summer rains

It’s been a strange summer so far.

It has been cool weather with lots of rain. There has been very little in the way of the hot, dry summer days that we are used to, and that we have come to expect, on the coast. The damp conditions have meant that the wood panels and stairs that I had oiled before Xmas were very slow to dry. The oil fumes hung around for days.

ocean + rain
ocean + rain

The rains have been due to a sub-tropical rain depression that hung over South Australia for several days between Xmas and New Year, destroying all the ripening stone fruit. The depression bought the small flies that clung to your body, and they were really unpleasant on the early morning poodlewalks.

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Goolwa Beach

We visited Goolwa Beach last Sunday afternoon. It was going somewhere different for us and the poodles, and a break from our normal walking routines. We entered the sand dunes near where the Goolwa Barrages go across the River Murray to keep out the incoming sea water, and it was only a short walk through the sandhills to the beach.

Suzanne + Ari
Suzanne + Ari

It’s an interesting region, but we’d forgotten that cars are allowed to drive along this beach to the mouth. The speed limit on the beach is 40 kilometres per hour. I have no idea why the Alexandrina Council allows this. How does that access to 10 kilometres along the Sir Richard Peninsula protect the unique and diverse coastline featuring open beaches, reefs and sand dunes, especially when people drive their vehicles on the sand dunes? The 4WD’s sure don’t “tread lightly”.
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Aboriginal sites Inman River

I’ve been quietly scoping the landscape near the mouth of the Inman River during our early morning poodle walks along the Encounter Bay beach. I’m looking for traditional aboriginal sites to photograph as memorial sites. The pattern of British colonisation in South Australia deprived the Ngarrindjeri of access to their food and resources when they were removed from their lands and placed in missions such as Raukkan or fringe camps on the edges of towns like Meningie and Victor Harbor. Their historical presence as traditional owners is now marked by an absence in much of the landscape around Victor Harbor.

There is a cairn erected in Kent Reserve (i.e. on the western side of the Inman River) that commemorates one of the last camping grounds of the Ramindjeri tribe of aborigines, who were a local group or clan of the Ngarrindjeri nation, who lived around Lower Murray, Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina and the Corrong. My understanding is the Ngarrindjeri form an Aboriginal nation of eighteen language groups who inhabit the extensive coastal Kurangk region that includes the Fleurieu Peninsula. Their lands and waters extended 30 kilometres up the River Murray from Lake Alexandrina, the length of the Corrong and along the coastal area to Encounter Bay. Their caring for country has seen them develop a Sea Country plan in 2006.

Ramindjeri land is the most westerly of the Ngarrindjeri, covering the area around Encounter Bay including Victor Harbor and Port Elliot. Kent Reserve was originally a traditional camping ground of the Ramindjeri people. Apparently, there is also an Aboriginal site described as an archaeological/burial site that is situated near the mouth of the Inman River, on the eastern side of the river. I’ve never seen it.

 old Inman River channel
old Inman River channel

The river mouth of the Inman River was realigned by the Victor Harbor Council to protect the BeachFront Holiday Park in 1997. This picture is of a section of the old, meandering river channel behind the beach and east of the caravan park. What is left of the channel is infill and a swamp/wetland. We are looking west to the location of last known campsite of the Ramindjeri.

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struggling

Whilst Suzanne has been away walking the Heysen Trail around the Kapunda and Burra area in South Australia this week, I’ve been minding the standard poodle, processing and uploading some of the images from my road trips early this year, and planning the Mallee Highway silo project for next winter. I’m very limited in where I can go walking at the moment because I have to stay in, and around, areas that are from the dam grass seeds. They are everywhere.

I have been limited to walking along the coastline at such places as Kings Beach and Kings Head where there are few people. Or walking along the country roads that are part of the Heysen Trail and that don’t have that many grass seeds amongst the roadside vegetation.

rockface, Kings Head
rockface, Kings Head

I cannot do much photography when I am walking with three dogs. I have to keep an eye on the dogs rather than use the poodle walks to look for photographic opportunities:
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after the storms

Spring means turbulent weather on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula rain, cold, sun, gusty wind, clouds. There can be 4 seasons in one day, or a couple of days of big storms followed hot weather where the day temperature changes by 10-15 degrees i.e., going from 15 degrees to 29, then back to 15 again.

