Signs of Spring

A walk in the park

A walk in the park

One of my dog walking tracks takes me through a park behind the houses. The trees are still in winter mode but look can you see small white dots among the branches? Take a closer look…

The buds are swelling

The buds are swelling

At the shopping centre I tie Millie up and go in to do some shopping.

Millie waits patiently

Millie waits patiently

More of the same trees

More of the same trees

Some of these trees have the flowers open. I try to find out what they are but no one seems to know. Can any one identify them for me?

What beautiful delicate flowers

What beautiful delicate flowers

Last week the weather turned warmer, the evening temperatures are no longer below zero and the days are sunny. Over the weekend, unlike Sydney that had torrential rain and storms, we had a gentle steady rain, the first for about 4 weeks. Suddenly spring has sprung and it is still 2 weeks before the official start of spring.

Jonquils

Jonquils

Wattle

Wattle

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Even a lonely iris has appeared

Even a lonely iris has appeared

Six weeks have flown past since we arrived in Canberra. Half way through this house sit. Only six more weeks and we will be heading home to the Goldcoast and there is still so much to see around the region.

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, house sitting, photos, spring | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

A Hundred Forests from the Flames

In January 2003 Canberra  was consumed by a “fire tornado”

(Google images of 2003 bushfires)                                                      

Within 10 hours 4 people died, 490 were injured and over 500 homes destroyed.

A large number of suburbs lost power due to the fires and high winds, many suburbs were also without communications and water.

The following day, on the 19th of January, the Mt Stromlo Observatory was destroyed. The observatory was not only a highly active observatory, it was also historically significant on a national level.

In total the fires burnt 164,000 hectares, which was close to 70% of the Territories total area. (information “Canberra bushfire web page)

These bushfires that ravaged Canberra in 2003 have been the catalyst for the creation of the National Arboretum Canberra envisaged by Walter Burley Griffin so many years ago. It provides an opportunity to conserve threatened species, a place for community recreation and a valuable resource for ongoing education and research.

The goal is to create a place of outstanding beauty, of international standard and interest, that is a destination and recreational resource in its own right. The Arboretum and Gardens is being developed on a 250-hectare site in the Greenhills Forest and boasts spectacular views across Lake Burley Griffin.

Looking toward Lake Burley Griffin

Looking toward Lake Burley Griffin

290ha site originally pine forest

290ha site originally pine forest

This is all that is left of the original 290ha pine forest plantation. The fire was stopped and contained along that line.

The concept was developed to plant 100 forests each forest containing one species of tree. The trees were selected on strict criteria, including rarity, degree of environmental threat to the species, country of origin, temperate sources, whether they are suitable for Canberra’s climate, distinctiveness and diversity. Each forest being approximately 2ha.

Eventually, as the trees grow, it will give a total emersion experience as you will be able to walk along the trails through the forests.

Two large stands of tree were spared when the fire raged through. A Cork Oak plantation from 1917 and a grove of Himalayan Cedars from approximately the same time. to walk through these plantations gives a feeling for what this Arboretum will eventually be like.

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Ardoretum PCsx40 181_4000x3000

Trees showing the marks of were the cork has been harvested.

Entering the Visitors centre

Entering the Visitors centre

But to go back to our visit. It was a glorious day with the feeling of spring in the air. The visitors centre is large and impressive and inside many display cabinets explain the concept and history of the Arboretum.

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Ardoretum PCsx40 003_3000x4000

Banksia cones create hide away places for the children

Banksia cones create hide away places for the children

The Pod is a unique children’s playground and the children were loving it.

Oh what is this...?

Oh what is this…?

Acorns to explore

Acorns to explore

In a building next to the village centre is the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia it is a unique collection of the finest miniature trees and forests.

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The village centre sits on a hill surrounded by celebrity terraces. These will eventually be used to plant individual trees by celebrities.

The village centre sits on a hill surrounded by celebrity terraces. These will eventually be used to plant trees by celebrities.

The village centre

The village centre, the building in front houses the Bonsai collection.

