Manner, travelling, home


Posted Sep 9, 2008, 2:49 pm
Yummy - hi!!

I'm Manner, a sweet little bear born at a chocolate and sweets factory here in Vienna! All my beary-life I spent eating just sweets & sweets & sweets, which is wonderful of course. But then I have been told about Gina Giraffe and Felix which have been travelling around the world for a long time and I got curious to see what the world looks like with my own eyes. Which other sweets are there out there? I have heard that there are MANY! What do they taste like? Delicious, I hope! And are they made like at home in my wonderful factory? I'm soooo curious! I'd also like to see what the world looks like apart from sweets! My mommy told me that there are many beautiful places everywhere out there! Oh, what an adventurous life!!!

Posted Sep 30, 2008, 5:07 am
Hello! I've finally arrived in Australia! Didn't take too long! I'll update again soon with some photos when I've had a bit of a rest! Write again soon mom! <3

Posted Oct 2, 2008, 3:48 pm
Hey, sorry I haven't updated in a while. Sara's been quite busy and getting into new routines for herself so she hasn't had much of a chance to take us out and do too much... so today we went out and did a few things down the street... mainly did some mystery shops where you go into a shop and buy something and then rate the service you received by doing a survey online and getting paid a bit of money. The companies pay the companies that do the mystery shopping that she works for that way they can improve and rate their current staff customer service. Which is a good thing... kinda fun too but you have to remember so much information! It's crazy...
Anyways, it was time to get going... Sara had heaps to do today and didn't want to be out all day... so here's what Sara's main street looks like... at the bottom you can see what looks like a huge parking lot... that is indeed what it is... it's the parking lot to a huge company called Electrolux which makes fridges, vacuums and everything... they only make fridges and freezers at this one though... kinda cool anyways...
...and here's a street near where Sara lives... as you can see it looks very lush with a lot of trees... sadly, it's not this way just outside of Orange with mostly farmlands and it's very dry...
...going now out to the main part of Orange this isn't the main street but there are a lot of shops. You can't tell very much but the shops are very old, most of them anyways... first stop Daniel and Sara had to drop off their 2 year old son, Andrew at daycare... *sigh* it's quite hot already and it's only 9am... geez, and it's only still the beginning half of Spring... oh it's so hot!...
...time to get going again, this is near the main street, this is Anson Street it connects with Summer Street and the back road to get to one of the malls... which are quite small to other malls, especially in America...
Almost there now... just through this roundabout and we'll be there... on the right hand side you can see a big blue/green type building and a big white one next to it is one of the original buildings in Orange... I can't remember what it is now, the white one next to is is the Ex Services Club where all the bands come to play and comedy acts are held and everything... Sara's seen a few preformers there including Jimeon and Steady Eddy two Australian comedians...
Welcome to Orange Central... this only recently opened back up after huge renovations... it's quite... different from what it used to be and seems to have a bit more upper class type stores now which are way expensive but also some nice stores like Dollars and Sense... but we're not going there for that, we're headed to Kmart to do our first mystery shop...
...well... back on the road again, we couldn't really take photos inside the mall because well... people get a bit weird about that for some reason but here we are... on Summer Street which is the main street of Orange. Now... what's strange about Orange is it has two malls, most of the bigger towns in the Central West have two malls... owned by different people. On the left is the Orange Central (where we just were) and on the right is the Orange Metroplaza which has stuff like Myer (like a big department store), Big W (Australia's Wal*Mart equivalent) and the Reject Shop... also next to Myer, which you can see on the right side, behind the trees is a huge building you can see sticking out - that's the main post office... quite big for such a little town isn't it? In reality, it's not that big...
...and as we go down main street a bit more you start to notice the trend of the buildings and how old they all seem to be... some more modernized than others but none the less... lots of the buildings actually have apartments on the top floor... and people still live in them to this day...
...down another street on our way to the metroplaza (the other mall) we went down Lords Place... Sara took a photo so show you their cinemas here... they're kind of funny, she's used to the box office being outside but it's not... instead you buy your tickets at the snack bar, I guess it's a way to get you to just buy some snacks at the same time instead of avoiding it... but another interesting thing... you notice how there is no parking really? Yeah, Sara thinks that's interesting too - especially since there's no parking unless you want to walk ages that's longer than 2 hours... which isn't good unless you see a movie under 2 hours long... oh well!

Well... that was my little tour of Orange... we're also going to do a tour of Millthorpe (hopefully), Blayney, and very soon we'll be going to Canowindra a small town 50 minutes drive of Orange... Sara's never been there before so it's going to be new to all of us! Write again soon mom!

Posted Oct 5, 2008, 3:27 pm
So today was the day for another little road trip. Although not as long as other road trips that they've been on previously it was time to get packed into the car and ready to go... it's quite a crowd we have with us today isn't it?

...only a short way through the drive we found a very small town called Cargo, it has a population of 200 and is between Orange and Canowindra... it was so small Sara didn't even realise we were passing through the main street until we were through it... most of it was farmland and there was a pub and a small grocery store but not much else... although we did see some native birds...

Not sure if you can see it but there are two little ibises in the background... they're pretty common, especially around trash cans, dumps and they're kind of like "rats" or like Australian pigeons... Sara still finds them pretty cool though... here's a closer picture if you can't see them very well...

...well back on the road again we're only half way there... :-)

Posted Oct 5, 2008, 5:17 pm
Well, we're finally here... this is Canowindra (Ka-noun-dra), a small town with only 1,200 people. Very small, but yet, quite a well known little town and you'll find out why a little later... you can see the main street looks very old, again with the very old buildings. These are quite common for all over Australia, even in the cities like Sydney you'll find areas that look very similar to this... although usually not as small as some of the towns you find in this area...

First things first, Sara had to get one of the mystery shops done, they went to Westpac (one of the banks) and rated the service and deposited some money into an account which she will get back... now that that's done it's time to do a bit of roaming around this little town...

First thing we came to this information sign... because the writing is so small Sara will just type it out in case you want to read a bit about what Canowindra is all about....

Canowindra is in Wiradjuri country and Canowindra and Belubula are Wiradjuri words. The fertile lands of the Belubula River increasingly attracted European pastoralists after the foundation of Bathurst in 1815. To stem the tide of settlement, Nineteen Counties were proclaimed in 1829 and the Belubula River, after survey in 1834, became the boundary of the County of Bathurst with no settlement permitted north of the river.

In 1829, the first land grant, Canowindra was a 640 acre block promised to James Collits. This block later passed to Thomas Icely and a site for a village was reserved adjoining the 640 acres where traffic forded the river at the site of the present Swinging Bridge. In the expansion of settlement westward, Canowindra became the next frontier town after Bathurst and Carcoar, serving traffic to the Lower Lachlan. In 1844, a public pound was proclaimed on the village reserve and in 1846 Thomas Icely had a mud hotel, the Travellers Rest, and a store built on his land, well sited to serve traffic routes converging at the ford.

In November 1846, Governor FitzRoy crossed the flooded Belubula on his tour of the 'unsettled districts' where disputes had arisen over land occupancy. After FitzRoy's tour, land regulations were altered to allow more permanent settlement beyond the boundaries of the Nineteen Counties. In 1847, the first Canowindra Post Office opened in the store next to the inn. In 1852, William Robinson bought from Icely the 640 acres and became licensee of the inn.

Events of the 1860's changed the fortunes of Canowindra, bypassed by traffic routes to the new gold rush town of Forbes. In 1860, the village reserve was surveyed into building blocks but few sold as the township was growing on private land north of the river. In 1860, William Robinson died suddenly and his son, William II, leased the south-side inn and by 1862 had moved over the river to be licensee of the north-side Canowindra Inn, where he was mine host in the eventful year of 1863 when the hotel was held up three times by bushrangers, Benn Hall and gang. As hotels were often referred to by the name of the licensee, it is easy to understand the confusion that arose over the site of Robinson's Inn of 1863 bushranger fame, which was not the old mud Travellers Rest south of the Belubula but the Canowindra Inn on the north-side near the site of the present Royal Hotel.

