Monday, June 18, 2018

Thought for the Day

Silo Art Trail


From the website for the Silo Art Trail at: 
The Silo Art Trail is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. The trail stretches over 200 kilometres, linking Brim with neighbouring towns Lascelles, Patchewollock, Rosebery, Rupanyup and Sheep Hills.

Providing an insight into the true spirit of the Wimmera Mallee, the trail recognises and celebrates the region’s people through a series of large-scale mural portraits painted onto grain silos, many of which date back to the 1930s.

The project saw a team of renowned artists from Australia and across the world visit the region, meet the locals and transform each grain silo into an epic work of art; each one telling a unique story about the host town.

The Silo Art Trail was conceived in 2016 after the success of the first silo artwork in Brim. What started as a small community project by the Brim Active Community Group, GrainCorp, Juddy Roller and artist, Guido van Helten resulted in widespread international media attention and an influx of visitors to the region and the idea for a trail was born. 

The Silo Art Trail was created as a partnership between Yarriambiack Shire Council, international street art agency Juddy Roller, Victorian Government, Australian Government and GrainCorp, who donated the silos as canvases for the artists’ work.


Brim Silos: 

Located in the small rural town of Brim located on bthe Henty Highway, Guido van Helten’s famous ‘Farmer Quartet’ mural stretches out across all four of the Brim silos. It was painted in 2015 as a tribute to the drought-stricken farming community. Created in van Helten’s famous monochromatic photo-realistic style, the mural instantly became a regional landmark and provided the inspiration for The Silo Art Trail project. 

Sheep Hills Silos: 

Completed in December 2016 by internationally renowned artist Adnate, famous for his work with Aboriginal communities across Australia, the mural is spread across all six silos. It consists of four indigenous faces watching over the tiny community of Sheep Hills; with a starry background that has a symbolic significance to the local people. 

Rupanyup Silos: 

The monochrome mural created by Russian artist Julia Volchkova on the huge metal grain storage bins at Rupanyup was inspired by the local Rupanyup Panthers Football & Netball Club. Known the world over for her moving portraits, Volchkova is actively involved in the global street art movement, and her work can be found in Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia and now Australia. 

The giant silver-painted steel bin grain silos feature two local residents, both members of the local Rupanyup Football and Netball Club. Jordan Weidemann, a 16-year-old football player, was at training one night "kicking around with the boys" when he was selected by the artist. The student said although some people joked that he was the "face of the silo", his family and friends were very pleased, especially his nanna. "She is loving it, which is good," Jordan said. The other face is of 25-year-old naturopath Ebony Baker, who was selected as she was about to jump onto the netball court during training. With a long family history in the farming area, she said she was extremely proud to represent her community. 

Patchewollock Silos: 

The mural on the silos at Patchewollock – population 250 – and marvel at the work of Brisbane-based street artist Fintan Magee, sometimes referred to as ‘Australia’s Banksy’. Painted over a couple of weeks in October 2016, the giant mural depicts local sheep and grain farmer, Nick ‘Noodle’ Hulland, chosen for his ‘classic farmer looks’ and his strong connection to the farming community. 


The tiny town of Lascelles in the Silo Art Trail displays the artwork of celebrated Melbourne artist Tyrone 'Rone' Wright. Rone turns his intimate portraiture to giant grain silos, depicting local wheat farmers Geoff and Merrilyn Horman looking out over the rural landscape. An influential figure in the Melbourne street art scene, Rone has works in major Australian galleries and murals in cities all over the world. 


Before commencing work in Rosebery, Melbourne artist, Kaff-eine spent time in the Mallee assisting fellow artist Rone on his Lascelles silo project. During this time, Kaff-eine travelled to neighbouring towns, discovering the natural environment and acquainting herself with local business owners, families, farmers and children – all with the view to developing a concept for these GrainCorp silos which date back to 1939. 

Completed in late 2017, Kaff-eine’s artwork depicts themes that she says embody the region’s past, present and future. 

