To see the Mrs. Yollis and class post click the link...
To see Mrs. Yollis and class's post...
Hello Mrs. Yollis and class,
For us down south in Australia, this is the time of year for the Spring Equinox. Days are now growing longer than night and deciduous trees are sprouting new leaves.
1. Most native trees in Australia are evergreen, i.e. the leaves stay green throughout the year but parks and gardens often include non-native deciduous trees, including my own yard's Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum). Australia does have some native deciduous trees but not as many as you have and most are found in northern tropical areas.
My Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) has sprouted new leaves and small flowers. There is the sound of bees attracted to the flowers.
2. Our Spring Equinox has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night just like your Autumnal Equinox. It's at each equinox you and Australia have the same length day. Your days will now get shorter than night while our days get longer. As your blog stated, it's all to do with the Earth's tilt as it orbits the sun. For Australia, the tilt is bringing us spring and longer days. Here s a simple animation I prepared for you...
The above video clip may be used by students and schools for educational, non-profit purposes.
3. With warming weather and Term 3 vacation now underway, thoughts of being outside and, weather permitting, visiting the beach or our local national parks come to mind. The need for warm clothing will be swapped for cooler clothing. A sight you don't see on your beaches are kangaroos. Kangaroos also come into my yard looking for grass to eat when food is scarce.
4. Animal behaviour is changing here too. Birds are nesting, whales migrate south along our coast to spend summer in Antarctic waters and our marsupial and monotreme mammals produce their young.
A Nankeen kestrel out looking for food. It is a raptor, a bird of prey.
This is an old favourite photo of a mother koala and her young.
Wombat - This is Grace. She is an orphaned wombat joey. We call the young of our marsupials joeys. It looks like Grace might have been saying, "No photos!"
Migrating humpback whale.
Short-beaked Echidna - Echidnas are monotreme mammals. Together with the platypus, they are the only remaining mammals in the world where females produce eggs. Like other mammals, the females produce milk for their young.
Did you know a young echidna is known as a puggle?
I know the pup of beagle and pug dog parents can also be called a puggle but the echidna young have had that title much longer.
To see the post written by Mrs. Yollis and her class once a surprise package arrived...
Wombats, Marsupials and Joeys
Following the arrival of a friendly wombat to Mrs. Yollis and her class in California, I wanted to share a couple extra photos.
There are three species of wombat still to be found in Australia.
Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
Northern hairy-nosed wombat or yaminon (Lasiorhinus krefftii)
Southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons)
In my area, we see the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus). They are herbivores and live in burrows. Normally, they aren't see during the day but can be seen venturing out at dusk. I have seen them in the daytime but this is unusual. Unfortunately, wombats are sometimes killed when crossing roads but groups such as WIRES plus the staff at Potoroo Palace care for joeys if their mother is killed. The fathers don't take part in raising young. The photo below is of an orphaned wombat joey. It was in the care of Potoroo Palace staff. Potoroo Palace seeks to return injured and orphaned animals to the wild if at all possible.
One of Potoroo Palace's greatest wildlife heroes, and a friend, is Alexandra Seddon. She has devoted her life to wildife and the environment. A documentary of her life and care for the environment was just released. Click here to see the short about Alexandra and someof what she has achieved.
Wombats live in burrows.
Seems a little yucky but below is a photo of wombat droppings. They are easy to identify because they have a cubic shape.
I realised I hadn't added a video clip of wombats to my You Tube channel so I have added a brief one showing Bert the Wombat taken at Potoroo Palace back in 2011.
Kangaroos and Wallabies
Most people know of kangaroos and the smaller wallabies. Not only are some species native to my area, they sometimes feed on my front lawn and are an extra obstacle for golfers at a local golf course. Also marsupials, the females have pouches. They are not all the large kangaroos we see on TV. Here are just a few species.
Parma Wallaby (Macropus parma) Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city.
Tree Kangaroo Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city. Yes it climbs. There are 12 species of tree kangaroo found in New Guinea and northern Australia. The photo is of a Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and is found in New Guinea.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) - Very common in my area and sometimes have fed on my front lawn. The first photo shows females and joey too big for the pouch at Potoroo Palace. The second photo is of a male in the wild. He was about my height (183cm - 6').
This photo below shows Alexandra Seddon at Potoroo Palace. She is holding a swamp wallaby (wallabia bicolor). I see more of this species of wallaby thank eastern grey kangaroos.
Here is one of the short videos I have made showing the Eastern Grey Kangaroo at Potoroo Palace.
Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) rival kangaroos as the best known Australian animals. The first photo is of Suzie the Koala and the second of Blinky at Potoroo Palace in 2011. They were the parents of Sapphire. Blinky and Suzie passed away a few years back but Sapphire lives on a now is a mother. The video shares a little of Sapphire's life and includes her emerging from Suzie's Pouch. The video clip was made over two years from 2011 to 2013.
Did you notice Suzie has a much larger and more defined white patch on the chest? This is a feature of females.
Other Marsupials - Antechinus
There are so many marsupial species in Australia apart from wombats, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, too many to show here but I thought I would add a little about one of the smallest marsupials. The photo shows a mammal expert holding an antechinus in his hand. It was taken when I was recording activities in a local biological/environmental survey.
Antechinus are the size of mice and are often mistaken for them but they are true marsupials and females have a pouched area to carry young. Antechinus have pointier snouts than placental mice (common mouse).
It's been some time since I have added a post. My life as a carer as well as recording and producing DVDs and occasionally CDs for schools and community groups as well as taking long hikes when I can escape to one of our national parks has kept me busy but, with a new school year having started for some of my Northern Hemisphere friends, I wanted to share a post about some local animals and a group called Backyard Buddies.
Backyard Buddies is a free education program run by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Backyard Buddies are the native plants and animals that share our built-up areas, waterways, backyards and parks. Backyard Buddies are also the people who value native wildlife and want to protect it.
In order to raise funds and awareness, Backyard Buddies sells soft toys. Appreciating the work they do, I have purchased some over the last few years and want to give them a new home. I will share a little about each of the three soft toys I have and at the end of each section will reveal where they will find new homes.
Sulphur Crested White Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Sulphur-Crested White Cockatoos are common in my area and are often heard because of their loud squarking call. Most days, some of the cockatoos visit my yard looking for seed I leave out for native birds. Occasionally, one of the cheeky birds comes near my back door, looks inside and squawks loudly if I'm a little late putting out seed.
The photo is of a pair of cockatoos looking for seed in my backyard. I have a Backyard Buddies cockatoo soft toy that will be winging its way to a school I know so well in Calgary, Canada. They will also find a small plastic sign, a copy of the type drivers in Australia might see along the roads in some areas.
Kangaroos, and the smaller wallabies, are often seen when I'm hiking or along roadsides. Because of this, kangaroo warning signs are often along the roadside. For the unwary driver, the kangaroos and wallabies can suddenly jump in front of cars , especially in early morning and dusk. I'm sad to say, I often see kangaroos and wallabies on the roadside that didn't make it across roads.
