A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: charlystyles

The Man From Snowy River

sunny 20 °C

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The scenery of Mansfield became well known as the location for the 1981 film The Man From Snowy River ,
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which was based on poet Banjo Paterson's ballard of the same name, which can bee seen on the $10 note:
There was movement at the station,.
for word had passed around
that the colt from Old Regret had got away,
and had joined the wold bush horses -
he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders
from the stations near and far
had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen loved hard riding
where the wild bush horses are
and the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

Craig's Hut was built for the movie, where the main fictional character lived.
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even this boulder didn't alter the build
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It's location was chosen for the magnificent scenic backdrop of Mt Cobbler and relative ease of access to the site.
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Although Australian 'ease of access' isn't quite what the Brit's would call that track!
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This area is often under snow cover for up to 3 or 4 months of the year, accessible only by helicopter or skiers or snowshoe walkers.
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In December 2006 Craig's Hut was completely destroyed by bushfire. The hut was rebuilt in 2007/8 by the department of Sustainability & Environment.
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Many local horsemen rode in the film and they still compete in the annual Cattleman's Cup.

Whilst in Mansfield I went along to the annual Camp Draft, a unique Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. The riding style is Australian stock, somewhat akin to American Western riding.
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In a campdrafting competition, a rider on horseback must "cut out" one beast from the mob of cattle in the yard or the "camp" and block and turn the beast at least two or three times to prove to the judge that they have the beast under control; then take it out of the yard and through a course around pegs involving right and left hand turns in a figure eight, before guiding it through two pegs known as "the gate". The outside course must be completed in less than 40 seconds.
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The sport requires consummate skill and horsemanship, and the skill in selecting a beast from the mob that will run well, but is not too fast for that particular horse. Great prestige is bestowed on the winning horse and rider of the competition.
In the image below you can see the competitors lined up by the 'camp' waiting for their turn
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My cowboy look
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Posted by charlystyles 13:05 Archived in Australia Tagged snowy_river Comments (0)

Cycling to Boonie Doon on the Victorian Rail Trail

sunny 20 °C

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A day out on the bike along part of the Great Victorian Rail Trail from Mansfield to Bonnie Doon.
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Australia’s longest continuous Rail Trail with Victoria’s longest rail trail tunnel (201m) at Cheviot. Testament to the natural obstacles posed by this landscape. The tunnel was constructed in 1889 from an estimated 675,000 handmade bricks using local clay, to pass trains across the Black Range at McLoughlin’s Gap and cost £88,661 but the work was delayed by accidents, floods and several industry disputes.
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In places, the old railway line was still visible
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Stretching from Tallarook to the foothills of Victoria’s High Country to Mansfield and to Alexandra, the Grea tvictorian Rail Trail traverses 134km of rolling pastures with stunning views and meanders along the majestic gum-lined Goulburn River.
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With plenty of Australian wildlife out and about there’s chance to get up close to echidnas, wallabies, kangaroos and native birds in their natural surroundings.
Although the only wildlife I saw was this escape artist ... only in Australia!
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Attracting cyclists, walkers and horse-riders the trail is a beautiful journey through the unique communities of north and north-east Victoria.
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There was a great place to stop and rest, kindly offered by one of the residents along the track
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Lake Eildon over the 385 metre Bonnie Doon Bridge – a great vantage point to watch activity on the lake.
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Eildon is a popular destination with water lovers including water-skiers, wake boarders, pleasure boaters and anglers.
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Lake Eildon has a shore line of almost 600km and is one of five premier lakes in Victoria.
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and with every good bike ride, there was beer, overlooking the lake
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From here the trial passes through beautiful farming country and the 12km from Maindample to Mansfield take in magnificent high country scenery, passing through the Mullum Wetlands – a habitat for local fauna and flora beginning and ending at Mansfield Railway Station.
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The Railway Station is now a museum, with exhibits displayed inside the carriages.
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There was a seat from the Regent Theatre, built in1937.
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A reminder to the gold times is on display at Mansfield station
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Posted by charlystyles 15:36 Archived in Australia Tagged bonnie_doon Comments (0)

