Bits and Pieces
2016 Census Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 June 2016 00:00

The next National Census will take place on 9 August and the Australian B ureau of Statistics is looking for dedicated and enthusiastic self - starters to fill the some 6,000 temporary Field Officer positions in the Territory. Field Officers play a critical role by visiting households, encouraging on - line participation and ensurin g that everyone is included in the count. They earn around $21 an hour, and are also responsible for administrative tasks and the security of Census material.

If you are a tech - savvy senior and know your community, the ABS would like to hear from you. You need to be a good communicator, reasonably fit, licensed to drive, and willing to travel and work independently. Because the Census is going digital, you’ll need to have and be willing to use a home computer and internet connection. For further information or to apply, go to abs.gov.au/careers. Applications close on 29 May .

 
Around Darwin Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 June 2016 00:00

Florenz Court, Virginia (historically known as the 17 Mile) was named for Florenz (Flo) Augustus Karl Bleeser, a well - respected botanist who collected many tropical plants in the Darwin area. Ernestine Hill described him as the Territory’s ‘only’ naturalist. He joined the Postmaster General’s Department in Darwin as a junior operator in 1890 and for many years was Assistant Postmaster in Darwin.

In later years he was the Cost and Accounts Clerk controlling PMG works in the Territory. He retired in 1931, was evacuated from Darwin in 1941 and died in 1942; he was buried in Lyndoch Cemetery, SA.

 
Birds – and other things! Print E-mail
Friday, 03 June 2016 00:00

Part  forty five – Continuation: Flying High, Looking Down

Well, here I am again with my confessions and random jottings about the effect clouds can have on an aficionado (sounds much better than ‘addict’, wouldn’t you agree? It implies a certain je ne sais quoi that is not present in related words such as fanatic, junkie, zealot and all the rest!)

Anyhow, have you ever looked up to see the pretty little puffs of cloud set in orderly rows, looking like a miniature army marching across the sky? Sometimes they can dissolve into smaller particles resembling the ripple effect left on the sand when the tide recedes. The ir absolute uniformity creates such a calming impression on one’s mood as they are totally non - aggressive when viewed from below – or even from above when seen from a jet plane’s small porthole window. Similarly, when the same window frames a host of gauzy , white, cotton wool balls drifting as if by magic along the slip - stream before fading into the never - never, a feeling of peace also prevails.

Decidedly unlike the equally spectacular surging, rolling, darkening storm clouds that indicate an instant down pour of rain, hail, sleet or snow. Observing these menacing fifty shades of grey, I often wonder whether it would be possible to capture the fleeting moments of these sky theatrics on to a canvas and make the painted scene look as dramatic and interesting as in reality.

Once, when looking out of the plane’s window, way above the murky clouds lurking ahead and below us, I noticed that ice crystals were forming on the wing edge before being snatched away by force, into the distant wherever. Then, as the dark clouds reached slowly upwards enveloping the plane as we bounced through the developing storm, the view became blurred as wispy strands of ice and water on the outer glass soon obscured the whole ‘airscape’.

At the time, I wondered whether the crystals a nd raindrops would huddle together to form hailstones and, as they fell earthward, would they meet warmer air down below us, melt and revert back into an acceptable rain shower or would they gather and form into larger hailstones pelting down from ugly black clouds? Or maybe they would turn into snowflakes, falling gently to earth through a chilled, misty whiteout?

I recall an incident many years ago of being up on the side of a mountain (ie a very high hill!) cocooned in the inevitable cloud vapours, and the actuality of being inside a cloud was a very cold, wet experience – regardless of how pretty the cloud may have looked from ground level! The thick air seems to cling to your body, prickling and stinging your eyes, while you may also be Keeping an open mind buffeted by gusty winds. And, of course, if you are high enough up to be in cloud you are usually high enough in altitude to suffer the discomfort of breathing difficulties. The cloud also prevents you from seeing the beautiful view down below – which was why you climbed up there in the first place! All in all a very disappointing adventure.