Occasionally, kangaroos and wallabies visit my front yard in order to fee on the grass on my lawn. The most common kangaroo species around here are eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). The males can be up to nearly 2m in height. The photo is of a young eastern grey kangaroo in full hop. The most common wallaby species is the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor).
Did you know scientists looked at the hopping of kangaroos and wallabies because they wanted to find out if it was an energy-efficient way of moving? They found the hopping can help them cover large distances quickly whereas walking would use much more energy to cover the same distance.
A Backyard Buddy kangaroo will be hopping its way to a school in Whitfield, U.K.
Wombats, like kangaroos and wallabies, are common in my area and can sometimes be seen along the roadside where they weren't able to make it safely across the road. The plastic sign with this Backyard Buddy is a small version of the wombat warning sign drivers can see along some of our roads. The photo shows an adult wombat I saw while hiking. Unusually, I saw it during the day whereas they normally come out of their burrows as it starts to become dark.
The wombats in my area are known as common wombats (Vombatus ursinus), They can be an average of about 26kg in weight. The photo below is of a young wombat being cared for at Potoroo Palace Native Animal Educational Sanctuary. It's mother had been killed on the road.
The Backyard Buddy wombat will be digging his way to a class in California.
My Local National Parks
There are three national parks as well as two nature reserves in my area, They are Ben Boyd National Park, Bournda National Park, South East Forest National Park, Bournda Nature Reserve and Nadgee Nature Reserve. When I can find the time, I visit some of the sites and go hiking and taking photos. You can see some of the photos I have taken on my Google+ page at Ross Mannell.
As I tend to hike alone, I carry a peronal emergency beacon (PEB) with me in case of an emergency if I'm out of range for mobile phones. My love of hiking dates back to when I was a Scout back in the 60s.
The Grade Three Bloggers wrote a post about the packages I sent them. What started as a simple comment grew and so a post was needed. To see their original post, click the link below...
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”
Mark Van Doren
When I retired from teaching I at first thought my times of assisting the education of others was coming to an end yet, as can happen in life, it was the time of new beginnings. Through blogging I found I could still be involved in the learning of others and, having always wanted to share with others, I found I could still share resources as I had with children in my classes. The packages I sent were some of the learning “treasures” I still collect in the hope of sharing.
“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Will Durant - The Great Gadfly, Time magazine, 8 October 1965
I shared the above quote because I have found similar to Will Durant, although sixty years ago I was only one year old. It seems the more we learn, the more we realise how much there is still to know.
As I read through the cards, I discovered new information about some of the animals; in fact some of the animals were unknown to me before I read the cards. I realised I still have large gaps of knowledge waiting to be filled. Learning is a lifelong journey just waiting for us to explore.
Unlike Mrs. Renton, I find snakes interesting and have seen a number of poisonous species while out hiking. Red-bellied black snakes, tiger snakes, eastern brown snakes and death adders are native to my area. I have a healthy respect for these snakes and tend to keep my distance although I once had to chase a young black snake out of a school playground. Black snakes are the shyest of these snakes and prefer to slither away rather than attack.
What’s happening for the rest of my year?
You already know I film and produce DVDs and CDs for schools and community groups in my area. I have an adult choir and a dancing school production edit under way at this time and will soon film a school play (Dec. 8) and Kindergarten Graduation (Dec. 11) in two schools. With our year soon to end, I thought that might be the end of projects for the year but I had a phone call and have been asked to again be a photographer and videographer for a BioBlitz on December 4 and 5.
What’s a BioBlitz?
Scientists and interested amateurs, including school students, take part in animal and plant surveys in a given area. It’s a method of checking the environmental/ecological health of an area. This time it will be in Bournda National Park to the north of my town. It will be the second I have been able to record.
I arrive with cameras ready before dawn each day hoping to capture a sunrise at least once. The Friday doesn’t end until about 8 p.m. and the Saturday ends around 4 p.m. It’s a chance to learn more about my area. It seems there’s so much yet to see.
I know I will be adding photos and video clips to my collection and sharing them with the BioBlitz team. I hope to add a blog post about the experience by the beginning of 2016. I wonder if I will be able to photograph some interesting animals again this time?
Here are a few images from the 2014 BioBlitz in an area known as Panboola…
Sunset in Panboola
The little guy below is a marsupial mouse, species antechinus.
Birds of Prey
What people thought about being involved in the BioBlitz.
To view Mrs, Watson and K/1/2/3 original post, click the link below…
Hello Mrs Watson and K/1/2/3,
A favourite instrument... Like so many things in life I have many favourites because I like the sounds. I play a little recorder, flute and piano but not very well so they are amongst my favourites.
At times, I like unusual musical sounds so discovering new instruments means hearing new sounds. From more ancient instruments in Aboriginal culture such as the didgeridoo (another spelling is didjeridu), clapsticks and bullroarer to instruments such as sitars (India), shamisen (Japan), djemba drums (Africa), Taiko drums (Japan), and voices raised in music, I like the sounds. They can be fascinating.
One big activity I have here in Australia is filming school and community performances in order to produce DVDs andsometimes CDs. While I can’t share the images, I can share the sounds from some performances. Here is a little audio from a few of the performances I have put together for you…
African Djemba drums and a cowbell
Djemba drumshave a fantastic sound when played together. You can feel the sound in the room. This is the sound of around 30 drummers from a primary school.
Didgeridoo and clapsticks
Didgeridoos are played by the men in a number of Aboriginal cultures. Women aren't permitted to play one. Clapsticks are two stcks struck together to give the beat. This was a recording of primary school boys and girls performing a traditional dance.
Dingboxes and boomwhackers
I must admit, when I first heard of dingboxes and boomwhackers, I wasn't certain what they were. Did you know? Dingboxes are boxes with a springed lid and a tuned bell inside. Step on the box lid and the bell rings. Boomwhackers are length of tuned plastic tubes you can hit together. The other sound a little like a drum is a person hitting a box with their hand.
Recorder and violin
As I once taught the recorder in class, I like their sound if played well. This is the sound of 31 primary school recorder players with two high school students playing violins over a recorded background.
This was a new piece of equipment I heard for the first time this year. It was used by a high school student to create an original piece. You will hear her add sound using only her voice. The Loop pedal stores the sound and then repeats it while she adds a new sound. After adding a third sound to make the backing, you hear her sing. I thought it was fascinating to hear one person create such a sound using the loop pedal.
This is an original piece of music from a performance I was asked to record. A choir of 9 people use their voices to create the sounds of a coming storm. You hear thunder as they stamp their feet and their voices create the sound of rain falling.
Taiko drums are traditional in Japan. Played together, I like the sound. You can feel the sound in the room as Taiko drums are played.
