N.B. very approximate location
Ever wanted to circumnavigate Australia? We still have a way to go...we'll be going on quite a journey, at least virtually, and clockwise. So as to make sure all states and territories are covered, we started in Western Australia and explored a little of the early history of a small part of this massive state via TROVE...from Rottnest Island to Broome..then across to Katherine Gorge, then Tennant Creek, from there to Darwin on the way to the Tiwi Islands, Bathurst and Melville.
We've had to travel back to Darwin, before leaving the Northern Territory, then across to Cairns, in North Queensland... but we didn't stop there, instead headed to the tropical north, to one of the most beautiful areas you can imagine... isolated yes, but perfect for that great getaway... to Cape Tribulation. It seems you loved that area so well, that Cairns was the obvious place to travel to next... not too far south. That was another very popular place...as was our visit to Fraser Island...
We then headed inland, on an approximately 6 hours flight to a place steeped in history.. what a contrast to the sub tropical island of Fraser ...no waterfalls or clear lakes or rainforest, but Longreach has so much to offer.
We then returned to Hervey Bay, by plane, and then took a short drive of approximately 25 minutes to a town founded in 1847... the charming historical town of Maryborough. So many of you loved that place as I do.
What a contrast the next destination was, though it is also very much steeped in history... a beautiful place, but it was a place of horror, of deprivation and loneliness... St. Helena Island. To get there, we left on a ferry from Manly, across to the island.
Then we returned to Brisbane, to explore the beautiful, sub tropical capital city of the Sunshine State. Brisbane today, is the third largest city in Australia and growing rapidly...
It has come a long way from it's beginnings as the Moreton Bay convict settlement, with such an interesting history. In an earlier issue, we explored some of the history of Brisbane, then visited Brisbane of a later period. There is so much to see and do in this beautiful city, once known as the biggest country town in Australia...
After a break, we resumed our travels... heading in to New South Wales... not too far over the border, to a place that literally stands out, begging to be noticed. It was first given a European name by Captain James Cook... he recorded seeing " a remarkable sharp peaked mountain lying inland". That place was the very imposing Mt. Warning.. you can refresh your memory here
The New Year saw us travelling again, refreshed and ready to go to yet another beautiful place. Many of you will have stopped there, if only to get a photo taken on the border between Queensland and New South Wales..Coolangatta one side, Tweed Heads on the other. Hard to believe that this was only known as Point Danger in times past, as indeed it was... the lighthouse is a clue...
That place brought back many wonderful memories for so many of you...it was lovely to read your comments and receive your emails..
We moved south again, to a place that means a lot to my family, but also has a very colourful past. It is beautiful, a popular tourist place, the centre of a very busy district, steeped in Australia's colonial history.. it's the bustling town of Port Macquarie. It is around 5 hours drive south of Point Danger.
I concentrated on the convict history of Port Macquarie, perhaps we will return another time to see how the city has changed.
We then headed down the coast a bit, then inland, to another town connected to my family.. the country town of Aberdeen, where my father and five of his brothers were born, him being the youngest. It seems many of you have driven through this town, but never explored it. You would have passed my family's old home .. on the north side of town, just over the bridge on the left hand side heading north.
After backtracking a few hours and heading back to the coast, we explored the bustling city of Newcastle. It was great to hear that a number of you who thought you knew Newcastle reasonably well found a few new places to check out on your next visit.
It was only a relatively short drive, just a couple of hours away from Newcastle, to our next destination... Wiseman's Ferry. Heard of it, but never been there? It took me many years to actually visit, but I'm glad I did. This is another place that has a family connection for me... this time, on my maternal line...and so many of you enjoyed the visit also, going by your comments and emails. Thank you.
From there, we headed to a place that I'm sure most of have heard of, once a year at least... a reasonably thriving place which has the best New Year's Eve fireworks in the world.
Ok, I could be slightly biased and yes, it is Sydney, capital of New South Wales, site of the oldest settlement in Australia and another place which is linked to my family. We explored a few of the heritage listed places and some of the landmarks, but there is so much more to see.
We couldn't cover it all, but one place which is well worth exploring is Botany Bay... the proposed site of the first settlement. Lieutenant James Cook first landed there on April 29, 1770.
A distinct change of pace and locality as we leave the bustling city of Sydney and head around five and a half hours South South West to the beautiful Snowy Mountains, best known as the Snowies... a place of stunning beauty which brings thousands of tourists every year. Some go to enjoy snow sports, mountain climbing and yes, we do have snow in Australia, and some to simply soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of colder weather and the soul warming food that goes with it. Then again, the Snowy Mountains in summer is a delight, as myriads of wild flowers cover the peaks in contrast to clear blue skies...
View to Perisher ski resort with foreground of Purple eyebrights flowers
Courtesy of Flickr
TATTERS Some rights reserved
Mount Perisher 2054m alt. (right) in summer
Olympic T-bar ski-lift is visible here on the left.
Courtesy of Flickr
TATTERS Some rights reserved
Two of the highest peaks of Australia! - Panorama view to Mt. Kosciuszko and Mt. Towsend
Snowy mountains, Main Range track hiking. Kosciuszko National park.
