Wollombi Valley Online
Wollombi Valley Online
Sustainable community, living with heritage, art and nature
Wollombi Valley Country Fair

Stories

There are some wonderful stories in the Hunter Valley - add them as you find them, or write your own.

Posts

Web Design Company Perth

Date: 29-Jun-13
Author: Seen Online Design
From: Website
Reach your online business goals with us. We specialize in building websites with branding services & effective online marketing that take your business to next level.

Family history in the Wollombi area.

Date: 13-Jan-13
Author: Mavis Scott
Lazy Sunday probing into family history.

Become a Cessnock Emergency Relief Volunteer!

Date: 17-Oct-12
Author: Samaritans Foundation
From: Samaritans Vacancies Page
Samaritans Cessnock is looking for volunteers to help locals in need.

The Lost Post Offices of Australia - Wollombi (2325)

Date: 05-Jun-12
Author: John McCulloch
From: Thru My Lens
It would seem that the locals at Wollombi were not happy with the state of their local Post Office in 1844!

Red-bellied Houdini

Date: 04-Jun-12
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The woman on the mountain
Just when I thought it was cold enough for any sensible snake to have gone to sleep, so had relaxed my vigilance around the house yard...

Out of the kitchen window, I spied my old mate, looking quite spry and healthy and not all sleepy. It was sniffing around the tankstand overflow pipe, which is open-ended there on the short grass.

'Hope it doesn't try to go up that', I thought. 'It'd never get back out!'

Olives and oranges

Date: 05-May-12
Author: Susan Kurosawa (The Australian)
From: Destination Australia
It could be somewhere deep in Italy were it not for liquid ambers yellowing to autumn and the far prospect of rangy gum trees. Rather than Tuscany or Umbria, this is Wollombi Valley, with its pioneer history and important colonial buildings, on the lower edge of the NSW Hunter region.

But there is an Italian connection nonetheless, and he is on the doorstep this morning. Naples-born Sydney restaurateur Armando Percuoco, of Buon Ricordo fame, has just delivered to us a jar of his marmellata d'arance di siviglia for our morning toast.

My new book, Rich Land, Wasteland - how coal is killing Australia

Date: 02-May-12
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: Rich Land, Wasteland - how coal is killing Australia
At last I can tell everyone what I have been working on for the last two years, monopolising my mind and my heart, and near breaking both at times.

My new book, Rich Land, Wasteland - how coal is killing Australia, will be in bookshops at the start of May, a joint publishing venture by Pan Macmillan Australia and Exisle Publishing.

I knew the Hunter had been - is being - trashed by coal, and the wishes and wellbeing of its residents apparently treated with contempt by both corporate coal and government. Was this unique or could it possibly this bad elsewhere?

A brief about Rain Water Pumps

Date: 14-Dec-11
Author: Gavin Healey
There are many benefits of Rain Water Tank pumps. When you invest in a water tank, you will be able to collect the rain that falls if you have it connected to your gutters and downpipes.

Snake sightings on Milsons Arm and Crumps Trig area

Date: 19-Sep-11
Author: Craig Dewick
From: Hunter region section on 'What Snake is That?' website
Spring has arrived and the snakes are coming out!

The Dishonest Cessnock Councilor Allan McCudden

Date: 16-Sep-11
Author: Darren McCudden
Your Gullable and spoon fed if you believe his lies

Discovering Local History

Date: 14-May-11
Author: Craig Dewick
From: History of Bucketty and surrounding areas
If you are interested in learning more about local history, here is a good starting point!

Finchley Track - Aboriginal Art & Great North Walk

Date: 27-Feb-11
Author: Every Trail
From: Every Trail
Discover how early European settlers sought Aboriginal trails as they opened roads from Sydney

Landshare website

Date: 17-Feb-11
Author: Ken McShane
Just stumbled on this site.

I love you infinity

Date: 13-Feb-11
Author: Melissa Singer (SMH Travel)
Melissa Singer takes the opportunity to advance the romance at a bush retreat in the Hunter.

GETTING bogged in a muddy pothole isn't the ideal way to begin a romantic weekend but at least you know things can only improve.

And so we find ourselves, stuck in first gear, putt-putting our way up a steep ridge in the Hunter Valley to Wild Edge Retreat.

60th birthday of the Holden Ute

Date: 31-Jan-11
Author: Pauline Cockrill
The hardworking Holden utility is 60 in 2011 and the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, SA is looking for Holden ute owners with an interesting story about their vehicle to help celebrate this major milestone. The cars, their owners and stories will be central to a short film that the museum is making for Holden to accompany a traveling display entitled "Ute-opia" next year.

Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice and More...

Date: 02-Jan-11
Author: Sonia Ellem
From: Travels with an Earth Gypsy
We mozied on out to Wollombi, stopped at the Tavern and partook in an obligatory glass of Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice; a legendary mix, created back in 1957 by Mel Jurd (then owner of the tavern) who liked to experiment with leftovers from the night before.

High fliers

Date: 25-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Each year the Lilliums in front of my verandah shoot up anew, aiming for the roof but not quite making it. Still, at about three metres, their height is impressive and their bells bloom well above the verandah railing, allowing their heavy perfume to reach me at my desk, despite the dense greenery between us.

Merry Christmas

Date: 24-Dec-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I treated myself to coffee at our local cafe this morning. The front window is decorated with leafless branches hung upside down and adorned with cute handmade decorations.

Christmas greetings

Date: 24-Dec-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Just back from the shops getting last minute things we need for Christmas.

Thinking about Christmas and looking back, I think of this as the year we began rediscovering New England. Just as it took New England many years to decline in public prominence, so its rediscovery takes time.

Bird bank

Date: 22-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Viewing the world through slightly misty and not very clean windows is a disadvantage when you want to take photographs of something out there.

In my bedroom, the rear windows face into a close bank, planted with, amongst other things, hanging rosemary and a prostrate grevillea. Birds love them.

Skink family?

Date: 18-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Two of the skinks who adorn my verandah and surrounds were enjoying a steamy break between rain storms. There is a smaller one too but it's very lively and rarely 'basks'. You know what kids are like.

Interactive Indigenous Language Map

Date: 16-Dec-10
Author: Robbo
From: Bite the Dust
ABC Indigenous has a terrific online interactive resource. The map is based on language data from a number of respected sources and tries to contain all the language or tribal groups in Australia.

Sunshower power

Date: 15-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Tropical storms, fruit splitting, grass growing faster than the wallabies' appetites, ground squelching underfoot, leeches on the march as soon as I leave the verandah... this is not how summer is supposed to be here.

Wollombi Weekend Retreat

Date: 14-Dec-10
Author: Rebecca
From: Around the world with Rebecca
DH and I decided we needed to get way for a quite weekend, with an excuse to do absolutely nothing and came across The Wild Edge Retreat in Wollombi, NSW.

Wollombi Cafe

Date: 12-Dec-10
Author: Lucky
From: NIGE Motorcycle Club
Well Lucky and Ant headed off to Wollombi yesterday despite the doomsday prophets who forecast rain. And it rained..a bit..on the way back. Nevertheless we set a good pace out and found ourselves bad mouthing all those who weren't with us.

Fruit firsts

Date: 11-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I don't understand what's going on in my orchard - or not going on, actually. The bower birds and the king parrots have arrived, as usual, to eat the fruit on the trees that I haven't got around to netting, which is all of them this year.

Heady honeysuckle

Date: 04-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Some vines go crazy here; they used to need keeping in check, to be sure they didn't take off across the grass and into the forest. The Honeysuckle was one such. But since my open gate policy, the wallabies do that job for me.

Where's A Good Place To Go For A Spring Holiday Near Sydney?

Date: 01-Dec-10
Author: mermaid8
From: World around travel
Wollombi in the Hunter Valley. it is under 2 hours from sydney but is completely away from it all. it is a small rural town that borders the beautiful wineries of pokolbin. it has many wonderful b&b's that cater for romantic getaways. the views and surroundings are gorgeous. it has 30 mins from cessnock which has a cinema, shopping centres etc.
wollombi has some lovely cafes and wollombi tavern is really quaint and charming. it is an historical town with old churches and museum...perfect for a week of not doing much. when you get bored you can go on a wine tour or balloon ride or checkout the lovely boutique shops of pokolbin nearby.
i recommend you look at the wollombi website. you will also find all the accommodation places there.
good luck

Days of their lives

Date: 01-Dec-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Early morning, sunshine after days of rain, the grass still soggy. The kangaroo family has decided that just inside the forever-open gate, on the hard-packed clay track, is the driest place to rest.

They know my car only moves out of the shed every few weeks - the track's more for them than for me.

I could totally be a farm girl

Date: 28-Nov-10
Author: Genevieve
From: genevieve-aroundthecorner
So. I have pretty much decided that I would like to live on a farm. This interesting realisation came about after spending the night at Avoca House in Wollombi.

I was lucky enough to be a guest of Angela and Bob, and it was such a great experience that I just had to share.

Myself and my friend were in Wollombi, NSW

Date: 11-Nov-10
Author: Mike
From: Australian Big Cats
Myself and my friend were in Wollombi , NSW this weekend and whilst travelling back to Wild Edge Retreat in our Four wheel drive ,a very strange creature bolted across the road right in front of us.

Stormy roos

Date: 03-Nov-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
October has been a variable month, veering from warm to cold to freezing, from spring buds and seedling growth to blossom profusion.

Wollombi

Date: 01-Nov-10
Author: Heidi
From: Mrs Scully - connecting kids
On Tuesday the 26th of October, I went on an aboriginal camp at Wollombi. I arrived at Glendale Tech at about 7:45 am. Not everyone was there till about 8:00. We were supposed to leave at 8 o'clock but some peole were late, so we didn't leave till about 8:30. The bus was a bit squishy because of all of the luggage. We only had a little bus and it didn't have a spot to put the luggage in, so we had to put it down the aisle, under the seats or ontop of us. When we got there we had time to have some morning tea, work out our cabins, put our stuff in the cabins then get back on the bus and go to Baiame's cave.

Flirting with domesticity

Date: 27-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Lately I have noticed that a wallaby mother and her joey have taken to sitting under my verandah. In fact she sits right up against the mud wall, under where my front door opens, so I walk over the top of her often. My verandah decking is pretty bouncy and noisy- as am I - and the screen door unavoidably scrapes out and back across the uneven boards, in order to exclude the slimmest snake when the door is shut.

Blokes and blossoms

Date: 23-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
While the wallaby females ferry and feed the joeys, the males do blokey stuff - like fighting.

I had seen very young males practice-fighting in my yard but these two were old enough and big enough for the real thing.

