Thursday, December 11, 2014

John Gorton Hotel

Opportunity abounds. Wonderful heritage building abandoned for newer pastures looking for new life.

Or at least that's what it seems like. Pretty impressive address.

John Gorton Building set to be Canberra's newest phantom office block - via @smh The Phantom John Gorton Building

Monday, November 3, 2014

Archaeological dig on Springbank Island

Springbank Island in Lake Burley Griffin wasn't always an island.

It was the original high ground on the Molonglo River floodplain that is now Canberra's centrepiece water feature and beyond its association with local Aboriginal culture was also the site of a pioneer homestead called Springbank.

The Canberra Times has an interesting article about an upcoming archaeological survey of the island hoping to uncover the secrets of its past.

A little info I wrote up a few years ago..


How a homestead became an island.

Now mostly underneath the water of Lake Burley Griffin sits the first rural property in today's Australian Capital Territory. In October 1831 John MacPherson (1833 - 1894) (bio here) was granted 640 acres (258 hectares) of river flats of the Molonglo River and Black Mountain plus a large portion now occupied by the Australian National University. This date makes John MacPherson and family the first resident landholders and their son John Alexander (bio here) the first European boy born on the Limestone Plains.

McPherson's grant was disputed by a neighboring landowner Joshua John Moore (1790 - 1864). Moore wrote to Robert Hoddle the Government Surveyor:'I beg leave to inform you that I am desirous of retaining the 1,000 acres (404 hectares) already in my possession. It is called and known by the name Canburry.' It was agreed that Moore retain the ridge and the name Canburry for his land, whilst the basin be shared with MacPherson.

Springbank was sold to the Kaye family in 1844. The Kaye family moved to Springbank, taking over the existing farm and buildings. The Kaye family moved in 1855 from the Springbank home to a house near the present day Hotel Canberra and in 1888 'Springbank' was sold to the Sullivan family. Canberry Creek which ran through the property was renamed Sullivans Creek after William Sullivan (1829-1911). In 1910 the government resumed 'Springbank' for the new national capital.

In 1914, Sydney Stock and Station Agents Gair, Sloane and Co. valued Springbank at 10,000 pounds and 10 shillings and gave a detailed valuation of Springbank's freehold land: The property comprised of 1,955 acres (791 hectares) of freehold land described as 115 acres (46 hectares) arable flats, 53 acres (21 hectares) as dark soil, 570 acres (230 hectares) wheat land and the remaining 1217 acres (492 hectares) as grazing land. The property also included Homestead Buildings, Yards, Cow Bails, Piggery, Buggy-shed, Woolshed, yards and three dams, eleven hundred willow trees and an orchard. The alluvial flats were on the Molonglo River.

The soil was described as 'rich dark alluvial friable and fertile loam about 12 feet (3.7 m) deep, resting on a gravel bed, providing good draining – liable to be inundated by the overflow water from the Molonglo River annually, leaving a rich deposit of alluvium, rendering it admirably suited for the growth of lucerne and corn and comparing favourably with a great deal of the Hunter River land. The roots of the lucerne penetrate down to the perennial water supply which percolates through the underlying porous bed from the River and from the Creek flowing through the centre of this area, providing natural irrigation in the dryest season – this creek has never been known to run dry'. The arable flats on the property were valued then at 30 pounds per acre.

From 1913 until 1924 the farm was occupied by the Cox family. The Kaye family returned in 1924 until 1961: in 1963 the family sold the farm assets upon the filling of Lake Burley Griffin.

The homestead of the property was on the high ground that now forms Springbank Island in modern day Lake Burley Griffin. Springbank Island (if you can get to it) is an island within Lake Burley Griffin named after the 'Springbank Property'. The Island has a jetty at its southern end and barbecue and toilet facilities, shelter, and a few lights at its northern end. The perimeter of the Island is lined with trees. The Island is quite bare. There is a two-burner electric barbecue situated on the western side of the Island. There is access to fresh water on the Island. Camping on the Island is not permitted.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Search for the cave on Black Mountain

This is an update to a search for the now mythical cave on Black Mountain Canberra. Researched and written by Dave Wheeler, Author of 'A Canberra Boy'.

