Saturday, April 15, 2006, 09:08 PMDawn & Sunset colours of any note will soon be gone as the days shorten & the Autumn takes over. Already the days are much cooler & the winds that sweep up from the southern oceans at times with a chill herald that winter weather is on the way.
So, I will put in a nice sunrise of late while I can & remind myself I must make a move on some outings I want to do before the weather becomes to inclement.
I made the effort to catch up with bringing in the sheaves at Ganmain. This type of hay production is used for making into chaff & has been an ongoing farm enterprise in this area for a long long time.
Wednesday November 15
I think if my memory serves me correctly it may have been about this time my rountine scans picked up something was wrong so that is why this story was not finished.
The long time in fact of chaff being made at Ganmain goes back to 1893 when the first chaff produced was sent to Sydney in three truck loads with the grower being paid 100 Pounds. To use wheaten hay in the form of these sheaves has long been held by the Logan & Hitchens Company to produce a far superior chaff...James Logan was cutting chaff back in 1905 with the peak years being around 1910 to 1925. So for many a long year it has been a familiar sight to see these "loafs of bread" built sheaf haystacks around the Ganmain district.
However, times have changed & the men skilled in building these stacks have faded away with age & each year now are harder to find. Others with these skills are disappearing along with those associated with rural industries. Also modern ways of mechanisation arrived in the form of making hay into Rolls. This saves on man power, so now a lot of this wheaten hay from the crops is put into these Rolls & stored in a large shed all done by machinery with a minimum of skilled hands.
It is said this year or another may see the end to the sheaf hay for chaff at Ganmain due to this skills shortage. This year has seen a another savage blow & by far the worst dealt to the chaffing industry with the severity of the drought causing all the crops grown this year to fail. I went to capture then the men who still toil under the blazing sun in the old ways of Tossing the Sheaves to bring in what stacks still remain.
Ganmain is an Aboriginal word : Meaning scarring as found on warriors
A unity exists between the men who toss the sheaves which I think is best represented here
A tree providing some shade is welcome relief to loading the truck
Tossing the Sheaves
There is rhythm of actions & movement as these men apply their skills
Working up there is no place for the faint hearted as seen with Glen Brill
Loaded trucks await delivery to the chaff cutter back at the Mill
Sheaves are fed into the conveyor prior for steaming & chaffing
The finished Product will be stacked with other skills to await Sale
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Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 08:54 PMLate in 2002 when I began the restoration of 8ha at Meribah to plantings of Native Flora Dean came to visit me with Mnt Ulandra Nature Reserve wildlife Ranger Angela Lonergan. This meeting was to initiate the beginning of the Conservation Partners Program. At this time I wanted to place on record my site as containing aboriginal artifacts & to hand over to Dean the many stone implements I had collected over the years from this area along the creek.
On going from this I have wanted to take photos of some of these stone implements for my Aboriginal Heritage section of this website. So it was that on Mon of this week I journeyed to Tumut the gateway to the Snowy Mountains & the regional office for the National Parks Wildlife Service to meet Dean in this endeavour.
I must say I feel proud to have this association to Aboriginal Heritage thereby providing by way of these artifacts an ongoing study to a little known area where I live with Wiradjuri history.
Later after taking my photos I was invited by Dean to accompany him into the Tumut River Valley to inspect a site of high cultural value. The valley is very dry at this time of summer yet a lot of water is flowing in the river. Dean explained this valley was the main thorough fare for the Wiradjuri into & out of the Mountains.
To the Plains people who journeyed in here the closing valley & ever towering peaks must have been an epic & awe-inspiring event in their lives. Journey here they did on an annual basis late in the summer months to feast on the oil rich Bogong moths that fly to these peaks by the thousands from southern Queensland. These moths were cooked by rolling on hot coals which at the same time removed the wings.
Leaving this valley & the mountains behind Dean escorted me downstream from Tumut on my way home as far as the village of Brungle....Travelling on from here takes one to Gundagai & the Murrumbidgee River.
Brungle was a quiet little village way back in 1888 ( & still is today) when it was decided to established the Station a place in which to re-patriate displaced Wiradjuri from earlier times of white settlement. In many ways the vision splendid here failed as the settlers from the beginning resented its presence & the occupants in their midst. The Aboriginies themselves maintained an opposition to the way in which the station was managed. However today descendants of those earlier & sadder times still reside here including Deans family who have had a long association with Brungle.
By the nearby Nimbo River at Brungle village stands a mighty Red River Gum where many years ago stone implements in the hands of Wiradjuri were used to remove a large piece of bark to fashion a canoe. Dean took me here & is seen in my photo pointing to what was at that time the parameter of this canoe. Above the canoe scar can be seen another circle scar from bark removal....This was possibly used when cut in half to provide the ends to that vessel or paddles.
Unlike the grain growing area where I live many trees bearing these scar marks can be viewed in the Tumut area ...Most will be many hundreds of years old.