Sydney, Monday towards Friday

Date: 23-Oct-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A poem by Luke Whitington

Grey water in gardens

Date: 20-Oct-10
Author: Marcelle Nankervis
From: Marcelle Nankervis Blog
With Summer approaching, grey water will again become an important component of keeping our gardens lush and green. Even if we have had a fair amount of rain over winter and spring, it is no time to become careless or wasteful with water. We still need to make every drop count, if not for now, then for the future.

Mapping the World

Date: 20-Oct-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
Considering that I already have several metres of books precariously stacked around my walls in front of my bulging wall to wall bookcases, commonsense would indicate that I shouldn't buy another book until I find space for all the others. But yesterday I did buy another book, a big one. This one is called "Mapping the World" by Michael Swift, New Jersey

Parrot peeps

Date: 20-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The King Parrots have arrived in all their green and scarlet glory, as raucous and belligerent as ever. This means that some of my orchard's fruit must be close to ready for ruination, even though small and green.

No time for netting this year, so the Kingies and the bower birds will have their best season yet. This one was very briefly perched in a slender - and fruitless - birch tree.

Wallaby takeover

Date: 16-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
As you can see, Eastern Red-necked wallabies rule here. They know it; males, females, joeys - they do as they please in my yard. I simply add more wire netting guards to protect what pleases me. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not have flowers unless they are specific inedible bulbs, or above wallaby reach.

Sport, soccer and new states

Date: 14-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Back in October 2007 in Sir William Walkley, Ampol and the New England New State Movement, I expliained why Northern NSW had its own state soccer league. I was reminded of this by a story in the Armidale Express on the selection of Armidale's Naran Singh for the Northern NSW under 14 rep side.

Ken Mathews on regional development

Date: 14-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Over time, I have written a fair bit on this blog about the way that current approaches to policy development disadvantage regional Australia including New England.

Spiky business

Date: 13-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Through one window I'd been watching the smaller echidna poking about on fairly bare dirt, trying to get a photo of its rear feet, with the long extended claws. I didn't manage to.

It headed downhill into grassed areas, so I gave up.

Spring cleaning

Date: 09-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
A warm sunny morning, perfect for turning out the occupants of the house and giving it a good clean. This wallaby mum's empty pink pouch lining caught my eye, as I've never seen that before. I'm sure that was a welcome airing as much as a break.

A closer encounter

Date: 06-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I see echidnas in the yard often; not daily, like the wallabies, but weekly at least. Sometimes there are two poking about, snouts down and separately. This particular day I had seen the bigger one down by the fence, minding its own business, as the wallaby was, one aerating the lawn, the other mowing it.

Eating, gardening and reading

Date: 04-Oct-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
The eating was easy. I made a pavlova for last weekend's birthday lunch and here it is. Coming out of the oven it was puffed up high but the top cracks as it cools, leaving a crunchy top and a marshmallowy centre. In my family we just like to smother it in whipped cream and strawberries but passionfruit is served on the side for all those Australians who believe a pavlova has to have pash n'strawbs.

Spring surprises

Date: 02-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The extremely slow-to-bloom (16 years!) white wisteria is now fully out and it is so beautiful in form and colour that it deserves a follow-up post. For some reason, its delicacy makes me think of Japan, where I've never been. Perhaps the decorations on geisha hair combs in paintings?

Suspicious sublet

Date: 29-Sep-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
My 'guest accommodation' is an ex-workshop tacked on to a shed. It is of corrugated iron, but lined, and comfortable; far enough from my cabin for privacy, close enough for convenience, and with pleasant orchard views and surrounds.

Prima Donna

Date: 29-Sep-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A Poem by Luke Whitington

Valentino skeleton

Date: 29-Sep-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A Poem by Luke Whitington

New State arguments 13 - too many politicians

Date: 16-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One of the standard arguments against the creation of new states has always been that it will increase the number of politicians. This has always been a hard argument to attack, not on the facts but on the prejudices embodied in the claim. Back in the 1920s, the New State Movement responded with a double barreled argument.

Wines, not mines, in Margaret River

Date: 15-Sep-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The latest unthinkable area to be targeted by the coal mining frenzy is the world-renowned wine and food area of Margaret River in south-west Western Australia.

Let the fight for regional development begin!

Date: 15-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Second Gillard ministry sets out ministers in the second Gillard ministry as sworn in. It includes a link to the administrative arrangements, the formal document setting out who is responsible for what.

Fish indulgences

Date: 14-Sep-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
I've admitted to this before - I love the look of fish. Not enough to have one in a tank but if I did, I'd really want this fellow. His name is Strawberry and he's a four year old Giant Gourami, still growing.

Belshaw's World - winds of change blurred lines in the sand

Date: 14-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw (in Armidale Express)
From: New England, Australia
We see boundaries, for example, as firm lines on a map, languages as single entities - English, French and so on. We recognise the presence of dialects, but we see these as part of a bigger whole. Aboriginal New England was not like that. Languages shaded into each other, while boundaries could shift and overlap depending on the nature of relationships.

Rural Blogging

Date: 11-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
In the current "Three Amigos" or "Country Independents" era of political theatre, being someone passionate about rural Australia doing my best to publish about my corner of the world, I have been looking around for other blogs, not particularly about a region, but about regional and rural issues.

Wollombi Wild Ride 2010 Photos

Date: 07-Sep-10
Author: Marathon Photos
From: Marathon Photos
On Marathon Photos

Wollombi Wild Ride on MapMyWalk

Date: 07-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: MapMyWalk.com
Google map of the course

Wollombi Wild Ride Presentation

Date: 05-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: Shane's MTB Blog
Video from the Wollombi Wild Ride presentation

Spring time in the Southern Hemisphere

Date: 05-Sep-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
Who doesn't love spring? The bulbs are popping, freesias, primula, azaleas flowering but in my part of the world there is also wild weather. As well as severe wind warnings here in Sydney and the Central Coast, other parts of NSW, Victoria and South Australia are in major flood, and in beautiful Christchurch, in New Zealand's South Island, they've had a serious earthquake. Spring in the Southern Hemisphere can be quite savage!

Pics from Wollombi

Date: 05-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: Shane's MTB Blog
Pictures from Wollombi Wild Ride

Wollombi Wild Ride 2010

Date: 04-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: Shane's MTB Blog
Today Vanessa and I did the Wollombi Wild Ride, the weather the night before and this morning was't the best with rain falling most of the night but it cleared just before the start of the event. We set off from home at 4.30am and got to Wollombi pub just on 6am (we were the first ones to arrive).

Belshaw's World - time to repeat the new state question

Date: 04-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw (in Armidale Express)
From: New England, Australia
Since the election, all sorts of emails have been flying around Northern New South Wales discussing just what the country independents might do. I will talk about these in a moment. But first, I want to make a few general comments about the position that the three country independents finds themselves in.

Politics, policies and principles

Date: 03-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Personal Reflections
I haven't attempted to analyse all the evolving changes in the drama still gripping Australian politics. There is little point in analysing what it all means until we know the outcomes. The ALP-Green Deal sets out a copy of the agreement between those two parties. Now we have the agreement between the ALP and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie; copy here. Once the country independents make up their minds, we can look at what it all means.

The Museum inside

Date: 02-Sep-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A poem by Luke Whitington

Wollombi Wild Ride

Date: 01-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: Shane's MTB Blog
Looking forward to the Wollombi Wild Ride this Saturday, Vanessa and I will do the 60km course, my ribs are still pretty tender so I'll probably do it easy and ride with Ness.

National Wattle Day

Date: 01-Sep-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
The Australian countryside is currently splashed with gold as Acacia shrubs and trees burst into bloom; so too are suburban gardens. It really is a delight to drive the back roads and appreciate the glorious colour the wattle is giving to the bushland.

Something a little on the odd side

Date: 01-Sep-10
Author: Maria Ericksen (RockMad)
...This was just before the lavender farm (on the Cessnock side) and on your way to the tiny town of Wollombi (best known for the tavern there). I spent a good hour there snapping here and there - the tree, the doors, the tin men, even the dogs that came over to see what I was up to had their picture taken...

30km Loop at Wollombi

Date: 01-Sep-10
Author: Shane MTB
From: Shane's MTB Blog
This is the second loop of the wollombi wild ride 60km course, there are a few long climbs and a real mean downhill run down Finchley Track (I got my trance to 75kph).. Beware of roo's, there are lots of them out here.

The importance of community activism

Date: 01-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Personal Reflections
We community activists are stubborn folk. We know that the chances of success are often slim. We know that Governments in the name of efficiency and effectiveness will over-ride us or, worse, destroy the things that we have worked for. Yet we go on.

Forest fabric art

Date: 25-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I have often admired the work of textile artists like Jan Irvine-Nealie, where fine stitching subtly emphasises the shapes and patterns of nature. However, lacking such patience and delicacy, I have never attempted anything like that.

New media, independents and change

Date: 25-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Personal Reflections
I was off-line yesterday with the internet connection down. Really very frustrating at this time when Australian politics is providing such great theatre. So this morning has seen a hasty run-round just trying to catch up. Now I want to make just a few disconnected comments, really reflections to myself.

Northern Daily Leader: Second-term support a must

Date: 23-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Personal Reflections
This morning, the Tamworth based Northern Daily Leader (the largest newspaper in Tony Windsor's New England electorate) editorialised: WITH only the faintest hope Labor might fall across the line with the support of one Greens MP, a "Greens independent" and a win in the West Australian seat of Hasluk, Tony Windsor and his fellow conservative independents will likely need to decide to fish or cut bait in the very near future.

Elections a chance for New England?

Date: 22-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In a post on my personal blog,Three Amigos and the future Australian Government, I discussed the outcomes of the federal election as we know them to this point. If, and it's still uncertain, Messrs Katter, Windsor and Oakeshott actually do end up with the balance of power, then we may have a chance to push New England causes. Two of the three come from New England, while Mr Katter both supports self-government for North Queensland and is also sympathetic to regional development. There is also a cross-bench National from WA who, so far, has been largely ignored by the media.

Bat squatters

Date: 21-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
If you became homeless because your house was being demolished, obviously you'd have to find a new home to live in. It's no different for other animals; we all need shelter, a home, habitat.

Elections, Aborigines & the need for change

Date: 20-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Bear with me if I express a purely personal view that is nothing but opinions, no evidence or real argument. I have just finished a post on my personal blog, End of the Nats? This followed an earlier post on this blog, Coalition wipe-out in the North? Now I know that many readers are not National Party supporters. I am not saying that you should be. However, I hope that you will bear with me when I say that the Nats decline makes me sad.

Election choices?

Date: 18-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
On Saturday Australians must vote for a Federal government - as if we didn't all know, with the election campaign dominating our media ad nauseam.

Because we no longer believe what Labor or the Liberals say, in or out of campaign mode, it's hard to care what they're saying.

Coalition wipe-out in the North?