From the top of Dairy Farmers Hill the size of the building is impressive. Also on the Dairy Farmers Hill is this sculpture.

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Look closely and you can see the nest is made of tools and machinery parts. It dominates the horizon.

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In the opposite direction is Black Mountain dominated by Telstra Tower. We visited that iconic feature a short while ago. (Check it out here)

The building on the right is “The Margaret Whitlam Pavilion”  that is used for weddings, concerts and conferences.

It has been a very interesting and enjoyable day, 4 hours have flown by and it is time to head home, but one last point of interest to look at is the Cedar forest.

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Some of the trees have been given a warm, woolly knitted scarf to protect them from the winter blasts.

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Arboretum PCsx40 234_4000x3000

The sun filters through the trees and spreads fingers of silver. Another decade and this Arboretum will be all a forest of maturing trees. Will we get back to see it I wonder?

Jack has done a post about the amazing sculptures, especially the “Wide Brown Land” sculpture that is in my heading. To find out more about it click here.

 

Categories: Arboretum, Australia, Canberra, photos | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

Sculptures in the National Art Gallery Garden.

 

Another impressive building of the architectural Brutalist style is the National Gallery.

The National Gallery building is in the late 20th-century Brutalist style. It is characterised by angular masses and raw concrete surfaces and is surrounded by a series of sculpture gardens planted with Australian native plants and trees.

The geometry of the building is based on a triangle, most obviously manifested for visitors in the coffered ceiling grids and tiles of the principal floor. Madigan said of this device that it was “the intention of the architectural concept to implant into the grammar of the design a sense of freedom so that the building could be submitted to change and variety but would always express its true purpose”. This geometry flows throughout the building, and is reflected in the triangular stair towers, columns and building elements.” (Wikipedia)

National Gallery

National Gallery

The front is softened by a row of gum trees

The front is softened by a row of gum trees

 

An oblong pond with bubbling fountains  sparkles and glistens in the sun

An oblong pond with bubbling fountains sparkles and glistens in the sun

Another sparkling Canberra day so before going inside we go round to explore the sculpture garden.

The Mountain created by Aristide Maillol, purchased 1978

The Mountain created by Aristide Maillol, purchased 1978

It is a magnificent display of sculptures in a setting of beautiful Australian natives on the edge of Lake Burley Griffen. A perfect photo opportunity and we spend a pleasurable hour trying to capture the feeling of tranquillity.

There are signs of spring every where. Nature moves on from winter.

There are signs of spring every where. Nature moves on from winter.

An office worker sits in the sun to have her lunch

An office worker sits in the sun to have her lunch

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A very unusual sculpture, that fascinated me, was the “Fog Sculpture” jets of mist swirling around the Casuarina trees and across a small pond. It was cold, damp and eerie. Then I noticed the heads in the pond.

Fog sculpture

Fog sculpture

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Mt Ainslie PC sx40 076_4000x3000

This sent shivers down my spine.

Time to find the restaurant for lunch.

That looks like people sitting in a restaurant.

That looks like people sitting in a restaurant.

This looks like the way

This looks like the way

Sitting in the sun with the view of the sculpture garden through the windows was a good place to enjoy lunch.

Now to see what is on offer in the gallery.

Unfortunately photographs are not allowed in the gallery, which is a shame as I would love to take photos of the interior of this huge, impressive building. I struggle to find words to describe it. In some ways it feels like an industrial building, the walls soar up to the ceiling and banks of lights, beams and geometric designs dominate the space above your head. It is spacious, the art work is not crowded and can be savoured and appreciated piece by piece. The gallery staff, all smartly dressed in dark suites and ties, stroll round unobtrusively, but when approached with a question are knowledgeable and friendly.

I did see “Blue Poles” the controversial centrepiece of the gallery painted by Jackson Pollock.

“Never had such a picture moved and disturbed the Australian public,” said renowned art historian Patrick McCaughey, one of the experts invited to address the symposium.

At the time Blue Poles was acquired for the Australian National Gallery (now the NGA) the gallery did not even have a building.

