Friday, June 28, 2013

Skywatch Friday

Pleasant day today. Cool with some cloud cover, but patches of blue sky. Pretty view to the west over the vineyards and gums to the hills in the back ground.

But to the north west the clouds are building up
 and as I zoom out you can see the rain clouds coming over.

Rain expected for the rest of the week after 3 days of beautiful clear skies and sunshine.

Liz Needle


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday

This is my first posting in Wild Bird Wednesday. I love taking photos of birds, but I really need a better camera -  one with a lens that will get me closer to the birds. Some of the photos you guys take are just amazing.  Any suggestions about a good camera will be gratefully received.

Meanwhile I'd like to show you these shots of a couple of galahs that nested in a big gum tree about 50 metres from our house.

It was a bit of guess work getting these shots and it is a very tall tree, a fair way off and small birds, but I got lucky, I think.

Liz Needle

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday is a new meme for me - as if I needed another.  But I noticed there were not a lot of Australian contributors and as this is such a beautiful country I thought I would like to share some of it with you.

These photos were taken on a school trip to a tiny Aboriginal settlement in the Flinders Ranges in the north of South Australia. Most of the beautiful spots we visited are off the beaten track and some of them can only be accessed in the company of a member of the Nepabunna Community as they are sacred sites. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and to share their lives for a fantastic week.

These first two shots were taken from Yourambulla Caves.

While at Nepabunna we hiked into Vadhalina Gorge.

and walked back out along the creek bed.

I just loved this old tree.

and of course the beautiful Eucalypts that abound in the Flinders.

More next week.

Liz Needle

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Reflections

This week's photo was taken at the Darwin Marina a few years ago. We lived in Darwin in the 60s when it was still basically a frontier town - no such thing as marinas then. It was rough, ready and exciting. Now it is a large modern city with playgrounds like this for the wealthy residents and tourists.

Liz Needle

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday

The theme for Sepia Saturday this week is all about horses, farming, Australian country or whatever the photo suggests.  My collection includes a number of photos from my husband's side of the family. His maternal grandmother was born on a cattle station in the north of South Australia in a tiny place called Nackera - no more than a dot on the map. There her mother raised a very large family. I say her mother, because she ran the property while her husband spent most of his time droving between Nackera and Queensland. Of course with that many children he must have spent some time at home. I'm not sure just how big the family was because none of the remaining family is quite sure how many children there were and the story goes that not all the births were registered properly.  They did live in a very isolated spot. She was one very tough lady.

One of the girls riding. Note the old yards behind her.

Visitors from the city. That is a very early numberplate.  Again the old yards

Goods were purchased and delivered from the closest town, some distance away. Those yards again.

The next generation, my husband's parents had a farm at Williamstown in the Adelaide Hills. Here my mother-i-law followed in her grandmother's footsteps and raised 4 boys while her husband was serving in the forces, then 2 more when he returned. She also ran the farm with the help of their parents.
My beautiful mother-in-law on her horse Molly

Father-in-law carting hay and below with a pet sheep..

In-laws on Trilly and Molly

In the gig or is it a trap?  I never know.

And the next generation - us - bought a very much smaller farm (10 acres) 40 years ago  and are still there.

Don't forget to visit Sepia Saturday to see other great old photos.

Liz Needle

Friday, June 21, 2013

Skywatch Friday

 Today I have a couple of photos of yesterday's clouds taken by chance as I was driving past a local vineyard and apple orchard.

And then zooming in.

Liz Needle

Friday's Fences

 My fence this week is one that is around one of Adelaide's most historic old houses.

Beaumont House (originally called "Claremont") was built in 1849 for the first Anglican bishop of Adelaide, Bishop Augustus Short. While 1849 might not seem very old to my overseas readers, we must remember that Adelaide was only founded in 1836 and this house, built in the foothills overlooking Adelaide was one of the first'mansions' built in this area. Short lived there until 1856 when he and his family moved to Bishop's Court adjacent to St Peters Cathedral in Adelaide. Beaumont House was then purchased by Sir Samuel Davenport, a businerss man, landowner and parliamentarian.

Here are current photos of the house which was built in the Italianate style. Now owned by the national Trust, it has been refurbished and is used for functions like weddings.

