Lambing Flat

Today it is the cherry capital of Australia.

In 1847 Edward Taylor planted the first cherry tree in the Lambing Flat area.

James White was the first European to lay claim to land in the area in 1826. He had been convicted of horse stealing in Buckinghamshire in the UK in 1812 and transported to Australia in 1813.
He named his cattle station ‘Burrangong’ and claimed 260 square kilometres of land (100 square miles).
In 1860 a group of men, led by Michael Sheedy, were looking for horses on James White’s land and they  camped along a creek in an area called Lambing Flat.
The cook for the group, who was an American, thought the area reminded him of goldfields that he had encountered previously. He washed several spade full of earth and found gold.
The group returned to their homes, which were about 51 km away (32 miles), and a few days Michael Sheedy and six of the group returned to Lambing Flat with equipment to test the area for gold.
They found gold and within a short time there were fifty more people looking for gold, which soon grew to thousands of gold seekers, and many of the new prospectors were Chinese.

Lambing Flat miners’ camp c.1860s. Courtesy State Library of  New South Wales

It is estimated that the goldfields produced 15,000 kgs of gold (470,000 ozt) thanks to the 20,000 miners of which 2000 were Chinese.

In 1861 the Lambing Flat post office was opened and in 1863 it was renamed ‘Young’ in honour of the Governor of NSW Sir John Young, 1861 to 1867.

Sir John Young  1807-1876

In 1889 the town of Young was the first town in Australia to have electric streetlights and electricity connected to homes, which was only ten years after the first electric street light and connection to homes had been switch on in Newcastle England.

Maureen and I decided upon a visit to Young and I followed the signs to the tourist centre, which I usually do when I visit any new town, so it was a surprise to see that it was located in a railway station.

Entrance

The railway station was a lovely looking building and too big to get in to one screen shot in my camera.

The right-hand side of the building and the red bits are train carriages.

Closer look of the rail carriages.

The station was opened in 1885 and closed in December 1989 and is considered historically rare. I must admit that it is a fine well-built solid station that reflects the power of the railways in years gone by.

I wonder when the next train will arrive.

Past times. I am standing on the platform with the station behind me.

Picture by Denisbin https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/

Inside the railway station the various offices have been converted into a welcome area for the tourists with very helpful staff. One of the old waiting rooms is a now a display area for various wines produced in and around Young.

I do like a town that helps me try out their wines – unfortunately I never managed to get close to any vineyard – I should have bought a bottle or two from the railway station.
I wouldn’t mind how late the train was if the station waiting room is like the waiting room in Young. All the wine on display was for sale.

While chatting with the young lady at the tourist desk she suggested a visit to Poppa’s Fudge & Jam Factory, which was a five-minute walk from the railway station.
of course the focus was on cherries, strawberry and cherry jam, cherry Turkish delight, cherry sauce, cherry nougat, they also had Cherry chutney, Chilli Cherry Chutney, cherry topping and so on . . . . I think we bought a few jars of cherry jam as presents because I don’t have a sweet tooth and prefer sour marmalade. Think Easter  Poppa’s Fudge & Jams
If you click on the link, click full screen, less distractions from other adverts.   

Young was interesting, but the town centre was like any other small town centres with shops- interesting for Maureen  . . . .

Farwell to the cherry tree capital

Driving around the Cowra/Young area I can’t help stopping at odd ball places because of the name.

Most of the odd ball places always have a pub, so they can’t be too bad of a place to live. . .

Talking of pubs perhaps the best place to experience a pub would be in the UK at Millthorpe in Derbyshire.

Perhaps the Royal Oak, Millthorpe for a British pint of beer, the pub was built in 1857, from British aspect the pub is quite new.

When I saw the map of NSW and noticed Millthorpe we just had to visit, because when we lived in the UK we were only about 60 km (40 miles) from Millthorpe. 

The two towns have one thing in common – quiet streets.

Must admit I do like the pavement overhang to keep a shopper cool or dry depending on the weather.

The building on the right was built in 1911, old for Australia, but yesterday from a British point of view.

The Grand Western Lodge in Millthorpe Australia, built in 1901.
At first, I thought it was a Masonic Lodge, but have since read that it started life as a hotel-pub. It closed operating as a hotel in 1961.
Because of its historical importance as a fine example of an Edwardian pub it is now listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. 
In 1987 it became a nursing home for people with disabilities. 
In 2013 the residents initiated a class action against the management and in 2016 the action was settled for $4.05 million.
In 2020 I believe the building was sold again and the new owners plan to renovate the place and turn it back in to being a hotel. 

Next stop . . .   

Past Time Towns

Canowindra

During our stay in Cowra we visited other towns and one was Canowindra. On the day we visited it was quiet, but if we had picked April instead of March, we would have experienced an international balloon challenge. The above was copied from the advert for the balloon meet.