I also like the sounds of nature. Listen to the sounds of these birds…
A favourite, the kookaburra…
While hiking recently, I saw one kookaburra fly to a tree where another was perched. I suspected they would start to sing together. The recording is the sound they made. Can you hear why some people think kookaburras are laughing at us?
While hiking, 50 to 100 ravens landed in the trees around me…
It was quie a surprise to see so many ravens in one place so I took out my phone and recorded them. The raven choir sounded incredible.
and a sound recording taking me weeks to get close enough, the lyrebird…
The lyrebird, named for the lyre shape of its tail, is a mimic bird. This recording is of a lyrebird copying the calls of other birds. I have heard of lyrebirds copying the sound of machines and of one, raised from a chick by someone who played the flute, being heard mimicking the sound of flute music. While shy of people in the wild, I have seen them a number of times but find it hard to get close enough to record them singing. On the day of the recording, I was down wind from the bird and could see its lyre tail just above a bush. It didn't see or hear me.
* * * * *
While sounds can be loud, soft, musical and even horrible, they are part of the world we live in. Whether we hear them or feel them, I love hearing interesting new sounds.
Did I say feel them? Have you felt the vibrations caused by sound? Drum beats, especially large drums, bass guitars, and the delicate vibrations of a soft piano piece when you put your ear against the piano, we can both hear and feel them.
Did you know one of the great composers, Beethoven, became deaf as he grew older? He still composed music but would place his ear against the piano to feel the sounds. He wrote his final and 9th symphony when almost totally deaf.
Did any of you feel the music through the floor as you listened to your ABC performance?
To see Global Grade 3's original post, click the link below
Hello Global Grade 3,
I'll start by repeating the wonderful quote from Henry Miller at the beginning of you post...
The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
I saw your post entitled "The Power of Observation and Wonder" and found it very interesting to read. I was going to write a reply because, as the previous Global Grade 3 class knows, I am interested in many things including stones but I have been very busy filming and making DVDs for schools. However, your "A Closer Look at MAPS!" post again caught my attention so I thought I'd write a short post about maps.
I have seen many types of maps including the types you have studied. Perhaps my favourite modern maps are the types I used as a Scout. I would say, "Give me a good map and a compass and I can usually find my way around."
I have scanned an old topographical map I used in the 1970s. It was measured in miles and feet but we were changing over to kilometres and metres around then. Have a look at the map. Click on it to see it larger...
The map has a great deal of information. I can see red lines showing roads. Some roads are shown as white with red dashes to show they are dirt roads. There are thick black lines with small, double dashes along them to show a railway line. Blues lines show rivers and creeks. We can easily see Blackheath is a town but there are large areas without streets and those areas interest me as I have explored those areas.
Can you see the brown wriggly lines on the map?
The brown lines are contour lines. They show heights. Each line shows a height of 50 feet more or less than the next. Some of the lines have numbers such as 3200. The 3200 tells me at that place the land is 3200 feet above sea level. Looking at the numbers and the lines can tell me if I will be going up or down when hiking. Let's look closer at a section of the map...
I have added the red numbers to help students find specific points.
See the black, single dashed lines?
They are walking tracks I have followed. I have walked down from number 1 to 3 and up from 3 to 2.
1 - The beginning of the track is about 3250 feet above sea level.
2 - The end of the dirt road is about 3200 feet above sea level
3 - Beachamp Falls is about 2650 feet above sea level.
The map shows me if I walk down from 1 to 3, I will drop 600 feet. If I then walk up to 2, I will go up 550 feet. Because the brown lines are close together, I know the track will be steep in places.
Do you notice one section is named Grand Canyon?
It's not even close to the size of the Grand Canyon in U.S.A. but it is steep sided.
Let's look at some photos I had taken around 1980 in the Grand Canyon and at Beauchamp Falls.
Starting down the steep track from 1.
We pass through a small tunnel and behind waterfalls.
Deep down in the Grand Canyon.
Until we reach Beauchamp Falls at 3.
And now for two photos for your "The Power of Observation and Wonder" post. The photos show rocks that caught my eye but were left in place. They were in a national park so we are not allowed to take them. They were also far too big to carry.
The first shows a large sandstone rock.
Can you see the black mark?
It is the remains of a tree trunk buried under sand millions of years ago but now exposed after a rock fall. It is a fossil record of the tree.
The second shows an even larger sandstone rock.
Do you notice the ripples on it?
Millions of years ago sand was rippled by flowing water. A thin layer of mud covered the ripples and in time left a fossil record of water running over sand.
What is even more amazing is this sandstone was sand under the sea millions of years ago but it is now lying 2650 feet above sea level. These rocks of sandstone certainly caught my eye and the eyes of the children I had taken there as we thought of their long history.
When we then walk the 550 feet in height (but much longer along track) back up to 2, this is what we see when looking north.
...and now your interesting questions...
How long does it take to study a place and then make the map?
For early map makers, they might have to walk, ride or travel by ship in order to make maps so it could take a long time to make a map.
Back in August 1768, Captain James Cook set sail from England. He was taking scientists to Tahiti to observe Venus crossing the Sun. Once the scentists had finished their observations, Cook's orders were to sail south to find Terra Australis Incognita, the unknown southern land, some people thought must exist.
In September, 1769 he reached New Zealand and set about mapping its islands.
In April 1770, he reached a land he named New South Wales. It was really the east coast of Australia. He sailed north along the coast mapping as he went. Cook and his ship didn't return to England until 12th July, 1771. It had taken him and his crew three years to make the journey and return with the maps he had made.
Today, with satellites, GPS and Google Earth, we can map the world from our own homes.
How many different kinds of maps are there?
Interesting question and makes me wonder what a map might be. We know most types but is a plan for a house a map? Is a design for a new machine a map? They also show where things are.
Are there maps about SPACE?
Now this is complicated. In your post , you noticed the maps you saw were two dimensional flat maps. In order to find a place on a map, you needed to know how far up or down and side to side a place is.
To accurately map space, we would need a three dimensional map and it would have to be huge because space is huge. Using computer models, there are space maps. Here is a link to a 3D space map animation representing 400,000 galaxies. Remember our Sun is just one star amongst possibly hundreds of billions in just one of those galaxies.
How do pilots use maps?
Have a look at this aviator's map. It's how a pilot might plot a course using information on their computer.
Of course, pilots in early days didn't have computers. They would look down to the ground and possibly follow roads or railways to their destination or they might use a compass so an old fashioned paper might might have helped.
Do we have maps for EVERYTHING?
WOW! Maps of everything? Even on our own Earth there are places no one has ever been so, for example, there are no accurate maps for some of the deepest places in our oceans. What about other planets, stars, galaxies? We may not have maps for everything but we do have maps of very many things but there is still so much more waiting for someone like you to map.
What jobs need maps?
Cartographers (map makers), pilots, sailors, explorers, delivery drivers, police, ambulance, fire fighters, tow truck drivers... There would be so many jobs where we might need maps at some time.
How old is the OLDEST map?