Then director James Mollison was determined to build a collection worthy of a national institution.

The gallery did not have the authority to sign off on purchases of over $1 million, so the purchase was referred to the Federal Government, and approved by then prime minister Gough Whitlam.

Going against political advice, he decided that the price paid for the artwork should be made public.

And so, a political ruckus was ignited.

‘$1.3m for dribs and drabs,’ raged one newspaper headline.

‘Barefoot drunks painted our $1 million masterpiece’, read another.” (Stroke of genius : The Blue Poles)

Bought for $1.3 million estimates of its current value range from $20 million to $100 million

I stood in front of it for quite a while and couldn’t really make my mind up about it, especially how much it is worth. I did like the colours, but would I put it on my wall? I don’t think so…

Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles still has the capacity to divide opinion.

In 2 hours we had only seen 2 of the 4 levels but time to head home and take Millie for her walk. We will be back again to see the other levels. 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, National Gallery, photos, Sculpture Garden | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Canberra Lakeside Walk : Joining Jo’s Monday Walk Group

 The night had been -6 degrees but the day dawned sunny and by 10-30 the temperature had climbed to 12 degrees with a crisp, fresh zing in the air . Perfect walking weather.

Lake Burley Griffin beckoned. This large, artificial lake is 11 kilometres long, but we only planned to do a short section from the Exhibition Centre to Blundell’s Cottage.

Exhibition Centre

Exhibition Centre

The Exhibition Centre is perched on a small hill overlooking the Lake and this is where we started our walk. Inside the story and history of this area and the creation of Canberra as the capital city of Australia unfolds in a fascinating display of photos, maps and detailed information going back 20000 years when the Aboriginals roamed this area.

Click on this link to take a virtual tour of the Exhibition Centre. http://www.nationalcapital.gov.au/flash/nce_tour/index.html

Australia's High Court Building.

Australia’s High Court Building on the opposite bank.

National Library Building

National Library Building reflected on the opposite bank

Lake Burley Griffin is Canberra’s centrepiece, it was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River—which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle—was dammed. It is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect who won the competition to design the city of Canberra.[2]  and a significant number of national institutions and national public places are located on or near its shores. (Wikipedia)

The bare branches of Winter

The bare branches of Winter

Look closer...

Look closer…

The trees have lost all their foliage in the grip of winter, but take a closer look and the sweet young buds of spring are starting to swell. Waiting for these frosty days to pass and when the sun warms the air they will burst into blossom and we will have to come again in a few weeks to see them.

We have not gone very far yet, but now we are onto the path that follows the Lake.

The frost has gone by now, but earlier it would 've been treacherous.

The frost has gone by now, but earlier it would ‘ve been treacherous.

Black swans sail majestically by

Black swans sail majestically by

This one came over to see if we had any thing to give it.

This one came over to see if we had any thing to give it.

Biking, walking and running.

Biking, walking and running.

This is a very popular track for all sorts of exercise. We are just sauntering but the keen cyclists and runners whoosh by us.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies.

Griffin designed the lake with many geometric motifs, so that the axes of his design lined up with natural geographical landmarks in the area. However, government authorities changed his original plans and no substantial work was completed before he left Australia in 1920. His scheme remained unfulfilled as the Great Depression and World War II intervened, and it was not until the 1950s that planning resumed. After much political dispute over several proposed variations, excavation work began in 1960 with the energetic backing of Prime Minister Robert Menzies. After the completion of the bridges and dams, the dams were locked in September 1963. However, a drought meant that the target water level was not reached until April 1964. It was formally inaugurated on 17 October 1964. (Wikipedia)

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Blundell's Cottage

Blundell’s Cottage

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Unfortunately the cottage was closed on Mondays. It is open Thursday to Sunday. So we will have to come again on one of those days.

The circular walk right round the lake is 5 kilometres and can take approximately 50 minutes to all day. Well we have been almost 90 minutes on just this short section and lunch is calling, so we will turn round and come back another day to finish the circuit.