Date: 18-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Last week I complained about neglect of the North in Election campaign ignores New England. In this post, I want to look at what the straws in the wind say about the likely outcomes across New England. At present, of the eleven seats, six are Labor, two each independent and National, one Liberal. Three of the eleven seats are classified as marginal.

Aboriginal populations and sea level change

Date: 17-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
I have really been bogged down looking at the distribution of New England's Aboriginal languages. I want to get the paper that I gave in Armidale to July to the point that I can post it here for comment, but I keep finding things that I don't know. Indeed, some (much?) may be unknowable.

Fabulous dry-country nature

Date: 16-Aug-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Recent soaking rain in and around the Pilliga Forests of semi-arid northwestern NSW has prompted nature to reproduce, with fungi fruiting, birds nest-building, and native vegetation bursting into bloom. I had a fabulous time exploring.

Many of the avifauna species of the northwest are not exclusively dry-country birds. The Australian Owlet-nightjar can be found Australia wide, but it's always exciting to catch sight of one of these nocturnal hunters at it's daytime roost.

New states, history and the sense of Northern identity

Date: 15-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One of the things that's interesting but also a bit depressing about about the present growth of interest in new states is the way it draws out our own loss of history.

There are four major regions in Australia at sub-state level that have had a very strong sense of their own identity over time - Riverina, Northern NSW, Capricornia and North Queensland. Not coincidentally, these are also the regions where the desire for statehood expressed through separatist agitation has been a regular manifestation of the sense of identity.

In Australian historical terms, we are talking big sweeps of history.

New Poem by Clive Webb "Lost Highway"

Date: 15-Aug-10
Author: Clive and Robyn Webb
"Lost Highway"

Far and near

Date: 14-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Far treats here are the changing interactions of mountain and sky.

After the rain I watch from my dripping verandah as Omo-white clouds boil and steam in and out of the nips and tucks of the densely forested southern slopes. Wisps linger to lick the gullies clean before joining the rising mass above.

New England Story - the making of Captain Thunderbolt

Date: 13-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
This is the story of a film seen through the eyes of a child. I was too young to remember the making, but I did go to the premiere. I also grew up on stories of the film. Like all child-hood memories, indeed all memories, the story is an imperfect one. Still, it might be of interest.

Armidale, June 1955. Crowds gather outside Armidale's Capitol Theatre for the world premiere of the first major film made in Armidale.

The roos move in

Date: 11-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
While the wallabies have more than made themselves at home here in my yard-that-was-once-a-garden, the kangaroos have been wary, staying over in the far orchard end and taking off if they saw me. But I recently spotted this young one through my window; being up near the shed, it was unusually close to my cabin, but didn't notice me snapping its picture though the window. Then I looked along the track from the shed, even closer to me, and there they were, a little family of kangaroos sprawled about on track and bank, lazy and unperturbed.

Pressure for North Queensland state increases

Date: 10-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
According to newspaper reports (here for full story), pressure for a new state in North Queensland is growing.

Next month, local government leaders in North Queensland will ask their counterparts across the state to give them vital support for a referendum to be held on the issue at the next state election in 2012.

Hunter Valley 1st New State lunch

Date: 09-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Saturday was the first New State lunch in the Hunter Valley, a chance for people interested in self government for New England and who had mainly been communicating by email to meet and talk.

Outback Eden under threat

Date: 07-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
If the Galilee Basin in central-west Queensland sounds biblical, the scale of the threat facing it is certainly of epic proportions. The coal underneath it has always been there, but cattle and drovers, not coal mines and drillers, have dominated the land.

Give me a tree buffer zone and a green roof and I'll shut up for five minutes

Date: 07-Aug-10
Author: Caity Raschke
From: Save our Figs and other Trees in Newcastle
Blackbutt Reserve is an area of remnant bush in the middle of Newcastle. There are several entries to the Reserve, this is the western entry. Well marked for visitors. Not.

Animal cruelty - are we hypocrites?

Date: 05-Aug-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
There is no excuse for animal cruelty. Animal cruelty directed at cats, dogs, donkeys and other family pets always produces an outrage from concerned community, and rightly so! A kitten kicked around a railway station, a kitten hung from a Gold Coast fence with fishing line, dogs mistreated, donkeys neglected, kangaroo joeys left to die when their mothers are shot for meat - these incidents screen on the nightly news while we are eating our evening meal, and we are all sickened. If we weren't sickened by these cruel acts, there would be something amiss with our human makeup.

Kookaburra colony

Date: 04-Aug-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
In my last book, Mountain Tails, I wrote a piece called 'Kookaburra kingdom'. They don't actually rule amongst the birds here; the magpies do. But I have a penchant for alliteration, as you see. At least this post is more accurately named.

Round the New England blogging traps 16 - Hunter Valley sojourn

Date: 31-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I was reading Wollombi Valley On-Line when an odd thought occurred to me. The trigger was a story: Womens Spirituality Workshop.

Living in Sydney as I am just at present, it's easy to forget that the desire to discover spirituality is one of the themes that appears across New England's alternative life style settlements.

Tolerant wallaby mums

Date: 31-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I have mentioned before that wallaby mothers carry their joeys long after they really don't seem to fit in the pram or pouch any more.
They also keep allowing them to drink their specially tailored mother's milk from their allotted nipple for a very long time.

Leafy visitor

Date: 28-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I'd just cut back the woody stems of the verandah vines - the ornamental grape and the wisteria. A scattering of brown tendrils and dry curling leaves had landed on the verandah and I began to sweep them off.

New State arguments 12 - the importance of history

Date: 25-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One of the difficulties those of us who want self-government for New England face in getting our message across is the loss of our own history. The reasons for this are complex, but link to the combination of demographic change with changing research and publishing fashions.

Drying out

Date: 24-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
It had rained for days, and when it wasn't raining it was damp and grey and cold. Miserable, in fact. The hillsides were oozing and the track was a running stream.

But just as dry firewood was becoming a concern, this day threw a final heavy shower at the mountain and then the sun came out.

Why our history is important to New England

Date: 22-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Just back from Armidale to deliver a paper. I recorded some of my reactions in Return to country. This dealt in part with the role of the University of New England in recording the history and culture of the area. I concluded my post with these words: I think that one of the best things that we can do for Aboriginal kids is to give them back their history. Not the generalised history you often see, but the actual specific local, regional and language group history.

Wallabies at home

Date: 21-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The wallabies took very little time to adjust to my moving back in to their domain. There are lots of mothers carrying young in pouches. Some of the joeys are very small and pink, and some, like this one, are really too big.

A sense of community

Date: 20-Jul-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I've never really felt a sense of belonging to a community before. Of course this could well be my own fault - a lack of confidence and willingness to take risks and push my boundaries. I have tried, and recently I have become involved with a few local groups which I enjoy.

Return to Wallaby World

Date: 17-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Home on the mountain at last, I was greeted by a heavily pruned garden ruled by wallabies.

Of course it was lovely to see the wallabies, but... they have been eating plants I had never expected to appeal to their taste buds...

The Power of Imagination

Date: 12-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Just at present, we live in a world dominated by concepts such as efficiency and effectiveness, by measurement, by performance indicators. These things are important, but they have also had a damaging side-effect: they tend not just to limit action to those things that can be measured, but also to lock action into the past.

Fungi galore !

Date: 11-Jul-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Recent rain in the Hunter Valley has produced a flush of fungi far and wide, and I've been taking advantage of the opportunity to observe and photograph them. Weird, wonderful, colourful and intriguing fruiting bodies are popping up in gardens, parks, bushland and lawn.

Magical Mallacoota

Date: 10-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
It was just on dusk when I reached Mallacoota, 23 km east of the highway. A stunningly beautiful spot, and quite a large village, but, as I discovered when I drove to the inlet foreshore, its population must explode in summer.

Who speaks for the Hunter?

Date: 10-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One issue that has been coming through quite strongly in comments on Hunter Valley media and also on this blog is the perception that planning and Government actions in the Hunter lack coordination and vision. I asked in response to one comment just what bodies were responsible for providing an integrated voice across the Hunter. My respondent wasn't sure, so I went to do some digging.

Competition for prose & poetry - $1000 in prizes!

Date: 07-Jul-10
Author: Catchfire Press
From: Catchfire Press
Catchfire Press is pleased to announce a competition for prose and poetry,
Wood, Brick & Stone: The Making of the Hunter

Send your entries by 30 September 2010

Drummond's life 4 - The Minister: 1927-1929

Date: 07-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
The elections of 8 October 1927 saw the defeat of the Lang Government. The Country Party had gained four seats, bringing its numbers to thirteen; one of the new members was Page's long-serving aide, Alf Pollack, now elected to the new seat of Clarence. The Nationalists held thirty-three seats, Labor forty, while there were four independents...

Gippsland the varied - part 1

Date: 07-Jul-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I discovered that Victoria's Gippsland region, while small by the standards of bigger states, is vastly varied. I had stayed at Mirboo North, with the extremely generous and helpful Kate Jackson and Phil Piper, who had welcomed me, sight unseen.

Round the New England blogging traps 15 - crowdsourcing and the texture of life

Date: 06-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
have really been enjoying Lynne's new nellbellingen blog, although it should perhaps be bellinger, since it is much about the valley as the town.

For those who don't know either, the town of Bellingen lies on the Bellinger River. The small spelling difference between the two is a constant source of confusion.

Beware the 'scenic route'

Date: 03-Jul-10
Author: BJ
From: Horseshoe Bent
Much like "tourist drive", "scenic route" usually means poorly maintained, inadequately proportioned, hairpin-bend-infested, white-knuckle terror. So I often use a camera as a kind of psychological airbag. Mick and I went on a trip today. Peter, a mate from Sydney, wrenched us out of bed at 11 this morning to ask us to meet him at the Wollombi Tavern, 40km or so away.

An update

Date: 02-Jul-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
You know when a whole string of inconveniences, minor misfortunes and concerns beset your life and you succumb to a slight case of the 'blues'? Well that's where I am at the moment. It's not like I wonder why these things happen - I mean, challenges and hiccouphs are all part of normal everyday human existence. Change is constant, and everything happens for a reason.

Knowing how to manage the mental, emotional and physical consequences of a succession of concerns is the trick. It will all pass.

Macedon mists and cool crafts

Date: 27-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I like the mystery of mist, of fog, of cloud that comes down to join the land. But as a rarity, not a norm.

New State arguments 11 - the importance of a dedicated public service

Date: 26-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One of my former public service colleagues died recently, something that I recorded in Death of John Martin. It got me thinking on the importance of a dedicated New England public service.

I have spent a bit over two decades as a public servant, more time working with public servants in other capacities. I actually have a very high opinion of public servants.

New State arguments 10 - technical issues 1

Date: 25-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In this post I want to look at some of the technical issues raised by New England self-government. These are important not just in a practical sense, but because people have a tendency to say that it's all too hard. It's not. The list that follows simply lists issues that have been raised so far.

