Category Archives: Nature Fix

The Advantages of Playing Dead

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

This morning when I was out with the dogs, Archie alerted us to the fact that there was a possum tucked in the branches of one of the shade trees. It took us a moment to spy the frightened, frozen creature whose bright eyes seemed to be looking far far away. Given the fact that we were anticipating that temperatures would rise to 42c our primary concern was that this creature and its access to water. I have been filling vessels for the bird life at my house but with no tap in sight, there was little we could do.

Possum medicine uses a great deal of strategy. Possums are well-known for one of their tricks. These small animals are amongst a group of animals who have the capacity to play dead when predators are near. This way they trick other, larger animals, that they are dead and then attack them or avoid them after they give up on the hunt. This trick helps possums to survive in often dangerous habitats.

Despite idleness being dammed as slothfulness, as one of the seven deadly sins, inactivity plays a perfect role in human life! When we are idle we are actually keeping up a valuable tradition. There are many advantages to inaction! For a start, immobility conserves energy. A half an hour siesta can ward off coronary disease. Plato tells us that Socrates stood still for nearly 24 hours while ruminating on some particularly intractable problems.

Most people would recoil at the idea of doing this but they would be wise to learn from a possum. Sometimes we need to go into a torpor and not think about anything much. Sometimes we need to rest our brains and replenish, in readiness to receive messages from the creator and enjoy another creative spurt.

 

Rally Your Personal Spirits

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week three and the creative force has produced the Musk Lorikeet to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

In Signs of Love from Heaven Above, Liz Winter explains that our angels and guides are with us all the time if we just care to look. In this article she describes how a lorikeet kissied her back to life and bought her into the present moment. She saw the lorikeet as a sign, a sign of love from Spirit. The Lorikeet seemed to be telling her to look at the beauty around her, look at where she was in that moment. She felt that the bird reminded her that she was not alone.

Loneliness is the elephant in the room for many creative people. Creating can feel lonely even when you are surrounded by others. Paradoxically, it is creating that is a salve to this sense of loneliness.

If you want to be an artist you  need to understand about the difference between aloneness and loneliness. Lorikeet reminds us that we do all have our personal Spirit Allies, ready and waiting to serve us. We only have to rally them for support. Their reward is the joy in our heart. We do not have to feel alone. We do not need to be shy about the Spirit World. We can talk to our guides, unload on them and ask for signs. They are there to help.

Even if it seems to be flitting from one place to another Lorikeet will listen today!

Create Colourful Portraitures

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week three and the creative force has produced the Musk Lorikeet to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

They talk with their beaks full of blossom
In a cascade of chatter as they sidle
Invisibly through the swaying treetops
They fly in a hurry as if all the gumnuts
Would disappear before they got to them
Geoffrey Dutton

Musk Lorikeets have been feeding on the fruit in my yard, hurling stone fruit onto the roof of the galvanised shed that the fruit tree spreads its branches over. The ground is covered with kernels, hastily discarded as the birds flit off looking for the next treat! These joyful creatures bring brightly coloured plumage and comic antics into my world.

The Rainbow Lorikeet and Musk Lorikeet have inspired rich poetic characterisations, with poets depicting them as gangs of unruly, chattering, aerodynamic, comical bandits. Geoffrey Dutton and Mark O’Connor are just two Australian poets who personify the spirit of these free-ranging, social creatures.

Lorikeets are full of silliness and humour, and they are also inquisitive about their surroundings. They remind the writer and artist to bring colour, humour and light into their work.

Manuel Payno is a writer whose work brought as much joy as a flock of lorikeets. In the translator’s preface, Alan Fluckey describes the small riot that erupted when a ship, carrying copies of  The Bandits from Rio Frio in its cargo, arrived in Mexico. Boxes were hastily opened and copies were sold within minutes as people greedily hustled to get their own personal copy. Book in hand Mexicans sat about in the open air reading to their neighbours! Rainbow chatter filled the air!

Lorikeet and Payno come whirling into my world, reminding me to remind everyone to be exuberant and add colour to their writing; to write and paint about colourful places and colourful characters! Examine the work of Payno closely! Combine this with a copy of The Donkey Inside by Ludwig Bemelmans! Your work will be enriched!

