If you love walking and fantastic views then this is the place for you. The park stretches just north of the Hawkesbury River and to Gosford and the adjacent coast. It takes in the pretty township of Patonga and these photos were taken on the headland above Patonga.
There are lots of easy walks in the park and some difficult ones. These photos were taken not 20 metres from my car so its great for those that find walking difficult. From now till summer the wildflowers put on a bit of a show. These are some of the early ones.
In 1981 the Great Barrier Reef was listed as World Heritage. It was in the same year the then Liberal Government of Malcolm Fraser established the Human Rights Commission. Both enduring and significant acts of a Liberal government.
UNESCO are due to meet about whether to place the Great Barrier Reef as “in Danger’ but this Liberal government is attempting to stop that proposal going ahead. Whether it does or doesn’t it is testimony to the fact that this government plays politics even with the most important of decisions.
Regardless of UNESCO’s decision it doesn’t alter the fact that the Great Barrier Reef is IN DANGER.
Only we the Australian people can save the Reef because our government wont. We must demand action on climate change now.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot (Joni Mitchell Yellow Taxi 1970)
I am old enough to remember when the Liberal National Parties had actual conservationists in their ranks. People who would have cared that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger due to climate change. But they all now sit on the cross bench’s as Independents.
We can no longer believe that the current Federal Government cares at all about Climate Change. The only thing to make them care is not to vote for them.
Four years ago Kate and I were getting organised for our visit to Scotland, London, Paris and Berlin. Today it feels like a dream. I fell in love with Paris and would love to go back. But that is all a bit academic at the moment.
At the moment I can’t even travel outside the Central Coast and who knows when lock down will end. But I did managed to get fully vaccinated and have even got my flu shot. We have postponed Katie’s birthday celebrations and hoping we will get out of lock down to celebrate a dual birthday party with her brother Ben.
I’m planning my trip through western NSW and looking at places to stay and things to do and sights to visit. I don’t know when I will be going but hopefully soon.
I had my second vaccination for Astra Zeneca yesterday so all good to go but where? Well nowhere really until the COVID numbers come down in Sydney. So back to living like a hermit although there isn’t a lot of difference really to the way I live all the time.
Looking forward to getting back on the road again. I thought I might go and visit the west of NSW. Living by the ocean we forget that there is a whole wonderful part of Australia that most people never visit.
Coonabarabran to Moree to Walgett and Lightning Ridge and to Bourke. On the way back through Cobar, Nyngan and Dubbo. Need to do it soonish before it gets too hot.
We can not afford to wait for the Australian Government to act on climate change. We must demand they act in the interests of our young people and commit to reaching the Paris Agreement of 1.5 % increase in temperature.
We are reading in our newspapers daily about the death of glaciers in Europe, wildfires in California and record breaking temperatures in the Pacific north-west.
Gaslighting is a term that is used to describe behaviour used by one person to make another doubt their own sense of reality. Although it was coined as early as 1936 in a play called Gas Light where a husband used systemic, psychological manipulation on his wife to convince her and others that she was insane, it has come into regular use now because of a couple of different trends.(Thanks Wikipedia).
We hear the word a lot nowadays to describe political campaigning and also around the debate on coercive control as a form of domestic violence. It is a term that although used to describe the behaviour of politicians like Bill Clinton, and of Vladimir Putin, it is a term most commonly associated with Donald Trump.
All politicians use gaslighting as a political tool. Some are highly skilled at it. All politicians want us to believe in them and their policies. But it does rely on a few things to be successful.
The main one is a disengaged electorate. People often say to me that for more people to be engaged in politics the education system needs to improve its teaching of whatever we are talking about at the time. But I believe that the education system does a good job. There is nothing really wrong with the way they teach civics and the like in our schools.
But people who engage in politics do not seem to recognise that just not everyone is interested as them. There are whole lots of people who are so involved in living their own lives they just want to hear or read the news and that’s where their level of engagement is at. And there is nothing wrong with that. The political system in Australia is complex. There are three levels of government, two houses in some state and not others, two house in the Federal system. There are multiple voting systems which apply and different government are responsible for different things except when they are not. It can be horribly confusing for an initiate let along a novice.
The secret to gaslighting is to state your position early and often and with lots of confusing “facts”. So that anybody trying to argue with you has to first deal with all the confusing “facts”. Of course the best gas lighters just lie. They take a statement with just a grain of truth in it and turn everything on that one inconsequential grain. The media buy into it because even if you know the facts are you going to call a politician a liar to their face.
This is precisely what the government has done with the UNESCO deliberations about putting the Great Barrier Reef on the in danger list.
