Showing posts from May, 2012


Some video I captured over the past week or so at the Australian Alps walking track down from Booroomba Rocks. I set out the camera on the 23rd May in a different area from the one I have been at...
Further north in Namadgi I seemed to be catching a lot of feral animal activity... out of any 5-9 day setting I would invariably capture a fox, dog or pig. South near Shanahan's Mountain though nothing more feral than a rabbit has showed its ears.

Just on a side note... Feral pigs are nothing new in the ACT and surrounding ranges. Ever since European man has been able to lose a pig they have been in the mountains. Historically in this area perhaps the man to heed is Mr. W.P Bluett of Brindabella who gives us a pretty good rundown of everything wild pig related in the region written in 1954.

Perhaps today the only warning we should heed from his words are his descriptions of wild pigs temperaments...

National Library of Australia
I had intended leaving the camera at the trail down from Bo…


Good news today about the damaged De Salis family cemetery at Tharwa...

A little background first... the De Salis family cemetery or Cuppacumbalong cemetery is a 19th century raised mound cemetery of a unique design. It is located at the junction of the Gudgenby and Murrumbidgee Rivers near Tharwa Village and was once the favourite spot to sit and ponder of Rudolph De Salis. It was here the family decided to bury him when he passed on but the ground was of a type that made it very difficult to dig a grave of any depth. Apparently it took nearly two days.

Add to this the whims of two flooding rivers and three of the early burials at the location were simply washed away. Not to be deterred Rudolph's mother Charlotte thought of a unique way of preventing washouts and making the digging of graves an easier task.

In 1878 stones was carted from nearby Mount Tennent by horse and cart to build an oval retaining wall that was then backfilled with earth to raise the cemetery well above the f…


I stopped today to take a few pictures of the 'scar' on Mount Tennent ( Or Mount Tennant if your thinking about the bushranger) I had no idea what caused it but did know of two Canberrans who have climbed up to inspect it. Tim the Yowie Man and John Evans of the Canberra Bushwalkers Club.

I am always recommending John's blog as probably the most comprehensive collection of first hand information on bushwalking locations and historical spots etc. available. Just generally great information.

As I said I have no idea what caused the scar so its best to get it from someone who has been up there.

From Johnny Boys Walkabout blog - 1 May 2012 Scar on Mt Tennent

"An incredible sight. Tim the Yowie Man had visited it from the bottom and said it was mainly mud - indeed it was. A huge earth and rock slide, with scrapes 2m up tree trunks. A little water still dribbling out of the soil. We sat on the granite tors on the side and had morning tea. 
We continued up the side of the scar…


Woodcut - Sydney Cove 1790
All the articles collected in this post were spawned by a chance reading of an old Gininderra Church meeting report from 1880, and a few idle hours. At the end of that reported church meeting the following, almost casual mention, intrigued me:

"The attention of the hearers was frequently diverted from the business of the evening, by the jabbering antics of one of those (unfortunately becoming too common) Australian gorillas, which remained outside the building endeavouring to create amusement or annoyance by its senseless tricks."

Australian gorillas really? Around Canberra?

Queanbeyan Age - Wednesday 7 April 1880

(it was a long town meeting type article) This is the snippet of the closing comments.

National Library of Australia
How did they know what a gorilla was? I actually didn't think the African Gorilla had even been discovered in 1880, a quick search discovered, "The discovery of the Mountain Gorilla took place in the Virunga Mountains, o…


Update: 18/5/12

I like the solitude of Namadgi. I have always felt safe apart from a few encounters with pigs and wild dogs but that has been a rarity over a very long time. Something happened recently to make me re-evaluate that solitude when I'm wandering in the bush. I have a video from a recent trail camera setting later in this post that was quite disturbing…
It’s only in the past few months that I have started putting out a trail-camera to capture a little wildlife.  I am actually endeavouring to capture quolls and also have an interest in the feral population as they are its greatest threat… Historically they were very common but despised by the settlers and ferals seem to have nearly finished the job. Anyway I digress…
I occasionally capture an unidentifiable animal. This does not indicate a new species although recent discoveries show we don’t know everything about what's in Namadgi. Strange stuff seems to happen out there. Occasionally a strange photo emerges that only…


People ask me what map I use to get around the ACT's bush so I thought I would do a review of my favourite, the Rooftop's ACT South Activities map. Before this map I only had access to the traditional contour map.

The Rooftop's map is a 1:50 000 scale map with 20 m contours. It covers the Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Googong Foreshores. Small parts of Kosciuszco & Brindabella National Parks & adjoining areas in NSW.

The map also shows southern Canberra and Queanbeyan although the information is rudimentary. It does however show the access routes out of the city and the surrounding parks.

Please excuse the quality of the photographs but they are taken of my old, worn and stained map that I find invaluable and although showing a little neglect still serves its purpose. Anyway... it will give you a look at the intricacies of the information.

The map was constructed by extensive GPS fieldwork carried out in 2010. The comment from the Namadgi Visito…


The following video is from the YouTube channel jtneill. It's a mad adventure and a race against darkness up the slopes of Mount Tennent to the snow.

James seems to have strapped a video camera to his body and ran up the Mountain starting at 4.20 pm.

The video shows a vivid side to the mountain, wildlife, scenery and a lovely ending that I thought was well worth a little extra exposure...

"There was snow on Mt Tennent, so I did a late afternoon run to suck in Mother Nature's winter rapture. Water, rivulets, sweat, rocks, trees, kangaroos, drink, wombat, dusk, sky, silence, ice, snow, descent, home, share, memories, edit, upload, reflect." James T Neill - Wilderdom.


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I'm trying to focus my photographic efforts on nocturnal wildlife with not much success as yet. I have been able to capture most of the macropods in the area I have been in and a few feral species as well.... fox, pig and what I think was probably a small hare.
Before I continue with that I saw something this week that I thought was well worth a mention... Its not everyday you go up to Booroomba Rocks and discover a brand new species but that's what Stuart Harris of Canberra recently did.
He photographed a tiny jumping spider that was eventually shown to be a brand new species. It's called the Peacock Spider and has been appropriately named after its discoverer 'Maratus harrisi'. The Sydney Morning Herald has the full story...

As for my efforts with the trailcam during March and April I've put together a compilation of up to ten-second videos of Namdgi wildlife collected in two areas I've been in. I've decided to move to a different area for the winter …


I find John Gale the most interesting pioneer of Canberra. I have a post on Mr Gale with an article published on his 100th birthday where he is referred to as the Father of Canberra. Not surprising that his knowledge of the area would have been pretty amazing. 
This letter to the editor of the Queanbeyan Age - Tuesday 12 November 1912 (Trove link) gives us some  origins of a lot of local names and some quite distinct alterations over the years.  I found the original very difficult to decipher so I have made them small and they will enlarge if clicked. Below is the Library's interpreted text...

Queanbeyan Age - Tuesday 12 November 1912  National Library of Australia --------------------------------------------------------------------------
(To the Editor.) SIR,--In your issue of the 15th inst., a correspondent, essaying to give the information asked for by the Hon. Austin Chapman as to the English equivalent of the word " Yass," gives us an oft-repeated…