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Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Mass communication
April 6th, 2009

Just reconfigured Posterous. With this single email from my phone I am updating my blog Watershed, my Flickr account, Facebook, Posterous and Twitter.
Sunset at Tioman Island.


Sent via iPhone.

Posted via email from Watershed Lite

Lemon Tree Passage ~ a gem on Port Stephens
January 29th, 2009

Travelers to Port Stephens often rave on about Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay. Sure, each of these towns have their beauty however after a recent stay in the region I cannot help but feel that if you desire a real, relaxing break with a beauty that is unassuming and, for that matter, real, then you should consider escaping to Lemon Tree Passage on the tip of the Tilligerry Peninsula.

It is a nice spot where one can enjoy the water without the crowds. A little bit of fishing, bush walks, sun-baking, peaceful cups of coffee, a quiet beer by the water’s edge. I must sound like a travel agent yet Lemon Tree Passage was relaxing, uncomplicated and stress free. Just the place for a holiday.

Teaching World War One?
January 27th, 2009

Gateway to Tanilba Bay

During a recent holiday on the north coast of NSW my wife Shao Ping and I stumbled across Tanilba Bay. This small town is located on the Tilligerry Peninsula  and is part of the Port Stephens region. We explored the town and discovered that a significant number of the streets had been named after individuals and facets of World War One.

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Street names include Lloyd George Grove, Clemenceau Crescent, Diggers Drive, Avenue of the Allies, Conquest Crescent, Navy Nook and Pershing Place.

Development Plan

The town plan consists of concentric circles. I believe that there were hopes that the town would become a significant centre on the eastern seaboard of Australia. There was a historical display near Tanilba House that included images of the original development plan from the early 1930s.

Tanilba House

This interesting and attractive little town could form the basis of a research assignment for a history class studying World War One. Who planned the town? Why did they choose those particular street names? Who was Pershing? What was a Pershing boot? Who was Clemenceau? Whey do we remember them? How is the Great War remembered in your town?

Okay fellow history teachers…. here is my challenge for this week. How would you use this knowledge of Tanilba Bay in your teaching of history? I am thinking of asking my students to design a town that utilises a different historical event as the basis for the nomenclature within the new town.

Amazing Stockton Beach, NSW
January 17th, 2009

Stockton Beach sand dunes, looking south.

Earlier this week Shao Ping and I had the opportunity to explore Stockton Beach, south of Port Stephens in NSW. The sand dunes of Stockton beach stretch for 32 kilometres and in some areas reach 1 kilometre inland.

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We explored the dunes late one afternoon and then went on an organised tour the following day. The dunes are moving approximately 4 metres in a northerly direction each year.

Northern end of the dunes near Anna Bay.
Tank traps are visible in the foreground.

The dunes feature tank traps that were constructed to deter an invasion by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War.

The dunes can be as high as 30 metres.

The earliest inhabitants of this region were the members of the Worimi Aboriginal tribe.  The middens created by the tribe during the previous 12,000 years can be seen at many points along the length of the beach. The middens appear and disappear with the ever shifting sands.

Tin City

As well there is the intriguing Tin City. This is a collection of shacks that had their origins during the Great Depression. They were built and occupied by impoverished Australians. The shacks made way for an army camp during the Second World War and were rebuilt after the war. At this time four men still live in the remaining shacks. They were utilised as a set during the Mad Max movie. It is hard to believe that individuals could live in such an environment. They utilise solar and wind power as well as a groundwater supply. Keeping out the sand must be an ongoing challenge for the four inhabitants.

Guess who?

If you are ever in the Port Stephens and Newcastle region of NSW the Stockton dunes are well worth a visit. Shao Ping and I certainly had a jolly good time. I have uploaded a gallery of photographs of the dunes to my main web site.

Two memorable moments
December 14th, 2008

I have a couple of favourite photographs. Both taken with a 3 megapixel Sony digital camera about eight years ago. Thought I would write a little about each. The first is of an spider that I managed to photograph in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore back in 2000. It was hot and humid. I was there with some colleagues who were photographing some of the flora and fauna for a CD-ROM on mangrove environments.

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Location of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore.

I decided to see how close I could get to this particular spider. I made my way into the undergrowth and crouched down upon the wet damp leaves. I held the camera in both hands and using a simple macro setting eased the lens closer to the spider until it seemed to be in focus. I took the photograph. It is shown below. The spider is a little out of focus. She was busily repairing the web. [I think the spider is female as it lacks tarsal bulbs on its pedipalps]. She seems to have lost one of her legs. View large photograph.

The other was photograph was also taken in a mangrove. This time in Indonesia. My wife and I had taken a holiday in Bintan to get away from Singapore. While we were there we were given an escorted boat ride into a nearby mangrove and I took a number of photographs with the same Sony camera. While we floated along we came across a part of the mangroves where a large number of mangrove snakes were lying on the branches above and alongside the waterway. This species of snake is widespread and is also referred to as a cat snake.

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Location of mangroves in Bintan, Indonesia.

I asked our guide if we could stop so that I could take a photograph. The little boat paused. I grabbed my camera, gently stood up and pointed the camera towards the snake. The boat was swaying to and fro a little. I grabbed a branch with one hand and held the camera with the other. The branch I held is in the left of the photograph. As I grabbed the branch and took that photograph the snake turned to look directly at me. I quickly sat down and the guide backed the little boat out of there. He was worried that I might be bitten or the snake may drop into the boat. View large photograph.

The image is blurred. I did not have the time to focus. Still like the photograph though. I was close. Probably too close. I have been back to those mangroves, with my wife Shao Ping and my nephew Adrian.

Do you have a similar memorable moment captured on camera that you would like to share?