The Government insists that everything is hunky dory and no government has invested more in time and resources to protect the Great Barrier Reef. This is the great big lie. The lie that is so big people who are just listening to politics as it goes by them on the radio or the TV hear first. Nobody says it a lie and would a government really lie about something so important? And we are talking about a committee of an UN body and a Chinese person chairs that committee. So it must be true. Its a conspiracy.
But its not true. None of it. There have been multiple reports and research projects into the reef, some done by the federal government that says the reef is in a poor or very poor state. UNESCO may have listed the reef in danger in 2016, but for some last minute lobbying by Australia and a promise to do better in future.
“While the Great Barrier Reef is retaining its outstanding universal value as a World Heritage Area, its integrity is being increasingly challenged. Cumulative pressures, predominantly from climate change, combined with the time required for the recovery of key habitats, species and ecosystem processes, have caused the continued deterioration of the overall health of the Great Barrier Reef. The accumulation of impacts, through time and over an increasing area, is reducing its ability to recover from disturbances, with implications for Reef-dependent communities and industries.
Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is very poor.
These findings will be best addressed through timely and coordinated action across governments, industries and the community to address climate change, improve water quality and strengthen effective on-ground management actions. “
The reality is that the government knows about the damage that is being done to the reef. It knows climate change is the single biggest threat to the continued existence of the reef. And what are they doing? It was even tabled in the House of Representatives. So all MP’s should know.
Today here are some facts about how wonderful, unique and big the Great Barrier Reef is. If you want to know more just follow the links.
The Great Barrier Reef is unique as it extends over 14 degrees of latitude, from shallow estuarine areas to deep oceanic waters. Within this vast expanse are a unique range of ecological communities, habitats and species – all of which make the Reef one of the most complex natural ecosystems in the world. (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).
The Reef comprises 400 different species of coral, 4000 different species of mollusc, and many other kinds of invertebrates. There are 500 species of seaweed, 16 species of sea snake, 1500 species of fish, and 215 bird species, plus dugong and sea turtles.
Individual reefs are of two main types: platform reefs formed from radial growths, and wall reefs resulting from elongated growths, often in areas of strong water currents.
There are also fringing reefs on sub-tidal rock of the main coastline or continental islands. Each reef has a thin layer of living coral capping a structure made up mainly of calcareous sand and rubble from the breakdown and consolidation of coral and other skeletal material.
Many of the present reef areas were once hills on a former coastal plain, and these became islands when the water level rose after the last Ice Age, to be colonised by coral polyps. Each coral polyp lives inside a shell of aragonite (calcium carbonate), and the shells of dead coral are eventually cemented together and covered with more calcium carbonate, from encrusting calcareous algae. The polyps can only grow in shallow warm water, less than about 30 m depth and water temperatures above about 18° C.(Australian Museum).
UNESCO the body responsible for identifying places of world significance wants to place the Great Barrier Reef on the in danger list. A responsible government should have known this was coming. In 2015 UNESCO considered doing this but a lobbying effort by Australia and other countries saw it postponed.
The government says it has been blind-sided by this decision. It has not. It was inevitable. The Federal Government always looks for a political fix never the solution. They will blame everyone except themselves.
A natural phenomenon as iconic to Australia as that other great natural landmark Uluru is being allowed to die because of inaction by the Federal Government.
The Great Barrier Reef was World Heritage listed in 1981. It has been described as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It stretches for 3000 kilometres from Bundaberg in the south to the Cape York in the north. It attracts millions of tourists a year to see the colorful corals and the diverse marine and bird life that live in and around the coral.
The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Climate Change and run off from land based industry has caused unprecedented bleaching of the coral. We must act now. Not only will the coral die but so too all the diverse wildlife that depends on it. And a wonderful colorful piece of the planet, a place which surpasses all the images of it, where you can experience nature in a big and bold fantastic dance, will die and our lives will so much poorer for it.
We must do everything we can to save this iconic and magnificent natural wonder.
I stopped at Lake Bolac on my way north. I had been through here many of times when I was younger. But I think this was the first time I stopped to look at the lake. Before Europeans arrived Lake Bolac was a meeting place for many of the Indigenous clans of the region. They met to celebrate and share the work and feast on the eels which inhabited Lake Bolac. Thousands of Indigenous people were observed at Lake Bolac in the early days of European colonisation.
Apparently, there were permanent shelters around the lake, so it is likely that people had lived here for many, many thousands of years.
Lake Bolac was recently in the news because a careless farmer removed rocks from a large eel shaped formation on land just outside the town. The stone arrangement known as Kooyang (short finned eel) had about 60 metres of its tail removed in April 2021.
There is not much to see at Rossbridge but it is important to me personally. In February 1863, there was a tragedy which is marked by a memorial. Four children died in a fire in a shepherds hut. John Keith MacDougall, poet, writer and founding member of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria, fenced off the site and in 1981 The Ararat Historical Society along with the family, my family erected a memorial.