Scones

Date: 24-Jun-10
Author: Debbie
From: Simply Me
I decided to make scones today I felt like some date scones, Instead of looking through my recipe books I decided to look online for a recipe. I found a recipe but while I was looking, I also found a recipe for Pumpkin Scones.

Belshaw's World - rumblings of independence on the radar

Date: 23-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I have been watching with interest the return of agitation seeking to create further new states in Australia. An active movement has re-emerged in North Queensland, leading Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser to remark at a community cabinet meeting that North Queensland would never get self-government because Queensland might lose the state of origin. In a sop to his audience, Mr Fraser did concede that Australia's state boundaries could move as settlement patterns changed, but not until the next century! In New England, too, agitation has re-appeared, this time centred in the Hunter.

A poem for paper lovers, book binders, printers, marblers...

Date: 18-Jun-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
Thanks to Claire for permission to post this poem which I found in her book of poems and paintings on my last visit to New Zealand. As an unashamed paper lover I felt an immediate connection with the poem and I hope it speaks as eloquently to my readers as it has to me. PAPER WRESTLING by Claire Beynon

New State arguments 9 - benefits of self-government

Date: 18-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
This post introduces the benefits that New England might gain from statehood. By way of background, after our defeat at the 1967 plebiscite, I kind of gave up. I was involved in other things, and the new state cause seemed dead, remote. In 1981 an odd thing happened. I had begun writing a biography of my grandfather, David Drummond, as a PhD thesis in history. In 1981 I came back to Armidale to research and write full time. As I explored Drummond's views, I found my belief in the new state cause re-ignited.

The tallest White Gum in the world

Date: 17-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
In Tasmania I learnt to expect plantations like these when I saw the word 'forest'. I drove through miles of this to reach the Evercreech Forest Reserve, 52 hectares that wasn't clearfelled. I reached the tree for which the Forest is famous.

Spanning in stone

Date: 12-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Stonework always fascinates me: the intuitive precision of its craft, the colours and textures of the stones themselves, the patterns they make, the beauty and functionality of what man can make of natural materials. In the case of stone bridges, the engineering skills of the past demand respect.

Easy Marble Cake

Date: 10-Jun-10
Author: Debbie
From: Simply Me
This is a cake I used to make when my boys were little. They loved the different colours in it and it saves having 3 separate bowls for a proper marble cake.

Beyond The Pilliga - wildlife encounters

Date: 09-Jun-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
My other half and I are both recuperating from from a stubborn cold. We headed up to our recently purchased retirement house at Baradine, rather than spend the time moping around at home wishing we were 'somewhere nice'.

Hunter Valley Concerns

Date: 09-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I hadn't intended to post again today and especially not on new state issues. However, in a comment Mark referred to a Newcastle Herald story setting out local concerns about cash raised from the Valley by Sydney compared to local spend.

Early birds

Date: 09-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
When you get to a camp spot late in the day you don't have time to look around much, beyond finding a flat spot for the tent, setting it up and scavenging leftover firewood at cold campsites.

NSW Budget 10-11: mining royalties

Date: 09-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I haven't had time to do a proper review of the 2010-2011 NSW budget. However, I did want to look at royalty payments since most of these come from New England.

Hunter Valley calls for New England new state grows

Date: 08-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Back in March 2008, Newcastle Herald columnist Jeff Corbett floated the idea of a reformed New State Movement and self-government for the North. He began his blog post:

Just think how well off we'd be if the regions of New England, the Hunter and northern NSW could spend all rather than some of their government contributions on themselves.

Since then, the idea has been slowly gaining traction in discussion and in comments on newspaper stories and indeed on this blog. See, for example, the comments on the 11 May 2010 Herald story on Cessnock City Council planning powers.

Reflections on New England identity

Date: 07-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I am bringing this material on now because with current interest in the revival of the new state cause, Drummond's life provides a perspective on some elements of New England history, the rise of the Movement, as well his own story. Sadly, very little has been published that can provide an entry point to this part of our collective history.

New State arguments 8 - why Sydney needs out from NSW

Date: 06-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In the past, one of the most basic problems in achieving self-government lay in the fact that Sydney would lose jobs and economic control. This is not an anti-Sydney argument, just a practical refection. The position has changed.

Sydney's problem now is that the need for a NSW Government to consider broader issues in an increasingly fragmented and disparate state means that Sydney itself is not getting the attention it needs.

An almost wild edge

Date: 05-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Having decided that the sea is the real wild edge on the Tasman Peninsula, I was enchanted to come across a piece of actual coastal land that was almost wild.

New State arguments 7 - the constitutional position

Date: 04-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
At the time the Australian Federation was formed, the existing state structure was not seen as fixed in stone for all time. For that reason, the Australian constitution includes specific provisions that allow for the admission and governance of new territories, for alteration of state boundaries, for mergers between states or parts of states and for the subdivision of existing states.

Tassie love affair

Date: 02-Jun-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
A Tasmanian has stolen my heart. I might have met him once, decades ago, in my own state; in fact I'm sure I saw him twice at my place. But now Tasmania is the only place we can meet.

A new garden with new wildlife

Date: 01-Jun-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that my husband, Grahame, and I have decided to retire to northwestern NSW in the vicinity of the Pilliga Forests. We have a few years left in the Hunter Valley, but we recently snapped up the opportunity to buy a suitable residence in Baradine.

New State arguments 6 -sharing the benefits

Date: 31-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Those arguing against self-government for New England used to say that new states offered no benefits. Alternatively, and at the same time, they argued that one place would benefit over another. This implies that self-government for New England must be a zero sum game; if one goes up, another must go down.

Clouds

Date: 30-May-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A poem by Luke Whitington

Wild coast colours

Date: 29-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The infamous Port Arthur in Tasmania's south-east is no longer remote nor a place of human suffering; it's a tourist venue.

New State arguments 5 - the power of imagination

Date: 28-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
One of the remarkable things about the spread of new state agitation in the 1920s was the way it encouraged new ideas. Once you propose fundamental changes to existing systems, then you are free to develop alternative ideas in their place. Not all those ideas were sensible, but together they provided an alternative view.

The same is true today. Do we want rotating Parliaments, how should Government be structured, what do we want our Government to focus on, how do we capture the talents of our area?

New England's rich film history

Date: 27-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
There was a stir in our household recently when eldest found the trailer for Tomorrow: When the War Began.

John Marsden has always been one of my daughters' favourite writers. Youngest, an aspiring writer, even went to a writer's session at his farm near Melbourne.

New State arguments 4 - party politics

Date: 27-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I had intended to write this post later in the series. However, following the formation of the North Queensland Party to campaign for self-government for North Queensland, there have been suggestions that we should do something similar in New England. I thought therefore that I should bring it forward.

Wild Tasmania(ns)

Date: 26-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Near the bottom of the east coast of Tasmania is the Tasman Peninsula, a ragged blob of land reached via another, smaller blob, the Forestier Peninsula. They are a whisker of land away from being islands like Bruny, close to the coast - and to Hobart.

My first meditation

Date: 25-May-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
My spiritual growth and awareness over recent years has been an extraordinary journey. I conceive my spiritual awakening to have been a remarkably swift evolution in the scheme of my lifetime - 5 or 6 years out of my 53, is a short period of time. This exciting journey of inner body and universe discovery will continue until the moment my body dies - now that I have found this path, I will find it impossible to leave it, for this is the path that leads to true peace and happiness every day of my life.

New State arguments 3 - geographic basis of government

Date: 24-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
The new state movements throughout Australia challenged the existing basis of Government. In doing so, they faced a major challenge from those committed to the status quo.

It is a hard fact that all existing political institutions will defend themselves by all the means in their power, supported by those who for reason of sentiment or self-interest favour the status quo. The new state movements were required to develop arguments that would explain their case to a broader audience on emotional and logical grounds, that would challenge the arguments put forward by those opposing change.

Leaving the land

Date: 22-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Recently I left the mainland of Australia for the first time. I don't count flying to other lands, since I didn't experience the same physical separation.

This time my little red Suzuki and I were to be shipped 'across the dtich' as they say in Tasmania. From my first glimpse, across the promenade and sandy beach at Port Melbourne, I see that, appropriately, the Spirit of Tasmania vessel is red too.

New State arguments 2 - no states or new states

Date: 22-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Discussions on the possible revival of the New England New State Movement has already raised the question why not just abolish the states altogether? Leaving aside the constitutional difficulties involved, there are other issues to be considered.

Writing in 1926, the Movement's constitutional expert, David Drummond, suggested that there were then three schools of constitutional though in Australia - no states, new states and states' righters.

Round the New England blogging tracks 15 - protests, politics and a taste of nostalgia

Date: 21-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Starting with matters political, at Bellingen, the Save Bellingen Hospital Campaign continues to gather strength. That is one energised community! Bellingen young people have now composed their own protest song. I quote just the chorus:

Cuter than coal

Date: 19-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
About 80 km south-west of Bowen in Queensland is the historic mining town of Collinsville. They're proud of their strong coalmining and union past here - as the saga of underground strikes and fatal accidents and protest convoys to Brisbane attests.

Belshaw's World - what say you to transparent government, Sir Humphrey

Date: 19-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I am always interested to see which headline appears on my column. Sometimes they are the ones I used; sometimes the editor thinks that there might be a better one.

I have no objection to this; the revised headlines often capture the content better. However, I had to grin at the last one, "weigh the true cost of populist policy".

Problems with New England statistics

Date: 18-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Because New England does not exist as a constitutional entity, it is not recognised in the statistics. We have less statistics for New England, population 1.4 million, than we do for Tasmania, the ACT or the Northern Territory.

Minus seven degrees

Date: 17-May-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I've never chopped wood before - I was married at 19, so have always had a man around to do the heavy jobs. Besides, even though I'm hefty, I've never been physically strong, so I've never elected to chop wood, etc.

To avoid wildlife, go bush

Date: 16-May-10
Author: David Sygall (The Sun Herald)
From: SMH Traveller
After a, well, unique introduction to Wollombi locals, David Sygall retreats to the elegant embrace of his secluded cabin at Somewhere Unique.

New State arguments 1 - introduction

Date: 16-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
It is now 47 years since the loss of the New England New State plebiscite and the effective collapse of the New England New State Movement in the sometimes bitter in-fighting that followed. By the time that Mark was born, that loss was 12 years in the past. By the time that my eldest daughter was born, that loss was 20 years in the past. You can see why I say that the detail of past arguments has been lost in historical terms.

Their place - and mine

Date: 15-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Out in the real forest it is always a matter of double-take with our cleverly camouflaged creatures; I think I see a dark shadow sway, a tree trunk bend. Kangaroo? Wallaroo? One blink and they might be gone.

