Bits and Pieces
Calling Interstate? Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:58

With the end of summer time, the clocks go back an hour on 3 April in NSW, SA, TAS, VIC and the ACT.

If you’re calling further afield, you may like to know that summer time started on 13 March in the majority of Canadian Provinces and US States, while European countries put their clocks forward by an hour on 27 March.

 
Making the web page print larger Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:58

If you sometimes find the text on a web page too small to read easily, you can increase the size of the print very simply: just press and hold the CTRL key while moving the wheel between the two buttons on your mouse in an upward (away from you) direction. As you scroll with the wheel, the size of the print will instantly increase. To decrease the size, hold down the CTRL key and move the mouse wheel in a downward direction. This option will also work in many other programs such as Microsoft Word.

 
Shopping in Darwin in the 1970s Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:57

Recent mention of another shopping franchise coming to Darwin made me wonder whether any members remember the following.

During the 1970s, Woolworths had their store on the same corner in the city that has been given a new lease on life recently, but it had a large car park in front. I parked there one day and went in to find the store almost empty. I commented on this to one of the assistants and she told me that all the people were round in Cavenagh Street, shopping at a new store there. I trotted round and about where Warehouse 73 is now was the new attraction; I'm not sure but I think it was a branch of Tom the Cheap from WA. Apparently they had to close the doors twice on their first day of trading to restock the shelves. You marked the shelf price on whatever you put in your basket: definitely no frills.

Later, a branch of Jack the Slasher, a warehouse-type store, opened somewhere in Winnellie. Whenever we came to the big smoke from Katherine, we always packed the esky in the car to stock up on the way home with all these new brands you never saw anywhere else. Those were the days when shopping was fun!

Fran Wickes

 
Heritage Festival Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:56

The National Trust’s 2016 Heritage Festival takes place from 18 to 24 April. Among the events on offer are a Ghost Walk in Goyder Road Cemetery, The Barbara James Memorial Lecture to be delivered this year by Graeme Sawyer who will be speaking on the theme Rediscovering a National Heritage, a Mystery Heritage Bus Tour and a sail across the harbour to Talc Head for a picnic.

For further information and to book go to nationaltrustnt.com.au or call 8981 2848.

 
Towers of Tomorrow Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:56

There’s still time to take the grandchildren in the April school holidays to this exhibition which features iconic Australian buildings as well as other structures from around the world constructed entirely of LEGO. The great diversity of models on show – shape, construction and architectural skill – makes for a truly magical display. And if you feel inspired by the exhibits, there are 20,000 pieces of LEGO available so you can create your own Tower of Tomorrow.

The exhibition runs until 10 April at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT.

 
China Tour Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:55

Following on from the item in last month’s Newsletter, the program of the October tour of the Henan and Shaanxi provinces being organised by U3A Brisbane is now available by email. If you would like a copy please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
BIRDS – and other things! Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:52

Part forty-three: Birds and Bits

You can't have too many stories about birds I always say. At least I have said it a lot since I started writing these small articles for our Newsletter.

Now, however, I believe that it is time for me to broaden the subject matter and include more of the 'other things' on a regular basis – depending on editor and executive approval, of course! I do not want my readers to feel that I am giving a lecture, but if I know or come across interesting facts, I would really like to share them with you, so I will start off with a recent re-visit to the MAGNT (the Darwin Museum).

Paying particular attention to the bird exhibits, I was amazed at how life-like many avian specimens were, and I pondered on the skill of the taxidermist. Every feather or talon correctly placed, the precise angle of the head, or an eye with exact pupil location, or delicately balanced on one leg with an outstretched wing: all of these things in harmony with real-life body movement and attention to detail.

The expertise of the taxidermist comes with many years' study, and I really appreciate their art. But did you know that although they preserve and tan the skins of animals, they utilise ready-made 'mannequins' on which to mount the skins? When/if complete skeletons are not available, the stability of standing or even seated animals is paramount. In the absence of bones to use for the purpose of rigidity or reality on otherwise unsupported extensions, these substitute 'internals' are essential. The 'insides' were once moulded from wire and papier-mâché on site, but now specialised factories produce polyurethane foam arms, legs, ears, tongues, bodies and so on in many different sizes, shapes, poses and moveable joints.

The taxidermist simply selects and orders the essential parts of the specific animal from a catalogue and, voilà, the manufacturer delivers. Of course it may still have to be shaved, shaped, padded or otherwise adapted and modified to fit the skin, but just think how much easier it is now to stuff an elephant!

I guess 'progress' had to catch up even in the taxidermy profession.

Hope you all enjoyed St Pat's and had a Happy Easter.

Gayle Carroll

 
Christmas Lunch Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 00:00

Many thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of our Christmas lunch at Rydges Airport Resort last December – it was a great success, as usual. And, once again, Gayle Carroll's quiz tested our general knowledge and showed up our poor lateral thinking. Congratulations to the lucky winners in the raffle: Inger Anderson, Fiona Douglas, Elaine Hirst, Marc Surmont and Anne Taylor. The Door Prize went to Judith Cooper.

 
Coming Soon Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:31

As usual, we have some interesting speakers this month, and they’ll be covering an eclectic range of subjects; I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all.

Last year the Tuesday group had a very successful ‘Collectibles Morning’ with members showing and presenting precious (but not necessarily valuable) objects. This year it’s the Thursday group’s turn on 15 October. Please let me know if you would like to bring along some treasure(s) and tell us all about them. You do NOT have to speak for an hour – 5 minutes will be fine if that’s all you can manage. Just discuss it with me to book your spot.

