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Saturday, 24 March


March 24 On This Day in Australian History "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

You can all begin by raising a glass to John Busby who was whelped on this day in 1765, and who began the 10 year construction of Sydney's first regular water supply known as Busby's Bore on his birthday in 1827.

1796 - Bass and Flinders did not find Lake Illawarra but instead fell over a noisy skinny dipping pool party.
They declined the invitation to join in due to their mortal fear of verdigris.

1804 - And after a plethora of names such as Mulumbinba, Coal River, Hunter's River,Coal Harbour, and King's Town they finally settled on calling the damn spot Newcastle.

1810 - David Collins dropped off the perch rather suddenly...probably been over-doing the little blue "performance" pills again, randy bugger.

1854 - An Act to Establish a Constitution in and for the Colony of Victoria or more commonly the first 'Constitution Act' was passed in the Victorian Legislative Council. This set out the principles and methods for Parliament and would comprise two houses the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.

1862 - The Peeps in Power in NSW went completely nuts today when they madly threw open the Main North Railway Line from Lochinvar - Branxton.

1879 - The bridge at Murray Bridge in South Oz - as you can't have a Murray Bridge without a bridge - was opened for traffic. Playing catch up, as always, it was adapted for choo-choo's in 1886.

1883 - The Salvo's fish and chip wrapper newspaper Warcry was flogged sold for the first time in Sydney.

1890 - The train travellers were most pleased when the railway line from Burnley to Oakleigh (Vic) was flung open for intrepid tripsters.

1891 - Dr Richard Schomburgk, the Director of Adelaide's Botanic Gardens, suddenly dropped off the perch.
Read more about this former Prussian rebel who dreamt up fabulous flora for Adelaide that's still enjoyed to this day.

1891 - The peeps wot made decisions at that extinct beast Victoria Railways were sniffing some sort of adhesive when they closed the Dunkeld to Penshurst railway line.

1891 - But obviously not all of them at Victoria Railways were as high as Harry Highpants' Top Hat cos they opened the line from Fairfield Park to Riversdale.

1891 - They were on a roll when they opened the railway line from Maldon (Laanecoorie Junction) to Shelbourne (Vic).

1900 - In Queensland 1,280 acres were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve at Barambah.

1907 - The world's first surf reel was dem...

Friday, 23 March


How to save a life Edgar's Mission Farm SanctuaryEdgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary


Its been four weeks since How Now arrived at Edgars Mission, dangerously thin, too weak to stand, eat or drink, yet somehow still miraculously clinging to life. During her initial veterinary exam, it soon became clear what had led to this dear girls shocking condition when x-rays revealed two metal nails inside How Nows gizzard. The gizzard is an essential component of a chickens digestive tract, where hard stones and grit reside to grind down seeds. The presence of the nails in How Nows gizzard had hindered this crucial digestive process and, even worse, one of the nails had begun to work its way through the thick muscular lining of the gizzard. The diagnosis was in- the foreign material needed to be removed and there was little time to spare.nails 20180314 how now (2)

After gaining a little strength in our care, How Now was soon in the expert hands of our trusted veterinary team, who skilfully carried out lifesaving surgery to remove the nails, along with two other pieces of metal debris that were uncovered during the procedure. With the surgery complete, we knew it was still a long road to recovery for How Now with even more questions looming before us. Could her body recover from this? Had she found her way to us too late? And did she still have it within her to keep up her fight?

nails 20180314 how now (4)

One thing certainly is not in question is the incredible...


At the hotspot #3 Natural Newstead

Here are the results of some armchair birdwatching at my latest hotspot. It is always a thrill to catch a glimpse of a Chestnut-rumped Hylacola and that is usually all you get. This area is one of the few reliable spots for this species in the Muckleford bush and this inquisitive male posed momentarily before running off mouse-like as is its habit.

The Rainbow Bee-eater was photographed the previous evening, one of a small flock of six hawking round the dam. I heard them again in the distance last night. Also of note was Diamond Firetail, Black-chinned Honeyeater and Tree Martins chasing insects above the water.

Eastern Yellow Robin, South German Track, 22nd March 2018


Waiting forever at Footscray The Iron Road

We in public transport circles often lobby for more frequent services, better-connecting services, and more consistent stopping patterns. There's a lot of theory behind why these are good ideas - but in a practical sense, what does it mean to the average person?

I'm currently planning a trip which is proving to be a good example. I need to get from Ballarat to Castlemaine, to attend a meeting at 1pm on a Saturday afternoon, and it's proving surprisingly difficult to do it without a ton of waiting around.

Castlemaine Station (via Wikipedia)

The problems

There is a coach that goes from Ballarat to Bendigo via Castlemaine which I could use. But there's two issues with this - it doesn't run at all on weekends, and even on weekdays it only runs once a day - much too late to be useful for a 1pm meeting. So that's out.

The next most obvious option is to take a train from Ballarat to Footscray, then another train from Footscray to Castlemaine. If you plug this into Google Maps or the PTV Journey Planner, it gives you this:

Journey Plan (via Google Maps)

So basically, the whole journey takes three and a half hours - but that includes a 59-minute wait at Footscray.

59 minutes? Yes - trains to Ballarat and Bendigo both run hourly on a Saturday morning, and by a horrible coincidence they're timed in the worst possible way for someone trying to make this kind of trip. If the B...

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