Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Myall Lakes' fish kill

I see from the Newcastle Herald that there has been another Myall Lakes' fish kill. It comes a week after the mysterious death of thousands of fish in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes marine park.

Commercial fisherman Neville Smith, estimated about half a tonne of dead fish was strewn along a kilometre of the shore.

Back in January in January 08 floods lead to major Richmond River fish kill I reported on Richmond River problems. There the key cause appeared to be low oxygen levels in the water. In this case, descriptions of the fish suggest a medical problem.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why I remain a New England Stater 12 - frustrations with New England tourism

Note to readers: This post is one in a series using personal examples to illustrate why I continue to support both agitation for New England self-government and self-government itself. Agitation, because its very existence forces forces the Sydney Government to consider New England interests. Self-government, because there are some things that we cannot achieve without this.

I am sitting at my computer getting crankier and crankier. Part of this is due to frustration because it is towards the end of the month, we are over our download limit, so the internet is incredibly slow. Part is due to the paucity of information.

I wanted to write a story on white water rafting in New England. Here I knew that there were at least two sites on the Gwydir and Nymboida rivers. But I also wanted to check for others.

It is now 6:10 pm. I have been sitting at the computer since 5:00 pm. I have not been able to get the information I want.

A tick to Liquid Assets Adventure Company who operate out of Coffs Habour for providing some information. A cross to everyone else including Tourism NSW. Yes, if your dig round on the Tourism NSW site you will get a little. But it is totally inadequate.

Look, we cannot rely on the Sydney lot to promote New England tourism in any effective way. They cannot even make a go of Brand Sydney - see "Brand Sydney" relaunched - again!.

If we had our own Government we might be able to rely on it. We don't.

If we are to get anywhere we have to cooperate through cross-promotion. If Grafton does not have a local company promoting white water rafting, then it should list the Coffs company, not leave the link blank on its web site.

As part of this, we have to ensure that each locality makes full information available about attractions and experiences not just in its own area, but in the immediately adjacent region.

Return to introductory post.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Armidale-Kempsey Road - historical snapshot

A visitor's Google search on Armidale Kempsey Road found Armidale-Kempsey Road - pretty but difficult featuring a photo by Gordon Smith.

Checking this search brought me to this photo from the NSW State Library. It is simply listed as Kempsey, Armidale to Kempsey road with a 1905 date.

Looking at the photo, a number of things jumped out at me.

The first thing is that the photo is staged. We have women above, men below.

The building itself - a hotel? - is an example of what I have come to call North Coast architecture. It is wood as so many coastal buildings were. We have the iron lacework above, then notice the wood fretwork below the balcony. There are a number of surviving examples of wood worked to provide decoration.

Then I noticed the bike. Some years ago I stayed with Arch and Nancy Gray at Scone. Arch had one of the greatest collections, perhaps the greatest ever collection, of New England material. This included a North Coast Steam Navigation Company pamphlet promoting its services.

Released, I think, shortly before the First World War, it encouraged (among other things) Sydney people to go bike touring on the North Coast. I really don't know enough of the history of the bike, so I haven't written of its place in the history of New England.

I liked the dog on the left sitting in the dust on the road. You can also see the wheel tracks in the road.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New England's Hidden Secrets - Mount Kaputar and the Nandewar Ranges

Photo: Sawn Rocks, Mount Kaputar National Park

In my post New England Australia - introducing the Liverpool Plains I wondered just where the Liverpool Plains ended. The answer is the Nandewar Ranges, one of the western spurs from the Northern or New England Tablelands.

The eastern part of the Nandewar Ranges starts in the Great Dividing Range south of Uralla. At this point the Ranges are simply part of the Tablelands so it is hard to see as a distinctive feature. A little to the west, the main road between Barraba and Bingara crosses the range. However, at the western end the Nandewar Ranges culminate in Mount Kaputar, (1,510 metres), a complex of volcanic origin, from which spectacular views of the flat inland plains of New England can be seen.

The Ranges form the divide between the Namoi and Gwydir River valleys.

Starting south of Walcha, the Macdonald River drains west to Warrabah National Park where it changes its name to the Namoi and is then added to by the Manilla River, Peel River and Mooki River. The Horton River runs north to the Gwydir.

The western edge of the Ranges is covered by the Mount Kaputah National Park.

Visitor 15,000 to New England, Australia

The first post on this blog, On New England, came on 8 April, 2006. Now the blog has just received visitor 15,000.

While this is not a huge number by global blogging standards, it's still not insignificant.

Visitor 15,000 came via Google searching on "south of my days", Judith Wright's poem.

Welcome. I hope that your visit was worthwhile.

Monday, August 18, 2008

History of Inverell

I noticed a search on "history of inverell" that brought the searcher to one of my posts, New history of Inverell's Byron Arcade . There was one link there that might have been helpful, but I though it worthwhile to do a short follow up post.

So far as the internet is concerned, Inverell On-line has a very useful local history page. Then Elizabeth Wiedamann has written two very useful books.

The first, World of its Own, covers the history of Inverell up to 1920. The second, Holding its own: The Inverell District since 1919, covers the later period.

The Inverell Genealogical & Historical Society site is also worth a visit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Brand Sydney" relaunched - again!

I see that Morris Iemma, Premier of NSW (aka Sydney) has relaunched Brand Sydney. It appears that Sydney's share of tourist traffic is dropping!

