‘Wild Things’ Kangaroo Island.


Fur seals on Kangaroo Island (Photo: Mitch Reardon)
The island also has a fascinating human history.
Evidence of stone tools and campsites indicate that Aboriginal people inhabited the Island as early as 16,000 years ago and as recently as 2,000 years ago.
Why the Aboriginal people abandoned Kangaroo Island, or when they last lived there, remains a mystery.
The first non-Aboriginal people to live on Kangaroo Island were sealers, escaped convicts and runaway sailors, seeking refuge in the early 1800s, and leading a self-sufficient life trading salt and skins for spirits and tobacco.
Surf fishermen on the beach at Hanson Bay, Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area, south coast of Kangaroo Island.
A month after Captain Flinders made the first recorded European sighting of the Island, the French ship, Le Geographe, under the command of Nicolas Baudin, also arrived.
Baudin mapped much of the rugged south and west coastlines and many of the features along the coastline still bear French names.
Reeves Point became the first formal settlement in South Australia in the mid-1800s.
Historic sites include the first European cemetery, post office, early houses, the original jetty remains, and an ancient mulberry tree that grew from a cutting brought out from England.
Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea semiplana tateana) and sugar gums (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) dot the landscape in this post-bushfire regrowth area near Western River, north central coast, Kangaroo Island.
Read more via Kangaroo Island: Where the wild things are – Australian Geographic.

Moonta, part of SA’s Little Cornwall.

flat,550x550,075,fOne of my favourite country towns in South Australia is Moonta which is situated on the Yorke Peninsula.
I guess it would be about 2-3 hours  from Adelaide by Road.
Copper ore was discovered  at Moonta in a wombat hole in the mid nineteenth century and so began 60 to 70 years of booming activity in the town.
Moonta became the 2nd largest town in South Australia after Adelaide.
Thousands of “Cousin Jacks” were brought from Cornwall to mine the Ore in and around Moonta.
They had a lot to put up with, disease, disasters and about 40 hotels in the town, some no more than a tent. But they did have a great sense of community.
They set up their various Guilds and Friendly Societies all designed for the betterment of the mine workers and their familes.
The genesis of the Labor Party in South Australia was driven by the Unions in Adelaide and the miners in Moonta.
However, in the 1920s the price of copper crashed  worldwide and the town of Moonta came crashing down as well.
The industrialists upped stumps tore down their infrastructure, sold off whatever they could as scrap and walked out of Moonta with no livelihood left for the thousands of Cornish miners who had left Britain for that new start in life in the Lucky Country.
But Moonta survived and is both a beautiful and interesting place to visit.
Pictured: One of the many memories of the old copper mining and smelting days of Australia’s Little Cornwall that surround the Moonta area in South Australia’s Copper Triangle.

Larry The Red Big Lobster, Kingston.

Australia has a long and storied history of over-sized monuments, and The Big Lobster in Kingston SE, known locally as “Larry”, is one of the most impressive.
Keeping watch over this small town in South Australia for over 35 years, Larry is a fiberglass-on-steel crustacean standing over 50 feet high and 50 feet long.
Paul Kelly, a designer from nearby Adelaide, devised the construction of Larry after a local fisherman suggested the idea in order to help promote the area and its seafood.
The giant lobster has changed hands a number of times since its construction in 1979, and the site currently features a restaurant, tourist center, playground, and a wine tasting area.
Unfortunately, the big guy is getting a little long in the tooth (do lobsters have teeth?) after almost four decades of service, and the town has embarked on a capital campaign to raise funds to restore Larry to his former bright red glory.
The Big Lobster is one of Australia’s largest kitsch monuments, and he may be a little shop worn, but they say lobsters can live to be a hundred years old.
With a little love, money and good will, Larry should  have years left in him.
A True Comment  from The Toff
When the crayfish originally arrived at Kingston the new owners who ordered it were totally astounded. Why? It was the overall size of the bloody thing.
The creators of Larry the Cray had made him in metric sizes when the original plan had said feet and inches
Source: Larry The Red Big Lobster – Kingston SE, Australia – Atlas Obscura

