A Glimpse into the Past

This morning promised to be a bright sunny day, wanting to escape the computer for a while, I decided to take a stroll through one of our city’s landmarks, namely an old homestead.

The Old Mildura Homestead stands as one of Mildura’s most significant links to the past, with its unique position in the district’s history and folklore, located on the banks of the Murray River, the homestead in my pictures has been recreated from the original built in 1847. Browsing around the homestead it was great to see remnants from the past, the Shearing sheds, the old stables with their horse drawn carts, the watering trough, and the old mangle that many a pioneer mother used to turn. An old pedal piano that had found its way into the shearing sheds, finally the old outback timber Dunny that complemented all bush homes in the 1800’s

According to local legend the people who inhabited this region prior to the arrival of Europeans called this place Mildura, mil meaning water and dura meaning rock.

Enjoy my pictures of a look into my city’s pioneering past.

Click on the pictures to enlarge





Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized



Spider Rain

The rural NSW town of Goulburn has been thrust into the creepy international limelight after photos emerged of a paddock coated in spider webs.

Stunning images of the natural phenomenon, known as ‘Angel Hair’, have spread far and wide online showing what initially looks like a blanket of snowfall – but is actually field upon field of interweaving spider webs.

South Australian retiree Keith Basterfield has been cataloging the phenomenon since 2001, and said it happened in Australia a couple of times a year, often on clear days with slight winds.

“They fly through the sky and then we see these falls of spider webs that look almost as if it’s snowing,”

But arachnophobes, horror-movie enthusiasts and general worriers need not panic – the behavior, while bizarre to witness, is completely normal.

Naturalist Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum told The Sydney Morning Herald that two “migration techniques” were at play.

The first, called “ballooning”, involves spiders climbing to the top of vegetation and releasing a streamer of silk that catches the wind and transports the spider, like a parachute.

“They can literally travel for kilometres, which is why every continent has spiders. Even in Antarctica they regularly turn up but just die,” Mr Robinson said.

The second behavior occurs after heavy rains and floods.

Scores of the little critters avoid drowning by producing silk “snag lines” up into the air, which they catch and use to haul themselves out of the threatening waterlogged terrain.

The natural phenomenon occurs all over the world. The above picture was taken in 1974 in Albury. (Keith Basterfield)

Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist from the University of California,told Live Science, the event occurred “all the time”.

“Ballooning is a not-uncommon behavior of many spiders. They climb some high areas and stick their butts up in the air and release silk,” he said.

In May 2011, a South Australian pilot described the floating “clumps” of silk-like material he witnessed while flying towards Mount Gambier at a height of 2,000 feet – demonstrating how high the critters can go,

In the latest occurrence, Goulburn resident Ian Watson said his property – and beard – had been inundated by the innovative creepy crawlies.

“It was beautiful, but at the same time I was annoyed because you couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you. And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard.

“The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun, it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred metres into the sky,” he said.

While the latest display has embellished Australia’s reputation as a country teeming with frightening animals, it turns out down under is not so special – the mass behavior has been observed in different parts of the world, including North and South America.

Brazilian town Santo Antonio da Platina achieved its five minutes of fame in February 2013 when local man Erick Reis filmed hordes of the “floating” spiders.

A biologist told Brazilian newspaper G1 the behavior was normal across several spider species characterized by their sizable colonies and sheet webs.


Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized



Croc Capers Continues

A Darwin kite surfer thought he “was going to die” in a battle with a 2.5m saltwater crocodile that snatched him in its jaws before he poked it in the eye.

Chris Keeping was waiting for his kite strings to untangle while sitting in water about 100m off Casuarina Coastal Reserve in the Northern Territory on Saturday when the saltie locked onto him.

The 29-year-old had been in the water for about 15 minutes when the reptile came up at him from behind about 11.30am.

“He had part of my shoulder crushed across my chest in his mouth … he shook me but I was still attached to the kite so he couldn’t pull me under … I thought I was going to die,” he said.

The shock and fear of death overcame Mr Keeping when the croc’s jaws latched onto his right shoulder and his body went limp.

“I didn’t fight back then he stopped shaking me and went real quiet and wasn’t moving at all but he still had a hold of me in his mouth,” Mr Keeping said.

Mr Keeping only sustained puncture wounds from the epic encounter.