A link if you want to see old maps.... Early World Maps
Look at these three maps...
The first shows the world as known by the Greeks perhaps 3000 years ago. It shows the Mediterranean Sea.
The 500 BC map from around 2500 years ago shows the Red Sea and the opening into the Atlantic Ocean.
By 150 AD Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia has appeared on the maps. Notice Terra Incognita at the bottom right of the map. It's what Captain Cook was sent to find or show wasn't there.
How many countries are there in the world?
Interesting... The United Nations has 193 countries as members. My blog has had visits from 193 countries and I have seen 196 listed as the number of independent countries in the world. Here is a link for you...
Do maps ever change? (This one brought up some VERY interesting conversations around Bombay, Calgary, Nunavut and the NEW islands that VOLCANOES create!!!)
Maps have to change when what has been mapped changes.
Yes, volcanoes can create new islands.
You know about the big island of Hawaii. Did you know deep under the ocean around 30 kilometres south of The Big Ilsand there is a new volcano rising around 10,000 feet from the ocean floor with only about 3100 feet before it reaches the surface? If in the future it does break the surface, Hawaii will have a new Island.
The islands of Hawaii were formed in this way and will eventually erode into the ocean as many have already done over millions of years. Look at the Google Earth image below. The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle at the bottom. Look carefully and you can seen now submerged volcanoes moving off to the left as you go north. They may once have been islands as is Hawaii.
When we have changes in the level of the sea, land also changes. In times of ice ages, sea levels can be much lower and expose more land. When the first people came to Australia around 30,000 years ago, they were able to walk from New Guinea into Australia and cross to Tasmania by land. Now you would need boats.
The opposite happens when sea levels rise. Some islands in our oceans are now underwater but were once above. It worries island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Another country I find interesting is the Netherlands (Holland). Over generations, they have taken back land from the sea using dykes and sea walls. In the news recently there have been stories of islands being built by the Chinese government in the South China Sea.
And in your own part of the world, when new suburbs, roads, streets, airports, railways, etc are built, maps need to change.
Do maps ever change? They have to if they need to be accurate.
I'll end with a quote, not from some famous philosopher or writer but from a character in the movie, "Superman", released in 1978...
“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” – Lex Luthor
Both your quote at the beginning and this at the end tell me the key to learning is to keep our minds and senses open to all around us for, if we do, we will begin to see our world and those beyond as containing mysterious, awesome and magnificent opportunites just waiting to be discovered.
At the beginning I said I'd write a short post about maps. I do get carried away when I see something as interesting as your posts. 🙂
This post was written as an extended comment for a student sharing a post on Memorial Day in the U.S.A. You can see her post by clicking...
Hello Mallory, Mrs. Yollis and class,
I found this post to be interesting as it shares a few things of interest to me. Looking at Memorial Day, Australia's equivalent would be ANZAC Day held each year on April 25. It's a day when Australians remember those men and women who have served our country in war.
Bega Soldier's Memorial
A Little ANZAC History
This year, 2015, held special significance for Australia and New Zealand because it marked the 100th anniversary of the day the ANZAC tradition began. Firstly, ANZAC is an acronym coming from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It's a word used to describe the combined forces sent by New Zealand and Australia to help England in World War 1 (WW1).
Australia had only become a nation in 1901 when the British colonies, now our states, agreed to form the Australian Commonwealth, i.e. Australia as a nation. With England's declaration of war against Germany in WW1, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand also declared they were at war with Germany. This was to be the first time Australians had gone to war as Australians.
Ships set sail from Australia and New Zealand with troops expecting to fight in Europe against Germany but a failed attempt to use naval strength to take the Ottoman Empire, and ally of Germany now known as Turkey, out of the war, ANZAC and other troops of the British Commonwealth were sent to the Gallipoli Peninsula then known as Çanakkale Savaşı to the Turkish. It was on April 25, 1915 ANZAC troops first landed at Gallipoli.
The Battle of Gallipoli (Çanakkale) lasted from April 25, 1915 until January 9, 1916 when British troops including the ANZACs withdrew from Gallipoli. There was huge numbers of soldiers killed on both sides of the battle where conditions were very poor for soldiers, many also dying of disease.
For the ANZACs, it may have been a defeat but it marked the beginning of a tradition. ANZAC Day each April 25 is a time when Australians and New Zealanders pause to remember those who have died in wars from that first battle up until modern times.
What did I do on ANZAC Day, 2015?
A few years back, I set myself a task of filming the ANZAC Day ceremonies in towns having one of the local schools in our Sapphire Coast Learning Community including 2 high schools and 13 primary (elementary) schools. I knew it was a task that would take a number of years as I didn't expect to finish until 2018. the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.
My ANZAC Day this year started at 4:30 a.m.. I rose and headed down to the memorial in my town of Merimbula in order to set up a video camera to record what is known as the Dawn Service. The Dawn Service ended a little after 6:00 a.m.. I haven't as yet processed the video of The Dawn Service so I can't yet share it here but the photo below was taken during the service.
Merimbula Dawn Service
After returning home for breakfast, I next headed into our main shire town of Bega for the ANZAC Day March and Ceremony. It was only after this ceremony my ANZAC Day ended. I returned home by 1:00 p.m..
Below are two video clips I made of the Bega ANZAC Day march and ceremony. They were used in a DVD I gave to schools in Bega and members of the R.S.L. (Returned Services League for veterans).
Bega ANZAC Day March and Ceremony part 1 and 2
Do I have anyone in my family who had served in the military?
Before WW1 started, I had a great uncle (my father's uncle) who was in the Australian Naval Reserve. With decelaration of war against Germany, naval reservists were called up and sailed north in order to capture Germany territories around New Guinea. That means my Great Uncle Ernie was in one of the first battles of World War 1.
Great Uncle Ernie taken in 1915
After taking over the German colonies, my great uncle had returned to Australia and had resigned from the naval reserve. He was later to join the Australian Army and was sent to fight in Europe. He was killed in action over there but exactly where he lies isn't certain. He was one of the many unknown soldiers.
With the coming of World War 2 (WW2), my father and five uncles joined the forces serving in the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. All of my uncles survived that war and returned to Australia.
My father (left) and a friend in 1940 before leaving for Singapore.
My father had also returned but his fate in the war wasn't as "easy" as the others. He had been sent to defend Singapore from Japanese attack but, when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, he spent most of the war as a Prisoner of War. He always marched in ANZAC Day marches. My brothers, mother and I would travel into Sydney to watch so ANZAC Day is also a day I remember my father who died back in 1967. My mother is a War Widow as it was determined my father had died as a result of his years as a P.O.W..
What else caught my interest in your post?
You mentioned you were a Girl Scout. I spent many years as a Cub Scout and Scout and eventually rose to earn the Queen's Scout Award (sort of like the Eagle Scout). As a scout, I had at times marched in ANZAC Day parades as a flag bearer. Scouting gave me a love for hiking and the outdoors that has stayed with me through life. Below is a photo of my Queen's Scout badge.
