Wednesday 30 September 2015


OK this is an Australasian Darter, rather than a cormorant (thank you Stewart).

Anhinga novaehollandiae (Anhingidae) - Because of its long and slender neck, the Australasian Darter is sometimes called the snakebird. Usually inhabiting freshwater wetlands, darters swim with their bodies submerged beneath the water’s surface, with only the sinuous neck protruding above the water, enhancing its serpentine qualities. Darters forage by diving to depths of about 60 centimetres, and impaling fish with its sharp, spear-like beak. Small fish are swallowed underwater, but larger ones are brought to the surface, where they are flicked off the bill (sometimes into the air) and then swallowed head-first.

[The great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), known as the great black cormorant across the Northern Hemisphere, the black cormorant in Australia, the large cormorant in India and the black shag further south in New Zealand, is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It breeds in much of the Old World and the Atlantic coast of North America.

The great cormorant is a large black bird, but there is a wide variation in size in the species wide range. Weight is reported to vary from 1.5 kg to 5.3 kg. Males are typically larger and heavier than females, with the nominate race (P. c. carbo) averaging about 10% larger in linear measurements than the smallest race in Europe (P. c. sinensis).  Length can vary from 70 to 102 cm and wingspan from 121 to 160 cm. They are tied as the second largest extant species of cormorant after the flightless cormorant, with the Japanese cormorant averaging at a similar size. Great cormorants are mostly silent, but they make various guttural noises at their breeding colonies.]

The Werribee River is a perennial river of the Port Phillip catchment that is located on the plain West of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The headwaters of a tributary, the Lerderderg River, are north of Ballan near Daylesford and it flows across the basalt plain, through the suburb of Werribee to enter Port Phillip. A linear park follows the Werribee River along much of its course. In total the Werribee River completes a journey of approximately 110 kilometres.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wild Bird Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 29 September 2015


The Dandenong Ranges (commonly just called 'the Dandenongs') are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest, predominantly of tall Mountain Ash trees and dense ferny undergrowth.

After European settlement in the region, the ranges were used as a main source of timber for Melbourne. They were popular with day-trippers from the 1870s onwards. Much of the Dandenongs were protected by parklands as early as 1882 and by 1987 these parklands were amalgamated to form the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was added to again in 1997. The ranges experience light to moderate snow falls a few times most years, frequently between late winter and late spring.

Today, the Dandenongs are home to over 100,000 residents and the area is popular amongst visitors, many of which stay for the weekend at the various Bed & Breakfasts through the region.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday 28 September 2015


The Bell Street Mall is located on Bell Street in West Heidelberg, a typical centre zone Melbourne suburb. The Mall includes 80 businesses and public areas for patrons to sit and rest during their stay. Stores include food stores, clothing stores, supermarkets and various specialist stores catering to the local Somali community. Across Oriel Road in the newer development, there is Aldi and other stores.

At the entrance of the Mall, shoppers are greeted by the Mall Sculpture, showing a family of three sculptural figures, probably made of cast metal and lately re-decorated through the application of paint. The mall is the focus of a yet-to-be-implemented Urban Development Framework and Master Plan.

This was Melbourne’s first Mall and still retains an authentic 1950’s feel. The Housing Commission of Victoria designed the Mall in 1954-56, at the same time as the nearby Olympic Village. It was the shopping centre for its Heidelberg estate and was in the “American style, drive-in shopping centre” model. The central, open-air mall is restricted to foot traffic, and in the surrounding areas there are set aside off-street car parking areas to accommodate the shoppers. When it was opened in 1956, the Argus newspaper praised the shopping centre’s simple lines, and the shop fronts designed and fitted by Silverwood and Beck, as examples of how plain, utilitarian planning can be attractive.

At many times during the day the mall is deserted and wandering through it can be quite a surrealistic experience, with one imagining to be in a time warp. Lately, there have been attempts at renewal with the installation of fake lawn and the occasional street art mural turning up, such as the zebra illustrated below.

If shoppers look above the Mall on Bell Street, they will see a vintage neon sign signifying the time the Mall was originally built around 1956. This sign has been recently restored to light up at night and forms the basis of the Bell Street Mall Logo.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Monday Murals meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday 27 September 2015


Christ Church is an Anglican church in the busy centre of Brunswick, just twenty minutes by tram to the north of the Melbourne CBD. The first part of the building was dedicated in 1857 and reached its final form in 1875, and has been used for weekly and daily worship since that time.

