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Showing posts from August, 2007

Yellow everywhere

Wattle is flowering everywhere along the roadsides and their fragrance fills the air. On the road to Lennox Bridge there were other yellow shrubs also flowering profusely. I stopped to see what the flowers were like and discovered they were pea flowers. I thought they might be Dillwynia but have discovered there are heaps of different pea flowers -- Jacksonia, Pultenaea, Dillwynia, Daviesia, Bossiaea, Gompholobium and several varieties within these. It's no wonder I'm confused. Either way, the yellow display is lovely. Words to walk with: From When I in Gardens Walk by Dame Mary Gilmore "When apple blossoms bud. And wattle fills the hollow With scents that waft in flood, Where light the winds do follow, When at the rising sun Long shadows shield the grass. And dewdrops, waking, run To hold him in their glass, As these I note and scan, So near and none aloof, Then do I ask why man, Sits prisonered by a roof!"


A couple of days ago I showed a purple swamp hen. Today is it the purple pea flowers of Hardenbergia that I found near Lennox Bridge. Photo: False Sarsaparilla ( Hardenbergia violacea ) Words to walk with: From the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Alexander All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colours, He made their tiny wings ... The purple headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning, That brightens up the sky ... He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.

Lennox Bridge

From Glenbrook Lagoon we drove on to Lennox Bridge. This is the oldest bridge on the Australian mainland -- which means there are older bridges in Tasmania. The bridge, which was built in the 1830s using convict labour, helped to make the ascent up the mountains less steep. David Lennox was the master mason and bridge builder. Photo: Lennox Bridge, Glenbrook


These are my last photos of Glenbrook Lagoon but it is also worth mentioning that tonight there is a lunar eclipse -- the moon has been shining red Words to walk with: From Of Wonders by Dame Mary Gilmore "And lifting up my eyes have marked, afar, The gleaming whiteness of a star. And I have watched the moon slow pace The age-long path where heaven has set her face, And looked upon the flower -- Love's beauty radiant for an hour -- And, then, with sudden longing turned, Back, where the homely hearth -fire burned. But I have been drunken on The beauty that has shone Where the Incomprehensible has deigned to write!"


Photo: Purple Swamphen ( Porphyrio porphyrio ) I found this water bird wading at the water's edge but as I crept closer to get a better shot she flew away.


If this picture had sound you would hear the bop-bop and creeeek of frogs in the pond. Photo: Glenbook Lagoon Words to walk with: From In The Swamp Now by Harley Matthews "And songs? Its alphabet could never spell One syllable Of the frogs' poem at midnight, or the paean Of silence after."

Glenbrook Lagoon

We went to Glenbrook Lagoon today. This is natural feshwater lagoon edged by forest. It was wonderful to be out and about in the bush again. Photo: Glenbrook Lagoon, Glenbrook Words to walk with: The first Europeans to see Glenbrook Lagoon were Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson who arrived at 'a large lagoon of good water full of very coarse rushes' on 12 May 1813.


Photo: A minute fern frond

Strung crystal

Photo: Dewdrops hanging like beautiful crystal balls Words to walk with: From By the Momba Tracks by Roderic Quinn "The dew shall gleam on silken webs That the night-time spider weaves, And scatter its gems on the salt-bush plains And drip from the homestead eaves."

Sculpture about nature.

And today a final shift in my nature sculpture series. We move from ‘sculptures of nature’ to a ‘sculpture about nature’ displayed at Echo Point, Katoomba. The words are from Hugh Spiers’ book Landscape Art and the Blue Mountains 1981.

Sculptures of nature (2)

Here is another of the sculptures by the lake. Photo: Sculpture by Wentworth Falls Lake Words to walk with: From The Lake by Edgar Allen Poe "In spring of youth it was my lot To haunt of the wide world a spot The which I could not love the less-- So lovely was the loneliness Of a wild lake, with black rock bound, And the tall pines that towered around."

Sculptures of nature (1)

Today I am changing direction from ‘sculptures by nature’ to ‘sculptures of nature’. Beside Wentworth Falls Lake there are is a series of sandstone sculptures interpreting the shapes of native plants found in the Blue Mountains. It is a delightful setting for them. Photo: Sculpture by Wentworth Falls Lake Words to walk with: From The Lady of the Lake (canto 11, st 22) by Sir Walter Scott "Some feelings are to mortals given, With less of earth in them than heaven."

