Thursday, December 19, 2013

View from Mt Kosciuszko

Ever wondered what it looks like at the top of Kosciusko. From the top of Australia's highest mountain. John Evan's and his merry band of bushwalkers give us a 360 degree view from the summit. For any information on bushwalking in Canberra, the ACT region and beyond I highly recommend a visit to John's website Johnny boy's walkabout.


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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gorse spider mite

I was only noting the abundance of St John's wort flowering around here recently and pondered the difficulties of control. I suspect manual spraying is their principle form of attack. I found this recent ACT Government project interesting. The biological control of another weed of significance in Canberra, a weed called Gorse...
TAMS media release - 
Released 12/12/2013
"They might be too small to see but Gorse spider mite plays an important role in the battle to control environmental weeds in the ACT. 
The miniscule eight-legged creatures feed exclusively on Gorse, a plant native to western Europe, now listed as a weed of national significance in Australia due to its invasive nature. 
"The mites have been introduced to a site at Bruce, where they will hopefully eat through a significant amount of Gorse and establish a colony population so they can be used in other sites," Steve Taylor, Senior Weed Management Officer, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, said. 
"Gorse invades bushland, threatening the survival of native plant species, and provides shelter for other pests, such as rabbits and foxes. In the ACT, Gorse infestations are localised and cover small areas, as it has been controlled with a rigorous herbicide program. 
"While a lot of the work in controlling this pest species is done with selective herbicides and mechanical removal, the mite is used to further weaken the plant. There are a number of sites across the ACT where mites have been introduced to control weeds, including Scotch Broom mite, which was released earlier this year in Williamsdale. The plan is to establish about half a dozen other sites for Gorse spider mite in the ACT. 
"Importantly the mites do not feed on any other plants. Bio-control agents, such as Gorse spider mites, are only released from quarantine after rigorous testing over a number of years to ensure they do not affect other species. It was provided to the ACT free-of-charge as part of a partnership with the CSIRO and Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries." 
The biological control of weeds, such as the introduction of Gorse spider mite, has been used in the ACT to help control a range of other weeds including Paterson's Curse, St John's Wort and Blackberry. It is just one part of the ACT Government's integrated approach to managing invasive and environmental weeds. 
For more information on weed control work in the ACT visit or call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81."
- Statement ends -
For more information on the biological control of gorse - Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research -

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby - saving an endangered species

Seems there is a new addition to the Tidbinbilla breeding program. This is particularly important for genetic diversity in a population so important to the re-introduction of these rare animals to the wild. Excellent news...

ACT Government TAMS media release 
Released 02/12/2013
Brett McNamara, Manager of Regional Operations, National Parks and Catchments, today announced that Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has welcomed a very special addition to its Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby population. 
"Since 2010, 53 Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies have been bred at Tidbinbilla's Animal Breeding Centre, but none quite like the little joey recently born who has introduced very valuable genetics to the rock-wallaby species," Mr McNamara said. 
"Low genetic variation makes a population vulnerable to inbreeding which can be detrimental to long-term reproduction rates, so it is great to see the management strategies employed by ACT Parks and Conservation now paying dividends to increase overall genetic diversity. 
"The recruitment of new genes is one of these strategies, with the father of the new pouch young taken from the wild in East Gippsland, Victoria and relocated to Tidbinbilla in 2012. 
"The team at Tidbinbilla has also enlisted the help of geneticists from the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby Recovery Team to divide the wallabies into breeding groups. 
"The wild male was put into a female dominated group with wallabies deemed a good mate choice based on genetics and age as well as the bond they have with the male. Now, six months later, he has sired his first joey. 
"This birth is a great achievement which the team at Tidbinbilla is justifiably very proud. Last year they bred a record number of the species, with 18 born in captivity at the reserve. This is another huge step forward in ensuring the long-term survival of the overall population. 
"The joey is settling in well to the beautiful surrounds of Tidbinbilla where it has plentiful food and is joined by the 10 other joeys that were bred this year." 
Mr McNamara said the ACT is also playing a significant and leading part in the re-establishment of the species in Victoria. 
"As part of the captive breeding program, eight wallabies bred at Tidbinbilla were released into the Grampians National Park in Victoria in 2012 and have helped improve the area's genetic diversity. Two of those we have released have now bred in the wild. 
"Tidbinbilla's breeding program is part of a national effort to save the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby species from extinction. The wallabies are locally extinct in the ACT and it is estimated there are less than 40 left in the wild – all of which reside in Victoria."
- Statement ends -

The Canberra Times has also reported the event - Baby wallaby a big step for survival

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Wild Black Stallion - Australian Brumby

One of my favourite local youtubers. Nate Brindabella shows us a wild stallion in Kosciusko.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Canberra Inline skaters group

Dust off your old inline skates or buy a new pair. An old school friend informs me that a new social skating group is being formed in Canberra for regular gatherings. Sounds like a lot of fun...