The silo on the left captures the grit, tenacity and character of the region’s young female farmers, who regularly face drought, fires and other hardships living and working in the Mallee. In her work shirt, jeans and turned-down cowboy boots, the strong young female sheep farmer symbolises the future. 

The silo on the right portrays a quiet moment between dear friends. The contemporary horseman appears in Akubra hat, Bogs boots and oilskin vest – common attire for Mallee farmers. Both man and horse are relaxed and facing downward, indicating their mutual trust, love and genuine connection. 


The new 30-metre high artwork at Kimba in South Australia was done by Melbourne artist Cam Scale and features a colourful depiction of a Kimba sunset, its wheat fields and a young girl. 

Coonalpyn Silos: 

Not part of the Silo Art Trail but worth looking at anyway.

Australia's largest and arguably most complex mural has recently been finished by artist Guido van Helten at Coonalpyn in South Australia, who painted five Coonalpyn Primary School children. "In a lot of small towns, people really want to focus on the past and history of the town or the industry," van Helten said. "All those themes I really wanted to avoid." He said the children represented the future of the town, and he hoped the giant art work might inspire those children and others "to a path through creative industries". It was the first time he had painted on silos that were still operable. 

An increased number of the cars passing through the are town stopping and spending their money there. "The stopping rate is 40 per hour and we're getting lots of great feedback from the businesses because everyone is benefitting," Ms Traeger, the project manager, said. In a main street peppered with closed shops, two new businesses have opened on the back of the increased trade — a cafe and a grocery store. National company Oliver's Real Food is scheduled to open a store in August.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thought for the Day

Smithsonian Snippets


Siome items from recent editions of the Smithsonian online magazine . . .

Prehistoric DNA?

A day before the release of Steven Speilberg’s Jurassic Park, the prestigious science journal Nature published a breathtaking new discovery:  short fragmentary strands of DNA recovered from an engorged weevil which became trapped in resin 130 million years ago.  Those who have seen Jurassic Park will realise that storyline mirrors that discovery, that dinosaur DNA is extracted from mosquitos trapped in amber and used to recreate dinosaurs in the modern day.

Around 130 million years ago, a weevil gorged itself on wood pulp and died a sticky death in the relentless grasp of slow-moving resin. That weevil lived alongside the dinosaurs; its death may even have occurred in the presence of brachiosaurus, which once ambled around the same forestland. But what mattered most to researchers who found it in the present day were the short, fragmentary strands of DNA they had managed to extract from the insect. This was, they believed, the oldest DNA ever recovered.  It is unknown whether the release date of both being so proximate is coincidental or be design, although I suspect the latter.

The film was based on Michael Crichton’s book Jurassic Park, with his book being based on scientific research already being carried out, including a 1982 study by entomologist George Poinar, Jr. and colleagues.

Subsequently scientists began to postulate that DNA could not be so retrieved and that the supposed weevil DNA was actually fungal contamination.  In 2012 researchers calculated DNA has a half-life of 521 years. That means all the DNA would be destroyed within 6.8 million years, if not much earlier. Hence it may not be possible to resurrect dinosaurs but seeing woolly mammoths again may happen (as may the resurrection of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, which scientists are seeking to recreate via DNA from stuffed specimens).


The UK’s Hedgehogs (and Other Mammals) Are In Danger:

Damian Carrington at The Guardian reports that in the last 20 years, hedgehog numbers have dropped an astonishing 66 percent. And they’re not alone. About 20 percent of British mammals are at a high risk of disappearance or extinction and others have experienced large population drops.

There are several drivers for the mammal declines. The introduction of invasive species that outcompete or spread disease to native animals is a big problem. Road deaths also take a toll as does pesticide use. According to previous studies, hedgehogs are suffering because people in urban and suburban areas keep their lawns and gardens too tidy—the animals need overgrown bushes, leaf litter and other habitat to survive. In rural areas, increased use of pesticides is killing off the insects the hedgies nibble on. “We are concerned about the lack of food in sterile fields where lots of pesticides and chemicals are used – there are also larger scale farms so there are less hedgerows for hedgehogs to use,” Fay Vass, head of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, tells Josh Gabbatiss at The Independent.

