This week the analogue television signal was turned off in Northern NSW, so its over and out for my old black & white telly. TV began on the North Coast in January 1965 with the commercial channel NRN 11 broadcasting out of Coffs Harbour and the government owned ABC on Channel 2 in June of the same year. It wasn't until 1991 that we had more channels, making it 5 in total. Now we have 20 plus free channels now exclusively broadcasting in digital.
It is a small ordinary bridge on the Summerland Way from Grafton to Casino but it is very special to me as my dad built it in 1967 for the Department of Main Roads. Like everything he did in his life, it was built to last.
Southgate is a hamlet slumbering between Grafton and Lawrence. Once it was a real village with a public school, hotel, hall, butcher shop, general store and post office; today it is just a small collection of houses. Pictured is the Southgate Hotel that closed in 1956 when the license moved to the Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour and the now decrepit hall that was probably last used in the early 1970's.
Dromaius novaehollandiae or the Emu is a fairly common bird in inland Australia but on the coastal plains they are extremely rare. Once they found all along the Eastern Seaboard now they are confined to a very small location in the Clarence Valley. Despite their rarity I often see one or two in the cane fields from Tyndale to Maclean. They seem to prefer freshly ploughed fields and being quite a drab bird it makes for a very 'brown' and uninteresting shot.
So I was in a bit of luck to find one in a green paddock and therefore produce a reasonable shot. I wish I could pass on a bit of luck to these birds as they face many threats: dogs and foxes prey on the young chicks, they are hit by cars and housing development is constantly encroaching into their habitat.
The Inverell Art Society celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2012 and to leave a lasting legacy a vast mosaic has been created along an entire block of historic Evans St. It depicts the flora and fauna that lives along the beautiful Macintyre River.
Mistletoe and Dicaeum hirundinaceum the Mistletoebird
While taking some shots of this incredible piece of work I met one of it's creator's, the delightful Bert Makepeace. He and everyone involved should be congratulated on such an epic task. The Inverell Times suggests it could be the longest single themed mosaic footpath in the world!
On my many trips to Inverell, my local correspondent has talked about the vast numbers of Black Swans you can find on the Macintyre River but whenever we go to look there aren't any there, however, thanks to the mosaic footpath I can finally say I've seen some!
The glorious Inverell School of Arts was built in 1906, today it is part of the Inverell Art Gallery. Can you see William Shakespeare at the centre of the pediment?
The building has a number of bas-reliefs that show cherubs enjoying life. When the School of Arts was built as well as being a library it also included a billiard hall, I like the humorous reference within one of the reliefs.
Rockfishing is the most dangerous sport in New South Wales, on the average around a dozen people die a year from being swept off the rocks and drowning in the sea. Although it was a calm day at Green Point near Angourie, rock fishers always have to be on their guard for a rogue wave and should never turn their backs on the ocean.
Every Thursday a farmers market takes place in City Square, Coffs Harbour. Besides loads of fresh produce there often events such as "Show Us Ya Dish", an amateur cooking contest like Masterchef.
The 3 contestants looked to be making great dishes.
The old red phone booth in front of the Grafton Courthouse could do with some TLC, but I guess in this age where public phone booths are being rapidly removed, it's chances of survival are pretty slim.
I found this picture of an old NSW payphone that was in use until the 1980's in a rural area. The inside of the Grafton booth is that same speckled green but of course it contains a much more modern unit.
The old manual telephone in the picture reminded me that until 1990 I used to call friends to the north of Inverell by phoning the Wallangra exchange and asking Lola to put me through to "Two Four", that's only 22 years ago!
I also remember as a child going from phone booth to phone booth with the neighborhood gang pressing Button B in the hope that it would spit out a 20 cent piece that some poor soul had forgotten to retrieve if their call didn't go through, we rarely hit pay-dirt, collecting and returning cordial bottles was a much more lucrative business.
The last few months have been very dry on the North Coast and New England areas. After many years of good rainfall the forests are full of very dry fuel and there have been a number of large blazes. The biggest is in a wilderness area between Armidale and Kempsey and has burnt out nearly 500 square kilometres.
The Jacaranda Festival began in 1935 in Pound St Grafton. Initially it was a folk dancing festival with the citizens of the town gathering under the trees to watch children present a pageant. The following night the adults merrily danced to an adapted version of the Cornish Floral Dance.
These days Jacaranda Avenue plays no part in the festival.