North Queensland demands self government

Date: 13-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I see that the North Queensland Local Government Association in conjunction with the Western Queensland Local Government Association has launched a campaign for separation and self government for North Queensland. While the motion was passed, several delegates at the NQLGA meeting spoke against the motion, with a common theme being more detail was needed to give the idea credibility.

Belshaw's World - beware oppression by majority

Date: 12-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
My last column scoped the environmental wars presently raging across New England. Since I wrote, the Federal Government has deferred action on any ETS, while also announcing the proposed introduction of a resource rent super tax on mining companies.

Colouring my world

Date: 12-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
It's Autumn, and my yard is being coloured- by more than autumn leaves.

Sydney's 1995 electricity heist

Date: 10-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I had been putting together another New England blog round-up when my eye was caught by a story in the Armidale Express. Sadly it's not on-line.

Essentially, the message in the story was that mandated state increases in water charges in regional centres might be paving the way for an eventual state takeover of water resources. In Armidale's case, that would mean loss of the Council owned Malpas dam.

Tenants-in-common

Date: 08-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Now that all the Refuge animals have free run of my house yard, it's been interesting to see the sharing arrangements develop, both with me as the sole human, and with the other, better adapted, species.

Introduction to New England's Aboriginal languages

Date: 06-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
This paper provides an introduction to New England's Aboriginal languages. It is part of a bigger paper and should be treated as work in progress.

Trashing the tropics

Date: 05-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Lately I went to look at the coal mining explosion in Queensland, to see for myself if it was as frighteningly out of control as that in NSW. It is.

New England's bumper wine crop

Date: 03-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Regional Living Australia Blog
The New England wine region - essentially the New England Tablelands and its western slopes - is one of Australia's oldest wine growing areas but also its newest in terms of formal recognition.

In my post on New England Wine Regions - Hunter Valley I spoke of the role played by George Wyndham in establishing the Hunter Valley wine industry. I also mentioned that in 1831 he brought the 100,000 acre property "Bukkulla" near Inverell on the edge of the Northern Tablelands and there established another vineyard. Other settlers also planted vineyards and made their own wine.

Shared sunrise

Date: 01-May-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
If you look very closely at this roseate morning sky, you can see the tiny white curve of moon towards the upper right hand of the photo. A sunrise sliver, a night-time sky resident caught out by the dawn.

New England - a community of regions

Date: 30-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In another comment Newcastle's Heritage Problems, Greg wrote: All this confirms the depth of feeling that is running throughout the north against the Sydney centric government in Macquarie Street. The challenge will be to harness that and create a genuine sense of "New England" as more than just some vague, ill defined region in the north of the state, but rather a community of regions with shared history and common purpose.

Why the Hunter wants out from NSW

Date: 29-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw (et al)
From: New England, Australia
It is vital not only for Newcastle but also for New England that the decline of the Newcastle CBD be reversed and that the city take it's place as the jewel of the New England crown. It is hard to see where the required leadership will come from under NSW which has become even more Sydney centric, if that is possible.

The issue of northern secession is being talked about again and this time it may be Newcastle which leads the push...

Reforming the New England New State Movement

Date: 27-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
When I first started this blog I thought, naively, that if I just started telling the New England story then the movement for self-government would start to reform. After all, the case seemed self-evident to me. It didn't take long for me to realise that this was not going to happen. As I said in an email to a friend in Armidale, we have lost so much of our history and all its supporting arguments that people don't know what we are talking about.

New England soldier settlers

Date: 24-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
On Archives Outside, Selena Williams' post Hidden Stories: Acknowledging World War One Nurses as Soldier Settlers focused on something that I knew nothing about, female soldier settlers.

Belshaw's world - socials gone in a puff of smoke

Date: 22-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
While in Armidale, I heard that there was a move to cut out smoking in outdoor eating areas such as the Mall. I guess it depends on what you want.

Beef factory

Date: 21-Apr-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Those of you who have read my first book, The Woman on the Mountain, will know I'm a vegetarian. That is just my personal choice: I don't want to kill another creature, or cause any to be killed for me by others, therefore I won't eat any. Nor have I, for 36 years now.

Fragmentation of NSW revisited

Date: 20-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In a comment on The fragmentation of NSW, Jacus wrote: 'As a Novocastrian, in exile in Canberra, I agree with a lot of what you say, and would be interested in hearing more. Especially in terms of how such a change could take place.' A simple question, but one not easy to answer...

More Hunter calls for separation from NSW

Date: 17-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In January I reported on Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State. On 14 April I reported on The importance of regional environmental impact statements, a post that dealt in large part with problems created with coal development in the Hunter. Then in Background briefing - Hunter Coal, I looked at the overall pattern of coal development in the Hunter.

Background briefing - Hunter Coal

Date: 16-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
My Wednesday post, The importance of regional environmental impact statements, reported on moves to try to gain regional environmental impact statements as a way of assessing the combined effects of various mining developments underway in the Hunter Valley and beyond.

Angel's Kiss

Date: 15-Apr-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
A poem by Gaye Drady: It's warm and snug where I play and sleep...

West Maitland Railway Station flooded 1930

Date: 10-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Hat tip to Peter Firminger for this one. The following photo from Wikipedia shows the West Maitland Railway station during the big flood of 1930. If you click on the photo, you should be able to enlarge it.

Lithgow landscape

Date: 10-Apr-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Recently I visited Lithgow, partly to see how the area just south of it compared to the Hunter Valley, since both are now threatened with a third power station, also likely to be coal-fired.

The importance of local empowerment

Date: 09-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I have just finished quite a long post on my personal blog, Blogging, Facebook and Twitter. I just wanted to make a brief follow up comment here.

Blogging, Facebook and Twitter

Date: 09-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Personal Reflections
Now here I want to look at conflicting aspects of blogging and the internet, again using fellow bloggers to provide examples.

Patonga

Date: 08-Apr-10
Author: Luke Whitington
Another Poem from Pearl Beach

Pearls

Date: 08-Apr-10
Author: Luke Whitington
A poem from Pearl Beach

Paddock perfection

Date: 07-Apr-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Can you imagine anything more purely beautiful than this fungus? It had popped up in the the orchard paddock and was gleaming white at me across all the soggy green. There was another further up the hill.

Jumping plates with William Burroughs

Date: 04-Apr-10
Author: Luke Whitington
Scrawling down a shopping list this morning
Garlic, gorgonzola, sourdough, salt,
whole peppercorns, virgin olive oil...

Creatures of The Pilliga

Date: 03-Apr-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
The Easter break provided us a great opportunity to do some more exploring of the Pilliga Forests of northwestern NSW. Excellent rains have given new life to the country, and wildlife is taking full advantage of the season of plenty. And we struck magic weather with warm, windless autumn days followed by clear, crisp nights.

Why history is important to tourism revisited

Date: 03-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Continuing my update on past posts, Why history is important to tourism (13 March 2010) drew some interesting if depressing comments.

Farmers versus BHP

Date: 03-Apr-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
On the Liverpool Plains near Quirindi, New South Wales, local farmers at Caroona have been defending their properties from invasion by BHP Billiton's coal exploration drillers.

For 615 days, until Thursday 25th March, they have inspired coal-threatened communities everywhere with their blockade, by saying 'No' - and meaning it.

People of the Valley

Date: 01-Apr-10
Author: Catchfire Press
From: Catchfire Press
OUR MOST RECENT PUBLICATION - SELLING NOW!
From ballerinas to boxers, the famous to humble heroes, this book tells of many who have helped make this valley a vibrant, stimulating community. Rich or poor, soldiers, sailors, teachers, clergy, convicts, doctors, nurses and the couple next door, all these and many more are the People of the Valley.

New England demography 1 - rise of the coast

Date: 01-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
On Tuesday 30 March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its latest population regional population estimates. Because this included local government area estimates, I was able to select LGAs (41 in all) within the broader new state New England to generate total population numbers. The numbers include some territory to the west and south west that has often been classified as part of the North, but was in fact subdivided by the 1935 Nicholas boundaries. However, this does not affect the overall pattern.

Meet Joey

Date: 31-Mar-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The wallaby Mum I mentioned is still coming in and resting by the house wall.

Despite my erratic comings and goings, sometimes away for days, she seems to feel quite secure there and doesn't care what I do.

Degrees of familiarity

Date: 24-Mar-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
This young wallaby mother has taken to sleeping up against the western wall of the cabin. As the eaves are wide, it is usually dry and warm there, with heat reflected from the mud walls and the rock base further along.

Self-discipline working from home

Date: 24-Mar-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
A Silver-eye landed just outside my window and I watched it jumping around feeding amongst the foliage. Autumn is taking hold, and leaves are turning yellow. There's only a whisper of a breeze. A leaf floated to the ground, rocking from side to side in a mesmerising motion before being caught up in a sudden gust and carried off, out of sight.

Loss of the past

Date: 23-Mar-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Just finished Literature, locale and license on my personal blog reporting on one aspect of my Armidale trip. I came back from Armidale with three new books plus a thesis on Aboriginal languages. I also came back quite enthused, if with a greater understanding of the difficulty of the task I have set myself in trying to preserve and present the New England past.

Natural treasures

Date: 20-Mar-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
In the Goulburn River National Park north of Mudgee, from The Drip picnic area, I recently took the easy 1.5km walk beside the river to the fabulous and deservedly famous Drip gorge formation.

Why history is important to tourism

Date: 13-Mar-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In Has Maitland forgotten its past? I wondered about Maitland's knowledge of its own history. I also suggested that Grafton suffered from the same problem. In both cases, local historians and historical societies might attack me, pointing to the work done. Yet I stand by my point in the context of local tourism.

Nightmare country

Date: 10-Mar-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
When you finally settle on your piece of rural paradise, build your home with your own hands, landscape your gardens and get to know the wildlife neighbours- you expect to enjoy the peace and quiet for the rest of your lives, right? Wrong, if there's coal in the area.

Has Maitland forgotten its past?

Date: 09-Mar-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
The Newcastle Herald reported on a push to increase train services between Maitland and Singleton. I must say that I thought that this was a very good idea for both places. However, enmeshed as I am at the moment in New England's history, it made me cast my mind back to the time when Maitland was the North's big town.

Old news from Armidale and New England

Date: 08-Mar-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
The new blog, Old news from Armidale and New England, provides daily random snippets from newspapers of the past, drawing from the National Library of Australia's Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954.

Mental health group support

Date: 01-Mar-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Recently, my attention was directed to the Singleton Mental Health Support Group. I plucked up the courage to go along, and have been to two meetings.

The fragmentation of NSW

Date: 25-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
When the NSW Government first released its State Plan, I gave it the credit to take it seriously. I first analysed social and economic trends within New England to create a framework for the analysis of the Plan itself. I then looked at the structure and detail of the Plan itself and compared this with my analysis of New England's needs.

