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At our June 2017 meeting there was a discussion about Teviot Falls. Rob McCosker has supplied this old newspaper cutting which he found in his mothers things.
Boiler from Sundown Mine
A visitor, Jim, who was with us on the outing to the Beehive Mine on 21st July 2013, told us a story of the nearby Sundown Mine. We thought you might be interested. – P&L Haselgrove
The Sundown Mine has held a fascination for me since I was about 14 years old, when in 1959 my father and two of his men headed out in a long wheel based blitz and a short wheel based blitz (equipped with a winch) to retrieve the steam boiler.
My father was a saw-miller and a new regulation came out that required that the mill waste be incinerated within a container. The sawmill was on the Beaudesert/Kyogle side of Woodenbong and all that remains today is a large shed that was once the work shop for the mill. (Incidentally the Killarney sawmill installed a steam boiler as an incinerator and in the 1960’s was identified as a hotspot from space.)
Almost immediately after retrieving the boiler the regulation requiring incineration in an enclosed space was rescinded. The boiler was then used as a bed-log above an open pit and carried a rail-way line over which a cart from the sawmill could deliver waste to the centre of the fire.
When the mill closed Dad brought the boiler out to the farm and for many years it lay on its side outside the workshop. In the mid-1980’s we decided that we needed good water pressure so a steel bottom was welded into the boiler, it was then carried to its present site on the end of a tree pusher on a 42 ton International TD25 crawler tractor and lowered into a base of wet and setting concrete. Water was pumped from a spring fed dam with good drinking water, then piped to the house, garden and cattle water troughs via 2″ poly pipe.
When we built the cabins in 1996 the water pressure from the boiler was not sufficient (it held less than 2,000 gallons) so we ceased using it.
So, the steam boiler from the Sundown Mine today sits full of water ready for emergency use.
Omnivorous Friar Bird
One morning in December when we were sitting on the deck, we noticed a Noisy Friar Bird on the ground acting strangely. We usually see them feeding on nectar or insects in the trees, but this one was pecking and shaking at something. Closer investigation revealed it had a small snake, which it was softening by banging it on the ground like a Kookaburra does. We watched it for some time and when Kris went to take a photo it flew into the tree with the snake in its mouth and continued with its meal. None of our bird books make any mention of Friar Birds eating snakes or lizards.
Bazza and his mates drop in.
During the afternoon of Tuesday 9th November, some of the smaller birds (Yellow-faced honeyeaters and White-naped honeyeaters etc.) which frequent the garden and surrounds, were sounding upset. Rosellas, Pigeons and Peaceful doves, Scrub wrens and Blue wrens all appeared to panic and quickly disperse to shelter amongst the thick foliage.
On investigation I found a group of four Pacific Bazza (Crested Hawks) crashing about in the tree tops, foraging for insects.
These uncommon to scarce hawks are 38cm to 43cm in size easily distinguished by a small crest and bold dark bars across the chest.
Crested hawks, usually found in small flocks, hover around the tree canopies feeding on phasmids (stick insects). It is also reported in Slaters, “Field Guide to Australian Birds” that Crested Hawks also eat tree frogs and fruit such as native figs. They build a nest similar to a pigeon’s located in a leafy upright fork towards the top of a tree. Other birds are not smart enough to realize that these insect-eaters are not a threat. They merely see them as another bird-of-prey. Col Hockings.
Some more information can be found at //www.wiresnr.org/Pacificbaza.html together with some pictures.
Do we have a Powerful owl visiting at night?
For the last couple of nights we have been listening to a very deep and resonant double hoot coming from the tree tops. It is not a call with which we are familiar having previously heard and seen Boobooks, Barn and Barking owls and Tawny frogmouths around the garden.
Powerful Owls can be up to 55cm and larger for males so it would be wonderful to find its daytime roost to have a good look at him or her. They feed on small possums, rabbits and some birds which certainly are in plentiful supply around the garden. We shall keep looking into the tree- tops and keep an ear out for small birds that seem to have a knack for finding anything unusual in their territory!
There is a good web site here:- HERE which has a very good recording of its call; let us know if you hear one! Col Hockings
This is a stinkhorn fungus called Aseroe rubra. You can see that it is very attractive to flies that like decomposing material which are thus encouraged to take away spores and thus spread the fungus. When they first emerge the ‘petals’ of the fungus hav long extensions but, on this, they have shrivelled a bit.
Boronia September 14th 2010
I found this bush near the TV tower in the Passchendaele State Forest where I go regularly to collect insects. Subsequently I found that it was Boronia repanda; and have reported it to the Rare Wildflower consortium for their attention. In a subsequent visit I found just 6 specimens and a sweep of the surrounding area found no more.
White Hovea at Orana August 26th 2010
A few weeks ago when Kris was cutting wood up on our mountain, he came across several bushes of a white hovea, growing amongst the usual purple ones. It is a lovely, delicate flower with the keel being purple and the rest of the petals white. I have several cuttings in a pot and am hoping they all grow.