The development of the Canowindra township was further interrupted by a minor gold rush, beginning in 1868, at nearby Belmore (Moorbel), when businesses moved or opened there, threatening to overshadow Canowindra as the commercial centre. The government reserved a strip of north-side land with access to the river, bounded by present Tilga and Rodd Streets, known as the 'government town'. The first bridge over the Belubula was built in 1874 on its western boundary and the Church of England and government services, school, police and court house, were granted land there.

Canowindra Goldfield, proclaimed in 1879, included a square mile reserve centered on Belmore's Blue Jacket Hill which excluded the 'private town' of Canowindra but included South Canowindra. Modest homes, built there for miners, later became the homes of Lucerne workers as lucerne became the district's 'green gold'. The elevated building sites in the old Canowindra Village Reserve are now highly sought.

Now moving on, we came upon a small museum that looked to be closed... it had a lot of older farming equipment outside but the gate was padlocked so we couldn't have a look at all... oh well maybe next time... :-)

...although right outside the museum was a lot of these plaques....
...Sara wasn't quite sure what they were, but figured they were put there to commemorate the original settlers to this area, the main families that lived here as it went over who the people were, their names, where they lived, how many kids they had... quite interesting to read some of them. One of them said this guy had 14 kids with one wife, and 7 kids with another! Wow, that's a lot of children!...

Right near the museum was another information sign, again it's going to be small so if your interested feel free to read below... Sara will type it out... it's about Canowindra's Railway History...

Need for railway: Agitation for a railway to Canowindra began in the 1880's. The district proved ideal for primary production as land was cleared for agriculture and closer settlement. Access to markets was crucial. Rail had reached Cowra via the Great Southern Line in 1885. Completion of the railway bridge over the Lachlan River and the Blayney to Cowra line in 1887 made the Great Western Line a reality. Cross country link lines were always the vision of the Railway Engineer-in-Chief of New South Wales, John Whitton, but routes proposed were controversial. The line from Orange to Forbes, completed in 1893, offered hope for a link from Cowra through Canowindra.

Canowindra Line Approved: The Cowra to Canowindra Railway Act was passed on 15 December 1908 and land resumptions began for construction which quickly followed the turning of the first sod at Cowra West on 11 January 1909. A parcel of land in Canowindra from Blatchford to Clyburn Streets was resumed for railway use and site layout plans were prepared by Assistant Engineer, John J C Bradfield, who went on to design the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Extention to Eugowra: The long-promised 26 mile line extention to Eugowra opened on 11 December 1922. Although the Canowindra to Gregra Railway Act was passed in May 1924 to link with the Parkes-Forbes line, it was never built (Grega was a siding near Manildra).

Grand Opening and Growth of Town: On 4 July 1910, the 23 mile branch line was opened with a great ceremony. The official party arrived with 800 people on a thirteen carriage train from Cowra. Two WELCOME arches were erected with pylons of lucerne bales and bags of wheat.

The railway terminus was a tremendous boost to the town. Prior to 1900, Canowindra's population hovered around 400. By 1911, it had risen to 1,500 and continued to rise until slowed by World War 1. The railway brought businesses to the western side of town and new commercial buildings were erected in the dog-leg main street. Mill Street was surveyed for two flour mills.

In 1927 a rail motor service replaced steam-hauled passenger trains. The 'Tin Hare', as the rail motor was affectionately known, proved a return service on wee days from Cowra to Eugowra for over thirty years. Pupils from Billimari could travel daily to school in Canowindra and the driver would stop to pick them up at unscheduled stops near their homes. Families with small dairies loaded their cream cans on the motor train for delivery to the Butter Factory in Canowindra. By 1970 diesel-electric locomotives had replaced steam on goods trains.

Decline of Rail Services and Site use: Land between Blatchford Street and the stationmaster's house was early given over for a town park and the Historical Society opened a museum in the park in 1970. Rail services to Canowindra gradually dwindled as better roads and motor transport reduced demand. The passenger station was closed on 10 August 1974 but goods trains continued until 10 October 1991 when the last government train hauled wheat from the silo. The Lachlan Valley Railway Society leased the line for limited passenger and grain services until 1995.

Meanwhile, the station house was brought, restored and opened in 1988 as part of the Historical Society Museum complex. From 1993 Canowindra Lions Club leased land near the passenger builing as a park. Part of this lease was acquired in 1996 to build the Age of Fishes Museum. Floods in 2001 damaged the Cucumber Creek Bridge rendering the line impassable and future use uncertain.

Now they mentioned something at the end there which caught Sara's eye as they were driving more down the main street... the Age of Fishes Museum... Sara's a bit of a sucker for fossils and ancient stuff so of course we made a stop at this museum in question and had a bit of a look around...
...first thing we did after paying the admissions to enter is we watched a short little video it talked about the major fish fossils that have been found in this area, some that are extremely old dating back before the dinosaurs even, and some fish getting as big as 5 metres long in length. Canowindra is huge for this fossils of these ancient fish, the video mainly talked about a time when there must have been a huge rainfall so the river broke and made huge billabong's. Then over a few days the billabong dried up and all the fish died as they were stuck... this is where all these fish fossils are mainly found... here's a bit of information more on these ancient fish before we move onto the fossils...
What Would Canowindra Have Looked Like?
360 million years ago, the area around Canowindra would have looked very different from today. The map above shows some of the main features of the Canowindra area back then -
-a coastline that is near where the town of Muswellbrook is now.
-a large river basin, with highlands on either side
-lots of green vegetation along the river system, with the rest of the land like a desert.
Over time, the Canowindra highlands were eroded away by wind and rain, creating sediments that washed down into the river basin. When compacted together, these sediments made the fine, hard sandstone and shales which are now found in the Canowindra area.
What Was The Earth Like Back Then?
For most of the Earth's early history, it's land has been like a desert with hardly any vegetation. During the Devonian Period (410-354 million years ago), the rocks and sand were stained red by oxidised iron (rust). Early plants grew on the land, such as mosses and fersns, and some even grew up to 30m tall. But, because they needed water for their spores to germinate, plants only grew close to water. This made the rivers, lakes and billabongs rich, green places in stark contrast to the dry, desert-like land.

The main animals living on the dry land were invertebrate, such as insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders and scorpions while they rivers, lakes and billabongs and seas were filled with fishes.

The Devonian Period is often called the "Age of the Fishes" because it was a time when the fishes spread all over the Earth and lived in every kind of aquatic environment. All the major groups of fishes were living during the Devonian Period, but the most common were the placoderms and sarcopterygians.
Was Canowindra Always On Dry Land?
500 million years ago, the area that was to become Canowindra was deep below the ocean. By 400 million years ago, it was under shallow water and by 360 million years ago, the time that the Canowindra fishes lived and died it had become dry land.

Throughout time, the coastline of eastern Australia has always been changing. Tectonic activity (movement of the rocky plates of the Earth's surface) created volcanic activity on the edge of the continent. This in turn created more rock, adding to the existing land area and making the seas off the coast of Eastern Australia shallower. The tectonic activity also lifted parts of the sea floor so high that they became dry land.

Over time, rivers flowing towards the east carried large amounts of sediment which settled in the shallow seas, filling them up and creating even more land. And so, over millions of years, the land area grew and the coastline moved further and further to the East.
How Big Was The Billabong?
The billabong in which the Canowindra fishes lived was quite big. A billabong is a semi-permanent waterhole that is linked to a river. This billabong was part of a huge river system that flowed through the Canowindra area during the Devonian Period. The site containing the fossils is about 10m across, but the original billabong would have been much bigger to support more than 3,500 fishes (the approximate number of fossil fishes found) plus other animals and plants.

Also, there are no fossils of plants or invertebrates with the fossil fishes, so this suggests that the fishes died in the central and deepest part of the billabong away from the edges where plants grew. So the original billabong may have been 100m or more in width. were almost ready to move onto see the fossils, first we got to learn how the fossils were discovered and a bit of history about that...
How Were the Fossils Discovered?
First... In 1955, a slab of rock with hundreds of strange shapes on it was dug up by a bulldozer driver working on a road about 10kms away from Canowindra. Because it was unusual, the driver placed the slab at the side of the road where it was seen by a local beekeeper, Mr. Bill Simpson, in 1956 and reported to the Australian Museum in Sydney.

