Beautiful Bithry

Bithry Inlet, at the mouth of Wapengo Lake, on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, is another favourite beauty spot in Summer.BlogBithry20%IMG_8810 BlogBithry20%IMG_8837Its shallow waters are perfect for families with young children, as well as fishermen (who catch bream, salmon, mulloway and flathead) and birdwatchers.BlogBithry20%IMG_8815BlogBithry20%IMG_8851BlogBithry20%IMG_8881 In the photo above is a lone puffer fish, while the photos below shows a congress of Pied Oystercatchers, discussing the latest weather!BlogBithry2015-03-08 12.10.22BlogBithry2015-03-08 12.09.16 Here is a photo of our map to give you an idea of its location!BlogBithry20%IMG_8898

This area also has an interesting historical component, of which we were unaware on our first two visits. We always knew that the land adjoining Bithry Inlet, the property called Penders, had been donated by Ken Myers and Sir Roy Grounds to the New South Wales Government for incorporation into Mimosa Rocks National Park, but did not realize that it contained a number of significant structures and areas that the general public could explore, as indicated by the map on the interpretive signs at the site:BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.17.00BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.04.57 They include: the Myer House and precinct (though this is off-limits when booked out in holiday times); the Barn and Geodesic Dome; the Bum Seat, The Point, the picnic table and various sculptures and structures like the old Wind Tower; the Forest Plantation; the Orchard and Lake; and the various coastal walks, including a 2 Km walk to Middle Beach.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.14.44BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.14.49 Each area is well-signposted with interpretive signs seen above (which were produced by The Interpretive Design Company, based on NPWS brand templates, and can also be accessed on http://interpretivedesign.com.au/portfolio/wayfinding/wayfinding-signs/. They give maps and information about the history and all the personalities involved. Here is a brief summary!

Kenneth Baillieu Myers (1921-1992) was the Director and Chairman of the famous Myer Emporium, which had been established by his father Sidney, a Russian immigrant, in Melbourne in 1911. His background and the development of this iconic business is an amazing story in itself. See: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/myer-simcha-sidney-7721.

Like his father, Kenneth was a successful businessman, a patron of the arts, humanities and sciences and a great philanthropist, being heavily involved with and donating to a wide number of institutions, including:

The Howard Florey Institute for medical science research;

Canberra’s National Library, of which he was chairman from 1974 to 1982;

The National Capital Planning Committee;

The Australian Universities Commission;

The Australian Broadcasting Commission, of which he was chairman from 1983 to 1986; and

The National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre, which he chaired from 1965 to 1989.

For more information about Kenneth, it is worth reading his biography, The Many Lives of Kenneth Myer by Sue Ebury 2008. See: https://www.mup.com.au/books/9780522855463-the-many-lives-of-kenneth-myer , as well as : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/lifestyle/life-in-the-business-of-giving/news-story/89849fe8aa80c5bcc133ba4bc4e5e074.

During his time at the National Gallery of Victoria, he developed a close friendship with Sir Roy Grounds, the architect of the Victorian Arts Centre, built in 1968. They shared each other’s visions and design philosophies, as well as a love of nature, conservation and creativity.

Sir Roy Burman Grounds (1905-1981) was a pivotal figure in the development of Modernism in Australian house design. See: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/grounds-sir-roy-burman-12571. Famous for the design of the Victorian Arts Centre, which won the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture Gold Medal in 1968, he received a knighthood in 1969. He was fascinated by idealistic geometric forms and strongly believed in nature as a central influence in his creative process, both tenets which he was able to fully explore in the building of his structures at Penders.

Roy Grounds initially purchased the 544 acre (224 hectares) property in May 1964, but he and Ken Myers became tenants in common with equal shares in 1966. The land, which stretched from Bithry Inlet south to Middle Beach, was predominantly covered in spotted gum and mahogany forest with an understorey of macrozamias, though much of it had been cleared to graze dairy cattle. For historical information about the property, see: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/parks/cmpFinalPenders02Historical.pdf. By January 1965, the Myers and Grounds families were camping at Penders.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.27.15The first structure built at Penders was a simple slab seat at The Point, affording panoramic views over the sea and entrance to Bithry Inlet (first photo) and back over the inlet to Wapengo Lake (second photo).BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.00.52BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.33.31 The seat was built from 1964-1965 from slabs, salvaged from an enormous tree felled before their arrival at Penders, with small log rounds acting as low stools and tables.BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.32.26In 1965, Roy Grounds submitted plans for a barn,which was built with the help of locals, Bob Hunter and Nev Whittle, and which Roy and his wife, Betty, then proceeded to use as a holiday house. It’s a delightful structure and is also known locally as The Tepee!BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.34.56BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.20 Based on a nonagon (nine sides), The Barn was built from spotted gum logs, cut on site and treated with an early version of the Tanalith process, while the floor is made of small timber rounds from off-cuts, thus reducing waste (second photo below).BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.18.00BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.38The walls and ceiling are formed by bright yellow blinds, which were raised and lowered with ropes and pulleys, to control light, weather and cross-ventilation and allow a harmonious union between nature and the built environment. They billow like sails in the wind and at night were a canvas for red and gold reflections from the flickering fire!BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.50Originally, the barn had a sod roof of yellow daisies in amongst Kikuya grass, but unfortunately, it became a home to bush rats and the weight of the roof in wet weather caused sagging of the roof and splaying of the barn supports, threatening imminent collapse! This is a photo of the original sod roof from the interpretive board.BlogBithry2517-07-25 13.05.05 It was replaced by a corrugated yellow fibreglass roof, which acted as a permanent beacon of golden light, which could be seen from Wapengo Lake, until it too was replaced with the current roof in 1993. Below is a photo of the inside of the roof:BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.40Inside, there was a wood stove and hot water service; a septic system; a sunken bathroom; a battery room, housing a dozen 12 volt car batteries, storing power from an 11 metre tall wind tower beyond the Point; and even a kitchen sink!BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.27.41BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.51 The Wind Tower was built by Nev Whittle in 1964 from untreated stringybark poles in a tripod construction, braced at intervals, with a ladder attached and 3 wind blades on the top. A 32 volt DC generator was housed in a shed at the base of the windmill, with wires leading underground to the battery room of the Barn. Water was pumped in from tanks and dams.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.39.01Outside the Barn is a outdoor table and bench, the Marr Bench and Table, so called because they were designed and built by Marr Grounds, Roy’s son, also an architect, sculptor and educator, being the Senior Lecturer in Environmental Design and Art in the Department of Architecture at the University of Sydney until 1985. See: http://www.marrgrounds.com.au.

BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.21.07BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.12 We ate our picnic there, accompanied by a rather quiet swamp wallaby.BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.37BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.47Nearby  is the Bum Seat, also designed by Marr, another wonderful spot to dream and contemplate and admire the stunning Bithry Inlet! The Bum Seat is a simple timber slab, inscribed with the imprints of two large and two smaller female and male bottoms. Marr also erected a number of statues around the grounds, as well as a few utility buildings.BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.22.41BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.11BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.18.48The nearby Geodesic Dome was constructed by Roy after the Barn to house his carpentry tools and then, Betty’s vegetable and herb garden.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.17.45 Its form is based on the repetitive use of a single geometric shape, the triangle, with the three ends of tanalith-treated saplings, each meeting another 5 triangles, the hub giving the dome its structural stability and protected by galvanised Tomlin garbage tin lids. Eighty percent of the dome was enclosed using panels of yellow sail cloth, the north facing aspect glazed with clear acrylic and was heated by the battery system, allowing the cultivation of pawpaws!BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.42.12Being passionate about conservation and environment, the Myers and Grounds planted many trees to revegetate the previously logged site and  in 1966, started a small scale commercial timber production, using a Tanalith treatment process (using Copper azole). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_preservation. By the mid-1970s, eucalypt plantations were established on one third of the property, being cared for and maintained by John and Mary Cremerius, who were originally employed to clean up the degraded site, with a team of seven foresters under the supervision of Lindsay Pryor, a botanist and expert in eucalyptus taxonomy, who founded the Australian National Botanic Garden. By 1982, there were 1050 trees planted to each hectare and today, there are over 60 000 trees in various stages of growth.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.30.23BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.00.59The Myer House was designed by Sir Roy Grounds for Ken and his first wife, Prue, and their five children, and built between 1969 and 1970 by Kingsley Koellner, with the help of George Hoylands, of Bega. Below are some photos of the Myer House and Precinct, including the tennis court, outdoor table and path down to the beach.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.07.06BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.07.21BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.09.42BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.19.29 Ken and Prue divorced in 1977, Ken remarrying a Japanese artist, Yasuko Hiraoka (1945-1992), later that year. Ken and Yasuko modified the house by adding a series of infilled spaces to the perimeter verandah. They also moved the kitchen from the entrance hall, which was refitted to allow the Japanese practice of removing one’s shoes before entering the house.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.08.53BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.18.39Yasuko shared Ken’s passion for the natural world, working on the vegetables and herbs, while Ken pruned the fruit trees and roses.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.42.17 I love the netted Orchard with its huge old camellias and old gnarled fruit trees,

 

although it’s all a bit the worse for wear these days, allowing previously prohibited access by kangaroos like this huge fellow!BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.08.14 While they lived there, they were virtually self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit, with supplies topped up by the produce of the Cremerius garden and the odd spot of fishing.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.46.45BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.46.26 The orchard was watered from the nearby dam, a very peaceful spot covered in water lilies. In 1983 and 1985, Yasuko’s father, Masa Suke Hiraoka, laid out a small nine-hole golf course nearby, the first tee marked by a timber block with his initials, MH. The area is slowly regenerating since revegetation work was carried out in 1993.BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.03.50BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.06.27 Unfortunately, Ken and Yasuko died in a light airplane crash, when on a fishing expedition, in Alaska at the end of July 1992. There is a lovely memorial site to their memory up on the ridge in the forest. Joanna Baevski, Ken’s daughter, became the lessee of the Myers precinct on their death and from 1993 to 1994, added a bedroom for her daughter on the north-east corner of the house.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.36.35BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.35.24BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.35.40Sir Roy Grounds and Kenneth Myer had offered Penders to the New South Wales State Government back in 1973, on the basis that it would be reserved as National Park. It was officially gifted to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in 1976, being incorporated into the 5802 hectare Mimosa Rocks National Park. Marr Grounds and his daughter became the lessees of the Ground’s precinct after Roy’s death in 1981, with Marr being the primary occupant and caretaker till 2011. The blinds of the Barn were replaced in 1984 after 20 years of gales and Marr dismantled the windmill in 1996, leaving three inclined posts as a sculptural relic and installed a series of commemorative lead plaques across the site after Ken’s death.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.39.16BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.33.09In 1981, the Barn was placed on the Register of the National Estate. In 1991, it  was classified by the National Trust and included on its register and in 1998, the Barn, Geodesic Dome and the site of the former timber preservation works were added to the NSW State Heritage Inventory as an example of coastal forest regeneration, a plantation timber production and experimental architecture.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.36.39The final parcel of land of 20 hectares was handed over to NPWS in 2011 on the expiry of the Myer and Grounds’ leases. In 2012, the Myer House underwent extensive renovation work, restoring the interiors to their original style, and is now available to the general public for short-term stays for up to 12 people. See: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/myer-house. In 2013, Penders was added to the State Heritage Register.

We loved exploring the history of the area, as well as doing the 2 Km walk south to Middle Beach. See: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/middle-lagoon-walking-track. The track follows the coast through grassland (first two photos) and into the forest with its beautiful misshapen tree trunks (3rd and 4th photos), across cliff tops, ridges and gullies, past the Middle Beach Trig (5th photo) and Stinking Bay, so called named for the dead fish which accumulate in the bay, to the lovely ocean beach (6th photo), lagoon (7th photo) and rock platforms (8th photo). Here are some photos from our walk in July 2017.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.40.07BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.50.06BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.53.21BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.12.08BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.00.50BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.44.25BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.55.32BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.52.57 En route, we were lucky enough to see, not just one, but three echidnas! According to the National Park Ranger, who we also met along the way, echidnas mate in Winter, often forming trains of up to 10 male echidnas following a female, and their sighting often foretells rain and yes, we did indeed get rain two days later!BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.20.12 For more on Penders , see: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5053623.

There is also an audiotape on : http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/05/21/3507120.htm.

Next week, we return to my craft library with a post on my favourite Drawing and Art books!

 

My Love Affair With Birds: Part Two: Reasons

So, what do I love about birds? Here are a few reasons:

Their ancient lineage and evolution: I still marvel that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Archaeopteryx) and that there is so much colour and variation in the bird world! Below are photos of a mural and a model of the Miocene Thunder Bird, also known as the Demon-Duck of Doom, Bullockornis planei, a member of the Dromornithids.

Their huge diversity:

Colour: We are so lucky in Australia to have so many brightly coloured birds with amazing colour combinations : For example, the multicoloured Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Pittas and Eastern Rosellas (first photo); Crimson Rosellas (royal blue and deep red) (second photo); King Parrots (emerald green and bright red) (third photo);  and Galahs (pink) (fourth photo); Satin Bowerbirds (the male is a metallic blue, while the female has a combination of greens) (fifth photo); Regent Bowerbirds (the males are gold and black with a red dot on their forehead); the Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler and Blue Wren, all named for obvious reasons; the metallic green head of the male Chestnut Teal (sixth photo); the deep blue and red of the Purple Swamphen (seventh photo); and the iridescent blue-green flash of a Black Duck’s wing (eighth photo).

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (842) - Copyblognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5860BlogLoveBirds2013-07-10 16.48.36BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-01 15.27.41BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4184BlogLoveBirds50%aug 2010 304BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_1588I also love the pink of flamingos (first photo), the blue of Azure Kingfishers (second photo), Pheasant Peacocks and Blue and Gold Macaws (third photo) and the fantastically coloured plumage of Birds of Paradise and Mandarin Ducks.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10BlogLoveBirds50%Image (881) - CopyPattern: There is also so much diversity in pattern from the dots of Pardalotes (first photo), the chevrons on the tails of King Parrots (second photo), the herringbone pattern of the chest plumage of Wood Ducks (third photo) and the stripes of Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Hawks and Pink Eared Ducks (fourth photo). I also love the contrasts in the Red-Breasted Goose (fifth photo);BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.31BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5939BlogLoveBirds2014-09-22 17.47.34BlogLoveBirds2013-07-15 16.42.53BlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopySize: Ranging from the large emus, ostriches, cassowaries, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles; Scrub Turkeys; Bustards; Palm Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos to tiny little SBBs (short for ‘small brown birds‘, which are notoriously difficult to identify, hence the group label!) Below are photos of a thornbill, wren and emu.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogLoveBirds2013-06-29 13.49.30BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4093Form: Again, there is so much variety from long and streamlined (darter) to large and chunky (eagle);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3507BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2444Beak Shape: A keystone in Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection theory with his studies on the variation of beak shape in finches (photos below in order are the Red-Browed Firetail Finch, the Crimson Finch and the Double-Barred Finch) and a natural correlationblogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-55-02BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9029BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0268 and leadup to:

Diet and Feeding Habits:  Bill shape is directly related to diet, superbly shown by the photo below, the long curved bill of the Eastern Spinebill, perfect for accessing the nectar of the agapanthus flowers.

BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58 Compare the short strong beaks of seed eating finches (photos above) to the rounded bills of dabbling ducks and mine-sweeping spoonbills (first photo), searching for fish, small crustaceans and water life; the long probing beaks of Bar-Tailed Godwits (second photo); the short hooked beaks of meat-tearing eagles and vultures and long hooked beaks of Sacred Ibis (third photo); the boat-shaped bills of Kookaburras (fourth photo); the sharp points of diving petrels and gannets; the curved slim beaks of Rainbow Bee Eaters (fifth photo); and the strong nutcracking vices of King Parrots (6th photo) and cockatoos (7th photo), which strip fruit orchards, demolish bark in search of insects and crack open sheoaks and wheat grains;

BlogLoveBirds2014-11-06 13.34.55BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0097BlogLoveBirds50%midmay 019BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF9393BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9654

blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-06-12BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Habitats: Every niche and environment has its own particular birds from the polar penguins to the tropical birds of the equator and from mountains and forests to grasslands and farmlands, the river and the sea. BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3925BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF0363BlogLoveBirds25%Lost City 2013 264BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2697Birds have also adapted very successfully to urban  environments, coexisting with mankind for thousands of years. Some examples of the human-bird relationship include:

Poultry for eggs, meat, fat and feather products– they include chickens, ducks, geese, quails and turkeys;

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847)Bird Aviaries and Companion Pets: Cockatoos, cockatiels, budgerigars and finches;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (850) - CopyOrganic Insect Control and Pollination;BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45Falconry: Eagles and hawks for hunting;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2374BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5638Pigeon Post;BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4852Cormorants for catching fish;BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 240 and even….

Warning Bells: For example, the canary down the mine shaft to detect dangerously high carbon dioxide levels; and the dietary adaptations, changing migration patterns and extinction of bird species with climate change and habitat destruction.

Their habits:

Communication:

Where would the world be without bird song? Here in Candelo, I love waking up to the melodic trill of the resident blackbirds (first photo); the ‘Duke-Duke-Wellington’ of the Grey Thrush (second photo); the clear peal of the Crimson Rosella; the friendly warble of the magpie (third photo); and the beautiful song of the Pied Butcherbird (fourth photo).blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-54-36BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.49.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.06BlogLoveBirds25%bris2013 148Spring is heralded by the sweet call of the Striated Pardalote (first photo), Summer: the manic ascending cry of the visiting Stormbirds, the descending trill of the Fan-Tailed Cuckoo and the deafening clamour of massing Little Corellas prior to their January departure (second photo); and Winter is definitely on the way, when you hear the cold clear call of the currawongs (third photo).BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.39.01BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4394I also love the calls of the bush birds:

The Eastern Yellow Robin is the first bird to wake up, giving it its scientific name: Eopsaltria australis, the Ancient Greek for ‘Dawn-Harper’;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08The Bowerbirds have such a distinctive whirr and the male and female Eastern Whipbirds have a combined song – the males calling first, followed by the whip of the females;BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38The Lyrebirds are the consumate masters of mimicry. It is a joy to sit and listen to their full repertoire from Black Cockatoos to Grey Thrush, Eastern Whipbirds, Grey Thrushes, Currawongs, Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins and a variety of parrots. See: https://wildambience.com/wildlife-sounds/superb-lyrebird/. I also love watching their courtship displays! Their tail feathers really do look like a lyre!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.06.01Some bird calls are not quite so melodic! For example, the raucous squawks of our Summer party cockatoos and corellas for a start! When I was younger, our resident peacocks would often instigate police visits late at night after telephone reports of women being murdered when the poor disturbed birds would fly out of their roosting trees, straight at our peaked roof and slide inelegantly down the corrugated iron, shrieking the whole way!BlogCockatoo80%1st June 021

On our trip to North Queensland, the loud chatter of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos of Old Laura and the mournful cry of the Stone Curlews, forebearers of imminent death according to local aboriginal legend, were very distinctive and prominent.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5250BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0062Courtship

Birds have an amazing repertoire of ways to attract a mate from vivid bright colours (usually the male plumage!) to their mating calls and incredible courtship displays eg Peacocks (photo below) and Birds-of-Paradise.BlogLoveBirds2015-01-27 11.58.55 Bowerbirds are also fascinating, building bowers in a north-south alignment, decorated with coloured objects, to attract females to watch his courting dance. blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-50-40The Satin Bowerbird ( above) collects blue objects from blue Tobacco flowers and cornflowers to blue plastic pegs, milk bottle tops and biro lids, while the Great Bowerbird decorates its bower (below) with white bones and black river stones. They will even destroy other males’ bowers or steal their decorative objects to win ‘their bird’! Ross once timed the construction of a new bower from its demolished state- 40 minutes all up!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4409 Monogamy:

While Satin Bowerbirds are notoriously flashy, fickle and womanising, their cousin, the Catbirds (photo) mate for life, as do swans, geese, whooping cranes, black vultures, eagles and ospreys, some owls, ravens, scarlet macaws and Atlantic Puffins.BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7246

Nests and Eggs:

Again, so much diversity in nests from the huge platforms of eagles and messy loose and dodgy-looking conglomerations of twigs by magpies and herons, to the neat traditional bowls and intricate hanging palaces of scrub wrens. Some birds don’t even have nests!BlogCockatoo20c 2013 104 Parrots use tree hollows (photo above) and peregrines lay their eggs on rocky cliff ledges, while cuckoos (photo below) steal other bird species’ nests, the interloper cuckoo baby turfing its host siblings out of the nest as they hatch and keeping their poor smaller and frazzled host parents constantly busy, satisfying their boundless appetites!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - Copy Below in order are the nests of Nankeen Kestrels; a Grey Fantail; a honeyeater and Zebra Finches.

BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1839blognovgarden20reszdimg_0435BlogLoveBirds50%Image (849) - CopyBlogLoveBirds2014-10-26 13.19.17I love all the different sizes, shapes, patterns and colours of bird eggs. Fortunately, egg collecting is a hobby of the past, but chemicals like DDT, as well as habitat destruction, not to mention feral animals, pose an enormous threat to birds like Peregrine Falcons.

Childrearing Practices:

While many birds support each other by feeding the incubating bird or sharing the feeding and guarding of the young fledglings, I love the role reversals within the bird world, where males often take on the important role of child rearing. The male scrub turkey and mallee fowl (first photo) build huge mounds, in which the female lays her eggs, then he carefully monitors and maintains the incubation temperature until the babies hatch and make their own way. They operate on the breeding strategy of ‘strength in numbers’, while male lyrebirds focus their energies on rearing one chick at a time, instructing their young in opera singing and dance performances. Male emus and cassowaries are also formidable primary carers of their young. In some bird species, rearing the next generation is a family responsibility with input from siblings form previous broods eg Superb Fairy Wrens.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6025BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 359BlogLoveBirds50%late sept 131BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3468Flight and Motion:

Is it any wonder that many people aspire to a reincarnated life as a bird?! Not only can they walk and run, but also swim, dive and fly,  completely at home in all environments! The sight of a majestic eagle soaring the thermals high in the sky; the speed of a diving peregrine off a cliff or a tern or gannet into deep water; the flash of blurred green of a flock of musk lorikeets in full flight; the amazing aeronautical displays of huge flocks of budgerigars in the desert or starlings on dusk (see: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/flight-of-the-starlings-watch-this-eerie-but-beautiful-phenomenon); the incessant beat of wings of hummingbirds as they sip the nectar of flowers; the crazy chase of disturbed emus, the cute slow gangly waddle of penguins or puffins; the jaunty busy hop of bowerbirds… all these amaze me and fill me with awe! Even, and especially, that huge leap of faith, when a baby bird first learns to fly!BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpg Below in order: a Frigatebird; three pelicans; a Black-Necked Stork (Jabiru) and a White-Bellied Sea Eagle.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3989BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5695BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4549BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5758As do their migratory habits and patterns. The notion of a world without borders or passports is also very attractive to many humans, as exemplified in the films: Fly Away Home (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116329/). The distances travelled are mind-blowing! The Bird Airport at Shoalhaven Heads is very illuminating on the subject and is well worth a visit. I love this flying bird sculpture overlooking Corio Bay at Geelong, Victoria.BlogLoveBirds50%IMG_4277 BlogLoveBirds2514-03-12 16.36.07The Spine-Tailed Swifts, which speckled the Summer skies at Dorrigo, flew all the way from Eastern Siberia and Northern Asia, up to10 000 km away, and we would often see long, long, black clouds on the horizon, just above seawater level, of migratory Short-Tailed Shearwaters, some of whom would not make it, their exhausted carcasses washed up on the seashore.

The highly-endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot flies from Tasmania to Geelong across the wild Bass Strait every year to feed on the samphire wetlands in Winter. The effect on bird life and migratory birds in particular, is my only reservation about wind turbines, especially on our coastline.

When we lived in Geelong, we loved visiting the Cheetham Wetlands and the Point Cook Coastal Park, a 500 hectare site on the western outskirts of Melbourne, including a 300 hectare marine sanctuary, which has been designated an Area of Importance by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. There have been over 200 species of birds recorded, including 34 migratory species. Every year, with peak numbers between September and March. thousands of migratory birds, from as far away as Siberia, Alaska and Japan, to feed upon the saltmarsh and wetlands here. I loved the photo below of The Tower, Bill Kelly’s Monument to Migration and Aspirations, with Melbourne, a city representing the ultimate expression of that dream with over 200 nationalities, in the background. BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 288BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 291Migration patterns are definitely changing with climate change, with many birds now over-Wintering in previously cooler areas or not travelling as far.

However, despite the fact that some birds will be driven to extinction, birds are the ultimate survivors. They are brilliant at camouflage and adapt readily to new environments, climates and different food sources. They have incorporated feral weeds like privet and duranta into their diet and have incredibly finely-tuned senses when it comes to water eg their sudden appearance when the salt Lake Eyre fills with water. Here is a final photo of The Tower, described above:

BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 290

I hope this post has given you an excellent idea of the reasons I love birds so much, as well as being a good introduction to the 2018 monthly posts on some of my favourite birds. Here is a general guide to the monthly roundup this year :

January: Cockatoos and Parrots: Sulphur-Crested, Blacks, Gang Gang, Corella, Galah, King, Crimson, Eastern, Rainbow, Musk, Cockatiels and Budgerigars;

February: Sea Birds: Gulls, Terns, Gannets, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Dotterels, Turnstones, Stilts, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Osprey and Sea Eagles;

March: Water Birds: Swans, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Swamp Hens, Coots, Jacanas, Rails, Kookaburras, Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Dollar birds, Spoonbills, Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Brolgas and Cranes;

April: Birds of Prey: Eagles, Hawks, Goshawks, Falcons, Kites, and Kestrels;

May: Large Birds: Emus, Cassowaries, Scrub Turkeys, Coucals, Bustards and Stone Curlews

June: Medium-Sized Neutral-Coloured Birds: Magpies, Peewees, Crows, Ravens, Currawongs, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Butcherbirds, Drongoes, Choughs and Apostle Birds;

July: Rainforest Birds: Bowerbirds and Cat Birds, Rifle Birds, Fig Birds, Pittas and Chowchillas;

August: Clever Birds: Owls, Frogmouths and Cuckoos;

September: Small Birds: Robins, Wrens, Finches, Silvereyes, Thornbills and other SBBs, Pardalotes, Flycatchers and Fantails, Treecreepers, Chats, Mistletoe Birds, Swallows and Swifts;

October: Nectar Eaters: Honeyeaters, Spinebills, Wattlebirds and Friar Birds;

November: Song Birds: Lyrebirds, Whip Birds, Bell Birds and Whistlers;

December: Doves and Pigeons: Wonga, Brown, White, Topknot and Crested Pigeons; Fruit Doves; Peaceful Doves and Quails.BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 305I have set the scene to one of my favourite Christmas songs, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, starting with the refrain ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a Cockatoo in a Gum Tree!’

Posts will concentrate more on my personal experiences with these birds, with a few interesting or random facts thrown in, rather than detailed descriptions of appearance, call, behaviour, nesting, distribution etc, which can be gleaned from any good bird book. I hope you enjoy these bird posts!

Please Note: A Change of Plans!          23rd January 2018 

Unfortunately, due to the appropriation of both my bird posts by a larger collective site without my prior consent or crediting me (in fact claiming authorship as their own!), there will be no more bird posts for the time being, although I will still be continuing on with my normal posts.

My Love Affair With Birds: Part One

I have always loved birds, ever since my childhood, when Mum used to take us along to meetings of the local birdwatching group in Hobart. We also used to go on many picnics, furthering my fledgling interest in birds, as well as having our own home menagerie of peacocks, pheasants, guinea fowl, quail, ducks and chickens.

I was so fortunate when I married that my husband was also a keen ornithologist, having grown up on a farm bordering Lamington National Park in subtropical South-East Queensland. His uncle and aunts next door had a huge aviary, full of Satin Bowerbirds, a Major Mitchell cockatoo, galahs and corellas, the latter two neither local at the time, as well as a mixture of local parrots and little ground doves, who used to follow visiting children’s trailing fingers along the netting fence. When Ross was out mustering cattle on the steeply wooded slopes, he would often come upon a group of Glossy Black Cockatoos, quietly nibbling away at she-oak nuts.

We are both keen bushwalkers and are never without a pair of binoculars (Ross) and a camera with a good zoom lens (me)- until recently that is!!! We have had so many wonderful bird watching experiences together and as a family over the years, including the following:

1994 Overseas trip with our young family to the United Kingdom and France.

Highlights included:

Peter Scott’s Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge on the River Severn: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/.

Photos below in order are: Mandarin Duck; European Goldeneyes; a pair of European Eiders with a Hooded Merganser on the right; and a trio of Hawaiian Nene Geese.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (856) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (856)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (855) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (855)Bird Hides and Wildlife Parks in England and Edinburgh, where we saw our first woodpecker and capercaillie (below);BlogLoveBirds50%Image (857)Staying at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory (http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/), where we netted and banded birds and sat with puffins on the cliffs every evening. The other photos are of a Common Sandpiper and a falcon with Nick, the Deputy Warden of the Bird Observatory at the time; as well as daughter Jenny with puffins on the cliff.

Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.07Visiting the Bonxies of Hermaness and the cliff bird city of the Isle of Noss, Shetlands;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (859)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (879) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (866) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (860)For the boat trip to the island, we all had to wear hats in case we accidentally became targets, so our four year old had to wear this puffin cap!

