This morning’s interview with presenter Matt Dowling regarding my work on tracks and trails promotion in the Strathbogie region. Commences at 43.30minutes.
Click on this link for access to my photos in the report Strathbogie Shire Council Annual Report 2020
When the last butterfly flutters by your seat on the grass When the sun moves overhead in one more timeless pass When the creek’s empty water flows by and on When the creatures of the bush all around you have gone Will you sit and reflect on what could have been When you knew it was coming it had been foreseen Will you ask why you didn’t when there was time and you could While you sat on the grass thinking I must then I should
This being human is brutal
Where survival remains primal
Where savagery can be ruthless
Where being human is animal
This being human is joyful
Where sharing is a pleasure
Where smiles reflect happiness
Where being human rises above
This being human is indulgent
Where affluence is wasted
Where consumption is recreational
Where being human is an economic unit
This being human is religious
Where unknowns engender hope
Where faith equates with confidence
Where being human could be spiritual
This being human is political
Where a few choices matter
Where many choices don’t
Where being human is good and evil
This being human is being creative
Where knowledge grows exponentially
Where caution is thrown to the wind
Where being human is a contradiction
This being human is arrogant
Where entitlement reigns
Where extinctions surprise no one
Where being human is collective stupidity
This being human is ridiculous
Where universes are vast
Where consciousness is nebulous
Where being human is being alone
This being human is scary
Where thoughts beget actions
Where actions beget unanticipated consequences
Where being human is in itself an existential risk
To add another dimension to your experience of poetry, I recommend you also engage with the international community of fellow poets at d’verse virtual pub poetry challenges
I sit on my green cane chair The best chair for thinking It is outside It has the advantage of being in a good place A verandah from which there is much to see Even if the weather is cold it is in the right position because the wind slides past laterally In this chair you can avoid confronting winds of change You can sit here for a long time confident you won’t have to move or make way for someone or something You can watch all sorts of things unfold from this chair Insects birds animals people the day the night the light Seasons pass you by I unfold from this chair This is a sitting for thinking chair It gives access to great scope for thought A matching cane table stands by this chair It is for all the paraphernalia I choose to utilise for observation and thinking for research recording and writing Endless cups of tea Vegemite and salad rolls Fruit nuts stacks of books Pens paper Camera iPad and phone Background noises surrounding this chair are soothing Creek water tumbling over rocks An irregular breeze wafting at leaves Morning song birdsong evensong Another nice sound I often hear from this chair is children playing Always happy to be outside In cooler months running along the bush track In summer swimming in the waterhole by the bridge or excitedly calling to each other as they splash about amongst the cascades You need to wear a brimmed hat sitting in this chair regardless of the season This is to shade your eyes from the northerly and westering sun To balance the glare against the shadows on the surface you are working on This chair has soft cushions for the seat and for the back They rest against its structure of bent cane It is a very good fit You can sit for a long time before needing to move However, the arms of this chair are narrow They may confine you to a limited range of positions This has the advantage of forcing movement This state of affairs is conducive to constructive thinking by prompting physical activity around the house along the verandah in the garden along the creek Such activity can be necessary to continue to be effective A mental activity reset New approaches come with a reset Quite often they are so new you get a pleasant surprise This is because you didn’t know they were there within you beforehand Another way to reset is change the scene move this chair to the edge of the verandah or reorientate A different outlook New space New thinking You have to remember to take the cushions in every evening to stop them getting damp They get tired and worn They are due for a new skin Just like me This chair is exposed to the elements One day it won’t be there I wonder will another chair be so generous?
Thoroughly documented by principal activist Bert Lobert, click the link below to view the remarkable chronicle of the successful local campaign for forest preservation and re-wilding. A golden example of what needs to be happening around the rest of the nation and the globe. .
That clamorous reed warbler
With the protracted breeding song
Passages of enamouring power
Designed to bring along
A partner for the season
With whom to court and spark
To share nesting in long reeds
At the edges of the lake
I do not know the words
Of this loud and spirited song
Launched from this small bird’s throat
Into the gathered avian throng
In the early morning,
at the end of each long day
Persistent and single minded
Seeking a mate to hold in sway
But the message is clear and proud
I am the one for you
Come to me my darling
Let’s see what two can do
Advertising seduces me into ever wanting more. Advertising leaves me wanting.
Nature arouses in me the need to belong, experience and explore. Nature fulfils these needs and more.
Natural world spaces beckon. A track, a trail, a waterway, a forest, a desert, a garden, a valley, a mountain, a park. They call on us to linger in place, to appreciate and contemplate. They feed our souls and refresh our minds. They represent and deliver the simplest pleasures of life, observing and feeling part of the interconnectivity of everything.
I recently read David Attenborough’s 2020 book, “A life on our planet: My witness statement and a vision for the future”. Ever since, I have been contemplating how on earth it will be possible to action the plans he outlines for preserving functional global climate systems, biodiversity, and saving ourselves from ourselves.