The four Murphy children who died, John 9, William 6, Elizabeth 4, and Michael 2 years old were the children of my 2nd Great Grand Parents Michael and Catherine Murphy. My Great Grand Father John William was born in 1865. It is likely that Catherine was pregnant with Mary Ann who was born in 1863. It must have been deeply traumatic for Catherine and Michael. In her later years Catherine was supposed to have stated that she have suffered her purgatory on earth and surely would go straight to heaven. Of the 11 children that Catherine and Michael had only 3, including my great grandfather survived to adulthood.
John Keith MacDougall was a poet and farmer and politician who went on to become the Labor Member for Wannon. He was painfully shy and a romantic and he let his writing do his talking for him.
I very recently visited my sister and brother who both live in Cobden.
They live on opposite banks of theCurdies Rivera few kilometres apart. I grew up not far from here on a dairy farm at Cooriemungle.
My sister and her partner are planning a trip to Central Australia later this month. I went to Warrnamboolwith them to pick up a few things at the local BCF. I haven’t been to Warrnambool for many years. We drove around the foreshore which had been badly hit by heavy seas the week before. The smell of sea weed was pretty intense so we didn’t stop.
The last time I had driven the Great Ocean Roadfrom Peterborough to Princetownit had been wall to wall tourists. The pandemic has seen numbers greatly reduced. There was one other car when we stopped at Peterborough and a lone fisherperson on the beach where my brothers and I had fished as kids. Although I had always been more interested in day dreaming than fishing. The Schomburg was wrecked here at the mouth of the Curdies River, Boxing Day 1855. The Captain James “Bully” Forbes had quite the story to tell.
Princetown was always a wonderful adventure when were kids. We had the place to ourselves. You would have to park and walk through the sand along the shores of the Gellibrand River to the sea. The width of the river at this spot was dependent on access to the ocean and it would occasionally flow into the sea at incredible speed. It was forever changing and was a place of wonder. Not far from here is Gibson’ Steps. Even today a long and treacherous decent to the sandy beach. For me always a place of awe and adventure.
The road that leads inland was our local road. Where the reeds grow close to the road I had seen a tiger snake there on more than one occasion. Thankfully I was in a car at the time. But I suspect there were plenty around.
A little further on is a Pony Club carved out of the bush where we rode our horses to and back. It was a long ride. We would always look forward to riding through the forest, me trotting along on my little pony, along sandy tracks and the occasional jump that even my pony could manage. It was magical and you could imagine yourself all alone in this fantastic world.
Menindee is just over a thousand kilometres north west of Sydney. It is fed by the Barka/Darling River. It is culturally and environmentally important. The Barkindji gaining Native Title rights in 2015, but to the land not the water of the Barka. It is an important habitat for birds and fish species when it is in flood.
This is photo I took while camped at Lake Pamamaroo near the town of Menindee, NSW. I have always wanted to go here. When I was a young environmental activist it was a dream of mine to visit sometime. I finally did it. Just me and my dog Poppy. Its a long way from anywhere and a bit scary when your on your own. But now i have been once, I want to go again. It is quite magical.
The water is still flowing into Lake Pamamaroo. It is amazing to think that this water has come from tropical rain many thousands of kilometres away in southern Queensland.
This is what the country looks like from Broken Hill to Menindee. The main features in this part of the drive are the dead kangaroos beside the road and the dozens of crows attracted to the roadkill.
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant growing on another plant using the water and nutrients of its host. This little Mistletoe was everywhere where I was camped. It provides a bit of colour in the landscape.
I am re-publishing this story, because of the recent news about the Federal Government opening up an area near this spot for gas exploration. The story is of a wonderful adventure I went on with my Dad , Marko, his friend, Fred, and my two brothers Stephen and Mark.
Gibson’s Steps and the Great Ocean Road have changed dramatically since this adventure. It would have been in the mid 1970’s I guess. But it is still an area of outstanding beauty and on its day wild fury.
It was my back yard when I was a young person. I can remember sitting on a cliff watching the waters form giant whirlpools while the next day I could scramble down to a tiny sandy beach. It was always magical and absolutely awe inspiring.
Gas exploration has no business being anywhere near here.
Dad would occasionally take the boys out fishing, for crayfish usually. He went out with a neighbour, Fred, a quiet man from memory.
Crazy stuff, fishing alongside the Apostles, riding mighty waves powered by the southern swells. My brothers told me of a time returning early, trying to outrace a fast moving storm, their boat had rode a huge wave that brought them safely to harbour.
I wish I had listened to the stories more, because they were full of playful dolphins and pesky sharks. Of rogue waves and giant rock stacks. Of danger and adventure. But it happened mostly at night time and the stories took on a dream like state. Although the crayfish were very real. Dad would put them in the old concrete sinks in the laundry.