Almost twelve months ago in Why I remain New England New Stater 6 - conflicts in NSW tourism branding I commented on Brand Sydney. My concern then was the way in which the focus on the Sydney brand twisted tourist promotion elsewhere.

Now it appears that even Brand Sydney itself is in trouble.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New England's Kamilaroi people - web search August 08

Photo: Aboriginal camp north of Moree around 1885.

A little while ago I created a Kamilaroi Entry Page to act as a central reference point for stories on this New England Aboriginal people. I have been slow since then to add some supporting posts. To move forward, I thought that I should start with a simple web search.

The Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay Web Dictionary is, as the name says, an on-line dictionary of the Kamilaroi language.

Based in Moree, the Indigenous Unit is part of the Northern Regional Library & Information Service. Its web site has some useful material, including photographs.

N B Tindale's pioneering attempt to delineate Kamilaroi boundaries can be found here.

The Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee site lists service points within the AJAC's Kamilaroi region.

Lorimer Fison and William Howitt's 1880 study Kamilaroi and Kurnai is available on-line for a price.

Qian Liu's 2006 PhD thesis, An ethnopharmacological study of medicinal plants of the Kamilaroi and Muruwari aboriginal communitites in northern New South Wales, is available on-line.

A short profile on Yulawirri, a Kamilaroi artist. Another on Urandali.

With a Wiradjuri father and Kamilaroi mother, the photographer Michael Riley is described as a Wiradjuri/Kamikaroi artis. Neil Whitfield, Ninglun, carried two posts on Michael with links through to sources - here, here.

Kamilaroi and white : a study of racial mixture in New South Wales (1924?) by Griffith Taylor and F. Jardine is available in the National Libary.

Description of two bora grounds of the Kamilaroi tribe by R.H. Mathews is available in the National Library.

Australian Dictionary of Biography entries with some linkage to the Kamilaroi include:

Of this group, only Herbert Groves and Charles Samuels are Aboriginal.


As seems always to be the case, the references are very fragmentary. As I have argued before, we need sites for each indigenous language group to allow material on that group to be collected and presented so that it is accessible to all Australians.


Since putting up this post, I have noticed a small but steady stream of hits. For those who are interested I refer you to a post on another of my blogs, The vanished Kamilaroi and the need for a new approach. Why shouldn't the Kamilaroi have their own web site?

Return to Kamilaroi entry page.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Photo: Crater Bluff, Warrumbungle Range

In my last post New England Australia - introducing the Liverpool Plains I mentioned the Warrumbungle Range (more commonly called the Warrumbungles) as forming the western edge of the Liverpool Plains.

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Warrumbungles lie 329km (4:43 hours driving time) south east of Armidale, 480km (6:4 hours driving time) north-east of Sydney.

The Warrumbungles are the spectacular remnants of a large, heavily eroded shield volcano that was active from 18 to 15 million years ago. The main features are a series of huge, jagged outcrops, surrounded by hilly bush and woodland forest.

The Range's location between the moist eastern coastal zone and the dryer plains to the west means that it has provided protection for flora and fauna suited to both habitats.

Much of the area is protected by a national park. There are camping facilities,together with an extensive network of extensive network of tracks. The Siding Spring Observatory is situated on an eastern peak.

The Warrumbungle Region site provides more information about the area and its attractions.


Thinking about this post later, I feel the need to add one thing. The Warrumbungles really are quite spectacular and well worth a visit.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

New England Australia - introducing the Liverpool Plains

Photo: Liverpool Plains near Carroll.

As I write, controversy rages over plans to explore for coal in another area of the Liverpool Plains.

Very few Australians know the Liverpool Plains as such, although many have driven through them along the New England Highway. Yet this is not a small area, totalling around 1.2 million hectares.

The Plains lie on the western slopes of New England's Great Dividing Range, so the New England Tablelands form the eastern boundary.

The Liverpool Range forms the southern boundary.

This range starts from the Barrington Tops volcanic plateau and runs for about 100 km westwards, in so doing forming the northern boundary of the Hunter Valley, before merging into the Warrumbungle Range, the Plains' western boundary.

The Liverpool Range itself can be quite high (1300 metres) and rugged and formed a significant barrier to the expansion of settlement in the early period of British settlement in New South Wales. This was frontier country, marking the edge of the thirty nine counties proclaimed by the Governor in Sydney as the limits of settlement.

The first route across the range was Pandoras Pass discovered by Allan Cunningham (botanist). This is located near the western end of the range, north from the town of Coolah and within Coolah Tops National Park.

Most Australians will know Nowland Pass or Murrurundi Gap better. Here the New England Highway climbs sharply up the Range, leaving the Hunter Valley behind. The Great Northern Railway crosses under this pass via Ardglen Tunnel. Further to the east lies the country and journey that I described in Secrets of New England - along the Fossickers Way Day Two.

If the Plains are bounded by the Tablelands on the east, the Liverpool Range on the south and the Warrumbungle Range on the west, what is the northern boundary? I have never been sure. In my mind, driving north from Tamworth along Fossickers Way, the Plains end with the first of the western spurs from the Tablelands.

This was originally Kamilaroi country. With European intrusion, it became part of the Australian Agricultural Company's vast holdings. Tamworth, the Plains' main centre, began as a small village surrounded by AA holdings.

With the break-up of the big stations, the Plains became prime agricultural land, a wealthy wheat farming district. This remains true today, and lies at the heart of the conflict between mining - large coal deposits lie under parts of the Plains - and farming.