To celebrate Earth Day today, 22nd April, here are some photos to celebrate this amazing planet that we live on.
Here is the iconic photo taken almost 45 years ago by the crew of Apollo 17 of our majestic planet in space. “The blue marble”.
Lighthouses seem to defy the odds, especially the old historic ones. It amazes me how they were built in the often rough remote locations, with the equipment of the day. And, of course, they did beat the odds, reducing the number of ship wrecks and groundings.
This is the Iron Pot Lighthouse at the entrance of the River Derwent and shipping lane to Hobart.
It is the first lighthouse built in Tasmania, in 1833. This square lighthouse made of rubble was built within an earlier timber frame where the light apparatus was raised and lowered by hand.
It is the second oldest lighthouse ever built in Australia. The first built at Sydney Heads in 1818.
Iron Pot was the first to use locally manufactured optical apparatus and is believed to be the first Australia lighthouse to convert to solar power.
There is debate about the origin of it’s name, one story relates that since the early days of European settlement, whaler’s pots were left on the small island where the lighthouse is located.
There is a fascinating exhibition as part of the commemorations for Black Tuesday about items that real families took when they left their homes, fleeing the bush fires.
There are stories of hidden jewellery, war medals later found in the rubble, precious items that survived heat that could melt a telephone. Furniture and possessions piled out in the front yard.
One mother packed a small case filled with toys and cardigans for the children, nappies for the baby and the family photograph album.
As the drama unfolded for the adults, the children at Sorrell School were evacuated to open ground. A circus was in town and camped there. So the children remembered the excitement of seeing elephants wading at the water’s edge. One of their best school days ever. A total contrast to other memories of the day.
One unexpected item that many young women took with them was their contraceptive pills. It is something my generation and my daughter’s generation take for granted. We forget how revolutionary it was, how it gave women real control of their fertility for the first time in history. For women born in the 1930’s, forty percent had nine or more pregnancies. The Pill changed that. It was introduced in Australia in 1961, but was still controversial at the time of the fires. Many doctors would only prescribe it to married women, it was relatively difficult to obtain, so it was a precious possession.
What would you take?
50 years ago today, Tuesday 7th February 1967, Tasmania experienced its worst ever bush fires. Temperatures rose above 39°C. Winds gusted over 220 km per hour.
64 people died, 900 injured. Nearly 7,500 people were homeless, with 1,293 houses and cottages destroyed. Schools, churches, factories, post offices, hotels, bridges, telephone and power polls ruined.
Destruction widespread in agricultural communities as well as towns and Hobart city, 1,600 vehicles, 1,700 farm buildings destroyed, 62,000 farm animals were lost, 2,400 km of boundary fencing burnt. The total area affected by fire was 182,000 hectares, across twelve municipalities.
These are archive photos and memories of people who lived through that day.
“The noise of the fire”. “The wind”. “The sky and the heat”.
“The sky was mustard yellow with an orange sun”. Later in the day, “the sky was orange with a dark red sun”. “Then the sky was black with smoke”. “Hot ashes blowing around”.
Children were sent home from school. “At home we helped fill the gutters with water, blocked the down pipes with tennis balls”. “We filled the bath with water, any containers we could find, soaked towels and sheets to cover ourselves”.
People left their homes and waded in the water on the beach, to get as far away from the flames and smoke as possible.
Whole streets were burnt out, with just the brick chimney stacks left standing.
An incredible day of tragedy and heroism and community spirit.
As posted here, we had a nostalgic time at the Tasmanian Transport Museum last weekend.
As well as the steam trains and carriages, there were various old vehicles, which seem an ideal post for Norm’s Thursday Doors Series.
Fire engines from different decades.
This “wheeled escape ladder” was imported from Britain in 1969 at a cost of $5,668. Lots of cupboard doors to hide equipment.
This side loader bus from the 1940’s has a door on the pavement side for each row of bench seats. The other side has just the one, the driver’s door. Also this car, adapted for the mine manager, to run on rails.
There were trams and trolley buses without doors, before the days of ”health and safety”. The museum is run by volunteers, who have renovated many of the vehicles.
I’m impressed with these seats that can face either way. The seat back can slide backwards and forwards. Sydney still has seats like this on it’s new trains.
Tasmania has some wonderful place names.
Paradise, Nowhere Else, Promised Land are all actual places.
Bagdad, Jericho and the Jordan River were apparently named by a soldier exploring in the early days of European settlement. He had two books in his saddle bag, The Arabian Nights and the Bible, which he used for inspiration as he named landmarks on his travels.
Doo Town is a unique little town where every residence has it’s own quirky name.
These are a couple of my favourite unconventional Christmas trees, here in Tasmania.
I like this one, where the decorations are on the inside.
This was rather controversial when it appeared last year. But I like the way the sun catches it during the day and the changing colour light effects after dark. People are claiming it this year, adding their own decorations, yarn bombing and taking photos from the inside.
Bruny is one of my favourite places. An island, off an island, off the mainland of Australia. It has a resident population of 700 which grows to over 5,000 during the summer months. The local police force doubles for the tourists, from 1 to 2.
A narrow neck of land joins North Bruny and South Bruny with wooden steps leading up to fabulous views.
We’ve taken the car ferry across to the island on several occasions, but today we saw Bruny from a different perspective, from a tour boat.
The island has interesting geology and rock formations. Waves crashing into underwater caves created spectacular curtains of water.
We saw a variety of sea birds, gulls, cormorants, short tailed shearwaters (locally called mutton birds) and shy albatross.
We observed two seal colonies, the male only group of Australia fur seals and a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals. They were slow and cumbersome on the rocks but sleek and agile as they swam near the boat.
After sunset, we heard an unusual bird noise outside. We took a torch out onto our balcony and saw a couple of penguins out on the grass.
There are numerous Fairy Penguin rookeries around the coast of Tasmania, but we didn’t realise they’d be such close neighbours.
We were too surprised to think of taking photos although we did call neighbours and had an impromptu penguin pyjama party.
We have been down to the beach in daylight and tried to identify footprints.