The most tantalising clue to the caves existence is an inclusion in John Gales Book.

I have deleted my original copy since Dave's subsequent update. It's a fascinating search and his research is tantalising.

Dave Wheeler's Search for the cave on Black Mountain

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The name of Canberra's Lake

Lake Burley Griffin is turning 50.

I remember my mothers tale of my arrival at the Old Canberra hospital on a stormy night when the flooded Molonglo River nearly saw my birth at Duntroon. Her reminiscence of the views in 1963 of the new lake filling from the hospitals windows were inspiring.

Debate has today erupted after 50 years sparked today by a Canberra Times Article - New wave of debate over name change of Lake Burley Griffin.

For the record and not that I've pondered it too deeply, have always thought Burley Griffin was hyphenated. Apparently it's not. The giveaway for me should have been his wife's name, Marion Griffin, obviously lacking a Burley.

I'm not going to enter into the debate which I expect will be a vigorous one. Lake Griffin? Lake Menzies? If I was to offer a suggestion we should name it Lake Onyong.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Elm Grove's next stage

Reading in the Sydney Morning Herald about the next stage in the long history of Elm Grove. Restored Canberra property to host weddings. For those looking for a unique venue with a lot of character this is some information I compiled a few years ago on the history of the property along with a Richard Snashall video compiled in his series the Stakeout of Canberra...

Bordering today's northern suburbs of Canberra is a working remnant of Canberra's pastoral history, "Elm Grove". This fine merino wool property was established by James Gillespie next to his parents 1852 property "Horse Park" when he and his wife Isabella built a timber cottage on Portion 186 Parish of Goorooyarroo in 1882.

James was a well known personality in the Ginninderra district and he was involved in the establishment of the nearby Mulligan's Flat School (post here). He also wrote a regular news article titled "Ginninderra Notes" for the Goulburn Evening Penny Post under the pseudonym “The Wizard”.  For 40 years this column strengthened community development and political activism in the Ginninderra region and today provides a unique record of district events.

James lived on Elm Grove until he died in 1926 and Isabella until her death in 1938. Harold Gillespie (1890- 1974), their son, worked the property until his death in 1974. In 1986 Mr and Mrs Carmody purchased the lease from the Gillespie family. 

YouTube introduction: "The first part of a program that looks at the history of Canberra before it became Australia's capital. How many of us stop to think about what was here before the nation's capital. Here we visit Elm Grove, one of the ACT's only surviving sheep properties that has been owned by two families in 160 years. Presented by Richard Snashall, with funding from the ACT Heritage unit".

View Larger Map

Monday, September 8, 2014

ACTEW Graffiti

ACTEW Water's Youtube channel have a couple of impressive time lapse videos of Canberra infrastructure being given a make over with some art. Thanks Graffik.

"The Yamba Drive Water Pump Station gets a makeover from our friend Graffik. Amazing before and after shots of the Pump Station."

"The City West emergency sewer storage facility gets a make-over from our friend Graffik. Some excellent footage of before and after."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Canberra's first Solar Farm goes live

Bit of technological history in the making. The 1st solar farm for Canberra goes live tomorrow.

The Royalla farm sports 83,000 panels and the opening will be attended by the Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

A second farm looks likely to be approved at Hume consisting of 53,000 panels. The Canberra Times has an interesting piece on the project. Canberra's second solar farm poised for approval as the first goes live.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wallaby punch up

A series of 21 photos in a video slideshow. The images were taken over several minutes recently in Brindabella National Park.

Two red-necked wallabies engage in battle in front of the camera's infra-red light. The motion activated camera was set to take 1 picture with a one second delay between reset. The time stamps tell the story...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What is lurking in the Brindabellas?

Tim the Yowie Man recently stirred my memory to a video I captured in Namadgi in 2012.

Tim found a series of footprints in fresh snow in a locked off area of Namadgi recently which left him wondering about their origin.

Tim the Yowie Man's Bigfoot

All I can say to you Tim is sometimes when you think your alone in the bush you may not be. Or is this the owner of your footprints?

My comment on YouTube:

"First posted this video on another channel some time ago (2012). I want to include it here. I have often pondered this short clip. Probably viewed it thousands of times. I have also wished the quality was better, that I had set the video time longer and that the late afternoon sun was better. It is what it is.