There are some bright spots in the study. The population of animals like polecats, pine martens and badgers have sprung back, now that they are no longer widely trapped or killed for being pests. And the good news is that globally, many of these species are doing just fine. But of course the UK is not the only place with tidy lawns in urban areas and pesticides in rural areas, so some of the species may be suffering elsewhere in their ranges as well.


Diurnal animals changing to nocturnal:

According to recent reports and studies, some animals that are usually daytime animals have adapted their behaviour to become night time foragers to avoid people. By staying up late, they  avoid being chased down, harassed or killed, plus they sue the cover of night to raid crops and prey on livestock.  This behaviour has been seen in grizzly bears in Canada,  leopards and tigers in Nepal, antelopes in Africa, sun bears in Sumatra, leopards in Gabon and wild boars in Poland.  According to those who have conducted studies, even apex predators that typically don’t have to fear anything were showing a strong avoidance of people.  These changes can cascade through an ecosystem. Since animals which have evolved to hunt in the daytime may see diminishing returns when the lights are out, shifting their schedules can result in reduced fitness, reproduction levels and even survival rates. This showed researchers was that our presence can have an effect on wildlife, even if it is not immediately quantifiable.


$2 Million in World War II-Era Cash Found Under Floor of Churchill’s Tailor:

In May 2018 shopfitter Russ Davis, working on renovations at the Brighton location of recreational retailer Cotswold Outdoor when he chanced upon bundles of  £1 and £5 notes carefully stashed underneath layers of rotting carpet, tiles and floorboards.  The shade of blue of the notes indicated they had been issued by the Bank of England as emergency currency during World War II.  The collection of 30 bundles of £1 and £5 notes had a face value of about £30,000—or £1.5 million (around $2 million) in today’s currency. 

Whilst police investigate as to who the owner might be, given that the property housed a Bradleys Gowns store between 1936 and 1973, the prime candidate is Howard Bradley, last living heir to the family’s London-based furrier and couturier business. Today, all that remains of Bradleys Gowns is a specialist dry cleaners run by Bradley in Milton Keynes. Local Brighton outlet the Argus notes, however, that during the company’s heyday, its clientele included the Royal Family, Winston and Clementine Churchill, and starlet Brigitte Bardot.

It is believed that the stash was a war time precaution but there is no indication why the money was not retrieved at war’s end. 

It has been confirmed that the money can be exchanged at the Bank of England for full market value.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Quote for the Day

"A prayer's as good as bayonet on a day like this."

- Colour Sergeant Bourne, Zulu

Photograph of Frank Bourne taken c.1905

Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Edward Bourne OBE DCM (1854 – 1945) was a decorated British soldier who participated in the defence of Rorke's Drift during the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. He was the last known survivor of the battle.  Bourne enlisted in the Army in1872, aged 18 years 8 months.  Four years later he had been promoted to colour sergeant, becoming the youngest NCO of this rank in the entire British Army. This earned him the nickname 'The Kid'.

On 22 and 23 January 1879, Bourne was part of the garrison at Rorke's Drift, Natal, South Africa, which held off a Zulu army.

After Rorke's Drift, Frank Bourne served in British India and Burma, being promoted to Quartermaster-Sergeant in 1884.   He was commissioned in 1890. In 1893 he was appointed adjutant of the School of Musketry at Hythe, Kent, retiring from the army in 1907. During World War I, he rejoined and served as adjutant of the School of Musketry in Dublin. At the end of the war, he was given the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel and appointed OBE.

Bourne lived in retirement in Kent and was the last surviving defender from Rorke's Drift, dying on VE Day (8 May 1945), at the age of 91.