The winter storms have stripped the beaches west of Rosetta Head of sand and it is not clear that the sand will return for the summer holiday season.

dead sea lion
dead sea lion

The above carcass was washed up on what we call Dog Beach (it’s proper name is Debbs Beach, but unlike Kings Beach it doesn’t have its own Facebook page).    I found it hard to identify what the carcass is. It’s definitely not a dolphin or a seal. My guess is that it is a sea lion.

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in Canberra

We stayed at Banks in Canberra during the opening of the Edgelands exhibition at Manning Clark House.

Banks is on the eastern edge of this car-based, suburban city and is in the Tuggeranong district/valley. Banks is on the edge of Canberra’s outer suburban fringe. Our poodle walks in the morning and evening were along firebreak trails on both sides of the valley. We found the walks to be thoroughly enjoyable and attractive.

Banks, ACT
Banks, ACT

But you need a car to get around Canberra as the public transport to the city is woeful. It’s a long drive to school, work, shops, doctors, or leisure centres. Since the dominant mode of transport is by car, there is congestion in and around the CBD in spite of all the transport planning to ensure the flowing movement of the car.

avoiding grass seeds

Late spring in Adelaide means heaps of grass seeds everywhere in the parklands and they grass seeds attach themselves to the poodles’ legs and ears and if not picked up they enter the body. So we have to avoid any grass seed areas.

That leaves us with the beach, lawns and the West Terrace Cemetery.

West Terrace Cemetery
West Terrace Cemetery

The afternoon walks are in the West Terrace Cemetery, the pre-breakfast walk is the old Victoria Park racecourse, the post-breakfast walk is the grassy strip behind Veale Gardens, and the lunch time walks is the Gouger St restaurant strip.

spring time on the coast

The weather on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast during Spring is turbulent. There are days of strong south easterly winds, hot days with a strong northwesterly wind, broken by cold southerly winds with a plunge in temperature. Generally its blustery with a few calm days. This year there has been very little rain.

The landscape is becoming drier. I would hate to have to exist on rainwater tank given the predictions for much less rain for southern Australia.

Ari + Maleko
Ari + Maleko

Often the light during spring can be quite eerie.

a photo trip to Sedan

Ari and I went on a photo trip yesterday with Ben Loveday, Adam Jan Dutkiewicz, Aldo Trissi and Michal Dutkiewicz. We went to Lobethal/Birdwood/Mount Pleasant/Keyneton/Sedan and then retraced our path on the return trip. We drove through the Basket Range and along the Torrens Valley.

I haven’t done one of these kind of photo trips for ages–I used to do this kind of photo trip when I had a Kombi that carried a 5×7 Cambo in a trunk and I was photographing in black and white. I was surprised to see that the South Australian state government changers to many German place names during WW1 still remained in place.

water tank , Sedan
water tank , Sedan

Sedan, a country town at the foot of the Mt Lofty Ranges and on the plains that lead to the the River Murray. It was an eyeopener. It was hot, dry and dusty, derelict, full of abandoned houses, and an extensive use of limestone in the built environment.

walking the South Rd Superway

It was another Friday night with Suzanne and Maleko going to puppy pre-school at Regency Park and Ari and I filling in time by walking the South Rd Superway for an hour or so. We started out on the A13 from the South Rd/Grand Junction Rd corner and continued walking west for 25 minutes.

South Rd Superway
South Rd Superway

It was bright and sunny at 6.30 pm and, fortunately for us, most of the traffic was moving on the elevated roadway. So I was able to scope the urbanscape underneath. I didn’t really know what to expect. All I had in mind were some possibilities for a 5×7 large format photoshoot from the brief previous scouting. So we wandered.