Bucko and Selma Janet are now in:

My photo
Dee Why, NSW, Australia
We are back home in Dee Why and I am studying at TAFE.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back Home Again

Well, it has been along time between drinks - so to speak. Bucko and I arrived back in Sydney, around Easter, after spending 3 months in Adelaide. 

The reason we were in Adelaide so long, was to let my right leg heal from an accident I had in Esperance, WA.  I was walking down a gangplank from a boat to a jetty on Woddy Island. The sea was very rough that day, and suddenly the gangway started to rock, roll and buck around. Next thing I knew I was sliding through the side of the railings and the (by now), broken gangway came crashing down onto my leg. I was not able to walk, and the skipper of the boat came along with a wheel chair and pushed me up to the cafe on the island. To cut a long story short, the upshot was, I had no broken skin or bones, but, coming across the Nullabor, my leg started to turn black!! On arriving at Ceduna, we went straight to the hospital and had the leg looked at. Turns out, I had a touch of gangrene in my leg, and I woudl need to be VERY careful for the next few months to make sure the leg healed. So, we stayed in Adeliade, which was no problem for us, we love the place and would like to live there.

Anyway, this is just a short posting to say, I will be back to finish our Blog,  Too many tales an photos to share with all of you, not to finish the story of our wonderful trip Along The Wallaby track.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Darwin City Sights, NT (13 - 29 August, 2010)

The Darwin Museum and Cyclone Tracey Exhibit. A darkened room with the sound of the cyclone playing over a speaker lead us into the exhibit on Cyclone Tracey. The recording was made by a minister of religion when he was hiding under his house as the cyclone raged around him. Leaving the room there is a mock up of a house with pieces of timber, steel etc stuck in the walls, like it was on the day. Eye witness accounts made by folk who had lived through the terror of that day, could be listened to by pressing a button. The city of Darwin looked like an Atomic Bomb had hit it; there was no where to live and no-one could go about their daily life as they did before the cyclone. The government sent in the Army and Police from many of the other States, to help evacuate the city, leaving only these services people and approximately 10,000 others to clean-up and sort out the mess. Around Thirty Thousand plus people were evacuated in a matter of days. After the cleanup and rebuilding, new building regulations were introduced to try and avoid such destruction in the future. An interesting fact from the NT Government site, "Earlier in December 1974 Cyclone Selma had hovered around Darwin before changing course and disappearing." I always thought I was bit of a cyclone - at times!
For more very interesting information follow the  link: http://ntlapp.nt.gov.au/tracy/basic/Tracy.html

Parliament House The design of the Darwin Parliament house is unusual and it has been specially designed for the tropical heat, storms and cyclones. The day we went on our tour, there was a test being conducted on the non-use of the air conditioning. Oh, no, was my first thought; however, I need not have been concerned. The building has been so well designed, even when we went into the upstairs public viewing rooms it was not hot, or even uncomfortable.
For more information follow the link: http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parlhouse/features.shtml


Government House is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory, surviving both World War 2 bombing raids and Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Used a residence for the NT Administrator and lucky for us, there was an open day while we were in town, these open days are not very frequent, so, Tanya, Paul and myself took ourselves off to see how the other half live; at the taxpayers expense. The house is gorgeous, high ceilings, huge wide stone paved verandas, with shutters to help reduce the heat and shelter from the tropical storms during the wet season. The gardens are crammed full of stunning tropical plants; I went crazy with my camera, so many plants so little time!
For more information follow the link: http://www.nt.gov.au/administrator/house.shtml

Botanic Gardens The day we visited the gardens was VERY hot, (some of you may say that is normal for Darwin), so we did not 'do' the whole grounds. Many gorgeous and colourful tropical plants are everywhere, however, the item that really took my fancy was the Cannonball Tree, which is from South Africa. The seed pods are the size of cannonballs, hence the name of the tree, and the flowers are very pretty, in shades of pale pink and cream.
For more information follow the link: http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/botanic/
Album: Darwin Botanic Gardens

Burnett House, was an historic building we both wanted to see, it has withstood the bombing of Darwin in the 2nd World War, as well as many cyclones, including the BIG one - Cyclone Tracey. An example of the older style of Darwin house, designed by B.C.G. Burnett for the tropics and to capture the breezes. Burnett House was completed in 1939 and allocated to the NT Director of Works. It is the only surviving example of a Type ‘K’ house - an unusual design which incorporated an entrance lobby and lounge/dining room at ground level, and bedrooms above. Many of the homes destroyed in the cyclone were made of Fibrolite and the wind just tore them to shreds. If I lived in the tropics I would like my bedroom to be like this one.
For more information follow the link: http://www.nationaltrustnt.org.au/index.php?/eng/Left-Menu/Register-of-Significant-Places/Burnett-House,-Lot-1099,-Myilly-Point

Enjoy.

