Thursday, 8 December 2016

Where the heck is Carwoola?

This has been catalysed by some conversations about the site of some weather observations that appear under the label of "Carwoola".  It has become apparent that there are many meanings of the term.

The locality doesn't appear on many signposts.  In fact the only one I can think of is at the Eastern end of Briars Sharrow Rd.  My suspicion is that gives the distance to the Community Hall and Fire Shed.  Those with long memories will also recall there being a shop in that vicinity, but it has now closed.  There are signs on Captains Flat Road (one near the intersection with the Kings Highway and the other near Woolcara Lane) announcing that one has entered the locality, but I see these as different to the signs showing a distance.

The best geographic description of the area is a locality adjacent to Queanbeyan.  This is defined by the Australian Burea of Statistics as the State Suburb (SS) of Carwoola.  In the (Bad Old) Days of two Councils part of the area was in the City of Queanbeyan and part in the Shire of Palerang.  Now it is, quite sensibly all in the one administration as part of Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council.  Here is an overview of the SS Carwoola.
I have also developed what I call the Carwoola bird watching area with approximate boundaries in purple ..
 .. which includes most of Hoskinstown and Primrose Creek, as well as Carwoola.  It is largely based on the catchment area of the Stoney Creek Gazette, through which reports for the birding project are circulated.

The next map plots various spots which I have come across labelled as Carwoola.

  • Point 'A' is the location tagged as Carwoola by Google Earth.  I suspect it is the centroid of the State Suburb polygon shown above.
  • Point B is the location equivalent to a point labelled Carwoola for Meat and Livestock Australia rainfall reports.  I suspect it is someone's estimate of the centre of the locality - perhaps attached to the closest road intersection?
  • Point C is the shop/hall/fireshed location referred to above.  
  • Point D is approximately the location from which the Bureau of Meteorology compile estimates of rainfall for their river flow/flood danger analysis in the Molonglo valley.  Trying to work out exactly where that is to be found is a work in progress.
  • Point E is the location of the buildings for Carwoola Station.
  • Point F is St Thomas's Church at Carwoola.  It is interesting that the Council sign for "Carwoola"lies to the North of the Church!
As well as the above there is a Parish of Carwoola used for cadastral purposes.  (cadastre, using a cadastral survey or cadastral map, is a comprehensive register of the real estate or real property's metes-and-bounds of a country.)  Uncle Google has not thus far been able to be persuaded to deliver me an image of the boundaries of this Parish.  However I have got part of it from an 1888 map of County Murray from the National Library website.  I have added a few annotations - noting the vintage of the map, its surprising how many features were recognisable.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Queanbeyan QE 2 Park redevelopment

For thepast year our run in Queanbeyan along the river has had to take a different route as our traditional voyage through QE 2 Park was subject to the whims of the construction industry.  They more or less finished on Saturday with the redeveloped area opened by the Governor-General.  I drove past on Sunday and it seemed well replete with family funsters, which is GOOD.

This morning I went for a run past to check the possible new routes and take a few snaps.  Here is an overview of the upper level.  I didn't try sitting on the benches but they looked quite good.
 The playground is a lot larger and has a water feature (which will be good until the next drought comes).  Note that in both images there are Mums and rugrats enjoying the facility.

I presume there are plans for performances at the bottom of this amphitheatre.  Which will be fine or possibly excellent as long as it isn't garage bands at 500dB as was the case with the the thrash metal exposition at Regatta Point on Sunday.
 They have a nice BBQ area and I assume vines with grow over the pergola eventually.  It will be interesting to see if the social group which used to gather here at lunchtime will return or if they will stick to their alternate venue by the River.  (The dunies here could be a positive, the Alcohol-free zone possibly less so.)
 Nicely designed refuse bins have natural history designs on them ..
 ... but why some has stuck a species not found within 650km of Queanbeyan is a worry.
 A worry shared is a worry halved, so I have shared my views on this with the Council.

Here is a wider view from across the River.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Here and there

Frances was desirous of going there, but as we left here some Gippsland Water Dragons were sunning themselves on rocks by the ford.  A third one, midway in size between the two featured, was also present but couldn't be fitted into the shot.

