Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Wollongong Harbour

This is one of the prettiest harbours in New South Wales. It is Wollongong harbour and is really two harbours combined into one by the breakwaters. The first harbour is called Belmore Basin. It is on the far side of the picture behind the wharf where the fishing boats are moored. Belmore Basin was dug out by convicts in the 1860's and the small lighthouse was built on the end of the breakwater. Later on the breakwater in the front of the picture was built to make a bigger harbour, today the new area is used by yachts and motor-boats. The hill in the background is Wollongong Head and it has a historic fort and a bigger and newer lighthouse on it. No doubt about it, harbours with boats and lighthouses look really great when the weather is good.

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Blue meets Blu

There is a big blue fish that lives in the aquarium at Merimbula. I am not sure what sort of fish he is because the labels on his tank didn't say. Maybe he was a new catch and the aquarium people hadn't had time to label him yet. Anyhow, he was very interested in us when I was showing Blu around the place. He followed us whenever we got close to the glass. Maybe he was curious about us. After all, he wouldn't see many small bears under the ocean. Maybe (horrible thought) he thought we were something edible. Fish this big make me sort of glad that Mum won't let me go snorkeling with the Oldies, but I won't ever admit that to her.

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Monday, January 16, 2012


Derelict Dockyoard

Here's a couple more photos of the old dockyard on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. For nearly a century this island was Australia's main shipbuilding and repair centre. Now it is deserted and falling gradually into ruin. Some of it is being restored as Museum exhibits, but the large things are beyond it. The top photo is of the turbine workshop. This used to be full of huge machines that could make or repair anything in a ship's engines. Some of the gigantic machinery is still there in the side bays, but the smaller stuff has been sold to other factories. It is sad and a bit spooky to walk through this huge building. The bottom photo is of one of the dry docks (full of water ) where Australia's O class submarines were refitted and repaired in the 1970's and later. At the end of the dock is the headquarters building for the submarine repair depot and it has the nose of a sub coming out of the lawn in front of the building. There is a large camping area on the island. It is on the area where the metal shop used to be. Other big workshops have been removed as well and one of those areas is used for concerts and stunt shows. That's one use for the island, but to me Cockatoo Island is a sad reminder of the way that Australia was once almost self-sufficient and of the industries we have lost.

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Friday, January 06, 2012


Christmas Clowning

Incidentally, I had a great Christmas. I really love my new bobsled, but it was also lots of fun spending the day with Unka Mark and Aunty Vicki. These Oldies of mine (and I include M&V as honourary Oldies) really know how to let their hair down and enjoy things. Large mugs of Jingle Juice were consumed, along with lots of superb people-type food. Speaking of hair, what do you think of Unka Mark's blue fuzzy top? Guess what, it is not really his hair. You can look like that too if you have a blue cobweb broom handy. Not that many of us would want to look like that... I helped with the Christmas lights again (check Unka Mark's and my effort from earlier Christmases in older posts). We had cousin Billy T with us, he doesn't get out much, and I introduced him to the art of wiring and lights. It might be a bit hard to see us in the photos, but we are there checking out the lights. Love Christmas time with real friends.

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What a Test !!

If you have been wondering why there have not been any posts for the last 4 days, the reason is very simple. I have been glued to the TV, watching one of the best cricket tests that I have ever seen. The game between Australia and India was a beaut. Not just because Australia won by a huge margin (an innings and 68 runs), but because it contained some brilliant batting and bowling by both teams. The superb effort of Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, will go into history as one of the best ever, 329 not out!!! He is now officially one of my heroes. I really enjoy watching good batsmen and Clarkie, Hussey, Ponting, Tendulkar and Laxman were really great to watch. So were the bowlers; I like Hilfenhouse, Pattinson and Sharma best. I watched every minute of the match and Mum kept dragging me further away from the TV every time I got close. She says that I will get glassy-eyed if I sit too close but I don't think that will be a problem as my eyes are made of glass anyhow. Now, if either team needs a mascot for the rest of the series, I am open to offers.

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Monday, January 02, 2012


The Lake Is Low !!!

Our lake, Lake Burley Griffin, is very low and has been for a while now. I wondered why, because it has been raining fairly often and all the dams are full. I thought it might have been so that the rubbish from the floods last year could be cleared a bit more easily but that has all been done now and the lake is still low. You can see from the top photo just how low. The rocks are normally covered by half a metre of water. They have been uncovered now for long enough that weeds are starting to grow in the sandier patches. Obviously something has happened that keeps the lake low. The answer is at Scrivener Dam, the dam that makes the lake. At least one outlet is open for hours every day. The reason is that the hinges on the big flood gates have started corroding and have to be replaced. That means that the lake has to be kept low so that workmen can get to the hinges. Some waterbirds are a bit upset about that because they have been nesting in the swampy bits around some of the lake edges and their nests are now on dry land and foxes and cats could get at them. I hope the lake is back to full before the next nesting season because I think small swans and dabchicks are cute.



New Year Again

Don't the years fly past quickly? Here it is 2012 already and I was just catching up with 2011. Something has been puzzling me for ages - Why do Oldies go a little bit crazy on the last evening of the year? Just look at these Oldies of mine. I don't mind them wearing silly masks, but I object strongly to the pressure on me to do the same. Fortunately the only mask that fits me belongs to my alter ego, the Crystal Avenger, so nobody dares laugh at that. So what did we do on New Year's eve? We went for a walk in town and saw some of the concert and the preparations for the fireworks, walked around a bit of the lake and then went home to watch the really big fireworks at Sydney on the TV. The great thing about watching fireworks on TV is that the mozzies can't get at you. The little pests were biting outside as soon as it got dark. Blu hadn't seen fireworks before so I had to teach him all about the different sorts. Dad was a chemist before he was an astronomer, so I know a bit about how fireworks get the different colours and patterns. There is no doubt about it, Sydney has the best fireworks. No where else in the world has such a spectacular harbour as the setting, and most places don't spread their displays over such a large slice of the city. I love it all, New Year, fireworks, Sydney, harbours, even silly Oldies. Did we share a few samples of things alcoholic? What do you think?

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