Australia - The Land Down Under

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I fell in love with an AI chatbot. Here's why​

When Michael* turned 40 his life fell apart. Years later he found help and love in an unexpected place.​

Maybe this thread is not your "bowl of fruit/cup of tea"....if that is the case, move on to the next thread.


Aussie Towns

The Naming of Towns – Pine Creek and Larrimah
I have mentioned before that there are rude people (mostly the English) who think that Australian place names are the pinnacle of the bleeding obvious.
“Show me a Newtown,” they say with a certain supercilious sneer, “and I will show you a town that was once new. And as for Mount Warning, Cape Tribulation and …”
“But,” I declare, “those last two were bleeding obvious and were named by and Englishman, Captain James Cook, with the specific intention of being bleeding obvious. Mount Warning was a warning and Cape Tribulation was where he nearly sank on the Great Barrier Reef. It was tribulation, indeed.”
Still the joke persists and is often true. As I was working my way through writing up the Northern Territory towns I spent a goodly amount of time chuckling at the obviousness.
When I wrote Larrimah (nothing more than a roadhouse on the Stuart Highway) and Pine Creek I searched for their meaning. No one, not even the local Yangman people seemed to know what Larrimah meant although one very unreliable source claimed it was Yangman for “meeting place”.
Now the only reason people will remember it is because when I passed through the town, the pub, the only building of any importance in the non-town, has a Big Stubby (ie a huge beer bottle based on the original 80 fluid ounces Darwin Stubby which was introduced in 1958 to satisfy the endless thirst of Northern Territorians) outside and a pink panther sitting on a chair.
But my favourite in the naming game is Pine Creek. One of the miracles of the Northern Territory is that the explorer John McDouall Stuart crossed from Adelaide to the site of Darwin in 1862 – the first north-south crossing of the continent by a European.
Only eight years later, using Stuart’s maps (and remember he didn’t have a clue where he was going or what he was going to come across – no Google Maps for him) the government built an Overland Telegraph Line which connected Adelaide, and Sydney and Melbourne, to the world. They followed, almost exactly, the route that Stuart had taken which is why, even today, you can drive the 1500 km from Adelaide to Darwin and see old, termite-eaten poles beside the road.
Anyway, I am getting diverted. The men building the Overland Telegraph Line reached Pine Creek and one worker, Sydney Herbert, noted "This creek was by no means large, but was remarkable for the pines growing there". Hey, presto, let’s call it Pine Creek. Such a wild flight of imagination.
This, however, didn't stop the South Australian government, who were in charge of the Northern Territory at the time, from naming it Playford on 24 January, 1889 after Thomas Playford, the South Australian Commissioner of Crown Lands. This achieved little beyond confusion. The locals had no intention of changing the name – particularly as it was the name of a public servant. They insisted on calling the town Pine Creek. Amusingly, it was not officially gazetted as Pine Creek until 20 September 1973.
Now I reckon that is a good example of egalitarianism triumphing over an attempt to rule by edict. Pine Creek it was and no pompous fool in Adelaide was going to change it.
Pine Creek, NT - Aussie Towns

Pine Creek, NT - Aussie Towns
Pine Creek is essentially a gold mining town which stumbled into existence when the teams
Convicts and very bad Geography
Nobody really tries very hard to get into the minds of the convicts who arrived in Australia in the eighteenth century. It fascinates me. Did they have any idea where they were going? Given that most of them would have had little or no education did they have any sense of Geography? What was life like? It must have been like being sent to the Moon or Mars. Strange animals? Strange trees and vegetation?
This occurred to me when I was writing up the towns in the Southern Highlands south-west of Sydney. One of the first European explorers of the area was John Wilson.
Now Wilson was a real piece of work. He deserves to loom large in Australian history but he has been forgotten. He was convicted in October 1785, at Wigan, Lancashire, England, of having stolen 'nine yards of cotton cloth called velveret, of the value of tenpence', and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Yes. You read that correctly. He stole cloth worth ten pence. Ten pence! And he was sentenced to seven years. And the English believe their legal system is wonderful!
He reached Port Jackson with the First Fleet in January 1788. Soon after his term expired Wilson, who had formerly been a mariner, took to the bush and lived with the local First Nation people, possibly at intervals, for several years. He may have been, as David Collins said, 'a wild, idle young man who preferred living among the natives to earning the wages of honest industry'; but in so doing he lived 'the hard way', and in his wanderings he acquired an extensive knowledge of much of the country within 100 miles of Sydney.
He established good relations with the locals, to whom he was 'Bun-bo-e', and “so definitely did he become a member of a particular band that his body, clad only in a kangaroo skin, was heavily scarred by tribal markings.”
Wilson’s moment of fame came in January 1798. Some of the Irish convicts in Sydney Town had developed a rather fanciful and foolish notion (but always remember they were no experts at Geography) that a 'New World' of white people lived about 200 miles south-west of Sydney.
They were determined to head off into the bush, walk the 200 miles, escape from the hardships of convict life and live happily ever after in this ‘New World’ settlement. Australia’s first would-be hippies! And similarly deluded.
Governor John Hunter, in order to 'save worthless lives', sent off four of these wide-eyed Irish dreamers with John Wilson as guide to see what could be found. He was confident they would find nothing and that the foolish idea of a ‘New World’ would be knocked on the head.
The Irishmen soon grew tired of the enterprise and returned to Port Jackson, but Wilson and two companions pushed on into unknown country. One of Wilson's two colleagues was John Price, aged 19, who had come to Australia as Hunter's servant.
Price kept a journal of the expedition, and this record, given by Hunter to Sir Joseph Banks and later acquired by the Mitchell Library in Sydney, indicates that the three explorers reached the Wingecarribee River, more than 100 miles south-west of Parramatta, endured severe privations and were saved only by Wilson's bushcraft.
The diary contains the first record of the shooting of a lyrebird, taken by Price on 26 January 1798, and the first written reference, on the same day, to the existence of the 'cullawine' (koala).
Why do we not remember and celebrate John Wilson? He was the first man to explore the Southern Highlands and, in the process, he discovered there were no hippies living there.
Check out Fitzroy Falls at
Fitzroy Falls, NSW - Aussie Towns

