From Currency Trader to Counting Platypus…

Isn’t that the beauty of life, ever evolving as we weave our own tapestry; a mosaic of our lives taking turns that one could not even imagine just a few years ago…

This week I am heading down to Scottsdale Reserve, a property owned by the conservation group Bush Heritage Australia to assist in a scientific study. Situated about 80 kilometres south of Canberra, Scottsdale borders Australia’s Alpine region and the mighty Murrumbidgee River runs through the reserve.

Each year a count is undertaken of the platypus population on this stretch of the river and involves sitting on the riverbank at dawn and dusk to “spy” this shy and unique mammal. And yes, it will be cold with minimum temperatures forecast to be as low as -7 degrees next week so I’ll be sure to pack my Driz-a-bone to keep me warm and the frost at bay…

So what took me from currency trader to counting platypus?

Well a love of the bush, the outdoors has always been my thing so it is no surprise that like a vortex the bush sucked me in once I “graduated from work”.

And hey, you’ll hear no complaints from me on how my tapestry; my mosaic is working out.

Sitting on a river bank counting platypus is timeless and without a doubt better for the soul than sitting in a trading room where fortunes are won and lost in the blink of an eye as currencies flirt with each other on world markets.

That isn’t to say trading currencies wasn’t fun, after all I did it with some great people who have become lifelong friends, but counting platypus is more appealing and far less stressful than staring at a computer monitor with one eye on the clock, counting down the hours, minutes to the end of the trading session.

By the way, what day did you say it was…?

(Just kidding, of course I know what day it is – a great one!)

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

Baz – The Landy
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A lick of paint, and back into the bush…

Now that Janet and I have finished the house painting I’m heading back into the “bush” next week for a few days to do some volunteering work with Bush Heritage Australia.

Oh, yeah sorry, that’s where we’ve been over the past few weeks, up and down ladders with tins of paint and a brush…

And for sure, whilst it was great to be giving our 100-year old California Bungalow, “Dinsmore”  a coat of paint, we would much rather have been Out & About in this great country of ours capturing those wonderful vista’s that the Australia Outback is renown for in photographs…

 

So it will be great to be “back in the bush”…

I’ll be at Scottsdale Reserve, which is situated about 80 kilometre’s south of Australia’s Capital, Canberra. The Reserve is home to a remnant of Australia’s last ice age, the Silver-leafed Mountain Gum. Adapted to a time when this part of the world was much drier and colder, just ten populations of this little Mallee tree are thought to exist in Australia, and it’s vulnerable to extinction.

Currently, the area is exposed to drought conditions, so I’ll be spending my time watering trees recently planted.

Um, and yes, freezing cold down that way, so I’m packing some thermals…!

Cheers, Baz

Baz – The Landy

Tranquility – In the Australian Bush

 

I’m camped by a favourite waterhole of ours along the Bogan River as I head towards Milparinka which is situated in the Corner Country in the far northwest of New South Wales…

Hey. three weeks in the outback, where a deep blue sky gently blends to the red earth on a faraway horizon, and the night sky is laden with stars – how good is that, hey…!

Photo: Baz – The Landy, on the Bogan River

A Place of Haunting Beauty – In Outback Australia…

Mungo National Park

In the far west of New South Wales, some one thousand kilometres from Sydney, lies Lake Mungo and the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area…

 

Now before you go strapping the kayak to the top of your vehicle or hitching the “tinnie” to the back of your four-wheel drive it is worth knowing that Lake Mungo has been dry for some 15,000 years.

 

But don’t be put off by that fact, this is a fabulous place to spend a few days exploring what is a very special place to three Aboriginal tribal groups, the Paakantji / Barkindji, Ngyiampaa and Mutthi people.

These people have walked this land for close to 50,000 years.

Yes, 50,000 years…!

To put some context to that, they only started building the pyramids about 5,000 years ago, and Christian’s celebrated the arrival of Jesus Christ just over 2,000 years ago.

And in more contemporary history of Australia, Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay less than 250 years ago.

Life would have been substantially different when the waters were teaming with fish and the land abundant with food sources. And remarkably, evidence of this era has been enshrined in the “Mungo Lunette” and uncovered by the moving sand dunes in this windswept land.

A Lunette is a crescent-shaped sand dune similar in outline to the first quarter of the Moon. The Mungo Lunette is also known as the “Walls of China”.