Sydney Suburbs, continued: Bow Bowing, Box Hill, Bradbury, Brighton Le Sands

55 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD in the local government area of the City of Campbelltown
Name Origin:
The suburb Bow Bowing draws its name from a local creek. The creek's name is probably of aboriginal origin since it was originally spelt Boro Borang and later corrupted. The name Bow Bowing was only chosen for the suburb in 1975 and for more than one hundred years prior to that it was known as Saggart's Field after a local family. A school built in 1866 was named Saggart Field School although it was renamed Minto Public School in 1884
·       The land in the area was purchased by the Housing Commission in 1976 with the intention of building over one thousand homes in the relatively small area of the new suburb. Local concerns, particularly over other Housing Commission developments in the area, forced the original plan to be shelved. The land was subsequently sold to private developers who built 350 homes in the area. The development was officially opened in 1990.
·       According to the 2011 census, there were 1,583 residents in Bow Bowing. In Bow Bowing, 63.9% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were Philippines 6.1%, Fiji 3.9%, India 2.9%, New Zealand 2.8% and England 2.2%.


Aerial view of Bow Bowing

42 kilometres north-west of the Sydney CBD in the local government area of The Hills Shire and part of the Hills District region.
Name Origin:
This area takes its name from either a stand of box trees that were once in the area or the fact that in the 19th century there were hunting boxes built on the tops of hills in this area. City people used to come to their country hunting boxes for a few days hunting and, perched on a hill, could aim at targets quite easily. One building has survived: 'The Hunting Lodge, Box Hill' thought to have been built by S.H. Terry on Governor Bligh's 'Copenhagen Farm'.
·       Box Hill is a rural area on the outskirts of Sydney.


Box Hill
Box Wood plantation in Box Hill

54 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD, in the local government area of the City of Campbelltown and is part of the Macarthur region.
Name Origin:
Bradbury was previously known as Sherwood Hills and is one of the more established suburbs of Campbelltown, with large-scale residential development beginning in the 1960s. It was named after William Bradbury, a local innkeeper in the 1820s and 30s. The area surrounding Manooka Reserve (beside The Parkway) was originally called Manooka Estate, but became part of Bradbury in the 1970s.
·       Bradbury is said to be the location where Fisher's ghost (Frederick Fisher) appeared on a bridge post, to indicate where his body lay.
·       The name of the creek that runs through the suburb is called Fishers Ghost Creek.
·       On 17 June 1826 an English-born Australian farmer from Campbelltown named Frederick Fisher (born 28 August 1792 in London) suddenly disappeared. His friend and neighbour George Worrall claimed that Fisher had returned to England, and that before departing had given him power of attorney over his property and general affairs. Later, Worrall claimed that Fisher had written to him to advise that he was not intending to return to Australia, and giving his farm to Worrall.
Four months after Fisher's disappearance a respectable local man named John Farley, ran into the local hotel in a very agitated state. He told the astonished patrons that he had seen the ghost of Fred Fisher sitting on the rail of a nearby bridge. Farley related that the ghost had not spoken, but had merely pointed to a paddock beyond the creek, before disappearing.
Initially Farley's tale was dismissed, but the circumstances surrounding Fisher's disappearance eventually aroused sufficient suspicion that a police search of the paddock to which the ghost had pointed was undertaken - during which the remains of the murdered Fisher were discovered buried by the side of a creek. George Worrall was arrested for the crime, confessed, and subsequently hanged. Fred Fisher, whose lands he had coveted, was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Campbelltown.
It has been suggested that Farley invented the ghost story as a way of concealing some other speculated source of his knowledge about the whereabouts of Fisher's body, but this cannot be confirmed.
·       A ten-day Fisher’s Ghost Festival has been held in the area since 1956.


