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Thursday, 23 June 2016

'Hello', little dear!

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt shows a mother calmly reading while her baby sleeps peacefully in its bassinet. The photo comes from an advertising agency, which is not surprising, because that is the only way such a photo is likely to have been taken! How I coped with bringing up four babies is all a bit of a blur these days, but I'm sure that whenever they went to sleep I was busy getting everything else done that I couldn't do when they were awake. I certainly wasn't sitting down relaxing with a book.  I was too busy in the daytime and too exhausted at night to read very much at all for quite a few years!  I have a few photographs of our babies asleep in the pram, probably because taking them out for walks was a good way to get them to fall asleep, but no photos of them asleep in bassinets.

 Below is a card that my mother received from her friend Elaine when I was born. Elaine is the lady who coincidentally appeared in my blog last week holding a koala. Although I don't have a photo of us together, I imagine she also enjoyed holding me as a cuddly baby when she came to visit.

Here is the 'little dear'  referred to above, aged about 6 months, in a bassinet, not asleep but propped up with a pillow and taking notice .

Here I am again, outside enjoying the sunshine. Then in the photograph below I'm in the washing basket!

Below is our first daughter out for a walk in the very basic pram that we used for all four children, also not asleep. 

These days putting babies to sleep on their tummies is frowned upon, and the use of sheepskins, pillows, toys, cot liners and other baby bedding and frills is also strongly discouraged, but somehow our babies survived.

 A blanket and basket lining are used in these two photos of our English granddaughter as a newborn.

Our second daughter and granddaughter are currently living with us, and to conclude, here are a couple of  photos of them, showing Laura managing to read while breastfeeding, although from the mischievous look of baby Lucy in the second photo, that reading was about to come to an end. 


Now for more blogs about mothers and babies, books,bassinets, bedding or soft toys, politically correct or otherwise, tiptoe quietly over to Sepia Saturday #336.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

PLEASE Don't call me a Koala Bear!

This week's prompt photograph shows a koala with its mouth wide open, supposedly yawning. Koalas are marsupials that are native only to Australia, although of course some have been exported to zoos around the world.  They live in eucalyptus trees and only eat certain type of eucalyptus leaves. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, there are less than 80,000 koalas left in the wild, and that figure could well be a lot lower, because numbers Australia-wide are hard to estimate. The site provides a lot of interesting information about koalas and their habits.

Below is a photograph from one of my mother Jean's albums, showing her friend Elaine, cuddling a koala somewhere during a visit to Australia in 1969. Elaine and Jean became life-long friends, from the time they met when Elaine was a student at a deaf school and Jean was a young newly-qualified speech therapist, teaching there in her first job. Jean moved to Australia but Elaine still lives in New Zealand, where there are no native fauna at all, only birds and flora.  The photograph must have been taken in a zoo or wildlife park, because you can't pick these animals up in the wild. They may look cute and cuddly but they are not tame and have to be taught to become used to human contact.

The next photo shows our older daughter and son with a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane Queensland in about 1984.

A few years later in 1987 our two boys were at the same location, with number one son now showing his little brother how to do it.  I can imagine that some koalas might get rather tired of posing with humans all day long and that instead of yawning, the koala in the Sepia Saturday  prompt could be in fact be yelling: 'I've had enough cuddling, please just go away and leave me in peace!"

The following four photographs are ones I've taken of koalas spotted in their natural habitat, on several  Xmas vacations in the small town of Hawks Nest on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, where we are lucky enough to have a holiday unit. The koala colony there is very small, with no more than 12-15 koalas, but they can occasionally be found in the large gum trees lining the local streets, high enough to be safe from dingoes, local dogs and other animals

This next photograph was published on Facebook just recently, and shows a baby koala that had fallen out of a tree during a storm in Hawks Nest, with a gentleman trying to hold it up and coax the mother to come down and get it. Unfortunately that didn't happen, so the baby is now being looked after by a member of the local koala care group at Hawks Nest.

Hopefully you can see more cute pictures and and read all about it here  on the Daily Telegraph's facebook page.

There is one area in Victoria where koalas can be seen in large numbers. This is in the Cape Otway National Park, but sadly overpopulation by koalas has resulted in great damage to the trees on which they rely, with the consequence that many of the koalas have been starving. Despite public outcry their numbers have had to be substantially culled by euthanasia, because they don't adapt well to being re-located. I took these photographs below in Cape Otway in October 2012, and you can see that some of the trees are quite lacking in leaves. There were just too many koalas for them to be able to survive happily and in good condition. You can read more about the current management of koalas in Cape Otway here.


                                          A number of koalas are competing for food in this tree.



Male koalas are territorial and will fight other males for their territory and their right to mate with females. That koala in our prompt could well be attempting to assert his domination and scare others away. I can certainly attest to the fact that they make a lot of noise grunting, screaming, growling and bellowing, particularly at night, which you notice if you are staying anywhere near a koala habitat!

One more koala from my photo collection, this time a solitary fellow who was enjoying the sunshine in the Grampians National Park. 


I'll just finish with a plea for people to not use the word 'bear' when talking about koalas, because they simply are not related to bears at all. I suggest that this is another possibility for the koala in our prompt. He could be yelling that he is not a bear, or perhaps could be singing the song "Please Don't call me a Koala Bear", sung by Don Spencer, which you can listen to here:

For more posts on koalas and other cuddly furry creatures, or perhaps  on yawning or singing or just open mouths, go to Sepia Saturday #335

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Fun at the beach, but stay safe!