As a backstory I arrived late afternoon on foot after a 1 km walk. I knew where I was going to hang the camera so literally arrived and spent two minutes securing the camera to a tree overlooking a well used animal track, turning it on and leaving.

I returned two weeks later, picked up the camera and discovered a 'head' leaning into frame in the video of me leaving. I have had many opinions offered over time from, person in balaclava, pig hunter to yowie. All I can say is I was confident I was alone, it was not me returning and it haunted me for a while."

It doesn't worry me any more but I must admit to being more wary on my wanderings. Don't panic Canberra. I'm not saying we have a plague of yowies but something to ponder next time your bushwalking...

City to the Lake

A Canberra Times article titled 'Government considers geothermal technology to heat Lake Beach' which in it's self is a fascinating addition/concept.

More so the article hosts the promotional video with an overview of the project.

I have to admit it's probably the most exciting local endeavour I've seen in this town probably in my life. Worth a look. It's going to change how we use this town...

Canberra Times Article - Geothermal lake pool

This is the ACT government youtube fly-over..

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Note on remote wildlife photography

One of the hobbies I enjoy is videoing & photographing wildlife in the wild setting. Preferably while I'm not there.

It really is an inexpensive & easy process. I'm looking for the unusual or rare and interactions devoid of human influence. I've been doing it for about 4 years often leaving the camera's and audio recorders out for weeks, even several months at a time.

Periodically I post images and video of what is captured after sifting through sometimes thousands of photographs and short videos to find interesting images and behaviours. Things that interest me at any rate like quolls, feral densities, mating behaviours and even the odd well contested wallaroo punch up.

Because I often get questions after these occasional social media offerings, and as I picked up a camera that had been out 2 months I'm reviewing, I thought I might get the jump on the two most commonly asked questions.

1. Equipment. Ltl Acorn camera. $130 eBay. There are better brands with much higher quality, settings and battery life which of course cost more and a Sony Notetaker. The audio recorder will run 5 days & nights non stop on highest quality. GPS. Essential. Or you'll never find your gear again.

2. Method. I took some intermittent video yesterday. Four minutes out of 5 hours. It's basically bushwalking with a purpose. I look for rocky ridge lines of gullies and remote water sources but you could hang one anywhere or manner likely to capture wildlife...

So if you don't mind gps-ing yourself to a pre-explored destination in the hope of interesting wildlife media it adds a bit of spice to an average bush walk.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Canberra's bicentenary

One of the things about Canberra that puzzles me is the apparent memory loss of the near century of occupation before Lady Denman proclaimed Canberra as Australia's new national capital in 1913.

We have just finished a year long celebration of Canberra's first hundred years as a capital city but it may interest people to know in regard to the area's discovery we are approaching our historical second centenary.

The Sydney Morning Herald - 9 May 1927

National Library of Australia

So just food for thought. May 23, 2023 marks 200 years since Canberra's official discovery.

Having said all that it is also noted that : "The first Europeans into the area were Joseph Wild, James Vaughan and Charles Throsby Smith who discovered the Limestone Plains upon which modern day Canberra is sited. The following year Dr Charles Throsby reached Tuggeranong and two years later (1823) Joshua Moore's Canberry station was established."

In fact I think the latter true of North Canberra and Curry the expedition of the south where he first discovered the Murrumbidgee River, allegedly around today's Pine Island. South Canberra then on to the Monaro.

So 1820, 1822 or 1823? The official record and settlers movements don't always marry up.

1823 seems the date to aim for for a bicentenary though be it discovery of the south or first official settlement... Regardless 7, 8 or 9 years is probably a bit early to plan a celebration.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A bridge for Point Hut crossing.

Just a date for the building of the bridge over the Point Hut low level crossing in Southern Canberra.

This crossing over the Murrumbidgee links southern Tuggeranong with the western side of the river saving the longer journey to the south via the Tharwa bridge.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post , Thursday 8 February 1923

National Library of Australia

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The cave on Black Mountain

Remaining unresolved is the question of a 'living room' sized cave on 'Black Hill' mentioned by a man who at the turn of the 20th century was called 'The Father of Canberra'. John Gale (1831-1929) was the famous and well respected editor of the Queanbeyan age.