The medium sample was imaged the next day

 A close up of the biggie.
 The ultimate 'there' was the Sculpture Garden of the NGA.  It was as always a lovely place, only spoilt by the appalling noise coming from Bogan Central also known as the Spilt Milk 'Festival' being perpetrated at Regatta Point.  As we found it too loud at 1km range it must be bad for the health of the brain-dead attendees.

The mist sculpture was evident.  However I was reminded of one time a guy was doing maintenance or as he put it "Making it more like a mist sculpture rather than a poor lawn sprinkler."
 A small person - not the Small Person  - was a tad reluctant to go through the fog.
 Fiona Hall's tree fern work is doing rather well ....
 .. although we noticed that several of them seem to have adopted a more horizontal approach to growth.
 We then decided to visit the Turrell installation.
 Views of clouds were available through the hole in the roof.
With binoculars it was possible to establish that the black dot was a jewel spider!

Friday, 2 December 2016

A day of weeds (mainly)

The day started off very well.
 As we did our tour-de-block with Tammy we were struck by this swathe of Xerochrysum viscosum, which is having a brilliant year.
 I started my chores by carting a load of pine pruning up to an erosion gully.
 They were duly dumped in!
 A few years back the electricity provider knocked over a copse of  Acacia dealbata which was growing right under the lines.  Last year they finally chipped most of what they had knocked down.  his meant I could get in there this year with my brushcutter and deal with the regrowth.
 Here it is dealt with!
 There is still a bit more work to do to cart stuff away but it is an improvement.

Nearby some Blue Devils (Eryngium ovinum) were growing vigorously .
 Less pleasing were these bad St Johns Wort.
 They were transformed into better St Johns Wort by the simple process of adding them to my pile.
It was then time to break out the brickies hammer ...
 .. and go talk to some bad thistles ...
 ... which were changed into better thistles ...
 ... and eventually best thistles , joining the wort on the pile.

For the past couple of days we have been graced with the noisy and amusing presence of a clan of 12 White-winged Choughs.  Today they were very close to the house and it was obvious that some of them were fairly fresh out of the nest.
 I think this is an adult squawking at one of the juveniles. Note the demonic red eye!
 The whole clan spent much of the early evening perched on the lattice around our septic tank.
Sunset decided to compete with sunrise.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

November 2016 weather report

Here is a slightly updated version of the report published in the Gazette.  The main change is a decrease of 2mm in monthly rainfall - obviously something got duplicated in my updating.  Sorry about that.
An overall summary of the month would be that following a very wet Winter and and early Spring, and a very cool October, this month was pretty average in everything.


I regard 50mm of rain in a month as 'reasonable' and we just made it this month.  The rain fell on 8 days spread through the month, although the last week was dry.
Note that the average shown here is for the past 9 years while that in the Gazette notice is for a 32 year period.

Whiskers Creek has run through the month, although getting a bit close to 'trickle' level by the 30th.


Looking at the month in detail there have been a series of warmings (shown by the chain of red boxes) followed by a sharp drop as a front comes through. 
Average maximum temperature was very similar to last year and the long term average.  
 In much the same way that I have commented on frosts during the colder months I intend to cover the number of Heat Wave Days each month over the warmer period.  In essence a Heat Wave is a period if 3 or more consecutive days with a maximum temperature >35o
C and a minimum >10oC.  If you wish to know more its here!'
For November this year we have one heat wave last 4 days.  This is about normal.

The minimum temperature was well less than 2015, but almost exactly on average.


When I first compiled a chart of daily readings for Relative Humidity at 3pm I was quite surprised at how many days were below my "reasonable"level of 40%.  So I also downloaded the Bureau of Meteorology data for Canberra Airport.
 It is clear that the two series are very similar.  I then looked at longer term - 4 years of observations - average data which showed that the month was almost spot on the average, but somewhat less than 2015.
I believe the dryness does explain wide the wide brown land is justifying the brown element of the cliche.


Looking at the daily maximum gust ...
 ... shows a breezy first half of the month after which the wind was much less evident.

The longer term picture continues to show a pattern of a higher average wind speed than in the past.  (I cannot help but consider I have caused this by clearing the spider webs off the anemometer in April!  Friction is a terrible thing!)