The slab was covered with fossils of ancient fishes from the Devonian Period (410-354 million years ago). Harold Fletcher, a palaeontologist (a scientist who discovers fossils) at the Australian Museum, was so impressed with these fossils that he arranged for the slab to be taken to the Australian Museum in 1956 to be studied and put on display.

The large scaly fish at the centre of the slab was found to be a completely new species never seen before. It was named Canowindra Grossi. Many of the other fossils were of small armored fishes which had already been found in other parts of the world, but the Canowindra fossils were some of the best fossils of these ever found.
Then... Dr Alex Ritchie, the Museum's new palaeontologist, identified some broken fossils of another species of fish called Groenlandaspis on the slab. Dr Ritchie was interested in studying more fossils of Groenlandaspis so he visited the road near Canowindra (where the slab was found) six times between 1973 and 1990 to search for more fossils of Groenlandaspis.

But without earth-moving equipment Dr Ritchie did not find any more fossils. In 1993, after hearing a talk about the fossil fishes by Dr Ritchie, the Canowindra Rotary Club arranged for Cabonne Shire Council to provide earth-moving equipment for a few days to search for more fossils under the road.

Within three hours, dozens of slabs of rock had been uncovered with hundreds of fossil fishes on them, including an example of a very large ancient fish later named Mandageria. A larger excavation was carried out in July 1993with the help of many local volunteers. More than 3,500 fossils were found.
The Future... before the excavation was due to finish in 1993 and the road put back in place, Dr Ritchie uncovered one huge slab of rock with six perfectly preserved fossils of large fishes lying side by side. Dr. Ritchie was able to make a latex peel of one of the fossils before the road had to be put back in place on top of them. The six fossils and many others are still waiting underground for the time when there are enough funds to reposition the road and reopen the excavation site.

...before we visited the fossils we had a look at some of the cool fishes they had on show, although the first two aren't alive they're still pretty cool.... the first is called a silver perch and the second is a small shark called a Port Jackson shark. :-)

...and there was two alive fish there too... one was hiding so we couldn't see it but the other was a fish that lives now that very much resembles one of the ancient fishes called the Saratoga...
Saratoga look similar to the fossil fish Gooloogongia. Saratoga live in tropical rivers in Australia and have thin, needle-like teeth and a strongly upturned jaw. They feed on insects that fall onto water's surface and hunt for small fishes and invertebrates underwater. The fossil fish Gooloogongia also have thin, needle-like teeth and a strongly upturned jaw, so perhaps they caught food in similar ways to saratoga.

Not all sarcopterygians had needle-like teeth. Others, like Cabonnichthys and Mandageria, had strong, cone-shaped sharp teeth like modern salt-water crocodiles. They could have used their strong teeth and jaws to attack other large fishes and perhaps to crush the armored plates of placoderms.

Now that we know all about why Canowindra was put on the map so to speak, it's time to visit the fossils we've read so much about... you can see there are quite a few in a very small area, and this is only a section of the fossils that have been found. You can't really tell but there were some HUGE fish among those fossils...
You can read a little bit about those tiny little fish found in the fossils, they were kind of cute weren't they? They were pretty dang small as compared to some of the other fish seen in these fossils. It's amazing to think about what lived in that time so long ago... this visit was so much fun, I learned a lot about Australia's history and the history of what lived here way before the dinosaurs, who knew today would be that fascinating... I hope you found it as fascinating as me... now it's about time to move on... time to get ready and go home...

On the way home, we passed by a huge field of purple flowers... they seem quite pretty don't they?
Sadly this flower is called Pattersons Curse it's one of the big reasons that Australia has such strict laws about what is brought in and out of the country... Australia is the world's largest island (continent) and therefore when things come in, they stay in... a long time ago this lady brought in what's known today as Patterson's Curse because she wanted it in her garden. Now, every Spring it pops up, it's a weed that kills a lot of stuff and causes massive hay fever for a lot of people this time of year. It's found in a lot of paddocks and you can find it anywhere and every where. Thankfully Sara doesn't have the hay fever that most people suffer from when they're around the plant but she knows how bad it can get... pretty nasty...

...almost out of the area now, and we drove by some bright yellow flowers... instead these aren't so bad...
...these are the Australian canola fields, as you can see there's quite a bit there... it's a very pretty site actually with the mountains the background and everything... :-)

Well, that was a big BIG day... time for a rest, rain is forecast this weekend... yay! It was getting quite hot already I'm ready for a bit of a cool down... I'll write again soon!

Posted Oct 7, 2008, 11:16 am
Well just when I think our group was big, we got a few more visitors today. Sara's been going around rescusing some toys that had gone missing from hosts that were no longer available to host... so her toyvoyager Fred Lion, and his friend Tiah Tigris arrived from Hunter Valley, which Sara says is just South of Sydney on the coast... it was nice to meet them, then later in the afternoon another little visitor (literally) came to visit, his name is Chiro and he came from Japan... oh what stories he has told us already...'s quite a large group... but some of us will be back on the road again pretty soon and traveling a bit more of Australia before continuing on our world travels... how fun!

...oh and we also got another little visitor today... something that's not quite as common as other birds seem around here like the galah's and cockatoo's... this little colorful guy is called an eastern rosella... isn't he pretty?
We didn't want to get in the photo because well, we'd look like a blur because of how far it's zoomed in, but also because it would scare him away... oh well, he was sure pretty to look at... isn't he mom? Well I'll write again soon!

Posted Oct 7, 2008, 11:25 am
I realised something today... one of the other toyvoyagers with me... is very similar to me in many ways... Lollipop, she loves chocolate just like me, probably not as much as me though, because I love chocolate the most, and other candy, but she loves everything... so her and I had a bit of a one on one talk today...

...after discussing which candy is mine and her favourite we were shown different candy that Sara has just around her home... let's see... she's got a giant lollipop... just like lollipop herself... but candy, and a lot bigger...

...she's got some pez refills... they go in strange little dispensers... sadly Sara doesn't have the dispenser, she just found these on a clearance rack and got them... yummy!...

...she's got some Oreos... which she's American so she has to love America's favourite cookie... yummy! They taste quite good in milk...

...and the best of all she's got chocolate...

...oh so yummy... and last but not least she's got something that seems to only show up in the stores near Christmas time (all the Christmas stuff is already going up - yikes! lol)... Mint Leaves...

Oh this all tastes so yummy! Don't be surprised if I come back home 2 kilos heavier than when I left! Write again soon mom, when ever I'm not eating all of Sara's lollies (while she's not looking of course)... hehe... :-)

Posted Oct 12, 2008, 3:56 pm
Today we went to Blayney (population 3,000), it's around a 30 minute drive between Bathurst and Orange, if you think of a triangle it's the bottom right hand corner, Orange is the bottom left, and Bathurst is the top point... nothing really in the middle of it but small little towns like Millthorpe (population 600). It's a very small town, although it has 3,000 people it still is quite small... it seems a lot smaller than that...

Anyways, Sara and Daniel dropped their car off at the mechanic to get the pink slip done (checking the car over so it can be registered for 2009) and took a long walk around town. All the toyvoyagers got to stay in Sara's backpack but sadly we couldn't come out too much besides peeking out of the bag every now and then. First stop we got to go to Sara's father in law's house for a while since it would be a while...

I got to learn a little bit about these houses... they seem kind of old by the look of them, and you can only see three in the photo, but there is four of them and they're all identical... or used to be... they're part of the Historical Heritage Trust of New South Wales. They're called the Marsden Cottages they were built at the same time in the late 1860's for the servants that worked for some rich family that lived around half a kilometre away, they were the Marsden family. The pink colored house is the one Sara used to live in and it's the most original of all of the houses... even though it had a bit built onto it, the doors are the same, so they're a bit run down but it's all original. The pink one is also the one that is the least run down, as they all have cracks in them because of being worn down but they're kind of interesting, and a lot larger than they look from the outside... with a really strange floor plan...