Darwin - Litchfield Park, NT (13 - 29 August, 2010)

After leaving Jabiru we drove down the Arnhem Highway to Darwin, the main reason we were going there was to see our finds Chris and Tanya. It was terrific to see them again, and Tanya looked so good, we had dinner with them that night at the bistro in the caravan park.

Saturday, Bucko and I had a few errands to run, the main one being to have the prescription for my glasses filled. I had my eyes tested in Alice Springs and when I was told it would take 10 -14 days (because the script would go to Melbourne); I decided to have them done in Darwin. Ha, ha, not a good idea, this time the script went to Brisbane, and was going to take 10 -14 days again! In the end, it only took 7 days. Now, I can see properly, as well as having two sets for the for the price of one. Our next stop was the very popular Parap Markets, to buy fruit and veg, while there I also bought myself a cool, (in looks and comfort), tied died dress.

While in Darwin we also decide to have the Air Con for the van serviced, it had been working very well in the heat, but, as we knew there would be plenty of long hot days ahead, we wanted to make sure all would be ok.

One of our day trips was to the Litchfield NP, where the Magnetic Termite mounds are and they look nothing like the ones we saw up in Kakadu, these mounds are a greyish colour and are aligned North/South to help keep them cool. A fence surrounds the mounds and we were unable to get close to any of them. However, I am fortunate to have a good camera and I was able to zoom in for the shot below. Notice the ragged top? This is an active termite mound. If the termites have left the nest for some reason, the mound starts to deteriorate. Don't they remind you of a set of tombstones?

Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park, is one of the few falls that have water flowing during the dry season of the Northern territory, a very popular place to go on a stinking hot day.

How about the photos of 'The Lost City', rock formations you would swear had been man-made, and the one on the right looks like a Camel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dingo bites Croc. Jabiru, NT

Ah ha, I bet that got your attention!

One evening I mentioned to Paul that I had not seen the Dingo that strolled through the park each evening, I was feeling deprived! Anyway, we decided to cook our steaks that night on one of the BBQs, a bit of a walk across the park, from our caravan.  While standing around the BBQ and chatting to a fellow camper, we noticed a very healthy looking Dingo amble past us.  I thought I would try communicating with the animal and let out a Dingo like howl. Well, that stopped the dog right in its tracks, it turned round and looked at me for a while, then carried on it's way. 

Later that night, I was sitting at the PC, Bucko was in bed asleep, the outer door of the van  was open, with the screen door closed.  I heard noises outside the door, so opened it up and looked out.  Did I get a fright, a Dingo was moving very calmly away from the door, he was in no hurry, obviously not afraid of humans.  My heart was going pitter, patter, then it went into overdrive, I heard a growl and looked to the left of the open door and there was another Dingo there!!....... I tell you, I closed that door quick smart, my heart was racing,  and my hands were shaking.

When I told Bucko in the morning, he said to "Maybe the dingo was coming looking for his Bitch!!!! and the howl I had let out the night before must have got the dog excited" - ha, ha,  Bucko. 
Later that morning, Bucko noticed teeth marks in his Crocs, obviously the shoe was not to the Dingos liking, so he dropped it, hence the title of this posting - Dingo bites Croc.

Jabiru, Kakadu NP, NT (6 - 12 August, 2010)

Jabiru was built by the Rio Tinto mining company, to house the staff from the Ranger Uranium Mine. The caravan park we stayed at is very pretty, with lots of gorgeous plants all around the grounds. The caravan and tent sites are is set in a circle with a wonderful resort style pool at the centre.  Most other travellers in the park were bunched in close to each other, on the opposite side of the pool to us; I don't know why they did that, as we were told by the reception staff to "find your own spot and then let us know where you are". At least it was quiet where we set up our rig.

Voting at The Border Store
While in Jabiru, Bucko did the cooking on the small hotplate we had set up outside the van; each night a Dingo would stroll through the camp and past

Bucko. I am sure the Dingo was checking out what food was on offer; more on that in a later Blog see 'Dingo bites Croc'.