This weeks Sepia Saturday prompt image shows a threesome having fun on some unidentified beach, with two women holding a rolled up towel for their male companion to jump over. They seem to be holding the towel quite high off the ground and the jumper looks as if he could be experienced, but as he and the women are unidentified we can't be sure one way or the other. He may have impressed his friends, but the little dog behind shows a total lack of interest.

The following group of photographs come from one of my mother's albums, with the caption "Mollymook Xmas 1967". Mollymook is a beach on the South Coast of New South Wales, where our family spent our annual beach holiday that year. We weren't getting up to any high-jinks but it looks like sunny weather and I remember it as quite a good holiday, although at fifteen I think I was trying to assert my independence and meet some boys, and that my father was not too happy about the idea. He looks fairly relaxed here under the umbrella, but he wasn't really, as far as I was concerned. Despite his objections beforehand and recriminations later, I did manage to 'escape' for a short tine and get chatting with a couple of young surfers, but I suffered from sunburn as a consquence, having stayed out in the midday sun with not enough shade or protection.

 I also met another young man at the camping ground where we were staying and in fact had my first try at golf with him on the local course. I was pretty hopeless, perhaps because there were no left handed clubs available, but it was fun all the same. I think we may even have corresponded for a short time after going our separate ways.

While we were enjoying our holiday at Mollymook, a tragedy was unfolding at another Australian beach.  On 17 December 1967 at Cheviot near Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Harold Edward Holt, the then Prime Minister of Australia, had gone swimming unaccompanied in rough and wild surf and had disappeared. Cheviot Beach was not patrolled. After several days of unsuccessful searching, the Prime Minister was declared missing and presumed drowned. No remains were ever found. Mr Holt was a moderate swimmer but may have been over-confident and underestimated the power of the sea. There were many unsubstantiated theories about what might have happened to him, including being captured by Soviet spies and taken away in a submarine! At the time of his death he was aged 59 and had been in parliament for 32 years, but  had been the Prime Minister for just 22 months. I think his death probably brought home the dangers of of the surf to many Australians, and made us realise that drowning was something that could happen to anyone.

Here are a couple of press photographs found on the Trove web site, showing Mr Holt enjoying himself on the beach with his daughters-in-law, and spearfishing with a friend. While in office he had expanded Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War and his slogan "All the way with LBJ" created considerable controversy among Australian voters.


Harold Holt was the local member for Malvern, the electorate in which we now live. Many people find it slightly odd that the local swimming pool is named after him, but apparently it was under construction at the time of his death, and so it was decided to name it the Harold Holt Memorial pool.

In 1969, a plaque commemorating Holt was bolted to the seafloor off Cheviot Beach after a memorial ceremony. The inscription reads:
             "In memory of Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, who loved the sea
                                    and disappeared hereabouts on 17 December 1967."
There's also a more visible memorial plaque above the beach, which we saw when walking in the area few years ago. There's no beach access, and swimming is prohibited. Cheviot Beach is in Point Nepean National Park and was named after the SS Cheviot, which was wrecked on nearby rocks with the loss of 35 lives in 1887.

Photographs taken of the rugged coastline off Point Nepean National Park on a wild and windy but sunny day, August 2013

For more Sepian posts inspired by the prompt, visit Sepia Saturday #334, and if you're in northern climes and are planning a summer beach holiday, stay safe and swim between the flags!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Water wheels, water works

Water Wheels

According to Wikipedia, water wheels convert the energy of free-flowing water into power. I'm sure I've seen quite a few of them in my travels, but a search of my albums has only revealed photographs of two of them. The first photograph was taken in Denmark in 2011, at Den Gamle By in the Old Town of Arrhus, Denmark. Den Gamle By is a kind of open air museum in which all the buildings have been transported from other parts of Denmark.  I highly recommend visiting it if you are going to Denmark and are interested in the history of the country.

Surprisingly enough the following two photographs come from our most recent trip, from which we have just returned a couple of weeks ago, and were taken at the Chateau de Fougeres, where there is a row of four very impressive water wheels.

And Water Works

Back in January 1994 we visited my cousin Linley and her then husband Chris on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand and had a look over their newly established water activity amusement park. I feel sure I took photographs of some of the water features but if so I must not have kept them, so this brochure is all I can find.

It was early days when we visited, but I believe Chris still runs the Waterworks, and that they have become a popular tourist attraction in the area. Here is a photograph from the Waterworks Facebook site and you can read more about the park here

 I must admit tend to prefer to see natural creations when visiting an area, unless of course history is involved. The nearby Coromandel coastline has much to offer in the way of natural wonders,some of which are referred to on the map above.  At Hot Water Beach for example, 
 you can sit in the sand and dig out a hole that quickly fills with warm water from underground thermal springs. You just need to be careful not to let your pool get too hot!

There's one other water sculpture involving a water wheel that I've walked past many times, as we used to live in a nearby suburb and one of our sons currently lives in a unit just down the road from it.

The Hornsby Water Clock or fountain as it is more commonly known, is a substantial and unique structure, located in the pedestrian plaza of the shopping centre in Hornsby New South Wales and is a popular meeting place for locals. You can see a water wheel on the right hand side.  It was erected in 1993 at a cost of $1,000.000 and has always been rather controversial.

I must confess I always struggled to work out how to tell the time from the clock, despite there being a number of surrounding plaques explaining its operation, and apparently the clock aspect has never worked very well or for very long periods of time.I took the above photograph recently but am not sure whether the clock part was working at the time or not.  You can read more here in this Daily Telegraph article published last year about the fountain clock's troubled history and the repair campaign launched by its creator Victor Cusack. . I don't know whether or not any progress has been made on the repairs.

To see more water wheels and water works, go to Sepia Saturday #333