Thursday, 29 November 2012

Towns of the Snowy (Pt 1)

This post follows on from that covering the ANPS expedition to Iron Pot TSR.  It is the latest element of our 'Visit every  town in NSW' project.  Perhaps I should give it an acronym of VETIN - or does that sound too like a Russian politician?

Whatever.  After leaving the TSR we rolled down the hill and into Berridale.  To most people this is simply a little village to hurtle through on the way to the fleshpots of Jindabyne, Thredbo and Perisher.  It appeared that most of the town was modern buildings of modest proportions servicing the tourist-service industries along the main drag.  There were a few older houses - check the stonework and veranda roof on this one.

 As well as the war memorials (see below) this was a nice way to remember a friend and helper.
 Thanks to a tip off from the site created by Michael Southwell-Keely I knew there was a memorial to a resident who had died in Burma during WW2.  This is a plaque at the entrance to the town pool.   I was surprised to find another memorial to him in the Anglican Church.
Of even more interest is that the two memorials give different years for his date (1 October) of death (plaque gives 1942, window gives 1943).  I have consulted the Service Records held by the National Archives of Australia and find that he was recorded as a PoW on 27 September 1943 and thus conclude the window is correct.  I have subsequently confirmed this through the Roll of Honour maintained by the Australian War Memorial.

The next image is of the Cenotaph alongside the main street.  This is written up in "Sacred Places" as being very unusual since officialdom didn't approve of Calvary representations on memorials.  This is the only one in Australian erected by a civic committee.
 Several of the trees in the park beside the Cenotaph are also designated as memorials and there are a range of plaques identifying specific people and groups.

Moving along towards Cooma we stopped to photograph this art work beside the road. Thanks to Frances of the Cooma Visitors Centre (an incredibly service-oriented person) I now know:

  • It was erected by the Snowy River Shire Council early last year.  It was made of waste metal from Ski Tube (the rack rail train that runs from the Alpine Way to Perisher). 
  • The artist responsible for the sculpture is Richard Moffatt.
  • A naming competition resulted in the sculpture being named Snowyriversphere.

 We have gone through Cooma a few times but never, to my memory, stopped to look at the following memorial.  I had assumed it was something to do with the Snowy Scheme but now found it was remembering a plane crash.  The plane was lost on 21 March 1931 and not found until 26 October 1958.
The main war memorial in Cooma is a cenotaph (a non-controversial obelisk) accompanied by a memorial to a local soldier who despite earning the Military Medal and 3 bars survived until 1972!  He is mentioned in an article about the Delegate to Goulburn March.  (Google Earth suggests  a route of 337km between those towns so they averaged about 10 miles per day over fairly rugged country in mid-Summer.)
 This is the diorama forming the memorial.
 Behind the cenotaph is the Monaghan Hayes Memorial.  He was the first resident of the area to be killed in WW1.  If I have things right the paler coloured roses are the variety 'Peace', but the light washed out the colour.
There is also a memorial here to Flight Lt Pat Hughes, Australia's leading air ace in WW 2.  Unfortunately his bravery got the better of him and he was killed as he was too close to a bomber he was attacking when it blew up.

 The court house is rather splendid!
As is the gaol.  Unlike Broken Hill I was not harassed by a screw for taking a picture of the building!
 This house is one of those on Lambie Street, a focus of the historic walk.
 Their garden has won awards, and is reasonably typical of those on the walking route.
 This is the Royal Hotel dating from 1858.  According to the walk notes provided by the Cooma Visitors Centre their verandas were the only ones to survive the demolition orders of the 1950s.  Again according to Frances from the Cooma Visitors Centre, a part of the reason for demolishing the verandas was a concern that parking motorists would back into the supports.  The owner of the Royal just refused to take hers down: well down that publican!
 Some art work on the outside of the Showgrounds.
 The altar in St Paul's Anglican Church.  This church also included a memorial to a local resident (Col. Ryrie) who was injured leading a squadron of the Light Horse into battle in Jordan and died a year later.
 These plaques are at the Uniting Church and honour men in the 1914-18 war.
 Moving on to St Patricks Church  - not surprisingly a Catholic institution - a memorial outside celebrates the achievements of Irish immigrants to the area.  It includes "The early Irish settlers who came, not all of them willingly ...."
 Inside the Church there are many excellent stained glass windows.  These two were actually on opposite sides of the aisle but I thought I'd save some download space.  The LH panels show scenes from the history of the area while the RH ones deal with the history of the church in the area.
 This is a detail showing the second panel from the top on the RH window.  I particularly like the pipe being smoked by the sisters' driver!
 The Presbytery of the Catholic Church.
 Across the road is the Catholic School which has a motto of "A school with Altitude"!
I was intrigued that the historic walk avoided the main street and its commercialism completely.  A bit of a pity with buildings such as these two from 1858 and 1891,

An alert reader will note the veranda.  Apparently the owners of the building rebuilt it in the mid-1990s.