Well after spending a bit of time at the house we decided it was time to move on, we walked down the street a little ways and got to the Blayney High School, Sara's always found Australia strange for the fact that they have an agriculture class that they can take. So on the school grounds they have sheep, cows, and chickens... pretty crazy isn't it? Kind of cool though too I think... :-)

Moving on down the street we got to see these two churches, they're quite old as well, the first was built in 1861, and is all original, the second.... Sara's not really sure about it but it looks kind of cool...

Oh, and here's the main street of Blayney. Blayney was pretty busy for how small the town is, there were a LOT of tourists in town for the Bathurst races being held this weekend so we couldn't really come out of the bag for the fear of getting lost since there are so many of us... but I promise there will be more photos of me to come... :-)

That's literally all of Blayney, there's not much to it - it's pretty boring when you're around it at all times. Very small, and caused Sara a lot of problems from such a dramatic change from Seattle (huge city) to Blayney (tiny tiny town)... it drove her nuts lol... but everything is good now, it's nice to see some of the smaller towns within Australia isn't it? Write again soon mom!

Posted Oct 12, 2008, 4:19 pm
This weekend was a big weekend for Australia... it was the Bathurst 1000 races on Mount Panorama it's one of the big tourist things that Sara takes the toyvoyagers too... I haven't been there yet, but Sara plans a trip to Bathurst within a week or two so I'll get to see it up close and personal... Bellatrix and Jonas have already been on the track but won't be going with us this time... it's quite exciting... it's a huge thing for the Central West as people come from all over Australia and sometimes the world for this indurance race held every October... here's all of us sitting down and watching the races...

...since you can't see the tv properly here's some better shots that Sara got from the TV... Sara said that during this weekend every year you never leave the house as it's always SO busy and hectic where ever you go. When the races aren't on, all the hotels and motels are booked up... for this four day weekend that the races were on there were over 20,000 people that came out of town just to see the races... pretty crazy!...

One last thing that happened today, we couldn't be in the photo with this one because well... they're not the nicest of bugs but here's something called a spitfire. Apparently they're wasp larvae, they're quite large, and when they feel threatened they can shoot a 'string' of poisonous stuff at you. For humans it only burns, but it's quite nasty... interesting though at the same time... I've never seen anything like that before...

Posted Oct 20, 2008, 9:20 am
It was a very sunny and warm day. Sara made an impulse decision to take us down the street to Banjo Patterson's birthplace... which isn't too far of a drive from where she lives. Banjo Patterson is famous for his poem/song Waltzing Matilda which is famous all around Australia... here I am with the statue in memory of him...

Waltzing Matilda

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled
"Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?"

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up got the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Up came the troopers, one, two, three,
"Who's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?"
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
"Who's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up got the swagman and jumped into the billabong,
"You'll never catch me alive", said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?"

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?"

...there was lots and lots of birds around and making a bit of noise so we took notice... oh, it was just a little magpie... one of Australia's most common birds, and quite known for swooping you during the Spring months (now) to protect their babies...

Onto the way to the Templers Mill ruins, we stopped to have a photo with the landscapes of the area... this is what it looks like around here... but... usually more brown because of the drought, recently we got a lot of rain so it's a bit more green around here. Quite a lot more beautiful than normal. :-)

After we all got our photos taken at the statue we moved onto the Templer's Mill, which was right near where Banjo Patterson was born. His house is no longer there, so this is what stands  (or not so much anymore) to mark his birthplace. Here we are on the wreckage of the old mill...
...can you see us now that were farther away? It shows you how big the ruins are of the old mill... crazy how big it is isn't it?

...then we got to learn a little bit about the old Templers Mill...
You can now see a photo of what the Templers Mill used to look like... now if you can't read what the sign says this is what it reads:

In 1828, the land between Orange and Suma Park was granted to emancipist Simeon Lord as part compensation for land he had surrendered to Governor Macquarie in 1911 in Sydney. It was probably Lord's son, Thomas, who built and supervised the district's first flour mill on the property, which retained the Aboriginal name Narrambla.

It is possible that the grinding stone was first operated by convicts but, in 1840, when the mill was acquired by John Arthur Templer these were replaced by horseworks. In 1948, Templer installed a 12 horsepower steam engine and boiler, and the mill's chimney probably dated from this time. Farmers brought grain for grinding at one shilling a bushel.

It was in Templer's homestead among the trees by the creek that his great nefew, Andrew Barton Paterson, was born on 17 February 1864. Banjo Paterson as he became known, is one of Australia's best known and most popular poets.

Templer's Mill operated until about 1870. The boiler was later used for many years at Heap's Brewery in Moulder Street, Orange. The remains of the mill, considered dangerous and beyond repair, were demolished in 1971.

Walking a bit farther up the hill (more walking, just keep walking) we got to the memorial on the side of the road for Banjo... here we are in front of it:

Since it's not easy to read here's what it says:
The Australian Poet, Andrew Barton Paterson (Banjo)
Was born 17th of February 1864 at the Narrambla Homestead which stood 8 chains north east of this memorial.
-Erected 1947

"And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, and at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars."
(Clancy Of The Overflow)

Banjo is even on the Australian $10. note, it was quite fun to get to know a bit more about the history of Australia. :-) Write again soon! There's a heap more interesting stuff to come!

Posted Oct 23, 2008, 5:54 am
Today was the big day... a couple days early, but we were on our way to Bathurst to get a few things done... if you remember Bathurst just recently had the big "Bathurst 1000 Races" on Mount Panorama... well it's time to have a little visit to the track itself... but first here are some photos on the road to Bathurst...
It's a bit of a drive (45 minutes) with nothing but farmland in the middle of it... there's a small little town called Lucknow... some of us have had the pleasure of learning a bit more about the little gold mining town. The rest of us, will learn a little bit later about it... it's quite small anyways... literally a one road town with a few shops... here's some pictures while we were driving through...
...if you look, in the second photo you can see some huge things on the sides of the road... those a huge levers of sorts to help with the gold mines that were located right below them... but more on that later...
...oh, and almost there and we were driving behind this weird looking car... how strange is that? It must have been really windy, even though a warm day, I couldn't imagine having the top down on the car while going 100kph (60mph)...
...coming into Bathurst... Sara says she's never seen Canola fields this bright... she's never really come into Bathurst too much this time of year... but there was tons and TONS of yellow just outside of the town...
...well now were entering Bathurst... I'll update the rest of the trip a little bit later... stay tuned! :-)

Posted Oct 23, 2008, 6:44 am
Well the moment we got into Bathurst we just went straight to Mount Panorama... how exciting was this going to be? There was still road works on the track fixing up the track from the races a week or so ago... and there was still damage to the track where there was some crashes. It was interesting to see... Sara says she's never been on the track after a race so she got to see some of the damage that she saw happen on the tv... kind of cool anyways...
You can't see it that well, but in the background you can see the huge sign on the mountain that says "Mount Panorama"... :-)
...and here we are entering the track... a lot of people ride on the track... they come from all over Australia... but there's a very strict speed limit of 60kph (around 40mph) on the track so people don't hurt themselves... you'll find the drivers that race on this track though during the races will top about 300kph... crazy!
...and here's the famous starting gate... on the left are the stands where the announcers are and the pits... and on the right is the huge grand stand full of people... here we go...
So that's the whole race track... you can see from the very top of the mountain how high you actually are... you have quite the view of the city... then you come down a very curvy road, which honestly would be very scary at 300kph... if you look closely in the Falkin sign near the end of the track (it's a blue sign on the side of the road) right in front of the toyvoyagers are some huge scrapes and some dents... on the qualifying races for the big race on Sunday one of the cars got t-boned by another car coming around that corner. He was taken to the hospital and put into critcal care... but now he's out of the hospital and just fine thankfully. He says he regrets not being able to race... but I'm sure he's more happy just to be alive. It was a pretty nasty crash. There was more scrapes and dents all over the track from other minor crashes. But no real big crashes happened this year... although something funny happened, a kangaroo jumped out onto the race track... apparently this happens a lot since kangaroos are all over Bathurst. This time the kangaroo was fine and they slowed the cars down and got the kangaroo off of the track... this was from 2007 when a kangaroo was on the track. That kangaroo had a very lucky escape from the cars and was unharmed... check it out... :-) and another lucky kangaroo that should be buying a lotto ticket I think... crazy!