So why would anyone want to be a mountaineer? I would much prefer to see my clouds from ground or sea level, looking upwards. (Oh drat! That crick in my neck won’t let me write any more!).

Gayle Carroll

 
Fran Wickes confronts the choices Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 June 2016 00:00

Life was so much simpler in the old days! Now we have so much choice that even the simple things of life are complex.

When I was a child when it came to the matter of bread, it was either white or brown with an occasional treat when Hovis bread was available. This had a secret ingredient that gave it a nutty/malty flavour to die for.

Today I am overwhelmed by the choices on offer. Still white or brown but added in is multigrain, wholegrain, linseed, soy, ciabatta, Turkish, flat bread to name just a few.

There is a similar situati on when it comes to milk. Again when I was a child , the cows ambled up the villa ge street to the farm, morning and evening, for milking. Shortly after this the farmer's lad would come down the street on his bicycle with a churn of milk fresh from the cow strapped under t he crossbar on the bike. Wives and mothers wo uld appear carrying their jugs and have the milk ladled in from the churn. It was delicious! Now of course, we are not allowed such luxury.

The milk has to be sterilised, homogenised with perm eate taken out or put back in, and the range of milks is truly amazing. Full cream, fat free, skinny, longlife and that is only the cow’s milk. Then there is soy milk, almond milk, ric e milk, oat milk, coconut milk and who know what is to come!

Coffee is little better. It used to be served either black or white, now it can be long black, short black, flat white, cappuccino, skinny anything, latte, mocha. Need I go on. Tea is also on the expansion bandwagon, black, white, green, breakfast, Earl Grey, chamomile , lemon and ginger , and a host more fruity models.

My tiny mind is looking towards the future, speculating on which commodity might be in line for major expansion next. If I knew that I might invest and profit from the proliferation.

 
BIRDS – and other things! Print E-mail
Friday, 06 May 2016 00:00

Part forty - four – A Reverie...

Gazing Upwards This time som ething quite different. I have a confession to make........I feel I must admit that I am (almost) an ADDICT. Not to any forbidden substance (vino not included in that statement!) and NO, I am NOT a closet Twitcher. In fact I do not know whether there is a collective name for my ‘addiction’..........I am a very keen Cloud Watcher; or maybe I could call it Daytime Sky Gazing.

Anyhow, I have always been fascinated by the constantly changing canopy above our heads and the sometimes flashy splendour, sometimes bleak, black cloud scenes that are presented daily for us to enjoy (or not!).

This addiction has never been in the scientific or meteorological sense, namely the interpretation of what sort of weather each type of cloud foretells, as I never could remember which c ategory of cloud – nimbus, cirrus or cumulus – equated to which weather pattern, although stratus, the only one I can define (flat or layered) is self - explanatory. This dilemma is most evident when more knowledgeable people refer to cumulonimbus or cirrost ratus – it is just too, too confusing.

So, my habit of looking up is not a hobby or a pastime; it is just a genuine amateur’s appreciation of the incredible and remarkable formations and colours achieved in the upper atmos phere. To me, the visual as pect of this ever - changing, colourful, artistic curtain is usually a pleasurable scene. Which, of course, in turn can be uplifting, bringing delight or serenity, even dread or perhaps gratitude for much - needed rain. It is entirely up to our imagination and individual appreciation of this ever - changing panorama.

At times we may be forgiven for thinking that clouds are static or semi - permanent features, while in reality they are more like a giant mobile full of differe nt shapes and sizes, swinging rapi dly against a bright blue sky as they scud by in a huge arc. One type of cloud that has me p eering skywards through my Ray - Bans a re the soft, white, billowy cushions that soar majestically from the far horizon before finally bubbling and bursting into rounded, ever - growing bulges with pearly ir idescent edges outlined against a clear blue background.

These clouds usually hide a brilliant sun that sometimes pierces through the cloud cover to reveal a glimpse of intense blueness in a benign sky. But the pristine wh iteness of these clouds where they meet the blue of the sky, usually belies and offsets a darker, shadowy underbelly that often fools us into thinking that rain is imminent. All too often we soon realise that this is just an illusion put there to tantalise and frustrate our hopes for .......... ’just a short shower , any rain will do, pleeeeese’!