However again I consider the month to be rather average!

Rutherglen and Riverina

I decided that we needed some essential supplies from Rutherglen (and Frances was running low on supplies from Yarrawonga).  This is not an area to visit in Summer so we fired up the camper and headed off on 29 November.

The countryside was pretty dry looking as we headed down the Hume Highway towards Gundagai.
 Getting very close to the border we noticed that someone had built a large wall.  I suspect this is not to keep out undocumented migrants from Victoria but to block noise.
 We decided that the best tactic was to go to Yarrawonga first to get the olive oil and then head back.  There was quite a bit of water standing beside the road but nothing approaching a flood.  Haymaking was going on everywhere.  Some people were making rectngular bales and stacking the high, giving a stele effect to their paddocks ....
 .. while others stayed with the (now) traditional round roll model.
 To illustrate the amount of water I offer this shot - taken by Frances - of the amount of water in the Ovens River.
 When we finally got to Rich Glen Olives the cafe was doing a lot of business.
 The website is very brief about the history of the place.  There is a sign explaining the development for a few olive trees to a processing plant with sales out of their house to opening a 'proper store and cafe', and much of what we have seen there is only a few years old.  They make good product and have a very attractive setting including this sculpture.
 The small dog was very popular with these two small people.
 When I commented to their parents that I hoped this wouldn't lead to demands for their own puppy they replied that they were dairy farmers so the kids had plenty of other animlas!

As we headed back towards Rutherglen we questioned whether this depiction of historic activities in Lake Mulawa wasn't steroetyping.
 The Lake has plenty of water in it.
When we got to Warrabilla the poster boy for Wine Dogs of Australia (Mr Bear) was lurking under a desk polishing off a bone.  At one point he noticed Tammy and came boiling over to have a conversation - in the past they have been BFFs, but bones were not evident then - but was banished back to his bed.

 After a supplementary visit to Chambers Rosewood, where Tammy had a more restrained visit with a couple of  Kelpies,  They were accompanied by owner Bill, one of the legends of Australian wine.

We moved round to the caravan park and set up on the grass.  There seemed to be quite a bit of birdlife around including this Laughing Kookaburra ...
 .. baby Pacific Black Ducks ...
 ... and Eurasian Coots.
 There was also at least one brood of Dusky Moorhens.

We circled Lake King the next morning and then checked out the nearby War Memorial.
I was quite surprised that we hadn't noticed the Leopard Tank on previous visit!  There are a good range of other memorials, including a very new black granite item inaugrated by a neighbour from Carwoola who is a retired Admiral.

We then headed headed for home, crossing the Murray at Howlong and going to hunt War Memorials in the Riverina.  The first was at Brockleby.
 This aircraft motor was nearby and commemorates an event in 1940 when two planes crashed in mid air, but the pilot managed to land them locked together.  The full story is here.
 We then carried on North to Walbundrie where the Memorial Hall also has a Roll of Honour.   Walbundrie looks to be doing it a bit tougher than the towns on the River: presumably they don't have tourism as an economic buffer.
Our final Memorial Hunt was in Rand.  The first Memorial we found was not for a War, but for a now abandoned butchers shop.  This was the block from the shop which was so big the shop was built around it!
 Here is the actuall War Memorial.
 The tree of the trip was Grevillea robusta, the Silky Oak.  Every town has these growing in parks and gardens ...
 .. and with blossom like this one would have to say "why not"?
 After a zip along a very good dirt road we got to Urana where I thought we could check out the similarly named Lake, if we could work out how to get in there.  On enquiring at the caravan park the very helpful owner explained that it was a bit tricky to get in to, but why not visit the lake in the town?  Why not indeed: right next door.

The Lake - formed by a dam on Urangeline Creek - wasn't full of waterbirds (but was full of water).  The White Ibis were very evident and apparently breeding.

 as were Pacific Black Ducks.
 Some very attractive Eucalypt blossom was evident ...
 .. and possibly explained the good number of drier country Honeyeaters seen.  A nice place and worthy of more exploration.

We then headed for home, stopping in Lockhart for a pie.  It emerged that the diesel pump in Rutherglen had shut off a bit early so the emergency supply on the camper was used to get us happily into Queanbeyan.