“Two Quintessential Aussies”
Here’s a Pied Butcher Bird perched upon my grandfather’s memorial statue this morning.
I would like to dedicate this image to my Uncle Dave who suddenly passed away from a heart attack yesterday, thus the reason we were back in my home town of West Wyalong which allowed the opportunity to capture this image.
We awoke to the sound of Butcherbirds calling out to each other this morning, my wife had even said she dreamed of Butcher birds, perhaps she recognised her favourite birdsong in her sleep, which dictated what she was dreaming about. I tend to always find symbolism in nature when someone close passes, so this was it, until on the way out of town, when we saw what was probably the same bird we woke too, a few hundred metres from where we stayed. It couldn’t have been more fitting to see this quintessential Aussie bird perched on a quintessential Aussie bloke, my Pop; Reg Rattey. A stature recently sculpted by a great artist Brett Mon Garling of Garling Gallery, a statue that was much admired by my uncle Dave.
My Pop passed away when I was 6 years old, but he left many fond memories with me, notably his big smile, fishing with him & when he took my cousin & I to the paper shop & brought us chocolate before breakfast, a secret we weren’t allowed to tell Nan. Google his name ‘Reg Rattey’ if you are interested in finding how he won the Victoria Cross in World War II.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for serving members of the Commonwealth’s armed forces, introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856 for persons of any military rank who perform acts of the most conspicuous gallantry, daring or pre-eminent acts of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy.
To date there are 100 Australian servicemen who have received the VC. It was a great honour to attend the launch of an exciting new book earlier this year that honours each & every VC recipient. The Victoria Cross, Australia Remembers is unlike other book, the Author Michael Madden & photographer Gordon Traill, interviewed family members of every VC winner possible, a mammoth achievement! I would highly recommend purchasing this book for the coffee table, not only will you get a picture of me in it ;) but also 100% of proceeds go to the TPI Victoria Inc. (Totally & Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen & Women’s Association.) A very worthy and appropriate cause, the book can be purchased here:
https://www.tpivic.com/products/our-merchandise/the-victoria-cross---australia-remembers ... See more
Mother nature showed her colours out at “Gunaru” last night which resulted in the skies I’ve been waiting for to complement the features of our block.
It caught me off guard, as I was busy cutting down some African boxthorn, I had seen the cloud rolling towards me and and put my head down and got back to work. I was disappointed because I was hoping for clear skies as I planned on doing some astrophotography of the stars before the moonrise. But I should have known, a storm on sunset is always a recipe for a beautiful landscape. ... See more
The further west we travelled into the heart of NSW, the more emus appeared, as we approached our first destination I was excited to see a large mob of a few dozen emus. I immediately pulled over and jumped out and ran over to the fence, the whole mob was staring at me and some ran in the opposite direction as I started firing off a few snaps. After a while I decided to lie on the ground for a different perspective, to my surprise the curious characters started to come towards me, it was hilarious to see them flee when I stood back up. They are so full of character, I love them, they must be one of the closest things to a living dinosaur on Earth, with their primitive looking feathers and three clawed toes.
It was the perfect introduction to Lightning Ridge which was only 40km down the track. Emus are iconic there and on the way into town we were greeted by the 18 metre-high emu sculpture named Stanley. The following day we visited the artists gallery; John Murray Art, we were awed by seeing his unique photo realistic, yet playful styled paintings in person. He had just opened his new gallery the week prior and it was like stepping into another world, very impressive, I would totally recommend stopping by if you’re ever in that neck of the outback.
We only spend two nights at The Ridge, which was enough time to fall in love with the place & start talking about what we will do when we go back. It was easy to see why it is home to many artists, full of history, character and characters from all walks of life that have come to town to stake a claim and try their luck at mining for the precious Black Opal. Having an interest in fossicking and fossils, I was in my element, being in one of the only places on our planet that opalised fossils are found. I would also recommend seeing the fossils at Australian Opal Centre, doing a tour with Outback Opal Tours, looking for Amigo at his castle, watching the sun set at Nettleton's First Shaft Lookout, bathing in the 42 degree Artesian natural spring baths (so hot!) & fossicking on the public mullock heap. Upon reflection I’m not sure how we fitted all that and more into 1.5 days.
#Emu #LightningRidge #NewSouthWales #Australia #seeaustralia #JoshBett #bird #AustralianWildlife #art Visit NSW Australia.com ... See more
Who’s been to Fraser Island (K’Gari)? Did you see a dingo?
Here’s a few more shots from my recent road trip. Unfortunately we only had time in our schedule for 2 full days on the island, which is no way near enough! I would love to go back and focus on photographing its biodiversity. The islands most unique feature is that it’s totally made of sand, making it only accessible by 4x4.
The beautiful Azure Kingfisher is just one of 5 species of Kingfisher that can be found on Fraser Island, the wildlife is just one of the many reasons why it’s a World Heritage Area.
I wasn’t able to nail an action shot of the Kingfisher due to the lack of light in the understorey of the rainforest, at a place in the middle of Fraser that they call Central Station. It was shot at ISO 4000, 1/250, f5.6 so it was really pushing the limits of my gear. But camera or no camera I could have stayed at that enchanting location all day and watched this bird dive into the crystal clear fresh water stream, with the odd large eel swimming by.
I only had the chance to get this quick snap of a dingo, I was driving along the beach when it suddenly appeared. I have never pulled out my camera out and changed lenses so quickly in my life, only getting a few frames fired off before it disappeared over a sand dune. They are an amazing animal to see in the wild, even though the dingo is a declared pest, they are protected in Queensland national parks as a native species, and it is recognised that Fraser Island dingoes may become the purest strain of dingo on the eastern Australian seaboard and perhaps Australia-wide.
Fraser Island is a precious part of Australia's natural and cultural heritage if you holiday there I would recommend doing it in the off-season, treat it with respect, follow the rules and you will have the time of your life!
Visit Fraser Island Visit Queensland, Australia Australia.com Queensland National Parks #FraserCoast #FraserIsland #Queensland #Australia #SeeAustralia #Dingo #Wildlife ... See more