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Gerald Durrell’s Rare and Endangered Wildlife Trust on  Jersey: https://www.durrell.org/ and https://www.durrell.org/wildlife/visit/; Below in order: Chilean Flamingoes; Red-Breasted Geese; a Crowned Crane from South and East Africa; a Pink Pigeon from Mauritius; and a Palawan Pheasant from the Philippines.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (868) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (871) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (872) - CopyThe flamingos of Étang du Fangassier in the Camargue, where I disgraced myself by commandeering the lookout telescope, which I mistakenly thought was public property, to the bewilderment of the French owners, who declared in response, ‘C’est bizarre!’BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863)BlogLoveBirds75%Image (874) - Copy1996 New Zealand :

Our introduction to a totally different set of birds, many adapted to years of isolation and many now threatened with extinction with the introduction of humans and feral animals. While it was far too late to meet Alice in Wonderland’s dodo, we did see kakapos, kakas, keas, kiwis , wekas, tuis and takahes, as well as many coastal birds. We visited:

Lake Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, South Island, where we saw kakas (mountain parrot), an Antipodes Island parrot; a kereru (NZ wood pigeon), takahes (like a giant swamp hen) and wekas; Here are photos of a kaka and a kereru.

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (864)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (877) - CopyAs well as the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre (http://www.pukaha.org.nz/), just north of Masterton in the far south of the North Island, where they were saving highly endangered birds from extinction like the Chatham Island Robin. We saw Saddlebacks (first photo below), tuis ( a type of honeyeater), wekas (second photo below), kakas, red-capped parrots and takahes.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862)1999 Lord Howe Island.

This World Heritage listed island off the east coast of Australia also has some very special birds, which have also experienced struggles to survive like the Lord Howe Island Wood Hen (photo below), as well as many regional variations in bird species from being isolated on an island for many years. For example, the currawong has a different call and the silver eye a different eye ring to their Australian cousins on the mainland.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (128)For my 40th birthday, we climbed to the top of Mt Gower, where we called Providence Petrels out of the sky to land at our feet and be picked up and cuddled! We also saw Red-tailed Tropic Birds wheeling in the skies above Malabar Hill and Emerald Doves and Wood Hens foraging on the forest floor.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (127)Armidale Years (1994-2003)

While the family was growing up, we explored and camped in a huge number of local National Parks, where we saw many birds eg Red-Rumped Parrots in our home garden; Peregrine Falcons at Kings Plains National Park; Turquoise Parrots en route to Kwiambal National Park; the Flame Robins, who visited Dangars Gorge every Winter (first photo below) and the delightful Eastern Spinebills, who revelled in the flowering heath of Wrights Lookout at New England National Park.Image (857) - Copy - CopyRoss ran guided natural history tours from the New England tableland, via the escarpment rainforests, right down to the sea at Coffs Harbour. Waterfall Way Tours introduced many guests in our self-contained cottages (Creekside Cottages), as well as Country Link visitors to the wonderful diversity of environments and bird life in our region. Here is a photo of a Red-Rumped Parrot.BlogCockatoo50%march 2 193Dorrigo Years (2003-2008)

Ross’s tour guiding experience also stood him in good stead for working as a National Park Discovery Ranger out of the World Heritage Dorrigo National Park Visitor Centre. Living on a bush block on the Dorrigo escarpment bordered by Bellinger River National Park, the link between Dorrigo National Park and New England National Park, we saw many beautiful rainforest birds on our property, including resident Wonga Pigeons (first photo below), Superb Lyrebirds, Eastern Whipbirds, Golden Whistlers (second photo below), Paradise Riflebirds, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Catbirds, King Parrots (third photo below) and Scrub Turkeys, who used to cadge at picnic tables at the visitor centre.BlogLoveBirds50%DSCF6508BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846)BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4895BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF26972008 Australia Trip

After selling our farm at Dorrigo, we spent a whole six months camping and exploring our wonderful country. Here were some of the birding highlights, details of which I will elaborate in future bird posts:

Huge flocks of wild budgerigars (first photo) and cockatiels (second photo) wheeling in the outback (Mungindi and Longreach) and hot pink galahs drinking on the banks of the Thomson River.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2834BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7043Townsville Bird Common: Jabiru, Comb-Crested Jacanas, Magpie Geese, Whistling Ducks, brolgas, pelicans and egrets (first photo) and Sacred Kingfishers (second photo);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0037BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0042Dunk Island: In order, Beach Stone Curlews, Orange-Footed Scrubfowl and Sunbirds;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0886BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0857BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0841Cairns: Crocodile Farm: Rose-Crowned Fruit Doves and Cassowaries;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1450BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1373Daintree River Cruise: Little Kingfisher (photo below); Azure Kingfisher; and Great Billed Heron;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1466Laura: Rainbow Bee Eaters; Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos ; Golden-Shouldered Parrots (first photo); Wedge-tailed Eagles (second photo); and Red-Winged Parrots (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5951BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1935BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1903Iron Range National Park and Portland Roads: Yellow-Bellied Sunbirds; Magnificent Riflebirds; Frilled Monarchs; Northern Brush Turkeys; Eclectus Parrots (first photo is a male); Shining Flycatchers (second photo); Double Eyed Fig parrots (third and fourth photos); and Large-Billed Gerygone;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2486BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2523BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2568BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2569Rest of Cape York: Brown Falcons, Nankeen Night Herons and Striated Herons; Yellow Honeyeaters and White-throated Honeyeaters;  Palm Cockatoos; Red-Winged Parrots; Stone Curlews; Bustards (first photo); Sarus Cranes (secondphoto); Great Bowerbirds (third photo) and their bowers (fourth photo); and Northern Scrub Turkeys (fifth photo). BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4119BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6688BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2912BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1853BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3491Lakefield National Park: Brolgas grazing and dancing (first photo); Green Pygmy Geese (second photo); Comb Crested Jacanas (third photo); Burdekin Ducks (Whiteheaded Shelduck); Magpie Geese feeding in the lotus lagoons (fourth photo); Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers (fifth photo) and Blue-Winged Kookaburra; Golden-Headed Cisticola; White-bellied Sea Eagles and Ospreys surveying overhead; Black-Fronted Dotterels (sixth photo) at Hann Crossing and pelicans soaring high over the Nifold Plains;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5500BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5540BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5513BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5494BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5563BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5641Lotus Bird Lodge: a quiet Black-backed Butcherbird and a baby hand-reared Red-Winged Parrot on the verandah; Comb-Crested Jacanas (also known as Lotus Birds, after whom the bird lodge is named); a family of Papuan Frogmouths (photo below); and over 200 species of wading, migratory and resident wetland and grassland birds;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5787BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5801Abattoir Swamp Bird Hide: First photo below: Red-Backed Fairy Wren; and Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge, Julatten, 1.5 hours north-west of Cairns: Over 350 species of birds, including 13 Wet Tropics endemic species. We saw Noisy Pittas (second photo below) and Emerald Doves here.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6752BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6770Atherton Tablelands: Victoria Riflebird and Golden-Whistlers, Lake Eacham; Hasties Swamp Bird Hide: Huge flocks of Magpie Geese (first photo), Whistling Ducks (second photo) and grebes;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8851BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8596Mission Beach: Cassowary sighting on the Dreaming Trail!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9228

Tyto Wetlands, near Ingham : Crimson Finches (photo below); Whistling Ducks; Green Pygmy Geese; Great Egret and Peaceful Doves;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0179Artesian Bore at Burketown: Sarus Cranes (first photo); Jabirus (second photo), Royal Spoonbills; Richard’s Pippit; Snipes and plenty of ducks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2270BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2335Katherine: Red Goshawks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3564

Kakadu National Park: Yellow Water: Magpie Geese, Burdekin Ducks, Azure Kingfishers, Green Pygmy Geese; Rainbow Bee-Eaters (first photo); Whistling Ducks (second photo); Great Egret (third photo) and other egrets and ibis; and Darters (fourth photo); and Mamukala Wetlands and Bird Hide: Whistling Ducks, Black Ducks, Darters, Pied and Black Cormorants, Magpie Geese, and Lemon-Bellied Flycatcher;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4818BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5789BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5643BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5595Mary River: Huge flocks of Little Corellas, preyed on by Whistling Kites (first photo); Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos; Collared Rainbow Lorikeets (the northern race); and Forest Kingfishers and Blue-Winged Kookaburras (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5898BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4351Corroboree, Bird and Annaburroo Billabongs and Leaning Tree Lagoon: Lots of similar Northern Territory birdlife, including a jabiru with three babies (one in photo below);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6026Fogg Conservation Dam: A wonderful birdwatching site, just east of Darwin; Photos below in order: a pair of Straw-Necked Ibis; Burdekin Ducks; Green Pygmy Goose; and an Australasian Darter.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6042BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6090BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6101BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6100Ord River trip: Jabirus (now known as Black-Necked Storks) and Magpie Geese;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8209BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_7772Parry’s Lagoon, another birding mecca; Photos below in order: Parry’s Lagoon; Huge flotillas of pelicans; a Pied Hero ; and a Comb-Crested Jacana.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8367BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8397BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8344BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8360Mornington Wilderness Lodge, Gibb River Road, WA : The highlight was definitely sighting the first Gouldian Finch family of the season (first photo), though we also saw Purple Crowned Wrens; Bustards; Long-Tailed and Scarlet Finches; Button Quails;  Partridge Pigeons (second photo) and Crested Pigeons (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0468BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9310BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0404Broome Bird Observatory: Double Barred Finches, Brown Honeyeaters, Great Bowerbirds and plenty of shorebirds; and further south, Deep Creek, Dampier Peninsula: Star Finches (first photo); and Ningaloo Reef: Emus (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1517BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1732Skipjack Point, Francois Peron National Park (first photo): The entire beach was lined with huge flocks of Pied Cormorants (second photo), Crested Terns, Boobies and Pelicans. We also saw rare Thick-Billed Grass Wrens running across the road in and a Crimson Chat (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2431BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2465BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2255South-West Western Australia: Rock Parrots (first photo); Ringneck Parrots (second photo); Splendid Fairy-Wrens (third and fourth photos);  Common Bronzewings (fifth photo) and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (sixth photo).BlogCockatoo25%IMG_4087BlogCockatoo25%IMG_6556BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6163BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5193BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3840BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Ongerup, Western Australia: Mallee Fowl CentreBlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6020Bucket Birdwatching List

Our 2008 circumnavigation of Australia certainly was the trip of a lifetime and it was wonderful to see so many of our beautiful Australian birds in the wild, but we still have a few places we would like to visit, including:

A Desert Trip out to Broken Hill and Menindee Lakes to see the parrots;

Lake Eyre in wet season;

A bird tour of Papua New Guinea, especially to see the amazing Birds of Paradise; and an exploration of the Wallace Line, which divides the Asian birds from the Australian contingent.

Candelo  2015 – Present

Meantime, we are loving the prolific birdlife in Candelo, which have featured in former seasonal posts, as well as those of the surrounding mountain forests, farmland, national parks and coast. The noisy Little Corellas amass in huge flocks at this time of year, just prior to heading off, though we have yet to discover their destination!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56 We have a wonderful local birdwatching group, which has published two books, as well as three documented bird routes, about which I will write in a future post.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (509)

Other great bird-related venues include the fabulous On the Perch; Potoroo Palace; and  Panboola, the Pambula Bird Sanctuary (photo below), where we saw a Gang Gang flock, grazing on the hawthorne berries.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_2645It is great to see our youngest daughter, Caroline, following in our footsteps with our mutual love of birds! She has always loved them and has hand-reared budgies and cockatiels, as well as nursed enormous sick, though still feisty, roosters back to health with syringes of herbal concoctions. We were never allowed to get rid of any baby roosters and when we first moved to our bush block at Dorrigo, we had no chook pen and only a series of wire shelters to house our chooks and six roosters! One day, we watched a wedge-tailed eagle descending with the free range roosters in his sights and very foolishly and instinctively chased it away. Even though it may have been an effective way to reduce numbers, we would have had a challenge explaining why her roosters were dropped from the sky!!!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (865) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (864) - CopyShe is now studying a zoology degree, initially through Deakin University, Geelong, where she had some wonderful fieldwork opportunities from measuring fairy penguins for moulting studies; catching flighty red-capped dotterels; and making flycatcher nests to determine the effect of their practice of coating their nests in ultraviolet-light-emitting spiders webs. Now that she lives over here on the coast, she hopes to continue her studies through distance education with University of New England, as well as volunteering with Mogo Zoo and Potoroo Palace. There is also a wonderful postgraduate course in ornithology with Charles Sturt University, which may have future potential!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (844) - CopyBlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2277My love of birds has even translate itself into two embroidered cushions: our local birds, including many rainforest species, for Ross!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.31.41

And seabirds for my Mum, including a sea eagle, pelican, silver gull, blackwinged stilt, pied oystercatcher, hooded and double banded plovers, a cormorant on a lichen-encrusted rock made of French knots and even a fairy prion in flight, the only bird photo that came from a bird book (!).Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-12 11.50.33I really loved making them, even though there is a fair bit of poetic licence with their rendition!

On Thursday, I will try to explain the reasons behind my love of birds!

Musings on Poetry Part Three: Australian Poetry and Nonsense Verse

Finally, a look at specific genres of poetry: Australian Poetry and Nonsense Verse.

Australian Poetry

We have two books of Australian poetry: a general tome and one devoted entirely to the poems of Banjo Paterson. As in Parts One and Two, remember that many of the poems mentioned can be accessed online through sites like:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems;

https://allpoetry.com;

https://www.poets.org;  and

https://www.poemhunter.com.

The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse, chosen by Beatrice Davis 1984/ 1986

We are very lucky here in Australia to have had some wonderful poets from the anonymous songs of convict times to Dorothea Mackellar, Mary Gilmore, Henry Lawson, Henry Kendall, AB Paterson (Banjo Paterson), PJ Hartigan and CJ Dennis, as well as the more modern offerings of Kenneth Slessor, Ian Mudie, Douglas Stewart, Judith Wright, James McAuley and Max Harris, Randolph Stow and Les Murray. Here are some of my favourites:

Anonymous verses: The Wild Colonial Boy; The Dying Stockman; and Click Go the Shears, Boys;

Henry Kendall (1839-1892): Bellbirds;

Thomas E Spencer (1845-1910): How McDougal Topped the Score, a wonderful poem about our national game, cricket;

Jack Moses (1860-1945): Nine Miles From Gundagai, about the famous dog on the tuckerbox. See: https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-dog-on-the-tuckerbox-1464302  for the full story!;

AB Paterson (1864-1941), who wrote so many famous poems. See below for more details.