...well next it was time to go and see the now famous statue that they unveiled during the races a week or so ago... a Peter Brock statue... he was the biggest winner at Mount Panorama with 9 wins under his belt. He died in a racing accident in 2006, so they made a statue to commemorate him at the track... here I am in front of it...

...and then walking back to the car I see that they had a little playground for the kids, I thought it was kind of cute with the Ford and Holden rocking cars with a little safety car in the middle... :-)

...and now it was time for the most exciting part of the day (well, one of the most exciting I thought driving on a famous race track was pretty exciting in itself)... but we got to go searching for kangaroos... Sara was pretty hopeful we'd see them since the last time they came in there were none to be found... and if it wasn't for Sara's husband's watchful eye she wouldn't have seen them... they were lying down in the grass until we came around... then they all stood up and had a look... a few of them were pretty close too but Sara didn't notice until they were bouncing away into the distance... here I am in front of them...
...can you see them?... well here are some closer photos since they were a bit of a distance away...

...well that was a really exciting day for me... but it's time to head home...

I'm having so much fun with Sara... who would know you could have so much fun outside of the cities and beaches of Australia... miss you mom!

Posted Oct 28, 2008, 4:38 am
This weekend was a pretty boring weekend... but Sara decided on a whim that she was in a Halloween decoration mood... even though Australia doesn't have the normal orange Halloween pumpkins (well, they have the small ones sometimes but they're quite expensive since they're imported from America). Sara found a pumpkin that they've been storing for a baked dinner and decided that it looked like it wanted to be a jack-o-lantern. Sara carved and cut out the pumpkin and we all watched since there was a sharp knife involved... well, here I am with the finished product...

...after we all got our photos with the pumpkin, Sara turned out the lights and put a candle in the pumpkin... doesn't it look cool? It was quite fun! We also did a few other halloween decorations... you'll probably see those a bit later...

Write again soon mom! Sorry I've been so quiet... :-)

Posted Oct 28, 2008, 5:07 am
Well, today me and the toyvoyagers took a trip up to Mount Canobolas. It's quite warm out... ugh! Well, when we finally got up there it was VERY windy, we were all kept in a plastic bag so Sara was sure not to loose any of us in the car ride up or while we were there (except when photos were taken of course)... but I got to see a nice view of the town below... you can see it was a beautiful blue sky day... not a cloud in sight, apparently it's supposed to rain... but for some reason Sara doubts it... she hopes so though because then it'll at least cool everything down a bit... here's the other side of the mountain. This is facing towards Blayney and the smaller towns that are around 30 minutes drive away... it's so dark because it was around 3pm when the photos were taken so the sun was in the wrong place.. whoops!...

...when Sara was actually taking photos the plastic bag flew away, thankfully it didn't have any toyvoyagers in it... it flew around 300 feet and then down a huge hill so Sara had to trudge down by herself to get the bag... but first she dropped all the toyvoyagers off in the car where they would be safe.... here's the apex point of the mountain...

...and here's a bit of information about the Canobolas mountain range that were standing on...

...because you can't read it because it's so small, Sara will type it out in case you want to learn a bit more about the mountain range...
Mount Canobolas volcanic complex is listed in the Commonwealth Heritage Register for it's unique geological composition and location. These factors have resulted in a distinctive vegetation pattern, containing rare and unique species, which in turn contain habitats for a number of equally unique animals.

Within a 30 kilometre radius of Mount Canobolas, approximately 30 vents are known to have erupted. These eruptions commenced about 50 million years ago and halted approximately 10-15 million years ago. The Mount Canobolas vents erupted over that entire period, while others within the 30 kilometre radius were active for shorter periods. The basalt capping has largely weathered away, producing fertile soils as far away as West Wyalong.

Well, it was getting kind of late so it was time to move on... Sara did another stop off half way down the mountain for another view of Orange along the side of the road... quite the same from what I've already seen, but so different as it's not all cloudy and freezing cold (even though Sara would kind of prefer that right now)...

....and across the road is the peak of the mountain we were standing on and Little Mount Canobolas (as it's called) is another peak near it that you can hike to... it's around a 1.3 kilometre hike from the peak of the mountain...

Posted Oct 28, 2008, 5:09 am
On the way home, we stopped off at Lake Canobolas to see the ducks and well... it was just a nice and pretty day out and the water was gorgeous... although it was tempting to go swimming we didn't... the ducks even looked like they were hot from all this dry heat...

...well, not much time to spend there it was time to head home... on the way home we saw a fire truck... Sara thinks they kind of look funny from the ones she's used to in America... seems one of the firemen seemed to be looking at her taking a photo of them too while they were driving by... they probably think she's crazy! Oh well... :-)

...and you know how I said it was forecasted to rain? Well... it did, for a whole 5 minutes before heating up again actually warmer than it was most of the day, at 7pm even... ugh! But it did have a nice rainbow... :-)

Well, I'll write again soon! Miss you mom!

Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:04 pm
Today we all went to the dog park... it was VERY warm today, it was around 95' degrees in Sydney but they have the wind from the ocean when there is any... we are more inland and no rain so it was very very hot outside... we decided to take the dog to the dog park and just let her run like crazy... here I am at the dog park... you can see the dog, and Sara's husband Daniel were getting quite the workout... I'm not in the photos because Sara was zoomed in quite a distance... in the first picture you see that huge hill? They were up there when the photos were taken... pretty crazy the distance her camera can zoom in...

...and here's a picture of her 6-month old beagle puppy called Anni... isn't she cute?

Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:41 pm
Well after the long day at the dog park (even a few hours felt like much longer in that heat) we celebrated Halloween... Sara got some candy for her, Daniel and us to share... Halloween isn't as widely celebrated down here as - nothing like it is in America. We've never gotten trick-or-treaters... in the bigger cities and suburbs they do sometimes but nothing like in America so no worry about that here... we just sat down ate some nice candy, burned the jack-o-lantern and watched scary movies... :-)
...there was some pretty scary looking candy... there was gummy vampire tounges, gummi eye balls, that looked really realistic... freaky!... some skeleton lollipops and some marshmallow scary creatures like a witch, a vampire, a skeleton and a pumpkin... it was quite yummy! I hope you had a good Halloween mom! :-)

Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:53 pm
Today was a nice day, much cooler than the past days so Sara decided to take us all to the park... she went to a park that wasn't as full of people since they stopped off at Cook Park and it was packed because of a wedding so we went to a much smaller park called Memory Park... Sara swore it was called Moulder Park... but apparently not... it's really nice and green isn't it?

...we also got to see some strange looking beetles... they kind of look like they have a tribal shield thing on their back don't they? Well, they're harmless so we left them alone... :-)

I've only been here a few days but sorry for not really updating earlier, Sara's been trying to get over this cough she has so all of the toyvoyagers are staying together and just having a chat and resting a lot... it seems a bit too hot to do much else... but Sara says were going to be going to Dubbo next week, and then Sydney the week after... it's going to be a busy next few weeks... write again soon mom! Miss you!

Posted Nov 9, 2008, 8:45 am
As you may or may not have known Sara took us all to Dubbo today for a whole bunch of jobs she had to complete. She did it today instead of Friday, in which it was originally planned for... they decided after they got the jobs done to go to the Old Dubbo Gaol which she had never been to before... so this was totally new to her... it's quite a historic little piece of work right in the middle of town... so it's time to go and find out what this little (or not so little) museum is all about...

After Sara paid for our admittance into the museum (thankfully it didn't cost anything for all of us to come along - although we stayed in the bag most of the time... Sara will show you what we saw along the way... here I am with the map of the gaol and the self guided tour information was on the back... I'll read it out to you as we go through the gaol...

