Historical Sydney

As we continued our stay with Daughter Number Two in Sydney, we spent the day walking around the city. Our intention was to visit the State Library as I had heard of an interesting photographic exhibition.

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Our walk led us past old Parliament House and the historic Sydney Hospital.

20130225-210522.jpg As well as other places of architectural significance such as the Commonwealth Bank Building.

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One must appreciate that Sydney was the first settlement in Australia with the First Fleet landing in Circular Quay in 1788. Sixty odd years later gold was discovered in “them there hills”. This
led to a building boom in what was to become the leading city of the vast area known as New South Wales. Similar events in Victoria led to Melbourne also being “build on gold”. So when I heard of an historically rich photographic exhibition featuring gold miners, their families and their lodgings I was intrigued.

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These photographs are reproductions of the original glass plates featuring images of life in the goldfields of New South Wales and Victoria. These plates were found in a garden shed fifty years ago and only after much time and money, resurrected to their original forms. They are quite extraordinary.

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For me the images are reminiscent of the Civil War images featuring the sombre visages of the prospectors. The clarity, however, is superb.

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Also, what really intrigued me were the images of women and their children posing silently out in front of their rustic lodgings.

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It would have been a harsh and unforgiving existence. The women bore numerous children who often did not survive disease nor the poor sanitation of the time. I love their long dark gowns, their stern expressions and their children’s wondrous looks.

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My favourite image follows and it incorporates beautifully laid out garden of vegetables and flowers. I even think the owners of this little miner’s cottage look very pleased with themselves!

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It was a wonderful end to a great weekend. I think how fortunate we are to live in our technology rich times but still do marvel at the ingenuity, the resourcefulness of that time. Incidentally, the Holtermann nugget, pictured below was not the great legacy left by this prospector. Instead, it was the commissioning of photographers Merlin and Baylis from the American and Australian Photographic Company which is our greatest treasure. These photographs chronicle an important time in our history – the discovery of gold and the harsh life this entailed. We are richer for these photographs.

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In addition, I was very lucky to share these with my daughter and her husband – a photographic essayist in his own right.

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Thanks for a great weekend you two!

Our New Year Plymouth Rocks

We have been wanting to add to our Plymouth Rock chicken family and so a few days ago, just after the business of Christmas ended, Colin and I took off in the old ute to collect our four new additions. We had to travel two hours to Elmore and City Chicks who had just what we were looking for.

20130101-222059.jpg After taking a wrong turn we arrived at City Chicks.

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Gorgeous wide open space just out of Bendigo.
There were hundreds to lovey chicks to choose from including a platinum Sussex, very special. But we had our eyes in some dark or light barred Plymouth Rocks and Jane, who runs City Chicks was more than helpful in our endeavour.

20130101-222350.jpg I wanted one of each!

20130101-222447.jpg The platinum Sussex.

20130101-222530.jpg Our four new additions are twelve weeks old and still a little too young to join the big girls.

20130101-222652.jpg Very cute!

20130101-222754.jpg The new chicken house has been introduced to the old girls but this will have to wait for another post after we lay some new hay!

20130101-223119.jpg Meanwhile our little chickens (two boys and two girls) have been kept separate in their new hutch and little run. The weather has been superb, warm days and cool nights. They have been eating lots of kitchen scraps as well as their special gritty meal. We can see them growing right before our very eyes. Happy New Year everyone!

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A Very Sick Rooster

Poor Pecker the Plymouth Rock rooster is very sick. After consulting the vet – he was such a calm and cooperative boy, she informed us that he had a trachea virus which may or may not have reached his lungs. We had done the right thing and kept him isolated and warm over night. She gave him antibiotics and instructed us to administer the liquid twice a day for five days and to let her know if he was not much better in three days.

20121103-195249.jpg He is still resting in his hutch in the laundry. I hope he returns to his healthy self.

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20121103-195632.jpg Meanwhile, we have been offered a new chicken house from our next door neighbour. It is painted duck egg blue with windows and a gabled roof. Colin, with the help of his dad and uncle and anyone else who was about spent the day dismantling it.

20121103-195913.jpg Fingers crossed for Pecker! Enjoy today’s back deck evening view. Take care.

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The Backyard Deck

The great Australian bush property or indeed city dwelling is incomplete without a deck. For us, our deck serves many purposes. It is an extra “room” where we can stop and sit under the shade of a leafy tree, enjoy the company of our neighbours and friends, observe the birdlife and even dry our clothes. This is the third reason reason why we live here: the opportunity to share our unique setting with others.

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20121028-194909.jpg Over the years, the deck has hosted Christmas lunches, friendly afternoon teas and smokey barbecues. It looks down over the bush setting of eucalyptus trees, the chicken house, the bird bath and the weeping cherry. Ever afternoon casts a different atmospheric effect. Here is today’s view.

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20121028-195602.jpg The colorful bird is called a king parrot: orange chest and green feathered back. Do you have a deck, verandah or patio?

Maxi Wombat and Sargie Cat

The mountainside and the bush always seem to reveal a surprise. Recently while exploring the bottom section of our block we came across a huge, dug out hole.

20121022-220048.jpg This brings me to the second reason why we live here on the side of the mountain – the wildlife. Yes, if you haven’t guessed it this is a wombat hole. His home or burrow. Wombat holes can up to 3 metres deep and run along for up to 100 metres! They are nocturnal animals so a photo is difficult to come by (but we are trying). Our very brave cat, Sarge, who often accompanies me when I am gardening or clearing up, decided to explore this new discovery.

20121022-220544.jpgHere he is deciding – should I go in or not?

20121022-220747.jpg Yep, just coming out – not much happening down there. Better get out fast just in case!

20121022-220908.jpg We have seen and Wombat wandering around the streets at night and have dubbed him Maxi because of his stumpy, chubby size. Recently I commented on four reasons why we live here, the fauna comes next after the flora. Apart from wombats and the odd echidna digging up my stone walled pathways, cockatoos often come to perch on our deck. These two sulphur crested ones shared a cuddle!

20121022-221357.jpg king parrots are also frequent visitors. Maybe I’ll be lucky soon and snap Maxi for you!

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