Mary Gilmore (1865-1962): Old Botany Bay;

Henry Lawson (1867-1922): Ballad of the Drover; and Andy’s Gone with Cattle;

CJ Dennis (1876-1938): The Intro (‘Er name’s Doreen) and The Play (‘Wot’s in a name) from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke; and Country Fellows;

PJ Hartigan (1879-1952): Said Hanrahan: A wonderful poem about the pessimistic attitude of some farmers towards the Australian weather with all it’s extremes, ‘We’ll all be rooned’, said Hanrahan..! My brother-in-law knew it by heart and recited it spontaneously off the top of his head at our wedding reception in 1983, which had been moved indoors onto the verandah of our old homestead at the last minute after unseasonal rain and flooding! It made the day!;

Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968): My Country, known by every schoolchild across the country and generations for its famous line: ‘I love a sunburnt country’ at the start of the second stanza. In fact, most Australians would be able to recite just that particular stanza:

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel sea,

Her beauty and her terror-

The wide brown land for me!

So evocative of our wide brown landscape with all its vagaries of weather and so so Australian!;

Kenneth Slessor (1901-1971): Five Bells; and his mesmerizing poem, Sleep (Do you give yourself to me utterly, Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh, Not as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly, But as a child might, with no other wish? Yes, utterly);

Douglas Stewart (1913-1985): Brindabella; and Lady Feeding the Cats. He also wrote a verse play called The Fire on the Snow about the doomed Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica by Robert Falcon Scott 1941;

Judith Wright (1913-2000): Magpies; and Woman’s Song;

John Manifold (1915-1985): The Bunyip And The Whistling Kettle;

James MacAuley (1917-1976): Pastoral; Magpie; Spider on the Snow; and Canticle. James MacAuley was one of the two young poets (the other being Harold Stewart), who were the names behind the Ern Malley hoax, played by AD Hope on Max Harris (1921-1995), the founder of the modernist literary journal, the Angry Penguins. Max was also a poet himself, writing The Tantanoola Tiger, which is also in this treasury;

Randolph Stow (1935-2010): The Ghost at Anlaby. I have only just read this poem and its images and word inventions, reminiscent of Dylan Thomas, like ‘antwaisted, hamsleeved, bellskirted ladies’ and ‘Rosella-plumed sun’ greatly appeal. I studied his novel, The Merry-go-round In the Sea 1965 at school and absolutely loved it. It revolves around a young boy’s coming-of-age in Geraldton, Western Australia. I love reading books about places I know well (though having not visited Geraldton or WA before 2008, it’s more about Australia in this case!) and I particularly loved his descriptions of the beach, the local town and Mrs Maplestead’s old homestead and garden, where Rick’s widowed grandmother and maiden Aunt Kay lived, reminding me so much of old country properties and families, like that of my husband – the Stephens of Cedar Glen; and

Les Murray (1938-): Les has published over 30 volumes of poetry and has been rated by the National Trust of Australia as ‘one of the 100 Australian Living Treasures’! This book includes: The Broad Bean Sermon; Rainwater Tank; and The Future, all areas to which the ordinary Australian can relate!

Complementing the poems are some beautiful artworks and black-and-white photographs and illustrations throughout the treasury, reason enough to buy the book, and at the back are biographies of the poets featured.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (704)

AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s Collected Verse: With the Original Illustrations of Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye and Lionel Lindsay 1921/ 1984

Immortalising so much of bush life in Australia in his lengthy poems, it is worth owning a separate copy of all the prolific outpourings of this amazing poet! Andrew Barton Paterson (1864-1941) was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author, who wrote numerous ballads and poems about Australian life, especially rural areas and the outback. Some of my favourite classics are:

The Man From Snowy River, whose first half I have learnt and can quote with the odd mistake!

Clancy of the Overflow, another famous poem, which I have learnt by heart and which typifies the yearning for the bush, when trapped in a ‘dingy little office, where a stingy ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall, And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city, Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all’; A terrific poem! His poems are so humorous and celebrate the ocker from:

The Geebung Polo Club; The Man From Ironbark; Johnson’s Antidote; A Bush Christening; and

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle; and, then there is, of course, Australia’s unofficial and much-loved bush anthem:

Waltzing Matilda (1895):

While many people struggle beyond the first verse of our official Australian anthem, Advance Australia Fair , written by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and replacing ‘God Save the Queen‘ in 1984, most do know and can even possibly recite this wonderful iconic poem!

Based on the story of Samuel Hoffmeister, a shearer, who was part of a strike at Dagworth Station in 1894, three years after the Great Shearers’ Strike in Queensland, which almost brought the colony to civil war and was only resolved when the army stepped in. After the situation turned violent with the burning of a woolshed, killing a large number of sheep in the process, the owner of Dagworth Station and three policemen gave chase to Hoffmeister, who, rather than be captured, shot and killed himself at Combo Waterhole, near Winton.

Banjo Paterson stayed at Dagworth Station in January 1895, when he penned the words, the poem being set to music, played on a zither by Christina Macpherson, one of the family members at the station. It was based on her remembered rendition of the Craigielea March 1890, which itself is based on a Scottish Celtic folk tune, Thou Bonny Wood of Craigielea 1806.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (722)

Nonsense Verse

Another specific genre of poetry and a particular love of mine with its humorous play on words and its imagination and creativity and just plain fun! Defined as: ‘humorous or whimsical verse that differs from other comic verse in its resistance to any rational or allegorical interpretation’ by the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, it often uses coined, meaningless words and strong prosodic elements like rhythm and rhyme. Often written for children, it is an ideal way to finish off this post and come full circle!

Limericks are the best known form of nonsense verse, but some poets have turned it into an art-form, including Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake, Edward Gorey, Ogden Nash, Dr Seuss, Spike Milligan, Roald Dahl and even our own Leunig, who features in: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/11/09/the-wonderful-world-of-art-part-two-post-1900s/.

Here are some of my favourites:

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

: Edward Lear’s Nonsense Songs 1953: Includes The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, one of my favourite children’s poems; The Jumblies (They went to sea in a sieve, they did, In a sieve they went to sea.); The Dong With a Luminous Nose; The Pobble Who Has No Toes; and the delightfully-titled and quirky poem, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat. I love Edward Lear’s original simple illustrations, accompanying his verse.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (723)

Other nonsense poems, which I love, but do not own are:

Lewis Carroll 1832-1898:  

Jabberwocky , whose brilliant first verse typifies this genre with its nonsensical words

: ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe’  and

The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits 1876, described as the longest and best sustained nonsense poem in the English language. It also cleverly contained an acrostic on the name of his then-favourite child friend, Gertrude Chataway, whose name is also found in the first words of each stanza of the poem: Girt, Rude, Chat, Away.

Lewis Carroll’s verse can be appreciated in his famous children’s novel, Alice in Wonderland. I have two copies: A fragile small hardback from 1899 (first photo); and my childhood copy from 1965 (second photo). It is interesting comparing the illustrations at the front.

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (725)BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (731) Another difference is the poem at the very front of the 1899 book, which is absent in the later copy.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (726)BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (727)

Here are some of his classic verses throughout the book, which will be very familiar to past readers and display Lewis Carroll’s complete mastery of nonsense verse.

BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (728)BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (729)BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (730)Image (732)Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) is remembered for his The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts 1896 (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/belloc/hilaire/bad/ ) and Cautionary Tales 1907, which can be accessed at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27424/27424-h/27424-h.htm.

Even though this is a modern book, Christopher Matthews only being born in 1939, because his book is a send-up of AA Milne (1882-1926), I am including it here:

Now We Are Sixty by Christopher Matthew 1999 A gift for my husband’s 60th birthday in 2007, this amusing book, written in rhyme, sends up AA Milne’s Now We Are Six for an audience reared on this famous book! There are some very funny poems with titles like: Let’s All Go Mad (after Buckingham Palace), the first line being ‘They’re changing sex at Buckingham Palace’. Definitely NOT a children’s book! Or Cutting Edge, based on Happiness:

Tom had a

Brand New

Personal Computer;

Tom was

Plugged

On the

Internet; Tom had

The Works.

But was

Techno-illiterate,

And that

Was pretty

Much

That.

I also loved Insomnia, modelled on In the Dark: ‘I’ve been to dinner, And over-eaten, And drunk a brandy or three; I’ve taken a couple of Alka-Seltzer, And had a jolly good pee’. Like the children’s version, it’s content is perfect for its target audience. There are just so many witty poems that it really is worth purchasing a copy for any nearest and dearest approaching that magic age! And no, I don’t think you can find them online just yet!

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TS Eliot (1888-1965)

Nonsense verse can also includes light verse like Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot, a collection of whimsical poems about feline psychology and sociology, and which was later adapted to the musical Cats, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It contains classics like The Rum Tum Tugger; The Song of the Jellicles; Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer; Old Deuteronomy; (The Magical)Mr Mistoffelees; Macavity: The Mystery Cat; and Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat.BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (723)

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) had some wonderful nonsense verse. For example,

A Word to Husbands

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.            And

A Flea and a Fly in a Flue

A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “let us flee!”
“Let us fly!” said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

Dr Seuss (1904-1991)

We were all raised on the books of Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), in turn raising our own kids on them. He is still popular today. Here is our well-thumbed battered copy of one of his famous books:

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Who does not love: Horton Hear a Who 1954; the topical How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1957; The Cat in the Hat 1957 and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back 1958; Green Eggs and Ham 1960; One Fish Tow Fish Red Fish Blue Fish 1960; Fox in Socks 1965; The Lorax 1971; and Oh, The Places You Will Go 1990, a gift from friends on our departure from the family property and the start of our big adventure called Life. I love the introductory lines:

‘Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!’

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For more, see: http://www.drseussart.com/.

It even spawned a delightful book, written in a very similar style by Marion Holland  (1908-1989), called A Big Ball of String  1958, one of my son’s favourite childhood books.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (734)

Spike Milligan (1918-2002)

: Silly Verse for Kids 1959. It includes the delightfully-titled On the Ning Nang Nong: ‘On the Ning Nang Nong, Where the cows go Bong, And the monkeys all say Boo! There’s a Nong-Nang-Ning, Where the trees go Ping! And the teapots jibber jabber joo‘. It definitely has a ring to it and was one of the most popular songs on Play School. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SUU1f3Mgpc. To see Spike Milligan reading his poem, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wom1OzwzLw.

Another verse in this book is the delightful Lady B’s Fleas:

Lady Barnaby takes her ease
Knitting over coats for fleas
By this kindness fleas are smitten
that’s why she’s very rarely bitten.

For more, see: https://www.poemhunter.com/spike-milligan/ and http://www.musingsbylizzytish.com/cn/silly-verse-for-kids.htm.

There is a very fine line between nonsense verse and children’s books, and while the next two books from my childrens’ childhoods could have fit easily into Tuesday’s post on Children’s Poetry, I have included them here, as they represent both Australian Verse AND Nonsense Verse! Plus, I used to love reading both of them out loud to the kids. As with children’s film, especially animated films, if a book can entertain both children and their parents alike, then in my book, it is a very successful production!

My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch by Graeme Base 1983

Illustrated and written by Graeme Base (1958-), this lovely chidren’s story is totally written in rhyme and introduces young readers to the Australian bush and life outback, as well as some of our wonderful Australian place-names, animals and birds.BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (737)

Wombat Stew by Marcia K Vaughan 1984

I adored this book. It has such a terrific rollicking verse, especially the chorus, which goes: ‘Wombat Stew, Wombat stew, Gooey, brewy, Yummy, chewy, Wombat stew!’ There is lots of repetition and the illustrations by Pamela Lofts are terrific! There is even a musical score for the chorus at the end.BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (738)

Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Roald Dahl was a favourite with my children and not only wrote brilliant books, but while researching this post, I discovered that he was also was a gifted comic poet, writing 27 poems. Try this send up for example:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
“I live with my brat in a high-rise flat,
So how in the world would I know.”

I also enjoyed his versions of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. See: https://www.roalddahlfans.com/dahls-work/poems/. I would love to read his poem, Where Art Thou, Mother Christmas?, which was published as a charity Christmas card to benefit the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in England. In it, he wonders why we never hear of Mother Christmas, who probably buys and wraps all the gifts , while Father Christmas takes all the credit: ‘Down with Father Christmas, that unmitigated jerk!’

And now, because it IS Christmas, I will finish with the old favourite traditional Christmas poem:

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Wishing you all a Very Safe and Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year! Much Love, Jane xxx

The Wonderful World Of Art: Part Two: Post 1900s

On Tuesday, we explored the beautiful art books concerning artists of the period before the 1900s. This post continues our journey into the wonderful world of art through books about the artists of the Twentieth Century.

Even though the next four artists were born in the mid 1870s and 1880s, they came into their own over the turn of the century, a time of great excitement and hope for the future, when photography was in its infancy and Australia became a nation, achieving their peak fame in  the 1920s. They include: Australian printmaker, Margaret Preston (1875-1963); photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953), and painter, Elioth Gruner (1882-1939), both of whom were born in New Zealand, but grew up in Australia and  Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961).

Margaret Preston by Elizabeth Butel 1985/ 1995

Well-known for her still life paintings and woodcuts of Australian flora and fauna and one of Australia’s leading Modernists of the early 20th century, Margaret was the most prominent Australian woman artist of the 1920s and 1930s, during which time her designs were used in painting and printmaking, as well as interior decoration, fabric design and even floral arrangements. The cover shows her Self-Portrait 1930.BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (686)Studying in Munich and Paris, and travelling in Italy, Spain and Holland, between 1903 and 1919,  Margaret was heavily influenced by Japanese art and the Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements of the time. She also attended Roger Fry’s Omega workshops in decorative art in Britain during the First World War. Below is a photo of her, taken in 1930, by my next artist, Harold Cazneaux, titled: Margaret Preston in the Garden, from page 43 of this book.

BlogArtBooksReszd4017-07-30 13.37.02Her works display a love of asymmetry; pattern as a dominant element of design; simplified composition, where natural patterns are so closely observed that they can be broken down into discrete units, as seen in the photo below of The Brown Pot 1940 from page 57; a degree of primitivism; and a great appreciation and love of Australian flora and fauna, as well as the small things of life. BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.37.14 Her earlier works show an emotive and sensual use of colour, as seen in the photo below of her hand-coloured woodcut Anemones 1925, from page 32 of the book:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.36.31 but as she progressed, she adopted a more restricted colour range, with a major emphasis on blue and a graphic use of black and white, as shown by this photo of one of my favourite oils: Implement Blue 1927, from page 38:BlogArtBooksReszd3017-07-30 13.36.45This detailed book discusses her early life and the three major phases in her work: the periods from1875 to 1920; 1920 to 1930; and 1924 to 1963; accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography of all her works; newspaper and journal articles; and books and monographs, as well as a catalogue of all her oil paintings; prints (etchings; woodcuts; masonite cuts; screen prints; stencils; and monotypes); fabric designs; ceramics and wood blocks. Here is a photo of one of her works on the cover of the October 1926 issue of magazine, Woman’s World, from p 42:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0027We feel very lucky to have one of her framed prints,  a hand-coloured woodcut, titled Christmas Bells 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd5017-07-30 13.40.18 For more information  on Margaret Preston, see: http://www.margaretpreston.info/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=preston-margaret.