Sheep Shearing - Delatite Farm

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Delatite Farm has over 20,000 sheep. The time came for 8,000 of them to be sheared. This was a great experience and I learnt so much. It was hard graft, working 8hours full pace, but I'll never forget it, or the people!
The wool shed is a traditional icon of Australia and this one is one of the oldest in Victoria, built in the early 1900’s, with the back shed being significantly older going back to 1892. It was originally set up for about 20 blade shearers when the property was a lot bigger and they ran 35000 sheep.
This is a smaller outbuilding next to the wool shed.
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In order to get the work done, an early start was required, but it's always a pleasure when you're journey to work is as beautiful as this when the sun's rising.
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The sheep are collected and ideally kept in the wool shed or under cover over night to ensure they are dry before shearing.
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Each shearer has his own pen of sheep. Time is money for a shearer, they get paid roughly $2 per sheep sheared. So they want to be as efficient as possible.
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The sheep goes from the pen to be sheared and then sent out through a small door behind the shearer into a separate pen to be counted at the end of the shift, and the shearer paid especially.
The first mob had been separated by the quality of the wool, as the best wool was sampled and sent of for testing. This involved scanning the sheep's tag, printing out a ticket, weighing the fleece and recording it by scanning the ticket and then putting a sample with the ticket in a bag... before the fleece isb dealt with.
Ordinarily, the process wouldn't involve this step.
All shearer's are taught to shear in a particular way, the same way, so that the fleece falls on the floor in a particular way to be able to be picked up, in a particular way!
This is the shearing process
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The 'roustabout' then prepares to pick up the fleece by finding it's two back legs,
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folding the fleece in on itself,
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so that when it's thrown onto the wool table it falls perfectly in place, ready for skirting.
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Skirting is the process of removing sweat fribs and other less desirable parts of the fleece. The removed pieces largely consist of shorter, seeded, burry or dusty wool etc. which is still useful in the industry. As such they are placed in separate containers and sold along with fleece wool. Other items removed from the fleece on the table, such as faeces, skin fragments or twigs and leaves, are discarded a short distance from the wool table so as not to contaminate the wool and fleece.
All wool is tested before being rolled up and placed in the relevant pile for pressing into the large, 240kg bales.
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Other issues that contaminate the wool and cannot be sold are small patches of black coloured fleece, which can be picked out and thrown away.
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However, for this fella, there wasn't much wool salvageable,
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and so it would be the last time he'd be sean.
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At the end of the day the sean sheep are rounded up and taken back to their paddock
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Before another drive home (on the quad bike) through the beautiful landscape
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I'm going to miss working with this dream team:
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Daniel, Dave, Caine - also, not shown, Joan, Max, Lorri and others! - thank you for a top experience :)

Posted by charlystyles 13:05 Archived in Australia Tagged sheep_shearing roustabout Comments (0)

Mount Buller - Victoria

sunny 18 °C

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Making the most of the weekend, I set off in the farm truck (UTE) towards Mount Buller for a day of walking.
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Not that I needed to worry about this sign today
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Mount Buller is a town located in the Shire of Mansfield in the Alpine region of the Australian state of Victoria. The town is located approximately 208 kilometres (129 mi) east of Melbourne on the slopes of Mount Buller.[2]
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Primarily a resort town, Mount Buller is popular with snowsports enthusiasts in winter due to its close location to Melbourne. At the 2011 census, Mount Buller had a population of 242.
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There are several tracks through the alpine village, so I decided to join them all together for the full experience!

The Summit Nature Walk passes through a number of interesting and diverse vegetation zone, including Heathland, Snow Gum Woodland and Alpine Bog. The trail to the summit offer spectacular 360 degree views from an altitude of 1805 metres.