Fitzroy Falls, NSW - Aussie Towns
The Australian Lyrebird


Space junk is causing clutter around the Earth, but a small cube could help cut back on trash​



Now, That, is a sight not often seen

A moisture-laden northwest cloudband could soak around half of Australia next week, with parts of the Red Centre possibly in line for several months’ worth of rain in a matter of days.

And, in other areas of Australia,......

Heavy Friday snow with plenty more to come....3.28am June 24th 2023​



Surviving Australia's vast outdoors: Tips and advice from survival experts​

This is worth a read folks...good common sense advice *
It turns out that common not so common...

Dare to dream: How wool captured city girl Sam Wan’s imagination​

“Wool broker doesn’t quite make the top three careers your Chinese child should be – doctor, lawyer and accountant – so it’s a good thing my parents didn’t fall into stereotypes,” Sam says of the leap of faith her parents made in setting their first-born off into the unknown. But it was a world she soon made her own, moving to Melbourne to auction wool.


Flying high: Life as an outback helicopter musterer​




WA's Giles Weather Station remains staffed, while almost all others switch to automation​

Just how isolated Giles is takes some explaining — the nearest service centres are Warburton, 220km south west and Docker River, 100km across the WA-NT border.

The nearest regional towns are three hours away at Yulara, 770km away in Alice Springs or 1,100km south to Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA.

A BOM spokesperson says there are no plans to automate the Giles Weather Station in the future.

It's a very important station because it's in the middle of Australia,

That means … if the front is moving from west to east, the information that we collect here can improve the certainty of the weather prediction given for the east coast.

"We are on the beginning of the chain.


Technical officer William Tom often travels the grounds on his bike.


The weather balloon released at Giles disappears into the sky.


Giles Weather Station is in the heart of the West Australian outback.

Tina Turner's Nutbush used to smash world record in outback Queensland​

There is a video in the link, that says it all !!

It was only six weeks ago when the world lost the great Tina Turner, but obviously she still lives on through her music and soon we'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of her most famous songs.

Nutbush City Limits was released in August 1973 and quickly formed a unique connection with Australian life, where it became a foot-tapping, boot-scootin' dance floor favourite.

It's become such a hit with Aussies that 5838 people in outback Queensland recently smashed a world record for the most people simultaneously "nutbushing".
The Nutbush.png

and....The Birdsville Big Red Bash, where this happened?....well, that's another story...see below

(But Remember....ONLY in Australia)


How would you like to manage a pub?...In a town with a population of... 10



Running pub 'easy' work​

The town's previous publicans were Helen and John Holmes.

They temporarily managed the pub for Mr Esam until last month when they needed to return to Victoria to manage their own business.

Mr Holmes believes the pub is profitable thanks to its location on the Barrier Highway, which connects western NSW to Adelaide.

Mr Esam agrees.

"There's more than enough traffic on that road to keep it going," he said.

Mr Holmes said running the pub "was easy" and didn't feel like work.

"I used to joke to people sometimes you actually had to work two or three hours a day," Mr Holmes said.
He said working at the Coburn Hotel was ideal for anyone who enjoyed meeting travellers and living in an expansive outback landscape.

"It looks like there's a whole lot of nothing, but I understand why people fall in love with it," Mr Holmes said.

"The nights are brilliant, the mornings are brilliant … we loved every second we were up there."

Not all beer and skittles, no doubt....but.....hmm ?
If this doesn't fit, let me know and I'll happily remove it.

Australia has a great car scene. They also have some brilliant tracks. I remember a time before the Internet was really what it is today and I'd scramble and scrounge for any race news I could find about Peter Brock, who I'm sure you know is the King of the Mountain. (Yes, he has/had fans all the way here in America. Well, at least one fan.)

So, here's a whole lot of Australian races:

They go back quite a ways - but modern races are included in the playlist. I assume they'll continue to ad modern races. I didn't do the math, but there are entire months' worth of races available for your viewing pleasure.

It's like 580 full race videos. The earliest I noticed was from 1999 1998. The most recent event was just a few months ago. I watch a lot of racing and I don't know of any other racing organization that has a playlist of this nature.

If you want to watch the Bathurst 1000 from the previous bunch of years, you can do that. If you want to watch them zoom around Phillip Island (a track I'd love to drive on), you can do that. It's almost as good as, where you can do anything!


Lisa Millar explores Victoria's Great South West Walk for Back Roads​

Back Roads
/ By Lisa Millar

If you had a secret place — a precious sanctuary, steeped in history and significance, that filled your life with meaning and joy — would you share it?

That was the dilemma for a group of people that have thrived on, and nurtured, one of the most beautiful, but least known, long walks of Australia.

If they agreed to embrace and welcome the Back Roads film crew, they knew it was a decision that would lift the veil on this precious stretch of serenity.

The Great South West Walk takes you through 250 kilometres of Victorian coastline and forest, from Portland to Nelson on the South Australian border.
....250km.....155 miles (approx)


The views....More than outstanding....


Look close enough and there is a seal colony on those rocks.