time passed slowly
older family memories
never slip away
My wife Jill and her brother Murray now own this house which was originally built by their great great grandfather in the 1860’s. At this time one of the most productive gold mining areas in the world had developed in the area around the house and in surrounding valleys and was known as the Bendigo gold mine fields in Victoria Australia. The house was built by hand from mud bricks sourced from a nearby stream. Three generations of the family grew up here before it was finally leased for a while then left uninhabited until Jill’s family re-discovered it in the late 1960’s. Jill’s family spent hundreds of hours across many years repairing the mud brick walls and interior. We have enjoyed many picnics at the house and explored the flora of the surrounding area . A regional park adjoins the property and we wander out the back and through the remnants of the once bustling, prosperous gold fields observing nature and taking written records and photos..
One of the most inhumane aspects of Australia’s economic fantasy world is the live animal export market. For some years there is growing demand for our Federal government to stop this practice. Sheep are exported to the Middle East and cattle are exported to Asia to be killed and eaten.
This ship I photographed some years ago at Fremantle in Western Australia is designed to carry sheep in absolutely unbearable, cruel conditions. I will not describe them however if you want to become a Vegan google Live sheep trade Australia. Most of the sheep that survive the journey are treated then killed in the most barbaric of ways. The trade of cattle to Asia is barely any better as often the abattoir processes the animals die in are as barbaric as the treatment of sheep in the Middle East.
There are 2 solutions to this deeply disturbing practice. 1. Stop the trade full stop and stop it NOW. Or if the demand for animal meat to be eaten in these markets is necessary!!!!!! then have animals humanely euthanised in Australian Abattoirs under strict humane conditions and the processed meat is exported in refrigerated ships.
Under our current valueless conservative government neither solution looks likely. Protests and lobbying for the animals will continue. Just one more battle the Australian people are currently fighting against their “elected” government. Anyone with half a brain and any compassion knows sheep and cattle are sentient beings with emotions and feelings. I am sure most farmers really know this, the conservative politicians and those who profit financially from this trade choose not to. Perhaps the latter could take a cruise on the ship above for a few days and rethink policy!! What do you think reader?
This Haiga is my response to Ronovan’s prompt for this weeks haiku. Visit his site to see more weep and sheep haiku at
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.
These trees are in the Gariwerd National park in Western Victoria in Australia. This is an ancient mountain range formed millions of years ago through geological upheaval. The forests are also ancient and regenerate after regular fires usually caused by lightning but occasionally by humans. For thousands of years, we are not sure how many, but possibly 30-40,000 at least, Indigenous Australians lived within these ranges and respected the flora and fauna. There are many thousands of years old rock art galleries sharing the culture of the Indigenous people throughout Gariwerd. Rock art sites are still occasionally discovered by current scientists that indicates the wild nature of some sections of this area . The haiku in this Haibun is a response to RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #273 Forest&Whisper go to https://ronovanwrites.com/2019/09/30/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-273-forestwhisper/#comments and see lots of other haiku responses to this challenge from Ronovan.
September 20th was one of the most significant days of this century and perhaps of all times. This was the day when young people across the world responded to Greta Thunberg’s call to turn out and let world leaders attending the UN Climate Action Summit in New York to start acting, (fast) as time has almost run out to keep carbon emissions at a safe level. Here in Australia hundreds of thousands heeded Greta’s call. Jill and I attended the response in Melbourne along with over 150,000 others. Our conservative government is ignoring the science and reality, making a lot of noise about acting, however emissions in Australia have kept rising and we are exporting huge quantities of coal to Asia to be burnt. Our Prime Minister was in New York but did not attend the summit, he was not allowed to speak because of his government’s poor record. Instead he met with President Trump, attended a gala function with lots of right wing political and business people and also opened a factory with Trump. The mood has strengthened for Climate Change Action in Australia since September 20 and will continue to strengthen despite our government. They will grow increasingly irrelevant and could not possibly win the next election. I have included a short video I took on the 20th to share the mood.
One hundred metres down the street from our home these photos show where a suburban house and garden once stood for over 60 years, where families shared their lives, where plants once grew and died , where birds, animals and insects co-existed in nature. Now all gone.A desert of flat dozed lifeless dirt. Already foundations are being created to build fence to fence double story townhouses and concrete hard surface and maybe a few plants in pots. Gone is a local history and an ecosystem, not an original one but an ecosystem that saw many indigenous life forms existing. Through the gap in the rear fence where green weeds grow the same thing happened last year and over that next street the same again. This is happening all across our suburb and in neighbouring suburbs and on and on in Melbourne Australia. Population growth demanding new dwellings and a greed from property developers to squeeze as many living spaces on a block of land as possible means vegetation and fauna loss on an increasing scale. We have noticed the little birds have disappeared from our garden and that is one small sign. Our local government is unable to limit or control this madness, this environmental destruction. As well the loss of trees and shrubs adds to global warming. Maybe these images sum up Australia’s attitude as a nation to global warming. No chance for haiku !!!!!!
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.
Whenever we travel to the Grampians or very occasionally Adelaide a lunch or coffee break at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat is planned. Charlie had many picnics by the lake and now Maggie has experienced her first two. The circumference of the lake is around 6 kilometres and it sits in the heart of this city so there are always joggers, dog walkers, cyclists or strollers on the path or adjacent road. Ballarat is the home city of my mother who was born and educated there and my father also went to boarding school there and rowed on the lake. When the Melbourne Olympic games were held in 1956 Lake Wendouree hosted the rowing events. Ballarat is freezing cold in Winter and it usually snows. Spring and Autumn are the best times to experience the city and lake. There are many nesting waterbirds on islands in the lake and this beautiful Cygnet and its sole sibling paddled past while we ate lunch recently.
HMVS Cerberus was built for the colonial government of Victoria in 1870 as naval defence against possible Russian attack. This design was the first turrented , motorised ironclad battleship without sails making it highly innovative for its day. There were two swivelling turrents with 2 ten inch guns in each. Thick armour up to 9 inches, (230 mm) thick covered the ship). The Cerberus was was not really suited to ocean travel and became uncontrollable in rough seas meaning it took quite some time to travel from Chatham England where it was built to Melbourne Australia. The warship never fired a shot in action and never left Port Phillip Bay. after its arrival . In 1924 the Cerberus was sold for scrap and in 1926 what remained , (a hulk) as seen in the photos was scuttled to form a breakwater at Black Rock on Port Phillip Bay.
Since then the ship has been rusting away and settling on the sand . Its a mecca for curious scuba divers, snorkelers and adventurous teenagers. Various signs warn of the dangers associated with entering the underwater holes in the ship or climbing onto the actual hulk. Since 2005 a local group has been trying to raise funds to save what is left of the Cerberus as a significant part of Victoria and Australia’s naval heritage. This is a valiant effort.