If the British Commonwealth has a king as it's head, this badge would be known as the King's Scout badge. My Queen's Scout badge was awarded to me by the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler, back in the early 70s.
Another blogging milepost has been reached. There have now been over 200 posts on this blog since it was started in May, 2012. For number 201, I thought I would introduce the celebration for the 200th post by sharing a little information on bilbies. At the end, there is a surprise for the class that received post 200 and something for the class one off at post 199.
Lesser Bilby (macrotis leucura)
The lesser bilby (macrotis leucura) is thought to have become extinct in the 1950s.
Greater Bilby (macrotis lagotis)
The greater bilby is listed as threatened. Let's learn a little about the greater bilby.
From the photo, you can see their size and long ears give them a rabbit-like appearance. While many comment on the likeness of bilbies to rabbits, bilbies are, like kangaroos, marsupials.
Bilbies are nocturnal (they come out at night) and were once found in arid (desert), semi-arid (almost desert) and some better areas but are now only found in arid areas.
Greater bilbies can be 29-55cm (11-22in) in length. Males can grow up to 1.0 - 2.4kg (2.2 - 5.3lb) in captivity (zoos and animal sanctuaries) while females can grow to 0.8 - 1.1kg (1.8 - 2.4lb) in the wild.
Bilbies have a good sense of smell and, as you might guess by their ears, good hearing. Like humans, they are omnivores (eat plants and animals). Their diet includes fruits, seeds, fruit, insects, spiders, and other small animals. They find most of their food by scratching and digging in the soil.
Like other marsupials, their young are born (usually 1 to 3 joeys) very small (about 0.5cm of 0.25in after only 12 to 14 days) and must make their way into the mother's pouch where they attach to a teat.
Bilbies live in burrows so bilby mothers have developed pouches facing backward to stop soil getting in or babies being knocked out. Young bilbies leave the pouch after about 70-75 days. A female bilby can have up to four litters per year if conditions are good.
Saving the Bilby
There are zoos and animal sanctuaries with bilby breeding programs in Australia. Possibly the most famous bilby has been named George. He lives in Taronga Zoo's Prince George Bilby Exhibit in Sydney and was given the name in honour of the young Prince George when he visited the zoo with his father and mother, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
In 2014, I shared some information with a class about bilbies at Easter time and the sale of chocolate bilbies to help support the Save the Bilby Fund. Easter has passed again but I wanted to support the Save the Bilby Fund yet again this year. With the 200th post on this blog approaching, I thought I might buy some of the Save the Bilby Fund items in order to give the class receiving the 200th as well as some items for the classes one off at the 199th and 201st posts.
The class that received the 200th post will get the following package of Save the Bilby items...
The 199th post class will receive the pack pictured below with a smaller bilby.
Your class missed out on the 199th or 200th post?
I have one extra pack pictured below. It was meant to be sent to the class receiving the 201st post but work I do for local schools and community groups has meant my time has been short and I am about to share another milestone for this blog. Any class leaving a comment for this post has the chance of receiving the pack below. You don't need to have received a post or to have ever visited this blog. You simply need to be a school class. Individual students need to ask permission from their teacher before leaving a comment because the pack will only be sent to a class not the student with the winning comment. I will randomly select a winning comment in two weeks (June 6, 2015).
How do you get a post on this blog?
As the name of the blog implies, most posts on this blog are written as a comment for a class or student blog post when content has caught my interest and I wish to share more than a simple comment. Others can be made in reply to a comment or question left in the comments section of this blog's posts. You can ask directly for a post on a topic but the decision to write a post depends on whether I feel I can and if I have time but the answer is usually yes if a class wants information.
This post is the 200th to be posted on this blog. It's been a wonderful journey of sharing. 🙂
Mrs Jordan and Year 4, take a look at the "Post 201: About Bilbies and 200 Posts" post for a surprise.
A class posed the question, "What technology did you use when you were younger?" To see their original post, click on their question.
What technology did I use?
Let's take a journey back to the 1950s. When I was born, radio and going to the cinema, drive in or live performances were the normal entertainment. Computers were around but they were big, heavy and very expensive yet your mobile phone of today is far more powerful. These computers were only found in big companies or universities, not in homes.
Let's see some of the changes I saw.
Telephone - Telephones had been around for a long time before I was nborn but my family was the first in our street to have a telephone so neighbours would make and receive calls to our house. I still remember our phone number. It was UY 5734. That's right, we had letters and numbers and the phone had a rotary dial. It could be very awkward if it was a cold, rainy night when someone called for a neighbour and my father had to go and get them.Television - They started to appear in Australia in 1956. We, like the phone, were the only home with television in our area. It was black and white and not a very big screen. My father would arrive home from work to find people everywhere in our loungeroom trying to look at the TV screen. At first, they were just looking at photos such as of the Sydney Harbour Bridge until one night on 16th September, 1956 a man named Bruce Gyngell appeared to welcome us to television. Television had started so we could watch the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. For us in Sydney, our first TV station was TCN-9.
Record players - My parents owned a radio/record player for music and news. My mother had 78rpm* as well as 33 1/3rpm LP* records.
Games - They weren't electronic. We had board games such as Monopoly, checkers, chess and Ludo.
Cameras - We had film cameras we would use to take photos. Once taken, we would send the rolls of film away to be processed and printed. There were no video cameras but we did have movie cameras. The home movie cameras used 8mm film (see below). However, some people used 16mm film in cameras. They gave better pictures but were much more expensive. My first photo camera looked more like a black box and didn't take very good photos but my father had a better camera.
8mm movie camera and film
Here is a scan of some 8mm film frames. It's from a Popeye cartoon.
Movie film shows 1 frame (picture) at a time. When chaning quickly, the pictures seem to be moving. Here is a video clip showing how 8 frames from above can seem to move.
We would watch the 8mm movies projected on a screen.
*rpm - revolutions per minute - the number of times it turns in one minute.
* LP - long playing
There were no computers, iPads, and mobile phones in homes back then.
I was in primary and high school in the 1960s. Classes could have 40 children.
Pens and ink wells - At first, we had pencils but no ball point pens in class. In Year 3, I was an ink well monitor. My job was to fill the inkwells so students could dip their pens in to write. It was late 1963 when the school allowed students to use ball point pens. The only other way of writing was if we had a typewriter.
Computers - It was in the late 60s I saw my first computer at a science fair at high school. It was huge and could only play noughts and crosses. By the late 60s I had an interest in electronics so the big machine with valves in it reminded me of inside TVs of the day.
Transistor radio - The 60s was also the time I bought my first transistor radio. Imagine being able to hold a radio in your hand and listen to music.
This was when technology started to take off for me.
TV Games - I bought an electronic kit and was able to make a very simple game I could play on a TV. A small, very simple motorbike would move across the screen as you twisted a knob on the control box I built. You had to jump small "buses" that looked like white blobs.
