"In the beginning"

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A new home for holtieshouse.



Seems like ages since I have written anything on F/B (or the blog) and it certainly isn’t because nothing has been happening in my world… the very opposite in fact I have been on a whirlwind ride which was going much to fast for me to jump off.
In something like chronological order, since Christmas 2012 which I spent in Victoria with most of my family, the decision to move back to Victoria became a reality so some lifestyle investigations began, after much to-ing and fro-ing I decided to buy another house and live independently while I was still able to.
There was a pretty good range of homes available in my price range so I made an offer on one of them then headed for home to sell my Queensland house, Vicki rang me a couple of days later to tell me that the offer had been accepted so the game was on in earnest, I listed my house with a local agent and we agreed on a selling price, after one open house which was very well attended the agent rang me to say the house was sold… so in a two week period I bought and sold houses in two different states.
My dear sister passed away at the same time I was booked into hospital to have the reversal of my colonoscopy done, the surgery all went well and I have since received a clean bill of health report. 
Marcus and Alan came up for a week to organize a garage sale and pack up my stuff, as an added bonus the people who bought my house bought my furniture too so the move became much easier. Thanks to the boys efforts the garage sale was a success, we gave the surplus to charity and I set sail for my new home and life.
I am at this moment, 1.00pm Wed March 19th, sitting on my new front porch typing this post while I wait for my mew Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Bedroom Suite and Lounge Suite to be delivered, The carpets were all cleaned yesterday and my stuff from Gympie arrives tomorrow so I’ll probably move into my new home on the week end…. WooHoo.
Its now 10 pm and all the expected things have happened, so I’m off to bed… a big day unpacking tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Merle's Last Goodbye.


Merle's pride and joy, her four children, Julie, Geoff, John, Kathie.



Myself (Peter) and my sister Merle.

 
Merle in happier times, when she always wore that lovely smile.
 
 
Hello to all of Merle's friends, I'm afraid that I am the bearer of some very bad news, my dear sister Merle passed away today, (Saturday February 8th) quite suddenly but fortunately peacefully.
During my last conversation with her Merle told me that she had had enough and was just waiting to die, while this surprised me at the time I now see that having made peace with those of us she cared most about she simply shut down her resistance and allowed the inevitable to happen.
We are hoping for one last miracle, that is that her funeral can be arranged for Tuesday 11th February so that I can attend before my surgery booked for Thursday 13th February, to those who may not know about this, its the reversal of my colonoscopy after my encounter with bowel cancer last year.
To any of you who followed her blog and/or facebook please know that you enriched her life with the joy she got from her "internet friends" we had many discussions about how deeply we both felt about  those "friends" we had never met and in most cases never expected to meet.
The world is a much better place because Merle spent time in it, not enough time , but then I guess that always applies.
Thank you for the pleasure you gave to Merle.
Rest In Peace.

Peter.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Heading Home for a rest!!



Hello to Blogland, I hope that 2014 has been treating you well, my normally quiet lifestyle has been given a real workout since I arrived in Victoria just before Christmas.
A part of the reason for this trip, aside from spending Christmas with some of my family, was to investigate the housing alternatives available so that I won’t put my family through the same chaotic conditions that 2013 brought about should my health again pose a problem.
Christmas Dinner was at favourite daughter Vicki’s lovely new home near Geelong, it was historic in that Vicki and Marcus had both their parents with them for Christmas dinner, first time for about 7 years and only the second time in about 40 years, we also had lengthy phone calls with the boys from Perth, Alan and Bruce to complete what has been a great Christmas.
Two days after Christmas I got a morning call from Alan, oldest son, who asked if I could pick him up from the Geelong Railway Station, I assured him that I certainly could and inquired when?... well I’m here at the moment was the reply, we hastily went and picked him up only to learn that his plan had been to hire a car at the Melbourne airport and come and knock on the door at about 8.00am, there wasn’t a single hire car available at the airport or at Geelong when he arrived there, all this after a 20 minute phone call on Christmas morning when he gave no clue about his plan, which included a 3000 km red-eye flight across the country, had already been booked.
Some fairly extensive house hunting started in the new year, this included several alternatives at a retirement village near Vicki’s house, a more conventional Caravan Park in Geelong, I hastily add for American readers, this bears no resemblance to a “Trailer Park” as I understand them to be, as well as some conventional houses, one of which I submitted an offer on… not accepted but I have established that there is a fairly good supply of homes in a price range where I feel comfortable.
So I’m a man on a mission… to prepare for sale and sell my house in Gympie, get my surgery done and then MOVE interstate… not really looking forward to all that!!!!
My worst fears about moving back to Victoria were well founded during the first 2 weeks I had my mid winter uniform on, Jeans, Shirt and light weight jumper, and this was in mid summer!!!! This last week has been a real heat wave with temps. Of 38 to 45 degrees Celsius, approx. 98 /108 Fahrenheit.  
It was hot enough today to melt some fairly extensive sections of new bitumen on the motorway as I drove to Shepparton to visit again with my sister Merle, she is in the Shepparton Private Hospital waiting on a placement in respite at a nursing home, she has finally conceded that she is unable to look after herself at home so the move into respite will become permanent when a suitable room becomes available.
Merle has succumbed to Dementia over the last few months, its sad to see her repeating the same things over and over and with a fairly serious case of the “Oh Dears” which she prefaces almost everything with, “Oh Dear… I didn’t sleep well last night etc.”  
On a brighter note I stopped of at the pretty little town of Nagambie close to Shepparton, This is where the Champion Mare “Black Caviar” was bred, they are understandably proud of her and have erected a statue with details of her racing career on display, 25 straight victories before being retired to stud where she is now expecting her first foal.
Again, I wish you all the very best for 2014.
Peter.

