Australian Tales is a collection of stories about the bush, the beach and about living now in Australia. As this site has evolved there are many little stories that I have written about life here in this great Country that is Australia. Some them have not rated a complete page so I have put them together here as a collection.
There are places to see, things to do and people to meet. There are tales about animals and birds, strange tales and true. I hope you'll enjoy them.
(Appeared on Geoff's SquawkAbout Blog Feb 19, 2009)
If you ever find yourself lying half awake at 2am with your mind turning over all sorts of odd thoughts, then you will know what I mean when I say my mind was in defrag mode this morning. My mind was trying to sort out all the odd fragments of information that it has accumulated in recent weeks, trying to make sense of them and put them into meaningful patterns. Not an easy task for a pre-pentium mind I'm sure you'll agree.
I started mulling over the death and destruction caused by the dreadful bush fires in Victoria, feeling great sadness for all those who have lost their homes and loved ones, pets and possessions, property and livelihoods in the hugh fires that, at least in some cases, have been deliberately lit. How could anyone do such a dreadful thing?
The TV images of the scenes of terrible destruction and the raw emotion of the destitute survivors switched to the scenes displayed a few days earlier of the dreadful destruction and heart rending images of the poor survivors of the latest Israli attack on the Palistinians at Ghaza. How could anyone do such a dreadful thing?
Over 200 people, men, women and children have lost their lives because of the deliberate, man made bushfires in Victoria. Over 1000 people lost their lives because of the deliberate, man made attack on Ghaza.
My pre-pentium mind reached the shocking conclusion that those people who deliberately decide to light bushfires and those people who deliberately decide to launch a military attack against a defenceless neighbour do so for the same reasons. They do it because it gives them the euphoria of having great power, the power of life and death, over their neighbours,and they do it because they can get away with it.
Will they will ever pay for their inhuman crimes? I suspect it is just a matter of time.
Another Crocodile Death
(Appeared on Geoff's SquawkAbout Blog Mar 22, 2009)
Australian news on March 15 reported another crocodile related death. A twelve year old girl was taken by a crocodile while swimming with friends at a popular local fresh water swimming place near Darwin. This is the third crocodile related death in Northern Australia in the last six months.
A five year old boy was taken when he followed his dog into water near his home at the Daintree River, north of Cairns, and a 62 year old tourist was taken when he went to check his crab pots when camping at the Endeavour River near Cooktown.
As well as this, a man was reported to have been bitten by a crocodile at Lizard Island Tourist Resort on the Great Barrier Reef. Two crocs were subsequently caught near the resort. Crocodiles have been reported to have spread as far South as the Central Queensland Coast.
It seems clear that the crocodile population in Northern Australia has increased to dangerous levels since crocodile shooting was banned in the 1970's. The increase in numbers means that the creatures are spreading out to establish new territory. At the same time our residential population has increased considerably in remote areas, as has the number of tourists and travellers who are touring Northern Australia in caravans and motorhomes.
Isn't it time for the authorities to take steps to remove or cull crocodiles from areas where they might endanger human life?
Something has to give. Human lives are more precious than Crocodiles, and we can't afford to lose any more residents or tourists.
See also The Crocodile's Tale.
Flash Flood Foils Drinkers
Appeared on Geoff's SquawkAbout Blog Feb 19, 2009)
We're getting quite a bit of rain here in S.E. Queensland. It always seems to rain around Easter time, but this time some places have had flooding downpours in very short periods, which have caused unexpected flash floods. The area around Coffs Harbour, a pretty coastal town in Northern New South Wales, received torrential rain which caused severe flooding just a few days ago. Now the rain depression has moved into Queensland and parts of the South East are really copping it. At the same time the strong winds that accompany the rain have whipped up huge seas, to the delight of the surfers who are brave enough, or foolish enough, to face the monstrous waves.
Kin Kin is a village behind the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane, which received a flash flood yesterday. To give you an example of how sudden it was; some people were having a drink at the Pub in the main street, when a wall of water came rushing down. One minute they were quietly having a drink... the next, water came rushing through the ground floor windows, and doors were torn off their hinges by the force of the water.
One Barmaid was caught by the rush of water and was nearly washed away. Luckily the publican was able to catch her arm and pull her to safety or she might have been drowned. They managed to get the patrons to safety up the stairs, including one old chap in his 80's. The water just about washed everything out of the ground floor of the Pub and made a great mess, then it seems to have run away nearly as quickly as it came.
This is what the Sunshine Coast Daily has to say about it :-"The man who saved the lives of two women caught in rising floodwaters at Kin Kin yesterday managed to photograph some of the action. Locals said they were enjoying a drink at the Country Life Hotel about 3pm when water started to rush over a hill and into the rising creek, about 30m from the hotel.
