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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Daisy Hill MTB Trails

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Wiry Panic TrailWiry Panic TrailHappy MTBersHappy MTBersHappy MTBers

We had lots of fun on the MTB trails at Daisy Hill today.

There was something for everyone: Single Trails, Jumps, Technical Sections, Fire Roads and beautiful nature.

It was pretty hot and humid though – 34c and about 90% humidity, so it was very sweatty work.

I’m releived there were no crashes on my part this time, except for a bit of undignified kangaroo hopping behind my bike as I slid off the back of the seat, still holding onto the handlebars trying not to let go or fall over.

Many thanks to Steve G for driving us out there and navigating for us.

What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Esperance, Western Australia

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A postcard from our friend, Rachel who is on holidays in Western Australia at the moment.

She says it’s hot as hell, and she’s really enjoying cooling off in the ocean

Esperance is located in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, about 700km southeast of Perth.

The Dutch vessel Guilden Zeepaert passed near hear in 1627, but the first landing by Europeans was made by Bruni d’Entrecasteaux who was commander of the French Ship L’Esperance in 1792.

In 1979, the local shire council fined the U.S. Government $400 for littering when pieces of the space station Skylab crashed into the area after it broke up over the Indian Ocean.

Thanks for the postcard, Rachel! Make sure you keep an eye out in the sky, and don’t let any space junk fall on you!

Here’s a link to the map of Rachel’s journey to date.

“Flame Grevillea”, Wildflowers of Lake Grace

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A postcard from our friend Rachel who is touring Australia at the moment.

Lake Grace is about 300km south-east Perth. It’s named after Grace Bussell who rescued many people from the wreck of the ship, Georgette near the mouth of the Margaret River in 1876.

Lake Grace is located near many natural shallow salt lakes that exhibit bright colours due to the chemical composition of the salts.

The Nyoongar people are the traditional aboriginal owners of the area which is hoime to “Wave Rock”.

Rachel says it’s hot, with a million flies.

Thanks for the postcard, Rach!

Here’s a link to the map of Rachel’s journey to date.

Courtyard House, China

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A Postcrossing card showing a beautiful but simple scene of the ancient traditional elements in China.

Spokane, Washington.

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A Postcrossing post card from Beverly who lives in Spokane.

Spokane is about 400km inland from Seattle in the North West of the USA. It’s surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and pine trees.

Beverly is passionate about student exchange,and has hosted 16 exchange students. She als has 3 kids of her own, 3 dogs and two cats.

Sounds like a very “peaceful” household :)

Thanks for the great postcard, Beverly!

Mt Jade, Taiwan

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Yushan (Mt Jade) The highest peak in Taiwan, and in North East Asia.

A Postcrossing post card from Insica who lives in Taichung, Taiwan.

Thanks for the post card, Insica!

Lake Grace, Western Australia

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A postcard from our friend Rachel who is touring Australia at the moment.

Lake Grace is about 300km south-east Perth. It’s named after Grace Bussell who rescued many people from the wreck of the ship, Georgette near the mouth of the Margaret River in 1876.

Lake Grace is located near many natural shallow salt lakes that exhibit bright colours due to the chemical composition of the salts.

The Nyoongar people are the traditional aboriginal owners of the area which is hoime to “Wave Rock”.

Thanks for the postcard, Rach!

Here’s a link to the map of Rachel’s journey to date.

The Cycle of the Glowworm

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A postcard from our friends, Keith and Melinda, while they were on holidays in NZ.

Melinda says that when they visited the cave in Te Ana-Au where the glow worms live, and looked up, it was like looking up at a starry sky.

Thanks for the fascinating postcard, Melinda and Keith! It looks like you had a great holiday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Redcliffe and Back Before Breakfast

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Redcliffe and Back before BreakfastRedcliffe and Back before Breakfast

Lachlan and I rode out from Lawnton along Anzac Avenue to the Redcliffe peninsular this morning. We followed it around to Woody point, over the old Hornibrook Bridge, and back via Deagon, Bracken Ridge and Strathpine home.

All up about 53km in 2 and a half hours.

Between 5am and 7am the sun isn’t too much of a hassle, plus we had light rainfall for some of the way which kept the temperature pleasant.

We had to get up pretty early to get back before breakfast!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Litigation in 1882

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Courtenay Spry was one of the first owners of freehold land in this area, along with Tom Petrie, Stephen Lawn and others.In 1862 he purchased large tracts of land, and sold some of it a short time later to make a handsome profit.

But this amusing little excerpt from the Brisbane Courier in 1882, reveals a nasty side to Mr Courtenay Hele Fowell Spry Esquire. It appears that one of his sons had an impressive butcher bird that was able to sing quite remarkable tunes. The bird went missing, and Spry suspected the daughter of the local pastoralist, Job Minchinton. He sued Minchinton in the Brisbane Police Court for the loss of the bird, but Minchinton testified that he never had a butcher bird, or any bird except a parrot.