Saying farewell with Thanks to Dean for his hospitality I moved on down to Gundagai where I visited the ancient ceremonial bora rings site. It is ironic that a short distance from where these rings are located on the river flat are the present day Rodeo ring & arena for Camp Drafting.
Having never seen a Bora Ground before this was very interesting & I think remarkable for it to be still intact. I was very intrigued by the placement of these two quite large adjoining rings consisting of a slightly built up ridge of earth in forming the circle.
I suspect when one stands at the northern end to this Bora Ground viewing south it is directly in line to where the Southern Cross might first appear in the night sky.
I am anxious now to return there at dusk to see if this is so.
Stories in a book titled : Brungle & Tumut is available by the Aboriginal Womens Heritage.
These Stories by the women stand as a testimony to the struggle & sacrifices made by parents bringing up families at Brungle as recounted by their family life.
The Moth Hunters by Josephine Flood
The Aboriginal People of the Monaro by Michael Young.
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Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 10:05 AMI think I made mention in one of my earlier blogs that I have never been able to take a photo of a kangaroo jumping a fence. Well it had to happen that eventually I would be in the right place at the right time.
My walk on this particular morning last week took a visiting Mum Roo to the forest by surprise so not being used to the sight of myself & Mo she high tailed it out of there...Now you know where the expression came from.
In all she jumped 3 fences to go round in a circle to get back to the sanctuary of the trees. Her first jump was by far the most spectacular & she cleared the 4' high fence with ease. I missed one fantastic photo by not judging the delay of the shutter release in my Digital camera. However I did get it just right for her 2nd jump which went horribly wrong.
For some reason she misjudged this one badly (maybe due to high speed)& caught the top wire sending her spinning forward back to earth in a tumble of tail, legs & body in all directions. A fall like this with a kangaroo is the most awkward un-gamely event you could ever imagine. However luckily only her pride was hurt as she quickly resumed the beautiful high tail attitude of a kangaroo in flight. What's more she jumped the 3rd fence very gracefully with poise & dissapeared without further embarrasement into the trees.
I have seen Mums jump fences with joeys in the pouch so can you imagine what that ride must be like for junior.
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Monday, March 27, 2006, 11:07 AMBefore going to the Commonwealth Games I had some photos in my camera from morning walks here & a visit to Mnt Bethungra which overlooks Ulandra Nature Reserve so today is about what the Aboriginals term a "Walkabout".
Of late not many clouds have passed over but 2 weeks ago on the 13th it happened the timing was right for a sunrise spectacular. The forest was quiet that morning but Mrs Red-capped Robin obligued with a photo shoot while partaking of breakfast.
The Drive to the summit of what is locally known as Mnt Bethungra is one I have no intention of ever doing again. It was without doubt the steepest & roughest track I have ever been on. Once started there was no chance of turning back so Mo & I were much relieved to arrive at the top. I am pleased to say I have photos to show that I have been there.
Highlights of this visit included a Mexican stand off with a snake at my feet (unknown type) for a minute or so before it disappeared away at an incredible speed. Swamp wallabies watched me & I them in a game of hide & seek ...sometimes you just have to take the shot !
The mountain offers a wonderful bird watching place by a waterhole so I will be sure to visit again leaving the peak to the eagles.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 10:47 AM - GeneralWe have just spent a most wonderful week in Melbourne at the Commonwealth Games. We are so glad to have made the decision to go & a week was just perfect in maintaining the high of it all. However we are home again now & back to reality reflecting on the many things that happened.
To begin with the weather was just perfect & the whole organisation of the Games was in our minds just great....did not see any trouble or anyone unhappy at all or for that matter worried about safety issues.
There are too many highlights to cover but a brush with royality is one not to pass.
The Queen came into the swimming venue one morning when we were there & was seated only meters away from us. As the morning session was drawing to a close we decided to leave early & catch a tram to our next venue at the gymnastics. I decided then this would be my opportunity to take her Majestys photo. I composed the frame but could see the Queens face looked decidedly green from light coming through the brim of a green hat she was wearing....I hesitated to take the photo. Then the Premier of Victoria who was seated beside her lent forward to speak to a person & blocked her out completely. Two police officers suddenly appeared before me announcing "No photographs!"
We were ushered into the tunnel out of the stand, & then just to rub it in that I had missed my only chance in life to take a photo of the Queen of England she walked out past me. This is while Jen the wren was in the Womens...my camera at this stage had been put away in the back pack.
The Queen of England walks by me only meters away & Ian does not have a camera !
I could not believe it ... Was not meant to be
The children I noticed in the crowds showed a lot of outward excitement, they really enjoyed it & will have long lasting memories I'm sure. It was great to see many people & athletes only before ever viewed on TV. This passing parade seemed many of athletes who never made it to the podium to attained that level of Superstar made even more so by action after action replay. I hope those who did not win a medal go home with the memory that they are were a superstar in their own right for having competed at Melbourne.
One of the best things we had in our back pack for the Games were the field glasses... be sure to always take yours !
Ciao for Now
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