In his book "Canberra; Its history and its legends" he writes a short passage describing a living room sized cave...

This cave's location is today not publicly known, if at all. Rumour indicates it was sealed up in the early years of Canberra's development and one can only wonder how the entrance may have been blocked.

What is today known is the Black Mountain Peninsular was a well known riverside corroboree ground. An archaeological survey of this cave would be interesting. The corroborees were happening for a long time before we got here.

Posted about this at the beginning of last year so for new readers... A friend of mine, Dave Wheeler, researches the story. I will pass on any information, story, even rumour through to him that any one may relate.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Curiosity killed the cat

Tidbinbilla feral cat.

An interesting article reporting the prospect of a national eradication program for the feral cat using 'curiosity' baits.

My understanding is the small sausage shaped baits contain lethal pellets unlikely to be consumed by other wildlife though the impact on marsupial carnivores seems undecided.

I'm all for doing something about feral cats. It's an interesting report via the Sydney Morning Herald

Friday, July 4, 2014

Poem in the Coree cairn

The story of a poem in a bottle.

Interesting tale of a poem hidden under a survey cairn atop Mount Coree on the ACT western ranges.

Message in a bottle from a time when Canberra was young...

The Canberra Times 9 September 1969.
National Library of Australia

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Quolls for Mulligans Flat

The reintroduction of Quolls.

An article from the Canberra Times reporting the release of Eastern quolls into the enclosed reserve of a Mulligans Flat Sanctuary in Northern Canberra. The Canberra area is already home to the rare tiger quoll. In fact there was a road kill last year in suburban Tuggeranong.

For the full story I recommend reading the article...

Dr Adrian Manning to reintroduce eastern quolls at Mulligans Flat.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Plans for Hill Station Homestead

I have a soft spot for this historic Canberra homestead.

This interest is probably because I have watched the industrial suburb of Hume envelope Hill Station over 30 years. The property was restored in the 1980s and was developed into a function centre/ restaurant of some note.

I actually missed this Canberra Times Article from April. The plans for restoration of the Hill Station Homestead in Hume.

I still think there is a golden opportunity in this unloved building. It will be interesting who takes advantage

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The state of Dave's ACT

I'm taking the time tonight to mark a bit of a milestone for this weblog which won't probably happen for 24-48 hours but I will be busy.

A bit of a ramble covering 4 years and a recent turnover of 500,000 page views.

Back in 2010 when I first started posting to this blog it was simply to share photos and video & jot a few notes. At the time I had sold a small property in the mountains I lived on for a few years and upon returning was keen to revisit or learn of interesting historical sites, old stories and what was to become a large collection of Canberra centric National Library heritage newspaper clippings.

All the clippings and video are cited to the source although there may be oversights but they would be rare I expect. It used to worry me I was perhaps breaking some copyright law but in due time the blog was indexed by Pandora so I suppose it is not an issue.

I'll also make comment on the thousands of links displayed over the years. It is impossible to check, maintain or update the myriad contained in over 600 individual posts.

Mostly the blog contains that sort of material but occasionally it has simply been my comment on particular issues I take an interest in. I will note for anyone contemplating a blog that this can endear you to some folk and alienate you from others from all sections of society, or at least the society with an internet connection and knowledge of your URL.

To be truthful I have considered deleting the blog in its entirety on several occasions. This obviously never eventuated with absences from posting usually sufficient to dampen the urge. Put simply the implications of publishing ones thoughts and opinions should be carefully considered because once in the realm of the google algorithm a word spoken seems can never be withdrawn. At the end of the day I haven't I believe posted anything I didn't think was worth recording be it about a heritage cemetery, platypus trap or an unsustainable wild kangaroo harvest.

Google's search engine seems happy with me. Recent months more so which seems to relate more to a major theme change than any addition of content.

As you can see the increase has been significant. As of this moment, the stats are thus...

I won't go into individual posts because the blog gets a lot of traffic to older posts. I used to list them as I collected them as a separate list but it hasn't been updated since 2011. Still it will give you an idea of the type of the majority of content contained within.

