Sunday, April 18, 2010



How time has flown!  This is Romeo in 1992 - his first year of school.  Romeo was five years old.  He is now 23. 

Skippy was the name given to the Agile Wallaby joey he is holding in the pillow slip.  Skippy's mother was hit and killed by a car and Skippy was found, hopping around, on the side of the road, looking very lonely, vulnerable and confused.  Baby wallabies are born in a very underdeveloped state - hairless and tiny.  When Skippy was adopted by Romeo's class he had very little hair.  By the time this photo was taken he had grown quite a bit and settled in to classroom life very nicely.

Romeo's lovely teacher Mrs W, (her son had found Skippy) got permission to care for Skippy because he is a protected species and had to get a special milk formula that suited his metabolism.  She hung a pillow slip in the classroom for him (a fresh one every day) and he would execute a careful somersault into it in the same way that he would have rolled into his mother's pouch.  At night Mrs W took him home to care for him.

Not only did Skippy thrive in the classroom, the children learnt to care for him and learnt a lot about marsupials.  Mrs W is still a great teacher who takes advantage of situations (like caring for Skippy) to create a theme for the students.  Arithmetic, writing, music, reading, poetry - all had a marsupial theme until Skippy grew into a healthy young wallaby and had to go to a new home to prepare for his release back into the wild.  Lots of learning took place while Skippy bounced around between the desks and busied himself getting to know the children.

Yesterday I bumped into Mrs W at the shopping centre and we spent at least an hour standing in the aisle (trying not to inconvenience other shoppers) while we reminisced and caught up on all of the news about our respective families.  Mrs W taught each of our kids in infant classes and knows as much about their childhoods as we know ourselves.  For each of them she will always be their favourite teacher.

I wonder how long wallabies live and if Skippy or his progeny are still hopping around somewhere in our great outdoors?

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beneath Hill 60 Premier

This week the movie premiered in Townsville where it was shot last year.

It interests me because it is a bit of lesser-known Australian history and because I have a need-to-know.
Dad's Uncle Thomas (click for more information) was a tunneller in the war.  He was recruited in Tasmania where he was a miner.  He suffered from mustard gas poisoning twice in Belgium and was repatriated home to Tassy. He died a few days before the Armistice was signed.

In his last weeks of life, the Australian Defence Force denied Thomas' application for a pension.  They (whoever "they" are) claimed that his "rheumatism" was a pre-existing illness even though they gave him a clean bill of health when he signed up only two years earlier.  This information is in his records which are accessible from the Australian Archives online.  Was this an injustice?  I believe so.

Brave, fit men signed up, compelled by noble motives, to do a dangerous, frightening and dirty job which took them far from their loved ones.  To return, frail and ill, traumatised and dying and be denied a pension by a penny-pinching government - that's betrayal.

Maybe the movie will fill in some gaps for me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lion Wisdom

Grannysaurus file photo

Lion wisdom [while sweeping the pavers at Aunty Chimera's barbecue area with a broom]:
"Something's wrong with this vacuum cleaner. It doesn't suck very well."
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Is it in the genes?

Do they have their grandfather's eyes?
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheetah's green friend

If you have a frog phobia, you might not want to view these pics:)

These days, I don't see as much of the Chimera grandchildren as I do of the McTavish grandchildren. The result is that my blog doesn't feature Cheetah and Little Bear as much as the other ankle-biters.  So today, for no particular reason, I decided to find a favourite pic of Cheetah to feature in a post.

I have many favourite pics of Cheetah because he is so photogenic with his pixie face and big blue eyes.  Can't you imagine him as an elf-lordling? 

I can remember when this little frog landed on him nearly 18 months ago whilst he was playing in the McTavish cubby house.  We all love frogs - although Mr Sunshine has a frog phobia, he still thinks they are cute to look at.  As long as they keep their distance and don't give him THE LOOK - you know. . . that LOOK that means, "I'm about to jump and I'm looking for a suitable landing site."  Fortunately none of the grand-kiddies have inherited his phobia. [They have all inherited my spider phobia :( ] 

Cheetah was obviously delighted that the little green guy was being so chummy and was disappointed when he jumped away.  They say that frogs are a sign of a healthy environment.  The McTavish back yard must be very healthy indeed.  They have heaps of them - in the pot plants, under leaves, in the crevices and even in the barbecue.  You have to do an inspection before turning on the gas.  At times the outdoor area has a distinctive amphibian fragrance from the number of frogs.  If you have frogs you will know this fragrance.

