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New Norfolk – Betty King

Marvelous things on our own doorstep! We do not need to travel far to be transported into another world. Transportation was certainly uppermost in out thoughts when Dedrie and I visited New Norfolk in Tasmania and then travelled through Launceston on our way to catch the ferry. In the New Norfolk town cemetery we came across the grave of Betty Thackeray King . Betty (born 1767) was a convict. She was sentenced at Manchester 4th May 1786 for seven years transportation for stealing two black silk handkerchiefs and three others. Betty spent her first year in prison hulks, but when the ...
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Spion Kopje

A recent visit to the Victorian High Country yielded a most interesting and unexpected surprise! While walking around Lake Guy near Bogong Village I came across a sign which read "Spion Kopje", with an arrow pointing to a mountain in the distance. It was not the most striking mountain in the area - but a name like that immediately grabbed my attention. Apart from being the site of the battle during the Anglo-Boer War, where the British, together with Australian colonial troops within their ranks, suffered a defeat, the name appears in many states and cities within Australia and - no doubt - in ...
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Destruction of my birthplace

“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it – if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass …”  (George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860) How could we know the earth, if we have no earth to know? If all we have of     our childhood memories are disused mines, grey and matted overburden, smouldering discard coal dumps, lakes of acid mine drainage and the foul, ...
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ALEXANDER – A Highveld Farm in the Old Transvaal

I Googled the name of my cousin Stephanus Venter, or ‘Fanie’ as we knew him and the name of our family farm ‘Alexander’. I had been trying to contact him on a mobile number that I had for him – this had been in vain. I was hoping that I could find his number on the internet. What came up however, was a post which read – ‘Farm Murders – On the Increase’, with a name in the post – ‘Fanie Venter’. With disbelief I read the post, which featured an extract from a newspaper report. It went on to ...
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Monbulk

As Spring approaches rapidly, we decided to visit friends at Monbulk and had a most delightful day. The chooks, alpacas, border collies), magpies, blackbirds, cockies, doves, ducks put on a special show for us in the lovely garden that is being preparing for the onset of the warm weather ...
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Interbeing

Defining, describing, modelling, deciphering - whatever means deployed Should fail - without tools, performance standards, where do we start? Programmed to add, subtract, linearise and build with zeroes and ones, What do we get, approximations - lines, rectangles, circles and all the variants? Cannot construct this we see! Step back, aside, gently breathing, until....we see. That it's always been there - embryonic programming. That is the reason - too close to see ...
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Pretty Rough to be a herbivore in Arusha!

Our last day's visit with Hilda to Arusha National Park made us thankful that we were shielded all round by the body of the Rav 4WD. We had just got out of the car to view the Flamingoes and were driving contentedly along when Dedrie shouted - hey! look! a Warthog chasing the Zebras, Giraffe and Wildebeest. Surely not? Then - to our dismay - we saw that we were witnessing a Wild Dog hunt - the Warthogs were actually Wild Dogs creeping along their bellies in the long grass . "Der hund begraben"!! ...
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Mikumi National Park – Tanzania

After a full day's driving from Dar-es-Salaam, arriving at the main gate at about 10 pm, we raised the ranger at the main gate who booked us into a lodge for the night. Thankfully we had at that stage given up plans for camping at one of the camp sites for the night. Next morning we drove to the 'camp site' near the Hippo Pool. We knew from the outset that this site epitomised remoteness. We had to share the camp site with all the giraffes, impala, warthogs, finches, swallows, snakes and predators in the area . Not known to us, though, was ...
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Early Spring!

Blossoms out during the first week in August! Is this a climate change phenomenon, an El Nino effect or the very dry Winter we have just had? Stradbroke Park - a favourite oval near our house in Kew. Black Wattle in full bloom - sadly, reminds me of "Blouboskraal" this time of year. The King Parrot - she was agreeable and paused for this moment! Two regular Spring visitors - safe terrain - want to avoid Gippsland in a few weeks time! Although Lil B decided on a full charge - met with disdain as these two languidly took off, circled ...
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