   

  In her familiar "Racing Mode" she had a huge stride, much longer than normal which wasthe secret of her racing success. There is a lovely lake in the background of this shot which is a summer wonderland for the town and its visitors.


 Loved this vine clad "Water Tower" which supplies the towns water from the "Header Tank"


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A journey into the unknown.


 Hello in blogland, a land where I once used to live, I've moved to the inner city slum known as facebook along with many other ex residents of blogland, be all that as it may... some of you might be aware that for the last 20 some years I have been sending my Christmas greeting to my friends in the form of a poem, I have broken with tradition this year and decided to let any stalwart readers who might still exist also share in my wondrous journey through 2013.. Its long and boring so only venture further if you are made of stalwart stuff.
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Hey its getting to be a lot like Christmas... Poem time

 Roses are red
Violets are blue
If I write a poem
I'll send it to you.

 Nah

Twas the night before Christmas
As I toiled at the computer
But no the juices weren't flowing
For a poem this year I'll need a tutor.

 Nah

 As Christmas time draws near
I face my annual fear
My mind is blank as slime
This year ain't gonna rhyme.

 Nah... getting worse

 This year you get a letter, I'm already feeling better... stop it.

 Well friends what a year its been for this little black duck, I took a road trip to Victoria in January where I did all my normal visits with Friends and Family, both Marcus and Vicki are now living in the Geelong area now so, as will be explained later in this letter, there is some pressure being applied for me to once again take out residency status in Victoria.

As usual I had a great time during all of my visiting, the only blot on the copybook being my sister Merle's health, she had a couple of weeks in hospital then another 2 weeks in respite care which did her the world of good but then inevitably they sent her home again.

She has been coping reasonably but about 2 weeks ago she had a return trip to hospital and frankly I, and her family, hope she will go into a care situation from there as she has had some problems over the last few months, very stubborn and wants to finish her time in her own house, not the best for her family who are constantly on edge and wondering how she is going.

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 Enough of that lets get back to me, me, me, I learned that when you are sick and feeling down the whole world revolves around you (in your mind that is) having always enjoyed good health this was one of the many lessons I was to learn during the year, along with a whole new language with words I had never heard before, much less used, words like Colonoscopy, stoma's, chemotherapy, radiation, cat-scans and a host of others that either described what was going to happen to me. or the person who was to perform it, pretty scary stuff at times, because we live in the kind of world we do health providers are obliged to tell you of all the possible pit falls in what they are proposing to do to you usually ending with "and of course you might die", this got to be one of the highlights of my sessions with them.

Lets go back a bit, I arrived home from Victoria at the end of January and immediately slipped back into my reclusive pattern of life, that is until the  15th, 16th and 17th of February, over this period I had been becoming more and more uncomfortable with  as I first thought a severe case of constipation.

On the afternoon of Sunday 17th Feb I took myself up to the Emergency department of the Gympie Hospital where they fairly quickly established that there was a bowel blockage, the method of reaching this conclusion included some poking and prodding into areas that had up until now been private and un-prodded, the verdict was a transfer to Nambour Hospital for surgery.