I visited the region recently with the hope of photographing the “Super Red Blue Moon” that rose in the skies on 31 January, the prospect of capturing a photograph of a remarkable event over the Walls of China proving irresistible to me.

The Walls of China is where the remains of “Mungo Lady” an aboriginal women of some 18 years of age was discovered in the late 1960s. Her discovery and subsequent removal from her “spiritual home” by archaeologists’ was not without controversy, especially for the aboriginal people from this region.

Mungo Woman was eventually returned home to rest in country by her people and similarly, Mungo Man, whose remains were removed from his resting place has also made the journey home to country.

Scientists’ estimated that Mungo Man walked this land over 40,000 years ago.

It was against this cultural backdrop that I stood alone at the Mungo Lunette, a number of camera’s at hand to capture this remarkable lunar event.

But it wasn’t too be as cloud cover “eclipsed” my view of the moon as it rose over this ancient land.

Looking to the west, the sky was ablaze as a fiery sun cast its final rays into a darkening night sky…

I closed my eyes and let my mind drift and wondered if the spirits of those who had walked this land were sitting around the glow of this eternal fire, breathing life to this place of Haunting Beauty…

Photo’s: Baz – The Landy, Mungo National Park, Outback Australia

Lunar Trifecta – Possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity…

Moreton Bay

I’m sure many are aware of a rare lunar phenomenon that is set to occur next week.

It is being billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” lunar trifecta and Australian’s have one of the best vantage points around the globe to view what is being described as a “super red blue moon” as three lunar conditions converge.

Apparently, a super moon occurs when the moon reaches its closest point to earth and appears much larger than normal (some 30% they say). The red part happens during a lunar eclipse, and the blue moon is when there are two full moons in a month.

Some experts suggest that it is unlikely to see all three events converge again this century, although I have seen conflicting reports on this with suggestions there will be another one in 2028 – but given it last occurred in 1866 I’ll try and observe this one and leave it to the experts to argue over the timing of the next one.

I was pondering where to view it from away from the glare of city lights and decided on heading to the World Heritage listed Mungo National Park, south east of Broken Hill.

It has been at least two decades since I last visited the area so I am looking forward to it, although with daytime temperatures getting up to around the 45C mark I doubt I will linger there for too long afterwards. But it is a spectacular area, so I’ll play that one by ear and see how the weather is…

The phenomena is due to start on 31 January around 10:30pm (AEDT) and end just after 2:00AM (AEDT) on 1 February…

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Moreton Bay, Queensland

Exploring Australia (One moment at a time)

Australia is a remarkable country, with a remarkable history…

An island continent inhabited by our first nation people for ten’s of thousands of years, and more recently, through European settlement. At times, it can be an unforgiving place where water can be scarce.

Australian aboriginal people moved from water-hole to water-hole to survive in the harsh desert country relying on “dream-time stories” to guide them…

Stories told in song, carvings and engravings, and rock art.

For our early European explorers’ finding water was critical as they surveyed our vast sunburnt country. At times, it was a critical life and death situation and there are many tributes to these explorers’ dotted across Australia.

Two explorers, John and Alexander Forrest, both surveyors, travelled into the vast Western Australian desert region in 1874. One can only imagine what was in their thoughts as they stood atop Mt Allott looking back across the vast plains to Mt Worsnop in the distance…

Perhaps it was the need to find a water supply before thirst from the relentless heat of the desert claimed them.

Standing on Mt Allott I reflected on how you can only live in the moment you are in; the past is irrelevant and the future may never arrive – you can only survive one moment at a time…!

That’s a great way to live your life, one moment at a time. Hey, what do you reckon?

Photos: Baz, Outback Australia (somewhere…!)

A Classic Country Pub (With cold beer)

You’ve got to love a classic Australian Pub, and this one situated in Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands, inland from Cairns, is one of the best…

And hey, take my word for it…!

I worked in Malanda in the late 1970s and lived in this very pub.

Today, I had my first meal in the Malanda Hotel in almost 40-years and I am pleased it is still owned by the same people, the English family, and it is as grand as I always remember it. And how good is that silky-oak timber.

Um, yeah, a touch of reminiscing going on here…!

But hey, the past is what makes up the mosaic of whom we are today, right…!

Cheers, Baz – The Landy, in Far North Queensland…