We spotted this fellow drying his wings as we walked back

We spotted this fellow drying his wings as we walked back

I hope you have enjoyed this very short walk. Join me again when the spring blossoms are out.

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I have joined Jo’s Monday walkers. They take us for walks all over the world. Join them in a cyberspace ramble.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Jo's Monday walks, Lake Burley Griffin, photos | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Travel Theme : Simplify

To travel is to simplify your life. Depending on how you travel, the necessities of life have to be carried in a case or backpack so it is essential to think carefully about each item that is chosen to be carried. Is it really necessary, can you survive without a hairdryer or a bag full of cosmetics. You can only wear one set of clothes at a time. So how many changes do you need?

Travelling in a small Toyota Hi-ace camper van, our beloved Matilda, for a year made me realize how little is needed, and still be comfortable and happy.

Yesterday we visited the  National Museum of Australia. A large imposing building. I learnt another architectural term this building is a style called “Deconstructivism”

“Deconstructivism in architecture was born in the late 80s of the twentieth century.

Its characteristic feature is the idea of fragmentation. It also manipulates the surface and the cover of the construction. It is dominated by curvilinear shapes, which are supposed to disturb and dislocate the skeleton of the object. The structure of the building has a feeling of controlled chaos and stimulating unpredictability.”

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia

The form of the windows is a work of art

The form of the windows is a work of art

The foyer dwarfs the people.

The foyer dwarfs the people.

But this post is not about the Museum but what I found inside.

We have been twice to the Museum so far and I’m sure we will be visiting it again. There is so much to see and absorb that a quick visit cannot do it justice.

This is what really fascinated me.

Beautifully restored Daimler

Beautifully restored Citroen

Now it wasn’t just that this is a beautifully restored old vehicle but it was the history and story that came with it. The ultimate in simplified travel. This vehicle was the first to travel right round Australia in 1925. Can you even start to imagine that journey. No roads, no regular petrol stations. Not many towns and not to mention the Australian climate. And look how small that car is, certainly not much room for more than the bare essentials. I am in awe of  Nevill Westwood and his achievement

This is the map of his journey

This is the map of his journey

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Canberra National Museum P C 030_4000x3000

 

Canberra National Museum P C 031_4000x3000

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This Museum is all about stories, it is a fascinating place to visit. Here is another adventure travel story.

Historical Malvern Star.

Historical Malvern Star.

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What really amazed me was Ernie’s age when he did the epic journeys. After walking, travelling on a bike is the simplest form of travel.

Ernie Young

Ernie Old

What an achievement at any age. Now there are sealed roads to bike on, back in 1947 many of the roads would be dirt tracks.

I salute these two intrepid pioneers of travel.

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Ailsa of “Where’s my backpack” tells us that “The first week of August is Simplify Your Life week, and it’s always good to be reminded that life doesn’t have to be so complicated.”

I love this idea and Jack and I have simplified our life style over the past few years. Take a look at how other bloggers have interpreted this week’s theme.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, photos, simplify, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Brutalist Architecture : Australia High Court

The High Court of Australia is a monumental, fortress-like building. Love it or hate it, this style of architecture cannot be ignored.

High Court of Australia

High Court of Australia

I had not heard the term “brutalist architecture” before and found this huge building intimidating but, with the high wall of glass windows and glimpses of art work inside, strangely appealing and made me want to take a look inside. I wondered could the public just wander around?

So hesitantly I pushed through the revolving doors.

Entering the foyer

Entering the foyer

Being Sunday no courts were in session but a very helpful Court Guide welcomed us in and told us of the points of interest, and yes we could take photos. The first thing to see was the 10 minute video explaining the history of the building and this is when I found out about “brutalist architecture”

“The High Court building is an outstanding example of late modern Brutalist architecture. It has light-filled, bold geometric shapes and spaces, raw massed concrete, dynamic internal movement, and strong links with neighbouring buildings and landscape. It is monumental and asymmetrical, but also functional.
A national design competition for the building announced in May 1972 was won by the architectural firm of Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Briggs (EMTB).