Christ Church has a proud tradition of Anglican worship in the Catholic tradition in the Northern Region of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, a diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia. Preaching and sacraments are at the centre of worship at Christ Church. Services at Christ Church blend the old and the new, drawing on the Book of Common Prayer (1662, revised 1928) and A Prayerbook for Australia (1995).

The parish is involved in the local community in various ways, including the Op Shop, Villa Rustica Cafe, inter-church activities with the other churches in the area, and through connections to Trinity College, and St Paul's Cathedral.

Christ Church is classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and is also listed on the State Government of Victoria Heritage database. Christ Church is a good example of Italian Renaissance architecture, although the campanile alone is of Romanesque design. The Nave was built in1857 (Architect: Purchas & Swyer, Builder: Peter Cunningham); The Transept, Chancel & Vestry in 1863-1864 (Architect: Smith & Watts, Builder: Dry & Co.); The Campanile in 1870-1871 (Architect: Smith & Watts, Builder: Martin & Peacock); The Apse in 1874-1875 (Architect: J. Wyatt, Builder: Pickering & Dolly).

This post is part of the Spiritual Sundays meme;
and also part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme;
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Saturday 26 September 2015


Falling on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival after the Spring Festival in China. It takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest.

On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live afar. In addition, there are some other customs like playing lanterns, and dragon and lion dances in some regions. The unique customs of ethnic minorities are interesting as well, such as “chasing the moon” of Mongolians, and “steal vegetables or fruits” of the Dong people.

In 2015, the Festival falls on September 26 - 27. In Melbourne's Southbank, the red Chinese lanterns lend a festive air to the promenade along the Yarra River and help set the celebratory mood. More on this Festival here.

This post is part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 25 September 2015


On our recent road trip, it was good to find ourselves on the way home looking at the welcoming countryside. The hills so green, the crops of canola resplendent in bright yellow and the wattles in bloom, while sheep and cows grazed contentedly on the Spring grass. However well one passes while away on holiday, the return is always pleasant with thoughts of home uppermost in one's mind.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday 24 September 2015


Isopogon formosus or Rose Cone Flower is a shrub in the Proteaceae family that is endemic to areas near Albany and Esperance in Western Australia. In occurs naturally in heathland and woodland areas. It has an erect or bushy form and is usually between 1.5 and 2 metres high. The pink flowers appear from mid winter to early summer. Rounded "drumsticks" containing the seeds appear later, formed from the old flower parts. The plant's leaves are divided, narrow, terete and about 5 cm long.

Isopogon formosus prefers full sun to partial shade in a well-drained sandy or gravelly soil. In the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) in Canberra they use a special mix of 2:1 sand and granite. It will tolerate light or moderate frosts but will not tolerate heavy frosts or extended periods of dryness. It can be propagated by either seed or cutting. The ANBG have had more success with cuttings than seed. When taking cuttings use older material, not that from the soft tips. A rooting hormone such as IBA should be used to promote root growth.

Isopogon formosus responds well to light pruning which improves the shape. Tip pruning from an early stage promotes lateral growth, however it must not be over-pruned. It does not suffer from any particular pest but is susceptible to the root rot fungus Phytophthora cinnamoni. You should also only use a slow release fertiliser or one that is suitable for Australian natives as this Isopogon is particularly sensitive to soluble phosphorus.

It is difficult to cultivate this plant in the eastern states, as it will not tolerate humidity and is less hardy than some of the naturally occurring eastern species. A possible alternate way for it to be grown is to grow it in a pot as the particular conditions it requires can be satisfied readily and be more easily monitored. It is well worth attempting to grow, as it is a spectacular plant that can be used as a feature in the garden all year round.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 23 September 2015


Near Dights Falls on the Yarra in Abbotsford, one may see quite a few cormorants (and of course the omnipresent seagulls). The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is almost entirely black in plumage, apart from a white and yellow chin and a small white patch on each thigh (absent in winter). The bill is grey and the legs and feet are black. Young birds resemble the adults but are more dusky-brown.

Great Cormorants are probably the most widespread member of the cormorant family with a range that includes North America, Europe, Africa, China, India, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia. It occurs throughout most of Australia but is more numerous in the south-east and south-west.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wild Bird Wednesday meme.