Rainbow Lorikeets
by Mark O’Connor

To feed head-down in an aerial smother of honey and pollen
reassured by a rainbow chatter of siblings
changing tree on impulse
in case python or man is stalking,
reckless till then . . .

A frantic pillaging crew,
crimson-patched pirates screeching in plunder-frenzy,
ignoring the silver-eyes nervously feeding
under those orange scimitars of beak.

The first dozen leave in a second, headlong, a rapid
scatter of downward notes; greedy last tilts his head
and is traumatised by a blank grey-green
widowed of reds and orange.

Before long they’ll circle back.

Shrieks of “Saps up”, “Feed here!”,
churrs of “All’s well, Honey flows”,
screech of “Hawk’s shadow! Watch out!”
mute to the mating thrum
Bill-and-Coo, Tickle-and-Tweek.

Their world is millions of honey-dripping pores.
Free as a child with a million breasts to suckle,
the world’s glands, daytime and night,
at work making sweets for them.

“Comic book bandidos”, but equally
rainbow-motley clowns; with their walk-claws
they tread-cling, wading and stumbling
up loose sprays of blossom
as a lily-trotter walks floating weeds.
They clutch-bunch and jostle on rafts of leaf
buoyed there by bough-spring, then flare out
over forests where the tenth tree in rotation
is an oasis of dripping pompoms.
Their brush-tongues delving and combing
bully honey from bottle-brush florets
or bite them off short,
munching sweet mash.

This desert of unfruiting trees,
deluding the settlers with woody semblances,
is their land of nectar and pollen-bread, antipodean
paradise, where raucous workers thrive.
A good tree gives gallons a day
— but modestly, from flowers as dull as grasses,
pale cream or off-white, blanched foliage.
Birds themselves must play petal;
their stridulous yellows and blues and orange and red
flag out each tree of delights, proclaim the loud shrines
of fermenting, honeyed, winey abundance.

It is said the birds came from dinosaurs.
Rainbow dinosaurs.

Some Colourful Characters Who Populated Lemuria
Heather Blakey 2004 – 10

Magical Healing Voices

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

The Welsh Goddess Rhiannon (Great Queen) was accompanied by magical birds whose enchanted songs could ” awaken the dead and lull the living to sleep”. Tadhg, son of Cian, meets the Divine Cliodna, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her three magical birds heal the sick and wounded with their sweet songs. Rhiannon’s birds charmed the company of Bran into losing track of time, in the Welsh legend The Maginogi. Often three birds appear together in Celtic symbolism, an association with the Triple Goddess. Birds often symbolize the flight of the spirits to the otherworld. They possessed supernatural powers, and throughout Celtic mythology, divine entities frequently shape-shift between human and bird form.

Illustration by Anna-Marie Ferguson
showing Rhiannon,
the Celtic Goddess of Birds and Horses,
who may be associated with the Roman
Goddess Epona. Source

Rhiannon is a Welsh Horse Goddess, her name means White Witch or Great Queen.   She is an inspiring figure to invoke for Poets, Artists, and Singers.    She possesses deep magic and can manifest her dreams and desires for the good of all.  She is a good witch, a Healer.  She travels on a powerful white horse with her mysterious birds that possess healing powers.   These birds are magical, for they are the birds of Sweetest Song and she is their mistress.  Rhiannon’s birds appear in various Celtic symbols in Celtic Art.

Rhíannon is a goddess, the princess submerged in cultural darkness who lies like a shadowy creature in the realms of our dreams waiting to come to life with vigour and passion again.

Rhíannon was as patient as she was beautiful.  She was also extremely courageous.   Rhíannon possessed magnificent singing birds which healed with the magical quality of their voices.

Blackbirds are the bird of both the gateway and the forge. Blackbird calls to us from the gateway between two worlds, urging us to follow a spiritual path or to become more self-aware. he calls to us in the twilight, showing us the path to Otherworldly secrets, pointing out the ways in which we can discover more about our hidden motivations and potential. There are times in life when it is important to concentrate on the outer world and your responsibilities in that world, but there are also times when you must attend to the haunting song of your soul which calls you to a study of spiritual truths, and to an exploration of the inner world through dreams and myths. In heeding Blackbird’s song, you will discover healing and new depths in your soul.