                      It was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 26 May 1980″  (information from high court website)

Looking down on the foyer from the 3rd floor

Looking down on the foyer from the 3rd floor

Looking up at the bold, geometric shapes

Looking up at the bold, geometric shapes

I thought it was an imposing interior space, huge and majestic, yet inviting.

Comfortable leather lounges invite you to sit and enjoy the view

Comfortable leather lounges invite you to sit and enjoy the view

Ramps and lifts take you up to the next levels

Ramps and lifts take you up to the next levels

Did you notice the art work on the wall as you went up the ramp?

Did you notice the art work on the wall as you went up the ramp?

Information about the art work

Information about the art work

This is a painting by an Aboriginal woman. Reading the caption you can hear her talking and it is a very significant statement about the change from Aboriginal cultural laws to todays justice system.

All the art work through out the building, from the portraits of Chief Justices to State emblems are significant and symbolic.

“The High Court will be a powerful and dominating structure, and must be considered one of the most important buildings in Canberra from all points of view. It is equally important that the art works which contribute towards the visual realisation of what this building means to the people of Australia, should also be of the highest calibre.”
As intended, many of the artworks in the High Court’s collection represent aspects of the economic, social and cultural development of the nation. Some engage with the history, workings and aspirations of the Court.

Images showing regional economic activities

Images showing regional economic activities

Tapestry of the emblems of the States on the wall in the main court room

Tapestry of the emblems of the States on the wall in the main court room

The main court room were the final decisions of points of law are made

The main court room were the final decisions of points of law are made

The public are allowed to sit in and observe the court in action, but, of course, no photos could be taken then.

The Australian coat of arms is prominent on the front glass windows

The Australian coat of arms is prominent on the front glass windows

Sunday was a good day to look through the building but I now want to go back during the week when the courts are in session to see law being enacted. Also on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month a free concert is performed in the foyer and with the towering ceilings I imagine the acoustics will be spectacular.

This is the next concert on August 3rd.  

Canberra Recorder & Early Music Society (CREMS), founded in 1974 is a friendly, non-auditioned group of recorder players from Canberra and the surrounding region. Enjoying playing early and modern music in ensembles and recorder orchestra,

CREMS is led by Barbara Jerjen. In this concert you will hear music of the Renaissance as well as contemporary music arranged for recorder orchestra and played on seven different-sized recorders from the tiny sopranino to the very large contra-bass.

Now that sounds interesting…

 

Categories: aboriginal history, Australia, Australian High Court, Canberra, photos | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

Over View of Canberra…

Telstra Tower

Telstra Tower. (you need to click on this photo to open it)

panorama telstra tower

The best place to see the layout of Canberra is from the viewing platform at the top of the Telstra Tower.

Rearing 195.2 meters on the summit of Black Mountain which is a small mountain of 812 metres. It is not only a landmark and one of Canberra’s most visited tourist destinations but also offers 360 degree panoramic views of Canberra and its surrounding countryside from an indoor observation deck, two outdoor  viewing platforms and the Tower’s revolving restaurant.

Impressive sight

Impressive sight

From below the structure “towers” above us. Thank goodness there is a very fast lift to whisk us to the top. So for the princely sum of $3, concession price, we could see Canberra spread out below.

Open Sesame

Open Sesame

In actual fact, because of the wide-spread bush not a lot of the older suburbs could be seen.

Canberra Panorama

Canberra Panorama with Lake Burley Griffin dominating the landscape.

 

From this elevated view it is very obvious why Canberra is called “the Bush City”.

The site for Canberra was chosen and the nation’s capital was a purpose-built city because no decision could be made whether to choose Sydney or Melbourne as the Capital.