"The weather is now perfect for early evening inline skating. When I lived in Sydney back in the late 90's I was a member of Sydney Bladers, and the group is still going strong today. I want to start a social inline skate group right here in Canberra. I suggest we have a weekly meet up, and blade for a few hours, then end with a drink at a club or pub. We have lots of great paths and places to explore on blades. If you are keen, join the group and get in touch with me. I will be holding the first skate on Wednesday 27th"

Turn up if you would like to skate, and check the fb group for the event details.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Cotterfest! Opening of the new Cotter Dam

The New Cotter Dam is complete. From the ACTEW YouTube channel...

Published on Nov 13, 2013

"The weather was perfect for Cotterfest, which included the official opening of the new Cotter Dam by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. A very special day for the Canberra community, ACTEW Water and the Bulk Water Alliance."

[Documentary maker Richard Snashall works with ACTEW Water to help us capture and document the Enlarged Cotter Dam and other water security projects for our Heritage Archive.]


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Thursday, November 7, 2013

View from lunch on De Salis Knob

John Evans goes to some amazing places in the ACT. Little gems seldom visited are frequented by John and his merry band of Canberra bush walkers and this is one of those... Anyone looking for information on bushwalking in the ACT and surrounds are highly recommended to visit Johns blog.

I have never been there but I would think DeSalis Knob would be near Cuppacumbalong...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Creek Gully

Above is my single capture from a recent trail camera setting in the proposed extension to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on Corin Road. If you can pick it, it is the tail and hind leg of a feral fox motoring down the track...

Last Sunday I set the camera in what seemed to me to be just a track up a mountain gully with a small permanent creek. Worthy of a poke at seeing if there might be any quolls about so I selected a section close to the creek for four nights. Unfortunately it was quite windy over that time and the camera recorded 205 photographs and a corresponding number of 30 second videos of mostly false activations from moving foliage.

When I returned to pick up the camera I could see people perched on a rock feature in the distance and I pondered how long it would take them to get up there. When I checked the SD card I discovered how long...

Still dealing with health issues. My adventures at present are limited to some healthy walking.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Return to Country - Indigenous archaeology at Cotter Dam

From ACTEW youtube

Published on Oct 13, 2013

This 15 minute film looks back at the Indigenous archaeological program undertaken at the site of the new Cotter Dam between 2008 and 2013, with the eventual return to country of many sacred artefacts.

[Documentary maker Richard Snashall works with ACTEW Water to help us capture and document the Enlarged Cotter Dam and other water security projects for our Heritage Archive.]



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

360 degree view from Mount Gudgenby

Another wonderful 360 degree view. This time from atop Mount Gudgenby in the ACT. John Evans describes a circular tour of features in the landscape. Amazing knowledge and memory...



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Corin Road nature

I haven’t been out much recently as I have been dealing with a few health issues and I'm trying hard to stop smoking. Only anecdotal I know but as a 17 year old soldier ‘smoko’ was a section ritual and in those days of barstardization the few non-smokers were instructed to pick up butts during the break. Anyway a hard habit to break…

It was my intent earlier in the week to set a trail camera and some recording equipment near Punchbowl Creek but the Corin Dam Road was closed at Wood’s Reserve because of a rockslide further on. The fellow manning the blockade informed me it was a substantial fall that may take a few weeks to clear.

Not so much from the boulders now situated on the road but for the future landslides they still support.  This is the second rock slide in what appears to be the same section of road in the past 18 months. Seems an occurrence whenever there is heavy rain.

A disappointing trip but I took a minutes video where we turned around. A bit of Corin Road nature…

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

City Tiger Cat

Clippings from the Canberra Times of 1966 reporting the capture of a spotted tailed quoll in the Canberra suburb of Yarralumla. Once known locally as the Tiger Cat, the three clippings tell the tale of its capture in a bird cage, its handing over to the CSIRO in Belconnen and the subsequent calls to have the species protected. The animals are still seen on rare occurances in the suburbs of Canberra with the last being identified in Gowrie ACT a few months ago.