Within minutes, the water was metres up the wall and furniture was being washed away. The beer-garden was destroyed and furniture, plates, glasses, knives and forks have been left strewn on an oval opposite the pub.
The wall of water hit with such force a shipping container was swept hundreds of metres and a car is resting on its nose, against a large tree.
No one in Kin Kin was hurt but Kupa Ngaira is being hailed a hero after opening a window to allow two women to leap clear of the turbulent floodwaters.
The owner of a pub spent the night guarding his stock as looters threatened to steal it.
The Country Life Hotel owner told Sunshine Coast Daily journalist Alan Lander a short time ago people driving utes with spotlights were trying to take anything they could see during the night, including the pub's cigarette machine."
Australian Natural Disasters
(Appeared on Geoff's SquawkAbout Blog Apr 21, 2009)
Commenting on my recent message about the flash flood at Kin Kin, and the Victorian Bushfires, one of my British friends said,..
"You guys are certainly copping it this past year, we've seen the gentle side of Australia in our limited travels we've been fortunate to find great friendship and gentle (if hot) weather. I don't know if I am more shocked by the weather or reports of looting. Have been able to keep up to date with events in places we have visited, just last night we saw on West TV the flooding in Belingen - we spent a few days there in 2004 and fell in love with it's laid back life style, particularly the market where we sat listening to an electric guitar accompanying a didgeridoo."
"I understand that fires have been deliberately lit in Victoria and in W.A. at the height of the recent disasters but it is a sickener that the owner of the pub in Kin Kin has to defend his property against looters . The early history of Australia (and NZ) is littered with tales of one man's mateship to another that talk of looting seems heresy."
Sad to say that some of the dreadful bush fires in Victoria were deliberately lit and that some cases of looting were reported in those areas as well as in some of the areas effected by floods in northern NSW and Queensland. It seems that there is always some miserable low life creature who is quick to take advantage of such disasters for some miserable personal gain.
What is even more shocking is that one of the most devistating fires in Victoria is believed to have been deliberately lit by one of the volunteer fire fighters.
The men and women who volunteer their services and risk their lives as members of the Bush Fire Brigades are the real heroes of these catastrophic events. They are fully trained and know the dangers they face. Not only do they risk their lives, but to do their duty as fire fighters, they often have to leave their own homes and families unprotected while they are fighting fires elsewhere.
To think that one of the fire fighters could be responsible for lighting the fire that caused so much death and destruction seems inconseiveible, yet it is likely to be true. Such a person must be mentally deranged.
As far as the looters are concerned, they are just scum. While we must hope that such people are caught and punished for their crimes, we should not forget that for every bad person there are many good souls who give generously and who do all they can to help those who have suffered in the disasters. For every rotten looter there are tens of true mates who rally around to help out in times of need.
Just Past the Black Stump
(Appeared on Geoff's SquawkAbout Blog Apr 27, 2009)
Two of our neighbours, Trevor and Diane, arrived home last week after spending a few weeks visiting friends on properties in Western Queensland. They took their big hats and riding boots, left their home at Brisbane at the crack of dawn, and drove all day to reach their destination which was out in South West Queensland, just past the black stump. I asked Trevor about 'Trinidad', the sheep station they visited about 200 miles north of Quilpie, and I thought you might be interested in his description.
'Trinidad' is about 57 kilometres from one boundary to the other, that's just under 30 miles. It carries sheep on 263,500 acres (106,712ha). It's a two hour drive if you want to go to the nearest town, Quilpie, to do a bit of shopping - each way!
Over the years most of the big properties have been cut up into smaller blocks. 'Trinidad', the property Trevor and Diane were visiting, is one of the blocks cut off a once much larger property called 'Milo Station', which, at the turn of the nineteenth century, stretched north from Quilpie to Blackall.
The historic 'Milo Station', now much reduced in size, was passed in at auction last year and sold, following negotiations, at an undisclosed price. The 115,830ha property, 130km North of Quilpie, and an adjoining property, 'Budgerygar', were both offered for sale at the time.
Selling agent David Connell of Landmark Longreach said both 'Budgerygar' and 'Milo' enjoyed tick free status, were well watered and had good reserves of soft edible mulga as well as highly productive natural and improved grassland.
It is understood that the two properties, have a total area of 223,700ha, and a combined carrying capacity equivalent of 8000 dry cattle.
They have a saying out West - the bigger the hat, the smaller the station. I wonder what sized hats those graziers wear?
Just one more bit of trivia about Australian Cowboys. The men who worked the cattle in Australia were called stockmen. Cowboys were old men, usually stockmen who were past working, but still living on the property, who were given the job of milking the cows.
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