Rewilding is one solution Attenborough envisages. A small example may be when many urban neighbourhoods develop their own small forests and foster biolinks. The cumulative effect could be significant. Just as each relatively small piece of new built environment and mono cultural agribusiness diminishes our capacity to recover, each relatively small piece of new ecosytem and forest enhances it. See www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-56003562
As I head
toward the door
head my way
Where are you going?
It doesn’t matter, I say
a destination in its own right
the easiest way
we can fully engage
With the natural world
we place ourselves
at a new destination every minute
we escape ourselves
And we expose ourselves
to genuine experiences
of our surroundings
and the elements
on the human scale
What will you look for?
knowing whatever I look for
I will also find many things different
I don’t need to look
for anything in particular
because I will find
small parts of everything
Walking always takes me there
Melville’s Lookout Track
Distance, Grading and Cautions
|3 – 4 hours bushwalking|
|Alternative Recreational Uses|
|This is a good location for multi recreational use: bushwalking, mountain bikes, orienteering, rogaining and driving (on formed roads only)
Horse riding, motor bikes and 4WDs are only permitted on formed roads.
|Wildflowers in autumn and spring. Muddy tracks in winter. Very hot and dry in summer.|
|Grass trees are vulnerable to cinnamon fungus transfer: keep to formed roads and tracks.
Unauthorised tracks exist. Take care not to get lost!
No pets or firearms. No drones without a permit.
Rough ground, snakes, falling limbs, no potable water.
|Picnic tables and fire grates at the Lookout|
|Management and Support Groups|
Embark from and return to the carpark (of sorts) on the corner of Mt Black Quarry Rd and Heathcote Nagambie Rd., Wirrate.
The main part of the track comprises Mt Black Quarry Rd. This is a dirt vehicle track with very little traffic. Take care, loose stones can make the track slippery. The track rises gently for 3.6km, where it arrives at the base of a steep, rough foot trail that ascends directly to the Lookout (at 4.2km). This foot trail then joins the dirt vehicle track on the opposite side of the summit. This dirt vehicle track loops back to the base of the hill. If the initial steep foot trail ascent looks too daunting, keep walking along the road approximately 100 metres until you get to the Melville’s Lookout 2km directional sign pointing left. Follow this track up and back down for a less demanding walk.
To the right of the Melville’s Lookout sign you will see remains of the old Goulburn Weir quarry site. Rocks from this location were cut to build the Goulburn River Weir wall at Nagambie in 1890. This area invites exploring. Kids will love it for all the climbing and hiding places. It makes for excellent mountain biking as well.
- For a shorter walk, you can comfortably 2WD drive in on Mt Black Quarry Rd to the base of the Melville’s Lookout.
- A 4WD can take you all the way to the Lookout on the summit vehicle track, 2km from the Melville’s Lookout directional sign.
- Walking 800 metres further along Mt Black Quarry Rd brings you to a walking track on the right going up to the Mt Black summit.
- The nearest camping is permitted at Spring Creek or Dargile Camping and Picnic Grounds or the Whroo free camping area.
Topography and Geology
The National Park is composed of forested hills and gullies. The sand stone ridge lines are a result of folds in the earth’s crust. Look out for fossilised sea shells from the ancient sea bed.
This park comprises Victoria’s largest remaining box – ironbark forest, consisting of open woodland including ironbark, grey and yellow box and stringy bark. The understory features blackwood, gold dust wattle, silver wattle and drooping cassinia. Grass trees are numerous. Green rock fern is a common ground plant in milder months.
Wildflowers include grassland wood sorrel, shiny everlastings, tall bluebells and Nodding Greenhood orchids, with many more according to the season. Rare spider orchids may be also found.
Eastern Grey kangaroos and goannas may be encountered.
Threatened species you may be lucky enough to see are the tuan and swift parrot
White winged choughs love the ground layer and white throated tree creepers are commonly seen running up midstory trunks. Red and little wattle birds and parrots particularly enjoy the canopy when eucalypts are in flower. And, of course, cockatoos abound. If you keep your wits about you, there are plenty more birds to be seen.
Damage from 4WD and motorbikes is not as bad as elsewhere, but sadly some clowns will always take pleasure in littering and tearing such places up.
March flies can be a problem in Autumn.
Dargile (formerly Heathcote – Graytown) National Park.
Melville’s Lookout: Captain (Francis) Melville was a notorious goldrush era bushranger. After being transported to Australia at age 15 for housebreaking, he escaped Port Arthur to live with local aborigines for a year. He came to Victoria in 1851. Within a short time he had formed the Mt Macedon Gang that robbed travellers heading to and from the goldfields.
Holy smokes, Buttman!
Richard Squires has picked up nearly 50,000 butts around Melbourne over the past six months and wants everyone else to get in on the act.