The Canberra Times - Saturday 2 April 1966

National Library of Australia

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 5 April 1966

National Library of Australia

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 26 April 1966

National Library of Australia

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Secret Life of Wombats

Last year I set a remote wildlife camera looking at a wombat burrow on the Murrumbidgee River near Tharwa in the ACT. I did this on three occasions over a few months collecting 30 second snapshots of video of interactions around a large burrow. There are three parts to this video.

Halfway through section two is a series of captures which I suspect are mating rituals although the wombats were so active and non-compliant with staying in front of the camera their modesty is retained. The mating goes for a few minutes so I have left the clips in their entirety.

An insight into the nocturnal activities of Canberra wombats...


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Simpsons Hill ANZAC memorial

A local feature on one of my walks. Not all ANZAC memorials are located at cenotaphs. On a hill near the Canberra suburbs of Chisholm and Gilmore stands a flagpole with a brass plaque below where every ANZAC eve the children, teachers & parents of both local primary schools gather to remember...

The view from Simpson's Hill

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tidbinbilla Aboriginal rock art

I didn't know about this location of Aboriginal rock art at Tidbinbilla. In the early 70's a PhD from the Australian National University discovered a painting of a single kangaroo estimated to have first been painted over 300 years ago. It certainly today isn't a site open to the public and is apparently located in an inaccessible area of Tidbinbilla. No images I can find of this.

The Canberra Times - Wednesday 1 November 1972

National Library of Australia

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Protecting Magpies

Spring has sprung and the first warnings of the Canberra Magpie swooping season have started to emerge. A search of the Trove archives in relation to our sometimes nemesis of feathered friends and Canberra reveal hundreds of results as Canberrans struggled with the yearly aerial bird bombardment.

This 75 year old article is fairly representative of articles in the early days of Canberra. I will note a great deal of mention was usually made of the Canberra Golf Club where it was particularly dangerous in regard Magpies apparently however this article describes Canberra as a Magpie's paradise and sums up the dilemma of residents as they struggled with the concept of not killing them as pests.

p.s I believe there are only four species of Australian Magpies...

The Horsham Times (Vic.) Friday 5 August 1938

National Library of Australia


Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Mix Masters - Cotter Dam

I've loved helicopters since my first trip in a Kiowa skimming the treetops of Shoalwater Bay... One of the finishing touches to our new expanded water supply.

From the ACTEW Youtubes

A helicopter was engaged to lift the new Resmix destratification units into the Cotter reservoir to help ensure high water quality. This project was undertaken by ACTEW Water working with Tenix Australia. The units were designed and manufactured by WEARS Australia.

[Documentary maker Richard Snashall works with ACTEW Water to capture our local water story]

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aboriginal treasures in the hills

Interesting old article discussing what is today called the Yankee Hat Rock Art Site. One of the known Aboriginal art sites in the ACT it is located within Namadgi National Park in The Gudgenby Valley in a complex of boulders at the foot of Yankee Hat Mountain.

Dr.Josephine Flood describes her studies,observations and thoughts on what was once a Canberra secret.

Click to enlarge

The Canberra Times - Sunday 16 July 1978

National Library of Australia

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Views from Apollo Rocks

Two videos in one week. Another 360 degree capture of the ACT by John Evans from Apollo Rocks. John describes the natural features pointing out known landmark names and displaying the vastness of the rugged parts of the territory. And again, I can't recommend John's blog highly enough if you are interested in bush walking in the ACT and surrounds....



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pierces Creek Falls

John Evans goes to some amazing places in the ACT. Little gems seldom visited are frequented by John and his merry band of Canberra bush walkers and this is one of those... Anyone looking for information on bushwalking in the ACT and surrounds are highly recommended to visit Johns blog...

Monday, August 19, 2013

What does Digital Canberra mean to you?

This sounds interesting from the ACT Government...

From the Chief Ministers & Treasury release

"The ACT Government is seeking your views on how we can make Canberra a world leading digital city. 

We are interested in your thoughts and ideas on how we can capitalise on digital opportunities and promote our digital success stories to inspire others. We believe Canberra has unique qualities that we can leverage to transform the way we work, do business, and access government services.

We would also like to hear about what needs to be done and who we should be partnering with to:
  • diversify our economy;
  • enable businesses to access new customers and international markets;
  • support digital skills and improve digital literacy;
  • publish open data for use by citizens; and
  • provide better services, that are accessible, user-friendly and integrated.

Participation in either of these two methods (in link) gives you the chance to win one FREE 32GB iPad (with Retina display)

For terms, conditions and information cont...  ACT Government Community Engagements "

History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...