The game looked a little like this on the screen.
Computers - In 1971, I visited the Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights south of Sydney. I saw my first nuclear reactor and serious computer while there, a computer no one could afford to have in the home. The programs were on a series of cards. Programmers punched out holes in them. Hundreds might be needed for a big project so they would be left to run overnight. If one card had a mistake, the whole computer stopped and waited until the car was fixed.
This is what a programming card looked like.
Computers and me - It was in the 70s I first had the chance to use a computer while studying science at Sydney University. We didn't have floppy disks, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, USB devices or computer screens. There was a very large typing machine where you would type in your program. To have a copy of the program, a long strip of thick paper tape was fed through the printer and holes were punched in it. Graduates had something special, they had cassette drive but I was an undergraduate and had to stick to the tape.
The first computer I used at university (college) looked a little like this.
Teaching technology - When I started teaching in the 70s, I was a high tech type of teacher. Back then it meant I used a cassette player/recorder, a slide projector, and 8mm movie projector and an overhead projector in class. I wasn't able to use computers in class in the 70s but I did build some simple electronic kits for the children to use.
35mm Slide Projector. It still works.
8mm Movie Projector. It still works.
Overhead Projector. It still works.
Television - Colour TV started in the mid 70s.
Calculators - I was able to buy my first calculator in the 1970s. It could only add, subtract, multiply and divide. Around 1975, I bought my first scientific calculator. It could do much more. It's old and very worn but I still have it. Before calculators, I used a slide rule and logarithm tables.
My old calculator is 40 years old but still works. Good one Sharp!
Cameras - I have a few cameras to take still photos in the 70s. All used rolls of film.
Floppy Disks - Cassettes had been used to store program for computers since the early 70s but, by the late 70s, we had floppy disks to store programs. They came first in 8 inch, 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch sizes.
5 1/4 inch (13cm) Floppy Disk
Now we were starting to get really serious.
An Apple II computer.Computers in class In 1981 - I was in a small country school in western N.S.W. We had one Apple II computer we shared with five other small schools. There was still no internet, our class TV only had one channel if the weather was good, and the phone was oen where you would wind a handle and ask the operator for a number. It was in this year I wrote a couple simple programs for the children to use on the computer. One was a treasure hunt game and I always managed to beat the class members. Remember, I was the programmer so I programme d the computer to give me hints only I understood. Did that make me a cheat? 🙂
Video camera - It was in 1982 I bought my first video camera. It was large and had a heavy side pack you carried over your shoulder. Batteries were large and had lead inside so they were heavy. Back then, people thought I was with a televison station because video camera were very rare. I was visitng the town of Bathurst with my school that year when Queen Elizabeth II visited. Seeing the camera, police let me through the barrier so I could take a close up of the Queen. I'm sure they also thought I was from a TV station.
This is part of the video clip taken in 1982 during the Queen's visit to Bathurst. It was converted from VHS to digital.
Video Cassette Recorders (VCR) - These appeared in the early 80s and we could finally record programmes and watch movies. With my video camera and VCR, I was able to edit video I had taken. With my school Apple II computer and a small program I wrote, I could even add titles to the videos.
Computers in Schools - I helped introduce computers to two schools in the 80s. I was called a computer coordinator back then. As well as teaching, it was my job to care for the computers in the schools. Because of my electronics hobby, I was often able to fix computers with problems.
Computers and me - It was in the late 80s I bought my first computer. It was an Apple IIGS. With a printer (black and white only), I was able to print worksheets and dislpays for my class and other teachers . With only one computer in the school for classes to share in my first year there in 1988, I bought an Apple IIC computer for my class to use. I was really hooked on how they could be used in class.
An Applie IIGS computer just like the one I owned.
Computers in schools - In the 90s, the number of computers I owned grew as I bought or was given computers needing repair. The computer room I ran for a few years had 16 computers but only one was owned by the school. It was also in the early 90s I first used the internet with classes. I would roll my Apple IIc computer and modem down to an office and connect to a phone line. It was slow and could only show text. There was no graphics, music or video and I paid $5 an hour for access. By the end of the 90s, I had installed the first network room in the school and we then had a whole school network installed with internet access.
Computers and me - By the end of the 90s, I owned about 45 computers. I would have some of them in my classroom and lend others to the students in my class to use at home. The computers included Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari, Commodore, Acorn and a few other types as well as Sega and Gameboy handheld game devices. At home, I was using Apple Macintosh and Windows computers.
Handheld Gameboy Advance games machine.Cameras - In the 90s, I ran after school computer classes for students, the money I raised bought the schools first digital photo camera. The camera wasn't of great quality but the Apple Quicktake 100 meant I could load photos straight into a computer. In the late 90s, I also bought my first digital video camera. The photo quality was much better than the old video camera. Phones - In the 1990s, I bought my first mobile phone. You had to carry it like a small bag as it was large and weighed around 1kg but it was mobile and it worked.
Scanners and printers - In the 90s, I bought my first scanners and colour printers and had fun scanning photos and making changed photos for the student newspaper. Scanners were able to read printed writing so I didn't need to type everything.
CDs - Music CDs appeared and we were able to use these instead of vinyl LP records. We were even able to burn our own CDs .
DVDs - DVDs appeared in the late 90s and we were able to record movies from TV or add videos we made to them.
in these years I was retired from teaching by the end of 2005.
Computers in schools - Whole school networks, internet, You Tube, editing video on computers, digital cameras, small mobile phonesetc... The growth has been amazing. I moved to a new school and allowed children in my old school who had borrowed my computers to keep them. I had way too many for moving house and made a rule I should own no more than 10 for use in home and school.
Computers and me - I added my first laptop computer in this era.
Cameras - I bought my first digital SLR* camera and could simply plug it into the computer to load and edit photos and started buying extra video cameras for making DVDs and CDs for schools and community groups.
I have only just replaced this camera with a new digital SLR camera able to record HD video as well as photos.
Internet - was a part of everyday life.
Mobile phone - Mobiles were now much smarter and started to access the internet.
* SLR - Single Lens Reflex - It meant a type of camera where so look through the camera lens when taking a photo.
We're up to the current era.
I started blogging in 2012 and still am a keen techie type of person but no longer need all of the equipment I used while teaching but still have enough for producing filming and photographing performances as well as making CDs and DVDs for school and community groups.
So much has changed since I was your age. It makes you wonder what we might have in the future.
Will one of you invent something or create a brilliant app in the future?
To visit the original blog, click on Rocky River Goes Global
This is the 199th post on this blog. Rocky River, check out post number 201...
Hello Rocky River, here is the second part of a post I promised. This time we will look at life in a small, isolated school serving sheep and cattle stations, School of the Air, cattle stations in the Outback and life on a large sheep station.