It was a lovely day, but the town was quiet, and I was able to stand in the middle of the road without fear of being run over while I fiddled with my camera. The population of the town is just over 2000 people according to the 2016 census, which would account for the lack of traffic.

Finns Building built in 1910

Royal Hotel, perhaps seen better days as a pub, but I was told they still operate as a restaurant.

This pub was built on the site of a previous pub called Robinsons’ Hotel which began life in the 1850’s. The Robinsons’ Hotel became famous in October 1863 when Ben Hall and his bushranger gang (think bandits) took over the hotel for three days.

Ben Hall 1837- 1865

They locked the local policeman in his own cell, none of the local people were hurt and the bushrangers gave the locals beer, blankets and entertainment. When they left, they paid for their time at the hotel and ‘expenses’ to the citizens. The point of the three days was to confirm that Ben Hall and his men could do what they wanted and that the police were unable to stop them.
By 1865 Ben Hall and his gang were classed as outlaws and could be shot on sight.
                        There was a £1000 reward on his head.
              Which is approx. AUD $115,000 or USD $80,000 today.The Old Vic Inn, which is up the road from the Royal Hotel.

Originally built as a weatherboard building in 1865 and was called the Victoria Hotel. In 1908 it was upgraded on the promise of more traffic thanks to the railway arriving in town.

The hotel was closed in 1967 and remodelled as a convalescent home and later became a B&B.
Family butcher building, built in 1913 

As we walked along the street, we could feel the history of the town. There were hardly any other people around, but as we strolled under a canopy a young man ‘befriended’ us – I think he just liked to speak to strangers. 
He started talking and pointing our various places of interest and gave us information as to what happens at various time of the year and the visitors for the balloons. He told us that we were too early to see the hot air balloons but that at that time the town would be full of people.
We reached the end of the street and crossed to walk back to our car along the other side of the road, and the young man bid us goodbye, because he was going to a meeting. It was an interesting encounter that we would not have received in Sydney.

Had to take this photograph because it seemed just right in Canowindra.

Later we visited Forbes, which is a larger country town that Canowindra. It is thought that the town was named after the first chief justice of NSW Sir Francis Forbes in 1861 during a gold rush period.

Forbes Townhall – obviously a rich town when it was built.

 

Forbes Post Office.

Court House built in 1880 – still had the old coat of arms – Australia did not become a federation until 1901.

In the park across the road from the Court House was the war memorial, which listed the wars in which the locals had been involved.
WW one 1914-1918
WW two 1939-1945
Korean war 1950-1953
Malaya 1948-1960
Malaya 1963-1966
Vietnam 1962- 1973
Somalia 1992-1995
East Timor 1999-2013
Iraq 2003 – 2009
Afghanistan 2001-2013 

A fine record of service for a town with a population of about 8,500 in the 2016 census.
During the gold rush there was a tent city located at Forbes with a population of over 30,000 people.

A peaceful picture of the bandstand in the same park as the memorial, with Maureen under the palm tree.

To bring the bushranger story of Ben Hall to a close he was shot dead at Billabong Creek about 20 km (12 miles) outside Forbes in 1865 two days before his 28th birthday. He was buried in Forbes Cemetery.

The statue of Ben Hall outside Forbes’ information centre.

Ben Hall was surprised at his camp site at Billabong Creek. When he woke from sleep, he saw that he was surrounded by eight men (six policemen and two trackers), the police opened fire and shot him over thirty times as he tried to escape.
He was unable to return fire because the first shots from the police severed his gun belt as he attempted to run.  
The picture is a newspaper drawing created shortly after his death. 
If you wish to know more of Ben Hall, I can recommend this book. 

Just for the record I have known Nick for some years, (he lives in Sydney) and I am recommending his book for the quality of his writing and research, not for any other reason. 
He is Scottish by birth, if you are wondering about his name.  

When I drive around the old smaller towns of Australia, I can’t help but think of

Tenterfield Traveller

Parkes

About an hour and a half from Cowra is Parkes, so name after Henry Parkes in 1873 later Sir Henry Parkes.

Sir Henry in the town centre of Parkes.

Parkes is now famous for the radio telescope that is located just outside of the town.

It was built in 1961, but only the basic structure has remained. All of the electronics, control, cabling etc has been updated regularly and the Parkes Radio Telescope is now ten thousand time more sensitive than when it first started in 1961.

The design of the telescope was copied by NASA for the tracking dishes of its Deep Space Network.

The dish and the other moving parts weigh one million kilos (approx 1000 tons). The diameter of the dish is 64 metres (70 yards).

The dish is a receiver it never sends outbound signals – it is a listening unit.