The Cazneaux Women by Valerie Hill 2000

Another lovely book featuring the monochromatic works of early Australian photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) , with their beautiful women subjects , romantic compositions and a wonderful use of light and shade. The book cover features his photo of British artist and theatre designer, Doris Zinkeisen with Her Brushes 1929.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (683)

I have always loved black-and-white photographs for their focus on design and composition, line and structure (form and shape), pattern and texture, contrast and tonal variations and the play of light and shadow, without the distraction of colour. These elements are superbly illustrated in the dramatic work of contemporary German photographer, Maik Lipp: See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/maik-lipp_n_4019302.html.

While it was the only medium in Cazneaux’s day, when used today, it also lends a timeless or vintage aesthetic to the work, as can be seen in the work featured on this website: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/beautiful-black-and-white-photography/, although I still think the subject matter and treatment plays a big part of it too.  Compare the previous two links with  the work of Imogen Cunningham: https://www.imogencunningham.com and Endre Balogh at: http://www.endresphotos.com.

But back to Harold Cazneaux!

While Cazneaux also photographed historic cityscapes, and industrial and landscape aspects, this particular book is devoted to 36 plates of Cazneaux’s women – his wife Winifred and small daughters, Rainbow, Jean and Beryl, as well as stylish portraits of well-known women in the 1920s and 1930s including artist, Margaret Preston, writers Ethel Turner and Theo Proctor, performers, Dame Nellie Melba and Anna Pavlova; and a large number of Sydney social belles. I adore this photo: Bathing Baby 1909 from p 50:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.38.14The plates show the developments in camera art,  as well as women’s fashions and the changing role of women, from the formally posed wet plate images of the 1870s (and earlier albumen prints), through the Pictorial period to the start of Modernism, where Max Dupain and Olive Cotton (see later) made their mark. Here is another favourite photograph by Harold Cazneaux: The Sleeping Child 1914 from page 64.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.38.37We also learn about Harold’s life, his relationships with women and his artistic influences from his parents, Pierce and Emma, both early photographers; stepmother Christina, who nurtured his talent; his wife, Winifred, who trained at the first photographic studio, where he worked; John Kauffmann, who introduced Pictorialism to Australia, and the Sydney Camera Circle of the early 1920s. Harold’s photograph, Rainbow in the Cosmos 1916, from page 62, is delightful!

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.38.30

His photograph Pergola Pattern 1931, from page 100 shows such a superb mastery of composition, pattern and contrast and the play of light and shadow!BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.39.30

The Cazneaux Collection, containing 272 exhibition prints; 200 working photographs and 4300 glass negatives, mainly from 1904 – 1940, as well as his personal papers and letters from 1903 – 1953, is held at the National Library of Australia: See: https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/harold-cazneaux-collection.

BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0023I loved the background of the these two photographs: Doris Zinkeisen: New Ideas Portrait with Leaf Background 1929 from page 91 (above); and A Study in Profile 1931 from p 104:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0025There are also significant collections of his photographs at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and the Mitchell Library and Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. See: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=cazneaux-harold.

The Art of Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light by Deborah Clark 2014BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (689)

This cover features Elioth Gruner’s oil painting, titled Thunderstorm 1928.

Elioth Gruner (1882 – 1939 ) was also a master of light and shade, as seen in his very famous painting, displayed in the Art Gallery Of New South Wales: Spring Frost 1919, which introduced me to his work, seen in the poster below. The shafts of sunlight and the steam rising from the bellowing dairy cows can probably be better appreciated by viewing this link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/6925/.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.48.48We were also lucky enough to attend an exhibition of his work, Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light, at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2014, many of his landscapes painted en plein air from the Sydney to the South Coast of New South Wales, including Cooma and the Monaro; the Canberra region, Yass and the Murrumbidgee River valley and the Southern Highlands, all part of our new home! Is it any wonder that we brought the book based on the exhibition home with us!!BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0032There is even a painting of our old stamping grounds in Northern New South Wales with his painting Shelley Beach, Nambucca Heads 1933 (photo above from page 86), and Winter Afternoon, Bellingen, NSW 1937 , the latter held by our old home art gallery NERAM , which also owns his paintings: Beach Idyll 1934 and The Beach 1918, another personal favourite (seen in the photo below from page 21 of the book)!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.55.28I adore his landscapes depicting pastoral life and the rural homesteads of the period, like Manar, a large cattle and sheep property between Bungendore and Braidwood, seen here in his oil painting, Manar Landscape 1928, the first photo below from page 52 of the book and Autumn, Manar 1939, 2nd photo below, from page 53.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0028He was obviously very popular in his day, enjoying the support of both conservative and progressive elements of the Sydney art scene, as well as winning the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times between 1916 and 1937.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0031 It was wonderful to see his paintings so closeup, to examine and admire his techniques for reproducing light and shadows, using short, choppy brush strokes and different tones of greens, as exemplified by Morning Light 1916, his first painting to win this award, shown in the photo above from page 26. Spring Frost 1919 was his second Wynne Prize.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.06.21Hilda Rix Nicholas: The Man For the Job by the Bendigo Art Gallery 2010

We were also very fortunate to see an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2010 of the works of Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961), who also came to fame in the 1920s, the second Australian artist after Rupert Bunny (who I discussed in the first part of this post last Tuesday) and the first woman to have a solo exhibition in Paris in 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (690)

She too painted many lovely paintings of life in rural Australia, especially her family property, run by her second husband, Edgar Wright, at Knockalong near Delegate, on the Southern Monaro. I love this painting of His Land 1922-1923 from page 30.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.34.14 Other favourites are:  In the Bush 1927, from page 41; BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.04 Bringing in the Sheep 1936, held by our local art gallery, Bega Valley Regional Gallery, shown on page 54 of the book;

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.43 and The Homestead of Tooraloo 1945 from page 60.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.36.05The book also chronicles her brilliant early career, from 1907 to 1918, in France, Morocco and Italy, marred by the desperate loss of her travel companions, her sister and mother, from illness and the untimely death of her new husband of six weeks on the Western Front in the First World War. For more about Hilda Rix Nicholas, see: http://knockalong.com/?page_id=664.

No discussion of the art world of the 1920s is complete without reference to the Bloomsbury Group, the subject of the next two books:

Charleston: A Bloomsbury House & Garden by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson 1997

The Bloomsbury Group was a very famous name in the British art world, and while most of its members were born in the 1880s, their main flowering came during the 1920s after their move to Charleston in 1916 to escape the horrors of the First World War.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (696)

This lovely book is an ode to Charleston and all its inhabitants: Vanessa Bell and her husband, Clive (temporarily),  their sons Julian and Quentin, the co-author of this book; Vanessa’s lovers, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, to whom she bore a daughter, Angelica; David Garnett, Duncan’s homosexual lover, and Clive’s lover, Mary Hutchinson, as well as other members of the Bloomsbury Group: Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, and husband, Leonard, who lived nearby; Lytton Strachey; Desmond MacCarthy; EM Forster and Maynard Keynes, not to mention chief cook and housekeeper, Grace Higgins.

Starting with a map of the garden and ground plans of each storey of the house and an  introduction with its highly appropriate title: A Vanished World, a chapter devoted to Charleston’s golden age from 1925 to 1937, which was shattered by the death of Vanessa’s son, Julian in the Spanish Civil War, just before the Second World War.

Through the following chapters featuring each room : Clive Bell’s study and bedroom; Vanessa’s bedroom; the spare bedroom; and those of Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant; the green bathroom; the dining room and kitchen; the library; the studios; the garden room and finally the beautiful garden, Angelica’s ‘earthly paradise’, including the productive Walled Garden and numerous old photographs, we get to know all about their unconventional lives and their art.

It is backed up by the following small paperback:

Charleston: Past and Present  by Quentin Bell, Angelica Garnett, Henrietta Garnet and Richard Shone 1987/ 1993

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This official guide to Charleston also describes the contents of each room, and includes essays on Life at Charleston, including personal letters and memoirs, like the childhood memories of the garden, written by Quentin Bell; and the memoirs of Vanessa’s daughter Angelica and her daughter Henrietta, who recalls her grandmother, ‘Nessa’. It is possible to still visit Charleston. See: https://www.charleston.org.uk/ for details of opening times.

1930 to 1960s

The Boyds by Brenda Niall 2002/ 2007

The Boyd family is a very famous artistic dynasty in Australia, founded by Emma Minnie à Beckett (1858-1936) and her husband Arthur Merric Boyd (1862-1940), whose children also pursued art: William Merric (1888-1959) became a potter; Theodore Penleigh (1890-1923); and Helen à Beckett (1903-1999) were both painters and son, Martin à Beckett (1893-1972) became a writer.

William married a painter, Doris Gough, and raised five talented artists: a potter, Lucy (1916 -2009); sculptor, Guy (1923-1988); and three painters: Arthur (1920-1999); David (1924-2011); and Mary (1926-2017).

They in turn have raised artists like Lucy’s potter son, Robert; Guy’s sculptor daughters, Lenore, Sally and Charlotte; Arthur’s children, Polly, Jamie and Lucy; David’s daughters, Amanda, Lucinda and Cassandra; and Mary’s children by her first husband, John Perceval: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice Perceval, as well as musicians and writers.

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In her fascinating book, Brenda Niall traces the family biography from 1840s Melbourne with convict heiress Emma Mills, who married William, the son of Victoria’s first Chief Justice; her daughter, Emma Minnie, and son-in-law, Arthur Merric Boyd; their children, who grew up at Open Country, Murrumbeena, and  Boyd grand-children, all of whom were famous, especially Arthur.

See the Table of Contents of this book at: https://web.archive.org/web/20060618070355/http://www.mup.unimelb.edu.au/catalogue/0-522-84871-0.html.

This book is so well-written and hard to put down and features many photos of the family and their homes, as well as colour-plates of their artworks!

Open Country, now obliterated by Melbourne suburbia, was the meeting place for many prominent Australian artists in the 1940s and 1950s. See : http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/boyd-familys-murrumbeena-gatherings-a-fount-of-inspiration-for-australian-artists-20141124-11ss2n.html.

Another famous Boyd landmark , which can still be visited, is Arthur Boyd’s property at Bundanon, on the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra, which he bought in 1979 and donated to the Australian people in 1993 and which we visited years ago. It is well worth making the effort to visit, even though opening times are limited and there is a long narrow drive in. It’s wonderful to see his house and studios and the landscape, which inspired him.

It  also includes a huge art collection of over 3 800 items, with more than 1 300 works by Arthur Boyd, over 1 200 works from five generations of the Boyd family dynasty and a number of works by Arthur Boyd’s contemporaries, such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman, from which regular exhibitions are held,  as well as hosting an artist-in-residence program each year. See: https://bundanon.com.au/ for visiting times.

Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis and the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2000

I love Olive Cotton’s work! Olive Cotton (1911-2003) was one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers, whose career spanned six decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. The front cover of the book shows her delightfully titled photograph: Only to Taste the Warmth, the Light, the Wind 1939: BlogArtBooksReszd40%Image (682) This small book, which was produced to accompany an exhibition of her work by the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000,  contains photographs from the 1930s to mid 1940s, when she worked with her first husband, Max Dupain, at his studio in Sydney, as well as work from the 1980s, when she revisited her negatives and her passion for ‘drawing with light’. I love this photograph of a dandelion head, titled: Seedhead 1990 from page 59.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.53.50Her photographs display her great love for nature, as seen in her landscapes and flower studies; her keen observational powers; her wide range of subject matter; her fluidity of style, moving freely between Pictorialism, the style perfected by her predecessor, Harold Cazneaux (see above), and Modernism; and her great love of the photographic medium.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.55.03Her photographs are so beautiful and almost like paintings eg Interior (My Room) 1933, shown above, from page 13, and Cardboard Design 1935, shown below from page 25:

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I also love Tea Cup Ballet 1935, a different take on the same subject matter of Margaret Preston’s  Implement Blue 1927, shown below, from page 24;BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.50

Jean-Lorraine By Candlelight 1943, from page 37;

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and The Sleeper 1939, shown below from page 31:

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Margaret Olley by Barry Pearce 1996

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Another famous Australian artist, Margaret Olley (1923-2011) came to fame from the 1950s and 1960s on and is still very popular today. The book cover features one of her early works: Portrait in the Mirror 1948. The photo below is of one of her very famous paintings: Afternoon Interior with Cornflowers 1990, from page 103.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.33 I adore her still-lifes and rich, cluttered interiors, full of colour, vases of flowers and vintage objects and furniture. I just love the colours in her painting Chianti Bottle and Pomegranates 1994-1995 (photograph from page 112):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.59 This book traces her life, her travels and her work, reproduced in the numerous full colour plates in this lovely book. The mask in the photo below, painted in her Interior IV 1970, page 59 of the book, bears testament to her three trips to Papua New Guinea between 1965 and 1968.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.07.50 I love the lemons tumbling out of the basket in  Lemons 1964, the photo from page 51. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.23 They were such comfortable homey interiors too like Yellow Tablecloth with Cornflowers 1995, photograph taken from page 126 of the book.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.27 In fact, I could own any one of her works. They are all so beautiful, as well as probably being very pricey these days! Another favourite for its rich warm colours is Clivias 1984, photograph from page 97 of the book. I just love that kelim!!!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.53Fortunately, she left her possessions to the Tweed Regional Gallery at Murwillimbah, so we were able to visit the Margaret Olley Art Centre during our recent trip to Brisbane, a wonderful treat! The first photo below is The Chinese Screen 1994-1995 from page 10, while the last photo is Yellow Room with Lupins II 1994-1995 from page 122.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.47 The centre also includes a recreation of key areas of her famous home studio at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney : the Hat Factory (living room, dining room and  kitchen) and Yellow Room, all built to scale, with original architectural elements like windows, doors and fireplaces, and over 20 000 items, collected by Margaret over many years as subject matter for her paintings. See: http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/VisitUs and http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/MargaretOlleyArtCentre.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.17Finally, some books about some contemporary artists among the Baby Boomers, all of whom have a deep affection for Australia and its amazing flora and fauna!

Criss Canning: The Pursuit of Beauty by David Thomas 2008BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (688)

The book cover above features Still Life with Poppy Cedric Morris 2007.

Criss Canning’s art is very similar in style, talent and subject matter to Margaret Olley. In fact, Margaret Olley was a close friend and supportive mentor and in 1999, Margaret actually bought one of Criss’s paintings : Waratah in a Green Jug 1999, seen below from page 139 in the book and donated it to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  See: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4417688/olleys-living-legacy/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/61.2000/.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.42I first discovered Criss Canning, when she visited my garden club in Armidale with her husband David Glenn, of Lambley Nursery fame. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria/.