New England New State Symbols 1

Date: 18-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
William Oates, the archivist at the University of New England has now produced two posts on Archives Outside linked in some way to the New England New State Movement

Giving up the garden

Date: 17-Feb-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Lately, with the aytpically tropical afternoon storms and heat, the grass had been growing at such a rate that I couldn't keep up with it. I had to wait until afternoon before it was dry enough to mow and by then it would be raining again.

History blogs 1

Date: 16-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
While this blog focuses on New England history, I have been thinking for a while that I should broaden it a little to include references to other history blogs that I enjoy. This will also help keep me reading more widely.

Setting Australian history in context

Date: 15-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
Neil Whitfield had an interesting post, I'm old-fashioned in my way..., dealing with the study of British history in Australia. Like Neil, I grew up studying a fair bit of British and especially English history along with a slab of European. This has now been largely lost and, like Neil, I think that it's a pity.

Wallaroo couple

Date: 10-Feb-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The longhairs of the macropods around here are the Wallaroos. I have always had one small family or a couple here, and they prefer the rocky edges, usually only coming close to drink at the dam. But lately the couple have been grazing near the fence line.

School of life

Date: 09-Feb-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Throughout the healing process of getting on top of depression, I've learnt to step back and observe myself in detail as my life unfolds.

Bush bounty

Date: 06-Feb-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I don't plant annuals, so my garden is never the riot of colour that others manage. I rely on bushes and bulbs to surprise me with blossoms.

History of the New England New State Movement 2 - defining New England

Date: 04-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
In a comment on History of the New England New State Movement 1 - scope of work, Peter Firminger from Wollombi Valley Online pointed me to a web site that I had forgotten. The site itself has, I think, vanished. Certainly I had not been able to find it. However, it survives in web archive form.

At the edge of the world

Date: 03-Feb-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The view from the inside of a cloud does not extend very far. Today, past the first dim line of trees, I see no mountain ridges or rainforest gullies or even eucalypt forest. They might no longer exist.

History of the New England New State Movement 1 - scope of work

Date: 02-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
In January 2010 in Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State I referred to comments from the Hunter calling for the re-formation of the New England New State Movement. As I indicated a little later in Wikipedia and the history of New England, there is almost no decent material on line dealing with the history of the Movement. I think that that's a problem.

Newcastle, Armidale and the process of community renewal

Date: 31-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
I grew up in Armidale. The city then had a small, compact downtown centred on three Beardy Street blocks. Newcastle was and remains New England's big city. Visiting Newcastle as a child, I found the downtown area with its ships, trains and shops quite fascinating after Armidale's small scale. The nearby BHP steel works (BHP was so big in Newcastle terms that it was just called the BHP) added to the fascination.

Kookaburra kingdom

Date: 30-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
This photo of a vigilant kookaburra on my yard gate suits this extract from the chapter on Kookaburras in my book, Mountain Tails:

Arty nature

Date: 27-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The significance of ultra-abstract art often eludes me; I might appreciate it as design and colour, but it doesn't speak to me. I don't warm to it, relate to it, as I can to the merely abstracted, stylised, simplified, where the origin is vaguely discernible. In the latter the artist's treatment of it stimulates my imagination more than straight realism would.

My Magic Carpet Giveaway 2010

Date: 25-Jan-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
I'm giving away my Magic Carpet journal. With its luxurious paste paper covers, exotic 16 needle Coptic binding with Celtic overtones and 216 pages, it's just waiting to be filled with your thoughts, dreams and desires.

Birdwatching with Western Banders

Date: 25-Jan-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
How fortunate I was, that my trip west coincided with the traditional January gathering of a group of the Western Banders. I have previously visited and enjoyed the Smithbrook Banding Project in November 08 and 09, but was excited at the prospect of joining some of these friendly, knowledgeable bird enthusiasts for some walking and birdwatching.

Going, going, gone...

Date: 25-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The last chapter of my book, Mountain Tails, is called 'Missing Tails' and as 2010 is the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, an extract from that chapter seems appropriate here.

Book Art Object and some unrelated photos

Date: 22-Jan-10
Author: Carol Cantrell
From: Barnacle Goose Paperworks
Gardening is sometimes an excuse not to make books. At other times making books is the excuse not to work in the garden. Both are a reason to avoid housework.

Musings...

Date: 16-Jan-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
My head is cluttered - crammed full of stuff I'm trying to make sense of. And there's stuff that needs extracting, shredding, discarding. I need some sort of a filing system in my head where material can be sorted according to subject matter and stored in easy-to-retrieve folders as a sudden need arises.

New wallaby breed?

Date: 16-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
On a recent damp day, as the wallabies grazed past the house fence, one female seemed to have a light stripe across the nose. They have a whitish stripe on their cheeks, and this can be more distinct on some than others, but I'd never seen a horizontal stripe.

Post-rain passers-by

Date: 13-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
As soon as the rain stopped I got stuck into digging while the clayey soil was diggable. I am finally excavating for a bathroom! With ABC Radio playing and my eyes watching what I was doing, it was mere chance that I looked behind me.

Eastern Snake-necked Turtle

Date: 12-Jan-10
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Wollombi Valley Blog
They can live for 50 years with the females laying 10-20 eggs up to three times a year. They are carnivourous, their diet consisting of insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs and small fish that they either swallow whole or shred with their front feet.

Common Brushtail Possums

Date: 11-Jan-10
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Wollombi Valley Blog
Ever since I moved to Bulls Run in July 2004, I have had a close relationship with a number of Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). This little guy was the first baby that emerged while I lived here (in Feb 2005), followed by another in October and many since.

Free diamonds

Date: 09-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
After showers, if the air is still enough, for a very brief period before the sun soaks up the raindrops - I am given diamonds.

Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice at The Wollombi Tavern - Wollombi, Hunter Valley, NSW

Date: 08-Jan-10
Author: Billy
From: A Table For Two
I feel like I have fallen into a rabbit hole, and found myself drinking a mysterious potion called the Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice at this cosy tavern in Wollombi. Will this Jungle Juice make me grow bigger or smaller, I wonder? And who is Dr Jurd? He is certainly not a fictitious character created by Theodor Seuss Geisel.

The Eastern Bearded Dragon

Date: 07-Jan-10
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Wollombi Valley Blog
Photos and brief description of the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata)

Water Wars - the Darling floods

Date: 07-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
We speak of the Murray Darling basin as though it is a single entity. The common phrase Murray-Darling River system is an example. It is not, for there are in fact two quite distinct systems.

Wallaby charmers

Date: 06-Jan-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The dainty Red-necked Wallabies are my most common marsupial here, and I daily see small groups grazing along the yard fence line, not far from my verandah. When I appear, they usually look up to see what I'm doing, then it's heads back down to resume eating.

Red Bellied Black Snake

Date: 05-Jan-10
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Wollombi Valley Blog
Photo and brief description of the Red-Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyricus)

New England Story - new states, archives and the preservation of our past

Date: 02-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Now I am often very critical of the what I see as the nonsense coming from the Sydney Government. But here I have to give credit where it is due. Our friends at the NSW State Archives have created a very good blog indeed for all those interested in regional history.

Christmas, and jumbled thoughts

Date: 31-Dec-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I can't remember a time when I didn't end up low in spirits over the Christmas period. Not depressed, just 'flat'.

'Tis the season

Date: 26-Dec-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Not to be jolly, as we are supposed to be, but a whole mix of emotions, and mostly not even on the up scale to jolly. Why? Because Copenhagen came so close to Christmas, and delivered such a sad affirmation of the power of the corporate and capitalist world to ignore the urgent needs of the earth and its most vulnerable nations. The gift of the rich to the poor was a callous and hypocritical thumbs-down.

A Christmas greeting

Date: 24-Dec-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Christmas is different things to different people. I hope readers of my blogs have a safe and pleasant Christmas season, followed by a healthy and satisfying 2010. To those who might be alone, or lonely, low in spirit or down in luck, I send a special cheerio, hoping you find reason to smile over the holiday period.

Gravid dragons

Date: 17-Dec-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Seeing lizards in the bush or in my garden always gives me a lot of pleasure. Where ever I can, I sit still and quiet and observe them as they go about their daily business of living. Dragon lizards are particular favourites of mine.

Dragon lizards (family Agamidae) are more abundant in semi-arid country than damper forests and coastal environments, but they can turn up anywhere.

Richmond to Wollombi in the Hunter Valley...

Date: 12-Dec-09
Author: Ludds
From: Ludds Adventures
Having had a good nights' sleep, we were up and loaded the van early and headed off to the Hunter Valley. On Friday we have been invited to stay with Bruce and Kaylene in Port Macquarie who we met in Wangarrata at the jazz festival doing the tour of the vineyards. What better pressie could we buy them than some excelled wine from a local winery? Not a bad excuse eh!!

A whale tale

Date: 10-Dec-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I wrestled with the rights and wrongs of posting up pictures of a dead animal on my blog, because the sight of a dead animal, especially a mammal, will always evoke negative emotions. So I apologise to any readers who might find this post upsetting, but I found the whole experience too interesting to keep it to myself.

Impact of State Boundaries on Aboriginal Language Groups

Date: 10-Dec-09
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
A little while ago I put up a map showing the distribution of Aboriginal languages across NSW. A colleague, John Baker, kindly superimposed the NSW state boundaries on the map. The slight skew is due to the structure of the original map.

A Study of my Father

Date: 04-Dec-09
Author: Luke Whitington
My father played opening batsman for South Australia under Bradman and after the war, under Lindsay Hasset for Australia on the tour of England, India, Pakistan and New Zealand

Wollombi shenanigans

Date: 02-Dec-09
Author: Rikki
From: Mayoress
Well it was another full on weekend for me, one of Noodles best mates from high school AND his lovely girlfriend celebrated their 30th by hiring this radical barn house out in the sticks... it was a full "rustic" affair... all exposed log beams and sweeping country views... very cool, was nice to have a little country escape, swim in a creek and run around with the geese and dogs... There was also a hideous amount of alcohol consumed (out of an amazing wine barrel eskie!) and waaaaaayyyyy to much red meat, I ate BBQ for breakfast lunch and tea from Friday night till Sunday morning... errr I was totally in a meat coma by the time I got home... gross!

Wybong Action Group

Date: 01-Dec-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The fight to save Anvil Hill near Wybong, NSW, from being mined by Centennial Coal involved thousands of people from near and far. We wanted to draw a line in the sand here at this scenically biodiverse 'Ark of the Hunter' and say 'No new coal'.

Hotfooted spiders

Date: 29-Nov-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
One afternoon in this recent wild hot November that broke records and threatened many places with fire, I ventured out of my dim cabin to see what the sky was doing. It was dim because I was trying to keep the heat out with the curtains drawn; in any case the winds were too strong to risk an open casement window snapping and straining on its stay peg.