The next few hours saw me with two more new experiences, my first ride in an Ambulance and my first admission into a hospital as a patient, my Sunday night was the first of a few that I would very much like to forget, because I was to have an emergency stomach operation they obviously gave me some sort of Super Laxative that, perhaps aided by the prodding, saw me up and making a dash for the toilet 10 times that night, I am ashamed to say half of these dashes were not quite swift enough, suffice to say a poor little nurse had several bed changes and clean ups to do, when I apologized for this she said "don't worry its all part of my job" I suggested that perhaps she had better look for another job.

Next day saw me into the operating theatre, another first, where they re-arranged my intestine to a stoma on my left side at about navel height.

Its at this point where the only real problem with my whole treatment comes  in, because this was an emergency operation I can only guess that I was given some pretty potent anesthetics, suffice to say I had some fairly nasty side effects which first of all had them re-sedate me and put

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me into ICU, the second bad experience was that for the next three nights I had
dreadful nightmares, I don't normally dream at all  and these were lulus.

By the time I was put into a ward Vicki and Marcus had arrived from Victoria and were able to go to the Gympie Hospital and rescue my car which had been sitting out the front for 3 days and nights... all good thankfully.

I spent 12 days in Hospital where they did all sorts of tests which ended with me being told I had bowel "cancer" again pretty scary stuff, because the 4inch wound in my abdomen had become infected I was fitted with a wound vacuum pump which aids the wound healing process, this little devil stayed with me for almost a month.

Vicki spent another couple of weeks with me before Alan arrived from Perth to give her a break for a week then she returned and was involved with the start of Chemo/Radiation for a 28 day course spread over about 40 days with no treatments on weekends and Easter Vicki was able to go home again while my good mate Warren came up to baby sit me before Bruce arrived from Perth for his turn at looking after Dad.

Vicki was back on deck again when Bruce left, this time for about 2 weeks then she was finally able to go back to living her own life for a while, during all this time with the 4 kids and Warren looking after me there were literally dozens of medical appointments as well as the housework, cooking etc. so just where I would have been without them all I don't know, there is a debt there that I will never be able to repay though and it ain't over yet.

Major surgery scheduled for June 13th Marcus was the first carer for 2 weeks then Alan for 1 week Warren again for a few days until the ever reliable Vicki returned for another couple of weeks.

During all of this time I managed to avoid all the nasty side affects of Chemo/Radiation and remained virtually pain free for the whole time, I did loose my appetite and consequently lost about 20 Kgs... no real bad thing!! but compared with what some people go through it was  a walk in the park.

The one remaining thing is the reversal of my stoma so that I can finally be rid of the colostomy bag and go back to sitting on a toilet seat again... who knew you could ever miss that???

I said earlier that I would return to the me, me, me situation, I have been surprised and more than a little ashamed of just what a self centered year I have had, people experienced in this sort of situation say its no

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 surprise when your life suffers a major upheaval that you tend to withdraw into yourself, in my case there was never any "Why Me" attitude and as I said I pretty much just went for my walk in the park.

The other thing that I said I would return to is the gentle pressure being applied to have me return to Victoria to live, having put all 4 of my kids through such a year I recognize the fact that it would be easier should this sort of situation ever arise again it wouldn't create the same problems if I was living where at least two of  them are, the jury is still out on that one.

I hope this hasn't been too boring or graphic but you can probably see why it couldn't come in the form of a poem.

To insert a touch of humor and lighten this up a bit, there was a male nurse on night duty who wore an L.E.D. headlight on his tours of the ward, in my mind he was Florence Nightingales brother Frank, you know the lady/guy with the lamp, I was disappointed to learn that his name was Rexie, the other thing that tickled my fancy was when Warren told his sister Denise that I was thinking about moving to Victoria she became indignant and said "he can't do that, he's your best mate, tell him he can't go... no bugger it let me know when he's coming down next and I'll tell him", I hardly know Denise!!!

Finally let me finish of with my eternal thanks to my four wonderful children, my mate Warren,  a special thank you to the daughter of two of my lifelong friends Neil and Joan, thanks Susan for helping out with transport for those who needed help, to my neighbors Diane and Brian for their support, to all of my friends who have helped keep my spirits up when they were sagging a little, to my friends from the internet world who have given their prayers and support I am forever in debt to all of you.

 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year, my love to you all.

 Peter,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Cattle King

I came across this quite large post in my archives and thought somebody out there might be interested in a slice of Australian history, so here it is.