Once we entered the main gate we turned around and got a photo, it's called the "West Main Gate", this is what the self guided tour map and information told us about it...
This section was completed in 1887. The main timber gates are the original gates and many of the wooden pavers are original. Note the small gate within the iron gate. This is where prisoners and visitors would have entered the Gaol until 1929 when it was replaced by the Eastern entrance.

...The guy in the office told us to first go to what was called the "Infirmary" or the hospital of the old gaol, when we walked in we heard this voice... it was an old goast of the gaol he told us about the gaol and what we can find there... it was really interesting to learn about it... kind of freaky too..

When we turned we saw there were some paint scrapings... so what is the significance of that you may wonder? Well, they scraped away the paint to show the original paint, which was the orange/red colored paint, then through the years they painted it the other different colors than you can see... this is what that sign says next to it...
Paint Scrapings were carried out to identify previous colour schemeds used in the Gaol. Peeling back the paint has revealed the following sequence of colours and possible dates.
1970's Pale Green
1940/50's Pink
1930's Emerald green above and below a cream line
1880's Red and Orange with a stone color above a black line

Next stop off was the Vegetable and Food store, which was right next to the infirmary...
In 1885 the prison diet consisted of wheat bread, an overcooked mixture of maize meal, vegetables and meat juices, known as hominy. As a minor gaol, prisoners at Dubbo were allocated a different diet to those of the larger labour prisons with less meat (1/4lb on Wednesdays and Sundays served with rice). Prisoners also received a ration of salt, sugar and soap. Bread and water was considered a low diet and issued for punishment or when ill. From the late 1890's the produce from the vegetable garden was storedhere for use in the kitchen next door.
This area originally housed the Gaol's kitchen. There were two prisoners who worked as "Cooks Assistants" under lock and key. All meals were prepared here and then issued to prisoners in their cells.

Finally out of the first area of the gaol, it's time to move onto the more interesting areas of the gaol... we got to see the original gaol bell, which is located on the northern end of the building. When the gaol was closed in 1966 the bell was used at Newnes Prison Farm. It was returned in 1974, restored and re-erected in it's original place...

Next stop is the prisons well, this was used by on average 2-4 prisoners at a time that were responsible for pumping and distributing water throughout the gaol... this is what the plaque said right above the well...
In 1865, when the gaol was a 'holding lockup', consisting of a construction of some eight cells, the prisoners had no water supply in the existing gaol and were obligated to borrow water from a property close to Dubbo, hauling the barrels by bullock dray. However, due to severe drought, the property owner objected to supplying water as there was insufficent quantities for his own use. The then Member for Dubbo, Mr. George W. Lord, wrote to the Minister for Public Works, requesting a well be sunk in the gaol yard.

Now the next stop on the self guided tour was something that was originally not part of the Dubbo Gaol, but something that was used during the time that the Gaol was opened, and it is dated back to the early 1900's it's the portable cell...
Originally from the Pilliga region, this is a typical example of the portable cells that were commonly used across the state, particularly in the far western areas. This size is also similar to the original first lock up in Dubbo in 1848.

Right next to the portable cell was a washtub and a vegetable garden...
Prison reforms in the late 1890's resulted in the development of prison vegetable gardens and farms at most NSW prisons. They were part of an agriculture training program designed to give prisoners a specialised skill for later employment. This garden is a reconstruction of where it is believed once stood the original vegetable garden. There is also a suggestion that area outside of the walls was also converted for vegetable production.

A formal garden also existed outside the hospital block. Both were maintained by prisoners as part of their daily work.

Next were ready to get into the more interesting areas of the gaol, the actual cells and dark rooms, and all that interesting stuff... welcome to the male division...
The entrance of the cellblock is the oldest portion of the gaol. It was built in 1871 and initially housed the warden, his family and four cells. The building now comprises 14 cells of differing sizes and two dark cells, used for solitary confinement.

Next stop were the dark cells, or also known as the solitary confinement cells... they were totally black, even the walls were painted in black and there was a sound of some chains dragging along the ground when you walked in there... really quite eerie when you think about it... this is what it looked like by using the flash... Sara read a plaque that said that prisoners that were put in solitary confinement for as much as 21 days let out once a week for a nice meal before being put back into the dark cells. It also said that prisoners would tear off a button and throw it against a wall, and then search around in the pitch black cells to find it, and then throw it again as a game to keep themselves from going crazy...
The use of the solitary confinement in dark cells was officially discontinued in 1896. However, there is evidence that it, and the use of the mouth gag, was still practiced in 1900 in Goulburn Gaol despite being considered inhumane.

As you enter the long hallway with all the cells, the first cell on the right side was known as the Condemned cell...
In this cell there was an animatronic character that was called Thomas Moore, who was one of the prisoners that were convicted and put to death at this gaol. His death was actually one of the deaths that was quite memorable for the people witnessing, he was 67 when he was executed and it was said his head was "removed" from his body when he fell through the trap door of the gallows. Quite shocking.

There were three cells that showed normal prisoner conditions during the times that the gaol was opened, there were times that the gaol was so full that they had three or more prisoners in each cell... this picture you only see one prisoner, but there were two others in the corner and three beds side by side. The beds were literally just wooden planks, and quite uncomfortable I'm sure...

In the next cell was something they commonly used as a punishment (one of the many forms) used mainly during the 1880's... the whipping stool... there was even a painting above it representing the times it was used...
The whipping stool was used in both regional and city gaols throughout the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. The prisoner lay across the stool and his wrists and ankles were manacled to the device. This prevented the prisoner from moving or resisting the punishment. Prisoners were then flogged using a leather tawse. Flogging could occur as part of the punishment issued by the courts or be inflicted for misbehaviour once inside the gaol.

The next cell over was the one padded cell in the whole gaol, at least that's still as it was when the gaol was opened...
The padded cell was added in 1886 and was used to house violent and mentally ill inmates, known as lunatics. Records indicate that a 68-year-old labourer was imprisoned at Dubbo Gaol for over a year suffering from melancholia, an illness currently known as depression. By 1904 official documents noted that the "system of dealing with lunatics in goals was (still) unsatisfactory.

As were leaving the male division of the gaol you could almost miss the next exhibit, it was known as a watchman's telltale...
The small green metal Watchman's Telltale, located on the outside wall of the male cell block, was used as a security device. Wardens inserted a key into the aperture and wound up the spring within. If this procedure was not repeated on the hour, the spring unwound and set off an alarm bell, alarming the watch officer that either the warden had come to harm, or that he was not doing his duty. These were also located at the western end of the block, and the remand yards and outside the former library.

Throughout the museum if you look along the edges of the gaol, you can see statues of prisoners trying to escape over the walls of the prison...

...although that wasn't the best place to escape, as right near it was the Watchtower...
The watchtower dominates the north eastern corner of the Gaol. Wardens entered this tower from a flight of fifteen wooden steps outside the Gaol wall. Use of the tower was discontinued in the early part of the 20th century. Another watchtower existed in the southeast corner of the Gaol in the 1890's but all traces of this bulding have vanished. stop is the much smaller female division...
The small female area comprised of an exercise yard, covered shelter, clothing store, ablution block (bathroom), kitchen and two cells. The display shows the maximum capactiy of the female prisoners.

Within the female division was an area where you heard about the hangman, who had no nose, and the 8 men that were condemned to death at the Dubbo gaol, it was quite intereseting to listen to... next were going into what is known as the gallery of the condemned. This is where they have information about the men that had died, age, date of death, date condemned to death and the date they were executed with information about their crime...

...and there was information about the gallows that were used...
Eight men were hanged for murder in Dubbo Gaol between 1977 and 1904. One or two appear to have been ruthless and calculating murders. Others claimed to have killed in self-defence or in passion. But under the law at that time, no mitigating circumstances were recognised; the penalty for murder was death.

But was the penalty applied equality to all? All the hanged men were poor and uneducated; most beloged to minority groups, and prehaps it is no coincidence that they were often those most generally disliked at the time - Irish Catholics, Aboriginal people and the Chinese. They struggled to survive on the harsh margins of an alien society, with no influential friends, no money and no resources. Some may have been mentally ill.