Dryandra Woodland and endangered mammals

Date: 27-Nov-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
The Dryandra Woodland is a place of special significance and remarkable nature. Last week, Lola and I spent three days exploring the Dryandra Woodland.

Pippa and Greg - Wollombi and Hunter Valley

Date: 17-Nov-09
Author: Natalie Grant
From: Impact Images Newcastle
Wollombi is such a surreal place, I love it. I think out of all the places I photograph weddings it feels the most Australiana. The old sandstone churches are tiny and its always hot and humid with everyone squashed in. The pubs always packed on weekends and no one seems to have anything much else to do but watch the wedding going on. Its not unusual to have something slightly random happen, like a curly haired Wollombi kid appearing mid ceremony at the alter in a pair of undies?

The Cattleman's Daughter

Date: 11-Nov-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I have just read Tasmanian writer Rachael Treasure's new book, The Cattleman's Daughter. To my mind it's her best book yet, with clear signs of the maturing writer as well as woman.

Wollombi Valley on-line

Date: 07-Nov-09
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
In Wollombi, what began as a blog has now turned into a fully fledged community web site. The blog is still there, but now lacks posts.

Hunter Valley Development collapses

Date: 19-Oct-09
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
Sydney Government planning minister Kristina Keneally has been forced to announce the collapse of the 7200-home Huntlee New Town project, the biggest town development project in NSW.

Wollombi Install Site Images + Rope Work Process Images

Date: 06-Oct-09
Author: Ash Cooper
From: The Process
I visited the Undercliff Winery in Wollombi in the weekend. I have posted some images of the willow tree here. I met the winery owner and he seemed hesitant about suspending any objects from the willow due to the narrow width of the boughs. The final sculpture will weigh approximately 60kg.

Escaping from God through Oklahoma

Date: 05-Sep-09
Author: Ford (AFA Member)
From: Atheist Foundation of Australia Public Forums > Coming Out Stories
A very long but beautifully written biographical story set, at times, in Wollombi. Contains some language and may not be your cup of tea.

Nature make-over at Wollombi Brook

Date: 12-Aug-09
Author: Conservation Volunteers Australia
From: Newcastle On Hunter
Conservation Volunteers and Australearn Target Wollombi Brook

An area of important wildlife habitat is being targeted for practical care by Conservation Volunteers Australia this From Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August 2009.

WOLLOMBI - Melinda Kendall - Her Life and Writings

Date: 16-Jul-09
Author: nellibell49
From: Melinda Kendall - Her Life and Writings
Due to the interrupted research of the last year, I am refreshing my recollections of possibles on the Melinda Trail. Was she ever at the HILLS' Wollombi home. MILBRODALE?

Theatrical and Cinema Archives in the Hunter Region

Date: 15-Jul-09
Author: Gionni DiGravio
From: Archives Outside
Gionni DiGravio is the University Archivist at the University of Newcastle. Cultural Collections in the University of Newcastle Auchmuty Library holds records relating to the history of theatre and cinema in the Hunter Region. Whilst not a distinct collection as such, but rather a component of many separate collections that have been deposited with us...

Tree light

Date: 17-Jun-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
As Autumn becomes Winter, under perpetual grey skies, the intermittent thin drizzle keeps the saturated ground weeping down the hillside.

Possum end

Date: 13-Jun-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
A few days after the day tripper possum had been so bold as to pee on my verandah table, I spotted it again in daylight. It was in the yard, eating something in the grass at various places, but I couldn't see just what. I watched for a while but it came no closer.

A window into winter

Date: 09-Jun-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Winter has arrived in the Hunter Valley. Our winters are not particularly harsh, but when the first of the new season's chilly winds races down from The Tops to blast the valley floor, it's always a shock.

An overpopulated planet

Date: 03-Jun-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
A controversial subject? Not amongst nature-loving and conservation-minded readers who visit my blog, but I dare to suggest it would not only be potentially offensive amongst the general community, but sadly, of little significance.

Bud Tingwell's New England connection

Date: 19-May-09
Author: Jim Belshaw
Australian actor Bud Tingwell died last Friday, 15 May 2009. Bud's life will be carried at length. In this post, I just wanted to note two England connections.

Lemon? Or leaf? Or...?

Date: 13-May-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I was walking around the lemon tree, which has several generations of fruit on it at present, trying to decide which might be the oldest and best to pick. Then I caught a glimpse of something not quite right hanging there.

Hunter Valley Aboriginal Groups

Date: 09-May-09
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England's History
This brief post focuses on the Aborigines of Southern New England. If you look at this map of Aboriginal language groups you can see that a number of language groups occupied the Hunter Valley. This is unusually varied for a single area.

Autumn fungi

Date: 09-May-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
In the forest, after rain and while there is still some warmth in the sunshine, I am bound to find some stunning fungi popping up amongst the leaves or blooming on the tree trunks.

Echidna pair

Date: 06-May-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Last year I was delighted by seeing two quite different echidnas here at the same time. One had been in my yard, the other just outside it. One was big, one small, one dark, one lighter.

Postcard from The old Square

Date: 06-May-09
Author: Luke Whitington
This is a long poem--a narrative--just recently finished--its about individuals and tyrannies... Luke Whitington.

Funeral cockatoos

Date: 25-Apr-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The harsh cry of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos often echoes around the forested ridges here. It is supposed to be the harbinger of rain but it seems to be here right when it's already wet or misty.

The White Horses

Date: 22-Apr-09
Author: Luke Whitington
A poem (For Rod & Sally Anderson) by Luke Whitington

Bees on the move

Date: 22-Apr-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
First I saw a dense cloud of insects - termites, I assumed. But the intense buzzing alerted me to look more closely. They were bees, swarming about the top of a young pittosporum tree.

Wet, wet world

Date: 15-Apr-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Recent rains seemed endless as I remained cabinbound for the week, standing on the wet steps and peering out over the falling autumn leaves at the wet, wet world around me.

Over 300mm of rain fell, encouraging the kikuyu to grow ahead of my efforts once more.

The evolution of my photography

Date: 14-Apr-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
My interest in photography has taken a long and interesting path. Some might consider I have gone backwards with my photography rather than progressed, but that's not how I see it - it is a journey of continuous exploration and learning, experimentation and practice.

Mountain Tails has arrived

Date: 13-Apr-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I have been told that my new book, Mountain Tails, has arrived! It is probably at my post office right now, for me to collect next week when the road dries out and the creek level drops!

Look out! Triffids!

Date: 04-Apr-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
My favourite tool is my hoe. After 30 years of loyal service it needed a new handle, which I'd loosely put on just before heading off for the weekend.

Remarkable nature

Date: 04-Apr-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Enthusiastic observers of nature wouldn't let a 135mm downpour deter them from investigating backyard creatures and their antics - in fact, it provides a perfect opportunity for searching for oddities. Or... maybe I'm just crazy, but between showers, I got out into the garden.

Kikuyu punishment

Date: 26-Mar-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
A month away from the mountain is a long time. The bush itself requires no attention from me, but my domesticated area does, and the 350mm of rain in February has effected a great deal of green growth. Not all is welcome.

A blast from the past...

Date: 08-Mar-09
Author: Peter Firminger
In 2001, Russ Weakly made a couple of flash games regarding the John Howard Government's GST and their lack of respect/action on the Stolen Children, and together we published them under the name webwank.net... which drew legal threats from then Senator John (not at all sorry) Herron (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) which lead to a frenzy of media at the time...

Kikuyu mist

Date: 07-Mar-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Just before the heatwave ended, I noticed a patch of the dreaded kikuyu grass seemed to be dying off, becoming pale and yellowish and oddly 'misted'. The native grass parts of the 'lawn' were browning off but usually the kikuyu is the last to go brown in hot and dry times. Its runners extend so far underground and it is such a determined survivor that it is a supremely equipped invader.

A wisp of a breeze - a thunderous storm

Date: 03-Mar-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
A gentle cool breeze touching my skin is soothing, and stimulating - like sensitive fingertips expertly massaging my taut neck and shoulders. Sometimes the breeze is so slight that the only visible response to the subtle breath of air comes from the poplar trees next door; a leafy twig twirls around and around as if it has been singled out by a pedantic stream of air, and then suddenly the whole tree quivers like a human body shivering as it is struck by a blast of freezing air - and then the tree stands still.

National Day of Mourning - Quentin Bryce's message

Date: 23-Feb-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Much of the nation will have paused for the airing of the National Day of Mourning, Together for Victoria, memorial service held in Melbourne yesterday, 22nd February 2009, as the Victorian bushfire victims, survivors, emergency and volunteer workers, and the charity and compassion shown by so many were honoured and remembered.

After the inferno

Date: 22-Feb-09
Author: Thomas Keneally (The Guardian - UK)
From: The Guardian (UK)
Are bushfires inevitable - or can they be managed? When they strike again, should people flee or fight the flames? The catastrophic blazes in Australia have left its inhabitants full of questions, doubts and fears. Novelist Thomas Keneally considers the fallout

The Rock's Return

Date: 19-Feb-09
Author: Neil (Editor)
From: On Mangrove Mountain
The road to the Mountain, via Kariong, was blocked last week when a boulder fell on the road near Kendall's Rock. The poet Henry Kendall had a connection with the mountain, being one of the first to carry mail up the Penang from Gosford.

Spider fruit

Date: 18-Feb-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I usually don't inspect a dish of grapes for animate occupants. But after this discovery I certainly shall.

Having eaten a small cluster of sweet black grapes, bought from a regional organic farm, I was about to select another bunch when I glimpsed hairiness where there ought only to be glossy fruitiness.

A Public School Blog

Date: 17-Feb-09
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Woodford Dale Public School
Woodford Dale Public School (between Grafton and Yamba) have their own blog, which not only shows the great work the school does but brings the community together through their comments

The Antiquities of the Wollombi District

Date: 16-Feb-09
Author: UoN Cultural Collections
From: UoN Cultural Collections
Day Shift - 17/02/2009 - 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Producer: Jeanette McMahon
Interviewee: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, Newcastle University

University of Newcastle Archivist Gionni Di Gravio discusses his recent field trip to the Wollombi District to view and examine Aboriginal Rock art in the area. At a Wollombi Gathering held on the weekend to a packed audience at Laguna House he and a number of speakers from the University of Newcastle and the University of Sydney presented their work on the Antiqities of the Wollombi District and its great importance to the region. It is our Uluru and needs to be properly researched, documented and managed to safeguard it from natural erosion and vandalism. To illustrate his presentation he used exerpts from the work of Lieutenant Breton, who travelled through the area in the 1830s. For today's broadcast he has brought in an original edition of Breton's work and Issac Nathan 1848 work containing an Aboriginal song documented by Eliza Dunlop in the Wollombi District in the 1840s.

