26 Sep 2016

Coalseam Conservation Park

Irwin River
The 140 km long Irwin River, at its mouth, separates the towns of Dongara where we had spent the night, and Port Denison.

We didn't know it at that time, but we were to cross and re-cross this river many times on this day, both in the car and on foot.

Our first stop of the day, was the Coalseam Conservation Park.  

We have never been to this Park, which was reputed to be full of wildflowers this time of the year, and I was hoping to see the place covered with carpets of wildflowers, something I remember seeing on our trip of 1993 a little further north.

Here are a few scans of photographs I took then.  
Memories from 1993
The Irwin River runs through the Coalseam Park; at this stage it appears to be a mere trickle, as at different stages of its journey, it runs underground.
Walking through the Park, we had to cross this river bed at different points.
The carpets of flowers that I was keen to see, though, were there in abundance.

The yellow ones are like little pom-poms, and that, indeed,  is what they are commonly called.
While there are others of similar colour, there are also many different ones - I have no idea what they are called, though.

From the river bed, you can look up towards these towering cliffs ...
... and this is the view from the top.
Note the yellow wildflowers between all the trees
Quite a few hours were spent here, before we left this Park and continued on our journey to Mullewa and Yalgoo.

19 Sep 2016

The Elusive Wreath Flower

In the winter of 1993, when Grandma C and I enjoyed our long-service leave, we took a driving and camping trip to the far north of Western Australia, driving up via the long coastal road till we reached Kununurra, near the Northern Territory border.

It was on our way home, driving down the inland road, that we first heard of the Wreath Flower.

By that time it was spring, and the wildflowers were blooming all along the way.  We had stopped for the night at Ninghan Station, and the lady proprietress there told us about this flower, which had bloomed then for the first time in many years.

As we left for our drive home the next morning, she gave us directions to where the wreath flowers were, but to the best of our efforts we failed to find them.

About four weeks ago, I happened to see on TV that these wreath flowers were blooming again, after our very rainy and cold winter (in fact, that winter was supposed to be our coldest in 22 years!).  Furthermore, the TV show added that we were having a bumper season of wildflowers in our mid-west.
Western Australia Regions
Grandma C said that it was high time I got off my bum and we take a drive up to see the wreath flower.

So last week, we took off in search of this flower again (after 23 years!).  Our target was the tiny town of Pindar in the Mid-West, which I planned to reach on the second day of our trip, as that was where the TV show said the wreath flowers were.
Canola fields near Moora
Grandma C, however, had done some research and had other plans, unbeknownst to me.  At one of our rest stops at the town of Perenjori, she rushed off into the tourist office.
Wattles blooming in Perenjori
She came out with specific directions for me to drive to and we spent time searching for what I thought was some patch of wildflowers.
Searching, searching - a little lost at times
After a few false starts, we found it.  I was surprised, as I didn't know Grandma C's intention at all.
The Wreath Flower
We had to drive up a rather rough track and then reached a home made sign proclaiming the existence of these flowers.  There was a whole clump of them, all in one patch of red earth.

Top view, Wreath Flower
I would say, that on average, they'd be about 40-60 cm in diameter.  They are reputed to be difficult to grow from seed, or to transplant and often the only way to view them is to search them out in the wild.
Side view, with wattles in the background
Sometimes they merge into figures of eight.
Some close-ups follow:

 It was just as well that Grandma C had taken steps to find this place, as the next day, when we finally got to Pindar and found the wreath flowers there, the flowers were already well past their prime, and not as pretty as the ones we saw near Perenjori.
Wreath flowers growing beside a dirt road near Pindar
These have started to fade away.
I cannot finish without showing you my favourite sight in Pindar, serviced as it is by quite a few of these dirt roads, with their fine red dust.
I wonder how many will

12 Sep 2016

Half A Lifetime

The 1st of September has come and gone: in Australia, it marks the end of winter and the first day of spring.

We didn't know that fact back then, but 35 years ago, on this auspicious day, the Tans arrived to settle in Perth.

I was approaching 35 then, and I'm approaching 70 now!

Here are some highlights from the early years here, back when there was no internet, Facebook or blogs to share these pictures with.
In the Perth Hills
We spent a lot of time exploring the surrounding countryside and getting to know our new home.
A trip to Wave Rock - 400 km east of Perth
 This stray cat adopted us and we fed it for many years till its death.
Me trying to grow vegetables in the backyard.  I remember microwaving my broccoli, only to see hordes of tiny caterpillars crawling out.
A simple birthday party in the backyard, quite unlike the elaborate ones these days.
Wolf Cubs
Backyard BBQ, with Grandma visiting from Singapore
A Family Holiday to World Expo 88 in Brisbane.
Son No 1 went on a school skiing trip to NZ, and enjoyed it so much he managed to persuade the family to go on one in the Snowy Mountains.
Going Gliding in the wheatbelt town of Cunderdin
Family Holiday in Victoria
 The Tan family's "long hair" period.  I outdid the boys by having a beard.

In 1993, I qualified for long service leave, having worked for 10 years with the Commonwealth Public Service.  This entitled me to 3 months full pay leave (with the option of taking it as a 6-month half pay leave) on top of the usual annual leave entitlement.

Being the lazy bugger that I am, I took for the 6 month half pay option.

Grandma C, however, worked for the WA public service, and they are even more generous with the long service leave;  she qualified for it after only 7 years service, and had to wait 3 years before we could take our LSL together.

We used this holiday to take a long driving tour of the north west of WA visiting the many towns we had only ever heard of.

Here are a few pics of that trip.
Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn

Grandma C beside a giant termite mound
Morning Tea amongst the wildflowers of the Pilbara
Whale watching

Oxer Lookout, Karinjini National Park in the Kimberley region (me in the green shirt at the top)