Would they be convicted of murder today? The evidence against many of these men was only circumstantial - one was found with a dead man's possessions, another was the last man to be seen with the victim. There were rarely any witnesses, and community feeling ran high against them. In one case the policeman chose to pursue the offender rather than seek medical assistance for the victim. As a consequence the victim died adn the offender was charged with murder. Interestingly, in at least two cases, the community at the time thought that the punishment was unfair, and sought to save the condemned man. Today men and women are still found on Death Row all over the world. Do you think their deaths serve a worthwhile purpose?

Going back outside again, we got to see the exercise yards that were mentioned earlier in the self guided tour...
Male prisoners only used these yards. They were rquired to complete 1 hour of exercise per day and were separated by classification of crime and sentence. From 1934 prisoners were required to do their own laundry in exercise yard 1.

Another part of the museum that was hard to see unless you were really looking, the roll call lines...
The two red lines painted onto the cement near the south eatern end of the male cellblock were used as the assembly point for the daily roll call of prisoners.

Now something a bit more eerie, but quite interesting to actually see... the Dubbo Gaol Gallows...
These were erected for each execution. When not in use they were stored under the courthouse. Like the hangman's kit, the gallows are unique to Old Dubbo Gaol. It is not known when the gallows were first erected or when they were dismantled, but they were in use over a period of more than 30 years - from the 1870's to the early part of this century. The gallows are approxmiately 16 feet high, with a base of 12 feet by 9 feet. The top bar is 10 feet wide and there are 13 steps up the platform from which the felons "took the drop".

Here's a plaque showing the names and dates of the men condemned to death, and the date they were executed...

Nearing the end of our tour, was some original artifacts from this time, from this gaol and from other gaols in the area at the time. This is known as the "hangman's kit"...
The hangman's kit displays the ropes, nooses, and other tools of the trade used by the State Executioner to preform his macabre duties. The items in this display are all original artefacts that were used by the hangman and his assistant.

Right near the area with the hangman kit was a covered area that was known as the prisoners labour area of the gaol...
Male prisoners were kept occupied with labour such as woodcutting, gardening, book binding, and tailoring. These tasks were also designed to retrain inmates with a more useful trade to take up upon their release.

Last thing to see as your ready to exit the gaol and onto your way was the pillory...
The item was donated to the Gaol many years ago. Although this form of punishment was not standard practice for prisons, it makes for a great photo opportunity!

Well, we just had a really long day and we got to see and learn a lot of things about Australian prisons, especially back in the day, which was really interesting especially since that is what Australia is known for, when England sent their prisoners to Australia as a form of punishment... very interesting... I hope you enjoyed that mom! I'll write again soon, Monday were off to Sydney...

Posted Nov 11, 2008, 8:37 am
Today we were taking another trip, this time to Sydney... we stopped off quite a bit to get some nice photos of whatever we could along the way... Sara decided first stop would be Bathurst, we would see if we could spot some kangaroos... and we did... sadly when I tried to get in front of the camera the kangaroos bounced off... they didn't seem to want any of that... you can see they saw Sara get close with us, and got a bit spooked so moved on back... we'll try again on Wednesday when we're going to Bathurst for a longer trip... we'll see if we can get in the photo this time! :-) There is more to come... just hang tight! :-)

Posted Nov 11, 2008, 8:59 am
Next stop was Lithgow, which was about an hours drive from Bathurst... honestly, there's not too much there, but Sara decided to show us something she's always liked for part of Lithgow, which is the Lithgow's Miner's Lamp... here I am in front of it...
...since this is the backside of it you can't see it all that well... it doesn't look much different, although this is what it looks like from the front...
...not much different as you can see... but you can see the windows at the bottom... there's a little bit of cloth thats is lit by an orange lamp and a little fan to make it look like a flame... kinda cool... :-) Otherwise Lithgow there isn't much to see... we're only at the half way point of Sydney now... watch for more updates. :-)

Posted Nov 11, 2008, 9:20 am
Next stop was in Sydney's Blue Mountains... they're in the outskirts of Sydney, a lot of people don't really think much about the outskirts, let alone thinking there is a huge mountain range that goes through before you get to Orange, Bathurst and even Lithgow... well, welcome to the Blue Mountains... it was time to visit one of the big tourist spots for people visiting the Blue Mountains and Sydney... the Three Sisters... a huge rock formation...
...can you see it? It's behind some trees, but Sara had to take photos in an odd spot as it was quite full near the view point so she didn't want to loose any of us... so she then walked over and got a proper photo of it... isn't it pretty? Also you can tell in the distance why they call it the Blue Mountains... :-)
The Three Sisters comes with an old aboriginal legend... this is what it is:

Long ago in the Blue Mountains there lived three little Aboriginal sisters. They were Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, whose Witch Doctor father was called Tyawan.

Only one creature was feared by all – the Bunyip who lived in a deep hole. When Tyawan had to pass the hole, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall. One day, waving goodbye to his daughters, he descended the cliff steps. On top of the cliff a big centipede suddenly appeared and frightened Meehni, who threw a stone at it. The stone rolled over the cliff and crashed into the valley.

Birds, animals and fairies stopped till as the rocks behind the three sisters split open, leaving them on a thin ledge.

The angry Bunyip emerged to see the terrified sisters. In the valley, Tyawan saw the Bunyip close to his daughters, so he pointed his magic bone at the girls and turned them to stone. The Bunyip then chased Tyawan, who found himself trapped, so he changed himself into a Lyre Bird. Everyone was safe, but Tyawan had dropped his magic bone. After the Bunyip had gone, Tyawan searched and searched for his bone – and he is still searching.

The Three Sisters stand silently watching him from their ledge, hoping he will find the bone to turn them back to Aboriginal girls.

As you look at the Three Sisters, you can hear Tyawan – the Lyre Bird – calling his daughters as his search for the lost bone continues.

Here are some of the views around the Three Sisters... it's quite beautiful isn't it?
Well... were almost in Sydney now... just a bit longer... sadly we weren't able to see any of the big famous things like the Harbor Bridge or the Opera House but you can see what Sydney looks like at least... :-) Write again soon!

Posted Nov 11, 2008, 9:45 am
Well... we were finally there... well no, not really Sydney is a HUGE city full of smaller suburbs, the actually city of Sydney is pretty small which is just the CBD, which is what everyone sees, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, all that fun stuff... lots of huge buildings and very expensive shops... :-) Kind of like Rodeo Drive in Hollywood... lots and lots of expensive shops and tourists...

Sadly, we weren't able to visit that - Sara and Daniel had an appointment at a dietician and allergist for their son Andrew at the now famous hospital RPA (Royal Price Alfred Hospital) - why is it famous you might ask? Because it's got a TV show on every Thursday... Sara enjoys watching it... it's got some pretty crazy stuff from what I've seen of it... lol...

...that's mainly what a lot of Sydney looks like, very similar to Orange actually... very old looking buildings... Sydney is a mix of old and new buildings... as you can see...

...we were also very very close to the Sydney CBD, we got to see the Sydney skyline while we were driving but it was quite hectic driving around Sydney, especially this close to the CBD, you take one wrong turn and your in a different suburb and lost..., you might wonder what that strange looking tower is in between the bigger buildings... it's called the AMP Tower, also known as the Centerpoint Tower, it's right in the middle of Sydney... you wouldn't have any idea, but people walk along the top of it, it's called the Sydney Skywalk... Sara honestly thinks people are crazy, there's a part with a walkway that's clear so you can look straight under you... so creepy! Then again, Sara's not fond of heights...

...but as you can probably imagine, Sara had a good time navigating their way to Camperdown, without one wrong turn (without using the map even)... then when we got there... we couldn't merge... so we drove into another suburb and got lost... so there was a lot of this:
If that doesn't look scary, I can guarantee you it is... haha... well, I'm back in Orange now, safe and sound it was quite a long day... we're going to Bathurst on Wednesday though for some mystery shopping, and some more kangaroo searching... and maybe a bit more, we shall see won't we? :-) I hope you enjoyed my trip to Sydney! :-)

Posted Nov 13, 2008, 1:33 pm
Today we took another trip to Bathurst, for of course more mystery shopping... and to show the other toyvoyagers that hadn't been here the Mount Panorama race track... we didn't get to really see it since we had already seen it so we just sat back for the ride... but here I am in front of the Mount Panorama sign anyways... :-)

...and since you couldn't really see it last time here's the big sign on the side of the "mountain"...