The dish can be tilted to a maximum of 60 degrees, which take five minutes to complete.

The above photo is by David Crosling

Students can control the telescope over the internet.

The telescope is used 85% of the time, which allows time for maintenance – less than 5% is lost due to high winds. If the wind is greater than 35 km / hour (about 22 mph) the dish is pointed straight up. 

During the Apollo 11 mission the Parkes Dish was the prime receiving station and during the Moon walk the Parke’s dish had to contend with wind gusting at over 100 km per hour, and the Director had to give special permission for the dish to operate.
The Dish was involved in further Apollo missions – 12, 14, 15, and 17.  It was called on to help during the Apollo 13 emergency.

This telescope, in partnership with Jodrell Bank (UK) & the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia (US) discovered in 2003, the only known system of two pulsars.
The Parkes telescope has an accuracy of 11 arcseconds, which is about the width of a finger seen at a distance of 150 mtrs (164 yards).
If you are interested in the details of double pulsars – who isn’t? . . . . . 
check out the link below – after reading it a few times I think I grasped a little.
Check if I am correct

The double pulsar is ‘only’ 2000 light years away from us.
One light year is the distance that light will travel, in an Earth year, which is 9.5 trillion km or 5.88 trillion miles, now multiply those figures by 2000 . . . . . 

The various objects in space issue radio waves and it these waves that the Parkes Telescope captures, and using computers the captured radio waves are converted into pictures.   

I copied the above pictures and explanation from the Australian Telescope Fast Facts leaflet.

The radio waves received are so weak by the time they reach Earth they are measured as a hundredth of a million of a million watt.
If you were to use the power in the captured radio wave to heat water, it would take 70,000 years to heat one drop of water one degree Centigrade or 33.8 degree Fahrenheit.   

If you are looking for a light-hearted look at Parkes radio telescope, try a film called ‘The Dish’ with Sam Neill in the lead role.
If you do watch this film be aware that it is entertainment – in real life they did not have a power failure, they did not lose the track of the spacecraft, there were more than four people involved at the time, the Australians & the Americans were not against each other – they had a good working relationship, the PM of Australia did not visit Parkes, but he did visit the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station.

The Prime Minister of Australia

John Gorton, (1911-2002),he was Knighted in 1977,

The PM visited Honeysuckle Creek rather than Parkes on that momentous day in 1969 for a reason that is clear if you click on the link below. 

  First amongst equals

Buzz Aldrin, photographed by Neil Armstrong.

Long Live Absolute World Peace

Cowra is the only place in the world that has a Peace Bell and is not a major city.

In 1951, Chiyoji Nakagawa, who at that time was a council member of the UN Association of Japan visited Paris at his own expense to observe the 6th General Assembly of the United Nations.
He obtained the aid of Benjamin Cohen, who was the Secretary General, so that he could appeal to national representatives and said

“I want to collect coins and medals from people all over the world, going beyond differences in ideas, principles, regions, races, and nationalities, to melt them into one moulded piece to cast a bell as a symbol of the wish for peace and present it to the United Nations headquarters. I want the bell to be tolled for peace.”

Starting with the coins that he collected from the member of the Assembly, he collected coins and medals from sixty countries. He spent the next three years collecting coins and eventually he was able to commission the creation of a bell. When completed the bell had the Japanese writing carved on it that said – “Long live absolute World peace .”

A hand full of sand from the atom bombed area of Hiroshima, sent by a Zen Priest, and another handful of sand from Nagasaki, sent by a Christian girl, travelled with the bell to be buried under the foundation stone of the bell.
The bell is located in the Japanese garden of the United Nations and is rung twice a year – 21st March, which is Earth Day, and 21st September, which is the International Day of Peace.

The original bell located in the UN

The Australian Peace Bell contains coins from 106 UN member countries and is a replica of the bell in the UN. The Australian bell was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for their contribution to world peace and international understanding.

A ceremony is held on World Peace Day – 3rd Tuesday in September.

I do hope we have peace in Ukraine before September!

If you are unable to read the plaque – see below

On 4th August 2014 representatives of eighteen nations rang Australia’s World Peace Bell in solemn commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War one hundred years ago.

‘They sacrificed themselves in the belief that the cause they upheld was the cause of peace’.

John Donne 1572-1631 – he was an English poet.

For Whom the Bell Tolls
by
John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Respect and honour

By 1946 over 500 Japanese had died in Australia. This number included those who died in the breakout of August 1944.

The Japanese who died in attempting to escape were buried in a plot next to the Australian War Cemetery in Cowra. 
The war ended and the RSL (Returned and Services League) of Australia would keep the Australian War Cemetery neat and tidy, and as time went on, they also kept the Japanese cemetery clean and tidy. 

