For more on the church visit:
I don’t mind a good pie – there just aren’t too many places where you can get a decent one these days. These I got from Thompson’s Bakery at Raymond Terrace – cheese and bacon cocktail pies, or party pies if you prefer. I know you can get good pies at both Bulahdelah and Gloucester (normal size), while these smaller ones are pretty good at the Terrace. Other than that I wouldn’t rave about any others nearby. I would also say the same for the sausage rolls by the way.
I suppose it’s a good thing as it prevents me from buying a lot of them and piling on the weight.
This weekend just past, I had to vote in the local government elections in New South Wales, Australia. Voting is compulsory here or you cop a small fine. I think it is currently $50-55.00 AU for local government elections. Many chose to pay the fine, while others cast a ‘donkey’ vote, or one that was useless deliberately. Some put down the US president as a choice, while other doodled on the ballot paper. Some others probably tried to vote correctly but did the wrong thing. Many votes were passed in as invalid.
In the local government area where I live, I can’t say that I knew much about the various candidates – with the exception of one whom I regard as a waste of space in local government. Needless to say I didn’t vote for him. I found myself simply voting along traditional lines because I knew no better.
Most candidates are viewed as clowns or worse in elections here, which is quite a shame. Serving one’s country in government should be seen as an honourable profession. However, it is not and those who actually have something useful to offer turn away from the process because of the joke that government is often perceived to be. Those who really can make a difference are choosing to avoid serving in government and that is a real shame.
This is a photo of myself from quite some time ago – I would say at least 15 years ago, if not 20 years ago. From the look of it it was taken at the Blackbutt Reserve near Newcastle and probably at a Sunday SchoolPicnic with the church I was at back then.
I had a lot more hair then, a lot less grey hair also and may have weighed a bit less than I do now, though that is difficult to tell from this photo. I was almost certainly far fitter than I currently am.
ABOVE: The Southern Wetlands Boardwalk – Hunter Region Botanic Gardens
Late last week I decided I should do something with the final day of my annual leave that I had taken this time round, so I thought I’d pop into the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens near Raymond Terrace in New South Wales, Australia. I had been here before, but that was a long time ago. I wasn’t impressed on that first visit, so after more then a decade had it improved? Well that was the question I was keen to answer.
ABOVE: The Rotunda BELOW: Succulents Section
There was a $4.00 ‘escape’ fee, which would allow a token to be purchased and then the boom gate would rise once it was placed into the proper slot at the exit. So no entrance fee, just an exit fee. I was willing to pay this for a quick look and wander around the gardens.
So has it improved. Yes it has thankfully, but I still don’t rate it as brilliant or even what would come close to mildly impressing me for a botanic gardens. It is probably on the right track, but has a long way to go. And here’s the thing I think – a botanic gardens really needs time to develop, so those who will really benefit from the gardens are those who will visit it in about 25 years or so, when the plants have been allowed to mature somewhat across the gardens. It will also allow other pieces of infrastructure to be completed and for the gardens to achieve some ‘polish,’ so to speak. The central section of the gardens is very good and has been progressing well over the years (yes, it is a relatively young botanic gardens) – areas such as the bromeliad section, orchids, etc – even the succulent section a bit further away.
ABOVE: Orchid BELOW: Bromeliads
So should you go? Look, it’s only $4.00 to get out of the place once you are there and you can get to see some great plants and do some good, easy walks – especially into the natural bush and wetland areas. So I’d say yes, just don’t expect a fully developed botanic gardens.
For more on the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens visit:
ABOVE: Tree Ferns and Palms
Since I was unable to visit Gap Creek Falls the other day, I decided I might pop in to have a look at the new animal enclosures at Blackbutt Reserve near Newcastle. I will say straight off the bat that I do have something of a prejudice against Blackbutt Reserve, as I see the place as nothing like a natural bush setting, it being far too ‘corrupted’ by human activity, weeds and the like. Having said that it is a good place for a family or group outing/event. It certainly has its place, but it is not a true nature reserve (in my opinion).
ABOVE: Visitor Centre
I do think that some well designed animal and bird enclosures at Blackbutt could lift the value of the reserve dramatically and make it a really great place for families, especially young families. There are opportunities for educational visits for kids, possible environmental activities and the like there. So the potential is certainly there for Blackbutt.
The enclosures of my youth are giving way to those that are much better and up to a more modern standard, which is great to see. Certainly the improvements I saw are great and some of them are outstanding. The Quoll enclosure, with nocturnal habitat viewing was brilliant. Some of the other enclosures are getting there also, though I was disappointed with the size of some of the aviaries and poor vegetation choices they appeared to have. They didn’t look to great for the birds, which I think is not a good look. Still, they are a major improvement on what had been there before.
Some of the other enclosures for snakes and amphibians were really good also I have to say and overall the place is going ahead and improving all of the time. So I think it has a place into the future, if it can continue to improve along the way. Just some thoughts…
ABOVE LEFT: Modern Enclosures ABOVE RIGHT: Koala BELOW: Nocturnal Quoll Enclosure