But today he was going to “the beach” and I was invited. I jumped at the chance. I think “the beach” was for mum’s sake, to ease her anxiety and give her a false sense of security. I was excited. I don’t think I had been fishing with dad since we had been out on the Wacol after Murray cod.
I was still thinking about a nice day at the beach when we arrived at Gibson’s Steps. Today the steps are made out of timber and concrete and as long as you’re fit anyone can make it down and back. Back then, they were carved out of the cliff face. There were definitely steps, in places, no hand rails and sometimes you were a footstep away from disaster. The fall may have been on to sand but it was a long way down.
They had been named after Gibson, owner of Glenample Station during the middle part of the 19 Century. The beach and steps probably had a much older name but I can find no record of that now.
It was low tide and it was a pleasant walk along the beach. The reef was on our left as we walked towards the very end of the beach. It was a beautiful day. Made more beautiful because we were the only ones there. There was a gentle breeze and the sun was shining.
We had learnt never to take the conditions of this coastline for granted. We never swam in the ocean except at Port Campbell, off the beach and the pier. We swam in the river not far from here. But never at the beach. Currents converging into a rip that roared into the southern ocean. Someone had died there when I was young. A visitor, a local wouldn’t have swum there. A tragedy for some family. But people I knew had died underestimating the sea. Washed away while fishing high up on the cliffs.
Beaches were for sightseeing and fishing. We had reached the end of the beach and we entered another world. At some stage in the past water had carved a tunnel through the limestone cliff.
Much as the ocean had formed the Apostles that brought the tourists, it was in the process of creating another. The tunnel was long and could only be accessed at low tide. It had a gate on the eastern side. To keep out the foxes I was told.
We entered the tunnel, no light, and pitch dark. The floor was sandy and there was plenty of room. We pretty quickly saw light coming from the other end. You just had to hold your breath and not think about rogue waves or earth tremors.
Out the other side, it was a scramble over some rocks and small beaches only visible at low tide. The cliffs, sheer, 100 metres tall, no escape there, just had to hurry now. There was nothing to hold the water back when it came. The beaches sloped down into the water. We raced towards rocks above the water line and a small beach protected by the rocks.
I was a bit late rounding the last point but luckily just got wet, just had nowhere else to go. Could see it coming, thought I had time, but it just got bigger and bigger. The wave smacked into me. Luckily we had a change of clothes.
Dad and his mate disappeared to fish and left us three kids to entertain ourselves. Dad and Fred were after crayfish and it probably didn’t matter to them if they caught any. The exhilaration of fishing in a place no one knew about was enough.
There were lots of little footprints in the sand and we discovered pretty quickly that they belonged to the Little Penguins. Despite us meaning them no harm the few that were out and about quickly retreated to their homes in the rocks and we entertained ourselves for a short time by sticking our fingers into their homes and getting them bitten.
We didn’t know then that for the Little Penguin life was pretty tough on the mainland of Australia. Predation by foxes, dogs and cats had made life precarious, which explained the gate at the entrance. But for a few hours we spent happily sun baking, exploring, and eating our sandwiches. In a short time evidence of our visit would be all gone and the Little Penguins would reappear to go fishing.
When the tide turned we made our way out. You get a sense of just how violent this coast is, even on this calm and sunny day. We were nearly at the tunnel entrance and one of my brothers decided to risk the ocean side of a large rock and ended up to his neck in the sea water that had remained as the tide had receded. Both funny and terrible at the same time.
The tunnel no longer exists. It would not be safe for the millions of tourists that come to see this wild and wonderful coastline. The Little Penguins can continue to flourish on their rock covered beaches without the presence of foxes, cats and dogs and humans. And I can be thankful to my Dad and Fred for giving me a most wonderful adventure.
I am going to install Solar on the van. There are some things I am going to have to ask the experts about. Like, just how much wattage I need for a small fridge, some lighting, a small stove and backing up my phone and laptop. So I would welcome any suggestions.
I am a sixty something year old woman. I have spent a large part of my life involved in progressive politics. I got quite sick a few years ago and although I still have an interest in politics, politics has lost its interest in me. So I’m going to embrace the invisibility that my age and gender have given me and head out in my van, with my dog Poppy and enjoy the freedom of it all. I will be blogging my adventures starting at the beginning so join me.
Whilst I am yet to get started in my new life, I have been camping out in places I find of interest. I might just give you a taste of that as Poppy and I get set for our adventures.
Well lockdown on the Central Coast is a real stinker. The weather is beautiful and the scenery is pretty awesome. Because I am a hermit it has been easy to stay away from people, although there are heaps of people walking their dogs. I keep muttering under my breath at them for getting in the way but remind myself that they are in the same situation as me.
I tell myself if I am going to be a hermit I need to zen out a bit. But I hope you enjoy some of my photos.