And below is a photo of the house during its early years.

Liz Needle

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend Reflections

We have had lots of rain and we have water in our dam, so with great excitement I was able to snap some home grown reflections.

And of course, Ollie, the intrepid Jack Russell.

Lovely to have water back again.
Liz Needle

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sepia Saturday

I was really pleased when I saw  this week's theme - women dressed in their finery, displaying their jewels. I could use photos from my fairly extensive family and friends photos, inherited from my great aunts. There are dozens of photos of women - perfect for the theme.

That is until I went looking in albums and discovered something I had never noticed before. Not being one who wears much jewellery I had never noticed that in all the photos, there was very little jewellery on display - in fact I found nothing except the occasional earrings, a locket or two and a few neck brooches. And that was it.  It was not as if poverty was the reason - all pretty affluent looking ladies, mainly wives of professional men.  The dresses they wore were made from rich fabrics, if a little sombre in colour.  And not a sign of a evening dress or ball gown.

On reflection I remembered that all these families would have been of German origin and from very strict Lutheran backgrounds. And so, very modest jewellery if any at all. Frivolity was not part of their lives, modesty and thrift were.  I remember my mother telling me that dancing was not allowed in their lives and it was not until she went to teach in the country in about 1922 that she had ever experienced a life of parties, dances and balls. And she came from a quite liberal family and from a less strict branch of the Lutheran church. I know that in the mid 1800s when the German immigrants came to South Australia, they came in two groups and were unable for many years to come to an agreement on church matters, so there was a schism in the Lutheran cmmunity with one group being much more strict than the other.

So to my collection of ladies and their jewels or lack thereof. 

Lace at the neck was very popular and often a small brooch. This woman has a fancy little cap as well

Many of the younger ones wore flowers. This young lady sports lace at the neck as well as a brooch.

Another with a narrow lace  neck trim and a brooch.

The older women wore these elaborate caps and again the lace and brooch.

This was one of the more decorated ladies I could find - earrings, lace and a locket. Some of them compensated with quite ornate buttons.

Again the lace cap with brooch and earrings

Lace, earrings and brooch

Lace, brooch and dangly earrings

Only a small neck pin and flowers

And, quite over the top - earrings, a lot of lace, a locket and flowers. I think there may be a brooch there as well.

Liz Needle

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday's Fences

A few years ago my husband and three of his five brothers returned to the old family farm to scatter their fatjher's ashes. He had purchased this farm in the late 30s and the six boys were raised on the farm. As young boys they helped build the sheds and fences and to work the land - a hard life for kids with little money, no electricity and few mod cons.

60 years later they returned to the old farm - now very much changed, but were pleased to find that some of the old fences had survived.

Liz Needle

Skywatch Friday

Another dawn photo - this time I had a pair of shoes by the bed and although I did a mad dash down the drive in my Pjs, at least I had something on my feet!! Quite a fearsome looking sky, but the day was grey and wet and very boring.

 And the next evening we had this lovely serene sunset

This autumn/winter weather is so changeable. At least we have had plenty of rain and the dams are nearly full.

Liz Needle

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday's Fences and Skywatch Friday

This week I am combining Friday's Fences and Skywatch with the photo below.

There is a fence there, right at the bottom of the shot.  And I was watching the sky - particularly the Skyline and I was lucky enough to get this rare shot as we drove by.

The photo of an emu family off on a walk was taken on Yorke Peninsula in South Australia a few years ago now, but it is still one of my favourite captures because it was pure chance that I happened to be looking in that direction at that moment.

Emus on Parade

Liz Needle

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sepia Saturday - The Circus

Late again. I really am going to have to start this page during the week, not last thing on Saturday.  I had real problems with this theme as there was nothing in my collection that fit in any way. Instead I went looking for Australian circus history and discovered lots of stuff about a circus that was a huge part of my childhood  -  Ashton's Circus. For as long as I can remember part of my school holidays was enriched by the arrival of this circus with its trucks, cages, animals, big tent and performers of all shapes and sizes.