Kermit posed for one last close up before hopping on his way.
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Monday, April 5, 2010


This is one for the family.  Dad passed away in February 2005.  I didn't realise how many photos I had of him until I was playing around with Picasa3's facial recognition feature.  Then with the click of a button and about 2 minutes of rearranging and I made this collage.
I haven't scanned all of my old film photographs yet either.
These pics span about 50 years of Dad's life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Minding Grandchildren 101 - The Park

Why the park? 
A. They aren't messing up the house while they are in the park. 
B. They use up some of that bountiful energy supply and (hopefully) sleep more soundly at night.
C. Fresh air is good for them and us. 
D. Exercise is good for them and us. 
E. They just love to go to the park and think we are the best grandparents in the world for taking them.
F. Add more of your own reasons by leaving a comment.
The red brick house that you can't see behind the trees is the Dragon Lady Grotto.  This is only a fraction of our park.  It's big enough for 2 Rugby League fields and we figure that it's about 1 kilometer in circumference.  So, aren't we lucky to have so much playground for the grandchildren?  The down side is that until this time of year it's too hot to make use of it until late in the day.

On Saturday we looked after the McTavish grandchildren again.  For more than an hour we were in the park and even Monkey had a great time.  He forgot all about his obsession with food for the whole time.

There is a cycle path around the park and various (adult size) gym equipment also dotted around the park close to the path.  Lion can just reach the handle bars on this one.  I'm pretty pleased that I managed to catch the action with my camera.

Another action shot I'm fairly happy with is this one of Dragon playing hopscotch, but I think it would have been better if I'd got down really low - like on my belly - to get the feel of the distance between his feet and the ground.

Of course it can't be all sunshine and Lion had a momentary funk when Dragon's weight stabilised the roundabout thingo and stopped it from turning for him.  I told him to keep frowning because I wanted a good 'grumpy' photo.  So, naturally, he started laughing and giggling, but not before I "shot" this one.

Usually they want to stay in the park forever and we have tears when it is time to leave. The really amazing thing was that this time they were happy to leave and come home with us.  Maybe they were getting hungry after all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weird Australian History About Bunnies.

This photo was taken in about 1956 in a VERY small town called Ringarooma in North East Tasmania. That is me on the end behind my cousin and my (late) Nanna is watching us. Nanna owned a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town.  All of my family know where Ringarooma is of course. The geographic information is for readers who have never heard of it.

In Australia, towns are measured by how many pubs they have. Ringarooma is a one pub town.  It's a small town by anyone's standards.

The next photo is the Ringarooma pub, circa 1956.  These days it looks a little less fresh than it did back then.

My 'weird Australian history' is about the general area in the 1920's.  The photos are just to give you a general idea of the area and to help cast your mind back.

We all know that there were no rabbits in Australia before European colonisation.  But in the early days, some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to bring bunnies from Europe out to this country.  Before you could say "here comes Peter Cotton-tail" Australia was overrun with rabbits and they were a plague and a menace.  In the 1920's the folk in the Ringarooma area were fed up and started a baiting campaign.  I don't know what their poison was, but it effectively killed truckloads of rabbits.  Unfortunately it effectively killed truckloads of magpie birds also because they ate the dead rabbits and possibly the baits as well. Unlike the rabbits, the magpies were virtually eradicated from the area.

Back then, folk did not always think through the consequences and environmental impact of their actions.  There was an impact because the magpies ate moths and butterflies and caterpillars and now there were very few predators for the moths, butterflies and caterpillars.  Caterpillar populations exploded all over the countryside.  In 1926 they denuded the land of every scrap of vegetation.

Now for the weird history so pay attention. . .  The caterpillars were so thick on the ground that they even covered the railway tracks.  They made the railway tracks so gross that trains couldn't run until the tracks were clear.
That's right - Caterpillars stopped the trains.
I think that's weird.

Footnote: Obviously I was not the photographer.  My mother took the photographs with her little Kodak Brownie camera.
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Granny's tunes

Mr. Sunshine & Grannysaurus

Mr. Sunshine & Grannysaurus


About Me

My photo
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
I have worked as a Biology lab assistant, Pathology lab assistant, geochem lab assistant, land tenure researcher, hospital and prison chaplain, parish care coordinator and part owner of a small business. I have studied some science (no degrees) and have a theology and a chaplaincy certificate. I still love science of all types and enjoy studying theology. Science and theology belong together. At present I am a work-at-home Grannysaurus.

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