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To visit Europe

To visit Australia

To visit South America where I come from

To visit Asia

To visit all 50 states in the USA

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Travelog for: Bally

Richlands NC, USA - 12th September 2008

By: Pixiedustlady

I am now ready for my big adventure! I am looking for hosts to host me and take me places and take some photos for my owner to see! I hope to hear from you soon!!

hugs and monkey kisses,


* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 12:19 pm Last edited Sep 12, 2008, 4:56 pm by Pixiedustlady [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Richlands NC, USA - 13th September 2008

By: Pixiedustlady

A very exciting email came to my mom today!! a wonderful and well known host is going to host me on my very first trip out in the world! I get to go to Australia for a few months and Im leaving tommorro for my big flight down under.  I am so excited and cannot wait to meet my new friends and see the sites.  I need to start packing and the next update will be when I finally get to OZ!!!!  :p

* Posted Sep 13, 2008, 1:41 am Last edited Oct 27, 2008, 12:37 am by Pixiedustlady [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, New South Wales, Australia - 22nd September 2008

By: sararingham

G'day! I've arrived in Australia... that wasn't too bad of a journey, especially since in the box I had some reading material and a lot of room to move around and get comfortable in... :-) Well, I'll update again soon with some photos I'm going to take a nap!
...from left to right let me introduce you to Bellatrix, Jonas, Lollipop, Luv Leon and of course myself. :-)

...one last thing... since it's Spring, we seem to get a lot of little creepy crawlies in the houses, there's nothing really you can do about it as much as you try to stop it... Sara found a little spider on her shampoo bottle... it wasn't a surprise then she released the thing outside...
...she wasn't sure at first but she looked closely at him and realised he was actually a poisonous spider, a male (the females are a lot bigger). It was actually a red back spider... they're common in this area, and kind of nasty... glad it's not inside anymore!

Write again soon mum, we've not been doing much lately but we will do something way more exciting soon... :-)

* Posted Sep 22, 2008, 9:58 am Last edited Sep 27, 2008, 2:48 pm by sararingham [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, New South Wales, Australia - 28th September 2008

By: sararingham

Well, like I said we haven't had a chance to do much lately. Sara's done a lot of chores around the house and we've helped her out (with what we could)... but Sara decided to show me around the house and show me her pets since she seems to have a little bit of a zoo... :-)

First let me introduce you to the birds, Sara has a large aviary in her kitchen it includes star finches, gouldian finches, spice finches, zebra finches, society finches, diamond doves, and a couple button quails at the bottom. They're very friendly but a bit scared of me...

Next stop is the fish, she's got a few fish, most of them are live bearing fish... there are barbs, one guppy, some platties and swordtails. She also has a large suckerfish that's sitting on the driftwood in the middle... can you see him? he's pretty camouflaged but you can see him if you look closely. :-) There's also a smaller suckerfish that's called a bristlenose... the big one in the tank Sara says is the most common ones found in America, they're new to Australian fish tanks as of a few years ago at $25. for a small one... but Sara loved them and got one on a whim... :-)

Sara's also got some mice that are living in something called a mouse mansion... there are six of them in there... if you look closely you can see a white and black spotted one in the tube on the right side... see her? That's choc chip... :-) They're all very friendly, and they're all female..

Last but not least is the dog... Sara's got a 6 month old beagle they call Anni. She's a bit of a handful but she's friendly and sometimes naughty...
See what I mean? She just wants to sniff me, don't worry I'm okay. :-) She does like to jump though which Sara is trying to teach her better manners than that... she's still young though...

Well I'll write again soon mom, I hope you enjoyed the updates so far even though you haven't seen much yet... it's been quite hot here... :-P

* Posted Sep 27, 2008, 2:56 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, New South Wales, Australia - 1st October 2008

By: sararingham

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...

...now 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 2, 2008, 3:48 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Cargo, NSW, Australia - 3rd October 2008

By: sararingham

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, 3:27 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Canowindra, NSW, Australia - 3rd October 2008

By: sararingham

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...
...as 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...
...now 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.

...so 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...
...as 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 5, 2008, 5:16 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, New South Wales, Australia - 7th October 2008

By: sararingham

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...
...it'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, 11:16 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Blayney, New South Wales, Australia - 10th October 2008

By: sararingham

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, 3:55 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, New South Wales, Australia - 12th October 2008

By: sararingham

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 12, 2008, 4:19 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, NSW, Australia - 18th October 2008

By: sararingham

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 20, 2008, 9:18 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

On the road to Bathurst, NSW, Australia - 20th October 2008

By: sararingham

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, 5:53 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Bathurst, NSW, Australia - 20th October 2008

By: sararingham

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 off to my next host now (gingermuggins) I'll update again when I get there... I had 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 23, 2008, 6:33 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Casterton, Australia - 28th October 2008

By: gingermuggins

I have arrived in Casterton, Victoria, Australia!!!!

Will start exploring soon and update you with photos :)


* Posted Oct 28, 2008, 5:22 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Casterton, Australia - 28th October 2008

By: gingermuggins

Hello :)

Gosh there are other toyvoyagers here! I met Chester who is the cute little puppy and Paula the sheep. I already know Bellatrix and Jonas. They travelled with me from NSW and the both know Paula. There was lots of chatting as we all talked about our last adventures


* Posted Oct 30, 2008, 12:34 am Last edited Oct 30, 2008, 12:34 am by gingermuggins [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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