Sunday, August 26, 2007, 11:17 AMJenny & I arrived home on Weds 22nd of August via a stopover in Singapore. The 2 days spent there was not only so different to the experiences of North America & Europe but a welcome interlude from the long distance involved getting back.
I could not but help think in arriving this City of Wagga Wagga was so empty of people & cars as was in fact the countryside on the drive to our house. Mo our little Aus Terrier was of course out of his mind to see us after having been left at the Kennel two months earlier. He is at my side constantly less I slip away & desires to maintain constant eye contact.
It was a great welcome home from my sheep who at first ran away from my approach, but then stopped to look back at hearing a call. It only took a moment to have them all running back to gather around with much sniffing of my hands & rubbing of heads on my legs...I would like to believe this was a welcome home rather than being seen as the lollie man but rather fear the later was the shine in thier eyes. Even the Rams were pleased to see me with one even getting excited enough to have a skip & a jump about, then to my alarm he backed up in prepartation for a bunt. This he stopped short & I was able to cuddle his head with a few stern words of disapproval.
Of late I am dealing with a health issue pain that never rests & is without end so looking forward to the Dr's being able to do something & soon so I can get on with things.
Thank You to the folk who have visited this site I will endeavour to contact those of you I can in due course & get the Blogs in especially the one for John Stewart from Kamloops Canada.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007, 01:31 AMThe adventure continues after having travelled The Rhine River seeing a 1 in 10 year flood halt the progress of our Avalon Tapestry cruise ship at Kehl just short of Basel our final destination when the waters rose above 7 Metres halting all shipping movements. We were fortunate to have made it that far due only to the determination of our Captain Dingerman van ljzerlooij.
Today in glorious weather in what appears to be a wet Summer in Europe the Swiss Alps have greeted us warmly with visits to Zurich, Luzern & now Interlaken. We are staying at one of the cutest little Hotels one could imagine. Jen the wren is downtown checking things out for tomorrow as I do battle with a foreign keyboard having no luck as yet with taming our pc.
I will endeavour to get online when possible but with a week only remaining it seems I have much to do back home.
We are here : www.hotel-de-la-paix.ch
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Friday, August 3, 2007, 01:34 AMIt seems longer than the 10 days it has been since we said farewell to Alaska with us now about to fly out of Montreal in Canada for Europe. I have much to blog about so must get on with it if I can begin to start winning the immediate mystery of how the touch pad of this new PC works.
To be Continued
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Sunday, July 22, 2007, 09:53 AMLike the immortalised words of this song today the Rush is still on to Alaska in the form of the 800 to 900,000 tourists who visit annually, now the Stampeders of today are taking gold in the form of tourist dollars to the coffers of this huge Last Frontier States revenue.
Jen the wren & I departed Sydney on an early wet morning on the 25th of July bound for this 49th State of the U.S. where our destination would eventually be Juneau & the Mendenhall Glacier to celebrate the wedding of our niece Niki to Adam on the 07/07/07.
Our travels would take us beforehand to many far flung places of breathtaking scenery via Holland America Tours where we would meet a whole bunch of lovely folk on a Christian Tour from the lower 48 States of South Carolina & Kansas... Hi again to Hilda & Max Evans SC with Thanks for your company !
Many adventures were had via boat, train & plane which I will relate to later but for now while sitting here in our 20th Floor room of this Fairmont Waterfront Hotel overlooking the city of Vancouver BC with Jenny out shopping it is time to cover the 777 Wedding.
The setting for Niki & Adams wedding would be in front of the Mendenhall Glacier at Juneau the only glacier in the whole of Alaska one can drive to. It is advancing at 2 feet a year but retreating with melting taking place at between 26 & 29 feet per annum if that makes sense. The few days prior the weather was fickle being overcast with perhaps some rain expected to fall over the weekend of the 7th, fingers were crossed & hopes were high for the sun to break through.
On Saturday the 7th the clouds parted the Sun shone above those gathered at this place and a Wedding began.
The Flower Girls even had time beforehand for a play
The weather turned out to be just perfect
There was time to blow Bubbles
With taking lots of photos of those who travelled from San Diego,Kansas,California,Colarado,Australia & Alaska
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Thursday, June 21, 2007, 08:45 AMThere is always something appealing to be by water as its movement evokes many feelings within us humans, so it is when standing beneath the Majestic & Ancient Red River Gums of this Murrumbidgee river that has seen the passing of the many parades I feel a movement of such thoughts when looking at the upwelling of current in its peaceful movement across the land. How people have for so long lived & passed by this river bearing silent witness to their journeys in life.
Murumbidya as it was known to the Aborigines meaning big water flowing, had for many thousands of years given them life as it meandered about the valley floor between Gundagai to Wagga Wagga & beyond onto Narrandera before the Plains. Leaving a changing course & many a Billabong along the way, in doing so also leaving a vast supply of water beneath the sands & gravels, a bigger water than the Wiradjuri custodians could ever have imagined. This life giving water is today pumped from Bores 110 M deep at Oura by the river to the East of Wagga Wagga to many far distant towns & farmlands ...The standing water level at 30 M only dropping to 40 M at the peak of Summer bearing testimony to the vast quantity below the surface.