Next month’s ‘fifth Thursday’ outing is on 29 October when we will be going to the Allora Gardens Nursery for a talk and morning tea. It’s sure to be a popular outing so let Audrey have the booking form, which is on page 6, as quickly as possible. Finally, make a note in your diary that our annual Christmas lunch will be on  

3 December; the reservation form will be in next month’s Newsletter.

Gayle Carroll, Vice-President

 
BIRDS – and other things! Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:23

Part thirty-eight : Making friends

black-kiteI recently received a letterbox-drop leaflet informing me of the long-term dangers of feeding wild birds – the least of which could be simple dietary deficiencies. By supplying wild birds with incorrect and perhaps inadequate nutrition, and in doing so making them reliant on our largesse, it could result in large-scale loss or even demise of a species. Also, if birds of different species are in constant contact at our freely provided backyard ‘feeding stations’, the passing of bird diseases could proliferate.

While I wholeheartedly agreed with most of the information contained in this leaflet, I do wonder whether the Lorikeet Bird Sanctuary at Currumbin in Queensland would still be in existence if they had followed the directions stated in this article.

However, while I acknowledge the risks involved, I will continue to supplement the finch diet with free seed. I make sure not to make it a regular day/date/time/quantity etc, thus encouraging them not to be totally dependent on my provisions but just to accept the seed as random generosity. I do believe that my method of dispensing extra rations to some of the finch family will not be detrimental to their continued existence. Also, I can recall how bereft the resident ibis flock were when their daily bread and scraps donor, who lived just across from my back fence passed away, thus depriving them of their usual sustenance. I have no wish to replicate that forlorn circumstance.

In addition, a recent incident that occurred at a neighbour’s place convinced me not to be over-liberal or follow an exact time-line when feeding ‘my’ finches or any other wild animals, because sometimes bad things can happen. This neighbour would, on a daily basis, place a couple of bowls and plates filled with bread, seed and scraps onto his open back lawn for an assortment of birds to enjoy. However, this gratifying sight was interrupted one morning when a raptor (probably an Australian Hobby [falcon]) swooped down and clutched a Peaceful Dove in his talons, sending other birds scattering every-which-way in a fluttering panic to avoid the same fate. Even though this is normal animal behaviour, I have no wish to lure birds to ‘my table’ making them a sitting target for birds of prey such as falcons, harriers kites or hawks.

Using this easy segue to my next topic, I have recently observed a pair of Black Kites in nearby tree tops, just watching, waiting, watching...

The tall black wattle tree is a popular roosting place for our resident ibis, but who willingly gave up their 'seats' to the more determined and lethal ‘bite power’ of the kites who chose this tree as their new observation post. The Black Kite, a rich dark brown in colour with a pale beige face and neck (not to be confused with the Brown [square-tailed] Kite) is common in the urban areas of Darwin, living mainly near tree-lined water courses but also frequenting open savannah land and rubbish dumps, seeking small prey and roadkill.

This particular pair of kites stayed around for a few days then disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. The Black Kite, in flight, is sometimes mistaken for the Whistling Kite, but its whistle is not as pronounced or as prolonged, and it has a forked tail rather than square or round. It is usually the Black Kite that you see hovering around a bushfire, pouncing on any lizards or small mammals that manage to escape the inferno. It is also the main protagonist in a locust plague.

More next month

Gayle Carroll

 

 
Music Appreciation Group Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:22

There will be no meeting of the Group in September; however, Lorna reminds us that music is good for the soul and that we should keep listening to Classic FM on 107.3.

 
Countries Study Group Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:22

In August, Jack and Chris jointly presented Yemen which has a fascinating but chaotic history. Yemen has the same population as Australia, but the similarities end there. The meeting helped us to understand the complex and sad situation in the country today.
The next meeting will take place at on 4 September at Lorna’s house when Mirella will present Mongolia, another incredibly interesting country. For further details call 8948 0411.

 
Pre-Cyclone Season Clean-Up Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:18

The City of Darwin will be conducting its annual pre-cyclone season clean-up across the city. The aim is to remove rubbish and debris from residents’ property which may become a dangerous hazard in the event of a cyclone. If you have items that you would like to be collected, you are asked to place your rubbish outside your property, but in such a way that you keep the pavement clear for pedestrians.

If you live in the northern suburbs (Alawa, Anula, Brinkin, Jingili, Karama, Leanyer, Lyons, Malak, Marrara, Moil, Muirhead, Nakara, Tiwi, Wagaman, Wanguri and Wulagi), you should place items for collection on the nature strip on 29 August. 

For the rest of the city (Bayview, Coconut Grove, Darwin CBD, Fannie Bay, Larrakeyah, Ludmilla, Millner, Nightcliff, Parap, Rapid Creek, Stuart Park, The Gardens, The Narrows and Woolner), rubbish should be put out on 19 September. Items which can be left out for collection include furniture, carpets, timber, white goods (fridges, freezers, washing machines…..), waste building products (such as wood, bricks and steel), television sets and computers. As recyclable items will be separated at the time of collection for recycling or reuse, residents are asked to separate recyclables from other rubbish.

The clean-up teams will not collect garden refuse, flammable liquids, paint, asbestos or car parts. For information on how to dispose of such items call 8930 0300.

If you require assistance to move large items to the nature strip for collection, call 8930 0300 no later than the Friday preceding the dates given above.

 
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