Ashton's circus according to Wickipedia was founded in Launceston, Tasmania in 1851 and was the second company officially registered in Australia as a legitimate trader. It is also the oldest surviving circus in the Western World and amazingly is still owned and run by the Ashton family. It was started by James Henry Ashton who had first performed in another Tasmanian circus as a bare-back rider in 1848. Ashton's circus began as a small bush circus performing first in small country towns, but growing until it was known throughout Australia.
james Henry Ashton - c1875

I have no shots of caravans, though I can remember some of these early trucks

 Most of the performers were members of the Ashton family.

 Ashton children often began performing as young as 18 months. At any performance there could be up to 4 generations of Ashtons in the ring.

August 1901 The Wyalong Advocate
This talented company opened at West Wyalong on Thursday night to a bumper house. The name of Ashton is very familiar in the ears of all, and the good opinion so long established is still firmly held. The performance on the present occasion was as good, if not superior to any circus. The company will perform again tonight (Saturday) when all who wish to enjoy a good evening should be present.

The circus was enthusiastically received, though it was not  without its disasters as these newspaper excerpts show.


GULGONG, Wednesday.
At Ashton's circus last night some seats broke, throwing 150 persons on to the ground. Sydney Saunders had his leg broken, and James Brooks was internally ínjured, while a number were seriously hurt.

GEORGETOWN, October 14th, 1878  Australian Register

Georgetown was visited this evening by a small hurricane. Ashton's Circus was here last night, but there was no performance, the tent having to be taken down, as tbe proprietor was afraid of its being carried away.

Ashton's circus appeared to a large audience at Merriwa on Tuesday night last. As the circus was leaving town for Cassilis next morning Mr. Del force senr's, horse took fright at the elephant. The horse was tied in the owner's yard, and breaking away galloped around the yard, smashing the sulky to which it was attached.

15 November 1935



Sydney, Friday, 05 Dec 1931

An elephant which'escaped from Ashton's circus near Ashford in the north-west several days ago has not  yet been recaptured. The animal has been seen several times and in five days travelled 100 miles. So far she has done no damage, to property. The country is in splendid condition sud there is plenty of vegetation to sustain her. The animal was chained to a log and when frightened by a snake broke the chain and dashed into the bush. '

GOONDIWINDI, Tuesday. 09 Dec 1931

An elephant, which escaped from Ashton's Circus, was captured about 1 o'clock to-day at Clifton Station, 27 miles from Tenterfield, the animal allowed itself to be lassooed, and is now on its way back to Goondiwindi.

09 Jan 1884 The Argus


There was a miraculous escape from a serious accident at Ashton's circus, at Emmaville, near the Queensland border, last night. The performance had just commenced when a thunderstorm came on, breaking the centre pole. The tent collapsed and caught fire. The spectators were much alarmed, but the flames were quickly extinguished Several persons were slightly injured.

 TRARALGON RECORD   Mon 2 February 1931 

Ashtons' Circus. Ashton Bros. Circus is coming to Traralgon on Thursday, February 5th. 'T'he old folk of this district will remember the Ashton Family. The show has come down through the many score years to the present proprietor (Mr Joe Ashton) in conjunction with the other members of this talent ed family, all born and bred in the sawdust ring. Miss Mary, In her brilliant equestrienne act; Mr Fred in his thrillling four horse act - a really marvellous exhibition; Mr Alfie Warren, assisted by other clowns, is a scream from start to finish. There is that wonderful combination - the Warren Family--with the little tots and the midget twins, also a very clever tight wire act. Mr William Maynard has never been equalled in his slack wire walking feat, which, once seen is never forgotten. Miss Dulcy Lloyd in her juggling act is very pretty. Tonto, the Master Juggler and Conjurer. The largest elephant in captivity (41/2 tons) does a very clever act . The performance is accompanied all through by a very fine band under the leadership of Mr Fred Rowe a well known identity in band circles. Hours 7.15, until 7. 30, Grand Parade 8 p.m. At Mur- well on Wednesday, Feb 4th: Rose' dale, Feb 6th: Heyfield, Feb. 7th.

I actually quite enjoyed doing this research on something other than my family for a change. I hope all my facts are accurate, though I may have got some of the newspaper dates wrong. There were some conflicting ones.

Liz Needle