 In the 1950’s the Australian government and the Japanese government became concerned about the Japanese graves.
The Japanese government in 1955 began to collect information about their dead in Australia and considered the possibility of repatriation of the dead back to Japan.
In 1959 it was decided that a Japanese official cemetery should be created and all the Japanese dead in Australia (there were Japanese buried in Darwin) be interned in one location.

In 1962 Cowra was suggested as the location for the Japanese cemetery. The people of Cowra responded in a positive way to the suggestion and the land next to the Australian War Cemetery in Cowra was chosen.
The Japanese Government was given a perpetual lease for this land by the Australian Government.

After all Japanese dead within Australia were transferred to the new cemetery it was officerly opened on the 22nd November 1964.
The design of the cemetery was the work of Shigeru Yura, a Japanese architect who taught at Melbourne University. Check the above photographs for his work.

Each August there is a ceremony held at the Japanese Cemetery – the graves are marked with a plaque that details the life of the interned – name, date of birth, date of death and any other information known about the deceased.   
In 1971 Cowra Tourism Development came up with the idea of a Japanese Garden to celebrate the link between the town and Japan. The Japanese Government agreed to support this idea because it was a way that they could show their appreciation for the respectful treatment of their dead. 

In 1979 The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre opened, and the location of the gardens is the site of where the Japanese PoW camp was located, and where the Breakout took place.  

The garden is five hectares (12.5 acres) and is the largest Japanese garden in the southern hemisphere. It is a ‘must’ to see.

The ducks were not frightened and would walk towards us as if they knew we had food for them . . unfortunately we didn’t. 

We could walk the three kilometres or just under two miles of paths or we could walk on the grass, the garden is a strolling garden for use, not just for photographing.

Bamboo tipping tube – it fills with water and when a certain weight is reached it tips the water out. I think it is called a Shishi Odoshi or deer scarer.

Shishi Odoshi – deer scarer 

Waterfall

Lake

Just a few of the many photographs that I took during our walk. 

and of course Japanese fish in the lake.

The gardens are magnificent, and so relaxing, with places to sit and just admire the view, wherever you looked.  

and a display of bonsai plants – the above from 1987


 This was planted in 1977

We meandered through the cultural area 

The day was a beautiful day with clear blue sky and a warm sun, without being too hot, it was a perfect day for viewing the gardens. We saw a few gardeners working around the garden, they would never be out of work.  

The Cowra Japanese garden is a copy of the original garden built by the first Shogun (Tokugawa Ieyasu) who ruled in 1600.
His castle was in Edo, which in 1868 had a name change to become Tokyo. 

The Cowra Japanese garden was designed by Ken Nakajima, a Japanese garden architect, who received the Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Hirohito in 1986 for promoting Japanese culture worldwide.
Mr Nakajima died in 2000 and his company has passed to his son.    

The garden has six elements of design – mountain, rocks, mountain waterfalls, mountain lakes, rivers turning into oceans and pine trees.

The gardens can be used for weddings, private functions, birthdays etc.

 

PoW Camp 12 – 1941 – 1947

After the fall of France, in June of 1940 Benito Mussolini of Italy declared war on Great Britain.

Benito Mussolini  – 1883 – 1945

Mussolini ordered his general in N. Africa, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, to attack the British, which he did reluctantly in September 1940.

Marshal Rodolfo Graziani 1882-1955

The British, supported by Commonwealth troops from Australia, New Zealand and India, under British general Lt. Gen. Sir Richard O’Connor, had defeated the Italians by the third of January 1941 and captured 130,000 troops and all their equipment. The British had lost 555 dead and 1400 wounded


In all 400,000 Italian troops were sent to POW camps around the world. Australia received 18,420 and the small town of Cowra was allocated about 2000. These prisoners arrived in Cowra in October 1941.

There were 28 POW camps across Australia and Cowra was number 12.

In 1941 the camp had been created as an internment camp for civilians, but it soon became a POW camp for Italian prisoners captured during the North African campaign.
By December 1942 the camp had grown because in addition to the Italians, there were 490 Javanese sailors, 1104 Japanese POWs and 1200 Indonesian internees.
The internees were a mix of merchant navy sailors and exiled nationalists from Dutch New Guinea (which is now part of Indonesia) who had taken part in the 1926 uprising against the Dutch. The Dutch Government was concerned that the Nationalists might join the Japanese.
There were also a number of Koreans from Korea and Chinese from Taiwan because Korea had been under Japanese rule since 1910 and Taiwan had been under Japanese rule since 1895 – these non-Japanese had served with the Japanese military.

Australian War Memoria photograph of camp 12.