The Naracoorte Glacial Caves.

nara1-550x300Ms Macken studied two fossil sites – Wet Cave and Blanche Cave – located within South Australia’s Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area to determine the age of the deposits, thereby providing greater clarity on climatic changes and mammal communities in the region.
While the traditional method for dating archaeological and paleontological materials, known as radiocarbon dating, provided estimated age ranges for the two sites overall, Ms Macken said there were numerous information gaps on the age of the individual sedimentary layers.


“The caves are within 400 metres of each other and there was some pre-existing evidence that showed they were of similar age but the multiple layers within the sites were not well documented,” Ms Macken, based in the School of Biological Sciences, said.
“I took all the information that was available on both the age of the sites and the characteristics of the sedimentary layers and used a new statistical modelling technique – one that has never been applied to an Australian fossil site before – to make predictions on how old parts of the deposits were that we didn’t have dates for,” she said.
“For example, the modelling showed one layer in Wet Cave was 18,000 to 16,000 years old so I did the same test in Blanche Cave to see if any of its layers were the same age.”
Ms Macken said the overarching aim of her research was to understand if and how the community of small mammals living within the region of the caves changed through the last glacial cycle (50,000 to 10,000 years ago).
via Unearthing the history of the Naracoorte Caves | HeritageDaily

‘Bob the Railway Dog’ 1882-1895.

Bob the Railway Dog had an insatiable thirst for train travel – he was a dog for all Australians.
THIS SCRUFFY GERMAN COLLIE was born in 1882 with four seriously itchy paws.
At just nine months old, Bob left his home at the Macclesfield Hotel, South Australia, and began his canine career as a hitchhiker on railway locomotives – often taking himself on interstate trips and being welcomed everywhere by friendly train crews.
Peterborough History Group chair Heather Parker says Bob the Railway Dog, as he was later known, was adored throughout his home state and beyond. “He had a wonderful temperament and loved people, particularly the engine drivers,” she says.
“He’d start off going in one direction, he’d get off and think about it for a while – he could pick and choose where he wanted to go – and hop on another train. He liked Broken Hill and he had a friend down in Hindley Street, Adelaide, who used to give him food.”
Adelaide’s “The Advertiser” said in 1939 that, until his death at the distinguished age of 13, Bob traveled freely – “like politicians” – on the trains, suburban trams and even the Murray steamers.
He also attended official functions, The Advertiser reported.

Bob, the railway dog, (sitting on top of the driver’s car) of a stationary locomotive at Port Augusta Railway yard, circa 1887.
Railway staff stand in a group alongside the vehicle. (Photo courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.)
“He was a guest at the banquet for the opening of the railway from Peterborough to Broken Hill and appeared at the opening of the Hawkesbury Bridge in New South Wales.
Bob was happiest on a Yankee engine, said The Petersburg Times: “The big whistle and belching smokestack seem to have an irresistible attraction for him; He lives on the fat of the land, and he is not particular from whom he accepts his dinner.”
News of the traveling dog soon spread, even as far away as England.
In 1895, shortly before Bob died, an E. Cresswell, of Adelaide, wrote to an English magazine, The Spectator, to share Bob’s story.
“His name is Railway Bob and he passes his whole existence on the train – his favourite seat being on top of the coal box,” the author wrote. “He has travelled many thousands of miles, going all over the lines in South Australia.”

A Statue of Bob the Railway Dog in the Main Street of Peterborough, South Australia. (Photo credit: Sulzer55/wikimedia.org)
“The most curious part of his conduct is that he has no master, but every engine driver is his friend.
At night he follows home his engine man of the day never leaving him or letting him out of his sight until they are back on the Railway Station in the morning, where he starts off on another of his ceaseless journeys”.
Continue reading via Bob the railway dog: icon of Australian history – Australian Geographic