Fisher’s Ghost Creek Bridge, 1950’s

Fisher’s Ghost Creek Bridge, 1950’s
16 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. It is in the local government area of the City of Canada Bay.
Name Origin:
According to historical records, the suburb name is derived from the first contact between Europeans and the traditional owners of the land, the Wangal Clan. The encounter took place on 5 February 1788 during Captain John Hunter's exploration of the Parramatta River, while Hunter was having breakfast. William Bradley, First Lieutenant on board HMS Sirius, recorded the following entry in the log:
We landed to cook breakfast on the opposite shore to them (Breakfast Pt.). We made signs to them to come over and waved green boughs. Soon after which 7 of them came over in 2 canoes and landed near our boats. They left their spears in the canoes and came to us. We tied beads etc. about them and left them our fire to dress their muscles which they went about as soon as our boats put off.
Hunter, who was later to become Governor of New South Wales, is also remembered in the name of the nearby suburb of Hunters Hill.[4]
·       According to the 2011 census of Population, there were 2,744 residents in Breakfast Point. In Breakfast Point, 54.9% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 7.7%, Korea, Republic of (South) 4.1%, England 3.5%, Hong Kong (SAR of China) 2.1% and Italy 2.0%.
·       Much of the area at Breakfast Point was occupied by the Mortlake Gas Works of the Australian Gaslight Company (AGL). AGL began developing the site from 1883. The Mortlake Gasworks site offered river access for colliers to bring coal and virtually unlimited space for expansion. The gas works remained in operation until the 1990s when in 1998 AGL, after a selected tender process, selected Rosecorp Pty. Ltd. to progressively acquire and develop the Mortlake site. Redevelopment has proceeded since then.
·       Breakfast Point is the location of one of the largest urban renewal projects in Sydney on a site formerly belonging to AGL. The New South Wales State Government took control of the approval process for the development from Canada Bay Council in August 2005, citing lengthy delays. Issues that arose between the council and the developer, Rosecorp, included the provision of public transport, public access to the area and its landscaping.


Panorama shot of Breakfast Point

Former Blacksmith's workshop, Breakfast Point, New South Wales. Built 1891, on the former AGL site now subdivided for housing.
13 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD on the western shore of Botany Bay. Brighton-Le-Sands is in the local government area of the Bayside Council and is part of the St George area.
Name Origin:
Thomas Saywell (1837-1928), merchant and developer, was born in  England, but spent his early years in France with his parents, who returned to England in 1848 and migrated to Australia later that year.  After spending time on the goldfields Saywell set up as a tobacconist in Sydney in 1863.
He prospered and invested substantially in coal-mining and real estate. In the early 1880s Saywell foresaw that the construction of the Illawarra railway would create new suburbs in the sparsely settled area south of Cook's River; he bought an estate at Lady Robinson's Beach, Botany Bay, erected the fashionable New Brighton Hotel, a public bathing enclosure described as 'the best in Australia', and other amenities including a race-course. He planned to create a model suburb and seaside resort for working-class families.
On his suggestion the new suburb was named Brighton-le-Sands, the second part of the name being added to distinguish it from Brighton in England.
·       Lady Robinsons Beach and Cook Park run along the eastern border of Brighton-Le-Sands, on Botany Bay. The beach is also commonly referred to as Brighton Beach and it is known for its off-white sand.
·       Brighton-Le-Sands features a mixture of low density houses, medium density flats, high rise apartments, retail, cafés and restaurants. The Grand Parade runs along the foreshore and intersects with Bay Street, at the commercial centre. The higher density developments are located along these streets.


 Brighton Le Sands, 1948

Bridge Road, Brighton Le Sands, 1900’s

Thomas Saywell’s Brighton Baths, Brighton Le Sands

Tram and bus travelling north along The Grand Parade,near Teralba Rd, Brighton-le-Sands in 1949.

Bay Street, Brighton Le Sands, year unkown

Friday, June 15, 2018

Quote for the Day

"To Yossarian, the idea of pennants as prizes was absurd. No money went with them, no class privileges. Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else."

- Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Funny Friday


A cocktail of miscellaneous humour for today’s Funny Friday, with a couple of repeats. Hopefully you will crack a smile, have a chuckle, maybe even enjoy a big belly laugh. 

As always, a caution . . . there is some risqué content and salty language ahead. 

