Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Royal connection

My royal credentials are impeccable for a colonial commoner. I saw the Queen as a young soldier assigned to guard the cavalcade vehicles during CHOGM in 1981. The experience became something I have in common with Bob Menzies... "I did but see her passing by..."

A few years later I also saw the young Prince William I recall on his Mother Diana's hip albeit on a news report... perhaps in the paper.

And here we are 30 years later and I am again aware of the fervour only a monarchical arrival can generate. That toddler from the 80's is now 2nd in line for our future Head of State and he has his own future Head of State on hip securing our British Heritage for generations to come. I for one sleep better at night knowing there are three blue-blood Englishmen lined up to continue our constitutional future.

Another thing is that whilst the Royal couple enjoy the luxuries of Yarralumla they are only 10 kms from my suburban castle. I know this because I toss pigeons from the suburb on training flights. To think the future King & Queen of Australia are only a 5 minute pigeon flight from home. It would take me 20 minutes if I was to stake out the entrance for a glimpse although if I could get past the security I would never again wash my eyeballs. Perhaps if I'm pepper sprayed.

Just the thought of it inspires me to support the English Cricket Team or join the Australian Monarchists League... at the very least eat more hot English mustard.

My Family in fact came out from Britain in 1820 so after 190 odd years it's completely understandable why my allegiance to Mother England, as with the planned mustard, is so strong.

So three cheers for the Royal Family... May Uluru be red for them and the bilbies bouncy. I for one will be booking in for the 2043 tour of George and his young family. You know it makes sense.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A tale of abandoned New Years pigeons.

I just housed 30 pigeons of dubious breed that were rescued by the RSPCA and WIRES.

In early march I read a story about 120 white birds released in Burwood Park in Sydney around the time of Vietnamese New Year. Ten of them were housed at a friends loft down the road.

Daily Telegraph Article.

I had read in some cultures that a release of a white dove or pigeon is a lucky thing during New Years celebrations. Individuals and families pay for a bird to be released on their behalf. So 120 pigeons times $X amount. Not a bad day's stop in a park.

The concept is fine except for in this case the pigeons I suspect strongly had never flown and as such had never been trained to home. What's really ridiculous is if the men releasing these birds had the right breed that had been homed they could have sold a release of the same bird every year for the life of the pigeon.

Another thing I know is though when re homing pigeons is, when offered in large numbers in Sydney & Melbourne, they are usually destined for the pot. So sight unseen, under the condition of vaccination, I met half way at Goulburn and picked up 5 fruit boxes of scrambling birds. After a good look at these birds. A few I wouldn't expect to roam far but see how the rest go with the pedigree racer flock.

If they can't roam I'll slowly find them homes as pairs for someone who wants a flying pet.

As for the next Vietnamese New Year here in Canberra, if anyone wants to organise a lucky event I'll release a hundred birds for you. The difference between the ill fated Burwood release and mine is they will all beat me home.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Report illegal firewood collection

I think this is important...

One of the remarkable things about Canberra and the whole of the Australian Capital Territory is the beauty of its Nature Reserves & National Park.

I am reminded of ACT Parks head Brett McNamara's comment that "We manage people. The park manages itself."

ACT Government Press Release

Released 11/04/2014

The ACT Government today urged members of the public to report the illegal collection of firewood from reserves and other public areas, after several separate incidences of trees being cut down in nature reserves.

"Our nature reserves protect many threatened plant and animal species and are for people to enjoy so it is always disappointing when rangers find trees cut down," Ranger in Charge of ACT Parks and Conservation Service Murrumbidgee River Corridor, Shelley Swain, said.

"Unfortunately several times this year our rangers have found trees cut down in our nature reserves and on other public lands. Sadly, some people are unaware of the dangers and environmental impacts of cutting down trees and collecting fallen timber for firewood.

"I also remind Canberrans they cannot collect wood from public land. Fallen trees and branches form a vital part of the ecosystem by providing animal habitats, returning nutrients to the soil and encouraging revegetation.

"Fines of up to $5500 apply under the Nature Conservation Act 1980 for cutting down trees or removing wood from reserves.

"While we have a number of remote surveillance cameras in operation at parks and reserves across the ACT and our rangers keep an eye out for illegal activity, we would really appreciate the public's vigilance in helping us prevent future incidents."

To report incidents of vandalism, such as the illegal collection of firewood contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

- Statement ends

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Filling Canberra with drought confidence

Some interesting stats in the below article...

I thought this was interesting. Canberra in the last 10 days effectively created one and a half times more storage than the city has ever had.

After the 2006-2010 drought the area endured the 72 gigalitre boost of capacity completed recently in the construction/addition to the Cotter Dam effectively drought proofs the population for a generation.

The Canberra Times has a good read... Cotter Dam is filling Canberra with drought confidence.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Official Cotter Dam Time Lapse

A fascinating look at the construction of the new Cotter Dam over the years of its building...

Courtesy of ACTEW Water

Just out of interest the Cotter Dam was named after a Canberra pioneer with an interesting history...

The Cotter River and the Cotter Dam are the namesakes of convict/pioneer/squatter, Garrett Cotter and reminders of a time of exploration and another location of the government of the days exclusion zone. Referred to as "beyond the limits of location".

 Garrett Cotter was nineteen when transported from Ireland and was transported for life. Cotter was a good stock-man and was assigned to Francis Kenny’s property near Lake George. In 1827-28, Cotter took Kenny’s cattle across the Murrumbidgee River to find grazing land. Cotter family history says that Garrett was helped by Onyong, a Ngambri elder, who led him to good pastures.

In 1832 Cotter was accused of stealing a horse from a neighboring property. The charge was thrown out for lack of evidence, He had resisted arrest for two months. The Goulburn magistrates sent Cotter to live ‘beyond the limits of location’. This meant that he had to stay west of the Murrumbidgee River.

For about six years, Cotter lived beyond the river with the probable support of the natives. In 1838 he was granted a Ticket of Leave which allowed him to work in the Queanbeyan District (Squatted at Michelago). In 1847 he was granted a Conditional Pardon... Freedom as long as he never returned to the United Kingdom.

He lived till 1886 and is buried at Michelago


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...