november 05, 2000
the most recent dispatch from the field... (more)
catch up on previous news postings... (more)
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nov 03, 2000
A day at the galleries... (more)
nov 02, 2000
Meetings at CIT and attending an online conference ... (more)
oct 30, 2000
CIT, Canberra, and sights seen ... (more)
oct 26, 2000
Landing in Oz, drive to Canberra, and a Kangaroo welcome ... (more)
oct 24, 2000
Train to Auckland- Parnell sites and Waiheke Island ... (more)
oct 21, 2000
City scenes and a run for rings in Wellington ... (more)
oct 19, 2000
Sunny in Abel Tasman and fine wine in Nelson ... (more)
This weekend brought opportunities to see some of the land east of Canberra. Saturday morning, my CIT host John drove me out first to Bywong Town, a restored area that sported a gold rush in the 1890s. Set in a thick area of gum trees, the tents and shacks only hint at what must have been very harsh living conditions for the victims of gold fever.
Among the interesting artifacts and stories posted on the signs were things such as a hand cranked battery used to extract gold from a slurry of crushed ore. There were several sheds of stampers and related equipment, tractors, and a rig where horses were used to raise debris from the mine shaft.
Although pretty much a tourist trap, I enjoyed the streets of Bywong town.
The next stop was the town of Braidwood, a town that strives to maintain the look of 100 years earlier. The founder, Dr. Thomas Braidwood, supervised the transport of convicts from England to Australia, and was granted 2500 acres of land in this area.
today's photos - all photos o o o o
o o Bywong, Braidwood, and Batemans Bay
Because of its historic buildings, Braidwood has been used as a set for the 1970 film of "Ned Kelly", in which Mick Jagger (yes, that Mick Jagger) played the legendary outlaw. Also filmed here was the ore recent, "The Year my Voice Broke".
The Braidwood Museum had a great collection of artifacts form eras past-- the building originally was a hotel and later a site for the "Odd Fellows" some sort of lodge group. Among the items was an old fashioned washing machine and a squeeze dryer machine known as a "mangler". It looks like it likely mangled some fingers as well. We got a great laugh at the 1879 Rules for teachers, where the conditions make today's teaching challenges shrivel in comparison.
It may not be intended art but the colors on the rust of the old iron tools was fascinating.
On Sunday morning, my hosts Allan and Jen drove me to the coast east of Canberra, driving through some amazingly open, green cattle country before dropping through a winding road to the sea at Batemans Bay. The day was grey and rainy and hid most of the scenic views of the coast. Many people from Canberra ("Canberrans"?, "Canberries"?) spend their summer here, what they refer to as "The Bay". We enjoyed some nice coffee and strolled the streets, which were fairly quiet on a grey Sunday.
The tour continued south along the coast, through small towns of retirement houses and summer vacation homes, small bays and beaches, and a mild bush forest. The route included Tuross, Narooma, and a bunch of other towns I have mangled the names. Eventually our path turned inland, heading to the town of Cooma, another climb up Brown Mountain obscured in the clouds.
We passed a plant that was pointed out to me. It sprouts among the grass with vivid purple flowers. In some parts it is a hated nuisance because it chokes out grass in pastures, and the plant is called "Patterson's Curse". But in drier climates where grass does not grow so well, it is useful for the cattle to graze on, and thus is known as "Salvation Jane". Therefore, depending on where you are, "one person's Curse is another's Salvation"
Our last stop was in a tiny town of Nimmitabel, to sample some local ice cream and gawk at some really "obscure" "collectable" (not by me!) items in a second hand store. By the time we returned to Canberra, the sky had cleared.
This concluded a weekend full of scenery of the open countryside outside of Canberra. The upcoming week, my last in this area, will be busy with activities at CIT as well as a few more fun items...
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