Over the recent long Drought years which is the worst this Country has ever seen, Dam levels in the mountains have dropped to such precarious levels Irrigation water normally keeping the river flowing higher has been virtually stopped with only enough now going down to meet the demands of towns along its banks. Today we see this river in many ways nearer to its natural pre-Dam state & a rare view to how it did look in times past, when with Summer & Drought it could even stop running...This was known to have happened & did so again between 1836-38, the Wiradjuri with man & animals alike suffering terribly for the lack of water. Large mobs of Emus were seen walking the dry sands of its bed their tongues hanging out in search of something to drink. In normal times of late Winter & Spring the Murrumbidgee would flood replenishing the billabongs with its waters & fish to be cared for by the Aborigines being an important food source.
Then there came Captain Charles Sturt of the 39th Military Regiment in Dec of 1829 exploring down the Murrumbidgee driven on by thoughts of an Inland Sea passed this way being accompanyed by George MacLeay the young son of the Colonial Secretary. His party of Harris, Hopkinson, Fraser & Clayton, the carpenter, in addition to two convicts & small supporting party with wagon carrying a 25' whaleboat carried in three sections when stopping at Pondebadgery Plains which we know today as Wantabadgery, replenished their supplies with some magnificent perch from this river.
Today these low water levels revealed recently the wreck of the Paddle Steamer Wagga Wagga in the Murrumbidgee near the present day town of Narrandera, I took a drive then of adventure to bear my own witness.
Within the skeleton of the Steamer remains just the boiler & drive axles to the Paddle wheels
Despite the passage of time I believe it is still possible to see scenes as Sturt & his party did in that December of 1829. Views over the Murrumbidgee albeit compressed with telescopic lenses on the cameras of today....We know vast areas of woodlands in the distance are gone, however in these compressed photos one is given the impression woodlands close by stretch to the distant hills of Kengal as they would have done back then. I went to this place by the river to fill my eyes with this view as those had before.
Mo ran on ahead & up the slope zeroing in with head held high at times on the scent of a fox being borne on the breeze to his little nose.
I saw the Fox run away up through the rocks long before Mo had arrived at its hiding place beneath the fallen branches of a tree. I hoped he would not be led to far afield & could find his way back, I had then time to take a photo out over the beginning of the river flood plain of trees.
The view over the river woodlands to Kengal where from here the young Wiradjuri men Peter & Jemmie who had guided this Explorer Sturt & his party along the river from Kimo near the Gundagai of today would go no further. This was either the boundary of their territory or they feared transgressing on further to where Sturt could see Native campfires at night.
Finally his Lordship arrives being quite out of breath but knowing what I do with a camera is not shy to pose at the summit
That being as far as he would go
I was reminded in travelling on that in these parts by the Murrumbidgee after Sturts exploration settlement ocurred which all to often happening quickly outpacing & outreaching the control of the Authorities, this saw many atrocities take place against the Aborigines. Some settlers took the law into their own hands & at an Island not far from Narrandera a place later to be called Murdering Island scores of the local Wiradjuri were herded together on the river & shot. Many others were killed when poison was introduced into water holes. In some cases Arsenic was put into flour out of which scones were made & given to the people which saw women & children run forward so as not to miss out. Game as in Emu & Kangaroo were driven off further reducing the food source. Along with introduced disease they had no immunity to by 1875 a Newspaper in Wagga Wagga reported the extinction of the Aborigine had taken place faster there than in other areas of the Colony to such an extent it was a rarity to see one on the streets.
It was about this time though in the early 1870s a young girl who listened intently to many conversations of her father was growing up at Brucedale just to the North of Wagga Wagga. Her name was Mary Gilmore & like her father she felt a compassion towards the Wiradjuri. She even spent time with them at their camps & wrote of Aborigines at the Houlaghans Ck, these same people could well have travelled by where I live today
Behind the trees to the side of the Highway at Brucedale is the school now standing empty that Dame Mary Gilmore attended. Interestingly Mary comments on a Bald Hill in the Malebo Range to the west of Wagga Wagga that runs almost to the river. In in her time she regards The Malebo as still being wild. On this hill at sundown the Natives would gather at Corroboree & she remembers hearing the Bull Roarers, with the sounds coming from dance & song filtering down to the surrounding land....It may have been this hill was kept bald intentionally by the Aborigines in using the wood for their fires & clear to look over the river valley & the Murrumbidgee passing below. In this way communicating with those up & down the river their custodianship. It may well have been they did not want to live on the St's of Wagga Wagga preferring to retreat back as many still do even today. Here to Sturt passed by & made camp not straying far from the River Flats so as not to have to carry the wagon containing the whaleboat over forested areas.
Modern Day Wagon wheel tracks through the trees by the River
There is always a timeless quality one feels by water at Sundown & here beside the Murrumbidgee is no exception... This being the 17 Mile travelling stock reserve west of town sees many such people camping for the weekend in moden times of the passing parade
Further Material can be sourced from the Charles Sturt University & The Mitchel Library on the many aspects to Charles Sturts Explorations
Old Days Old Ways : a book of Recollections by Dame Mary Gilmore
Wiradjuri Heritage Study Compiled by Dick Green available in either Book form or CD from the Wagga Wagga City Council
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