Schools of the Air
Because of the isolated locations of some children on sheep and cattle properties or in communities too small for a school around Australia, a number of schools were set up to allow children to use two way radio. The first radio broadcasts dated back to 1951 and were sent out from the Royal Flying Doctors Service in Alice Springs. From 2003 till 2009, short wave radio was used but schools of the air are now turnng to internet technology giving students better access to information and the world.
In earlier years, radio became a contact to the world for isolated people. They used radios which were pedal powered. Someone would pedal to make electricity from a generator in order to power their radio.
With modern technology, you would find it much easier to use solar energy for electricity.
There are now a number of locations for Schools of the Air around Australia. According to Wikipedia, the schools of the air are in the towns of...
Mount Isa, Queensland
Charters Towers, Queensland
Charleville School of Distance Education, Queensland
Katherine, Northern Territory
Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Tibooburra, New South Wales
Port Hedland, Western Australia
Port Augusta, South Australia
Kimberley, Western Australia
Carnarvon, Western Australia
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Meekatharra, Western Australia
School of the Air Locations
Within my state of New South Wales, the most isolated school is listed as Tibooburra School of the Air. The school is based in the town of Tibooburra. The school where I first had a permanent teaching position wasn't a school of the air although some high school students in my area used correspondence school where lessons were sent by mail. My school, Marra Creek Public School, was the sixth most isolated school in my state and the first not to be located in a town.
Marra Creek Public School
This was the first school were I was a permanent teacher and it was considered the sixth most isolated school in New South Wales. The five more isolated, while further from the state capital of Sydney, were in towns. Marra Creek Public School was 100km (62mi) from the nearest town. The children lived on sheep and cattle stations around the school and could travel from up to 50km (31mi) to school each day. Because the outback refers to isolated and remote areas, it could be considered an outback school. If you click on the school website link above, you will see they list themselves as an outback school.
This section of the blog post looks at my time in this outback school in the early 1980s.
When I first arrived at the school, the above photo shows what I found. You can see it had tanks to catch rain falling on the roof if it rained and a toilet block near the school building. We had a flagpole and a tall TV antenna but we could only receive one TV channel if the weather conditions were good.
The playground was mostly dirt but there was some ground covering plants. You couldn't go barefoot because there were often nasty wooden thorns called catheads. They would always have one spike pointing up.
We had a phone where, if you wanted to make a phone call, you would pick up the handset and listen to make certain no one else was using it. You would then put the handset down, wind a handle, then pick the handset up to see if the operator had answered. You could then ask for a number.
We didn't have mobile phones, push button numbers, emails, CDs, DVDs, Bluray or the internet back then but, for 6 weeks each year, we were able to use a borrowed Apple II computer. The computer had only about 12 programs so I wrote some extras for the class to use. Luckily for the children, I had used computers while a university student in the 1970s.
It was back in 1982 I purchased my first personal video camera. They were new on the market and expensive. When I used it, some people thought I might be from a television station. Using it, I produced my first school video clip. Now converted from VHS video tape to digital, below is a section of that first video clip. The youngest children, 5 years old, in the video would now be about 37 years old. I have never before shared this video clip with others since I was in that school so this is a special share for you to see outback children at work and play in the 1980s..
You Tube has removed some copyrighted music I used back then. I try to make certain video clips I now make only have music I am allowed to use.
During my two years at the school, numbers ranged from 12 to 20 students aged from 5 to 13 all in the one small classroom. I was the only teacher and was known as the Teacher In Charge (not a principal).
With a new classroom and my old classroom now the library, a teacher house and access to the internet, the school would be very different compared to when I taught there but it is still about 100km from the nearest town and so is still an outback, isolated school.
While teaching at Marra Creek Public School, I lived "next door" to the school about 20km (12mi) distant by road. I stayed in a house on a sheep station known as Lemon Grove. While I has there, the property grew to about 400 square kilometres (100,000 acres) although at the time the video clip below was made, the property was half that size. A neighbouring property had been bought by the end of 1982.
Below is a video clip I again made in 1982. It features Lemon Grove stud (sheep breeding property) and its annual field day. The field day allowed Lemon Grove and neighbouring properties to sell their sheep. It was also a social event for the area.
For any outback property, reliable water supplies can be a problem. Many properties have to pump water from natural underground sources such as the Great Artesian Basin found under about one quarter of Australia although water from the Basin came come to the surface by itself (see the grey shaded area on the map below).
On many farms, and sheep and cattle stations, you will see windmills. The windmills use wind power to pump water up from underground. Lemon Grove had a windmill near the main houses.
Each year, the sheep on Lemon Grove would be brought in for shearing in the shearing shed.
Shearers take the sheep and shear off the fleece in one piece.
Once done, the shearer takes the next sheep while others collect the fleece and take it to a table where bits of plants or dirt can be removed. A woolclasser then checks the quality of the fleece. They check how fine the wool is. Merino wool from these sheep is amongst the finest wool in the world.
Once classed, the fleece is put into a press with the same quality wool. When full, the press forces the wool together into bales. Bales can then be placed on trucks and sent off for sale.
Sunsets at Lemon Grove could sometimes be amazing, especially when storm clouds were gathering.
Sometimes, the miracle of rain comes to the dry land and within two weeks, the land can turn green with plant growth.
If you look very carefully in the middle of this photo, you can see an emu running away from where I was standing. Like ostriches, they can't fly. They rely on running to escape danger.
It is a male. How do I know? Look even more carefully and you can see chicks following the emu. For emus, once the female has laid the eggs she leaves. It's the males that care for the eggs and developing chicks.
Cattle stations mixed with sheep stations are found near Marra Creek School but, as you move into northern and more western Australia, sheep give way to cattle. Australia's largest cattle station is known as Anna Creek Station.
Anna Creek Station is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (6,000,000 acres or 9,400 sq mi) or about the size of the U.S.A. state of New Hampshire. It is in the state of South Australia. The largest cattle ranch in the U.S. is, I think, King Ranch in Texas. At 3,340 square kilometres (825,000 acres or 1289 sq mi) you would need a little over 7 King Ranch to make up Anna Creek Station.
In areas where rainfall is low, stations need to be very large to allow enough land for cattle to feed. In the photo below, taken by Robert Kerton of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in the Northern Territory, you can see how arid cattle station land can be.
Anna Creek Station in South Australia is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (6,000,000 acres or 9,400 sq mi) and, as at 2012, it had 17,000 cattle. That means each animal has about 1.4 square kilometres (353 acres or about half a sq mi). Smaller stations where more feed and water is available would have higher numbers of cattle for the land available.
Australia is a huge country, although smaller than U.S.A.'s 50 states yet most of it is arid or semi-arid (desert or near desert). Most Australians live around the coastal areas, paricularly in the east of Australia.
Sheep and Cattle Where I Live
My home is along Australia's east coast about half way between Sydney and Melbourne. It is in the Bega Valley Shire, an area known for Bega Cheese and its beautful coastline is popular with tourists. My family has been in this area since the 1840s. They were, and my cousin still is, dairy farmers. As well as dairy, we have beef cattle and sheep in my area. A few properties also have alpacas, none of these animals being native to Australia.
