Tuesday, 30 April 2013

More photos of Eungella rainforest

This post has lots of photos so go away now if you don't want to see them

 A tiny flower on the forest floor
 A wonderful crows nest fern
 The path was very narrow - fun when two walkers came from the other direction and had to squeeze past!
 A rainforest giant, I think a Mackay tulip oak
 One of the colourful leaves which has dropped to the forest floor - leaves provide much more colour than flowers in a rainforest

A climbing fern, I think called Jointed Fern
 Some interesting fungi
 These are even more interesting
 Looking up!
 Very different fungi, with a closeup below - I have never seen this type before

 Umbrella fern
Not sure what this is from, but the new leaf is such a vibrant red.

All in all, a lovely day.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A day in the clouds

Yesterday the Friends group from the Botanic Gardens visited Eungella National Park for a guided walk and barbecue.  Eungella (pronounced young-ala, with the accent on the first syllable) is nearly 700 metres above seal level and has a huge diversity of plants and birdlife.   It is the northernmost location for plants growing to the south and the southernmost location for plants growing to the north - this really excites botanists!
We had a lot of fun, despite the weather not being as kind as it might have been.  We had glorious sunshine all week, then clouds and a few showers yesterday - back to sunshine again today!

 We had our barbecue outside this wonderful old hall.  It started life as a school in 1943, but was closed in 1960 and was used for a community hall for many years, but is really only a base for the camp site now.
 The rainforest runs along the rim, with cleared country behind it.  There used to be about thirty dairy farms up here, producing lovely milk but the big conglomerates came in, bought out the factory in Mackay, then closed it down.  Now the milk has to be transported nearly 400 km to Rockhampton to be processed and consequently there are only three farmers left - and they are struggling.  All very sad.

 This was looking over the escarpment towards Mackay.
I hope I have some more photos taken on the actual walk tomorrow.  Another friend took them and downloaded them onto a memory stick for me, but we can't read them, so I shall have to visit her at work tomorrow and retrieve them from another computer - I think she had a Mac laptop, hopelessly incompatible with our Microsoft software.............technology is a bore sometimes.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Third time lucky - in a way

Today is Anzac Day, when we have remembrance services all over Australia to honour our servicemen who served and died in the many wars over the last century.  The crowds are getting larger every year, with school children learning more about what our diggers achieved.  My grandchildren march with their schools and one son with the scouts.  Unfortunately I can't stand for two hours so I no longer attend the services, but the major ones are televised so I can still participate.

I have been trying to post these pictures for the last couple of days but blogger - or my mouse - has not been co-operating.  At least I have got some up today, but not necessarily in the right order.

 This was the view from our bedroom window, looking over the marina.

 This is on magnetic Island, the very old wooden jetty at Horseshoe Bay.  It is over a century old and the only wooden one left, they rot away in the  tropics, so have been replaced with concrete or steel.

 I loved all the craggy granite boulders standing out all over the island.

 After our three hour excursion we were treated to lunch - very hard to take!

 These desserts were served at the conference dinner.  they tasted nice, but I have included a photo of the menu with its very pretentious descriptions of the food.  I sometimes wonder how long it takes to dream up these incredible descriptions.  None of us could decide what 'financier' meant!
I can't scroll down below the photo so this is it.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

And now I am back again

We had a lovely few days away at the conference with fine sunny weather, though quite hot.

  This  is the Burdekin bridge, a massive structure which was a lifesaver for the north when it was erected in the 1960s.  for most of the year, the Burdekin river is almost a sand bed, but in the wet season the river can rise to over 40 feet in depth - and this is the main road north!
The ladies were taken on a tour of a heritage centre on the first day.  These photos are of a farm house, typical of the Queenslanders, built in 1921 and moved to this site a few years ago.  The houses were built on stilts to allow the breezes to blow through under the house and keep it cool.

This workers' cottage was built in 1884, typical of its era, with four tiny rooms.  I am glad I did not have to live in it.  The furniture inside was fascinating but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos.  We saw another house as well, a villa which was built for a very wealthy family.  The contrast of the furniture in the two houses was quite remarkable.

 Lovely reflections on the boats on the Marina which I walked past on the way to catch the ferry to Magnetic Island - about a 20 minute trip.  The locals treat it as a suburb of Townsville, ferries run every half hour
 The ladies were treated to a three hour guided tour of the island , some of us travelling in this wonderful stretched jeep cherokee.  One of our guides is sitting on the side.  He was a mine of information and very entertaining.

There is a large colony of Allied rock wallabies in one of the bays.  they are less than a metre high when fully grown.  The colony is much larger than it should be for the area to support, but somebody has been bringing feed in each day for them.  He had gone to hospital so our guides had a large bundle of guinea grass which they spread out for the wallabies.  They are so tame we could almost touch them.
 If you double click on this photo you should be able to see the joey in the pouch.  There were three koalas in a thicket of eucalypt trees, the female was quite active for that time of the day, but the male below was just lying flat out, trying to get cool.
There is a very healthy colony of koalas on Magnetic Island, introduced from the mainland about a century ago - now it is a refuge.  They are a much paler colour than the southern koalas, and their coat is much thinner to cope with the heat.  It was wonderful to see them in their natural habitat.

I have some more photos but blogger doesn't want to cooperate and it is time to get dinner anyway, so I shall try again tomorrow.
I still haven't had time to check out all my favourite blogs - that is on tomorrow's list too!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Home again and off again

This is a very brief check-in just to say I have not forgotten you all; I am feeling very deprived as I have had almost no time to catch up on all my favourite blogs.  I came home last Sunday, my sister's surgery was very successful and she now has two shoulders level with each other.  The sling should come off next week, but no driving for another couple of weeks yet.
I couldn't believe the amount of paperwork I had to catch up on for the business after just two weeks, that, along with appointments every day and a mass of notices to send out for the Botanic Gardens Friends, has kept me on the hop all week.

We are off again tomorrow morning, Bill too this time, driving to Townsville for a sugar technologists conference.  Thankfully the sun has come out today, after a horror couple of weeks of incessant rain.  So far this year we have had 1550 mm rain, just 50 ml short of our annual average.  I suppose we have been lucky as we have not had any major flooding because of it, but some sunshine will be more than welcome.

Just a couple of photos for you - Alexander turned 10 on Thursday, so of course we had to help him celebrate.
This is not a very clear photo, but I only had my phone with me, it was a very grey day, drizzling very lightly, and I was taking some papers to the accountant.  This helmeted friar bird was so close I could almost touch it, calling away and having a lovely time in the flower spike of an agave plant.  If you click to enlarge you will see it better.
Back next weekend and should have some good photos as we are going to Magnetic Island with fine weather predicted!  No chance to get into my workroom for any creative stuff, hopefully in a couple of weeks.