The relationship between the Australians and the Italians was easier than the relationship with the Japanese. The Japanese considered that being a prisoner of war was humiliating and many gave false names so as not to bring shame on their family in Japan.
The Japanese soldier carried a copy of Senjinkun, which was the military code for a Japanese soldier that he would “Never live to experience shame as a prisoner”, which is why some gave false names. The code forbids the Japanese soldier to retreat or being taken prisoner by an enemy.

This indoctrination of the Japanese soldier caused ‘festering’ within the ranks of the Japanese.

The camp itself was large at over thirty hectares (74 acres) in size.

                       Australian War Memoria photograph
as you see there were three lines of barbed wire, plus six guard towers
A guard tower –
it is not an original, but a replica of what they looked like in the 1940’s.  

In August of 1944 there was in intention to move all Japanese prisoners below the rank of Lance Corporal to another POW camp in Hay, which is in NSW.

This was the ‘spark’ that generated the breakout. 
The Japanese commander of ‘B’ compound Sergeant Major Kanazawa called a meeting of the commanders of the twenty Japanese huts and told them to inform each hut that the transfers were about to happen. He also wanted each hut to hold a ballot for or against a breakout. There where arguments on both sides for and against the breakout, but in the end, it was decided that the breakout would be that night.

It was decided that any injured or wounded prisoner could restore their honour by committing suicide before the breakout, plus those who manage to escape would not harm local civilians.

As the Japanese waited for the signal for the breakout they made weapons from cutlery, baseball bats, plus baseball mitts and blankets were made ready for scaling the barbed wire.

It was 2.00 am when the bugle sounded for the mass escape. 

Australian War memorial photograph 

The above is a picture of the bugle that signalled the beginning of the breakout. 

On the 5th August 1944, at 2.00 am the Japanese breakout began with the sound of the above bugle.

The prisoners ran with their newly made weapons shouting and screaming towards the camp gates. They threw themselves at the barbed wire while yelling Banzai (which means “Long live His Majesty the Emperor”). 

The Australians opened fire, but hundreds of Japanese escaped into the country, while others set fire to buildings within the camp.  

In all 234 Japanese were killed and 105 wounded. Five Australian died due to the breakout.

Some Japanese committed suicide or where killed by other Japanese, remember  Senjinkun “Never live to experience shame as a prisoner”.

359 Japanese escaped, some committed suicide rather than be recaptured, but all were recaptured or accounted for within ten days.

There isn’t any record of any civilian being injured or killed by the Japanese. 

The above is a map of the whole camp, and the red area is the Japanese part of the camp. The green arrows show the various directions of the breakout.

The two yellow areas were the Italian prisoners, and the blue area indicates Japanese officers, Korean and Chinese prisoners, the Indonesians and Italian fascists. 

I took the above two photographs of PoW Camp 12 today . . . just a few ruins left in a beautiful country view.

At the camp site today there is a memorial to remember the Australian solider, the Japanese baseball player, the Italian musician and the Indonesian mother and child.
The memorial was erected in 2019 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the breakout. 
The Japanese prisoners were repatriated between 1946 – 47. It is thought that many of the ex-prisoners never spoke of the war, or their time in captivity on their return to Japan.

There is more to this story, but this will have to wait for the next posting.   

Cowra

Sea cruising might not yet be allowed due to the fear of Covid but land cruising is still available.
I never get tired of driving around the Australian countryside – an open road with little traffic and a sunburned country, what more could we want?

In our latest ‘land cruise’ we managed to ‘cruise’ 1,800 km (1,120 miles) in the seven days.

Our destination was Cowra, which was to be our main base. The original name of the settlement was Coura Rocks, because this was the name of one of the first cattle farms. The name ‘Cowra’ is an Aboriginal name for ‘Eagle on the Rocks’. 

The drive from home was about four and a half hours, but of course we did not drive continuously for that length of time.
Around three hours after leaving home we stopped at Boorowa for a picnic lunch.

Our picnic lunch was in the grounds of the Court House of Boorowa, because there were tables, seats and a clean public BBQ at a cost of ten cents.
The one thing that I have noticed when visiting small country towns is that they all advertise a free rest area, with ample parking, clean toilets, and some offer free cups of tea or coffee.

On the day we visited the Court House they had an arts & craft exhibition, with many items for sale such as jams, marmalade and local handmade items. They always have a second-hand book stall so while I browsed the books Maureen had a look around at the produce and other items.

The picnic stop was across the road from the local pub, so for those who imbibed a little too much the walk to the courthouse was not far.
The Court House is behind me, the local pub across the road – all very efficient.  

      

I had booked us in to the Vineyard Motel, which was a few minutes’ drive out of Cowra.

