Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.
It has been a devastating start to the New Year for Western Australia, with a series of bushfires that have raged across the country, the latest deaths lifting the national toll to eight.
Some 143 properties including 128 houses as well as caravans and community buildings have been destroyed, and the town of Yarloop has been closed and will not be open to the public “for some time”. More than 70.876 Ha have been burnt in the blaze that was started by lightning on January 6th. The bushfire -which is neither contained nor controlled – is moving slowly in a South Easterly direction.
There remains a threat to lives and homes in Harvey, Cookernup, Wokalup and surrounding areas. Bushfires are a part of every Australian summer. They can start suddenly, move quickly and affect large areas. Western Australia Bushfire season runs between November and April in the South West, while the Northern Bushfire Season runs from June to late October.
Australia Day is celebrated on January 26th each year and commemorates the first landing in Australia by Captain Arthur Phillip. As a nation Australia had a painful start. Under British rule it was intended as a Penal Colony. The Ruling Classes in the 18th century England considered criminals to be incapable of rehabilitation, and segregated convicts from the general public.
It was January 26th, 1788 when the First Fleet of eleven ships sailed into Botany Bay and landed in Sydney Cove. The Colony got off to a rocky beginning but by 1792 the outpost was prospering under the leadership of Captain Phillip. As a sense of patriotism and pride developed the people began to consider January 26th as their founding day. In 18l8 January 26th was declared a legal holiday. Each year on the 26th January an “Australian of the Year” award ceremony takes place and four individuals are chosen.
In Sydney Australia Day starts at the Harbour with the 7.30 a.m. raising of The Aboriginal and Australian Flags on Sydney Harbour Bridge. This dramatic event begins with the lighting of an honorary fire at the Sydney Opera House, which is carried to the Tribal Warrior an Aboriginal Vessel. Bark canoes are then despatched to meet the Tribal Warrior beneath the Harbour Bridge. Fire from each of the Tribes rises like incense as the flags are raised, paying tribute to the nation’s history.
Sydney Ferrython race begins at 11.00a.m. Decorated ferries compete departing from Circular Quay for Shark Island.
A 21 Gun salute takes place.
Tall ships race from Bradley’s Head to Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Each State celebrates the day in their own individual style.
The name “Australia” was suggested by Captain Matthew Flinders. He was the first explorer to sail entirely around Australia and identify it as a continent. “Australia” means “Southern” in Latin. The continent was officially christened “Australia” in 1824.
In 1968 The Fellowship of First Fleeters was formed, comprising of descendants of those who arrived in Sydney Cove with The First Fleet on the 26th January, 1788. Eight thousand descendants have established their lineage and joined the Fellowship. Links have so far been confirmed in 136 families to no fewer than 191 individual First Fleet Ancestors – convict, marine, seaman or Government official.
First Fleet House, Office address is l05 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo. Sydney. N.S.W. 2011. for those who may be interested.
Taronga Zoo celebrates its 100 year birthday in 2016. From humble beginnings at Billy Goat Swamp at Moore Park, to its current prestigious position at Mosman overlooking Sydney Harbour. The zoo opened its doors at its Mosman site on October 7th 1916, with a menagerie of 228 mammals, 552 birds and 63 reptiles, many of which had to be ferried across the harbour on a flat-top barge. In the past showing animals was for the entertainment of people, today modern zoos focus on science research and conservation, and the highest welfare standards possible for animals at the zoo. Taronga is inviting everyone to spend their birthday with the animals for a $1.00 to celebrate 100 years of bringing people and wildlife together.
In 2014 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were introduced to some of Australia’s unique and endangered wildlife at Taronga Zoo, officially opening the zoo’s new Bilby Exhibit named in honour of their son, Prince George.
Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful view.
Here at Shelly Beach I now have to hand feed my feathered friend three times a day, he whistles and I go running. The lorikeets and crested headed pigeons are thriving, the lizard has disappeared but Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is still on the lookout. My books the “Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love,” are all available on Amazon and my website www.patriciasartworld.com