Posts Tagged With: traces of the past

Traces of the past : the good old days!!!

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I am old enough to be able to, vaguely, remember back to when I was first married and used this set up in the back shed to wash the cloth nappies, (no disposables back then) That was in the early 1960’s, I can hardly believe that I am now calling back then the “good old days”…

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I don’t think I would like to go back to those “good old days”. I found these relics and so much more memorabilia in a heritage village called “Tailem Town”. It was a fascinating place, like stepping back into history. Step back in time here. I spent hours enveloped in memories of times gone by.

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What stories of the past this old vehicle could tell us…

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This week Paula, in her “Thursday’s special“, invites us to show some traces of the past.  

Categories: photography, Thursdays special, traces of the past | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Thursday’s Special : Traces of the Past…

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Australia is an ancient land form with a 40000+ year history of indigenous settlement. But European convicts and pioneers have only been here for approx. 200 years.

One of those early pioneers was José Paronella. He arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain in 1913, a 25-year-old man with dreams to be rich and build a castle. For 11 years he worked hard cutting the sugar cane, a hot, hard, labour intense job. Buying, improving and selling cane farms.

In 1924 he went back to Spain to find a wife and married Margarita in 1925. The trip back to Australia was their honeymoon. I wonder what her first impressions of this hot, humid land would be.

José first saw the 13 acres of virgin scrub along Mena Creek in 1914. He eventually purchased it in 1929 for £120 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.

It became a passion and a life long project

All of the structures were constructed of poured, reinforced concrete, the reinforcing being old railway track. The concrete was covered with a plaster made from clay and cement, which they put on by hand, leaving behind the prints of their fingers as a reminder of the work they had done. They laboured with unswerving determination, until, in 1935, the Park was officially opened to the public. The Theatre showed movies every Saturday night. In addition, with canvas chairs removed, the Hall was a favourite venue for dances and parties.

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Jose planted over 7000 trees creating a dense rain forest environment and also planted this impressive avenue of Kauri Pines.

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A waterfall carried the copious, tropical rainfall past the castle and this enabled Jose to commission a Hydro Electric generating plant, commissioned in 1933, it was the earliest in North Queensland, and supplied power to the entire Park.

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In 1946, disaster struck. Upstream from the Park a patch of scrub had been cleared and the logs and branches pushed into the creek. When the first rains of the Wet Season came, the whole mass began to move downstream until it piled up against a railway bridge a few hundred metres from the Castle. Water backed up until the weight broke the bridge, and the entire mass descended on the Park. The downstairs Refreshment Rooms were all but destroyed, the Hydro was extensively damaged, as was the Theatre and Foyer.

Undaunted, the family began the task of rebuilding.

They faced many natural disasters with floods of 1967, ’72 and ’74, but struggled on.

After Jose and Margarita died son Joe and daughter Teresa with their families carried on the family tradition to keep the dream alive. But in 1977 they sold and then in 1979 a fire swept through and the castle was closed to the public.

Cyclone Winifred in 1986, a flood in January 1994, Cyclone Larry in March 2006, and Cyclone Yasi in January 2011 were all further setbacks and challenges for Paronella Park.

Amazingly Paronella Park is making a come back. Mark and Judy Evans, the current owner/operators, purchased the Park in 1993 and formulated a plan to put the Park back on the map. They see the Park as a work of art, and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding.

Now it is the number 1 tourist attraction in Queensland. I rate it as a “must see”.

We stayed in the camp ground for $14/ night so we could do the night tour and see this amazing place lit up.

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Paula asks us to share “traces of the past”. This magnificent castle, one man’s dream, is a solid reminder of the past in Australia. Though it looks as though it came from the middle ages of Europe it is in fact only 86 years old.

Categories: Australia, memories, Paronella Park, photography, Thursdays special, traces of the past | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Thursday’s Special : Traces of the Past 03

Paula is asking us to look into the past for today’s “Thursday Special”

Farming was an important part of the settlement of Australia. The early pioneers saw a vast and empty land that they believed belonged to no one and was ripe for farming. But the land and climate was vastly different to their European farms and a new type of farming was required. So in the outback large acreage were needed to support livestock and so grew the empires of outback cattle stations, thousands of square kilometres in area, with the nearest neighbour being hundreds of kilometres away. Anna Creek station in South Australia is the world’s largest working cattle station.[3] It is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (5,900,000 acres)

These cattle had to be taken to market, which was also thousands of miles away and in the 1800’s the only way to get there was to walk. So evolved a tough breed of man, the drover.

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This double life-size statue pays tribute to the a drover as he moves from job to job with only his saddle bags, containing all his possessions. It is in Newcastle Waters in the heart of the outback, it has a rich, vibrant history as a gathering place for drovers on their gruelling overland cattle drives. It is at the junction of three major overland stock routes, and was an important source of provisions and a place to rest before drovers continued on their way as they took huge mobs of cattle along the droving trails.

It also had a reliable source of water and many birds pass through on their migrations.

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It grew as a major township with a pub and store.

Now it is a ghost town.

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The basic corrugated iron shacks that a family once called home are now deserted, the few meagre possessions left. Rough hewn wooden shelves draped with gingham to bring a scrap of colour. The large kettle on the wood burner stove. How hot it must’ve been in summer cooking on that stove with the sun beating down relentlessly. In winter the wind would howl and find every gap and crack to bring the bitter cold inside.

 Aborigines had long played a big part in the cattle industry where they were competent stockmen on the cattle stations of the north. In 1950 it was legislated that the Aboriginal workers were now to be paid cash wages. Previously they had worked for their keep and their mob/family had been allowed to live on the station and provided with food. With the advent of railway and roads crossing the outback the cattle were moved by road trains and droving became a dying occupation.

In 1988 the bicentennial of Australia a grand plan was made to recreate the droving years with “The Last Great Cattle Drive”

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On the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory is a small township called Camooweal. It was there that we found the Drover’s Shed. A large corrugated barn that has been dedicated as a museum to the drover and his life style.  Here the droving era of Australia is being preserved for future generations and recognizes the contribution of drovers to the development of the nation’s cattle industry.

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We had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Pic Willetts. Then took a tour around the shed with a retired drover who explained how tough the life was and had many stories of his time with the mobs of cattle.

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A project is also underway to create portraits of the remaining drovers and collect their stories.

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What is more iconic of the past than this sweat stained and battered Akubra hat.

Categories: Australia, outback, photography, Thursdays special, traces of the past | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

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