The following item is reposted because it came up in a conversation during the week when I quoted the last word and then had to explain where it came from. Feel free to quote it yourself, like me prefacing it with “As God once said . . “ 


Saul is working in his store when he hears a booming voice from above: 
"Saul, sell your business." 
He ignores it. It goes on for days. 
"Saul, sell your business for $3 million." 
After weeks of this, he relents, sells his store. 
The voice says “Saul, go to Las Vegas." 
He asks why. 
"Saul, take the $3 million to Las Vegas." 
He obeys, goes to a casino. 
The voice says, "Saul , go to the blackjack table and put it down all on one hand." 
He hesitates but knows he must. 
He’s dealt an 18. 
The dealer has a six showing. 
"Saul, take a card." 
What? The dealer has -- 
"Take a card!" 
He tells the dealer to hit him. 
Saul gets an ace. 
He breathes easy. 
"Saul, take another card." 
He asks for another card. 
It’s another ace. 
He has twenty. 
"Saul, take another card," the voice commands. 
I have twenty! Saul shouts. 
"TAKE ANOTHER CARD!!" booms the voice. 
Hit me, Saul says. 
He gets another ace. 
Twenty one. 
The booming voice goes: "Un-fucking-believable!" 

Two drovers (for overseas readers, in Australia drovers are the equivalent of cowboys) are out in the back of beyond (the outback, aka the never never) having an argument about who has the smarter dog. 

Drover One: "I can prove it, Red fetch us a feed!" 

A couple of hours go by without old Red coming back, and Drover One wears it solid but Red finally crawls back with a bunch of bananas looking much the worse for wear. 

Drover Two: "Not too shabby but watch this, Blue fetch us a feed!". 

Blue takes off at a rate of knots, comes back with a stick. 

Drover One pisses himself laughing but Blue carries on disappearing, coming back with sticks and Drover Two just smiles. 

This carries on for half an hour, before Blue comes back with a billy full of water and takes off again. 

Drover One is looking a little less smug but still laughing. 

Blue comes back with two eggs, drops them into the billy, lights the fire, swings the billy, times the eggs to perfection, puts out the fire, tips the hot water out and sticks his bum in the air. 

Drover One: "Well f@#k me, you do have the smarter dog but why has he buried his face in the sand with his arse waving in the breeze? 

Drover Two: "He knows I don't have an egg cup!" 

Two Aussie cattle drovers are standing in an outback bar. 
One asked, "What are you up to, mate?" 
The other replied, "Ahh, I'm takin' a mob of 6000 from Goondiwindi to Gympie." 
"Oh yeah ... and what route are you takin'?" 
"Ah, probably the missus; after all, she stuck by me durin' the drought." 

Q: Why are redneck murders the hardest to solve? 

A: All the DNA matches and there's no dental records. 

Air Hostess asks a guy... "Can I offer you free head phones?" 

The guy replies... "Definitely! But how did you know my name was phones?” 

And another drover one to conclude, although a repost: 

Col and Frank were drovers who had come to town for a beer. At the bar, Col got into conversation with another man and said “So what do you do for a living?” The man replied “I’m a taxidermist. I stuff animals.” 
“Do you stuff sheep?” Col asked. 
“Do you stuff kangaroos?” 
“All the time.” 
“What about dogs?” 
“Yes, often.” 
Later, Frank asked Col “What is he then?” 
Col replied “He says he’s a taxi bloke but I reckon he’s a drover like us.” 


Thanks to John P fotr sending me the first item . . . 


Corn Corner: 

I called the bicycle factory and asked to speak to whoever was in charge of wheels. The person who answered said they weren’t there.. I asked, “Okay, who are you?” They said, “His spokes person." 

The police came to my mate’s door today holding a picture of his wife. 'Is this your wife ,sir?' the copper asked. 'Yes,' he answered. 
‘I'm afraid it looks like she's been run over by a bus,’ said the copper. 
'I know', he said, 'but she’s a good cook and she's very good with the kids.'’ 

Times are hard, so whenever I'm filling up at the petrol pump I take my time... 
That way it looks like I can afford to spend more than a tenner.