Well, after that we went and searched for some kangaroos, but it was so hot there were none to be found... we had a lot of really really hot days lately, and today it was EIGHT degrees above average for this time of year... man it's been crazy! I just wonder what this Summer is going to be like if it's this hot in the Spring! Write again soon mom! <3

Posted Nov 19, 2008, 6:20 am
Well... my time in Orange has ended... I've moved onto bigger and better places... well maybe not better - hehe - I had quite a fun time here and I'm glad I got to spend a lot of time with Sara but it's time to move on and see more of the world! I'll update again when I get to my new host mom! Miss you! <3

Posted Dec 21, 2008, 4:08 am
I arrived safely in Queensland and I am staying in Ipswich, a small city about 1 hour west of Brisbane.
My host has been ill but we Toy Voyagers have been having a great time meeting and getting to know each other.
Yesterday we all helped trim the tree and that was alot of fun.
I also got to eat some yummy chocolate, well, I was born in a chocolate factory so I love chocolate best.
At Christmas time, the children here love to get gold covered chocolate coins. Delicious!

Posted Dec 29, 2008, 7:47 pm
What a funny hot Christmas I have had.
They eat cold Christmas Dinner here and eat icecream with their Plum Pudding, but I really enjoyed that.

I opened presents under the tree with my other Toy Voyager friends and I shared my bonbon with Kari.

Posted Jan 13, 2009, 10:54 am
Happy New Year to all.
I have celebrated the new year by going for a swim!
Yes, all New Years Day we stayed at a beach on the Gold Coast, just over 1 hours drive south.

Next day we had a teddybears picnic, and of course I got to eat my favourite...chocolates!

Posted Jan 13, 2009, 11:00 am
On an overcast and dull, but still hot day, we decided to go for a walk through town (Ipswich).

I also went walking along the Bremer River at Riverlink which is on the other side of the river to where I am staying.

Posted Jan 31, 2009, 2:59 am
It has been a long hot January but I have been having a great time with friends.
I went to Crizles birthday, went for a long walk in the Australian bushland and on Australia Day we all had a party and a farewell for Hartz before he left.

Posted Mar 20, 2009, 4:56 am
Well folks, I have spent alot of time at home, but we recently had a day at Queens Park in Ipswich.
Here I am ohaving a rest after looking at all the gardens.
I wanted to go to the Incinerator Theatre but it was closed.

That next day we went for a drive to the Gold Coast and I sat on the beach, and had prawns for lunch.
You see? I also like seafood.

Posted Mar 20, 2009, 5:02 am
Today we had a BBQ in the park beacause two Postcrossers came to visit us.
Then we went for a walk through the childrens animal sanctuary.
That was a great morning out.

Posted Mar 28, 2009, 9:50 pm
I have been having a great time in Australia.
I took driving lessons and my friend Kari and I went for a drive and stayed in a special caravan.

Last weekend we went to Toowoomba up on the Darling Downs.
We visited the Queensland 150 years monument, looked out over Picnic Point, and visited the parks.

Posted Jun 3, 2009, 8:06 pm
Hi Mummy,
I arrived in Remscheid today. I came here with Sportie, a tiny mouse, so the long journey wasn't even boring.

Crizle put a notepad into our envelope for my new host Katja. She already attached it to her fridge. She really likes it.

Thank you, crizle!

Katja is well prepared, look what was awaiting me :D

I already met a lot of ToyVoyagers.

In a few days Nijntje will return, she went to Northern Germany with Katja's parents. Karlheinz spent the weekend with Katja's colleage at the River Moselle. This green frog Hugo also arrived today.


Posted Jun 6, 2009, 12:16 pm
Hi Mummy,
it is really cold in Remscheid, only about 11°C. Whoa! Katja took Manner and me to her workplace. She is working as a secretary in a law firm. Of course we helped her with her work.

We've made some photocopies.

When all the photocopies were done, we climbed into the photocopier.

Katja had to press the button ...

... and here is our photo!

We took a look through all the offices than. This is a statue of Lady Justice.

Here are wooden sorts in a frame. All the letters are forming words and terms referring to jurisprudence. In the upper right corner you can see the letters BGB which means "Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch", the German Civil Code.

Finally I found a world map. I showed Katja where to my home town Vienna is.

Working in an office is really hard work!


Posted Jun 8, 2009, 6:01 pm
Hi Mummy,
Katja showed me the city hall today. At the weekend the weather was really bad. Today the sun came out again.

Here you can see me in front of the city hall. The building was originally built in 1906, was nearly destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt later in a more modern style. The tower is 48 m high.

In front of the city hall the farmer's market is taking place twice a week. Here you can see a pillar with a lion, the heraldic animal of Remscheid.

There is an entrance to the shopping mall opposite of the city hall.


Posted Jun 8, 2009, 6:19 pm
Hi Mummy,
in the afternoon we took a walk to the post office. Katja had to send a parcel to a friend.

We walked to the district Hasten, one of the oldest districts of the municipal area. You can find many old  houses here, often the so-called "Bergische Häuser" (Bergisch houses). Houses which are covered with slate and timberframed houses, both of them often with green shutters. are typical for this region.

This Patrician villa was built in 1778/1779. Today a museum is situated here, a museum of local history.

On the front doors you can find lion shaped knockers. Many old houses still have them.

In a complex of buildings behind the museum another museum is located: The Deutsches Werkzeugmuseum (German Tools Museum). It was closed but we had a look at the surrounding park where some machines are displayed.

I'm sitting with Sportie on an anvil. Remscheid is famous for its tool producing industry, from medieval times tools are produced here.

On our way home we saw more pretty old houses.

Bye for today

Posted Jun 22, 2009, 8:51 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we took a walk along the Trasse des Werkzeugs (Route of Tools), which is a lane for pedestrians and cyclists which were built on a closed railway track. It was sponsored by local tool producing companies. Remscheid is famous for it's tool producing industry since medieval times. That's why this lane is called Trasse des Werkzeugs.

The weather was not good, we were in hope of not becoming wet.

From here you have an overview across the outskirts of the neighbour city Wuppertal.

Behind me you can see allotment gardens. They have many garden areas here.

At an intersection some signs with the logos of some sponsors are installed (with a really beautiful container yard in the background :D ).

The first sign is showing the crest of Remscheid.

Here we had to cross a street.

You can find many industrial buildings along the lane, some of them already dilapidated.

You can also find rest areas here.

Here is the instanteanous ending of the Trasse des Werkzeugs, it will be completed soon.

On our way back home it started to rain and we had to hurry home.


Posted Jul 16, 2009, 12:15 pm
Hi Mummy,
we went to Wuppertal today. Wuppertal is one of the neighbour cities. Katja had to buy a few things at Hornbach, her favourite DIY-store. She had to make a new interior for her large rat cage.

Afterwards we went to the Botanical Garden. Wuppertal is situated, like the name already says, at the river Wupper, along a deep valley with the city centre in the valley itself, large parts on the steep slopes of the valley.

You can find the Botanical Garden on a very high point, overlooking the city centre in the valley. In 1890 it was a school garden first. Later, in 1908 a textile industrialist built his country house here, the "Eller'sche Villa". Later the Elisenturm Elisen Tower) was also built here, which is now the focal point of the garden. Since 1929 it is a municipal garden, open daily.

This is the Elisenturm.

First we entered the tower and enjoyed the fantastic overview.

Here you can see the new greenhouses, they were built in 2006.

We went to the greenhouses than. Here you can see plants from the warmer parts of the world, like palms.

We went into the garden than. I saw lots of pretty flowers and interesting trees, also the former country house.

This bed is showing typical plants of a moor area, also insect-eating plants.

I also saw a plant with vast leafs.


Posted Jul 20, 2009, 9:45 pm
Hi Mummy,
I'm coming home now. I've packed my diary and I'm already on my way to you.

See you soon