“Following the Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901 and the eventual selection of the Australian Capital Territory to accommodate a capital city in 1908, Surveyor Charles Scrivener was responsible for finding the city’s specific site.[13] Scrivener’s selection was guided by instructions to assess sites from “a scenic standpoint, with a view to securing the picturesque, and with the object of beautification”.[14] Hence from the outset, in accordance with Renaissance English fashion, emphasis was placed on the picturesque, that is utilising the intrinsic beauty of the natural world, and affirmed that the future capital’s landscaping and aesthetics would be just as important as its functionality

“Canberra growth over the first few decades was slow, and Canberra was indeed far more a small country town than a capital before World War II. It was noted for being more trees and fields than houses. Cattle grazing near Parliament House was a common occurrence, something which amazed General Macarthur when he visited Canberra during World War II.” (information from Wikipedia)

Canberra CBD

Canberra CBD the hi-rise buildings rising from a sea of bush.

Parliament House right hand side of photo

Parliament House right hand side of photo

Over to the west the mountain range encircles the Capital

Over to the west the mountain range encircles the Capital

The pink tint of sunset clouds the mountains in mist.

The pink tint of sunset clouds the mountains in mist.

As I look down on Canberra I can imagine all the bureaucrats and pen pushers busily scheming and planning Australia’s future.

There are many places to visit in Canberra, but the beauty of house sitting takes the urgency of seeing every thing as quickly as possible. We can pace ourselves and enjoy and absorb the detail of this fascinating place.  

 

Categories: Australia, Black Mountain, Canberra, photos, Telstra Tower | Tags: , , , , | 39 Comments

Welcome to Cool Climate Canberra

Usually we go north during the Australian winter, following the sun. So this is the first time I have experienced a cold winter for a long time. I had forgotten that raw, tingling feeling inside your nose every time you take a deep breath, the running eyes and numb fingers, but with the help of thermal underwear and warm jacket, scarf and gloves, I am slowly acclimatizing. 

Some mornings, after a frosty -2 deg night, the sun shines, the wind drops and it is a beautiful crisp, Canberra day. On these days it is a pleasure to take Millie, the dog, for her walks.

A walking track runs alongside the house

A walking track runs alongside the house

Notice how well wrapped up I am. I look like a round dumpling…

Our home away from home

Our home away from home

Our home for the next 3 months nestles in a tree and bush filled section, very rustic. Inside it is beautifully warm with underfloor gas heating AND a log fire in the lounge area. To keep us warm in bed there are electric blankets. Not had that indulgence since the days I was milking cows back in New Zealand.

Go Millie...

Go Millie…

Along the centre of the road is a wide tree filled median strip. The piles of mulch have been put there by council workers and it is to be used for mulching the many trees in the area.

Canberra Nature Park

Canberra Nature Park

A 10 minute walk along the median strip and we turn into Canberra Nature Park. A doggie heaven of smells and space to run, other dogs to meet  and trees to check for and then leave doggie messages…

Tree lined streets

Tree lined streets

Canberra is known as the “Bush Capital” and this area has a very rural feel. The beautiful deciduous trees line all the streets and the rustic colours of Autumn still linger on some of the mighty oak trees. I love the wide verges and that there are no front fences hemming the sections in. I found out that it is not allowed, by law, to build a front fence, a hedge is ok and side and back fences are allowed. But the absence of a front fence gives a friendly, neighbourly feel to the suburb.

Another law I totally agree with is that if you own a cat it must have an enclosure and not be allowed to wander, and it must be registered. Now I am not too sure how that law is policed. Do they have a cat ranger who checks your property when you register your cat? Maybe a Canberrian cat owner can let me know.

So with the absence of cats wandering around and lots of trees there are lots of birds.

Evening line up.

Evening line up.

Jack took this photo of his favourite birds, sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs. There are dozens of them turn up each evening, I think one of the neighbours feeds them. Notice the character on the right hanging upside down?

Galahs

Galahs all fluffed up to keep warm

Thank you for the walk...

Thank you for the walk…

So we are back home after our walk. Millie is a Labradoodle and is adorable. I love taking her for walks twice a day and it is a great way to explore the neighbourhood.

I am a day early but I thought this would also be a good post to join in with Jo’s Monday walks.