Stop to listen and meditate upon the song of the Common Blackbird! Allow the Common Blackbird to do her magic!

Now let Three Birds of Rhiannon songwriter, Stevie Nicks soothe your creative spirit! Play it again and again! Take words and phrases, write them down, work with the words you glean and see what emerges from the inner world.

A Foraging We Go

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

The dictionary describes foraging as a “search for food or provisions.”

Essentially, foraging is the purest and simplest of instincts. The natural reaction to hunger is to seek out food, and before the 24-hour convenience of neatly-arranged supermarket aisles, we scoured the countryside for something, anything, that would sustain us.

Not so many years ago, if you left the house with a wicker basket to harvest food, most people would snigger and point you towards the nearest supermarket. Mushrooming? Heaven forbids; the fungi world was fraught with danger. However, enter celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver! They have enlightened us about the edible delights that can be found on our doorsteps. Now, any chef worth his or her Michelin salt is foraging or sourcing wild food that sings with natural, integral flavours.

♠ Watch the common blackbird foraging! What are twenty things you observe about the art of foraging?

You might head out with a basket and forage for food or, like me, you might adapt the definition of foraging. For my purposes foraging is the search for food or provisions which will feed my creative spirit! I let my fingers do the walking and under the tutorage of the sharp-eyed blackbird, seek out creative stimuli that will further my creative endeavours. Alternatively, I go to charity stores, second-hand collectable places, libraries, bookshops etc and just see what turns up.

After stumbling upon the Curious Origins of Sing a Song of Sixpence  I was intrigued by where examining a simple nursery rhyme might take me. As the writer of this article says, delving into peoples attempts to find meaning in what was probably a jaunty ditty to amuse children, has been a voyage of learning  in so many ways. How else would we learn about the notorious life of Edward Teach, the medieval splendours of entremet, the lacklustre poet laureate Henry Pye and the larger than life shenanigans of Henry the VIII.

Random Acts of Foraging

The Irish Blackbird, Turdus merula, is a common, resident bird; the males are solid black with a bright orange beak, and the females tend to be brownish in colour (Irish Birds). They are well-known for their abilities as beautiful songsters, and it is because of this trait that they appear often in the literature. ”The ‘Three Birds of Rhiannon’ [a Celtic goddess and queen] were said to have the ability to sing the dead to life, and the living into a sleep of death”, and these birds were also the “harbingers of the Otherworld, and their singing at Harlech in the tale of Branwen suspends earthly time”.  Considering their talents with a song, it comes as no surprise that the Blackbird is generally seen in the role.  In addition, the blackbird’s importance is consistently seen in the native set of symbols as being one of the “Oldest Animals”, in other words, an animal that has been around since the beginning of time, and has learned much about how the world works. Source

Blackbird Fact Sheet

The Story of the White Blackbird  The White Blackbird” is a charming satire on the literary life of Alfred de Musset’s time, exposing not merely the ease with which popular taste is imposed upon and some current types of literary humbugs, but also the universal tendency to confound mere eccentricity with genius.

Three Little Birds” is a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is the fourth track on side two of their 1977 album Exodus and was released as a single in 1980. The song reached the Top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 17. It is one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs.

This happy, upbeat tune tells the tale of three birds who helped remind Bob Marley that “every little thing is gonna be all right.”  Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.” In his lifetime he certainly spread his wings and flew! He leaves a rich legacy

♠ What does Blackbird help you find! Where does the treasure take you? Feel free to gloat and tell us about any treasure that you find under a leaf!

Idyllic Bush Resting Place

Bush songs devised by ordinary, everyday people are a record of the people’s experiences of living, surviving and dying in the bush, as well as the colourful slang of bush life.

 

Today, on my way back from meeting a friend at Malmsbury for lunch, I saw a sign, that I had never noticed before, pointing to the Elphinstone Cemetery. It was quite a trek, along an unsealed road, to find this well maintained old cemetery. At the time when it was established in Elphinstone, there would have been more bush to be seen. Today you pass by properties on acreage!

What is it about ‘the bush’ that is so special to Australians? The bush has an iconic status in Australian life and features strongly in any debate about national identity, especially as expressed in Australian literature, painting, popular music, films and foods.