Her love of native Australian flora can be seen in her painting titled: Winter Banksia 2001 from page 155.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.02.09This beautiful coffee table book was written and published to coincide with her retrospective exhibition at Ballarat Fine Art Gallery in 2007 and it certainly does justice to all her wonderful sumptuous paintings with full page colour plates in glossy paper. Below is another ode to Australian flora: Gum Blossom 1995, photo from page 123.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.25David Thomas traces her life from her birth in 1947, exactly one month before my husband (!), and childhood in Laburnum, near Blackburn, a suburb of Melbourne, which was then rural acreage; her struggles as a single mother of two young children; her sojourn on the island of Rhodes in Greece, inspired by Charmaine Clift; her marriage and life with David Glenn in Ascot, near Ballarat, and her later more minimalist works, influenced by  her love of  Japanese artseen in Freesia’s and Japanese Tea Service 1996 from page 175 and the geometric designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.01.11I adore her beautiful floral studies: their rich colour; bold composition; strong patterns and dramatic contrast and flowing textile backdrops, as can be seen in her paintings titled: Black and White 1999, the first photo below from page 77 and Arthur Merric Boyd Coffee Set 2003, the second photo below from page 160.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.52BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0044I love her talented portrayal of metal surfaces and her patterned backgrounds, as seen in the first photo below: Silver Reflections 2003 from page 162 and the silver tray in the second photo below: Native Flowers and Silver Tray 2001 from page 149,BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0045BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.54As well as her wonderful sense of colour, as seen in Poppies 1987 from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0047 To see more of her work, visit her site at: http://crisscanning.com.au/.

Salvatore Zofrea: Days of Summer by Anne Ryan 2009BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (693)

This lovely book features the work of Salvatore Zoffrea, an Italian-Australian printmaker, who produces beautiful woodcuts of Australian flora and the bush. The book cover features his woodcut: Mountain Devil Grevillea with Eggs and Bacon Pea, Native Iris and Kunzea, while the photo below shows Bowerbirds with Native Irises and Eggs and Bacon Pea from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.57 Like Criss Canning, he was also influenced heavily by Japanese art, especially its traditional Japanese woodcuts, as well as European art. I love his delightful work: Tea Tree with Bronze Pigeon in the photo below, taken from page 39.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.06 I love his attention to detail, the busyness of his designs, his use of colour or lack of colour, his sense of wonder at the beauty and abundance of the Australian bush and his underlying message of the importance of conservation and sustainability. The photo below is a closeup of a double page spread, page 62 and 63, featuring his large woodcut, 3 metres long, titled: Bellbirds at Kurrajong, which was made by carving nine blocks of marine plywood and was his artistic response to a local incident at Mandeni, near Merimbula, where a bellbird population was culled due to their destruction of eucalyptus trees. Little did we realize that five years later we would be living in the area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.25 We felt so lucky to see these wonderful prints by chance when passing through Wagga Wagga in 2010. See: http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/art-gallery/exhibitions-landing/past-exhibitions/exhibitions-2010/salvatore-zofrea-days-of-summer); http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaProposal_sml.pdf and http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaEdKit_11_01_10.pdf.

Byron Portfolio: An Artist’s Response to the Byron Shire  by Karen Wynn-Moylan 1989BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (691)Another environmental artist, whose work I love is Karen Wynn-Moylan, also known as Karena Wynn-Moylan. Her book cover features her watercolour, View From Honeysuckle to Tallows Beach, a familiar scene from coastal holidays in the area many years ago.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.11Karen works in a variety of media: watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels – to record and celebrate the beauty of the unique flora and fauna of her subtropical home environment in the Byron Shire, as well as encourage an appreciation of the environment and the need for conservation. Her love of her local rainforest can be seen in the photo above of her watercolour painting, The Clearing, page 43, while her pastel, Sunsoaked, on page 7, portrays a subject matter typical of the local area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.35 I love The Flowering Beach, a mixed media painting on page 21, the fine dots of colour so typical of the Australian bush.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.11 Nasturtiums (Mullumbimby Laneway), labelled The Nasturtians in the book on page 29 and seen in the photo below, reminds me of our holidays at Hat Head with its old-fashioned dirt lane ways, lined with bougainvillea and frangipanis, wooden sheds and garages and leaning wooden fences, trailing with nasturtiums.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.56 For a look at her work, see: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/.  As a Tasmanian, I really loved her new oil: Summer Above the Snowline: Mt Wellington, at: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/newwork.html.

The final artist in this post, Michael Leunig, also has much to say about our treatment of the environment, as well as each other, as can be seen in the following book:

The Michael Leunig Collection: Favourite Paintings and Drawings by Michael Leunig 1991BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (695)Born in 1945, Michael Leunig is a much-loved and well-known cartoonist with delightfully quirky characters, who highlight the absurdities of life, and wonderfully whimsical poetry. The book cover features his well-known cartoon, The Kiss 1985.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.10His work is just so much fun and he addresses serious issues with a humorous light-hearted approach, which is very effective, as seen in the photo above of his cartoon, Plastic Shopping Bags in Autumn 1989 from page 22, though we are only just starting to address the issue in 2017! BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.03.57I love his characters, Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama, as well as the small things of life:  his ducks, houses, teapots and angels. The photo above is Mr Curly Comes Home 1973, from page 30, while the colour photograph below is the book cover for The Travelling Leunig, published by Penguin in 1990, and reproduced on page 112 of this book. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.58This book is a taster to some of his most famous drawings. We own a number of his books, and his work also appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as a free annual calendar. For more on his work, see: http://www.leunig.com.au/.

I will finish this post  with one of his delightful prayers from his website :

Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.

Amen.

 

 

Travel Books: Part Three: Practicalities

These days, there is so much information online, that it is worth planning the practicalities of your travel by consulting the internet for the most up-to-date information on prices, opening times etc. I still like to travel with the odd hard copy though, so long as it’s not too heavy and bulky, but do try to get the most recent publication!

Lonely Planet Guides are the ultimate guides and are also available online: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/.  In fact, my daughter Jenny, who writes a travel blog: https://traveladventurediscover.com had three of her articles selected for the Lonely Planet Pathfinders monthly roundups (March, April and June, 2016), moving her to the next level of Lonely Planet Assignment Pathfinder. See: https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/03/08/best-things-about-travelling-in-your-van/;  https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/04/12/23-ways-to-travel-south-east-asia/ and https://traveladventurediscover.com/2016/06/14/favourite-feasts-of-south-east-asia/. Also, check out: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pathfinders/signup.

Lonely Planet Guides generally all follow a similar format, so I will describe the Lonely Planet guide we used for France. It starts with:

Quick Reference Guide on the inside cover: Symbols and Price Ranges used; Exchange Rates; Rough Costs; Useful Phrases; Business Hours; Telephone Codes; Emergency Numbers; and Conversions.

Colour Map with key points of interest highlighted and a reference page number, followed by :

Glossy colour plates featuring Classic Destinations; Food and Wine; Festivals and Events; Activities; and Arts and Architecture;

Contents;

List of Contributors;

Getting Started :When to Go; Costs and Money; Travel Literature; Internet Resources; and the Top 10 (Adventures/ Culinary Experiences and Shopping Sprees);

Variety of Itineraries (Classic Routes/ Roads Less Travelled/ Tailored Trips);

Snapshot of Contemporary France;

French History;

French Culture: National Psyche; Lifestyle; Blogosphere; Economy; Averages; Do’s and Don’ts; Population; Sport: Football, Rugby, Cycling and Tennis; Multiculturalism; Media; Religion; Women in France; the Arts: Classic and Modern Literature, Top 10 Literary sights, Cinema, Music, Architecture and Painting;

Environment : the Land; Flora and fauna; National Parks; Environmental Issues and Conservation Organizations;

Food and Drink: Staples, Regional Specialties, Drinks, Celebrations, Where to Eat, Vegetarians and Vegans, Dining with Children, Habits and Customs, Cooking Courses and Vocabulary.

The majority of the book is devoted to a detailed description of each different area of France, including:

Introduction and Highlights;

Black-and-White Regional Map;

Geography and Climate;

Orientation;

Information Sources;

Sights and Activities;

Accommodation ;

Food and Drink;

Entertainment;

Getting There and Away: Air; Bus; Train; car and Motorcycle; Bicycle Hire; and

Feature Boxes on relevant history, festival, food, people, crafts etc

The directory at the back covers all the practical information required:

Accommodation; Activities; Business Hours; Children; Climate Charts; Courses; Customs; dangers and Annoyances; Discount Cards; Embassies and Consulates; Festivals and Events; Food; Gay and Lesbian Travellers; Holidays; Insurance; Internet Access; Legal Matters; Local Government; Maps; Money; Photography and Video; Post; Shopping; Solo Travellers; Telephone; Time; Tourist Information; Travellers with Disabilities; Visas; Volunteering; Women Travellers; and Work; as well as a detailed section on:

Transport:

Getting There and Away:

Air: Airports; Airlines; Tickets; Climate Change and Flying; Carbon Offset Schemes

Land:

Bus: Discount Passes; Eurolines; Intercars

Cars and Motorcycle: Eurotunnel;

Train: Rail Services; Train Passes; Eurostar

Sea: Ferry Travel

Getting Around: Air; Bicycle; Canal Boating; Bus; Car Hire and Distances; Autoroutes; Licences; Insurance; and Road Rules; Hitching; Taxis; Train; and Tours.

Health: Insurance; Vaccinations; Deep Vein Thrombosis; Jet Lag; Health Car; Environmental Hazards; Sexual Health; Womens’ Health and Travelling with Children.

Language: Pronunciation; Etiquette; Gender and Essential Vocabulary for: Accommodation; Conversation; Directions; Signs; Emergencies; Health; Numbers, Paperwork; Question Words; Shopping and Services; Time and Dates; Transport; and Travel with Children.

Finally, there is a Glossary; a few blank pages for notes; the Index; a Map of World Time Zones, and a Map Legend.

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Alastair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay: British Bed & Breakfast for Garden Lovers 2007

https://www.sawdays.co.uk/

Sawdays is another well-known travel company from Bristol, England, which searches out special places to stay in Britain, Ireland; France; Italy; Spain and Portugal. It was founded by Alistair Sawday, a keen environmentalist and sustainability advocate. He was a Green Party candidate, founded the Avon Friends of the Earth and was Vice-­Chair of the Soil Association. His company was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Sustainability, as well as being voted Independent Environmental Publisher of the Year twice.

This delightful book starts with an introduction explaining the Sawday philosophy and how to use the book and general and regional maps.

There are detailed descriptions of over 60 Bed-and-Breakfast establishments with beautiful gardens with contact details, addresses and websites; directions; number and type of rooms; price; meals; closed times and coded symbols (Wheelchair accessibility; Children, Dogs, Smoking, Credit cards; Vegetarian meals; Licensed; Working farm; Swimming pool, Bicycles; Tennis court; Local walks and Fine Breakfast Scheme).

In the back is a Bird Calendar; a list of Garden Organisations; a Brief History of Garden Styles; Lists of Garden Books and Gardens to Visit and a Map of the National Cycle Network.

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It is well worth reading their blog: http://journal.sawdays.co.uk/ and looking at their Collections: Garden Lovers; Ethical; Family Friendly; Good for Groups; Cosy Boltholes; Coastal; and New to Sawdays. See:  https://www.sawdays.co.uk/collections. I also like the look of Go Slow England: Special Local Places to Eat, Stay and Savor by Alastair Sawday. See: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5153994-go-slow-england.

Here are some more local guides.

Twenty Best Walks in Australia by Tyrone T Thomas 1989

Tyrone Thomas has written a number of guides to bushwalks throughout Australia and this particular book covers 20 hikes, which he considers to be the best in Australia, a number of which we have done, including Sydney Harbour; walks around Blackheath in the Blue Mountains; Mount Gower and Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island; Mt Kootaloo circuit on Dunk Island; Green Island, near Cairns; Mt Warning on the NSW-Qld border; Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory; the Grampians; the High Country and Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria; Mt. Kosciusko; and Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair and Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania.

Each walk is graded as one day/ overnight and easy/medium and hard. The book contains comprehensive track notes; maps; and distance, time, weather, transport and access details, as well as points of interest, warnings and navigational advice. The walks selected give an excellent overall view of the huge  diversity of walks and environments in our vast continent and is particularly aimed at international visitors with limited time, though is still very useful for locals, and its light weight compact format makes it very portable for bushwalkers.

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Seventy Walks in Southern New South Wales and A.C.T by Tyrone Thomas 1998/ 2004

A recent addition to our library, now that we live in this area and are keen to explore this new area.

Produced in a similar format to all his books with introductory brief notes on distance; time required; best time to visit; grade; environment, map reference and last date reviewed; followed by comprehensive track notes, accompanied by maps, diagrams; ink sketches of native flora and a few colour plates.

There are also notes on safety precautions, first aid in the bush; and equipment and food suggestions for bushwalking. While we have already visited the National Botanic Garden in Canberra, Big Hole in Deua National Park; Mt Bushwalker; and local areas like North Head; Bournda National Park; Mt Imlay and Merrica River, we look forward to using this guide to plan walks like Mt Dromedary near Tilba Tilba; the Nadgee Wilderness; Bendethera Caves; Pigeon House Mountain; the Monolith Valley; the Castle and the Kosciusko region. It’s good to know we have so many wonderful spots to explore!

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Walking Round in Circles: Twenty-seven Circular Walks in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park by Jane Scott and Patricia Negus 2007

A beautiful book, which we bought after our trip to Western Australia, after visiting the home and art studio ‘Swallows Welcome’ of the artist Patricia Negus (https://www.mrros.com.au/member/patricia-negus/)  in Margaret River in April 2011. She and her husband Tim built a mud-brick Chapel of the Flowers to house all of her 102 beautiful wildflower paintings. Dawn Klok designed the leadlight windows and the porch mosaic was made by  local artist, Jenny Hunt.BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 503BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 501

Patricia teamed up with Jane Scott, the author of this book, and Ray Forma to form Cape to Cape Publishing and they have produced a number of books about the Margaret River region.

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I love this particular book as it has such beautiful illustrations and photos and holds fond memories of the walks we enjoyed in this beautiful national park, using this book as a guide. Below are some of her illustrated pages in this book.

The great thing about this area is that while you can do the entire walk from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, it is also possible to walk small sections and this book is an excellent guide to the 27 walks available.The following photos are from our wonderful beach walk at Cosy Corner:

BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 413BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 423BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 433BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 245Accompanied by clear maps, each walk is described in great detail and is broken up into smaller sections with details on access, distance and time, warnings where necessary and interesting notes on points of interest like whale watching; bush tucker; plants of granite outcrops or the limestone coast; historic settlements; the timber industry; fungi and orchids; caves; butterflies and moths; and  creatures of the open ocean or intertidal zones.

