With the Queensland outback and motocross riding at Lue a "distant", ( read last week), memory. I thought what can we do that will test a young bloke.
I know! White water rafting! ( after all just how boring can riding the above be??)
Penrith White Water Centre was created for the 2000 olympics and is world class. Now part of the Penrtih lakes system its a fabulous place to bird, and enjoy aquatic sports.
Poor fellow.... nerves....
The lesson is 90 minutes long and the coaches teach the basics of white water rafting.. Paddling, steering, using body weight, working as a team, PLUS setting the raft up in "out of control" situations.
By that I mean setting the raft up to capsize and teaching those who participate how to cope in those situations.
And away they go!
It was a blue warm day and the State Emergency Services were also using the facility to practice water rescues.
Ooops! get ready for a roll!
I was surprised that Dave was a little nervous.. Having again completed the 145 foot jump on the motocross bike I could not imagine that he had some nerves for the task ahead. But he did.
Yet after a few laps you could see just how "into it" the boys were becoming. following the excellent instruction coming from PWW instructor who informed the lads that he did this on the river Nile, It was not too long before the boys enjoyed every moment, including a dunking and rescue!
After what seems to be a few moments ( read a couple of hours), the boys had finished their first day of instruction. delight prevailed as I realised that Dave had spent the time with the 4 sons of one of my long term friends, Bernie!
Dave and Bernies boys.
What a bloody small world! We had no idea until the event was over. A fantastic day was had by all.
So Dave, more waves for kayaking or is the lure of the motocross track too much? Time will tell.
Dave-dog surveying the wild blue yonder.....
Friday, April 19, 2013
Dave riding out for a muster.
The bird life this time of year is not as good as it is in spring, and, many of the breeds are hunkering down for the winter months and plumage is dull. However there were still quite beautiful moments. One place in particular is Red Hole.
Red Hole Lagoon.
A shallow, seasonal lagoon, the Red Hole on Kilcowera is aptly named for its unique colour. The water looks pinky crimson and reflects the changing colour of the sky. It was a delight to drive out, pull up a chair and have a glass of wine whilst seeing Australian Black Swans, Australasian Grebes and Pink-eared ducks enjoying the environment.
The Murderers Bore.
I noted with interest that, when we arrived, all but two birds moved to the other side of the lagoon. However 2 of the swans glided towards us and I can only assume were sentries. They only moved away after it was clear we had binoculars and not a rifle.
The Murderers Bore, as mentioned in previous posts is where a body was stuffed after being murdered. The bore does not flow properly and I wondered just why that was!
The Dowling track and the history of the region is marvellous. There is something for everyone. If you are a caravaner, or into history, or love our aboriginal past you will find something to do.
Birds seen:- Emu, Australian Magpie, Pee Wee, Whistling Kite, Black Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Apostle Bird, Wedge-tailed eagle, Swamp Harrier, Spotted Harrier, Budgerigar, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow Spoonbill, Pink-eared Duck, Red-capped Robin, Native Hen, Pacific Black Duck, Masked Wood Swallow, Red-kneed Dotterill, Australian Pelican, Spotted Bowerbird, Pied Butcherbird, Black-faced Wood Swallow, White Browed Woodswallow, Sacred Kingfisher, Zebra Finch, Major Mitchell, Willy Wagtail, Blue Bonnet, Yellow-throated Minor, Australian Pratincol, Little Eagle, Brown Falcon, Black-winged Stilt, Australian Black Sawn, Galah, Hardhead, Australasian Shoveller, White faced Heron, white Necked Heron, Intermediate Egret, White Ibis. White-winged Chough,
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The sacred watering hole on the Paroo.
I did not know what to expect at Caiwarro. Again, another part of our Cotter history. Greg from Kilcowera said " I recall the clearing sale at Caiwarro". "there was a beautiful billiard table there and the only way they could get it out was to run a dozer through the wall of the home".
There is nothing really left. The homestead has been bulldozed into a few piles and fenced off...
The main fireplace is all that remains of the Pise built home.
Frankly I felt a bit grim about this. There is evidence of all that hard work, from the remains of the workshop, the managers cottages, the tennis court to the stock yards and meat room.
Its as if, what these men and women did, does not count in our history. Again I acknowledge our first Australians, and again I acknowledge that they were invaded and treated badly, ( well worse that that). However, as I walked through the ruins and looked across to the sacred watering hole, I did not see one of my brothers camping, fishing or enjoying the Paroo.
However, I did see, back in Bourke, quite a few enjoying the other white fellas watering hole called a pub. It was a long weekend too.
So, whats this all about? I witnessed feral cats, goats and pigs. I saw only one ranger vehicle, I saw no brother "black-fella"(and I mean this in the sincerest terms- brother)
I think its time we, as Australians stand up and acknowledge the "invasion" of Australia, and acknowledge that its irreversible. Be proud of just how hard the men and women worked, to create the wealth that we enjoy today. It was the sheeps back until the 1970's. Today its mining.
The workshop. Note the ramp in the background.
Its my view, that we are being hi-jacked by the left. Made to feel guilty, that what we achieved, is wrong. We are encouraged to eradicate all that we have done. Can I claim my indigenous rights back in Bantry Cork? I doubt it.
Can I claim to be proud of the pastoral history of Australia? You bet I can. Do I feel deeply about the utter destruction of the Aboriginal history along the river? You Bet I do.
The sheep/cattle yards.
As I drove away from Caiwarro, I realised that we have both "lost out". Both my indigenous brothers, and my pastoral family.
I hope its not too late to reclaim our rich heritage. Embrace our brothers and sisters and work towards real reconciliation. Not just a hollow "oops! sorry."
I hope , one day that I too can stand along the Paroo, and talk of my family in Wilcannia, to a "clever man" and share that experience.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Currawinya Shearing Shed
Whilst Plummer Cotter, the Bartons, the Howchins, the Dunks, and MaGraths worked on the properties I have previously mentioned, Alfred Cotter was managing Currawinya and Caiwarro. So it was worth the trip to see what remains of these.
The shearing shed is a good one, well laid out and in good order it would not take much to "turn on the lights" and start up.
The shearing stands
The same could not be said for the shearers quarters, kitchen, and meat house. QLD National parks have used concrete reinforcing steel to "wrap" some of the buildings disallowing access. I can only assume the buildings are unstable.
The engine that drives the shearing gear.
Reflecting on what I have uncovered over the past 12 months it leads me to ponder about just how "proud" are we as a nation of our pioneering history.
It seems we have a cringe mentality to it. There is no doubt that what happened to the Aborigines was, and is, appalling and I acknowledge the utter devastation that occurred to them. However, our current prosperity was forged by those women and men who created these great sheep stations. Yes there war tyrants, but there were many more good people.
The shearers accommodation
It seems that National parks are very good at measuring decay, and are lousy at any real positive input into the natural environment or real maintenance of the buildings that people worked hard to establish. I say this with confidence based on what I saw. 1. Feral cats at lake Wyalla, 2. the building condition, 3. the utter waste of money in creating sculptures welcoming you to the park. are just a couple of examples.
I give the area about 10 years. When all the older cattlemen and women retire and are forced to sell and use there properties as their superannuation. I doubt if the government has enough resolve to invest in our pastoral history.
The country here is good. Flood out with a great mixture of herbages. It seems such a date to leave it to the ferals.
We left Currawinya and headed towards Caiwarro.
From a pastoral history perspective Caiwarro will prove a worse example.