Mr Keeping said he touched the croc’s snout and there was no reaction.

He took a moment to examine the beast’s size, realizing he would never pry open its jaws.

After two minutes between its teeth, Mr Keeping looked death in the eyes and the croc stared back. That’s when Mr Keeping decided to fight.

“He blinked at me and that’s when I thought I’d put my finger in his eye because I couldn’t do nothing else.

“So I poked him in the eye and he dropped me and let go.”

Mr Keeping managed to free himself and head for shore but the croc turned and pursued into the shallows.

Using his board as a weapon, Mr Keeping hit his predator in the face five times before reaching waist-deep water.

The beast then dived under the water and Mr Keeping “never saw him again after that”.

On shore Mr Keeping alerted other kite surfers to the man eater and called his sister for a lift to Royal Darwin Hospital.

He was bleeding but did not want to remove his wetsuit to have a look at the damage.

Mr Keeping said he was “lucky” he sustained only puncture marks in his armpit, rib cage and armpit and was discharged Sunday afternoon.



Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


Python Pranks

A Cairns couple has found out they were sharing their house with a 5m scrub python in the worst possible way – when snake urine started dripping from their ceiling.

The pair had been living with a puzzlingly awful smell in their house for weeks before they realised it could have been coming from a snake and called snake catcher David Walton.

“Snake pee is worse than the smell of any public toilet you will ever go into,” Mr Walton told ninemsn.

The serpent wrangler confirmed there was a snake nestled in the couple’s roof and if that wasn’t bad enough he told them that several panels of the home’s new roof would need to be removed to catch the snake.

The only other option was for the couple to continue sharing their home with the enormous reptile and wait for it to emerge from its hiding place.

They chose the latter option and a week later Mr Walton got a midnight call.

Scrub pythons are not normally aggressive animals

“They said it’s hanging off the guttering eyeballing the cat and can you please get your backside out here right now,” Mr Walton said.

The enormous size of the snake meant Mr Walton had to catch it and put it in a bag while it was still on the roof.

“It was a bit of a handful, it weighed about 20kg,” he said.

The python had a minor injury and was cared for a few days before it was released.


Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Six Joeys Released after South Australian Bushfires

Six joeys have been released after three months of intensive veterinary treatment after the major bush fire in the Adelaide Hills in January.

The young kangaroos suffered severe burns, smoke inhalation, dehydration and malnutrition in the fires and arrived at the Adelaide Zoo vet centre in dire condition.

Vet centre manager Di Hakof says the joeys received round-the-clock care and have now been released onto private land.

“It was our goal to give these little fighters a second chance at life and we’re over the moon to see six released,” she said.


Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Kangaroo Capers

A Queensland grandmother has been left with severe cuts and bruises after a prolonged attack from a territorial kangaroo.
Esma Armstrong was picking passionfruit on her Sunshine Coast property when she unwittingly stepped between a mother and her joey.
The kangaroo pinned the 78-year-old against a fence and clawed at her skin, leaving her clothing in shreds.

Ms Armstrong says she feared for her life before deciding to defend herself in an unexpected way.

“A very brave move to grab a kangaroo by the throat and bring her down,” she told 7News.

“But you try all sorts of things when you’re scared.”

The kangaroo backed away, leaving Ms Armstrong shaken but with her sense of humour intact.

“My story is after she ripped my shorts and undies off she got a fright what she saw and she went.”

Ms Armstrong says she wants others to learn from her mistake and show greater respect for the local wildlife.


Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized



Crocodile Capers

A 4.3-metre saltwater crocodile that had been stalking fishermen has been captured after being trapped on a boat ramp at a Northern Territory caravan park southwest of Darwin.

The big croc was caught at the Mango Farm boat ramp this morning, with NT Police helping Parks and Wildlife rangers secure the beast.

The trap was set in March after reports a crocodile had been stalking fishermen and attacking dogs.

Police and Parks and Wildlife rangers teamed up to wrangle the crocodile.

The large male crocodile will now be transported to Darwin Crocodile Farm where it will be used in the farm’s breeding program.

Two other large crocodiles, measuring 4.48m and 4.38m, have been caught at the caravan park since December last year.

Mango Farm’s position on the banks of the Daly River means saltwater crocodiles are an ongoing issue in the area.


Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


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