~ 2100m above see level.
Courtesy of Flickr
TATTERS Some rights reserved
Some information about the Snowy Mountains range from Wikipedia ...
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", is an IBRAsubregion and the highest mountain range on the continent of mainland Australia. It contains the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches to a height of 2,228 m (7,310 ft) above sea level. The range also contains the five highest peaks on the Australian mainland (including Mount Kosciuszko), all of which are above 2,100 m (6,890 ft). They are located in southern New South Wales and are part of the larger Australian Alps and Great Dividing Range. Unusual for Australia, the mountain range experiences large natural snowfalls every winter. Snow normally falls during June, July, August and early September, with the snow cover melting by late spring. The Tasmanian highlands makes up the other (major) alpine region present in Australia.
The range is host to the mountain plum-pine, a low-lying type of conifer. It is considered to be one of the centres of the Australian ski industry during the winter months, with all four snow resorts in New South Wales being located in the region.
The mountain range is thought to have had Aboriginal occupation for 20,000 years. Large scale intertribal gatherings were held in the High Country during summer for collective feasting on the Bogong moth. This practice continued until around 1865.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after the Polish patriot. High country stockmen followed who used the Snowy Mountains for grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson's famous poem The Man From Snowy Riverrecalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area. Today these huts are maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service or volunteer organisations like the Kosciuszko Huts Association.
In the 19th century gold was mined on the high plains near Kiandra. At its height this community had a population of about 4,000 people, and ran 14 hotels. Since the last resident left in 1974, Kiandra has become a ghost town of ruins and abandoned diggings.
The Kosciuszko National Park came into existence as the National Chase Snowy Mountains on 5 December 1906. In 1944 this became the Kosciuszko State Park, and then the Kosciuszko National Park in 1967.
Recreational skiing began at Kiandra in the 1860s and experienced a boom in the 20th century following the commencement of the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme between 1949 and 1976 which brought many European workers to the district and opened up access to the ranges. You can read more here
As a child, it was quite an achievement to manage to spell the name of Australia's highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko. I must admit I had to think twice before writing it here. I was last there back in the late 70's when it was constantly in the news because of the hydro electric scheme that was getting world attention. It had been in the news for many years..
Sydney Morning Herald 9 Sep 1949
It was one of the most imaginative schemes ever designed by any Australian government and would take not only many years to build, but also an incredible amount of money and a huge workforce. Australia simply didn't have the population to do this on it's own, so the solution was to bring in migrants from all over the world.
There was no shortage of applicants.. but then that led to other problems... they had to be housed and fed and clothed. They needed some form of transport and health care.. and all the other necessities of life. Australia was in a situation of boom or bust...
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 12 January 1954, page 11
There was some concern as to whether all these different nationalities would work together and though there were a few problems now and then, on the whole they learnt to put differences aside.
The wages were attractive at the time, better than they had been for some time, so that helped...
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 3 November 1955 (No.55)
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 25 July 1957 (No.42), page 2305
It was by no means easy work and a number of accidents occurred over each stage of the project, despite all the effort to prevent them. It was to take approximately 22 years... and 121 lost their lives.
Australia was left with a great dream completed very much in the manner of which it was conceived, dams were built, massive tunnels created to facilitate transport of needed supplies to the heart of the Snowy Mountains hydro electric project. It did run over budget, we did loose far too many people, and it did take many years... I wonder if we will ever have this far sighted outlook again.
Not all workers returned to their countries of origin, many brought their families out and blended into the Australian way of life, while introducing much of their culture to us.
The Snowy Mountains scheme is just one part of this sensational area, Australia's wonderland, in fact one of many.
Courtesy of Flickr Pee Tern CC BY-SA 3.0 View of Charlotte Pass Village, Australia, on 13 Ausgust 2008 taken from the top of Pulpitt T-bar ski lift. End of Stillwell Ridge at the top right, The Chalet at the bottom left. Ski lifts visible are Basin J-bar (poma), moving carpet, and Kangaroo Ridge triple chair lift.
Courtesy of Flickr Sterry2607 Public Domain Snow Gum on the Dead Horse Gap Walk
Many Australians had family who worked on the Snowy, or even work there now .. or are working on the tourist side. There are a number of lovely towns in the area... if I name them, I'm sure to leave some out, so I will leave you with this... and you can see them for yourself. Do you live there or have you visited? What is your favourite place?
What would a story on the Snowy River area be without Clancy?
Details on the project and progress...
Biz (Fairfield, NSW : 1928 - 1972), Wednesday 25 September 1957, page 19
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189939189
re tourists by 1960...
Beverley Times (WA : 1905 - 1977), Thursday 4 February 1960, page 3
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202794501
Still looking for more staff 1966
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), Thursday 27 Oct 1966 (No.90), page 5409 National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article241038700
map of area, plus progress...
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Friday 26 December 1975, page 5
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102193928
Catching wild horses in the mountains
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 17 July 1993, page 1
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127240047
Snowy workers sing memoirs
Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Thursday 13 August 1992, page 14
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137172508