The bush was something that was uniquely Australian and very different to the European landscapes familiar to many new immigrants. The bush was revered as a source of national ideals by the likes of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Romanticising the bush in this way was a big step forward for Australians in their steps towards self-identity. The legacy is a folklore rich in the spirit of the bush.

Many Australian myths and legends have emanated from the bush. Early bushranging – ranging or living off the land – was sometimes seen as a preferred option to the harsh conditions experienced by convicts in chains. Later bushrangers such as Jack Donohue, Ben Hall and Ned Kelly were seen as rebellious figures associated with bush life. Their bushmanship was legendary as well as necessary. Source: The Australian Bush

Akari Writes Her Own Adventures

I am sure you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books, where you’re chased by a tiger.  You can escape it by leaping into the ocean 50 feet below (go to page 48) or face the tiger with your homemade slingshot (go to page 128).

Akari (my Mazda 3) loves driving through roads with avenues of white-trunked eucalypts. Side roads beckon! It is hard for her to resist them. However, while she could be talked into some sophisticated adventuring, Akari is no risk taker. For the moment she finds it is exciting enough to explore hidden valleys and go down unmade roads that are not only reserved for four-wheel drives.

Akari and I were out messing about today and we wandered along out of the way, an unmade bush road called Providence Gully Road. When we turned off the road, along another unmade road, to head towards civilisation, we came upon this rather dramatic entrance to a property. We thought this might be just the setting to write your own adventure.

The gate is open!

You take the time talk to all the bones and heads that are decorating the gate to learn more about what really lies within.

OR

Thinking that Baba Yaga may live here and give you the creative fire you decide to ignore all the DO NOT ENTER signs and step through the portal into this private world.

OR

Because you are so imaginative you think of something else!

Melissa Pilakowski puts forward a fun version of writing your own adventure using Hamlet as a kick starter.

 

 

Cemetery Exploring With Akari

Workers and players have earned their repose.
Soon on their names all in vain we shall call,
For even the grandest old landmarks must fall.
Just a warm hand-clasp ere one disappears—
These are the last of the old pioneers.
John Sandes

Turn off the Castlemaine to Maldon road onto the gravel Sandy Creek road and follow the old Cobb & Co route, past the old hotel, where they stopped for a break and drive on  towards Welshman’s Reef through Box-ironbark country.

Welshmans Reef is a former gold mining town 15 km west of Castlemaine and 110 km north-west of Melbourne. The name presumably came about from a Welshman discovering the gold-bearing reef: there were numerous Welsh and Methodist settlers at neighbouring townships such as Fryerstown and Vaughan.

West of Welshmans Reef there were the Loddon flats, which enabled miners to diversify into farming. A school was opened in 1877. The place was seldom more than a hamlet and its peak pre-twenty-first-century census population of 215 persons was in 1915. In 1956 the Cairn Curran Reservoir was completed, inundating much of the river flats.

As you approach the hamlet a sign points to the old Sandy Creek Cemetery, a cemetery that was closed in 1956. Many pioneers who came seeking gold lie here. Noting our arrival a large mob of kangaroos took off, bounding across the creek.

The sight of so many small white, numbered markers, combined with the fact that there were only a few headstones, took my breath away. Memorials placed by descendants revealed that this  is a place to honour the pioneers who came here.

The Perfect Hideaway

Now that I am the age I am I totally get why my parents enjoyed their Sunday drives. Mum would fill the cake tin, make a flask of tea and out we would go. Mum and Dad regularly explored the rabbit warren of our immediate world in Gippsland. Now, like them, I have become addicted to wandering, just having a look see. You never know what you will see if you just open your eyes and look. You never know what you will conjure unless  you are prepared to dream.

 

Even though MIDNITE was seventeen, he wasn’t very bright. So when his father died, his five animal friends decided to look after him. Khat, the Siamese, suggested he became a bushranger, and his horse, Red Ned, offered to help. But it wasn’t very easy, especially when Trooper O’Grady kept putting him in prison.

So it was just as well that in the end he found GOLD!

Midnite, by Randolph Stow, is a brilliant good-humoured and amusing history of the exploits of Captain Midnite and his five good animal friends who lived in a hidden valley!