Sidney Kidman

From a humble background as a stockman, Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) went on to own, control, or have a financial interest in more pastoral land than anyone else in modern history. He was known in Australia and throughout the world as "The Cattle King."
When Australia had few railways and fewer telegraphs and when there was no such thing as wireless, motor transport, or airplanes, Sidney Kidman started to build and steadily added to two big chains of stations that stretched almost the length and breadth of Australia. With the aid of his phenomenal memory and his intensive knowledge of the geography of the bush, plus a small army of dedicated men, Kidman controlled the movement of great herds of cattle hundreds of miles apart and sent stock from his semi-arid lands in an evenly flowing stream to markets. Kidman used more than 150 stations covering more than 160,000 square miles of country (an area larger than the state of California).
Kidman was born on May 9, 1857, in Adelaide, South Australia, the fifth son of George and Elizabeth Mary Kidman. His father died when he was 14 months old. In 1870, when Sidney was 13, he ran away from home to join his older brothers George, Frederick, Thomas, and Sackville, who were working as stockmen and drovers in the Barrier region of New South Wales (now Broken Hill). He was given a job with Harry Raines, a nomadic herdsman who squatted with cattle where he found good feed. Raines was forced to move on when Abe Wallace arrived to take up the land legally, and Kidman found a job at Mount Gipps station in the area as a stockhand at 10 shillings a week. When he asked for a raise in pay in 1873 he was fired. He later claimed it was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life because it forced him to become an independent operator. Kidman never worked for another boss again.
Taking on Many Businesses
In 1875 he set up as a butcher in the canvas town of Cobar, New South Wales, where copper had been found and made money selling meat to miners from his boughshed butcher's shop. Seeing the money that could be made from transport, he acquired drays to cart provisions (flour, tea, sugar, jam, and soap) to the miners. The drays were also used to cart copper ore to the river ports of Wilcannia and Bourke. When gold was found in the Mount Browne area of New South Wales in 1881, Kidman was again in early providing rations and transport for the miners. He set up the first ration store in Tibooburra.
In 1878 he inherited 400 pounds from his grandfather. He used it to increase his dealing and trading, especially with horses. For a while he had a partnership with Bill Emmett (also known as Hammett) in Wilcannia and made frequent trips to Adelaide buying and selling horses and droving cattle.
He seized every opportunity and tried to make it a profitable one. In 1884 he secured a one-fourteenth share in the Broken Hill Mining Company for 60 pounds, selling it soon after at a profit of 40 pounds. Had he held onto it, his profit would have extended to many millions of pounds.
In 1885 he married a schoolteacher, Isabel Brown Wright, at Kapunda, South Australia. They had six children—Gertie, Elma, Edna (Edith and Norman, who died in infancy), and Walter.
Kidman joined his brother Sackville in a butchering business partnership at Broken Hill to accommodate the miners; the business extended into coaching in the late 1880s when the Kidman brothers' coaching business became second only to that of Cobb and Co. The coaches ran throughout New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia, and also in Western Australia in the 1890s when another gold rush broke out.
Buying Land in the Bush
The 1890s was a time of major business recession, and many pastoral land holders were forced to give up their land. The Kidman brothers were in a sound financial position to buy up suitable large tracts of land on which they had had their eyes for some time. Their lust for land was not without purpose.
They sought no land near the coast or in the more reliable rainfall areas but the semi-arid lands of remote country. Sidney Kidman had realized that land where little or no rain fell could still be worked profitably where it incorporated rivers that rolled down from the north. After monsoon rains, the rivers burst their banks in south-western Queensland, providing untold miles of flood plain country which quickly responded with good fattening pasture for stock. He sought to buy such country and link it together in a vast chain of stations from the Gulf of Carpentaria south through western Queensland to Broken Hill and then into South Australia towards Adelaide. The chain would be watered by Cooper Creek and the Georgina and Diamantina rivers, which even when not in flood contained many good, permanent water holes. He also concentrated on a second chain of stations that ran from the Fitzroy River and Victoria River Downs in the Northern Territory to the Macdonnell Ranges, to the Oodnadatta area of South Australia, and down to the Flinders Ranges. The major chain was the north-south chain and the auxiliary chain, the central-South Australian chain. The aim of the strategy was to make the chains drought-proof or drought-resistant and to keep stock on the move where good feed prevailed and to stage them continually towards a market.