Spry lost the suit, but not being one to let his inferiors off the hook, then decided that Minchinton didn’t tell the truth in court. So he had him charged with perjury, and had his sons to testify against him. Courtenay’s son, Reynell, testified that on 27 May 1882 he saw a butcher bird on Minchinton’s verandah and knew it was the stolen bird because of the tune it was whistling. Mr Bruce, the defense lawyer cross examined him:

Bruce: “If you remember the tune the bird was whistling, can you whistle it?”

Reynell: “No.”

Bruce: “Who was the composer of the tune?”

Reynell: “The butcher bird was the composer”

Bruce: “How can you be so certain about the date?”

Reynell: “I don’t know”

Bruce: “Well if you’re so good with dates, can you tell me what month the winter holidays were in, this year?”

Reynell: “No”

Bruce: “How about your birthday? Can you tell me what month your birthday is in?”

Reynell: “No”.

Because of Spry’s power and influence, the judge didn’t accept the defence claim that the case should be thrown out. He wanted to give the appearance of actually considering this weighty case. But after a few minutes deliberation, he announced that he had decided to dismiss the case, and discharged Minchinton.

If you’re interested in much ado about nothing, click on the images at the left to read it yourself.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boondall Wetlands via the Moreton Bay Bikeway

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Boondall WetlandsBoondall WetlandsBoondall Wetlands

We spent an hour around sunset yesterday riding throught the Boondall Wetlands along the Moreton Bay Bikeway.

No cars, lots of open space, and great views. What more could you want?

The Bikeway goes for miles, and for a lot of it, you can’t hear anything except wind!

I was impressed by this Aboriginal sculpture in the middle of nowhere. It’s framed by boomerangs and has a plant motif on one side, and a bird on the other.

These wetlands were used by Aborigines as pathways from the hinterland down to the sea.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Old Samsonvale Road / Rockangle

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When the North Pine Dam was built in 1976, many old historic properties and roads were submerged.

Access to the area surrounding the dam is severely limited, but we thought we’d go on a short exploratory hike to see what we could find.

You can see some of the individual photos here.

Ruins at Rockangle

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bell’s Scrub, Lawnton

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This is the only remaing parcel of virgin rainforest in the Pine Rivers district. It’s never been cleared, and apart from a few noxious weeds like Lantana and Umbrella Trees, it’s pretty much the same as it was before Europeans arrived 200 years ago.

Ironically it’s in the middle of a gravel quarry. The ground around it has been excavated to such an extent that it’s almost an island.

Before Europan settlement, all the land around our neighborhood along the river looked like this. I half expected early 19th century elder, Dalaipi, to peer out at me from behind the trees.

Environmental reports suggest that the salinity of the soil is increasing due to the surrounding excavation, so its lifetime is limited.

I just wanted to capture a glimpse of pre-colonial Australia before it disappears.

And to touch it.

Here’s an excerpt from the Australian Heritage Database about Bell’s Scrub:

Bell’s Scrub is one of the very few remaining patches of lowland rainforest in the Pine Rivers Shire and one of few in the wider area of south-east Queensland. However, the site is small and not in good condition. Bell’s Scrub represents the southern limit of distribution of brown pearwood (AMOPHOSPERMUM ANTILOGUM), and the crown of gold tree (BARKLYA SYRINGIFOLIA). The fig trees on the site are utilized by brown (MACROPYGIA AMBOINENSIS) and topknot (LOPHOLAIMUS ANTARCTICUS) pigeons.


Bell's Scrub, Lawnton

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Petrie: Then and Now

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Main entry into North Pine (Petrie) via River Street, 1896Old Dayboro Road, Petrie, Qld

Sweeney Reserve is a beautiful park in Petrie where we’ve often gone to have a BBQ or picnic, or just to laze around and relax. It’s full of large trees, swings and plenty of space. I often ride through there on my bike most mornings.

I was amazed when I found this old photo from 1896 at the State Library of Queensland web site.  It was contributed to the State Library by Leith Barter on behalf of the Moreton Bay Regional Council along with about 150 other historical images.

In the centre of the old photo, you can see the North Pine Hotel, sitting on ground that is now part of the carpark at Woolworths Petrie. To the left and behind the hotel is the building which originally housed Tom Petrie’s hostelry and accommodation house. You can read more about the old photo here.

Today, the business centre of Petrie is close to the roundabout at the intersection of Anzac Avenue and Dayboro Road. But in the 1890’s the town centre was further south, approximately where the Woolworths carpark is now. In the early days, the main road north from Brisbane came through what is now Sweeney Reserve and up what is now Old Dayboro Road.