Australian Bushrangers like Captain Midnite, or Captain Starlight, as depicted in the classic Robbery Under Arms were fond of hiding places in out of the way valleys like this one beyond Yandoit. I am not likely to take up bush ranging but if I found some GOLD I would look for a place, tucked in a very private little valley, just like this, and create an art sanctuary for wandering creatives.

The Past Dwells Here

An entire past comes to dwell here!
Gaston Bachelard ‘Poetics of Space’

In the summer of 2011, on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula on Scotland’s west coast, excavations revealed the only known Viking boat burial to be excavated on the British mainland in modern times. The vessel survived in the form of more than 200 rivets, many in their original location, and indicated a small clinker boat. It contained a sword, an axe, a spear, a ladle, an Irish bronze ring-pin and the bronze rim of a drinking horn. These items indicate that it was a remarkably rich Viking boat burial of a warrior. Positioned beside the warship Roskilde 6, the Ardnamurchan boat burial represents the final journey of a Viking warrior, sailing into the afterlife. Source: A History of the Viking World

An African proverb says that ‘when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground’.

Here at the Glenlyon Cemetery there may not be a rich treasury of artefacts, but rich memories lie here. One grave holds an image, perhaps created by the lad who died, forever young, who is mourned by his family.

Another tombstone in the Sutton Grange Cemetery includes images of a young lad skiing. A photo of his beloved dog watches over him. Nearby the crystals, of ‘a woman with a gentle soul’ are mingled among the stones of a beautiful modern memorial.

It is may not be as fashionable to spend time in cemeteries now but a graveyard can be  a great place to explore local history and genealogy, take a peaceful seasonal walk and contemplate the pasts that lie there.

It is also a great place to meditate, make art and enjoy a flask of coffee!

Akari’s Mystery Tour

Definition: a mystery tour is a short journey that people make for pleasure without knowing where they are going

Akari, my 2008 Mazda 3, specialises in magical mystery tours that feed the soul and the creative spirit. Akari knows all about duende, that raw, tempestuous creative energy that flamenco guitarists, gypsies and dancers are familiar with. Her inclusive tours take in all aspects of Central Victoria including: geology, the environment, culture, flora, fauna and history.

A mystery tour is all about anticipation! Those who come on one of Akari’s tours, especially visitors from other countries, are always surprised when Akari takes them to some out of the way  place that reveals a different perspective of Australia. They are always  inspired !

Today, with the smell of spring in the air, my dogs and I went out on an artistic date with Akari.

 

In Art Heals: How Creativity Heals The Soul, Shane McNiff says that ‘photography can help us become more aware of our environments. When we walk with a camera searching for images… this process helps us look more closely and deeply at our surroundings.” There is no doubt that the camera has the capacity to hold moments of our perception and help us to see the possibilities for perceptual awareness.

I took the time to receive the benefits of aesthetic contemplation and to look attentively.  My perceptions were not all captured by the iPhone! Moliagul is almost a ghost town now yet it proudly boasts being the site where the Welcome Stranger Gold Nugget, found here by John Deason, changed Australian History.  Moliagul also has an amazing monument to John Flynn who pioneered the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service in Cloncurry, Queensland (later to be renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service). At one time he was the headmaster at the small iconic school I stopped to photograph.

This meditation brings a new energy and creativity into my life. The fruits of Waiting For Godot over the past three months are beginning to ripen. There are so many things I can do with the images I collected on this ‘tour’ with Akari! I look forward to a rich harvest.

Mcniff, S 2004, Art Heals: How Creativity Cures The Soul, Shambala, Boston

Mail Box Spotting and Front Yard Art

“The mailman, if he’s extra tired, would pass them in his sleep,
It’s safest to address the note to ‘Care of Conroy’s sheep’,
For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go astray,
You write to ‘Care of Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh’.”
A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson,
“The Travelling Post Office”
The Bulletin, 10 March 1894

A homogeneous, common, admittedly ageing, urban letterbox.

Most countries tend to have standardized mailboxes with uniform colours.  Japan makes them original. They have things like Kawai and mascots with amazing boxes, customized according to their location.