In 1895 the Kidmans bought their first station, Cowarie, in South Australia, and the following year, Owen Springs in the Northern Territory. Owen Springs was bought mainly for the 4,000 horses on the 600 square mile run that could be used for the coaching business. By 1899 the brothers had a further 14 stations amounting to some 11,000 square miles when Sackville died, and Sidney continued to buy up more solidly than ever. Victoria River Downs, some 12,500 square miles, was added, and when the turn of the century drought struck with great severity Kidman sustained stock losses of between 500,000 pounds and 700,000 pounds because his chains were still in fledgling formation.
In 1900 Kidman started his horse sales at Kapunda, South Australia, where as many as 2,000 horses from his stations were sold annually until 1935. The annual sales often went on for a fortnight and were said to be the biggest held in the world. By 1908, when Kidman made his first visit to England, he had 50,000 square miles of country and was acknowledged as the largest land holder in the British Empire; the United States could produce no one to trump him and called him the biggest pastoral landholder in the world.
In World War I his name became a by-word for generosity as he gave fighter planes, ambulances, shipments of beef and wool, and horses to be used in the Middle East to the war effort. He gave at a time when he was financially stressed by another drought and his stock losses amounted to more than 1 million pounds from his now much-strengthened chains, which stood at more than 100,000 square miles. He was knighted in 1921 for his war-time efforts.
The Man and His Legacy
He continued to buy up land in the 1920s, holding about 130,000 square miles of country in four states and the Northern Territory at the time of his retirement in 1927 when other members of his family assumed control of the day-to-day running of the business. He was again hit badly by the 1926-1930 drought, when his losses tallied 1.5 million pounds.
In 1932 when he turned 75 he was given a "public" birthday party by his station managers and stockmen in the form of a rodeo put on in Adelaide. Some 50,000 people broke down walls and fences to gain entry, and the party made headlines around Australia and overseas. When he died on September 1, 1935, at the age of 78, his death drew wide coverage throughout the world; he was the best known Australian internationally at the time.
He surprised people by leaving so little money—only 300,000 pounds, mainly to his family, but with generous bequests to charities. In order to avoid both state and federal income tax and state and federal death duties, his empire had been restructured in the 1920s to escape the clutches of the tax man.
He was a controversial figure in his day. Many people resented the fact that he had climbed to success on the financial misfortunes of others and condemned him for holding so much land. He was also accused of either "abusing" his land or of not improving it with fences and additional water, and he faced several commissions of inquiry to give evidence into matters relating to beef and land monopolies and pastoral mismanagement. He always emerged unscathed, in part because of his constant claim that he would sell off or hand back any of his land to anyone or any government who would either take it on or do a better job.
Much of the condemnation that came his way resulted from pure jealousy. The men who worked for him—and there were hundreds of them—regarded him with a mysterious and even savage loyalty. His managers, stockmen, and drovers were men of superior calibre—they were the experts of the day, and one of the reasons for his great pastoral success was his ability to select and retain men who were top notch in their field.
One of his earliest friends as a 14-year-old boy was an aboriginal, Billy, during the time he spent with the nomad herdsman Harry Raines. They worked together, and Billy was instrumental in teaching Kidman the bush knowledge that gave him an edge on many others of his time. Kidman admired the aboriginals who lived and worked on his stations and always saw that they were well-treated.
He did not live on any of his outback holdings, but at first at Kapunda and then at Unley Park, Adelaide. However, he made frequent inspections of his places—first on horseback, then by buggy with his wife at his side, and later by motor car—to see how his chain strategy was working. He considered visits a "must" during drought times. His men—and the aboriginals—were always pleased to see him. The aboriginals called him "Big fella Kidman, King of all Adelaide." They often insisted they would make rain for him if he gave them "wheelbarrows" (buggies), trousers, shirts, blankets, tobacco, jam, and other goods for their special efforts. Kidman was always happy to oblige.
A bitter family split and the refusal by Kidman to allow the New South Wales Western Lands' Commission to take back portions of his holdings in western New South Wales for soldier settlement led to the disintegration of his vast empire soon after his death. The Western Lands' Commission did resume many holdings as the leases expired and cut them into smaller places. It did not prove to be a wise move, since many smaller places overstocked to make money and were reduced to dustbowls.
Kidman's interests after his death were managed by his son, Walter, until his death in 1970 and then by Kidman's grandson, John Ayers, Sr., until his death in 1981. They were later managed by his great-grandson, John Ayers, Jr., and even today they are not inconsiderable—amounting to more than 45,000 square miles, about one-third of what Kidman once owned.