Burnt Hut Reservoir - on average Mt Buller uses 400 million litres of water each year. The village requires about 100-150 million litres, with 250-300 million litres being used for snowmaking. The peak demand is in winter when the resort caters for thousands of guests and makes snow to supplement the natural snowfall.
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Although a relatively large amount of precipitation falls on Mt Buller, water storage Is continually pumped up to the mountain. The water contained in the Burnt Hut Reservoir I spumed up from Boggy Creek. Boggy Creek drains a small catchment area on the northern slopes of Mt Buller and runs into the Delatite River Diverting too much water from it's natural course can have a detrimental affect on the health of the rivers downstream. Water from Burnt Hut Reservoir is pumped up to a second storage dam near the summit of directly to the village/

On it's journey from Boggy Creek, water is pumped uphill more than 300m in altitude, consuming considerable amounts of electricity.

Grassland is a major part of the vegetation above the treeline. By exploiting the marginally warmer microclimate close to the soil, grasses are able to survive in conditions which are too cold for trees.
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Grasslands are a great place to watch for birds such as the Australian Kestrel which can be seen hovering lower and lower, finally plunging down to seize prey such as lizards, grasshoppers, beetles and moths.
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Richard's Pipit is known to construct ground level nests lined with grass and leaves, amongst thick vegetation in open heathland and grasslands.
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Invertebrates at Mt Buller include the Mountain Spotted Grasshopper
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which routinely eats its own weight in mint-bush leaves, and the Mountain Grasshopper, known locally as the Buller Bug
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which shows bright red and blue warning bands when disturbed.
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The Summit - The Australian Alps are home to Australia's highest mountain. Many of these can be seen in the distance. The summit of Mt Buller is 1805m above sea level, 400m below Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's tallest mountain.
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Looking back down to Mansfield
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Alpine and subalpine environments occupy 03.15% of Australia (including Tasmania).

Snow Gum Woodlands (Eucalyptus) is the defining plant of the Australian Alps. The Snow Gum gives Australia's snowfields a distinctive appearance found nowhere else in the world. With it's many gnarled, twisted trunks and intricately patterned bark, it is one of the most memorable trees in the mountains.
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Sometimes found at elevations of up to 1,800m, the Snow Gum grows at a higher elevation than any other Australian tree.
the multi-stemmed form of these Snow Gums is the result of a bushfire ion 1939. following a severe fire, the upper parts of the tree die, but the lignotuber beneath the ground can survive. New leaves and shoots sprout directly from the lignotuber, eventually growing into new trunks and branches.

Fire Spotting - providing a 360 degree view of the surrounding region, the summit of Mount Buller serves as an excellent vantage point for the purpose of spotting fires.
In this image, you can see the fire spotting hut on the right, the ski resort and chair lift on the right, and small controlled burning bush fires in the middle.
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Since the 1940's the fire spotting hut has been manned seven days a week during the high fire danger period of summer. Early detection of fires enables a swift response, preventing the loss of life and property.
In 2006 three fires threatened the resisdents of Mount Buller as trees fell blocking road access and fuelled by 124km/h winds. Today, the devestation caused is still obvious
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From the top of Mt Buller, I looked across at Little Mt Buller - my next destination
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The trail crossed several ski runs which look like strange scars in the summer landscape
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and then on through some dense trees
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Before emerging at the top to look back to Mt Buller
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It seemed the small bush fires were even closer from here
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Mt Buller was first skid in the 1920's when skiing was a much more challenging prospect than it is today. During the 1950's the first rope tow was installed, the precursor to the modern high-speed chair lifts used in the resort today.
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I couldn't resit stopping for a sit down, with no worries of being taken up the hillside
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I don't think this ski run would be on my to-do list
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On the way back down the mountain I stopped for a closer look at something that caught my attention on the way up
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It seems I wasn't the only one on the mountain
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although I'm not sure when they were last home
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Posted by charlystyles 14:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cattle Mustering - Delatite Farm

sunny 26 °C

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I've had a little involvement with cattle growing up, but nothing on the scale of mustering a mob of cattle for weighing.
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However, mustering cattle (or sheep) was always easy with a quad bike and some great dogs - Cannie and Peter (below)
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Different day, different dog, this is Mark's dog Dot
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Delatite Farm breeds Angus (black ones) and Charolais (mostly white) for beef.
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The job of the day was to weigh this particular mob, having received a phone call form the agent requesting 40-50 cattle for Coles supermarket.