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, house sitting, Jo's Monday walks, photos | Tags: , , , | 50 Comments

Southern Beauty

The scenery along this south-west coast of Western Australia is spectacular. The Indian Ocean pounds the ruggedly beautiful coastline creating huge swells and the wind whips the tops into a frenzy of spray.

The wild Indian Ocean

The wild Indian Ocean

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Sugarloaf rock

Sugarloaf rock is tucked into a more sheltered bay.

 

Once 30 birds would breed here, now only a few are left.

Once 30 birds would breed here, now only a few are left.

The unusual Grass tree is prolific in this area. The grass tree Xanthorrhoea is a uniquely Australian plant, which epitomises the Australian landscape and is as tough as goats’ knees. It will withstand drought. Bushfires will burn the foliage and blacken the stump, but then it regrows. In fact often a bushfire will encourage flower development.

The grass tree

The grass tree

They were once known as "Black boys" but that is now politically incorrect.

They were once known as “Black boys” but that is now politically incorrect.

This area is renowned for its magnificent forests. The strange-sounding Tingle trees, the mighty Karri and Marri trees tower above as we drive through them. Four years ago we went on the tree-top walk to visit that experience click here.

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The scenery changes as we move inland from the coast. The land becomes farming country, the trees have been cleared and the pasture is the most vivid green. It rivals the scenery of New Zealand.

The long shadows of the golden hour create a magical scene

The long shadows of the golden hour create a magical scene

The wine industry of this area is world-famous and you cannot drive through without seeing the many vineyards. As winter approaches they are changing into the autumn foliage, the grapes have all been harvested and next years vintage is being produced.

The vineyards

The vineyards

This night we will spend in a caravan park at Yallingup and take a last stroll across the road to watch the sunset across the Indian Ocean.

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and the moon rise

and the moon rise

 

 

Categories: Australia, Western Australia | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

The Gathering of the Gnomes

  Never have I seen such an unusual sight.

A huge gathering of gnomes. Yes the common garden gnome, sometimes ridiculed, sometimes loved, but here they all congregated in their thousands.

They have come, one assumes with human assistance, from all over Australia and even from New Zealand and other parts of the world. I noticed Germany, Holland, Canada, Ireland.

They are a magnet for tourists and in summer busloads descend on this tiny corner of the Ferguson Valley,  just down the road from Donnybrook. Glades full of playful, naughty and sentimental Gnomes climbing logs, hanging out in trees, playing cricket, even flying planes! The parking is very limited and surprisingly there is no tourist shop to tempt you to buy memorabilia, not even a toilet… Just the gnomes

These gnomes are waiting on the side of the road to greet you

These gnomes are waiting on the side of the road to greet you, in the background is the small area of parking along the road.

They disappear into the distance, almost a kilometre into the bush.

They disappear into the distance, almost a kilometre into the bush.

They squat on the tree stumps

They squat on the tree stumps

These gnomes have grouped together to form a choir

These gnomes have grouped together to form a choir

Can you spot Jack?

Can you spot Jack?

There he is....

There he is….

So how, and why have all these gnomes congregated here?

It all started in 1995 when the council decided to alter the road and put in a round-about. Next day a gnome appeared in protest to the alterations, no one knew were he came from. As in the legend, it wasn’t long before other gnomes joined in this silent protest. 

Visitors seem to love the opportunity to leave a part of themselves in this idyllic, rural wonderland. I followed along as Emma and Gino searched for a safe place to settle their 2 gnomes into the community.

Gino decides the opposite bank is not so crowded.

Gino decides the opposite bank is not so crowded and will be a good position.

Hesitantly Emma follows, with a helping hand from  Gino's Mother

Hesitantly Emma follows, with a helping hand from Gino’s Mother. The resident gnomes urge them on.

This looks like the perfect spot.

This looks like the perfect spot.

I'm sure it won't be long before they are joined and so the community will grow

I’m sure it won’t be long before they are joined and so the community will grow

And so the legend lives on...

And so the legend lives on…

 

Categories: Australia, Gnomesville, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

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