It was an unusual motel – because there were only six ‘apartments’, but each apartment had a front door and a back door.
In the morning we would open the east facing door and watch the sunrise.

sunrise 01 Still photographs fail to grasp the whole sequence of the sun rising and the dramatic change of colours across the sky.

sunrise 02

In the evening we would stand outside the west door of our apartment and watch the sunset.
Outside of each of the doors there were chairs and a small table for drinks as we watched a magnificent free show – Hollywood eat your heart out, nature always wins.

sunseting

Sun setting over the vineyards.

room2

Our accommodation was a good size with a double bed and a single bed as well as the table & chairs.

room 01

In addition we had a large bathroom and a small kitchen with all the amenities that we required. The nightly rate included breakfast.

The motel was surround by vineyards and the local wines were available to purchase in your room. Very convenient.

The neighbouring vineyard also had alpacas, but the one I manage to photograph had recently been shorn.

  alpaca

This alpaca shared the field with sheep – but this fellow did not like having his photo taken – he kept turning away, perhaps he was shy without his coat.

drink view

At the top of the shadows a dark green vegetation can be seen – this is one of the local vineyards.  

There is an unusual bell in Cowra called the Peace Bell, it is unusual because it is the only Peace Bell in the World not located in a city.

The population of Cowra is around 10,000 citizens. 

The reason for the Peace Bell will become obvious in the next blog.

To experience Port Macquarie’s area.

K03

I knew that I had made an impression with this fellow – as soon as he saw me, he turned his back . . .

We were visiting the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, which is free to enter and all they ask is a donation to the work of looking after sick or injured koalas.

K01

This fellow didn’t mind the camera.

The hospital is a rehabilitation facility, scientific research and educational centre and a tourist ‘must see’.

There are teams on call twenty-four hours a day to rescue wild koalas that may have been injured by a vehicle, loss of habitat due to bush fires, towns expanding, or just are sick and cannot look after themselves. People are asked to phone the emergency services if they find a koala in distress. The Centre handles hundreds of koalas a year.

Recovering koalas are moved from ICU to the outside area where treatment continues until the animal is fit enough to look after themselves. Those that recover fully are returned to their home areas in the wild.
The animals that recover, but are unable to look after themselves are kept in a protected area of the hospital, which is an area that mimics a koala habitat with trees and food. My photographs are of the protected area.
Koalas are now listed as an endangered species.

 Koala Hospital

The above link is copied from the Koala Hospital web site.

The guide who showed us around and explained about the working of the hospital was an ex American army service man who had been in Vietnam during the Vietnam war (or as the Vietnamese call the war – The American war) and during a spot of R&R met and married an Australian. He has been with the hospital for years and was a fund of knowledge about the hospital and koalas.

K02

Koalas only eat a few types of the 900 or so different species of eucalyptus leaves. The leaves are very fibrous and low in nutrition, and to most other animals, eucalyptus leaves are poisonous.
The leaves that the koala like are low in food value so to conserve their energy a koala will sleep 18 to 22 hours a day.

The koalas outside of the ICU have to be supplied with the correct leaves every day and each koala will eat about a half kilo of leaves a day so collecting the food is a full-time job for those connected with the hospital.

Conservation

The details of feeding the koalas are linked to the above, which is from the hospital web site. Our visit was a very interesting and educational time.

Roto

As we left the koala hospital, we decided to visit the historic Roto House, which is next door to the koala hospital, but it closed due to Covid regulations.

The house was built by John Flynn in 1891, he was a surveyor at the time. Flynn’s family lived in this house up to 1979, and the house is now controlled and maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Services.

For those who have read my previous blogs of Port Macquarie the original homeowner is the Flynn of Flynn’s Beach.

Later we moved on to Sea Acres a rainforest that has been protected as a living heritage that can stretch back to the dinosaurs.

forrest01

It is a rain forest with a difference because visitors do not walk on the ground but an elevated (up to 7 mtrs or 23 feet) boardwalk for 1.3 km (0.8 of a mile) to experience the forest without contaminating the forest.

forest 02

All along the walk there are information notices explaining various trees or plants.

Forest 03

Whatever falls from a tree or plant lies on the ground as if humans had never arrived.

forest 04

I hope the above notice is clear – it is one of the educational notices about Brush Bloodwood that grows to 24 mtrs (79 feet). Early settlers used the sap as paint. The tree contains so much resin that it will burn when green.

Forest 05

Managed to catch a bush turkey searching for food.

Forest 06

Sunlight struggles to get through. Maureen had seen something in the trees.

Forest07

A Strangler Fig.

