Water Dragon at Marylynne's river home. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Water Dragon at Marylynne’s river home. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley.

Greetings from down under where National Bilby Day is being held every year on the second Sunday in September. This special day is used as a focal point to promote community events to fundraise and create awareness about the Bilby. No other Australian species has the honour of having its own National Day. Bilbies were once widespread in the arid and semi-arid areas of Australia. With the introduction of cats, foxes, and rabbits, plus changes to its habitat have decimated Bilby numbers.

bilby2A Bilby is a shy, nocturnal marsupial, unique to Australia. It has a grey white silky coat, long sensitive ears and a pink pointed nose. It has thick claws and strong forelimbs that enable it to dig rapidly in the desert soil. It is about the size of a cat, with an unusual black or dark grey tail with a pure white brush at the tip, which holds in the air behind itself when it walks or runs about. These delightful little creatures normally live for ten years. bilbyFinding a Bilby in their natural habitat is almost impossible; however you can see them in various wildlife sanctuaries around Australia. Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation in South East Queensland allows you to adopt a Bilby or your favourite animal.

Discover the Red Centre from Alice Springs, a hub for Aboriginal Art, Pioneer history and quirky events like Henley-on-Todd Regatta. See Uluru-Kata Tjuta on a camel or a Harley Davidson, or with a gourmet dune top dinner. Explore Kings Canyon, West MacDonnell Ranges, Simpson Desert and Devils Marbles on journeys like the Red Centre Way, Larapinta Trail and Explorers Highway.

The Fairy circle in the garden

The Fairy circle in the garden

The Arrernte Aboriginal people have made their home in the central Australian Desert in and around the site of the future Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years. The Aboriginal name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. The modern town of Alice Springs has both Western and Aboriginal influences. The town’s focal point, The Todd Mall, hosts a number of Aboriginal Art Galleries and Community events.

The Alice’, as it is known combines laid-back charm with all modern conveniences, comforts and diversions you would find in a good sized town. It’s full of friendly people and has shopping, bars, cafes, restaurants, markets and entertainment, a casino and an arts and convention centre.

Cymbidium orchid in the garden. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Cymbidium orchid in the garden. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

The climate promotes an outdoor lifestyle, backed up by excellent sporting and recreational venues, including one of the world’s top 10 desert golf courses, nestled on the side of the spectacular MacDonnell ranges. Alice Springs is one of the seven Australian Regions participating in the Government’s Solar City Programme, and with an average of 300 sunny days a year the town is well on the way to becoming a Solar Energy Model for the rest of Australia and the World.

In the Centre there is an abundance and beauty of native vegetation. River Red Gums thrive in the beds of the Centre’s many underground river systems, marking where the regions hidden waters lie. Other trees of infinite variety feature in the landscape, from Desert Oaks and Mulga trees to Palms and Cycads that have survived the millions of years since the Centre was a tropical forest. At times, brilliant wildflowers create dramatic bursts of colour throughout the region.

In Alice Springs Desert Park you will find a Bilby. Crocodile Cruises, Fishing charters to Camel Rides. You are spoilt for choice in the Northern Territories.

Springtime in the garden by Reg J.Dunkley

Springtime in the garden by Reg J.Dunkley

The sad saga of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH370 continues with analysis of wreckage thought to be from the missing Boeing 777 supports the theory that the aircraft was flown into the ocean on purpose in a “death dive”. Investigators have confirmed that the wing flap was not deployed at the time of impact, ruling out a controlled crash landing in the ocean as that would have required the flaps to be deployed. Instead it suggests the missing flight plunged into the ocean at high speed, breaking up on impact. More than two years of painstaking searching in the Indian Ocean has produced no sign of the missing airplane – and the final moments of the journey are still a mystery.

Shelly Beach is gearing up for a long hot summer with surfers providing lessons, and the twenty eight holiday cabins right on the beach front ready for the holiday season. My garden birds are happily eating amongst the heavy scented jasmine and orchids that are now in full bloom. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is behaving well, with no more escapes so far.

My books “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,

Wallis the Woman I Love, Letters of a Travelling Lady,” are available

on Amazon, Xlibris and my website. www.patriciasartworld.com

cheers. Patricia.