The 2010 Australian Election was held while we were in Jabiru, so Bucko took the opportunity to cast his vote at the Border Store at Ubirr (the border between NT and Arnhem Land), along with locals and other travellers, in total 12 people cast their vote that morning.  I am not an Australian citizen, so I did not vote. For more photos, click on Album: Voting at The Border Store

Arnhem Land was always going to be a highlight of our trip to Kakadu, and it was. The countryside is virtually untouched by mankind (white fellas, I mean) and the areas we were privileged to see, felt like God had just finished creating the Billabong, trees, rocks etc, the beauty of it all took our breath away. Our bus driver and guide for the day was an Aboriginal man, who was born in Roper River, (not too far from Kakadu), and even though he was not a person of the Arnhem Land clan he was able to tell us of the  cultural and historic stories. Bucko (and others), took a 15 minute clamber over rocks etc, in the stifling heat, to see rock art; while I sat in the air conditioned bus, along with other ladies.  I missed out on seeing with my own eyes the following wonderful drawing, but,at least we have a picture of it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ubirr Rock Art, Kakadu NP, NT (12 August, 2010)

Our visit to see the rock art at Ubirr was one of the many wonderful highlights of the days we spent in Kakadu National Park.  The day was not too hot which was good because there was a fair bit of walking and rock clambering to do to see the various places where the drawings were.  I have only included a few of the many photos that we took, there are SO many paintings to see.  Why not do yourselves a favour and come out to visit them one day. 
Some of the paintings look very fresh and they are. Over the years many of the drawings have been painted over by people, long gone from this world; in fact the actual indigenous clan who were the owners of the land around Ubirr, no longer exist. To ensure the spirits are kept happy, some of the paintings have been refreshed by a member of a clan from a neighbouring tribe.  Thirty to Forty years ago this person was given permission by his elders to refresh the paintings.  Only the very important drawings have been given a 'new' coat of paint, in the traditional way of course. It is not hard at all to see the faint outlines, colours and shapes of other drawings underneath the more vibrant top paintings.  
Ubirr Photos

Friday, November 5, 2010

Boys and Crocs at Cahills Crossing, NT (10 August, 2010)

Cahills Crossing is a causeway across the East Alligator River, and the way into Arnhem Land, from Kakadu National Park. The river is tidal up to the crossing and freshwater on the other side. At high tide Crocodiles mill around, waiting to cross over to the opposite side they are on. When we went to see the crossing, there were approximately 30-35 crocs, most of them huge and few younger ones. People were standing on the rocks and fishing while the crocs were cruising around, fishing was certainly not on our agenda that day!

There was a queue of vehicles on both sides of the crossing, waiting for an opportunity to cross the river; many of the 4 wheel drives which had raised suspension were able to push through the water with ease. Next thing we know, an older model sedan was coming over from Arnhem Land, it stopped about 3/4 of the way across and two young men got out! Gasps of horror filled the air! A partly submerged tree branch had blocked the way of the car, so, of course it had to be removed. Don't worry about the crocs, the driver of the car was the look-out. Don't worry the submerged crocs might jump out and grab someone!!
After much struggling, and many raised and excited voices, the log was freed. The car was moved to shallower water, the doors opened, water rushed out. Everyone on the viewing platform and rocks gave a huge cheer, along with wolf whistles and claps, we were rewarded with two beautiful bright white smiles and a bow before the young men jumped into the car and drove off.  To view more photos, just click on the Cahills Crossing album Link below.



Boys at Cahill Crossing
 Album: Cahills Crossing

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Her Tribe Has Vanished - a poem

Following is a poem which is written on a wall hanging in the old Durack Homestead, at Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, in the Kimberley region of WA. I don't know who wrote it, but Paul & I feel the same about the poem; we feel it speaks volumes about the many Aboriginal people of this land, who have 'vanished'.
Her tribe has vanished' her daughters & sons
all her people are under the sand
nothing to prove that she'd ever lived
but the faint outline of a stencilled hand
in earth red ochre or charcoal line
so may caves with the same mute sign
trace the shape with a pensive finger
why do I linger?
an ancient sadness chills this place
that's why I stop & pause
dark sister without name or face
I place my hand on yours
the long unmeasured years between us
too late - too late for meeting
but in the quiet forsaken cave
hand touch in greeting.
END
"I touch my hand to yours, as well, my long departed Sister" - Selma Janet 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cooinda, Kakadu National Park, NT (2 - 5 August, 2010)

Leaving Mataranka, we were excited, at last we were on our way to Kakadu. On the road to Cooinda we saw our first Termite Mounds, this one was actually the biggest one we saw while in Kakadu.  2010_08_04_0324
2010_08_04_0317
We arrived at the Cooinda Caravan Park  in the Kakadu National Park and settled in for the next 4 nights.