Kangaroo grass

Photo: Kangaroo Grass ( Themeda australis ) Continuing on with the theme of natural shapes, this Kangaroo grass is interesting. I find grasses often make attractive photographs but as a general rule I don't have a clue what type of grass it is. This is an exception because I was flipping through my native plants book and saw a illustration just like this. Words to walk with: From Native Plants of the Blue Mountains by Margaret Baker and Robin Corringham "Once upon a time this was a dominant grass over much of Australia from the tropics to Tasmania but its perennial habit has not withstood consistent grazing so it has virtually disappeared from pastoral areas. In this region its occurrence is patchy but it is wide-spread. Like many of the grasses it flowers from late spring to summer. Grasses are suffused with colour and are among the most beautiful of plants. Themeda is tall, tufted grass, to about 1m high, and with a purplish sheen on somewhat lax leaves. The infoloresence

Beauty afterwards

Photo: Tea tree after flower It is easy to love the tea tree's delicate floral spray but a different observer sees beauty after the flower flush has gone. Words to walk with: I Look into My Glass by Thomas Hardy "I look into my glass, And view my wasting skin, And say, "Would God it came to pass My heart had shrunk as thin!" For then I, undistrest By hearts grown cold to me, Could lonely wait my endless rest With equanimity. But Time, to make me grieve, Part steals, lets part abide; And shakes this fragile frame at eve With throbbings of noontide"

More natural shapes

A natural mini sculpture of colour, texture and shape to delight me.

Nature's shapes

Since I am grounded with the flu I thought I might look back through the photos I took earlier in the year and find interesting ones that I have not yet included in this journal. I saw this odd spider's web on a walk to Minnatonka Falls at Bullaburra. I remember not being very happy that day because I fell over a tree stump during the walk, but my day brightened when I saw this little web across the path on my way out.


If you visit one of the mountain hotels at this time of year, you might be forgiven for thinking we are a little out of step with time. Christmas trees with lights, roast turkey and plum pudding. We celebrate Yulefest throughout June, July and August, for those that hanker for a northern hemisphere cold Christmas instead of our usual frying heat. Photo: Holly in my garden, not a native plant, a weed Words to walk with: From Deck the Halls a traditional Christmas carol "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la, la la la, la la la. Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, Fa la la la la, la la la la. "


Before the sun shines and the warm weather returns we have to get through the August winds and the flu. I am stuck inside listening the the swoosh of the pines outside too miserable to venture far from my bed. Words to walk with: From The Wind by Robert Loius Stevenson "I saw you toss the kites on high And blow the birds about the sky; And all around I heard you pass, Like ladies' skirts across the grass Oh wind, a blowing all day long, Oh wind, that sings so loud a song!"

Promised land

Another sign says "Mount York became the symbolic focus of the journey across the mountains. Travellers on the road before 1830 [when the Lockyer's Road route became used] were afforded magnificent views of Hartley Vale to the west; in some instances they found a biblical quality to the promise of the lands before them." I also love the view to the west. A long driving holiday through the immense flat stretches of sheep and wheat country beckons, especially as the cold winter days begin to turn a little warmer and the sun shines a little brighter. Photo: The land beyond the mountains Words to walk with: From The Teams by Henry Lawson “With eyes half-shut to the blinding dust, And necks to the yokes bent low, The beast are pulling as bullocks must; And the shining tires might almost rust While the spokes are turning slow.”

Governor Macquarie

Once Cox's road over the Mountains was built Governor Macquarie scheduled a trip to test it out. In most places the road was constructed to a width of 12 feet and in some parts this required gaps between large rocks to be widened. The big rock on the left of this picture has a sign saying that it was chisseled back with picks to make room for Governor Macquarie's coach. Drags had to be attached behind coaches to slow them down on the steep descent. Photo: Cox's Road, Mount York Words to walk with: From a sign on a monument at Mount York "This sketch [by E Purcell 1821] echos the wild majesty of the landscape of Cox's descent that was expressed by many early writers and artists."

Cox's Road 1815

One of the enduring stories of Australian history is the crossing of the Blue Mountains by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth in 1813. Fast on the heels of this first crossing was the first road, surveyed by Evans and build by Cox with convict labour. The evidence of that first road can still be seen today at Mount York where the steep descent down a rough rocky track to the grazing land below begins. Photo: Hand cut gutter, Cox's Road, Mt York Words to walk with: This information from signage on a monument at Mount York puts the interminable highway widening of today into an interesting perspective! "He [William Cox] began the work in 1814. It was six months before the road was completed. His party built 101 miles of road through difficult mountain country, without accident, an achievement of great significance."

Sweet boronia

On the drive out from Murphy's Creek I stopped to look at this pretty bush by the roadside. I am so glad I did, the tiny flowers are beautiful. Photo: Boronia (Boronia Fraseri) Words to walk with: From Of All The Flowers by Rusticus "I love the sweet Boronia's bloom, Which scorns adversity's decree, While others choose a richer loam, On humble fare it smiles like thee"

Paper daisy

I found this white paper daisy ( Helichrysum Elatum ) flowering at Murphy's Glen. Paper daisies are also known as Everlasting Daisies because of their long lasting flowers. Words to walk with: From The Flower Everlasting by Thomas Henry "Nature denies the haunting scent To others lent Instead she gives thee longer stay Than beauties of a day."

