Recently we took a short holiday in Port Fairy down on the Victorian South West Coast. This was a favourite holiday place for Charlie and Maggie was keen to explore the town as probably the next Afghan Hound to visit the place since 2013.
In the mornings I had to be up early as Maggie expected to go walking. Port Fairy has a unique location as a fishing fleet and tourist town at the mouth of the Moyne River with a long sand dune parallel on the ocean side for the last 3 kilometres to that mouth. A causeway connected Island on the other side of the river is home to a lighthouse and nature reserve that is a Mutton Bird rookery where thousands nest after their return Winter feeding migration from Siberia. They are late this year, in fact none have arrived yet, the worst scenario being they have all died on the flight. Hopefully they are just late however climate change effects from the feeding grounds in Siberia to rest and feed stops down the East Asian Pacific coasts could mean they have all starved on the way.
Whenever we travel to Bendigo The Merchant of Malmsbury is where we break the journey. Len has made this wonderful place his business for travellers like us to stop off and enjoy coffee and home made scones, jam and cream in the garden. His shop is crammed with interesting curios and his own brilliant photography artwork. In another life Len once worked in a Melbourne drafting office which he shared with an Afghan Hound. Hence there was always a warm welcome for Charlie and now Maggie. There is some fascinating historic C19th architecture including The Merchant’s in this small village. The Botanic gardens are also historically significant. Malmsbury is a lovely place to escape the monotony of the Calder Freeway.
Jill and I were tracking the call of a Tui in The Napier Botanic Gardens in New Zealand when we chanced upon the historical nineteenth century section of the Napier cemetery .Time stood still for us as we slowly wandered amongst the graves beautifully adorned with semi wild flowers and creepers. Reading the headstones in old graveyards is always fascinating and ones imagination can wander with some of the more detailed ones. What tragedy lay behind Caroline’s death? was it an accident? Who wrote this first person epitaph? I took the photo and have re visited the image several times to ponder. There is almost a touch of fictional writing within these words of the last line. And we missed the Tui that time.
On February 3rd 1931 at 10.47 am a violent earthquake struck the east coast Hawkes Bay region on New Zealand’s North Island. There was enormous destruction in the Town of Napier especially throughout the business district. Many buildings were severely damaged or destroyed in the quake however fires that broke out in chemist shops quickly added to the devastation burning through the damaged structures and scorching any standing wooden ones.
The trinity Methodist Church pictured here survived the earthquake and fires and was surrounded by desolation. Some say a miracle occurred that day.
These three gates tell different stories. The first entices one into a Japanese garden in Brisbane of all places. The second is our old gate at home with Kara letting passing people and dogs know they need to beware. The third is a missing gate at the Griffith Island Lighthouse near Port Fairy. In fact the gate is not all that is missing from the old Keepers cottage, this fence and a few bluestones is all that shows where the settlement stood.
This beautiful fountain on Marine Parade in Napier New Zealand was donated by a local businessman Tom Parker. He provided the funds for it to be completed by Christmas 1936 as part of the re-developed park along the foreshore. Tom Parker believed the nightly display of this gushing multi-coloured lit fountain would be a positive experience for the people of Napier as they recovered from the devastating 1931 earthquake. Jill and I visited the gardens and fountain each night we were in Napier and joined so many locals and tourists especially children, who continue to enjoy Tom Parkers gift.
The Port fairy lighthouse, one of the oldest in Australia still shines every night.
Coastal shipping entering Bass Strait from the West is thankful for this guiding light especially on wild winter nights. Bass Strait is one of the wildest and roughest straits in the world with hundreds of shipwrecks mainly from the C19th littering the shallows of its shores and islands.
This lighthouse sits at the mouth of the Moyne River on Griffith Island, an artificially created island that is now a protected nature reserve. Tens of thousands of Mutton Birds, (Sooty Shearwaters) migrate from Siberia to breed here every Spring. In early Autumn the adults depart back to Siberia then a few days later the young ones begin to follow. This is one of the longest bird migrations in the world. many birds die on the flights , and the numbers are now decreasing at an alarming rate along with other migratory Australian birds, some species even now face extinction. WHY? because the resting , feeding sites along the migration routes through SE and Northern Asia are being destroyed by human development or the birds get killed by people. One more example of the natural destruction caused by over population of humans and economic greed, ( an evil and dangerous combination)