Kidman station fetches $7.5m

ADELAIDE-based cattle company S. Kidman & Co announced the $7.5 million sale of its smallest property, Sandringham station, in the Channel Country north of Birdsville.
The sale ends the Kidman family's 105 year ownership of Sandringham since it was bought by founder, the late Cattle King, Sir Sidney Kidman.
Kidman chief executive Greg Campbell said the cost-price squeeze had forced it to look at economies of scale and sell Sandringham.
The 4420 sq km station was sold to Mick and Marie Gibson from Gibson Grazing, owners of Bulloo Downs on the Bulloo River, near Thargomindah.
Sandringham was sold without stock and its 6000 cattle would be transferred to other company properties.
"We've had it on the market for two weeks and we're reasonably happy to sell it for that price in such a short time,'' Mr Campbell said.
"Sandringham has received substantial benefits this year from one of the best floods in the Georgina Channel for 10 years.''

Many of the properties in the Channel Country are owned by companies. The famed pastoralist, Sidney Kidman, understood well the highly variable rainfall of the arid inland. He bought a spread of properties, enabling him to move cattle from dry areas to properties in wetter places.
Today S. Kidman and Co has 14 properties, with three in the Channel Country. Pastoral manager Paul Quigley says the past 18 months to two years have been dry. He says two of their properties, Glengyle and Sandringham, "were suffering quite badly. We were on the verge of destocking Sandringham. Numbers had been reduced in accordance with the feed situation."

Anna Creek Station.

RANDALL Crozier stands in the barren cattle paddock, frowning at the drought-bleached desert sand.
"Hard to imagine isn't it? This was all under water in 2004," he says. "The creek was 300 metres wide."
The local Aboriginal name for the area is Wadiwarriganna, meaning "slowly moving water". Today, cattle bones lie among the dust.
Crozier, 51, is manager of the world's largest cattle station, Anna Creek in South Australia, but soon he will have no cattle to run on it.
A few days ago, his stockmen mustered the last hungry cows from the 3000sqkm paddock behind where he is standing. Soon they and every other animal on the property will be sold and the station left to stand empty until it rains. "The world's a changing place," Crozier says. "The run of it here used to be that one year in every three you got a bit of a dry time, a tough year -- lately it's been a little continuous."

Despite its size -- at 24,000sqkm, Anna Creek is bigger than Israel and uses its own road-train to shuttle herds between paddocks -- the station provides a microcosm of the trials of rural Australia today.
The station is one among an empire of pastoral properties collected by the late Sidney Kidman that the "Cattle King" believed could withstand any drought. But the past few years, which the Bureau of Meteorology describes as the worst since the Federation Drought more than a century ago, have savaged even Kidman's realm.
As the vegetation failed at Anna Creek, Crozier began to send his livestock away, trucking those he could to other Kidman properties although most were sold. A few years ago there were more than 18,000 Santa Gertruda cattle; today there are about 1500, with the last expected to be gone next month.
The station's human population followed. Once there were more than 20 stockmen; today there are just two and they will leave within weeks. When they go, only Crozier, his head stockman and the station cook will remain, waiting for rain.
"There's never been a drought in history that hasn't broken," he says.
Greg Campbell, managing director of the firm Kidman founded, Kidman & Co, says the company understands that drought is inevitable.
The company's Macumba station, north of Anna Creek, has been de-stocked this year. At Helen Springs, in the Northern Territory, the wet season failed, forcing the company to truck 36,000 cattle off the station.
It is the combination of drought and rising wheat and fuel prices that has hit hardest, Campbell says. Two West Australian Kidman properties, Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek, have been put up for auction, but attracted no bids.
It is getting harder to find people to take what jobs remain. There are vacancies at almost every Kidman property. This is partly because of the higher wages in mining. and also because inland Australia is becoming a tougher place to live.
An average of more than five farming families walked off the land every day in the five years before the 2006 census, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Have you ever had "one of those weeks"???

Here is a description of my last medical adventure for anyone that might be interseted, and no there are no photos to go with it breathe easy!!!!



Have you ever had "one of those weeks"???