The main park celebrates Banjo Patterson with this image of the Man from Snowy River.  (A nearby plaque quotes the third verse of that great poem.)  The statue was created by the late Ian McKay.
 It also includes this time walk, celebrating by images and flags the history and diversity of the Snowy Region.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

ANPS goes to Iron Pot

I should point out this trip was to Iron Pot TSR (#34) just out of Berridale on the Jindabyne Rd.  It was rather a long trip (about 340km round trip) from Carwoola but even though we left early on, getting some work on our "town project" completed, it was a good outing.

After leaving Cooma we soon entered the granite country  in which most of the eucalypts appeared to be dead, or at least extremely unwell.
 At first glance this looked like fire damage but there was no evidence of burning on fence posts and other species appeared OK.  It seems that die-back is the issue, with a little epicormic growth suggesting a few trees are recovering.

Into the TSR and I will begin with the Fabaceae - the BEAN (or possibly Vetch -as the genus is now Vicia not Faba) family.  The first representative was  Mirbelia oxylobioides.
 This was in profusion in some places as reflected in this habitat shot.
Also easy to spot was this lurid Oxylobium alpestre.
 Bossiaea buxifolia
 Swainsona behrii
While we were present Donkey orchids (Diuris sp) were the only orchids seen.  I thought the first was sufficiently brown to be identified as D. pardina.  Rather late for that species I thought.
The next was clearly D. sulphurea.
 This one was IMHO D. semilinulata.
 In the lily area we found a large clump of Bulbine glauca
 They were just beginning to flower.
 While I normally resist photographing cow-fodder a fresh Themeda triandra flower is rather spectacular.
 The first dicotyledon flower I include is Veronica gracilis.
 Grevillea lanigera
I was taken with the colours of this eucalypt trunk.
 So now we move to invertebrates.  When we first arrived I was a little concerned that we were about to experience a BFD (Bad Fly Day)  However once we got into the bush the Diptera diminished and more interesting arthropods appeared.  

As always comments and corrections are welcome.  The first effort is a small white moth!
 This butterfly looks to be Neolucia agricola the Fringed Heath-blue.
 Here we have an up-close and head-on view of a Plague Soldier beetle.
Paropsis aegrota was very cooperative and didn't fall off the grass stem (probably having already fallen of a eucalypt to get there).
These larvae emulated seals on a rock.
A  beetle, possibly a Clerid.  I like the yellow tips to its antennae.
Now we find a spine!  The shape of the ears suggests this is an Alpaca rather than a Llama.  A new type of feral beast!
After leaving the group we 'officially' visited Berridale and Cooma and they get a separate post.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Gardens and Quilts at Braidwood

The more interesting of our local papers included an article about Open Gardens in the area this weekend. Two of these were near Monga National Park on the far side of Braidwood and read as though they would be interesting.  Cutting to the chase, they were both excellent.

The first garden was a bare paddock, with some outcrops of granite and a few residual large trees, when the current owner acquired it in 2007.   This shot, from low down on the block, possibly gives an impression.
This is one of the big trees.  It is a Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which I am used to seeing in forested gullies where they grow tall and straight rather than spreading as in this case.   I suspect it was a big tree when the area was cleared.
 As with many eucalypts they drop branches occasionally.
 A keen eyed reader may note the wombat burrows between the rock and the fallen branches.  The owner had put a sign up saying "No entry Wombat holes".  When I first saw this I misinterpreted it as a (very) hopeful sign to keep the wombats out of the garden!

This is the owners favourite granite outcrop.   She has done an excellent job of building the garden beds around these rocks.  Obviously there is good soil between the outcrops unlike the shale of Carwoola!
Note the yellow Kniphofia.
 Some corrugated iron sheep.  Possibly related to the house being clad with corrugated iron!
 This grasshopper nymph paused for a photo.
 We then moved on down Tudor Vale Rd to the second garden.  This is a little older, being started in 1997, but again from basically a bare paddock, with a row of pines along the road and the remains of a cottage.  Here is a view across the duckpond, possibly showing 1/4 of the area.
 The remains of the cottage were used as the basis for this retaining wall, described by the owner as a refuge for Blue-tongued Lizards and Copperhead Snakes.
When they first started the garden the cold (down to -12 C) and winds killed everything.  Planting these pines broke the wind and started the success.  The owner is a rose enthusiast and many of the hundreds growing were labelled.
 The next three images are of pretty flowers from the garden.

I suspect again they have soil, but the notes said that a lot of hoss-poop gets added as the basic fertiliser and soil conditioner.   This calls to mind a tale by Denis Wilson who was advised not to buy one block at Robertson as it 'only had 2 feet of topsoil'!  (We'd appreciate 5 centimtres.)

At the second garden we asked the gardener's husband how much rain they got and the answer was "33".  Clearly a traditionalist, but converting to metrics gives 840mm or about 30% more than Carwoola.  (At both gardens they also commented about the cool mist which comes out of the forest each evening - presumably as the Easterly blows moisture up from the coast and the rise of 800m elevation cools it down.

As we had driven through Bungendore we noticed that they were airing their quilts (an annual event) so on the way back we stopped and strolled up the main street.  Here are a few images to finish off.