The History & Heritage page.

So that's about it. A $10 domain, free blogger blog and public soapbox. More than anything it has been the surge in traffic in recent months as it pushed towards this mark that has inspired this post... I'll mention it again at a million. < evil laugh >

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blundell's Cottage protests.

An interesting recent Canberra Times article mentioning the protests by Canberrans to successfully prevent the destruction of the building last century. Blundell's cottage - Built in history, nestled in time.

Something I wrote in 2010...

"This small stone cottage was built about 1860 as a home for workers on the Duntroon Estate. The stone is the same as that used in St John's Church and Schoolhouse, locally quarried from Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. A number of families lived in the cottage over the hundred years it was occupied. Located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, the cottage is historically significant as the structure dates back to 1860 and is perhaps the last remaining building of that time along the banks of what is now Lake Burley Griffin but what was once the Molonglo River.

The cottage was part of the 32,000 acre Duntroon Estate owned by Robert Campbell (1769 - 1846) (bio here).Ploughman William Ginn and his family were the first to live in the farmhouse they departed ten years later moving to their own selection. The cottage gained it's name from share farmer George Blundell and his wife Flora, (the second occupants) who lived in the cottage from 1874 until George's death in 1933."

Located on Wendouree Drive Lake Burley Griffin of Consitution Avenue Campbell Canberra ACT 2600

Monday, June 9, 2014

Look out for illegal yabbie traps in ACT Waterways

I mentioned this last August in Call to report illegal ACT fishing.

The Canberra Times reports Anglers warned to look out for illegal tabby traps.

Put simply these funnel traps are certain death for platypus. They are submerged and are designed for yabbies to crawl in through a funnel that collapses at the 'ring' opening so that access is easy whilst exit is impossible. For an air breathing monotreme entering for a meal of captured crustacean this is certain death from drowning.

These traps are, and sensibly so, illegal in the Australian Capital Territory. Local waterways and our upper reaches of the Murrumbidgee are prime, and in a lot of cases recovering, habitats for Platypus.

Anyway... At the time of the August post I mentioned to the goodly Minister of the time the daftness of allowing these traps to be sold in ACT stores. From memory I was fobbed off politely.

Once again I'm not going to get hung up on it but these things are available here to kids for under 10 bucks. It's a ridiculous law when supply isn't restricted but that's up to the Pollies.

Unfortunately these traps often go unnoticed as they are not always conspicuous. If people on their walks simply keep an eye out for ropes/cord secured to the river bank in some fashion. Pull it out and report it please.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Namadgi National Park from the air

I liked this.

Just a link to a short video that popped up in my email alerts for Namadgi from the Canberra Times media section. A bit of a window into the plains and valleys of the ACT's highlands. I'd like to see a longer version.

The Canberra Times media section link.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

An update on Hill Station Homestead

Inspired by an article from the Canberra Times describing the disgraceful deterioration of a majestic heritage property surviving in what is now a southern Canberra industrial suburb.

What is sad is the building would suit any number of commercial activities seeking a unique environment to operate . This is some information I collected on the buildings history in 2010. This building has been left unused a long time now...

"The main homestead building of Hill station dates back to circa 1909 but the property was part of the 1830s rural expansion in the district. Hill Station is recorded as an entity in 1862.

Driving through the front entrance you see a large homestead and a small hut to the side. The single-room hut was erected around 1862 with later additions including a second room, window frames and a floor of bricks made at the Yarralumla Brickworks.

The main homestead was built in 1910. Hill Station was part of the larger Woden Station holdings. Three members of parliament have been associated with Hill Station. The first was Dr James Fitzgerald Murray who was appointed to the NSW Legislative Council in 1856, the second was Sir Henry Gullett and the third was Sir David Fairbairn. Both were cabinet ministers during the Second World War.

In its heyday the main homestead entertained many diplomats and foreign dignitaries."

Not going to make a song and dance about it but in a city only 100 years old it would be a shame to lose the heritage.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Boer War Aboriginal soldier

A note about a nearby area.

Interesting article from the ABC reporting calls for the recognition of Indigenous servicemen of the Boer War in South Africa. One soldier has been Identified from Braidwood...

