Sunday, April 30, 2006


For weeks I've been insisting that the grevillea was not dead, it was just resting, but we've reached a point where I'm sounding like a Monty Python sketch, and I have to admit that it is, indeed, a dead parrot plant.

It was growing happily in a pot, flowering like mad

but I foolishly sat the pot directly onto the garden bed, and not content to stay in the pot, it had sent a tap root through the bottom and into the garden, when I went to move the pot, well you know the rest.....grevilleas do NOT like having their roots disturbed.

So my lovely pink and cream grevillea, whose name I have lost, has gone to the big compost bin in the sky.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Travel: to the top of the hill

I've been on a mission,
after my post about our hill, I was determined to take photos of the other side of the hill decimated by 100 years of quarrying.
No luck, over the other side is a brand new industrial estate, with HUGE complexes, they all had security guards, boom gates, the lot, between the buildings I caught glimpses of cut away red clay hillside but there was no where I could get close enough to photograph. The bits I saw make me wonder about long term erosion.

So then we determined to climb the hill on our side, through the hole in the chain wire fence

and up the track which will one day be the rest of the main road through the estate

at the top of the track were some big boys toys,

but we still couldn't make it to the very very top of the highest point, it was all looking very scrubby and snakey, although I guess the snakes could be bunking down for winter now, but I didn't feel like ploughing through this to find out

so I settled for a photo of the view from part way up the hill - no wonder Gov. Phillip was so impressed,
click on this to go to flickr and then go to all sizes and look at it full size.
View from Prospect Hill, NSW

and the next photo is the housing estate creeping up the hill -

what do you think, will they be able to squeeze a garden in those yards, or swing a cat?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

an Australian tradition....and travels around Eastern Creek

.....the unofficial extra long weekend.

As we have a public holiday on Tuesday for Anzac Day, we joined those carrying on the long held Australian tradition of taking Monday off (not a sickie in this case, but a very much owed day in lieu)

"So do you want to out? - get your camera and we'll go for a drive"

(he's learnt a new way to get around me!!! offer a photo opportunity)

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Ahhh, green plains, rolling hills, trees, cool autumn breeze, the scent of eucalyptus in the air.......

no.....wait......that's not eucalyptus...

it's racing fuel!!!

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

I should have known there'd be an ulterior motive.

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Our son's friend is racing tomorrow and he is her mechanic, so today was practice session and time trials, and last minute adjustments to bikes. Yes, the girls don't just hang around the pits looking glam these days, they race the guys (and still look glam!)

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Back in the pits the next generation mechanic (or rider?) watches fascinated.

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Did you know that the bike tires have their own little electric blanket to warm them up before the race? I could use one of those around my feet at the moment.

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

and me? I was happy...I had lots of bright shiny coloured bits to photograph...
I like these shapes, I should try and work out some sort of quilt thingy with them.

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Eastern Creek Raceway, NSW

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Travel: Once there was a hill.... a modern fairy tale

Once upon a time our suburb had a hill.

It was a fine hill rising to 60 m above the surrounding country and 122 m above sea level. It is 2.4 km long and 1.4 km wide.
Our hill is Jurassic doleritic laccolith and shale - blowed if I know what that is but it sounds pretty old and dinosaurish.

Our hill had a little spring which fed a swampy area at the bottom of the hill where ducks frolicked and mosquitos bred.

Prospect Hill, NSW

We couldn't climb the hill because it belonged to a quarry and was fenced off, but it had lots of trees, was nice to look at as we drove past, and the sun did a very nice sunset behind it.

In 1789 Captain Tench observed the barrier of the Blue Mountains to the west from the summit of our hill.

In 1790 Governor Phillip and Captain John Hunter, commander of the HMS Sirius, took an after dinner stroll from the new settlement at Rose Hill to our hill about 4 miles away.

In 1791 Governor Phillip granted land to 13 people at our hill.

In 1800 the population around our hill was 16.

Between 1790-1802 the local aboriginal Pemulwuy led his people against the white settlement around this area, he thought himself unable to be killed by bullets because he was shot seriously twice and survived both times. He was proved wrong.

In 1830 Nelson Lawson, son of the explorer William Lawson, built a house on the hill and called it 'Greystanes'.

In 1836 Charles Darwin noted the basalt of our hill and mentioned it in his writings on the voyage of the Beagle.

In 1839 geologist Rev. W. B. Clarke (who baptised my gt. grannies children)pointed out the columnar nature of the basalt to J. D. Dana when the American Fleet moored in Sydney Cove that year.

Since the 1830's road surfacing material has been taken from our hill, long before Government Geologist C. S. Wilkinson reported on the economic potential of the deposit in 1879.

In 1883 Prospect Quarry was opened and over the years has had several changes of ownership until the 330-hectare estate was aquired by the present owners.
These companies proceeded to mine the western side of our hill, demolishing the fine old historic house 'Greystanes' but keeping the house gates for their entrance way.

Then the shale was all used up, so the mining company sold our hill to developers.

Our council wanted to have some control over what happened but the big bad developers took them to the Land and Environment court, who told the developers they could have their wicked way with our hill.