On Thursday 17th I had a 10am  appointment to book into Nambour General Hospital for prep treatment for a colonoscopy.
For once in my life I decided that today I would get a 6am start and have an organized day, the best laid plans......, Showered, dressed, packed, no breakfast because of the dreaded "Prep" treatment, I had arranged to drop my computer into its second home, the computer repair shop, at 8.30am so all was ready and done by 8.15am I had achieved the impossible... an early start instead of a rushed panic.
The leisurely drive to Nambour was just that, leisurely,  I got to Reed House, an accommodation facility run by the Red Cross where I had arranged to leave my car and then stay overnight on Friday while the effects of my anesthetic wore off, all this was done and I was in the designated area of the hospital by 9.45am!!!!!!  
I was directed to take a seat in chair 10 while they found my records.... this took an hour or so, but who cares I'm early, about an hour later a doctor arrived and I went to an examination room where we chatted for a while, he left to get some information, a little later an orderly came and put me into a wheelchair, we almost got out the door but were stopped by the doctor who said I had to wait in the waiting lounge........
Chair 10 was no longer available, there were only 3 numbered chairs 10, 11, 12, who knows what happened to the first 9 ???? there were some unnumbered chairs at the other end of the room so I took one of them and there I stagnated for another 3 hours, I heard my name mentioned at least a dozen times during this time so this group clearly wanted to get rid of me but were having trouble finding someone who wanted to take me.
Eventually  a stoma nurse, whom I knew and trusted, arrived to explain the day from hell, The plan was to get me into a ward where they would do a "stoma flush" this takes about 2 hours and was the reason for the early start and the overnight stay in hospital..... as it was now about 3.30pm it was too late to start now as all the stoma nurses knocked of at 5.00pm.....
At about 5.00pm an orderly arrived and took me to a 2nd floor ward where I was welcomed and settled in, unpacked my overnight bag and waited for the "Prep" to begin, at 5.30pm an orderly arrived to take me to ward 1b... so I clearly wasn't wanted here either.
Ward 1b was my old stomping ground so I wasn't too upset to be back here, I had been on the go since 6am, sitting around in various uncomfortable chairs all day and hadn't had the treatment I'd come in for... Not Happy Jane!!!
To make matters worse I'd missed out on Dinner by a matter of minutes, mind you "clear fluids" only doesn't get very exciting, finally the "Prep" mixture arrived 2 litres tonight and another litre in the morning, Oh the joy of it all, without getting to far into the details, because I have a stoma with a colostomy bag the output from the "Prep" goes through the bag so they put one with a drain to a large bag below it, this meant I didn't have to get up for the usual dashes to the toilet, this is the first plus in a day of minus'.
Two different nurses tried unsuccessfully 4 times (2 tries each) to get a needle into my hand/arm for a canula to administer the anesthetic, so that's a job for the doctor tomorrow.
There is a male nurse on night duty who wears an LED headlight while making rounds after lights out, in my mind he is Florence Nightingales brother Frank, you know, the guy with the lamp, I was disappointed to learn that his name is Rex oh well you can't win 'em all.
Another litre of "Prep" mixture, with not much result, they could have spared me that joy, my colonoscopy procedure began at 2.00pm with the anesthetist insert the canula needle almost painlessly, about now I drifted off into  noddy land while they did what they had to do.
Later in the recovery room I awakened to find I had no pain or discomfort so I was allowed to leave at about 6.00pm for my overnight stay at Reed House, this proved to be a night best forgotten... I emptied 4 bags full (approx 1 litre) of what appeared to be just blood, lets face it there wasn't anything else left in my insides.
So back to the hospital emergency ward I toddled next morning, as a patient  from yesterday I got good treatment and was sent back to good old ward 1b after a couple of hours.
The blood loss, which was from 5 or 6 polyps that had been removed for analysis during the procedure, had stopped but my blood count was down quite low so I had a blood transfusion to help bolster it up.
After more blood tests and as there was no longer any bleeding I was put back on a light diet for Sunday nights dinner, remember my last meal was on Wednesday night, so that was GOOD news.
I was finally discharged at midday on Monday 21st, so I'm home again and settled back into my routine and feeling good, I got a letter making an interview appointment with my surgeon on November 21st so i'm guessing that everything was clear or there would probably have been a bit quicker response triggered ???? I'll find out more about the stoma reversal then I hope.
If I knew a screen printer I would have a T Shirt printed with...

"WHAT A F#####G WEEK" on it.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Two Weekends of Football