Once the cattle was at the shed, they're led through a series of pens into the chase, and then the weighing machine.
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The electronic scales allows individual cattle to be automatically weighed and recorded. It also allows for any other necessary indivudal work to be carried out.
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Posted by charlystyles 14:06 Archived in Australia Tagged cattle_mustering Comments (0)

Sheep Drenching & Jetting - Delatite Farm

sunny 23 °C

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The job of the day was to 'drench' and 'jet' a mob of sheep.

First of all they needed mustering to the wool shed;
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However, as it was the end of summer, the grass was struggling to survive and as a result it produces a toxin from a fungus that grows to protect itself. The fungus is an “endophyte” i.e. it grows inside the plant where the highest concentrations are in the leaf sheath at the base of the pasture and in the seed heads. The toxin damages parts of the brain that coordinate movement. As a result the affected sheep appear nervous and sometimes sway when while standing and stagger when walking. If you put them under too much pressure when mustering, they simple can't cope and fall to the ground. They recover intime, but in the meantime you have maybe a hundred other sheep to keep moving.
so the best way to deal with it is to take the shep with you on the quad
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which gets a bit cosy when the dogs jump on
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Once at the wool shed, the sheep are peened up, to be moved through the shed in smaller groups
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with the help of the dogs
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before being led into a crush, where they can be drenched
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Drenching is a dewormer used once or twice a year used to rid the sheep of various parasites and worms.
When you drench sheep you use a dewormer purchased specifically for that purpose. It is concentrated, you mix it with water, fill a large oral syringe, place the syringe into the side of the mouth as far as it would go, and it slowly push the liquid into the sheep's mouth so that they could swallow. You give the sheep an amount according to how much they weigh.
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After this, the sheep are jetted. Once again they are led through a series of pens, narrowed down to single file.
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Jetting is application of insecticide to sheep by use of a high-pressure spraying machine. The jets at the head of the handheld appliance are combed through the wool so that the jetted fluid penetrates to the skin.

Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged drenching jetting Comments (0)

Mustering - Delatite Farm

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Thrown in at the deep end on my first day, I was given a quad bike and told to follow!
First we went and fed the cattle, with the 'help' of the cockatoos
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starting at the feed store
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then came across a mob of sheep that needed mustering to the wool shed.
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A job I couldn't have done without my little helper Cannie
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Posted by charlystyles 13:20 Archived in Australia Tagged mustering Comments (0)

Horses - Delatite Farm, Victoria

sunny 29 °C

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Mark & Fenella have some beautiful horses on the farm, with Millie becoming an excellent eventer in show jumping and dressage.
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Although I love horses, I don't often get chance to ride them, so it was great to take a ride out with Millie one evening.
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Millie rode Jasper
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and I rode Gus (on the right)
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who for some reason is a horrible horse and keen on biting or kicking... unless you're on him, in which case he is an obedient gentleman!

Riding in the area around Mount Buller (below) offers amazing views.
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But riding on the farm presents the challenge of opening a closing the gates to keep the live stock in the right place!
Millie is an expert at this..
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Thanks Millie...
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Millie school project this year was to break in one of the less tame horses, Eddie.
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It was interesting to watch the techniques and with Cain's help, I'm sure she'll do just greatMillie_Caine___Eddie.jpg

It was good to watch Millie on one of her riding lessons, today on Jasper:
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though I have to say I didn't understand much of the technical talk!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:52 Archived in Australia Tagged hore_riding delorite_farm Comments (0)

Delatite Farm - Victoria

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Having discovered a great website called 'workaways', Delatite Farm in north east Victoria, was my first experience, and a great start!

Mansfield is a country town surrounded by mountain and is considered the south west entry point to Victoria's alpine country. A memorial in the main street commemorates the death of three troopers shot by the infamous Ned Kelly and his gang in 1878, the crime for which he was hung in Melbourne in 1880.