This tree provides fruit for rain forest pigeons and grey headed flying foxes who eat the fruit in the canopy of the forest.
After eating the fruit, including the seed the droppings of the birds and bats containing seeds that falls into cracks of a tree and germinate.
The Strangler Fig grows down to the ground rather than from the ground up by sending out long string-like roots to the ground. Over time these roots come together and thicken. Eventually the host tree dies from the thicken graft roots of the Strangler Tree and over time the dead tree rots away leaving a hollow strangler fig.
The hollow area that a full-grown strangler tree has created becomes the home of small animals and birds.

Forest 08

I copied a photograph from Kew Gardens web site for a clearer indication of the strangler.
When the Europeans arrived the east coast of Australia was covered in rainforests similar to the one, we visited.

In 2013 a violent storm hit Sea Acres and a giant strangler fig was destroyed which opened up the canopy. The ‘new’ sunlight encouraged growth of dormant seeds and other plants.
The falling of a giant tree that opens the forest to sunlight is called ‘gap phased dynamics’ as other trees expanded their treetops into the new sunlit area.

Eventually the new growth on the ground will die as the expanding canopy cuts out the sunlight, and the slow growing forest takes over again.

If you hear a cat meowing in the forest it is not a cat but a green catbird

Catbird

The Birpai people are the original custodians of the area around Port Macquarie.

The land and surrounds provided them with food, medicines, tools, weapons, building supplies, art, clothing, and sea food.

Port Macquarie

Macquarie

Lachlan Macquarie 1762 – 1824

Lachlan Macquarie was the 5th Governor of NSW and arrived in Sydney in 1809. He urbanised the convict settlement by creating street and parks and the layout of Sydney today is based on his plans. 

Governor Macquarie encouraged social reforms, and he promoted getting married in church, morality, police patrols, he encouraged the emancipists and convicts whose sentences had expired to live law abiding lives.
A number of these ex-convicts became business men & others were promoted to government positions. Francis Greenway (ex-convict) became the colonial architect & Dr William Redfern who was condemned to death in England for being involved in the Nore mutiny, he was aboard HMS Standard as surgeon’s mate during the mutiny. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he spent four years in an English gaol before requesting transportation to New South Wales in 1801.
On arrival he was posted to Norfolk Is. where he worked for six years before returning to Sydney. Over time he became the Colonial surgeon and was known for promoting the vaccination against smallpox. 

Governor Macquarie encouraged exploration of the land beyond the Blue Mountains, and it was during one expedition in 1818 that John Oxley followed the Hasting River to the sea and named the area when he reached the sea Port Governor.
In 1821 Port Macquarie became a penal settlement for convicts who had committed secondary offences after arriving in Sydney.

This was the town that we picked for a holiday, but thankfully things had changed in the last 200 years.

perking

Town02

Plenty of free parking for two hours and it was very easy to move the car to another parking place. An easy town centre to walk around with plenty of shops restaurants, and places of interest.

Town 03

The above is the museum – the building was built in 1835 – 1840 it was a shop and a dwelling. The picture is from the museum web site because my outside shot was not good enough.

We thought our first stop should be to find out about the history of the town.   

History 01

The soldier on the left is Maureen.

History 02

As we walked through the museum we passed through the history of the town from the early years of the convict period, to more modern times, which included rooms from the early days to those of the 1950 & 60’s, which were familiar to both of us having been born in the 40’s . 

shops

Shops of yesteryear in a recreated street

For $5 each it was well worth the visit, and the time to see all the exhibits was nearly two hours because it was so interesting.

Niceste peopl

We met some of the nicest people. One was Edmund Barton who was Australia’s first Prime Minister after Federation, which was the 1st January 1901.
Edmund Barton, also known as ‘Tosspot Toby ‘, was the local representative for Port Macquarie.
He gained his nickname from the Bulletin magazine of the time, because Sir Edmund liked good conversations, good food and good drink even at the expense of his health.  

Edmund-Barton

Sir Edmund (Toby) Barton (1849–1920)

The area where Barton’s statue is located is called Conner Hurley Park, which is a beautiful spot for a quiet walk and to sit and watch the world pass you bye. 

Park

Look back

We had a fish & chip ‘tea’ overlooking the sea, with our backs to the building on the right. We had competition from the sea gulls and the pelicans for our fish & chips.
We were grateful for a small boy with endless energy who would chase after the sea gulls, but not the pelicans.

We strolled along the sea wall and came to the ‘painted rock’ area, an area where people can paint the rocks with dedications or comments, as long as the comments are not unacceptable.

painted rock  

Purple

If you look closely, you will see a green car, but I doubt that all the people listed would have been in the one car!
The area is a walk-way along the break-wall along the Hasting River.
The painting idea began as an art competition in 1995 and it has now been allowed to be an outdoor gallery for anyone who wishes to try their artistic talents.