More wattle

I know I wrote about wattle in June but as winter progresses their blooms become even more prolific, dotting every roadside. Different varieties abound, with different leaf forms and colours from cream to bright golden yellow . I quickly spotted four different varieties at Murphy's Glen. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, a well known Australian historian said in his 2001 Boyer Lecture on ABC radio, “The poets gave the settlers new eyes. Adam Lindsay Gordon, a daring steeplechase rider who settled in the south east of South Australia, virtually converted the wattle blossom into a national symbol. A host of children and adults knew by heart such lines as “In the Spring, when the wattle gold trembles” Words to walk with: From To the Author of "Holmby House" by Adam Lindsay Gordon “In the Spring, when the wattle gold trembles 'Twixt shadow and shine, When each dew-laden air draught resembles A long draught of wine; When the sky-line's blue burnish'd resistance

Birds everwhere

Murphy's Glen is a great spot to watch and listen for birds. I heard many different calls and saw small birds flitting about the abundant folliage. As always, I had trouble capturing them through my lens. These are the best I could manage.

Murphy's Glen

Murphy's Glen camping area is a short drive into the forest from Woodford in the middle mountains. Here the trees are tall and lush. Apparently there is volcanic soil mixed with the sandstone, providing more nutrients than other forest areas. Photo: Murphy's Glen, Blue Mountains Words to walk with: From National Parks and Wildlife signage at Murphy's Glen. "Small pockets of rich diversity are important in the overall patterns of survival in the Blue Mountains. As well as providing refuge for plants, animals and birds, places like Murphy's Glen provide visitors with a glimpse into the variety of life which has evolved over millions of years in the Blue Mountains."

Standing like stone

At Hargreaves Lookout there is stone picnic shelter, a more handsome structure than the cement Flintstone shelters found in so many of the old picnic areas and parks in the Blue Mountains. Photo: Stone picnic shelter, Hargreaves Lookout Words to walk with: Thinking of stone reminded me of the last four lines of this poem which were a favourite in schoolgirl autograph books. I did not know until this week that they were words penned by early Australian poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon. From Ye Wearie Wayfarer by Adam Lindsay Gordon “Question not, but live and labour Till yon goal be won, Helping every feeble neighbour, Seeking help from none; Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone, Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in your own.”

Hargreaves Lookout

The drive along Shipley's Plateau leads to Hargreaves Lookout with the farming land of Megalong Valley framed by mountain cliffs on the east. To the west the view stretches beyond the mountains to the farms and grazing land. I am not sure if this lookout is named after Edward Hargreaves but it does seem appropriate. He found gold in the west and started the 1850s gold rush in Australia which lead to a stampede of people over the mountains to the land of their dreams beyond. Photo: View from Hargreaves Lookout Words to walk with: From The Roaring Days by Henry Lawson "The night too quickly passes And we are growing old, So let us fill our glasses And toast the Days of Gold; When finds of wondrous treasure Set all the South ablaze, And you and I were faithful mates All through the roaring days! ... Their shining Eldorado, Beneath the southern skies, Was day and night for ever Before their eager eyes. The brooding bush, awakened, Was stirred in wild unrest, And all the year a hu


Photo: Hillside from Hargreaves Lookout Hillsides with the trees against the light, always remind me of paintings by Fred Williams . Words to walk with: Williams achieved a breakthrough in his search for an aesthetic with which to describe the Australian bush: in his You Yangs series (I and II), he struck upon an iconography as idiosyncratic as handwriting and which rendered his works immediately recognisable. From

The sun rising

Another reason I notice the sky more in winter is because the sun rises so much later. It is usually glowing red or pink when I get up in the morning. Words to walk with: From The Sun Rising by John Donne "Busy old fool, unruly Sun, Why dost thou thus, Through windows, and through curtains, call on us? Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run? Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide Late schoolboys, and sour prentices, Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride, Call country ants to harvest offices, Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime, Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time."


I notice the sky more in winter time, maybe because so many of the trees are without leaves. Words to walk with: From There is another sky by Emily Dickinson "There is another sky, Ever serene and fair, And there is another sunshine, Though it be darkness there; Never mind faded forests, Austin Never mind silent fields - Here is a little forest, Whose leaf is ever green; Here is a brighter garden, Where not a frost has been; In its unfading flowers I hear the bright bee hum: Prithee, my brother, Into my garden come!"