The next day we booked into the Yellow Water Billabong Cruise on a tributary of the South Alligator River. Weird isn't it, there are no Alligators in Australia, only Crocodiles, yet, the main rivers in Kakadu are named the South, East and West Alligator Rivers !! 

2010_08_03_0047

Before going on the cruise we visited the Aboriginal Cultural Centre near the caravan park.  I met a lady who was teaching people to make bracelets out of Pandanus leaves, so, I joined the group.  Lily, the name of the Aboriginal lady who was teaching us, would go out each day to pick the leaves, then bring them back to the Cultural Centre in preparation for the class of the day; which could be making bracelets or weaving baskets.  There are three main colours used , yellow from the Kapok Tree root, brown from the bark of a tree, and cream, which is the colour the pandanus leaves go once they are boiled and dried in the sun. The leaves are stripped of the serrated edge, then separated in two parts, so the whole leaf ends up in two whole parts; the parts are duplicates of each other.  Small strips are made out of separated leaves. The leaves are then  placed into a pot of boiling water, which had had the required colouring agent (bark or tree root) added to it and left to simmer. Once the  leaves have reached the desired colour, they are removed from the pot and hung until the water has stopped dripping out of them. It is to easier to weave the leaves if they are still  moist, so they are then placed in a plastic bag to keep them supple; if they start to dry out, a spray of water is all the is needed to restore the suppleness.  My bracelet was ok, but, nowhere near as good as Lily's. 
The cruise is actually on the Yellow Water Billabong,which is at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River. The river system, which is the largest in Kakadu, contains extensive wetlands that include river channels, floodplains and backwater swamps. About one third of Australia's bird species are represented in Kakadu National Park, with at least 60 species found in the wetlands. Crocodiles and wetland birds were out in force when we went on the cruises; the morning (9am) and Sunset cruise, and as there was a special on the cost of cruises; "take a sunrise or sunset cruise, and it will cost only $10 extra, in lieu of the normal $82."   Both cruises were wonderful, and although there was plenty of water, birds ad crocodiles to see, both of us would like to return to Kakadu just after the Wet Season to see the park in it's real glory.  I have attached  a few of the many photos that we took while on the cruise. - Enjoy.
  Black Bird 2010_08_03_0247 2010_08_03_0227Egret-1

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mataranka, NT (29 July - 1 August, 2010)

Mataranka is the setting for the book by Mrs Aeneas Gunn (Jennie Gunn) of 'We of The Never Never'.  Mataranka is known for the many hot springs in the area, and as the weather was starting to heat up the further North we travelled, we had no intention of dipping into the pools; it was all far too hot for us!  The small town of Mataranka, is like many country towns in the outback, I wonder how they survive; it is truly a hard life in this big brown land.
Cliff and riverA trip on a cruise boat in the Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), visiting the old Cemetery of the now non-existent Elsey Station, (from We of the Never, Never  fame), and a visit to the caves at Cutti Cutti were the main items on our agenda.      
Our stay in Mataranka was for 4 nights, before we left for Cooinda in the Kakadu National Park.

Ref: Elsey Station

The Devils Marbles

While at Wycliffe Well, we drove out to see The Devil's Marbles, only 10 minutes away from the caravan park.   The Devils Marbles are 393 km north of Alice Springs and 760 km south of Katherine. In other words, in the middle of nowhere. Guide books and brochures about the Australian Outback feature a picture of the Marbles, or rather, of two of the marbles.... most travellers are not aware there are more than two marbles!  The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is 1802 hectares in size, and that there are lots of marbles here.