Rain in the Hunter Valley

Date: 16-Feb-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
During the past 5 days I've tipped 165mm from my rain gauge; some areas of the Hunter Valley have received more, especially the coast. According to the local TV station, Singleton's January average is 44mm - one-point-something-mm was measured this January, so this rain is a blessing...

Mountain Tails are wagging

Date: 11-Feb-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
As the advance copies of my second book, Mountain Tails, are about to arrive, anticipation is mounting here on the mountain. All our tails are wagging! Just like an expected baby, joy and fear are intermingled for me until I hold the actual book. I cried when I first saw The Woman on the Mountain; I expect I shall do the same with Mountain Tails.

Fiery future fuelled by Rudd

Date: 10-Feb-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The death toll from the Victorian fire storm is now at about 170. With the words of shocked survivors and images of whole villages obliterated, blown apart as if by bombs, cars and their occupants burnt as they drove to escape - we share vicariously in their nightmare experience.

Books I've read - 01

Date: 08-Feb-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I have just finished reading The Woman on the Mountain by Sharyn Munro. What an inspirational and thoroughly interesting read. I will read it again, and then my daughter and friend are waiting in line to read it.

Bush beauties

Date: 04-Feb-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
At some point in summer I will catch a glimpse of a faint splash of pink in the long tussock grass. The native Hyacinth Orchids are back!

Rainforest and little surfies

Date: 03-Feb-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
...I stood by the trickling stream in awe of the magnificent rainforest. This was a place for solitude; thoughts dissolve, and the spirit of Nature enters my body. These brief interludes with water, earth and air nurture me when I am able to surrender my mind....

Carefree kangaroos

Date: 01-Feb-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
January has been very hot, up to 36 degrees here - of course interspersed with odd days where it plummeted to 13 degrees. It's not called 'climate chaos' for nothing.

Orchids in the Barringtons

Date: 29-Jan-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
When I'd spotted the raceme with tiny bumps, which were presumably buds, dangling from an untidy tangle of orchid leaves and twisted roots, I made a mental note to revisit in a few weeks time. So, early yesterday morning, I found myself wandering the walking trail in Barrington Tops National Park, filled with anticipation.

Duck family

Date: 28-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I have some new tenants: a family of maned wood ducks. As often happens with my wild neighbours, they took up residence in the house yard when I was away.

Exploring back-roads of the Hunter Valley - 01

Date: 25-Jan-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
I've lived in the Hunter Valley nearly all my life, but I have discovered there are many back roads, no-through roads, and tracks, I didn't know existed; so we're gradually checking them out...

Living walls

Date: 25-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Each summer my verandah grows its own walls on the west and north-west. Although the ornamental grape and the wisteria have been pruned right back to leafless woody stems, come spring they begin to reach out for each other and interwine.

Dawn chorus in the bush

Date: 21-Jan-09
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Snippets and Sentiments
Birdlife awakens well before the sun appears, and welcomes the new day with a burst of energy and song. Whether I am at home or in the bush, this is a delight to my senses and spirit...

Python panic

Date: 21-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Heatwave days last week, but the wretched python had me beseiged in the house with the door and all but two windows shut! I still am beseiged, although the temperature has dropped. Here's why...

The spider above

Date: 17-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Lolling on the couch the other evening, I happened to glance up. In the low rays of the setting sun, an odd bump showed on top of one of the bracing rafters...

Return of the python

Date: 14-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Having assumed that the Diamond Python relocated from my verandah to the national park would stay there, I received a nasty surprise late yesterday afternoon...

Donkey Welfare With Heart

Date: 12-Jan-09
Author: DWWH
From: Donkey Welfare With Heart
We provide shelter, food, health care, education and love to homeless, neglected, abandoned, unwanted and/or surrendered donkeys. Donkey Welfare With Heart has experience of day-to-day care with hundreds of welfare donkeys since 1976.

Potting hornet

Date: 11-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
On my verandah I have hung an antique tin tub, so rusty as to be lacework. Having found it way down in a gully, far from any habitation past or present, I have assumed it was left behind by a cedargetters' camp, long, long ago...

Summer whites

Date: 07-Jan-09
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
Not cricket apparel or cool clothes, but flowers: free gifts that appear each summer to brighten my days and my by-then mostly green garden. They all receive my admiration but none of them need or receive any attention in between.

Lego royalty

Date: 24-Dec-08
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
I was visiting a friend's house in bushland in the lower Hunter. Her small grand-daughter was also visiting, so a child-sized table was set up on the back patio. Large Lego kept her amused. My friend had fed the King Parrots there for a long time but the white cockatoos had begun to dominate, so she was restricting the sunflower seeds to where she could watch who was eating them. 'The king is here!' she called to the child. 'Shall we feed him on your table?'

Christmas beetles get busy

Date: 21-Dec-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
Christmas Beetles are busy passing on their genes at this time of the year, and I am particularly pleased with the series of images I captured of one species in action.

Python farewell

Date: 14-Dec-08
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
The day my python had surrounded the shower shell on my verandah, I hadn't been able to bring myself to risk a shower that evening. It was a windy night, and next morning when I did go to have a shower, the rubber mat had been blown back, doubled onto itself.

A Bird-dropping spider breeds and dies

Date: 10-Dec-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
Spiders appear in numbers overnight, almost magically, as summer approaches. I am always keen to discover new spiders in my backyard, and to further observe habits of the regulars.

Verandah python

Date: 10-Dec-08
Author: Sharyn Munro
From: The Woman on the Mountain
It doesn't seem so long ago that I was writing about a rare sighting for here - a diamond python. That was a fair distance away, on the track. Meanwhile a friend, having rescued a stunned python down on the tar road, had brought it here to recover.

Backyard predators

Date: 04-Dec-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
When we refer to predators in Australia, creatures like raptors, dingoes, foxes and feral cats are first to come to mind, but we will all have predators of a less conspicuous nature in our immediate outdoor living space - birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, spiders and other invertebrates.

Storms and Computers

Date: 02-Dec-08
Author: Charles
The computer's misbehaving (again)

The Grey Butcherbird - from hatchling to fledgling

Date: 26-Nov-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
Taking the opportunity to observe the habits of a pair of Grey Butcherbirds raise their young in the Hunter Valley, NSW, was a fascinating and entertaining experience. I wish to share a series of images by my husband, Grahame, from hatchling to fledgling.

An open letter to Mark Harper - General Manager Sydney Gas Ltd

Date: 11-Nov-08
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Wollombi Valley Blog
A letter by Peter Firminger submitted to OON (Our Own News) for the November 2008 issue regarding the invasion of Wollombi Valley by Sydney Gas and AGL Energy

Eastern Brown Snakes in the Hunter Valley

Date: 20-Oct-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
The highly venomous Eastern Brown Snake is not my favourite creature of the bush, but I feel these misunderstood reptiles deserve a bit of support. In my part of the Hunter Valley, they are dispatched with shovels, roles of hose, moving vehicles, and goodness knows by what other means.

Hunter River Explorer

Date: 04-Oct-08
Author: Peter Firminger
From: Hunter River Explorer
The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority have put together a quite comprehensive website called the Hunter River Explorer which was launched on September 24. It's well worth a look!

Need for a new approach to regional development in Australia

Date: 03-Oct-08
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: Regional Living Australia
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections suggest a continued drift to the metros. At 30 June 2007, 64% of Australians lived in a capital city. By 2056 this proportion is projected to increase to 67%. I think that this is absurd. We have many areas of Australia that can not only absorb new people, but need them.

A couple of winter Greenhoods

Date: 05-Aug-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
The Superb Greenhood (Diplodium grandiflora) really is a beauty. This was my first sighting, but I knew exactly what it was when I spotted it amongst the pine needles in the Watagans State Forest on the southern rim of the Hunter Valley in late July. I found only a single specimen.

A summary of my backyard frogs

Date: 26-Jul-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
I have photographed at least 9 frog species in my backyard, which is pretty amazing for my little 2/3 acre patch on the cleared and over-used farm flats. Here I will give a brief outline of my frog visitors and residents

New England New State Movement - consolidated posts linked to the fight for New England self government

Date: 12-May-08
Author: Jim Belshaw
From: New England, Australia
This post is intended to provide a consolidated entry point for my posts on the New England New State Movement. It is broken into two parts. The first simply provides a short overview of New England and the Movement. The second is an annotated list of posts broken up by topic.

Cat

Date: 18-Feb-08
Author: Malpoet
From: Malpoet's Weblog
A poem by Malpoet

A snake by a swamp

Date: 26-Jan-08
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
I rarely see a snake when I'm out walking, and when I do, it's usually the tail disappearing into the undergrowth beside my feet. Such a sight usually scares the daylights out of me, so I was thrilled to encounter a snake basking on a wide track adjacent to a swamp recently. "Thrilled" because the reptile was easily noticed from a safe distance so as not to produce the usual initial response of fear.

The Joys of Raising Joeys

Date: 01-Jan-08
Author: Di and Peter Paice
From: Wildlife Aid
A story from the Wildlife Aid Website

Jabaru - a rare experience

Date: 01-Jan-08
Author: Karen & Damien
From: Wildlife Aid
A story from the Wildlife Aid Website

Brown Snake - rescued from bird netting

Date: 01-Jan-08
Author: Andrew Burton
From: Wildlife Aid
A story from the Wildlife Aid website

Springtime in the Backyard

Date: 07-Sep-07
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
Rarely is there a clear-cut distinction between the seasons in the Hunter Valley - one merely blends with the next. Autumn and spring are my favourite times of year, when temperatures are mild and nature is busy.

Hunter Valley Ecology

Date: 27-Feb-07
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
The Hunter Valley's abundant coal deposits and timber were secured and exploited by early 19th centuary governers. Twenty years later, free settlers arrived and established agricultural and pastural activities. The 21st centuary sees agriculture and mining still thriving in the Hunter, but the timber has long gone, sadly, to the extent of environmental vandalism.

River Red Gums endangered in Hunter Valley

Date: 20-Feb-07
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
From: Hunter Valley Backyard Nature
These massive spreading trees with beautiful multi-coloured trunk and branches are endangered in the Hunter Valley, so I set out to take a look at some and learn a bit about their history and future prospects.

Open spaces, fine wine and a menagerie a trois

Date: 18-Dec-05
Author: Alexandra Boyce (SMH Short Breaks)
A home among the cats, dogs, chooks, frogs and, yes, vineyards, writes Alexandra Boyce.

As the gravel of the driveway crunched under our tyres, Tilley the cattle dog and her exuberant offsider Riley, a border collie/kelpie cross, lolloped around the side of the house, barking and wriggling with excitement.

Wild at heart

Date: 17-Dec-05
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH Short Breaks)
Debra Jopson gets back to nature at a bush retreat for grown-ups - Yango Bend.

A note in the cabin says: "Please do not feed the horses on the other side of the fence as they are all elderly and on a controlled diet." We, most decidedly, do not have anyone controlling our diet...

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