Story Challenge: P is for Pied Oystercatchers

We live near a remote beach on the south coast of NSW, Australia. One of our precious visitors is the Pied Oystercatcher, a large attractive black and white shore bird with a stunning red bill. Before Europeans came to Australia these birds were plentiful, protected by the moiety system of totems followed by the aboriginal people. Members of each skin group must always protect and never eat their totem birds and animals. However since the spread of Europeans along the coast the Pied Oystercatcher has lost habitat, and is threatened by development, and dogs, cats, and foxes. It is now listed as an endangered species.

Pied Oystercatcher at Mullimburra

Oystercatchers feed on bivalve molluscs, the ones we call Pippies. I love to see the open shells along the beach, where the bird has used its long beak to dig up the mollusc, prise the shell open and feed on the juicy creature. There are only 50 breeding pairs of Pied Oystercatchers on the South Coast now, and few safe breeding spots. They cant breed on our beach because people disregard the no dogs sign, and even this afternoon I saw a young kelpie with some teenagers chasing a pair away from the eastern end of the beach. Even if dogs were kept away there are always foxes and feral cats to steal the chicks. Perhaps there is more we could do here to help them survive, maybe I should contact National Parks and get involved?

Join in the P story challenge with Frizztext, add your story to the mix!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

We were inside the Art Gallery of NSW a week ago, when we had an unexpected day in Sydney while waiting for our flight to Lord Howe Island. In an exhibition that is is part of the 18th Biennale I saw the intricate work of artist Yuken Teruya, who creates trees inside shopping bags. The upper surface of the bag is carefully cut to create the tree, which appears to be standing inside the bag.  I loved this one that was crafted from a large striped paper bag.

Yuken Teruya’s tree inside the bag


You can see more depictions of inside here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming

track sign closest to us

Inspired by beeblu and Sacred Cave I am impelled to share my Dreaming Story too. We live on the edge of a Dreaming Track, an important trail used by aboriginal people who lived here before invading Europeans took the land almost two hundred years ago. When we became associated with the land twenty two years ago we began a resident’s group to protect what we felt was valuable from the encroachment of council road builders and other developers. Gradually as the new wave of settlers moved onto their acres we applied for government grants to make the Bingie Dreaming Track, linking Congo Beach with Tuross Beach through the Eurobodalla National Park.

Bingi residents working on the Dreaming Track


It was a dream, but working with National Parks and local volunteers it has all come to pass. Of course local aboriginal people were consulted through the process, and National Park’s ranger local Brinja-Yuin woman Trisha Ellis officiated at the opening ceremony of the second section.

Trish Ellis opening the Dreaming Track extension

Trisha was taught by her grandmother about the Dreaming Track between Congo and Bingi, and the walking tracks along the coast used by people to access the abundant resources of fish and shellfish in this area. Elders speak of camping along the coast here feeding on kangaroo, and eels as well, while they were taught traditional lore.

“….’Bingi’ is a Dhurga word meaning stomach. When repeated as in Bingi Bingi Point it
indicates abundance and therefore is interpreted to mean an abundance of food is available in this area. The Bingi-Congo walking track forms part of the Dreaming Track utilised by the Brinja-Yuin people prior to European development. The walking track (as did the Dreaming Track) brings you in close proximity to shell middens, stone quarries, napping sites, campsites and fresh water sources. There were also beacon sites for sending smoke signals, areas abundant in a particular foods and lookouts traditionally used for spotting schools of fish and visitors (wanted or unwanted) to the area. The Dreaming Track although used as a highway had a much deeper spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people in that it was, and still is believed, that the Spirit Ancestors of the people created the Dreaming Track in the journey of creation across the land. ……” [Trisha Ellis 4.2.2006].

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Here are some notes to help you understand the concept of Dreaming Tracks:

“The Dreaming” or “Dreamtime”as it is called in English refers to the creative era when the landscape was given form by the activities of Spirit Beings, the spiritual ancestors of
Aboriginal people today. In the southeast coastal region, the focal Creation Beings were
Biame and his wife Birrahgnooloo, who gave form to waterways, landforms, animals
[including totems], humans, power to ‘clever people’ and the overarching Aboriginal Lore.