There are also notes on bush safety; first aid; geology; springs and tufa deposits; tides and currents; weather and climate; and native vegetation in the front and a bird list and bibliography in the back.

It is such a beautiful area, especially when the wildflowers are in full bloom! We loved our walks at Cosy Corner (photos above) and Cape Clairault (photos below), where we saw 6 rock parrots amongst the boulders on the beach. The sand was pure white; the waters aqua; and the coastline so unspoilt and natural!  I could not recommend a visit to this incredible area nor this beautiful book highly enough!BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 675BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 601BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 580BlogTravelBooksReszd50%wa visit 666Random Thoughts on Travel

And for those of us, who may not be able to travel at the moment, some consoling thoughts! Often the experience may not necessarily match up with the expectations! The next two books which explore this theme.

 Slow Travel : Sell the House, Buy the Yacht and Sail Away..  by Mari Rhydwen 2004

For all those people, who dream of getting a yacht and sailing away, it is well worth reading this book for the realities of life on the open sea, especially if you are satisfying a spouse’s desire! I feel a bit guilty because I lent it to a friend, who was then totally put off the idea!!!

Despite the downsides of petty officialdom, bribery and corruption,the threat of piracy and rollercoasting from boredom and total exhaustion to moments of sheer terror, it’s also a journey of discovery about life on water, learning to sail, visiting isolated natural spots, diving in the world’s best reefs and letting go of notions of  personal identity like work, material possessions and personal space. A very amusing and interesting read!

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The Art of Travel by Alain de Bouton 2002

In this thoughtful collection of essays, Alain examines the reasons for this paradox, as well as the ‘how and why’ of travel.

He starts with a discussion of anticipation and why it may sometimes be better or certainly different to the real thing!  As he says on page 15:

‘Anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress, they cut away periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments and, without either lying or embellishing, thus lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present…. (as does) memory (which is) an instrument of simplification and selection’.

These comments about anticipation and memory rang very true for me.

He supports his observations with the thoughts of well-known writers: J.-K. Huysmans on the anticipation and rejection of travel, as well as Baudelaire on ambivalence toward places, Flaubert on the attractions of the Orient, Wordsworth on the benevolent moral effects of nature, Burke on the sublime, and Ruskin on the importance of careful observation.

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Other essays look at the reasons for travel: a mode of escape from current circumstances; a chance to make a fresh start and see things with fresh eyes; a time to contemplate (‘Journeys are the midwives of thought’ p57); the appeal and allure of the different or exotic; or just pure curiosity.

All these reasons ensure the success of this final book on a very different type of travel.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel by Rachael Antony and Joël Henry 2005

I loved this book! It’s quirky and fun and enables a fulfilment of all the above reasons for travel with a series of unusual challenges without the expense of conventional travel! Some of the suggestions include:

Alternating Travel: Discover your own home town by alternating your direction- first road on the right, then next on the left, ad infinitum!

Anachronistic Adventure: Travelling by an outmoded form of transport or explore your city with a vintage guidebook.

Fly By Night: Explore a destination by night until the sun rises.

Voyage to the End of the Line: the end of the railway line; bus route or ferry trip and

Ariadne’s Thread or any other name for that matter! Get a friend to make a list of their 10 favourite or personally meaningful places in the city  (eg the first time …), plot these places on a map and draw a line (the thread) between them and follow it.

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And of course, for we armchair travellers, the internet is a wonderful source for information, dreaming and inspiration. Now that our appetite for travel has been stimulated, I am exploring some of my favourite bucket-list gardens overseas for the next fortnight!

 

History Books: Part Three: History

Following on from last week’s posts about our ancient past, I am starting this post with a few crossover books about ancient civilisations to give a baseline for future developments.

Prehistory is defined as the time before written records and given that the first writing was developed in 3 600 BCE, the following books can easily be included in a post on the early history of mankind.

The Atlas of World Archaeology  Edited by Paul G Bahn 2006 (Earlier editions 2000 and 2003)

While Part One focuses on Prehistoric Man: the earliest hominids and first modern humans; tool making and use of fire; African genesis and the spread of archaic and modern humans; the Neanderthals; the Ice Age and prehistoric art, the rest of the book examines the development of the early civilisations.

Part Two discusses the major advances in the next 10 000 years: the emergence of farming (animal and plant domestication; dairying; animals for traction power and wealth; and use of wool); pyrotechnology ( pottery and metallurgy: copper; bronze; iron and gold); and writing and early settlements, while Part Three is devoted to a more detailed look at the rise of civilisations in the different regions of the world:

Europe and Western Asia: Uruk (Warka) in Southern Mesopotamia; Varna in the Balkans; Sumerians and Akkadians, Mesopotamia; Minoans of Crete and the Mycenean on the Greek Mainland; the Hittites and the Assyrians; the Philistines and the Israelites; the Phoenicians; the Assyrian Empire; Saba, Southern Arabia; the Etruscans; Classical Greece and Ancient Rome .

Central, South and East Asia: the Harappans of the Indus Valley, India; the ancient dynasties of China (Xia; Shang; Zhou; Qin; Han); Early states in Korea (Paekche, Koguryo and Shilla) and Japan (Yayoi period); the Maruyas, Kushans and Guptas of India; the Scythians and Steppe Nomads; the Persian Empire; the Greeks in Asia; and the Empires along the Silk Road.

Africa: Ancient Egypt (Predynastic; Old, Middle and New Kingdoms); Ancient Nubia (Kerma and the Kingdom of Kush) on the Upper Nile and Axum on the Red Sea; the Nok in Central Nigeria; the Kingdom of Ghana; and the Empire of Mali.

The Americas: the Bison Hunters and Mound Builders (Adena and Hopewell cultures; the Mississippian tradition) of North America; the Pueblo Dwellers of the South-West; the Olmecs and Classical Highland civilisations of Mesoamerica; the Mayan States of Central America; the Aztecs of Central Mexico;  Andean States and Empires (Chavan; Moche; Paracas; Nasca; Tiwanaku; Wari and Chimor); and the Inca Empire of Peru.

Australia and the Pacific: Ice Age peoples and Lake Mungo; Later hunter-gatherers; Early Melanesia; Colonizing the Pacific (the Lapita people; and Polynesian voyagers); Easter Island; and the Maoris of New Zealand.BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (585)

History is such a fascinating, complex and enormous subject with so much happening in all the different parts of the world simultaneously, so I found this book really useful for getting a handle on the different regional developments. This understanding is reinforced by timelines and excellent maps indicating key archaeological sites, as well as feature boxes and photographs of specific finds. By no means exhaustive, this book is a good general guide, with a clear simple presentation, but for a more in-depth discussion of the early civilisations, it is worth reading the following book:

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations Edited by Arthur Cotterell 1980

Written by over 30 international  experts, this interesting book provides a good overview of the prehistoric world and a detailed analysis of separate ancient civilizations. It discusses the art, architecture, language, mythology , religion and chronology of early societies, as well as  their emergence, development, interaction and decline. In the back are suggestions for further reading.

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Ancient History: From the First Civilizations to the Renaissance  by JM Roberts 2002

This would have to be one of my thickest books! This door-stopper of a book tells the story of more than 10 000 years of history and includes sidebars and feature boxes, which focus on major turning-points of history, as well as major figures and background information to the main text.

While the first half of the book recaps on the prehistory of mankind; the early civilisations; and Classical Greece and Ancient Rome, it then progresses to examine Islam and the Arab Empires; Byzantium; the Turks and the Ottomans; the consolidation of Medieval Europe; the Vikings, Angles and Saxons; Christianity; the Far East (India; Imperial China; and Japan); Africa and the Americas; and further historical developments in Europe (The Crusades; Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch explorations; and the Renaissance). Another very interesting and readable book!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (581)

The Cassell Atlas of World History Forewood by Barry Cunliffe 1998

This excellent atlas also covers a larger time period than the first book I discussed.

It is divided into 6 parts:

The Ancient World (4 000 000 to 500 BC);

The Classical World (500 BC to 600 AD);

The Medieval World (600 AD to 1492 AD);

From Columbus to American Independence ( 1492 AD to 1783 AD);

The 19th Century World (1783 AD to 1914 AD); and

From World War One to the Present (1914 AD to 1997 AD).

Each part is again divided into different regional areas (Europe; the Middle East; Africa; South and East Asia; the Americas; and Australasia), with an overall global outline of each time period at the beginning and detailed insights into all the periods of dramatic change and major events shaping history.

The text is supported by comprehensive world and regional maps, which are colour-coded to show the major civilizations in each area and lines with arrowheads indicating journeys, migrations and trade routes, as well as timelines, arranged in geographical or thematic sections, also colour-coded for major extended events and historical periods with pointers to particular to particular events.

This is an excellent book for showing comparative histories at a glance. For example, in the section on the rise of agriculture (1.03), the world map is colour-coded to show the transition periods to agriculture throughout the world and details the different animals and plants domesticated in each area; as well as textile and pottery finds; the earliest centres of metallurgy and the early spread of wheeled vehicles; while the next map (1.04) gives a very clear picture of the different modes of life throughout the world in 2000 BC (hunter-gatherers; nomadic pastoralists; simple and complex farming societies; and chiefdoms and  state societies) with the names of the separate groups in each area.

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The Times Compact Atlas of World History Edited by Geoffrey Parker 4th Edition 1995 is a similar book, but is much smaller and more compact.

It is divided into four parts:

 The Ancient World : Human Origins; the development of agriculture and the rise of civilizations to the collapse of Ancient Rome;

The World Fragmented : The spread of Christianity; the Byzantine and Islamic worlds; the Franks and Anglo-Saxons; the Vikings; the Mongol Empire; the Muslim Empires of India and Persia; Africa; Medieval Europe; South East Asia to 1511; China and Japan to 1644; the Ottoman Empire and Precolumbian America;

The Rise of the West: Voyages of discovery; European overseas expansion; the expansion of France and Russia; Colonial America; the Reformation; Habsburg ascendancy in Europe; China to 1911, India to 1947 and Japan to 1830; The Age of Revolution (America; and the Napoleonic Empire); the Industrial Revolution in Europe; the emerging Global Economy 1775; the United States to 1865 and Australia and New Zealand from 1788; the Decline of the Ottoman Empire; Nationalism in Europe; Imperialism; the European Powers and the World on the eve of the First World War;

The Modern World: The Chinese Republic (1911-1949); the First World War; Russian Revolution; Political problems in Europe 1919-1939; The Great Depression; the Second World War in Europe, Asia and the Pacific; the United States since 1945; Europe 1945 to 1973; Soviet Union to 1991; East Asia since 1945 and Decolonization after 1947; Middle East since 1917; Latin America since 1930; Africa and Asia since 1945; the Cold War 1947 to 1989; Europe since 1973; the Collapse of Communism in Europe since 1989 and the World in the 1990s (world population; infant mortality and life expectancy; gross national product and foreign investment; and ozone depletion).

And now here we are, 20 years later with major problems like climate change and environmental degradation, over-population, resource depletion , terrorism and political instability throughout the world! History never stands still and is constantly being made or rewritten, but this small volume with its condensed maps, graphs and diagrams gives a brief overall picture of world history at the time.

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I often find children’s books are often a good way to get an overall basic view of complex subjects like space, archaeology and time and the next two books are good examples.

The Junior Wall Chart of History: From Earliest Times to the Present by Christos Kondeatis 1990

This wall chart covers the last 6 000 years (4 000 BC on) and is divided into illustrated coloured bands, representing the different areas of the world (the Americas; Europe- Western Europe/ Eastern Europe and Middle East; India; Asia; China; Africa and Australasia) and different themes (Explorers and Traders; Scientists and Inventors; The Arts and Religion; and ‘First’ Dates).BlogHxBooksReszd2517-09-24 22.34.02Designed to pull out in one continuous wall chart, marked at the top by the date, it is an excellent way of displaying comparative history in a simple uncomplicated style. For example, a quick glance at the year 1200 BC (photo above) reveals that the Sea Peoples from Greece and the Mediterranean were raiding and resettling neighbouring countries; the wandering Urnfield people, who were ancestors of the Celts, started to settle and farm in villages; Stonehenge had already been built;  the Trojan Wars started between rival Greek city states; the Assyrian Empire, the New Kingdom of Egypt  and Shang Dynasty in China were in full swing; the Phoenician seafarers and merchants were starting to establish trading posts in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean and West Africa’s coast; the Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was written and the Jews began their worship of only one god, Jahweh.BlogHxBooksReszd2017-09-24 22.34.33In the Beginning: The Nearly Complete History of Almost Everything by Brian Delf and Richard Plat 1995

Another excellent book for children about the major world historical events, presented in a slightly different format.

After a brief look at the origins of our planet and geographical features and life on Earth, our past is examined through our achievements and developments and everyday life: our homes, buildings and bridges; clothing, medicine and weapons; writing and communication; inventions; and energy, work and methods of transport.

Each entry is illustrated with images of the subject at different time periods and in different countries, accompanied by brief explanatory text, a wonderful way of showing the diversity of each subject through time and space, as well as the development of each subject and man’s ingenuity. In the back is a biographical index of the key historical figures mentioned in the book.

An excellent book for inspiring a curiosity and interest in history, which can so often be presented in a dry or dusty way, which has the exactly opposite effect!BlogHxBooksReszd20%Image (582)

There are so many different ways of presenting history. The previous books have either been factual accounts, atlases with maps and timelines or wall charts. Another very successful way is in the form of story-telling his-story, the next two books being excellent examples.

A Very Short History of the World by Geoffrey Blainey 2004

Tracing the story of mankind over the last 4 Million years, this book examines the influences of geography, religion and technology in shaping the world.

Part One starts with the prehistory of mankind, the implications of agriculture, the specialisation of skills and the development of the early civilisations and their achievements from Mesopotamia through to the Ancient Romans.

Part Two progresses from the Mongol hordes to Medieval Europe; the Ottoman conquests; the Renaissance Period; advances in science and exploration; and the colonization of new lands.

Part Three covers American Independence and the French Revolution; the settlement of Australia; the African Slave Trade; the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Steam; the American Civil War and the Taiping Rebellion; Darwin and Evolution; the two World Wars; Liberation of the colonies; the Peoples’ Republic of China and all the technological advances of the last century.

I really enjoyed this book. It is very easy to read and I learnt so much! See if you can match a country to each of these imports: Potato; Indigo (blue dye); Turkeys; Porcelain; Cochineal (scarlet dye); Cloves; Quinine; and Logwood (red dye). The answers are at the bottom of the post!!!

