Last Saturday morning Maggie and I were taking our regular early morning power walk . As we began to cross the Scout Hall park we were confronted by fire trucks everywhere. My first reaction was the scouts had let a campfire loose then as we neared the hall and the Primary School appeared it was suddenly obvious. The scene was frenetic, firemen were still playing water through windows and a huge gantry ladder hovered in the air metres above the roof line spewing water down through a smoking, gaping hole in the roof. eople were gathered in small groups along the opposite street and police were preventing pedestrians from continuing down past the school as smoke was still drifting heavily from the buildings.
My first reactions were disbelief, then one of hoping this was accidental in cause. Upon arriving home I shared the experience with Jill and later that day we went back with a camera and these photos were taken. There was a calmness in the air, however the scout hall had become a community focus point , many teachers, parents and students were there and it was obvious much grieving had happened and still was occurring. We could walk around the street perimeter and see the extent of the damage.
This immediate fire experience brought home the reality of what fire does to communities and even though no lives were lost or people injured and One building was damaged the flow on effects became obvious from local news and social media sources. 500 students, their teachers and support staff, all their surviving resources, materials, furniture etc would be relocated in two nearby government schools, further inpacting on those school communities. A multi million dollar rebuild will commence soon and the effects multiply onwards . Thousands of people woke up on saturday morning much the same as from the day before however by Monday their regular lifestyles were in turmoil, but organised turmoil generally speaking. This one local fire suddenly made us realise the immense effects to our nation from the vast bushfires experienced across South east and West Australia recently and some are still burning.
Those of you who have mentioned our recent FIRES or responded to my earlier comments may be interested in these 2 YOUTUBE links. The first https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdGqTQkRVwE is a no holds barred documentary that takes the viewer into the horror of the fires and the immediate impact on people, animals and vegetation. The second https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrDkdcOkUkI is a public forum that runs every Monday night on National public television. It shares the effects thes fires had on communities and what Government must do. This is again graphic and heart wrenching. Each is about 45 minutes (no ads) and some of the best TV viewing you will ever experience. Please let me know if you watch one or both.
And if your contempt for Rupert Murdoch’s press and its Climate Change denial propaganda is as strong as most Australians watch this 10 minute youtube about how they still peddle this garbage even with these fires and their links to Climate Change .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s23q9DkCaVY
Postscript. 6 teenagers handed themselves in to local Police in regard to the school fire.
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)
These images show Black Bock House in Black Rock a suburb on the SE of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne. Thomas Ebden and his family were the earliest European settlers in this part of Port Phillip way back in the 1850’sand established Black Rock House as their claim on the land. There are a number of mysteries surrounding Ebden and what went on in this early days. He was from South Africa and probably brought fixed ideas on how to respond to the original occupiers of this land. He also took up control of quite a lot of land around Black Rock and also central Victoria, (then called Port Phillip) There are certainly unanswered questions about the actual original reasons for building a stockade as seen in the third image. Who was he going to resist with this? There are no mysteries about the Moreton Bay Fig Tree seen in the second image, it is old and large. These trees are native to the more tropical climate of North east Australia and was introduced here as a seedling.
Some years ago Jill completed a landscape master plan of the grounds of Black Rock House for the City of Bayside. You can see the fruition of aspects of her work in these images.
This was the distracting view at my last 9.00 to 5.00 workplace within the campus of The University of Melbourne. I could arise from my computer/phone dominated desk, turn around, take 2 steps , open the door to an outside balcony, take 2 more steps, close the door and gaze across the university campus at the distant hills to Melbourne’s north. Unfortunately for most people, work means doing things one does not necessarily want to do. Lucky are those who enjoy devoting some of their living time to the concept of work.
An additional distraction to this distraction was time phase photographing the demolition of the Architecture Building seen here in the middle of the mid-ground.