Rivers and valleys mark the route taken by Ancestral Dreaming beings. These routes are
often called Dreaming Tracks. Along Dreaming tracks waterholes and mountains mark
places where the ancestral beings camped and meet, for instance. These places are often
referred to as ‘sacred sites’ and often relate to the availability of water and other natural
resources. Some Dreamtime mythologies cover vast distances, traversing tribal and linguistic boundaries, whilst others are more localised and mark discrete territories. Through traditional ceremonies, usually involving songs, Aboriginal people describe, or retrace the routes travelled by spiritual beings in the Dreamtime past

Weekly Image Of Life: Fun Under The Sun

These photos are from a summer about 8 years ago, when our Japanese friend Miruko came to stay. She was our son’s host mother for a year, and has since become part of our family! Vivacious and exciting, Miruko certainly added to the fun we all enjoyed that summer.

Miruko, Kitchen Ninja, cooking up a storm with Stuart

Firstly there was the food, all our favourite Japanese dishes, with Stuart a keen sous chef!

Browsing through our garden Miruko found treats we had never imagined.

The beach, so clean and unpolluted was heaven for her, she collected pippies and kelp to make traditional dishes.

We had one of those extraordinary days when the dolphins surfed in on the waves, whales spouted out to sea, the sea eagles flew overhead …. we told her it was all in her honour!

As well as all the usual beach excitement we had neighbours with horses!

I had a lesson in Ikebana!


Miruko plays golf and enjoyed several games on our beautiful ocal courses with out keen golfing neighbours. When they were out together the neighbours stopped by the road to pick up some rubbish someone had thrown from their car. Miruko was amazed, and promptly decided to spread the word via her radio program in Japan, that anyone can pick up litter and keep their suburbs clean. Then we headed over the range to Canberra for the highlights of the Capitol.

Parliament House

Miruko was surprised that were able to go inside Parliament House, something unthought of in Japan. She loved all the photo opportunities of the National Capitol, including Black Mountain Tower, below.

Black Mountain Tower, view to Lake Burley Griffin

We had family time too, Miruko came with gifts for the little ones!

Just one more tourist treat, a miniature town, Cockington Green in a beautiful setting.

Miruko enjoying a tiny town!

The flowers were quite impressive too.

When we were in Japan Miruko took us to some truly awesome traditional gardens, luckily she liked the novelty golf course here!

This was truly summer fun, even more special because it was shared with someone we all love, a generous, creative, vital soul who travelled across the world to be with us here at Dadirri. Join in this weekly challenge with your summer fun!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

On our visit to Tasmania we explored some fantastic Huon forest via the famous Tahune Airwalk.

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Suspended 45 metres above the ground the Airwalk enables you get up close and personal with the treetops, which at that time included Leatherwoods in flower. The whole experience is thrilling, for a while you almost feel like a bird looking down on the forest and the river blow. Later we bought some of the incredible Leatherwood Honey from nearby apiarists, so much more affordable when you are close to beekeepers and not far away on the mainland of Australia paying huge prices for this specialty.

Visit the Daily Post to join in the fun and see the other entries about Close!

Sunday Post: Famous Movies

A fun idea again Jake, and after hours of thought and searching through the archives  I chose the Australian film “Crocodile Dundee”. This was a 1986 film about a legendary bushman who lives in the Northern Territory and fights saltwater crocodiles with his bare hands. His relationship with an attractive New York writer makes the film script interesting! The film was partly made on location in Kakadu National Park. Here are some stunning views of this world famous park from Ubirr Rock.

Kakadu from Ubirr Rock


Sunset from Ubirr Rock

One of the greatest attractions at Ubirr is the incredible rock art.

traditional art under a sheltering overhang

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

Today, Saturday in Australia while in slower parts of the world it is still Friday (just joking!), the skies are overcast and rain is falling. The rain caused the Saturday markets to close up early, and we came home to light the slow combustion stove. Our passive solar house is toasty warm on sunny days, and the sunshine provides our hot water too, but today we light the fire to compensate for lack of sun. Here is a slideshow of photos from this morning.

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To see other entries go to the Weekly Photo Challenge at the Daily Post.

Here are some beauties: jobryant, beeblu, fergiemotoimplicado, northernnarratives, onthebench, francine, islandtraveler, rutheh,  frizztext, madhu, and lucidgypsy.