One of the first things that people see when they visit you at your house is the mailbox. Not every one is satisfied with the standard variety of boxes available in the hardware store. Mailboxes can be turned into amazing front yard decorations. Building creative affairs does not require large investment. All you need is an imagination galore which is free.

If you are not up to making a unique mailbox you can kill time mailbox spotting. Sunday drives may not be in fashion now but humour me. I thought of my parents as I drove around back roads looking for  letterboxes with character.

When we were kids we were fairly easily entertained. I grew up in Gippsland and have memories of the long trip to the city. To keep us occupied my mother had us play various versions of  “I Spy With My Little Eye’ or we identified the makes of cars passing by. Now, sadly, children are occupied with a device and there is less conversation.

This is not my father but he had a very similar rig when he was delivering bread to outlying places.

On our Sunday drives, up and down laneways and byways, we took in all kinds of detail; checking out what improvements people were making to their places. Having delivered bread to outlying farms with a horse and bread cart, Dad knew the region well and people had all sorts of unusual boxes to leave the bread in.

Head out this weekend.  Just for a change, pack the thermos and a picnic and go mail box spotting. Look for weird and wonderful letterboxes.

A collection of found letterboxes! Well! They were not actually lost! They were found in backroads around Castlemaine and beyond. While no addresses are shown, if your letter box appears here and you would rather it not be shown, I will remove the image.

Like these sisters, you could always go on a bike ride and look for unique mail boxes. Aim to see as many unusual letter boxes as possible, take lots of photos and keep a sketch book filled with fun ideas for front yard art.  Decide which is your favourite! Believe me! It is quite addictive to do this.

Share some photos in the comment box here or on Facebook. Head to an Office Works, print the best photos quite cheaply and randomly post them in more traditional letterboxes, like this one, to remind people just what a statement they could be making with their letterbox.

Become Rock Nerds

Majestic mountains, breathtaking canyon views, gorgeous arrays of sea stacks and beautiful sandstone arches are but a few of Mother Nature’s wonders that beckon photographers worldwide. These geological features lure artists of all kinds to paint, preserve, photograph, or sculpt. They’ve been cut by rivers, uplifted by faults or folds, carved by the wind, and eroded by time.
Russ Burden

When I was out taking some photos of this anticlinal fold in the Kalimna Park, just behind Castlemaine, I was asked if I was a rock nerd. I laughed! That is a term I associate with someone like Tim Minchin, but I confess I have been looking at rocks quite a bit lately.

A new global craze has kids all over the world getting outdoors to play hide and seek with hand-painted rocks. Kids are naturally interested in rocks. How many times have we witnessed students climbing on large boulders, collecting rocks, or throwing pebbles in the river?

The painted rock craze has been praised as a cheap and easy way to get kids away from technology and outside.

The hidden rocks are typically small, flat garden stones with a simple picture or a nice message painted on either side.

The rocks are hidden in parks, with photos posted on a Facebook page so other parents can take their children to find the rocks, then re-hide them somewhere else.

Rather than paint them I am happy to keep a small collection in the garden this lovely statue.

Educating students on rocks and minerals is an important and fun part of  science curriculum. This activity will lead to many more fun things to do and may result in an interest in photography and  a growth of interest in geology.

 

Two Feuding Volcanoes

The land around here is ancient. About 480 million years ago it was all under the sea. Then a couple of tectonic plates collided deep underground, squeezing everything like a vice.

I love the idea of sitting on the top of Tarrengower reading the story, as told by Justice B Nelson, and published by Culture Victoria, of two feuding volcanoes named Tarrengower and Lalgambook (Mount Franklin)

“A long, long time ago, long before anyone but the Traditional People walked our Country, our lands, rivers, mountains and animals alike, all had magical life. They had personalities, purpose, speech and they could think for themselves.

Tarrengower in the Dja Dja Wurrung means to be big and heavy and indeed he was just that; big, bold, wise and a very proud old volcano who had become very tired throwing out rocks and lava and preferred to sit humbly watching over the plains.

Another volcano called Lalgambook was a young, loud and cheeky volcano that started to challenge old Tarrengower’s wisdom and authority, and began grumbling and building up anger towards the old volcano. But Tarrengower, being the wise old volcano that he was, decided he should just try to ignore this cheeky little volcano.