Out of curiosity, I had a quick look around the vacant lot near the Woolies carpark where the Hotel would have stood. There’s nothing there today. No marker, no ruins. Nothing. The pub was actually moved North East to where the current Petrie pub is today. But after that it was completely lost in a fire. There’s a replica of it today at “Old Petrie Town” on Dayboro Road.

Old Dayboro Road, Petrie, QldOld Dayboro Road, Petrie, QldOld Dayboro Road, Petrie, QldOld Dayboro Road, Petrie, Qld

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Short Cut to School

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The Short CutThe Short CutThe Short Cut

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, hundreds of small "Provisional Schools" sprung up around Queensland.

Kids needed to be educated, and schools needed to be within walking distance.

The deal was that if a community could guarantee at least 12 children, and a suitable building, the government would supply books, and a salary for a teacher.

One of these schools, set up in 1894 was the "Short Cut Provisional School" built at what is now Joyner near the present site of the North Pine Dam.

The school was used until 1915.

Many of these schools were rationalized in the early twentieth century as transport became more reliable and children were able to get to larger schools in the area.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Up and Down the Mountain

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Moore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail Trail

Here’s some pictures of our ride on the Moore-Linville-Benarkin section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail yesterday.

It took us a couple of hours to get up the mountain on the old railway line, and about 30 minutes to ride down the highway, racing off the cars and trucks.

The salad roll I had in the Benarkin Store was the best I’ve ever had. I can’t beleive how hungry I got after two hours riding.

Benarkin is the highest point on the ride. We had the option of riding another 5km down into Blackbutt and back, but decided against it.

Steve B did really well on the ride. His seat wasn’t adjusted properly, so partway through the ride he was pretty sore and ended up having to stand on his pedals quite frequently to get some relief. To his credit he persevered. Harrison did well too. Even though the climb was gradual, it was unrelenting. After a couple of hours, looking up the line at another kilometre of long slow hill climb can be quite depressing. He kept riding which is what counts.

The other thing that made the ride hard work is that we came across lots of locked gates. So we had to lift the bikes over the gates, and climb over.

And then there’s the ravines. When Qld Rail ripped up the rails, they also took out the bridges. So instead of rolling over bridges, we had to ride down steep gullies and up the other side. It’s fun – what Mountain Bikes are made for. We had to be careful riding down and push like crazy to pedal out of the ravine. If we didn’t keep our momentum up we’d end up having to walk the bike out of the gully which is harder than pedalling out.

At the top, we decided we didn’t want to battle the deep gullies and locked gates again, so we rode the hghway down. In some places the highway is pretty steep and we found ourselves keeping pace with the cars. It’s exciting, but there’s no room for mistakes. Luckily we made it without any incidents.

As usual on long rides, the battery on my N95 mobile phone / gps ran out. So I’m very thankful to Steve G for giving me a copy of the GPS data from his Garmin so I could share the map below.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crossing the South Pine River

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South Pine River Crossing

South Pine River Crossing

South Pine River Crossing

South Pine River Crossing

I discovered this pedestrian crossing of the South Pine River with Harrison last week end.

It’s at the southern end of Leitches Road, Brendale, and lets you cross the South Pine River by foot (or cycle) into Albany Creek.

I had no one to share it with this morning except for a few horses and a couple of skittish cows.

Absolutely beautiful, and a pleasant contrast from the horrible traffic on South Pine Road.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The end of year twelve

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Tallebudgera 1977Brisbane Airport 1978

To my dear son Jonathan, who completes his final year of school this month.

Twenty-nine years ago this month I finished year twelve at Oxley State High School.

The photos above are like book-ends for that year. The one on the left is at senior camp, end of year eleven, just before we embarked on our final year. The photo on the right is after the last day of school when one of our mates, William, was very sad to be leaving town to fly to Adelaide, so we all went to the airport to say goodbye.

The last few weeks of that year are a blur – exams, parties, excitement, thinking about uni, and planning to always keep in touch with my school mates. Collectively we thought we were the best bunch that had ever come through Oxley State High, and we were going to make sure we didn’t forget each other.

I had a calendar on the wall where I used to cross off the days until it was over. To my surprise, the last day came much quicker than I anticipated, and now, almost thirty years later I realize that the time has flown and now my own kids are doing what I did.

If my Dad had given me advice then, I wouldn’t have listened to it. So I’m not going to offer you any advice now. But I do hope you remember how brutally fast our life can fly by. We get caught up in so many things, and before we know it, the magical times of our late teens and early twenties are gone. And I also hope you remember good friends.

There are two good friends from 1978 that mean a lot to me. Greg, who is with me in both these photos. is still my friend. He still has the love for life and the easy laid-back attitude that he did in his late teens. He’s a great guy to spend time with.

And then there’s my best friend from 1978, who I’m married to now. In year twelve I couldn’t beleive how lucky I was to be with Liz. And today, I still can’t beleive how lucky I am.

Enjoy this special time, Jonathan.

I hope the time passes slowly enough for you to savour it.