Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sir Joseph Banks

The bike ready to go

Over the past 4 weeks there has been a great TV documentary called "Cook". Vanessa Collingridge narrates this wonderful walk through Cooks life, his partners, adventures and discoveries.
A lot of what was discovered in Australia,(botanically,) can be attributed to Cook's botanist Joseph Banks. He was one crazy/runcible guy!

Vanessa Collingridge.

Having received a nice email from Vanessa, and with her work on my mind, I thought I would ride the fire trails that lead to Mt Banks! I also wanted to look at how the BANKSIA was affected by the HUGE bush fires 12 months ago.
So, with the mountain bike loaded, the back pack equipped with the essentials e.g. water, insect repellent, lip chap, binoculars, camera, note book, pen, first aid kit and a banana, I set off.

Banksia recovering from fire.

Mt Banks is about a 30 minute drive west of Kurrajong on the Bells Line of Road. You can't really miss it. It's this great big LUMP that sits to the south of the road. Popular with rock climbers, and picnickers, Mt Banks provides some of the best views into the Grose River Gorge you will ever see.

The ride itself is easy, with just a couple of sections that are very rocky and soft.

View of track from my bikes headlights point of view.

Two things struck me. One was the lack of birds, the other was the absolute noise of the cicada! It was an absolute din!

A Tiger Prince Cicada!

The bush has been all but wiped out by the intense bush fires that occurred 12 months ago, but the bush needs fire. Evidence of recovery can be seen right across the mountain.

Banksia burnt!

Beautiful flowers were everywhere.


Lunch with a fantastic view completed the ride.... All I had to do was to get back to the Troopie. After a total of 3 hours and wonderful look at a superb Lyre Bird, I thought what Captain James Cook and his crew went through and what they thought of Australia....

Rough track

As for Sir Joseph Banks? Well, he could not keep his hands off the ladies ... but thats another story. Watch Vanessa's documentary!..........


  1. The bush looks like it's growing back nicely! I really enjoyed your movie and you walk like a bushwalker! Simon ... that flower you posted, did you try making tea from the leaves? PS: Was that program last Sunday about 7.30 ... think I was supposed to tape it for someone!

  2. I just saw the first part in a series of art documentaries about NZ art and it dealt a bit with Cook's voyages as well. Banks had a 'helper' who did a lot of the 'donkey work' I gather! Plus, if I remember the doco correctly, Banks only came on the first voyage as he found the quarters too cramped etc to return on the second one ;-)

  3. I enjoyed your movie too... and tried to go to YouTube to leave a comment but the site seems to have some issues just at present... so.... later.....!!

  4. Anon:- yes it is and you can really see just how hard the fire was on the area!

    The Grose river flows to the south of us and when that fire was in full flight it sounded like a freight train.. Spooky just how quiet the bush gets before the rush of the sound.

    I walk like a bushwaker! (smile) thanks. I used to walk like a dancer ( on my toes) everywhere...

    It was a bit difficult near the cliff edge... the steel bike clips make it slippery! MY children thought I was gong to runoff the edge!!!

    tea..AHAHAHAH! and yes that was the show last week on ABC (ran for 4 weeks).

    Ju's:- thnks :o)

    Kiwi:- Banks was going on the 2nd Voyage but he demanded so much modification to the baot that it would have "turned Turtle". So he had a tantrum and did not go. It seemed he was not a "helper" more of a true Science researcher.. But he could not keep his hands off the girls.

    Thanks for the compliment re the movie.. It took over an hour to load!! I was not happy....and I dropped the camera so the focus does not seem to work as well :o(

  5. It's amazing what the Australian bush can survive. I believe that some of it is actually dependent on getting an occasional fire, isn't it?

    That Vanessa looks a bit runcible. No room for her in your suitcase when you come over, I suppose? How the hell do you get emails from good-looking sheilas like that?

  6. By the way, exellent video clip, mate!

  7. Hello Maalie:- Vanessa lives in Scotland! Not far from you actually!!

    I love the history of Cook and of course Vanessa is a red head... ( as I once was) and she has a kayak so...

    Thanks for the compliment re the video. I was not happy with the lens.. I think it got moisture in it..

    Did you see the essential kit?
    1. Binoculars
    2. Notebook and pen
    3. Insect repellant
    4. sun screen
    5. Tyre pump
    6. Water
    7. Banana

  8. yes the Banksia relies on being burnt!

    In fact it seems to be the first plant to recover!

  9. I stopped by earlier on a little unusual midday generator time but knew that I had to come back to take in the scenery and text fully. Sadly, I have to avoid videos after discovering that our downloads are rather restricted.

    That cicada is gorgeous! Ours are a drab brown, equally noisy and the ones if this area seem to be crotchety and willing to fly at you when you come near their pine roots.

    So Mr. Banks had an eye for 'the birds', did he? That's hilarious - wish I could view the documentary.

  10. Lin! thanks! It really was an eye opener the history of James Cook and how he was such a wonderful navigator. He took his ships further south than anyone!

    Banks had an eye for the birds! ahahahaha! very good!

  11. When I was in the Northern Territory maalie, it was the season for 'deoiberately lit' bushfires. Seems like the Aboriginal peoples up there have used it as a conservation technique for yonks. It helps the bush and stops the really severe big fires later in the hot season. So we were told anyhow!

  12. that is correct kiwi. the balance between controlled burn off is critical to the health of the bush.
    Sadly, ( due to funding) the National parks have had a "Lock it up" mentality. This has dramatically increased fuel loads and then, when fire does hit.... it hits too hot and with dreadful results...

  13. Yes, of course. Binoculars at the top of the list, naturally.

  14. To see the birds...

    Kiwi I caught the end of that first episode, didn't realise it was a series! I liked the three different versions of the battle where he died. Quite fascinating.

  15. I'm going to get into trouble for missing taping that episode! Next time, try putting a billy on and make some home brewed tea HAHA!! I'd love to know what Teatree tastes like ... Bushwalkers tread lightly :)

  16. I videoed the next one in the series JLS.. just this past Sunday... saw a painting of Egmont near the start - I am Taranaki born and bred!- but haven't watched it yet.

  17. you know what? I am going to give it a go.... :o)

    (the tea).. I tread lightly? but of course!! (smile)

  18. I felt I was with you on your ride, I loved the pics. Capt Cook has a memorial in Cambridge near where I live, so we are almost neighbours!

  19. Ellee! is that right! did you know the Australian government moved an entire building that they thought was Captains Cook Cottage to Melbourne and rebuilt it?!

    Melbourne:- Cook never went there ( ie explored the south of Aus) and it was never his cottage!!!

  20. I set foot on a replica of Cook's Endevour. It seemed tiny, considering of the long voyages he undertook and the oceans it crossed.

  21. I agree Merisi! It was in fact a coal ship! They used to run up the coast of UK. His was modified to suit the voyage. But not a lot of room and you just wonder how they survived!