Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Murderers' Mound

This grassy mound just outside the fence of the Norfolk Island cemetary is part of one of the nastiest episodes in the bloody history of the island. In the 1840's Norfolk Island was the harshest penal colony in the British empire. The most dangerous criminals were sent here, and the guards were mostly a brutal lot as well. In 1846 a new military Commandant ordered that the convicts could no longer have private cooking gear. A convict called William Westwood (aka Jackey-Jackey) killed two overseers and two guards and led a revolt by around 1600 prisoners against the guards (incidentally, Jackey-Jackey started his bushranging life in the Canberra area. His first spate of robberies were at Bungendore, just 20 minutes drive from here). Soldiers from the military garrison staged a bayonet charge and soon rounded up the convicts and put them back in the gaol. Jackey-Jackey and 11 others were hanged and their bodies buried in this mound, outside the consecrated ground of the cemetary. The spot has been known as Murderers Mound ever since. It is in a really beautiful spot, near a pretty little beach where the snorkelling is good in calm weather. Another example of the mix of beauty and horrible history that makes Norfolk Island such a fascinating spot for Oldies and small bears.



Hitting the Beach

I may have mentioned before that I love boats, all kinds of boats. This is the boat that took us across to Whitehaven Beach from Hamilton Island. It is a catamaran, so it doesn't go very far down in the water and it can get right in close to the beach before it hits the sandy bottom. It can get you to places where there is no jetty. Also, it can just drop a set of steps down onto the beach and you can get ashore without getting soaked. It is also very fast and when there is not much swell it can zoom along at over 35 kilometres per hour. I like to get out onto the open deck and feel the wind and spray in my fur. And I really do like it when it is a bit rough and bouncy, even if some of the other passengers start feeling a bit sea-sick; that's something else that small bears are immune to.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


It's Not What It Looks Like

This looks like a young volcano with a lava flow coming down the side, but it isn't. In fact it is a very old volcano and lava hasn't flowed from it for millions of years. This is Glamalg, one of the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The Oldies spent two days on the isle, and despite the fact that it is known as "the isle of mists", they had perfect weather while they were there. The bridge is at Sligachan, a small town where the main roads of the isle meet. The Oldies say that this is one of the prettiest bridges they saw on their trip. Dad remembers it because of the zillions of mozzies that had a go at him while he was finding the best spot to take the photo.



The Queen Stood Here Too!!

Here we are at Queen Elizabeth Lookout on Norfolk Island. The Queen made a quick visit to Norfolk in 1974 and the lookout was named after her. This is the best spot to get an overview of the old historic areas of the island. It is a smallish parking area off the edge of a sharp bend in the road. If lots of vehicles tried to be there at the same time it could cause problems, but there are never many vehicles at the same spot at the same time on Norfolk. The houses at the base of the hill are on a street called Quality Row and they were the houses of civil servants in the colonial days. The building with the high wall around it is one of the military barracks and it was built like a fort so it would be easy to protect if the convicts revolted. The big walls in the background are the remains of the old gaol. This was the toughest place in the British empire at the time. Now, most of the gaol buildings have been pulled down and the stone used for other buildings. Norfolk is full of history, enough to keep a small bear and his Oldies busy for ages.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Friendly Fish

What do you mean, "don't fall in the water"? I know the consequences if I do, even if this place is really tempting. It is part of the reef exhibit at Sydney Aquarium and the lagoon bit is open at the top. A small bear who wanted to could easily climb up and over into the water and swim with the fishes. Maybe if the eagled-eyed Oldies were somewhere else... Anyhow, this is a great exhibit. You can look down on the coral and fish from above the water and you can also see them below the water through the glass front. The walls are painted to make it look like you are way out in the lagoon. While you are looking, the fish come right up to you. I think they are looking for food. Even though you are not supposed to feed them, some kids were giving them bikkies when I was there. The deeper tanks are really great. They have masses of coral of all sorts and a big mix of fish. The Oldies say that it is better, in some ways, than what they see when they go snorkelling because the temperature in the aquarium water is controlled. The problem with corals in the ocean is that the water sometimes gets too warm and the coral bleaches and dies off. Cyclones wreck it too, so sometimes the Oldies come back from their snorkelling complaining that the coral was not good. You don't get that problem in great aquariums like this.

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More Bear Bling

How's this for the ultimate in bear-type bling? Mum has just arrived home with a pendant that is shaped like me. It is made from Swarovski crystals, evidently something that makes it very precious. Well, you can't leave something like that just lying around, can you. And what better place to keep it safe than around the neck of a ferocious small bear. The only problem is that I just KNOW that when Mum notices that it is not where she left it and comes looking for it, I am going to have some explaining to do.


Friday, April 09, 2010


Treed, By Choice

This is one of the prettiest bays on Norfolk Island. It is called Anson Bay and is one of the places that the surfies use a lot. The track down to the beach from the car park is a bit steep, so us critters didn't bother going down; it is an awfully long way back when the path is uphill. Instead we found a better way to rest and enjoy the scenery. There is a nice little picnic spot at the start of the track and the trees around it are really easy to climb. Scruffy, Milkshake and I found a nice branch to sit on and we settled down, rocked gently by the breeze, safe from crabs, and counted waves while the Oldies rushed around taking photos. Fortunately, the breeze was blowing away from the cliff so Mum wasn't in a big panic that we might get blown down into the water.

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The Heroic Hudson

One of the rarest aircraft flying today lives at the Temora Aviation Museum. It is a Lockheed Hudson and is the only flying example of the thousands that were built during World War 2. This one started its service in 1942, on anti-submarine patrols along the coast of Australia. Later it operated out of New Guinea on bombing and reconnaissance missions. After the war it was an airliner with East-West Airlines and then a survey 'plane with AdAstra Aerial Surveys, until being restored to its WW2 condition between 1976 and 1993. You can see it flying at just about every Temora museum flying day, a living reminder of the vital role that the Hudson played in the defence of Australia way back in the dangerous years when Dad was a baby.

By the way, the week-long gap in my postings is not due to my being on another interesting trip. Instead, I have been helping the Oldies with running some of the National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers, held in Canberra over the Easter weekend.

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