Location: Manning Valley
Date: October 2009
October 31, 2009. Ha! Just managed to squeeze in another shoot
before November arrives tomorrow. A couple of weeks ago, I was on the south
side of Martin Bridge, Taree, and the Manning River, just
walking along a road that services a few local residents. It doesn't really
go anywhere. While there, I spotted an old house and spoke to the owner.
The house was built in the mid 1800s. It has walls of vertical timber weatherboards
that have no interior lining or cavity. What's on the outside is also on
the inside. It also features a three-sided wrap-around veranda (one side
of which has been filled but will be returned to original) with several
pairs of French doors, and three large brick chimneys. It's gorgeous! The
owners have built a modern house at the rear of the property but intend
to make the old house part of the new with a connecting hall. Part of the
deal with council is to preserve and restore the old building which is
Outside are two giant pine trees. Back in the old days, when the river
was the main means of transport (by river boat), the pines were planted
to distinguish the house from others. The property was called "The Pines".
That's all it needed... no street name or street number. Everyone knew
"The Pines", including the crews on the river boats.
The new owners decided to have a new fence built (not sure if there
was a previous fence), and chose bluestone mined from a local quarry at
Pampoolah. I think they said it cost $200 a square meter. Whoa! The stone
mason told me that bluestone is normally crushed and then used as a road-building
material, so he has to be quick to buy the blocks he needs before they're
turned into gravel. The mason's craft is quite specialized in that he has
to choose odd-shaped pieces that fit together - like a giant jigsaw - and
then cement them in place. Bluestone is mined by blasting with dynamite.
I visited the quarry a month or two ago if you care to check it out on
Stone masons, as with brick layers and other artisans, like to leave
their signature - a little piece of immortality. One of the images shows
a 50 cent coin embedded in the fence. I managed to photograph it before
it disappeared under another stone perhaps not to see the light of day
again for hundreds if not thousands of years. The owner told me that there
was a second one, but we couldn't find it.
So today I captured a few more shots of the almost finished project,
and while there, took advantage of the flowering jacaranda trees of which
there are quite a few on the south side of the river. Jacarandas don't
flower for more than a few weeks, so I was lucky to get the shots I did
while the trees are at the peak of their magnificence. Click
here for the photo album.
October 30, 2009. Ooer! Another month has almost disappeared
and I haven't done much! Well, not much to AO, that is. But I have been
poking around the backyard a bit, keeping my shutter button finger in practice.
Here's a selection of pics from the bits and pieces I've
shot over the past few weeks.
October 20, 2009. Yesterday, I took a drive just north of Taree,
then west along Lansdowne Road (past the airport), and then along
Lansdowne Road, which leads to some pretty spectacular mountain country
dotted with farms known as the Lansdowne Escarpments or Lansdowne Volcanics.
As usual, my sense of direction failed me, and instead of taking a twisting
dirt road called Koppin Yarrat, I followed a dirt track called Mount Coxcomb
Road. But that was pretty interesting anyway, and I can always check out
the Koppin Yarrat area another time.
The small nature reserve of Coxcomb protects the trachyte plug known
as Mount Coxcomb. The plug, which is typically cone-shaped, rises to a
height of 480 m and has sheer rocky cliffs on three sides. It is a very
distinctive part of the landscape of the Upper Lansdowne Valley, and is
flanked by a suite of similar volcanic intrusions including Mount Goonook,
Mt Bally and Mt Gibraltar, none of which are within reserves. (National
I read where the word Coxcomb was probably derived from the mountain's
resemblance to a rooster's comb from certain angles. Meanwhile, what the
hell are trash bins doing in the album? Well, they were left by the local
council to replace my current bins so I thought I'd take a pic. Yeah?
Pic 2 shows a dead cow. I guess farmers don't bother to bury cows that
die in the field. Too much hassle. The guy in pic 7 took a rather obsessive
interest in my petal-shaped lens hood. Right after I pressed the shutter
button, his/her tongue appeared and gave my camera a drenching. Ew! As
to pic 8, I think the less said the better. Eeek! But it was a shot I couldn't
resist taking. Pic 16 is probably the best of the Mt Coxcomb shots. It
was the middle of the day so lighting conditions were not ideal.
The guy who carved the Wollumbin Sanctuary sign is a local artist. The
sanctuary is private property, so I didn't venture further than the front
fence. Rather, I walked back to the little wooden bridge and took a few
shots of the creek. I'm not sure what the naming of the sanctuary is about
because Wollumbin is the Aboriginal name of a mountain near Byron Bay,
Australia's most easterly point, also named by Captain Cook in 1770 as
Mount Warning. Click
here for the photo album.
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