Not until the Commonwealth Railways were authorized by national parliament was there a start on the truly Australia-wide system which now exists.
Construction of the Trans Australian Railway was started in 1913 and was not completed until the third quarter of 1917, finally connecting the Eastern States with West Australia’s Government Rail at Kalgoorlie.
It took 70 years more to get the transcontinental connection of the Indian Pacific train as a single gauge trip across the country from Sydney to Perth.
On its journey it crosses a perfectly straight stretch of 500 km (297 miles) on the Nullabor plain.
Although this banner named train has an excellent usage it has been a financial loss for the government and in 1998 it was sold to a private operating consortium.
We’ve seen creative concepts from HemLoft, an egg-shaped tree house, to TreeHouse Point, a charming bed and breakfast nestled in the trees.
Another incredibly unique construction is this Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, developed by New Zealand based Pacific Environment Architects in collaboration with Yellow Pages.
Located north of Auckland, the unique concept is an eighteen seat cafe suspended around a large redwood tree and approximately 130 feet above the ground.
The entire structure spans more than 30 feet wide and almost 40 feet high, with kitchen and bathrooms located on the ground below.
Timber trusses form the main structure, the curved fins are glue-laminated pine, and redwood milled from the site are used in the walkway balustrading.
Plantation poplar slats wrap around the tree and create interesting textured spaces that allow natural light to radiate throughout the interior.
The circular concept is also designed to be weather resistant, with acrylic sheeting fixed to the roof and vertical roll-down blinds on the interior.
Visitors are welcome to come and venture high up in the trees to enjoy a delicious meal.
by Jennifer Porrett.
When I was 10 years old, we visited a small fishing village called Boscastle, that would later become ‘famous’ for the devastating floods of 2004.
At this time it was known only as a windy, quaint natural harbour on North Cornish coast, favoured by coach parties and walkers.
As it was October it was raining, so as we walked back into the village from the coast path and saw “Museum of Witchcraft” on the side of a house set into the Cliffside, Mum and I, being proud of our dubious Romany Gypsy heritage (my great Nan had ‘the sight’ apparently) were immediately keen to go in!
The museum is now, as of midnight on Halloween 2013, under the same ownership as the people who started the excellent Museum of British Folklore project.
Attitudes have changed too; at one time I was the only 5 star reviewer on Tripadvisor; in 2013 it received the Tripadvisor ‘Certificate of excellence’.
What is inside the Museum has also changed since our first visit 16 years ago (goodness I’m old).
Joan Wytte’s skeleton is no longer on display, being buried in the nearby woods just outside of the Minster Church – she was known as the Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin and died in Bodmin Gaol, incarcerated as a witch, in 1813.
The 2004 flood damaged many items, but it also allowed them to redesign the museum, open upstairs, and add numerous displays of artefacts there had not been room for before, including the slightly overwhelming ‘Richel collection’ of sex magic artefacts, and many recent ritual artefacts from covens around the country.
Richel collection © Jennifer Porrett
However The Museum of Witchcraft is not just about witchcraft, it’s a capsule of social history, a time when people would go to the local Wise Woman for a good luck charm for their new house, to heal their cattle or find out if their lover was faithful to them.
In some cases that time was not so long ago – people would visit Charlie Bennett in Local Tintagel to ‘charm away’ warts and ringworm well into the 1980’s.
I remember being surprised to see, pinned up on a beam, the same rhyme I said each night to wish on a star.
Read more via Historical Honey The Museum of Witchcraft » Historical Honey.
Sometimes, abandoned man-made structures turn into dangerous eyesores, rotting away slowly before returning to nature or being torn down.
But other times, like when abandoned ships are re-purposed as living reefs, or mines colonized by bats, abandoned structures take on a new semi-natural life all their own, like a crab who uses a jar for a shell.
Such is the case with the Newnes railroad tunnel.
The Newnes railroad was closed in 1932 after 25 years of shipping oil shale.
The rails were pulled out of the 600-meter tunnel, which had been bored through the sandstone in the Wollemi National Park, and the tunnel was left to its own devices.
For Newnes, that meant becoming home to thousands and thousands of glow worms.
The glow worm is a catch-all name for the bioluminescent larvae of various species, in this case the Arachnocampa richardsae, a type of fungus gnat.
Found in massive numbers in caves, the fungus gnat larvae cling to the rocky walls of the abandoned tunnel and hunt with long, glowing strings of sticky mucus.
To see the glowing gnats, enter the tunnel during daylight hours, and head to the middle – it gets dark in the middle where there is a bend in the tunnel – with a flashlight, so as not to bump into the walls.
Turn off the light and wait a minute or two. One by one, the gnats will begin to shine like stars emerging in the night.