christening - some people like the idea - that's it.  Baptism can become useful with spin offs to do with church schools and the like.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Another corner of the coastal nature reserve.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Dudley Headland south of Newcastle. Suburbs surround a nature reserve. Amazing luck had this sought after land preserved free from McMansion creep.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011




Follow the secret path to a wonderful eyrie and hear the hum of bees, wild flowers, birds and shore break. 

Udder Farm Milk and Milk products, not from the multi-national factory, but from a dairy farmer in Luskintyre, who prepares fresh non-homogenised milk, cream and cheese and supplies corner stores in the Hunter as well as a market at The Entrance. This farmer follows his dream.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There's no place like home, be it ever so humble. By enquiry it was found that some of my relatives once lived in a house just like this one but it was next door and was destroyed in a flood at Branxton and the land is still vacant.
This was the original highway just parallel to the current highway.  The new freeway under construction nudges the back streets of Branxton and the small localities will be freed of some thru traffic soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Solar energy

Sunday, September 11, 2011




Republic of Nauru - south-central Pacific.  In the line up at Sydney International Airport sat the 727 looking rather small compared to the giant airliners. Was this the only way of getting to distant Nauru over the ocean to a dot in the Pacific?
The airline had a reputation for several reasons.  It was known as a low cost means of getting around the central-western Pacific but also had a series of safety and financial woes.
On landing at Nauru everyone disembarked so that the freight that was carried on the rear seats could be unloaded.  The traffic on a road across the landing strip was, naturally, stopped during landing etc.
A stopover revealed a small town with water shortage, some pleasant facilities and a landscape, the landscape? by and large, it was rocky, rough and cratered with stunted vegetation where it had been done over by mining for guano. Is anything made or grown there? Very little.
The Republic of Nauru is the smallest island country, 21 sq kilometers and is one of the phosphate rock islands and described in early days as Pleasant Island. It was occupied by enemy in WW2.
Returning to the flight, which had been to Fiji and back, the next day it continued to Federated States of Micronesia and to Guam.
In the last decade, that leg of the journey ceased when Micronesia  (USA)  imposed restrictions due to safety concerns.  At other times Australian regulators have acted and suspended services and company assts have been repossessed when the Nauru government defaulted.  In 2005 the only aircraft was seized by creditors so the island had been without transport for months. Old stories are told of sudden cancellation of a flight while government officials took over the aircraft for certain flights they had in mind.

The prospect of development of Nauru by Australia as a detention island for refugees may have been very welcome news on the economic front.
Australia really needs to stop handing over its responsibilites to neighbouring states and work in co-operation with them for a suitable, humanitarian approach to refugees.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The wind at play by day on the 'bay'.  Over the sea to the north is the distant edge of Newcastle.  

Book Week characters have transformed the school playground and a fun day is ahead.
As a tradition, Book Week can continue when ebooks become the norm.

Friday, September 09, 2011


A postcard arrived from London.  The correspondent revisited all the classic sights (sigh)  and will be glad to get home again.
Nikki Gemmell has also returned to Australia, for good, she wrote in The Weekend Australian Magazine and is estatic and raves about home after 14 years in England and is over the top. She does echo my thinking:..beauty -  a spiky, prickly, ravishing Australian beauty, not that soft, benigh, European one. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011


A wonderful group of teachers at a school event.  Today, state school teachers went on strike for the day.  Their flexible dress code can't be at issue!

More input on the problem fig trees comes from centuries ago with something for both sides of the debate (while taking liberties with the quote).  The scriptures describe a scene at daybreak on the road outside Bethany.
He (Jesus) was hungry: and, seeing a fig-tree by the road side, he went up to it, and found nothing but leaves on it.  And he said to it, Let no fruit ever grow on thee hereafter; where-upon the fig tree withered away.  His disciples were amazed when they saw it;  How suddenly it has withered away! they said.  Jesus answered them, I promise you, if you have faith, and do not hesitate, you will be able to do more than I have done over the fig-tree; if you say to this mountain, Remove, and be cast into the sea, it will come about.   If you will only believe, every gift you ask for in your prayer will be granted.  (Matthew 21 Knox translation 1945)
On hearing a visiting scholar I delved into the scriptures despite my limited knowledge.  Like Knox,  the visitor,  Fr Nicholas King SJ,  is an Englishman, an elder scholar, Oxford lecturer, translator and witty speaker who will be in Hamilton on Sunday 11 September, with, no doubt, fine commentary and delightful in-depth music to illuminate the Psalms. An hour or two of esoteric contrast to an otherwise grim anniversary.
 I understand the above quote is parable-talk. One explaination refers to this strange, almost unbelievable action of Jesus (the only time he worked a miracle not from kindness of heart) as really a parable in action...the withered tree marks an unforgettable impression and is metaphor for those who didn't get it and bore no fruit or right reponse to the new insights


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Trees above Civic park where visitors thought they were seeing the trees for the last time, or is it the second last time, before they are cut down.  People looking like figures on a project design sketch, bright sun that washed out the colour of the flowers, a policewoman and security guard off camera and security fence that is difficult to see, all go to make up the scene.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Follow the red arrow!

Sunday, September 04, 2011



There are more free activities than you can 'poke a stick at' in Speers Point Variety playground which was given a workout by loads of picnicing families today, Father's Day.
All children with different needs and abilities can participate and make use of accessibility features.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


We're full of contradictions.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Giant Barcodes. Lines of Seating at the baths. 
We have multi-tasking and now role of check-out chick is added to our list. A while ago DIY scanning at the supermarket finally reached Newcastle. An assistant is assigned to ease the process and today, the assistant was run off her feet because of multiple little failures in the system and she fumed about technical issues beyond her control.
Don't accidentally bump any sensitive spots on the console because the response is rapid and means another plea for some slight of hand to reset the works.
Scanning rage is recorded and I heard about a beginner who was charged for thumping the machine and went to court but there were no consequences.
With time the task becomes easier but still there are hitches whether it's the scales need zeroing, unnecessary signature is requested, cash transaction failure, debit card use goes ratty but a smooth run is stress free.  Woolworths reliability is better than Coles but there's not much in it and Coles provide more space to work on.