 

Mekong 1

Being on holiday we visited a number of restaurants, but we only went back to one restaurant twice – once in the evening and a day or so later for lunch.
The Mekong Restaurant was very good and they offered a pint (473 mls) of local beer for $7.50, which is an excellent price for a beer in a restaurant, particularly being draft beer. 
I had to have a second glass just to make sure there hadn’t been a mistake . . .
The restaurant offered Thai / Laos food – the restaurant was owned by a couple, the male being Australian and his wife Laos. 

mekong The restaurant overlooks the water, which allows for a nice warm breeze to waft through.

Laurieton

We visited Laurieton, which is about a thirty-minute drive south of Port Macquarie – a quiet small town with a population of about 2000 in the 2016 census.
Captain Cook in May 1770 named the three mountains that he could see ‘the Brothers’ because they reminded him of a similar group of hills in Yorkshire, England.

By naming them as such, he unwittingly named them the same as the local Birpai people, who had a legend that there were three brothers who were killed by a witch named Widjirriejuggi.
The brothers were buried where the mountains now stand.
The youngest brother was named Dooragan, which is the name of the local National Park.    

ship

While in Laurieton I took a photograph of the above vessel in the harbour.
I cropped the photograph and zoomed in, in an effort get a clear picture of what looked like a fishing boat, or an old trader, but perhaps just a tourist boat . . . 

boat 2 

It reminded me of something out of a Joseph Conrad novel . . .

The romance of the sea.  

John Edmund Flynn 1854-1933, his beach.

DSC07157c

Thanks to Covid Maureen and I were unable to spend our Emirates frequent flyer points, which we had saved for a trip from Singapore to Sydney after cruising to Singapore.
We were keen to spend the points before they were cancelled by the airline.
After considering several options we finally decided to spend them on accommodation, but where should we go . . .

Expo

In 1988, along with our children, we had driven to Brisbane for Expo 88, and to break the journey of over 12 hours driving, we stopped overnight at Port Macquarie and promised ourselves that we would return one day.
It took us 34 years before we returned, and this was all thanks to Covid.
The drive from home to Port Macquarie earlier this month took us five hours, the distance being around 460 km (285 miles) – the drive through Sydney before we could use the freeway was time consuming.
Between Maureen & I we had over 100,000 points so with a little extra cash (about$260) we were able to book a week’s holiday in an apartment in a resort, which was across the road from the beach – the beach is named Flynn’s Beach, after John Edmund Flynn a local surveyor who built his home not far from the beach in 1891. Flynn’s home is still standing so more of that in another post.
The resort that we picked is named Flynn’s Beach Resort, which is across the road from Flynn’s Beach.

flynns_beach_resort_3-800x534

The above has been copied from the Resort’s web site

DSC07147

DSC07148

The above two pics show the view from our balcony

balcony

We had a table and chairs on our own balcony.

Due to Maureen’s health we picked a ground floor apartment to avoid her having to climb too many stairs.  

Within the resort there were gardens and wildlife, the owners have managed to marry a natural small lake and a flowing creek with a commercial business. The gardens are well kept and as Maureen and I walked by the creek we saw bush turkeys, water dragons, goannas, and ducks. We were told that koalas and possums also lived in the resort. 

Bush turkey

Bush turkey – not known for being ‘brainy or handsome’ but it is a survivor. These birds are born in a moist mound of decomposing leaves and struggle to avoid predators.
The male bird builds a nest in the decaying leaf clutter and invites the females to lay eggs and the male then keeps the nest at the correct temperature by moving the decaying litter on and off the nest to keep the correct temperature. 
The nest can be anything from 1 to 1.5 mtrs tall (3 to 5 feet) and there can be up to 50 eggs in a nest (if he is popular with the ladies). Once hatched and the chicks’ feathers have dried they can fly.
They have enemies, but they are not too frightened of people because they will steal food if you are having a picnic.

creek

The creek flowing from the small lake.

Liz2

Guaranteed to make you jump when he moves, a goanna or Monitor Lizard, they will eat anything that they can catch and swallow.  They were once a traditional food source for the Aboriginals and are often represented in Dreamtime stories.

water dragon

Water dragon – these creatures are shy but have adapted to living with humans in parks and obviously Flynn’s Beach Resort.  

pond

A general view to show how the apartments are located to the creek and small lake area.

 

children's pool

The children have not been forgotten –

adult pool

nor the adults – both pools heated when required.

livingroom

The photo above is our apartment showing the living room and behind me when I took the picture is a dining area. We had two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with two large singles.
The kitchen was to the left of my photograph – as you can see there is shelf access to the living room for convenience. All in all it was a good size accommodation, which would have been big enough for a family with children, or another couple to share the cost.
The kitchen had everything we wanted from fridge freezer to microwave and full complement of crockery and cutlery. 

 

beach

and across the road we had Flynn’s beach  . . . . .

 

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