It was great to explore the grounds to the homestead
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including this swing bridge
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cottage rose bed
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wild flowers
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The main house was under renovation, and was quite a project! It will be amazing when finished, but hopefully these give you an idea
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The gardens were extensive and beautiful.
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A swing bridge led across the river to where a platypus has been spotted. One of my missions whilst in Australia is to see a wild one, having spotted one briefly in Tasmaina.
So I got rather excited when I saw this:
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only to realise it was a big fish!
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Then I got excited when I turned round and saw this
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but on closer inspection of the rather poor photo, it looks, and moved, more like a water rat type thing!
So the mission continues...

My accommodation was a separate converted 'shed'.
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the view from the veranda was great.
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Perfect spot for a beer in the evening after a hard days work
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with a perfect spot to watch the sunrise in the mornings
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If there was any peace from the Cockatoos
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I was only lacking a boiled egg holder, but improvised...
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Oh, and for luxurious comfort, I treated myself to the 1920's cinema in Mansfield. I've never seen anythgin like it - massive leather recliner arm chairs with waitress service for beers and treats :)
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One particular evening a storm had been brewing and resulted in a tremendous thunder storm, that rumbled around for hours.
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It was great to sit out on the veranda and watch the lightening in the distance.
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Although suddenly it wasn't in the distance,
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and then a huge bolt of lightening hit what must have been meters from my little tin shed, lighting up the area like daylight, and making my heart skip more than a few beats!!
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The stars were always beautiful from the veranda
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As always, I like to get a different view on the places I visit, and being in the complete middle of nowhere, Delatite Farm was great for sunsets
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and star trails
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This was the view from the shed at night
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and always, the moon seemed to be there, day or night. This was as the sun was setting, with the moon in the top right corner
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The ride to work (to the wool shed) each morning offered some spectacular sunrises
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and the sunsets from the homestead were stunning
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Posted by charlystyles 13:03 Archived in Australia Tagged victoria delatite_farm mansfield Comments (0)

Melbourne

All this in one week!!

Arriving in Melbourne
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Festivals - Melbourne
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The Cosmopolitan - Melbourne
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Opals - Melbourne
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Waterfront Scenes - Melbourne
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Street Art - Melbourne
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Elegant Enclaves
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Moomba Carnival Parade
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Secret Gardens
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Cat Cafe
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F1 Grand Prix
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Posted by charlystyles 05:26 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne Comments (0)

Tasmania

Before heading to Australia, we had chance to catch up with friends and family.

You can view any of them in full by clicking on the title below.

Sunshine in Somerset
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My Family
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Hashing
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and then the journey to the other side of the world began:
Travelling Out
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Having spent 3 months exploring Tasmania, there were a lot of things to write home about!
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

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Mount Field & New Norfolk
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Lake Dobson
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Styx Valley
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Lake St Clair
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Stewart's Bay
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Tessellated Pavement
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Arches, Kitchens, Blow Holes & Doo Town
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Pirate Bay Lookout
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Marion Bay
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Port Arthur
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Historic Richmond
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Convict Coal Mines
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Cape Raoul, Maignon Bay & Remarkable Cave
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Mona - Museum of Old and New
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Franklin - Huon Valley
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Willie Smiths Cider - Huon Valley
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Mount Wellington - Hobart
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Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
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New Year's Day Running - Mount Field
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Oatlands and onwards to the East Coast
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Bays of Fire
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Douglas Apsley National Park
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Bicheno and beyond
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The Hazards
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Quarantine Station - Bruny Island
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Out and about on Bruny Island
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Boat Cruise - Bruny Island
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Kayaking - Bruny Island
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Running Fluted Cape - Bruny Island
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Views - Bruny Island
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Running Labillardiere Peninsula - Bruny Island
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Star Trails - Bruny Island
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Australia Day
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King Solomons Cave
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Great Western Tiers to Cradle Mountain
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Horse Riding Cradle Mountain
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Wombling Wombats
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Cradle Mountain Summit
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Pencil Pine and Dove Gorge
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Hansons Peak and Front Face
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Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park surrounds
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Wooden Boat Festival - Hobart
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Classic Car Show - Bellerive
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Dam Day
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Local Events - Tasmania
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Maria Island
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The Tench - Hobart
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Sea Horse World
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Platypus House
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Posted by charlystyles 21:07 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania Comments (0)

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