"Another man, who went by the name Jack Bond or John Alick, is believed to be of Aboriginal descent from the Braidwood area just outside Canberra..."

The full ABC article

Monday, May 19, 2014

ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body

Important that this is publicised I think...

"Candidate nominations for the ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body election will officially open on Monday.

Polling for the elections will begin on Saturday July 5, coinciding with the start of NAIDOC Week celebrations in the ACT..."

The full Canberra Times article...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Royal connection

My royal credentials are impeccable for a colonial commoner. I saw the Queen as a young soldier assigned to guard the cavalcade vehicles during CHOGM in 1981. The experience became something I have in common with Bob Menzies... "I did but see her passing by..."

A few years later I also saw the young Prince William I recall on his Mother Diana's hip albeit on a news report... perhaps in the paper.

And here we are 30 years later and I am again aware of the fervour only a monarchical arrival can generate. That toddler from the 80's is now 2nd in line for our future Head of State and he has his own future Head of State on hip securing our British Heritage for generations to come. I for one sleep better at night knowing there are three blue-blood Englishmen lined up to continue our constitutional future.

Another thing is that whilst the Royal couple enjoy the luxuries of Yarralumla they are only 10 kms from my suburban castle. I know this because I toss pigeons from the suburb on training flights. To think the future King & Queen of Australia are only a 5 minute pigeon flight from home. It would take me 20 minutes if I was to stake out the entrance for a glimpse although if I could get past the security I would never again wash my eyeballs. Perhaps if I'm pepper sprayed.

Just the thought of it inspires me to support the English Cricket Team or join the Australian Monarchists League... at the very least eat more hot English mustard.

My Family in fact came out from Britain in 1820 so after 190 odd years it's completely understandable why my allegiance to Mother England, as with the planned mustard, is so strong.

So three cheers for the Royal Family... May Uluru be red for them and the bilbies bouncy. I for one will be booking in for the 2043 tour of George and his young family. You know it makes sense.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A tale of abandoned New Years pigeons.

I just housed 30 pigeons of dubious breed that were rescued by the RSPCA and WIRES.

In early march I read a story about 120 white birds released in Burwood Park in Sydney around the time of Vietnamese New Year. Ten of them were housed at a friends loft down the road.

Daily Telegraph Article.

I had read in some cultures that a release of a white dove or pigeon is a lucky thing during New Years celebrations. Individuals and families pay for a bird to be released on their behalf. So 120 pigeons times $X amount. Not a bad day's stop in a park.

The concept is fine except for in this case the pigeons I suspect strongly had never flown and as such had never been trained to home. What's really ridiculous is if the men releasing these birds had the right breed that had been homed they could have sold a release of the same bird every year for the life of the pigeon.

Another thing I know is though when re homing pigeons is, when offered in large numbers in Sydney & Melbourne, they are usually destined for the pot. So sight unseen, under the condition of vaccination, I met half way at Goulburn and picked up 5 fruit boxes of scrambling birds. After a good look at these birds. A few I wouldn't expect to roam far but see how the rest go with the pedigree racer flock.

If they can't roam I'll slowly find them homes as pairs for someone who wants a flying pet.

As for the next Vietnamese New Year here in Canberra, if anyone wants to organise a lucky event I'll release a hundred birds for you. The difference between the ill fated Burwood release and mine is they will all beat me home.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Report illegal firewood collection

I think this is important...

One of the remarkable things about Canberra and the whole of the Australian Capital Territory is the beauty of its Nature Reserves & National Park.

I am reminded of ACT Parks head Brett McNamara's comment that "We manage people. The park manages itself."

ACT Government Press Release

Released 11/04/2014

The ACT Government today urged members of the public to report the illegal collection of firewood from reserves and other public areas, after several separate incidences of trees being cut down in nature reserves.

"Our nature reserves protect many threatened plant and animal species and are for people to enjoy so it is always disappointing when rangers find trees cut down," Ranger in Charge of ACT Parks and Conservation Service Murrumbidgee River Corridor, Shelley Swain, said.

"Unfortunately several times this year our rangers have found trees cut down in our nature reserves and on other public lands. Sadly, some people are unaware of the dangers and environmental impacts of cutting down trees and collecting fallen timber for firewood.