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The Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer 2014

An interesting read, examining the major changes, which impacted Western culture, defined as a product of Medieval European Christendom, between 1001 and 2000 AD. Some of the subjects the author covers include:  Religion and the church; Work and lifestyles; Population growth; Science, medicine and disease; Law and commerce; Education; Printing and books; TraveI and discovery; Weapons; The rise of the middle class; Transport and communication; the Industrial Revolution; Photography; the Media; and Electronics.

Mortimer writes so well and really makes history come alive. He summarises each century and the principal agents of change at the end of each chapter in order to address the initial question, which promoted the writing of the book: ‘Which Century Saw the Most Change?’, as well as explore the potential of the future.  You will have to read his book to discover his viewpoints!

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Now for some books on more specific areas:

Ancient England by Nigel Blundell and Kate Farrington 1996

I love the age of England – its old buildings and ruins; mysterious barrows, henges, hill forts and stone rings; its huge white figures carved into chalk hills; the remnants of ancient Roman walls and roads; and the wealth of statues and intricately carved Gaelic headstones.

We bought this lovely book after our trip to England in 1994 and it explains the history of this beautiful country so well! It describes the monoliths and tombs of Neolithic man (eg Stonehenge and Avebury); the fertility symbols of the Bronze Age Britons; the Iron Age forts of the Celts; the towns, road networks, villas, communal baths, theatres, temples and forums of Roman Britain; the Legend of King Arthur and Camelot; the Dark Ages; the Vikings and Danelaw; the Norman Conquest; the Plantagenets; the Medieval Period; Rebellion and the Wars of the Roses (1455 to 1487); the Tudors; Queen Elizabeth, the First; and finally, Oliver Cromwell and the subsequent restoration of the monarchy with Charles II (1660 to 1685).

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The Celts by John Davies 2000

Based upon the television series of the same name and accompanied by beautiful photos, this book explores the origins and development of the Celtic peoples and their migration from Central Europe to Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia. It describes their culture and festivals, their religion and sacred groves; their grave goods, weapons and treasures; their language, legends and fairytales; their stylised art and music; and finally, the future prospects of modern-day Celts. I’d love to see the six-part TV series for the sound effects, as well as the visuals!BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (600)

Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of South East Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer 2001

And then, there is this book by Stephen Oppenheimer, an expert in archaeological DNA (http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stephenoppenheimer/stephen_oppenheimer.php), who challenges the conventional view of prehistory, using evidence from archaeology, oceanography, ethnography, geology, linguistics, genetics and folklore.

He argues that the cradle of civilisation was not in the Middle East, but in South-East Asia, and that the biblical flood of Noah’s Ark did occur with the melting of the ice 8000 years ago, causing rapid rises in sea level and drowning Sundaland, the landmass containing Indo-China, Malaysia and Indonesia during the last Ice Age, resulting in a huge population dispersal north and west to China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean, taking their mythology and technology with them and creating the first civilisations 6000 years ago.

He also states that Polynesians did not come from China, but the islands of South-East Asia, and that rice was domesticated in the Malay Peninsula 9000 years ago, rather than in China, the official view. It is a fascinating book with so much information and while I am not certainly sufficiently expert to make any further comments, you can read more detailed reviews at: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/atlantis.html and https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/17129/1/AP-v38n2-book-reviews.pdf.

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History can also be appreciated through the study of the history of specific subject areas like language, mathematics and botany. Along with archaeology and our origins, the development and diversity of languages has always fascinated me, especially the origins of the English language, which reflects its history of successive invasions over time by the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and now Americanization and the influence of other cultures and technologies.

It is an enormous subject area, if the following website: https://www.ethnologue.com is anything to go by. Apparently, there are 7099 living languages, divided into 141 different language families, of which one third are endangered with less than 1000 speakers, and just 23 languages account for more than half the world’s population. The next two books are an excellent introduction to this broad field.

The Origins and Development of the English Language 3rd Edition by Thomas Pyles and John Algeo 1982

This comprehensive book was a first year academic text for students of Linguistics, so probably provides a more in-depth study than the lay person requires, but it is all still fascinating! There is so much information about grammar and word order and the mechanics behind speech, but it is the history of Writing (Chapter 3) and Language (Chapters 4 to 7), which really caught my attention.

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After a brief discussion of the most common language families, it focuses in on the Proto-Indo-European language family, of which English is a member (see the photo from the next book).

It traces the history of our language from Old English 449 to 1100 AD to Middle English 1100 to 1500 AD and Modern English to 1800, before examining the background mechanisms behind the formation of new words. I was particularly fascinated by the large section on the foreign elements of our vocabulary.

Here is another challenge! See if you know the origins of the 20 following words (and that’s only the first half of the alphabet!):

Albino; Anaemic; Bazaar; Budgerigar; Crochet; Cartoon; Delicatessen; Dinghy; Eisteddfod; Etiquette; Flamingo; Giraffe; Gingham; Hinterland; Influenza; Jubilee; Karma; Lieutenant; Medium; and Menu.

The answers are at the bottom of the post!

The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout  the World  Edited by Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews and Maria Polinsky  1996

Covering over 200 languages, this lovely coffee-table book gives a global survey of the different language families: their history, distribution, spread and decline, then focuses in on the different regions of the world : Europe and Eurasia; South and South-East Asia; Africa and the Middle East; Pacific; Australia and the Americas.

There are over 30 colour maps, as well as feature boxes, detailing points of linguistic, cultural and historical interest; many photographs of present-day people and places and ancient artefacts, manuscripts, monuments and statues from the last 5000 years; and tables like the example below (Page 40), showing all  the major language groups in the Indo-European Family.BlogHxBooksReszd50%Image (620)The book also discusses Pidgin and Creole languages; the extinction of languages; and the evolution and diversity in writing systems throughout the world, another fascinating area of study.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (579)

The development of numbers and mathematical  thought is equally absorbing and even though the following paperback is now over 42 years old, it is an excellent introduction to the basics!

Man and Number : An Account of the Development of Man’s Use of Number Through the Ages by Donald Smeltzer 1975

Here is a summary of the chapter contents:

Chapter One : Early man’s sense of number; Number words in different languages; the concept of Tallying; and the use of Number Bases:

Binary (base two), as used by computers;

Quinary (base five), used by the Joloffs of Africa; and

Decimal (base 10), used by most advanced societies today, though base three, four, twelve (eg: Imperial measurement of inches and feet/a dozen eggs) and twenty (vigesimal), as evidenced by: the English word, score, derived from tallying by making notches in wood with every 20th, a deeper notch or score; in French (the word for 80 is quatre-vingts ie four twenties); Scots Gaelic and Danish counting in the past; as well as ancient Mayan and Aztec societies.

Chapter Two: Number Recording: Egyptian hieroglyphics; Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform numerals, using base 10, base 60 (sexagesimal); Mayan Aztec symbols; Peruvian quipu (knotted cord); Chinese number symbols; Indian numbers; Ancient Greece (Attic/ Alexandrian) and Roman numerals.

Chapter Three: Early Calculating Devices: Abacus (used as long ago as the Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians); Chinese Counting Rods; and the Basics of Multiplication and Division.

Chapter Four:  The Modern Number System: Origins (Hindu-Arabic numerals); Early methods of Written Calculation (Hindu, Arabic and European);  Multiplication and Division methods; the development of Decimal Fractions; and the invention of Logarithms.

This is an interesting little book, which can be appreciated by lay people and non-mathematicians!

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For the gardeners amongst us, these next 3 books describe the history of plant collecting.

The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World by Toby Musgrave, Chris Gardner and Will Musgrave 2000

A wonderful tale of adventure, danger and derring-do, this book looks at two hundred years of plant discovery and collecting from Sir Joseph Banks’ three year journey around the world with Captain Cook on the Endeavour from 1768 to 1771 and Francis Masson’s investigations into the flora of South Africa, the Canary Islands, Portugal and North America to David Douglas’s explorations of North America; Joseph Hooker’s travels in Sikkim; the oriental botanical discoveries of Robert Fortune, Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Frank Kingdon-Ward ; and the importance of the Veitch Nurseries, sending out William and Thomas Lobb to bring back new exotic plants for the Victorian nursery trade.

It contains beautiful colour photographs of the plants and locations throughout and inset boxes featuring specific plant discoveries at the end of each chapter, with details on the origin of each plant name; a description; size and distribution.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (540)

The Flower Chain: The Early Discovery of Australian Plants by Jill Duchess of Hamilton and Julia Bruce 1998

This small book traces the discovery and journey of appreciation of our unique Australian flora through the analogy of the ‘flower chain’ from Dampier’s picking of Sturt’s Desert Pea Swainsona formosa back in 1699; Sir Joseph Banks’ extensive collection in 1770; and Labillardière’s botanical collection for Empress Josephine and subsequent publication of Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen in 1804; and finally, George Bentham’s Flora Australiensis in the late 1870s. BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (541)

Along the way, it examines Australia’s unique flora: its dominant plant groups and adaptations to fire and drought and the cultivation of Australian plants, as well as the early plant collectors; classification and scientific nomenclature; and the Dutch, French and British explorers and early botanists. One such man was Ferdinand Von Müeller (1825 to 1896), the subject of the next book:

Collecting Ladies: Ferdinand Von Müeller and Women Botanical Artists by Penny Olsen 2013

Ferdinand Müller arrived in Australia in 1847 and during his pharmaceutical studies, developed a keen interest in botany, becoming the first Government Botanist of Victoria in 1853 and the first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne in 1857.

He enlisted over 3000 collectors to gather plant specimens and extend the knowledge of their distribution and  habits, including a number of women, including Louisa Anne Meredith; Euphemia Henderson;  Fanny Anne Charsley; Anna Frances Walker; Harriet and Helena Scott; Louisa Atkinson; Fanny de Mole; Margaret Forrest; Ellis Rowan; Rosa Fiveash; Gertrude Lovegrove; Flora Martin and Marie Wehl.

Many of these ladies were also highly accomplished botanical artists, as attested by their beautiful colour plates in the book. I also loved the old black-and-white photographic portraits and reading all the finer details about the lives of these talented women.BlogHxBooksReszd25%Image (538)

While history can be viewed as a record of key events and developments, it is also the life journey of individual men and women and first-hand accounts are an invaluable source of information about the everyday lives of individuals within these historical periods. The final five books are excellent examples.

Local Australian History

A Fortunate Life by AB Facey 1981

AB Facey was born in 1894 and grew up on the Kalgoorlie goldfields and a farm in the wheat-belt of Western Australia. He received little formal education, starting his adult working life at the age of 8 years old, toiling on a farm and droving, before building railway lines and boxing in a travelling troupe. He fought at Gallipoli in the First World War, where he was injured, then returned to marriage and farming under the Soldier Settlement Scheme, before being forced off the land with the Great Depression and finally ending up working on the trams.

He taught himself to read and write at a young age and always kept notes about his life, publishing them originally for 20 family members, but suddenly achieving huge fame. Over 800 000 copies have been sold since its publication and it is now considered an Australian classic and is essential reading for courses in Australian history.

He writes simply and well with a no-nonsense approach and a great appreciation of his ‘fortunate life’, despite the extreme poverty, struggles for survival and just sheer hard work! But it is the story of our nation and our forebears, the ordinary individuals who created its history and national character, which is the reason it resonates so strongly with its readers.

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The Letters of Rachel Henning 1988

Written from a totally different perspective and an earlier period of Australian history, these letters written to and from Australia from 1853 to 1882 and published in the Bulletin in 1951 and 1952, 37 years after her death in 1914,  are equally fascinating!

Rachel Henning was born in 1826 and visited siblings in Australia in 1854, returning to England in 1856, but settling in Australia in 1861.

She had a keen eye for detail and was an excellent story-teller, so her accounts are a terrific record of the minutiae of daily life and her personal observations of these two very different countries, Victorian England and pioneering Australia, as well as life in the outback. It is so interesting reading about such a different time period, when transportation, communication, technology, entertainment and time scales were so different to our contemporary world.

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Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland by Constance Campbell Petrie 1904/ 1975

This book goes even further back in history to the early European settlement of Australia. Tom Petrie’s family settled in Brisbane in 1837, when there were only ten houses and a large population of indigenous Australians.

Tom Petrie was born in 1831 and grew up playing with the local aboriginal children, absorbing their language, customs and mythology and observing many of their ceremonies and festivals. He recounted his memories to his daughter Constance, who published them in 1904.

It’s a wonderful ethnographic record of the original Australians and their way of life before European settlement.

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The final two books are very valuable to us personally as they are based in South-East Queensland, my husband’s childhood home, and cover the history of the famous O’Reilly family and their guesthouse, now known as O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (https://oreillys.com.au/), as well as that of their Albert Valley neighbours, the pioneering Stephens family, my husband’s grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles.

Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong by Bernard O’Reilly 1940 is a collection of memories from the O’Reilly family roots in the Kanimbla Valley, Blue Mountains, and their reestablishment on a rainforest block on the Macpherson Plateau in South-East Queensland, four years before the declaration of Lamington National Park.

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They were tough men and hard workers, so typical of those early years, and they forged a new life from scratch, clearing rainforest, making tracks, building a home, planting crops and establishing a highly successful tourism venture.  And while it was certainly hard work, they enjoyed full lives and appreciated all they had. Bernard had a deep love of his rainforest environment and all it inhabitants, as well as his family and friends and the Australian way of life, particularly in the country, now a ‘lost world’ to today’s generations!

Bernard actually named the crag above our valley (the right-hand branch of the Albert River) ‘Lost World’ and the development of his own tourism venture, ‘the Valley of the Lost World’, on the top paddock of our family farm in 1954, despite the twin setbacks of flooding and Cyclone Bertha, is recounted in the next book, while another shared family experience, the Stinson Disaster 1937, in which Bernard and the Stephens men played a pivotal role, is described at the start of this book. The text is supported by old black-and-white photographs from 1912 on, as well as quaint pen-and-ink illustrations and beautiful romantic poetry written by Bernard.

Over the Hills  by Bernard O’Reilly 1974 is a delightful book, again showing Bernard’s deep love of natural history and environment. His descriptions are so beautiful and it’s wonderful reading about an area you know and love so well! Again, there are lovely old black-and-white photographs and quotations. Both his books are wonderful tributes to the Old Australia of his youth, which he describes in the final sentence of ‘Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong’ as a time of adventure, after which ‘the world was never so big, so beautiful or so wonderful again’!BlogHxBooksReszd30%Image (589)

It’s still a pretty special world, though very different to Bernard’s day, and my next book post will be visiting some of the wonderful travel books we have in our library! Next week though, it’s back to some more favourite roses, the Hybrid Musks!

Answers:

Origin of Imports: South America; India; North America; China; Mexico; Indonesia; Peru; and Brazil.

Origins of Borrowed Words: Portuguese; Greek; Persian; Australian; French; Italian; High German; Hindustani; Welsh Gaelic; French; Portugal; Arabic ; Pacific Islands; High German; Italy; Hebrew; Sanskrit; French (Norman) ; Latin; and French.