Prospect Hill, NSW

So now our hill has a brand new Woolworths and lots of McMansions and will soon have a new set of little lego box apartments.

Our little mosquito swamp has become the "Lakewood Estate" (free can of bug spray with each half million dollar block)

Prospect Hill, NSW

Prospect Hill, NSW

Our little stream now has a charming faux colonial bridge, which has already been tagged by the local artistically challenged.

Prospect Hill, NSW

We can now stroll like Governor Phillip to the top of our hill, being careful not to fall in the quarry on the other side. One day I'll take a walk up there and take some photos.

And poor old Pemulwuy has a suburb named after him, on the land he fought so hard to protect.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Travel: Observatory Hill, Sydney

After saying I seldom go to Sydney to just wander and look, here I am in there again!

Twice in the same week!

A little group from our local arts and craft society decided to see the 'Salon des Refuses 2006' - an exhibition of landscape and portraits that did not make it into the annual Archibald Prize and Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The exhibition was held at the National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery on Observatory Hill.

We caught a train to Circular Quay and first stop was the Customs House building
Customs House, Sydney
where the foyer floor has been replaced with a glass walk on floor covering a scale model of Sydney,
Customs House, Sydney

Then up Argyle Street, under the Argyle Cut - in colonial days before the cut was made, the sandstone ridge was a major barrier to traffic crossing between Circular Quay and Millers Point.

In 1843, convict work gangs hacked at the sandstone with hand tools for 2 and 1/2 years before the project was abandoned due to lack of progress.

Work restarted in 1857, when drills, explosives, and paid labor completed the job.

Argyle Cut, The Rocks, Sydney

At the top of Argyle Street, in Argyle Place, is the Garrison Church - first official military church in NSW which serviced the military garrison at Dawes Point, imagine the redcoats marching from the barracks to attend morning prayer. Officially called the Holy Trinity Church it continues to be known as the Garrison Church.

The Rocks, Sydney

there is also this lovely sandstone bubbler - On the The Bubbler site, it states that the 'bubbler' was invented in 1888, the name patented by a waterworks company named Kohler in Wisconsin USA. According to their web site: the word bubbler is still used today in parts of the world; mainly, Wisconsin and Australia.

So why Australia? and is it all Australia or only New South Wales? I know that is the only word I've ever heard used to describe them in Sydney.

The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Up the steps to Observatory Hill, two beer bottles were resting their heads after a heavy night.

The Rocks, Sydney

The Park on Observatory Hill is an absolute oasis lying right on the Bradfield Highway approach to the Harbour Bridge with the Sydney CBD on one side and the wharves of Walsh Bay on the other.

Observatory Hill, Sydney

Observatory Hill, Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge

All around Sydney, in each park, are huge magnificent Moreton Bay fig trees.

Observatory Hill, Sydney

Observatory Hill, Sydney

The National Trust Centre was having a face lift when we were there, built 1815 as a military hospital, it later became the famous Fort Street School, first school to provide teacher training in the colony. It now faces and seems to be just metres from the Bradfield Highway approach to the Harbour Bridge. When finished it will be painted in the shades of grey as the finished corner. They were lucky enough to receive sponsorship for the restoration from Porters Paints, hence the big sign.

Observatory Hill, Sydney

This round section is part of the gallery - again my favourite photo attempts to combine the old with the new:

Observatory Hill, Sydney

Observatory Hill, Sydney

We had glorious weather, look at that clear Sydney sky, for everyone going into spring up north, I'll bet our autumn beats your spring!! (big grin)

This next I wanted to put in my urban decay collection but they are renovating the National Trust building next door, I hope this will eventually get some attention, it is over the door to the cafe where we had a great lunch.

Observatory Hill, Sydney

After seeing the art exhibition (which was a bit ho hum) and lunch, we wandered across to the nearby Observatory

The Observatory, Sydney

The Observatory was built on the site of Sydney's first windmill built in 1795 by Jack Leighton, the area became known as Jack the Miller's Point and today is just Millers Point.

The Observatory, Sydney

The observatory was built in 1858, and was best known by Sydneysiders for it's timekeeping. Every day at 1 pm the ball on top of the tower dropped to signal the correct time.

The Observatory, Sydney

Looking west through a window of the observatory building
The Observatory, Sydney

The Agar Steps lead down to Kent Street, but we just retraced our route back to Argyle Street - really liked the splash of the red door at the bottom of these steps

Observatory Hill, Sydney

and lucky that we did go back this way or we would have missed the Town Crier

who then proceeded to embarrass our youngest of the group (who had come with grandma)
by announcing in a very loud crier voice that she had been made honorary bell ringer

In the meantime, grandma had been accosted by a convict who showed us how he'd escaped the troopers by pretending to be a kangaroo (remember The Rocks area is rich with our convict history)

Back at the Quay and onto the train home.

Circular Quay, Sydney

How are you enjoying my trips?

I hope my overseas and interstate visitors are liking them, I'm trying for photos that are a bit away from the usual iconic Sydney shots (although it's hard to avoid that damn bridge!!)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Flood prone

We've just received a letter from our council to say they've rezoned our street "flood prone".....

can't imagine why......

do they think maybe we haven't noticed before....

aahhh...those were the days.....rain......