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Plants Travels

East to Menindee

I want to leave the Flinders Ranges now and head almost due east for about 500 km, to Menindee. It is a small town, about an hour south-east of Broken Hill, on the Darling River and right on the edge of the Menindee Lakes system and Kinchega National Park. It is big sky country — it is so flat that the sky arches from horizon to horizon. And it is red dirt country, semi-arid. So, why there?

Well, it is fascinating. The lakes and the river attract birds from far away. The habitats away from the water are full of secret treasures — plants, insects, reptiles. (Fortunately I didn’t see any snakes, but I know they are there.) Secret because driving past in the car it all looks like boring saltbush. But stop and investigate and a world opens up.

Once you start to explore you can see the diversity, and begin to appreciate how plants can survive in such harsh environments.

But also because it is an area that features in the Burke and Wills story. For Australians those names are legendary. For others I will explain in the next few posts who they were and why their story sent me and other botanical artists to Menindee. For now, enjoy some of the beauty of Copi Hollow, and the caravan park where we stayed.

We saw this view of the lake, Copi Hollow, every time we went outside the caravan.
Looking back to the caravan park, evening light
The beautiful evening light
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Travels

Leaving the Flinders Ranges

I am going to leave blogging about the Flinders Ranges for awhile. Time to move east to Menindee and Kinchega National Park. So, one last photo……

Path along a ridge, where you were definitely walking on the bones of the Earth. (I think the white plant is Silver mulla mulla.)

…..and a link to a blog that has beautiful photos of the Ranges.

http://thesentimentalbloke.com/2012/10/moorilah-moon/

I came across Peter McDonald’s stunning photos in the Prairie Hotel, Parachilna — aerial photos of Lake Eyre in flood, taken from such an altitude that they became abstracts. Beautiful…..

Categories
My art work Travels

Travel journal

Like most people I collect things as I travel. I have inherited my Mum’s passion for brochures but I also add my own treasures from the natural world — feathers and shells and seed pods and flowers (often photos, because I know I can’t pick native plants). Then there are the memories and the information. On past travels I have kept written journals. However, over this year I have become more fascinated with pictorial journals, looking at how other artists create their keepsakes. This time I decided to record this journey to Menindee and the Flinders Ranges differently.

I have used a Daler-Rowney book. Its paper is 150 gsm, and a good quality cartridge which took watercolour washes quite well. It is 27 by 22 cm and is landscape. Although it is bound and not spiral, I really like how it opens flat. I have been able to work comfortably across the double pages.

I had so much fun at night  working on this journal. (No TV in the caravan!) I needed to think about the layout, how to make it visually interesting, what I wanted to record, as well as making each page cohesive.

I would love to know how you record your special memories. Why don’t you leave me a comment?

Categories
Birds Travels

Emus in the Flinders Ranges

EMUS

There are so many emus across the more arid areas we travelled through — from Menindee, out of Broken Hill, to the Flinders Ranges, including this one at the very aptly named Emu Creek, Kinchega National Park.

This photo is my favourite though. We were ambling along the Brachina Gorge track and came across this adult and chicks. They just sauntered up the road, and then up the bank. The adult, a male, waited until all the chicks had scrambled up the bank before he moved them on.

It is a male because male emus not only do most of the incubation, but then rear the chicks for the next 6 months. They will usually have a number of young to look after, and  have been known to take orphaned and abandoned chicks into their care too. Someone at the caravan park had a photo that showed one adult with 24 chicks!

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My art work

Goose feather

Just finished and listed in the Etsy shop, a pencil drawing of a goose feather.

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Travels

The yellow footed rock wallaby in the Flinders Ranges

YELLOW FOOTED ROCK WALLABY, or ANDU

Seeing the yellow footed rock wallaby was one of the highlights of my stay in the Flinders Ranges. These little marsupials are also known by their Adnyamathanha name, Andu. A colony of them live in the Brachina Gorge and if you are quiet and observant you can see them on a rock scree.

They are shy and very well camouflaged. Can you spot the 2 andu in this photo?

Before white people came to the area they used to be very common but their status now is vulnerable. They were hunted for their skins and to cut down on competition for the grazing sheep brought in by pastoralists.

As well, their populations have been decimated by foxes and feral cats.

The andu, as marsupials, carry their joeys in pouches. As the joey grows it becomes more difficult for the mother to jump from rock to rock. So the joeys are left in rock crevices while the mother forages. A great idea when there was no real danger from bigger predators. However foxes and cats changed that. Instead of being a safe creche, the crevice made the joey easy pickings. Now, the National Park has established programmes to help protect them.

This andu came out after the other photographers had gone, and posed just for me!

And then bounded away!

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Travels

Sacred Gorge in the Flinders Ranges

The Sacred Gorge is another stunning gorge in the Flinders Ranges. You walk (clamber at times!) up the creek bed, looking at the marvellous rock formations. This makes it more intimate than Brachina Gorge, which is a drive, not a walk.

The other thrill in this gorge is the Aboriginal art that has been carved into the rock. It is not always obvious, which makes it even more special. The Adnyamathanha people believe that the art was created in the Dreamtime. Given the beauty and age of this serene place, that seems quite possible.

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Travels

Hello world!

Welcome to a place where I can show you my artistic world — the people that inspire me, the natural things that catch my eye, and my own art work.

And to begin, some photos that I took on our recent trip to the Flinders Ranges. Enjoy!

 

 

The Flinders Ranges are incredibly old. Fossil evidence has dated them to about 640 million years, which make them some of the oldest mountains in the world. Move through them and you see the bones of the earth.

Rawnsley Bluff at sunset

The rocky, exposed environment means that many plants are suited to the arid conditions, such as the prolific white cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla). However, along the dry creek beds there are magnificent river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), like these growing along the track into Wilpena Pound.