Lalgambook grew even angrier that Tarrengower wasn’t acknowledging his threats and started to put on a display of smoke, ash and brimstone to impress the land and animals who were also watching, but this didn’t intimidate the wise old Tarrengower. Instead he just laughed at Lalgambook.

Lalgambook became so frustrated that he began to throw large rocks at Tarrengower who grumbled with annoyance at this cheeky volcano and Tarrengower now began to taunt young Lalgambook by telling him he wasn’t very strong at all because the rocks couldn’t reach him.

Lalgambook exploded with great fury, spurting out lava and smoke high into the sky and hurled gart gart in Tarrengower’s direction, but still could not reach him. This caused Lalgambook to completely blow his core!

Tarrengower’s anger eased and he just grumbled at this cheeky little volcano who was now just coughing and spluttering with no energy left at all.

All the rocks thrown by Lalgambook at Tarrengower can still be seen today and have formed what is known in the present day as the Guilford Plateau where the Jaara people would perform ceremonies on the Bora grounds also known as Yapene.”

Re-told by Justice B Nelson – Dja Dja Wurrung, Jaara
Content in Culture Victoria is free for educational use.

Copyright of this story
The writers, photographers and the State of Victoria

In Game of Thrones men have maintained a watch on the wall for thousands of years. The fire tower on top of Mount Tarrengower has been consistently manned by firespotters, long term occupants of the tower, since the days of Oliver Ralph in the 1950’s. Most recently Peter Skilbeck has been on the watch!

The Advance Maldon Association brought the tower that stand on the top of Mount Tarrengower from Bendigo to Maldon to attract visitors to the area after the goldmining had almost ceased. The tower was originally the poppet legs of the Comet Mine in Bendigo, and was brought to Maldon by rail in 80′ (24m) lengths. It was carried up the mountain on a timber jinker drawn by a team of horses, along a track cut from Butts Reserve to the summit. A Mr. William Adams put up the money for the project, approx. 600 pounds. During the Maldon Easter Fair, held annually since 1877, the lookout tower is illuminated. Prior to the 1950s, this was done by wiring up over 100 makeshift lanterns, using stone ginger beer bottles, hemp wicks and kerosene. The bottles were hidden in a disused mine shaft until the next Easter.
Source: Fire Lookouts Downunder

The viewing distance from this tower is up to 100 km in all directions, except northwards to Bendigo and Mount Alexander where it is about 30 km.

Take the time to visit Mount Tarrengower and the cheeky younger volcano across the way. Learn about the spirits of volcano’s and draw upon their energy.

Volcano Folklore:

Land of Volcanoes

Merapi Volcano Spirit Keeper

Volcano Eruption Myth

Volcano Folklore

This page is only meant for educational use!

Unknown Goldfields Miners Grave

‘Since Saturday morning, the scene (on the goldfields) has greatly changed – then a tent would be seen here and there, but now they are becoming inconveniently crowded … On Saturday, dozens were arriving at a time; on Sunday, hundreds; Monday and Tuesday, one continuous line of new arrivals.’
Argus, 8 November 1851

KALIMNA PARK is a bushland reserve on the north eastern outskirts of Castlemaine comprising 175 ha. During the gold rush the area was almost totally denuded and the ground turned over. In time, coppice regrowth has produced a box-ironbark woodland with a characteristic ecosystem of plants, birds and less visible wildlife.

Gold miners often led an itinerant life, following rushes from lead to lead, so tracking their movements can be difficult. In a remote part of this reserve lies the grave of the unknown miner dating back to the gold rush (circa 1850s). I certainly needed my local guide to find this grave, tucked in a remote corner of the park. It is hard to imagine what life was like for this miner seeking gold in what was a remote part at this time. If this hapless miner made his fortune it didn’t bring him any glory! More sadly the gold rush proved to be a second wave of dispossession for the Dja Dja Warrung people. Already marginalised by the first white settlement, the discovery of gold destroyed vast tracts of land and much of their traditional way of life.

The destruction of their environment and subsequently their traditional lifestyle was a major cause of grief for the Aboriginal people. Traditional food sources such as berries and plants, as well as the native animals they depended upon for meat were all destroyed as the Europeans cleared land and stripped huge areas of timber for their own needs.

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