We have all, no doubt, seen spectacular skies at sunrise or sunset, but would they be as stunning without clouds to frame and set them off so picturesquely? It is clouds that give daybreak and sundown form, shape and reflected colour accentuating the muted, limpid pastel tintings of the wispy vapours high in the morning or evening sky. It is this semi - neutral haze that is a ready backdrop to the luminous colours mirrored f rom the skyline as they shimmer and dance while the sun hovers on the horizon.

I apologise if this narrative reads as though I have swallowed Roget’s Thesaurus (I believe ‘waxing lyrical’ is the appropriate cliché), but if mere words can convince you to j oin me in appreciative sky - gazing, I think we could start an official club (just joking!).Just remember to stand still while performing these neck exercises – do not drive or walk’n’watch at the same time as it could be slightly hazardous.

Anyhow I will l eave it for now and continue in a future Newsletter as I still have additional observations and comments to divulge about my ‘addiction’, ( if you are still interested ?) .

 
Countries Study Group Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 May 2016 00:00

This month Lorna takes us to Spain, a country with a rich history including Moorish Muslim occupation, a vast global empire – thanks to which Spanish is the world’s second most spoken first language after Chinese – a bloody civil war and the present day calls for regional autonomy. Lorna’s presentation will take place at 3pm on 6 May at her home. For further details call 8948 0411.

 
Flute Recital Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 00:00

Along with two coll eagues, Maggie Wu Jing, a visiting scholar from Anhui Normal University, China, will be giving a flute recital at 7pm on 30 April in building Orange 6.1.08 on CDU’s Casuarina Campus. Admission is free.

 
Craft Fair Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 00:00

Tactile Arts is holding its Saltwater Craft Fair from 9am to 2pm on 8 May at the Darwin Waterfront. Everything for sale – ceramics, jewellery, prints, mosaics, paintings, beauty products and more – is handmade by local artis ts and artisans. For more information contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Open Garden Print E-mail
Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00

Even though the Open Gardens Scheme sponsored by the ABC has come to an end, there are st ill, occasionally, gardens that are open to the public. This month, on 29 May , the Top End Native Plants Society has an open garden at 150 Woodcote Crescent, Girraween. For more information go to topendnativeplants.org. au.

 
Darwin Symphony Or chestra Opera Gala Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 May 2016 00:00

A spectacular evening of ope ra is in store at 6.30pm on 21 M ay when the Darwin Symp hony Orchestra is joined by four of Australia’s opera superstars – Cheryl Baker, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Henry Choo and Victoria Lambourn – for a concert of fa vourite arias. At the Darwin Waterfront – take your own chair or rug and a picnic (no glass or alcohol permitted); gold coin donation.

 
U3A Meetings Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:52

Because of maintenance work being undertaken on the air-conditioning installation at Casuarina Library, there will be no U3A meetings (talks or mah-jong) from 26 April to 12 May 2016 (inclusive).

 
Have Your Say Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 20:01

In presenting our organisation’s financial situation at the Annual General Meeting last month, Treasurer in Office, Audrey Grace noted that the accounts for the last year showed a deficit of $4,950. In the discussion that followed it was suggested that some savings could be made in future by discontinuing the practice of placing obituary notices in the NT News when a member dies as each insertion costs $180.50, and instead recording the passing in the Newsletter.

This suggestion met with overwhelming support at the AGM; however, it was decided to consult members on a larger scale. If you would like to make your position known please call Judith on 8932 7545, leave a message at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or indicate your preference on the form which will be available at our meetings on 7 and 12 April.

 
Countries Study Group Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:59

This month, Jack Oliver will be taking us back to ancient Sumer for what promises to be an interesting talk. The meeting will be held at Lorna’s house at 3pm on 8 April (please note: not the first Friday of the month). For further information call Lorna on 8948 0411.

Sumer, a region of Southern Mesopotamia, is generally considered to be the cradle of civilisation; you can find out more about the Sumerians here.

 
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