In the Aboriginal mythology the Devils Marbles are the eggs of the rainbow serpent, and many "dreamtime" stories and traditions of the Warumungu, Kaytetye and Alyawarre Aboriginal people are linked with this area. It has a deep spiritual meaning for both men and women (Aboriginal cultural sites are often specifically for either men or women.)  The traditional Aboriginal owners of the area regard the marbles as having extraordinary powers. Damage to them can have life threatening consequences for their custodians.
Imagine their distress when in 1953 an eight tonne rock was taken from the area to be placed on John Flynn's grave in Alice Springs (the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor service).  A similar thing happened in 1980, when a rock from the Devils Pebbles (a similar area north of Tennant Creek), was removed without consulting the traditional owners.
The pebble was returned in 1981, but only after 15 months of painful controversy and the tragic death of an Aboriginal elder. The marble from Flynn's grave was eventually returned, too, and replaced with another rock, identified by and taken with the permission of the Alice Springs Arrernte people. But it took until 1998 for that to happen...Even today very few white Australian people understand the distress that the desecration of sacred sites can cause...
Ref: Outback Australia Travel Guide

Wycliffe Well, NT (26 - 27 July, 2010)

We finally left Alice Springs after  36 days, including our trip to Yulara. While in Alice, Bucko returned to Sydney for a few days to see his children before Kellie took off to the UK to work, Ben and Rosemary left for a 3mth tour of Europe and Josh attended a wedding in the USA.  It rained the whole time Paul was away, I was happy and snug in our we van and though settled down to do a bit of reading and relaxing.   
A special caravan park (on the way up to Mataranka, our next stop), is Wycliffe Well.  Special for what, you may ask, well for being the UFO Centre of Australia. The walls of the Roadhouse dining room are covered in newspaper clippings of supposed sighting.  I was able to find a few Aliens outside the reception area. Wycliffe Well is the closest place to stay to visit the Devils Marbles, and the reason we stayed for three nights.  New owners of the park are spending time, money and effort renovating the place, and have opened up the Dining room out the back of the park. A Chinese chef is in residence, and the food was terrific. Road-trains with clearance lights a blaze could be seen and heard from the park, this did not worry me, I like to hear them in the night, and the trucks look so pretty with the lights on. Hope you like the photos, if you look at them you may see the gremlins have been at work in some of them, or could it have been ALIENS!

Aileron Man, on the road to Wycliffe Well (26 July, 2010)

Aileron, just north of Alice Springs, is the proud owner of a 17-metre high sculpture of an Aboriginal man which sits on a hill overlooking the town. It's based on a traditional man from the local Anmatjere tribe. The huge sculpture was made by Mark Egan (Ted Eagan’s son).  Down near the Art Centre and close by the Aileron Roadhouse, is Aileron man's wife and piccaninny. The sculptures are both anatomically correct, if you get my drift. I have also thrown in a few photos of the stunning cloud formations we saw on the way. The road to Wycliffe Well also crosses the Tropic of Capricorn; I have included photos of the two of us at the marker.

The Big Man, Aileron - By Koala:Bear
Aileron Man


Mags n Me

My sister Mags is 8mths younger than me, and our Mum used to dress us in similar clothes when we were young, often the only difference being the colour of the clothing.  The time we spent together in Alice Springs was terrific, after many years of being apart, we soon got into our own way of communicating again.  The same things would make us laugh and many times one of us would make a comment, which the other would interpret with our own understanding and a grin would appear on our faces.  In keeping with how our Mum dressed us in similar clothes, Mags and I had our picture taken by Bucko. Here is is. Thanks for such a great holiday Mags.  Love you heaps.

Selma Janet and Mags - The Purple Twins


Friday, October 8, 2010

Palm Valley, NT (24 June, 2010)

If any of you have the chance to visit Central Australia, do yourself a big favour and take a trip out to Palm Valley. The valley is a place that time has forgotten, a magnificent piece of God’s handiwork on display. Due to the recent rain in Alice Springs the Finke River had plenty of water in it, and the road to the valley had been closed for a few days. I am glad we were not in our 4WD, I would have been so scared having to cross the rivers, and then trying to make our way up onto the slippery banks. On my last trip, the tour only went as far as walking alongside the river bed and then returning. There is now a ridge top walk, which the three of us did, an easy walk with a few stairs to ease the way now and again. I am glad we decided to start the walk at the beginning of the valley, because, at the other end there is a very steep set of stairs, which we would have had to have climbed if we commenced the walk from there! It was so much easier for us ‘oldies’ to climb down them! The views across to the other side of the ridge and down to the river were spectacular, especially being able to see the Livingstonia Palms from above. These palms are the same type around in the days of the Dinosaurs. By the end of the walk, I was starting to lag a bit, and Mags was also struggling as her bad foot was giving her heaps. By the time we reached the shelter we were well and truly ready for our lunch.