Below is a photo taken on the old family farm...
You can see it is much greener and hillier than central Australia. Farms are much smaller than the sheep and cattle stations of the Outback.
...and since I mentioned our coastline, here is a photo I have taken of the coastline as can be seen from my town.
Mrs. Todd and her Roadrunners are looking at Outback Australia. This is a post about an Outback journey I organised for parents and children from a school back in 1985. It's hard to believe those students would now be about 40 years old.
In this post, some video clips I had taken back in 1985 as my group travelled to Uluru and back have been shared. They have been converted from VHS tapes to digital and are being shared for the first time.
The Australian Outback
I don't know exactly where The Outback is said to start but I've always understood it to be the more isolated, arid (desert-like) areas across the centre of Australia. Most Australians live in coastal areas although there are larger communities in some Outback areas including traditional land owners, miners and graziers (cattle ranchers).
Let's look at a satellite photo of Australia Wikimedia lists as NASA sourced and in the public domain...
If you look at this photo you can see green areas are mostly coastal whereas from the west (left on the photo) to most of the way east you see reds, browns and even white. The white areas, especially the very white areas are not snow. They tend to be salt lakes and high salt areas only filling with water when there are very heavy rains in Queensland. Once the water reaches the lakes, it has nowhere to go as the lakes lie below sea level. The water evaporates and leaves the salt behind.
Let's look at the journey my group took back in 1985. I was the tour organiser and minibus driver on our two week, 7000+km (4350+mi) journey into The Outback and back .
We started out in Sydney, the capital of the state on New South Wales and headed west then turned north to spend our first night in an isolated school where I had worked in the early 80s.
The school, Marra Creek Public School, is about 670km (415mi) from Sydney and lies 100km (62mi) from the nearest town of Nyngan. It served children from local sheep and cattle properties. I stayed at a neighbouring shearer's house about 20km (13mi) from the school.
Was the school in The Outback? It was isolated, used water from tanks, had a phone where you had to talk to an operator to be connected, and only sometimes could pick up one television station if the conditions were good. I sometimes had to chase emus and kangaroos or even wild pigs out of the playground.
A video clip of emus in an animal sanctuary close to my home.
And some kangaroos from the same sanctuary.
When I first started there we had been in drought and the water tanks were low, temperatures at times reached 47C (116F). With rains, the clay pans turned green with grass and roads became muddy. We didn't have snow days but we did have mud days when half of the students couldn't make it along the dirt roads. We didn't build mud men. Snow seems to work better and is cleaner.
Heading across country, we visited the town of Bourke most would consider an outback town. It lies along the Darling River, a river sometimes drying out if rains don't fall in Queensland and can also flood when heavy rainfall comes. On our trip, rainfall in the outback had been unusually good but still low compared to coastal.
Not too far north of Bourke, we crossed into the state of Queensland. You can see in the photo below just how flat and semi-arid (almost desert) much of inland Australia can be.
Heading north, we were heading towards the town of Longreach. The landscape had dried out.
Stopping for the night, we were entertained by brolgas, the only cranes native to Australia. While at Marra Creek Public School, I had watched brolgas "dancing" their mating dance as they made jumps into the air.
The video clip below isn't one of mine but shows the dance of the brolgas.
Just north of Longreach, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. This means we were now in the tropical region of the world.
Near Longreach we saw an echidna on the side of the road. Echidnas and the platypus are the world's only living mammals that lay eggs but, as they are mammals, the mothers can give milk to their young. Echidnas are also found around my town and have sometimes visited my garden in search of ants.
Below is a video of an echidna taken at an animal sanctuary near my home.
Our next major settlement was Mount Isa (pictured below), a mining town in western Queensland. Lead, silver, copper and zinc are mined in the Mount Isa area.
You can easily see the red of the soil, a soil colour so common in The Outback.
From Mt. Isa, we head west to the border with Northern Territory. The photo below was taken standing in the state of Northern Territory looking into Queensland.
Reaching the Stuart Highway, a highway running from Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, in the south to Darwin, Northern Territory's capital, in the north, we took a left turn because we had reached as far north as we were going on this journey.
Passing through the town of Tennant Creek, our next major attraction was Karlu Karlu (known also as the Devil's Marbles) 105km (65mi) south of Tennant Creek. Here are some photos taken at Karlu Karlu.
That's not me pretending to hold up the rock.
The video clip below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.
Karlu Karlu is a sacred site to the Alyawarre (Aboriginal) whose country includes the site. It's also sacred to the Kaytetye, Warumungu and Warlpiri people. There are a number of traditional Dreaming stories for the Karlu Karlu area but only a few are able to be shared with uninitiated people such as us.
From Karlu Karlu, we continued south towards Alice Springs. As we travelled, we again crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, this time heading out of the tropics. Someone with a sense of humour had painted words on the road (not us).
Alice Springs is the largest town in Central Australia and the third largest in Northern Territory. Central Australia is only a name for the area and is not a state. To the local people, the Arrernte, the Alice Springs area is known as Mparntwe.
On our visit, we managed to see a rare rainbow over Alice Springs.
Alice Springs lies within the MacDonnell Ranges. There are so many beautiful places to visit in this arid area. Here are just two...
The video clip of Standley Chasm below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.
Simpsons Gap (it was late in the day)
The video clip of Simpsons Gap below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.
The video clip of black-footed rock wallabies below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time. The rock wallabies were our companions as we explored Simpsons Gap.
After leaving Alice Springs, we took time for a camel ride. Camels aren't native to Australia but were brought here by Afghan camel herders in the 1800s. Before roads and railways, all supplies had to be brought in by camel trains. When road and rail arrived, many camels were released into the wild. Australia now is the country with the largest number of wild camels in the world and at times exports camels back to the Middle East.
The video clip of camel riding below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.
We were heading to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Along the arid way, we saw Mount Conner standing high above the desert.
Tourists to Central Australia shouldn't miss a chance to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Here are some photos I had taken.
Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) at sunset
Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) at sunset
Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) up close
You can get an idea of its size by looking at the people climbing it.
And a view from almost the top of Uluru
Since my visit 30 years ago, visitors have become much more aware of the importance of Uluru to the local people. While they don't stop visitors climbing the rock, many visitors now choose not to climb in respect for the beliefs of the local people.
The video clip of an Uluru sunset below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time. It is running at 20x normal speed.
Around the base of Uluru, there are many sacred sites we are asked to respect. Some are sacred men's sites and some sacred women's sites.
However, there are sites visitors can see. Here is a photo taken at one such site, Mutitjula (Maggie Springs). You can see some of the rock paintings.
From Uluru, it is possible to see the distant Kata Tjuta rising from the desert plain.
Back in our mini-bus, we headed along the dirt road to Kata Tjuta.