I have been trying to decide how to write this post for a couple of days now to no avail, so it looks like I'll just have to jump in and flounder about hoping not to drown.
I spent a fair amount of the last two weekends watching football on the telly, on weekend 1 it was the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final, at this point its probably fair to say that I grew up with and love AFL, on weekend two I watched the NRL (National Rugby League) grand final, the non use of capital letters here for grand final was accidental but it does sum up to some degree my feelings about the day.
The pre game entertainment lulled me of to sleep, I was sorry to miss Jessica  Mauboy as I quite like her, the headline act was Ricky Martin about whom I have no real feelings, I believe from comments made after the match that the crowd booed him after his performance, I can't substantiate this however as I slept through it only to wake up just before the main event to find that my TV had also got bored and turned itself off too... true!!!
The big game finally got underway and despite the very enthusiastic commentary I was immediately reminded of the two things I find unappealing about NRL, first is the sheer brutality of the game and second is the constant stop start manner the game is played, after each admittedly brief stoppage the players advance somewhere between nil and say 5 metres, sure at some stage there can be an exciting Try scored, in this game there were two such Brilliant and exciting Tries scored that even had skeptical me cheering them on.
Another annoying thing to a casual watcher like me is the commentary teams use of dual names, each club in the NRL has a real name and a nickname, in this case The Sydney "Roosters" and The Manly Warringah "Sea Eagles", stay with me here, the commentaters used any combination of Sydney, Manly, Roosters, (even sometimes Chooks), Sea eagles (or Eagles) to describe the play that was occurring, my head was spinning by the finish as to who was winning and even who I was supporting!!!!!!!! Sydney were the eventual winners 26 to 18. (I'm fairly sure I was barracking for them).
Are you getting the opinion yet that I found weekend 2 less than satisfying?
Weekend 1 on the other hand was a well presented whole days program that kept me interested all through, the game itself played between Hawthorn (Hawks), and Fremantle (Dockers or sometimes just Freo) yeah they have multiple names too but as a general rule only one gets used, back to the game, it was a very lame Game by AFL standards for the first half but the 2nd half fired up to become a good and close game.
As with all AFL games the pace was at times frenetic, there was the usual number of spectacular marks, brilliant runs and kicks with pretty much no stoppages, Hawthorn were the eventual  Premiers with a 15 point win (77 to 62) and my thoughts.... A good days entertainment.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MSC conversion

 A base for the bed is under way, while the MSC waits in anticipation.
 The photos that follow are to show the progress on the conversion of the Maffia Staff Car (MSC) from an 8 seater People Mover to a 3 seater Camper.

 From the RHS, the 3rd seat, Fridge, Bed Frame all in place.

 From the rear, The bed frame in place

 From the LHS, Portable Refrigerator/Freezer (Fridge), Bed Frame and 3rd seat.

 Bed base and bedding in place.

 From the rear, bed complete, now working on the storage section below bed.

More bits and pieces to be organized in storage area, we're gettin' there slowly but surely, only thing that isn't quite as planned... the metal bed frame could have been a few inches shorter, the base would have just overlapped as it does on the LHS, then the fridge would have fitted the other way round for easier access but it works fine this way.
I'm starting to get keen to try it out but until my medical procedures are done I'll probably just dream about it.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Australian Overland Telegraph Line

 I haven't done a "normal" post for so long... I thought I'd try one!!!



The Australian Overland Telegraph Line was a 3200 km telegraph line that connected Darwin with Port Augusta in South Australia. Completed in 1872 the Overland Telegraph Line allowed fast communication between Australia and the rest of the world. An additional section was added in 1877 with the completion of the Western Australian section of the line. It was one of the great engineering feats of 19th century Australia[1] and probably the most significant milestone in Australia's telegraphic history.[2]
 

 The Overland Telegraph Station at Alice Springs NT, this is very close to the centre of Australia so it was a very important link when it came to connecting Australia to the rest of the world.






 The Eucla Telegraph Station in WA has not fared well, it is being engulfed by the sand dunes and will in time probably be buried completely



The (subsequent) Adelaide-Darwin railway follows the route of the Telegraph Line, using the easternmost (yellow) path. The railway was finished as far as Alice Springs on 6 August 1929, and as far as Darwin in 2003.


There endeth the Australian History lesson for today.


Monday, September 02, 2013

Transforming the Maffia Staff Car

Work has begun on the Mafia Staff Car conversion to an o/night camper conversion, it is now a 3 seater people mover instead of an 8 seater, it probably weighs a LOT less at the moment too as the row of 3 seats came in at an estimated (by Bruce and myself) 1/2 a ton and the 2 seats not far behind that, suffice to say they were bloody heavy



There is now a cavernous space on the left hand side for a bed and a 40 litre portable fridge,
this leaves access to the rear between the two sets up front and one set behind the driver, I would have liked to have left the 2 seat unit in but it would have cut of that access so we decided against it.
Along the other side there will be room for all the other STUFF that our modern world demands we take with us... clothes, computer, cooking gear, chair, solar panel, if I decide to go that way, and of course there will be storage under the bed as well.
All in all its shaping up pretty much as I hoped it would.

This is my willing helper, youngest son Bruce, I posed him on the rear steps to highlight the painting efforts of my oldest son Alan, I'm certainly getting a dividend return from them this year and the same can be said for Vicki and Marcus too I don't know what the outcome of the last 7 months would have been without them... huge THANKS TO YOU ALL, including all the other friends and relatives who have been so supportive