"I also remind Canberrans they cannot collect wood from public land. Fallen trees and branches form a vital part of the ecosystem by providing animal habitats, returning nutrients to the soil and encouraging revegetation.

"Fines of up to $5500 apply under the Nature Conservation Act 1980 for cutting down trees or removing wood from reserves.

"While we have a number of remote surveillance cameras in operation at parks and reserves across the ACT and our rangers keep an eye out for illegal activity, we would really appreciate the public's vigilance in helping us prevent future incidents."

To report incidents of vandalism, such as the illegal collection of firewood contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

- Statement ends

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Filling Canberra with drought confidence

Some interesting stats in the below article...

I thought this was interesting. Canberra in the last 10 days effectively created one and a half times more storage than the city has ever had.

After the 2006-2010 drought the area endured the 72 gigalitre boost of capacity completed recently in the construction/addition to the Cotter Dam effectively drought proofs the population for a generation.

The Canberra Times has a good read... Cotter Dam is filling Canberra with drought confidence.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Official Cotter Dam Time Lapse

A fascinating look at the construction of the new Cotter Dam over the years of its building...

Courtesy of ACTEW Water

Just out of interest the Cotter Dam was named after a Canberra pioneer with an interesting history...

The Cotter River and the Cotter Dam are the namesakes of convict/pioneer/squatter, Garrett Cotter and reminders of a time of exploration and another location of the government of the days exclusion zone. Referred to as "beyond the limits of location".

 Garrett Cotter was nineteen when transported from Ireland and was transported for life. Cotter was a good stock-man and was assigned to Francis Kenny’s property near Lake George. In 1827-28, Cotter took Kenny’s cattle across the Murrumbidgee River to find grazing land. Cotter family history says that Garrett was helped by Onyong, a Ngambri elder, who led him to good pastures.

In 1832 Cotter was accused of stealing a horse from a neighboring property. The charge was thrown out for lack of evidence, He had resisted arrest for two months. The Goulburn magistrates sent Cotter to live ‘beyond the limits of location’. This meant that he had to stay west of the Murrumbidgee River.

For about six years, Cotter lived beyond the river with the probable support of the natives. In 1838 he was granted a Ticket of Leave which allowed him to work in the Queanbeyan District (Squatted at Michelago). In 1847 he was granted a Conditional Pardon... Freedom as long as he never returned to the United Kingdom.

He lived till 1886 and is buried at Michelago


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reintroducing the Dingo

After so much effort for so many decades trying to eradicate dingos it's interesting to hear of talk here about reintroducing the once common native dog to help the ecosystem.

I had read of research that suggested (from a dog proof fence study) that areas with dingos had more surviving small species and less feral cats whilst the controlled side of the fence was the opposite. It's obvious on one level that the reductions of cats in on the dingo 'side' can only be a help for small ground dwelling, often endangered species.

(Below: Wild dog/dingo photographed at Smoker's Gap ACT)

Canberra Times article by John Thistleton...

"Rather than impose his view on dingoes controlling kangaroos, Canberra author Roland Breckwoldt will pose questions next month on who should take responsibility for endangered native species... "

The Canberra Times. Challenge for conservationists.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Aboriginal Wars

Continuing on with Australian Aboriginal history I'm appalled at the basic lack of historical knowledge of the interaction between the white settlers and the black owners of this newly invaded land.

The following video was produced in 1998 and chronically the conflict between Australia's original Indigenous inhabitants and the European settlers of the country over a period of 150 years.

This is quite a long presentation at over 2 hours but I think it should be compulsory viewing for Australian students in general. Compiled with official documents & personal writing from the era it leaves no doubt that the estimated deaths of 2000 colonists and 20,000 Aborigines were indeed real and that a protracted war of sovereignty raged for a long time...

I present the 'Frontier' documentary...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wanted. Tenants to return to an oasis of capital history

An interesting article about an Historical Canberra residence. The ACT Government is currently looking for an appropriate tenant for the circa 1927 building.

"Old homes with a window into Canberra's early history are being boarded up, when they could be opened to the wider community, say heritage advocates..."

The Canberra Times (full article)

Seems like a beautiful spot.

History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...