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21 Yokanup Road
Albany 6330

08 98449417

Albany is a stunning place and a photographers dream. Stretching from West Cape Howe National Park in the West through the City of Albany and beyond to the East the Albany Region is a wonderful place to explore and photograph. We will claim Denmark through to Bremer Bay as in our region.


albany sunset.jpg


Please feel free to write for us on this blog..we would love to hear your stories and see your photos of your experience in Albany.  Email to [email protected]

Thank you Ria Grobler VD Walt for this stunning photo of the the windmill farm



Maggie van Santen

Mokare (c. 1800 – 26 June 1831) was a Noongar man, an Aboriginal man from the south-west corner of Australia who was pivotal in aiding European exploration of the area. Mokare had two known brothers: Mollian (d. 1829), who may have been known as Yallapoli, and Nakina, who with Mokare, was a frequent visitor to the Albany settlement, staying with the government resident, Dr Alexander Collie. He also was recorded as having a married sister.

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Possibly first recorded as the charismatic “Jack” recorded by Phillip Parker King in his expedition to King George Sound in 1821, Mokare was from the Minang clan of Noongar. With the arrival of Major Edmund Lockyer in the brig Amity, in 1827, he showed the Europeans the walking trails that the Noongar people had used and maintained over generations in the Albany region. Many of these are today the roads of that region of Australia. He became a close friend of the surgeon-assistant J. S. Nind, with whom he frequently visited. In December 1829 Mokare guided Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson‘s overland expedition during which Mount Barker and Mount Lindsaywere named as well as Hay RiverDenmark River and Wilson Inlet. Two months later he served again as the guide for Captain Barker’s expedition over the same area. As there was no competition between Europeans and Aboriginal people for land, women or hunting, the settlement in Albany was particularly peaceful.

Mokare was well known in his short life for being a peacemaker, and an effective mediator between black and white communities. He was concerned when Stirling took command of the Albany settlement in 1830, as he had heard of the battles and massacres between European settlers and Aboriginal people, and wished Albany to be maintained as a separate settlement.

Mokare died on 26 June 1831. The Noongar People and Europeans had assembled at Collie’s house and walked to a site selected by Nakina where the Europeans dug a grave and Mokare was interred with a buka cloak and personal artifacts to Nakina’s specifications.When Collie himself was dying from tuberculosis in 1835, he asked to be buried alongside Mokare. Their graves are together beneath Albany Town Hall. Four years after Mokare’s death, the surveyor John Septimus Roe had his body exhumed and re-interred at the newly established Albany Cemetery.

A park consisting of native bushland on the northern side of Mount Melville in Albany was named after Mokare in 1978. A statue was erected in Alison Hartman Gardens on York Street in the centre of Albany in 1997 as part of a reconciliation project.

Alison Hartman Gardens

Maggie van Santen

Alison Hartman Garden, often referred to as Mokare Park, is a park on York Street in Albany in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.

Alison Hartman Gardens - Mokare

The park, located near the centre of Albany, contains numerous sculptures including the statue of Mokare. (The Statue of Mokare, at the front of the gardens, is dedicated to the aboriginal man who helped early settlers maintain a peaceful coexistence with the local Noongar people. This was erected in 1997 as part of a reconciliation project by the Albany community. Mokare (c. 1800 – 26 June 1831) was a Noongar man, an Aboriginal man from the south-west corner of Australia who was pivotal in aiding European exploration of the area. Mokare had two known brothers: Mollian (d. 1829), who may have been known as Yallapoli, and Nakina, who with Mokare, was a frequent visitor to the Albany settlement, staying with the government resident, Dr Alexander Collie. He also was recorded as having a married sister.)

The area is situated adjacent to the Albany Public Library and the Albany Town Square. It often hosts local markets. The area was once the vegetable gardens behind the old state school, which is now the Albany District Education Centre. The gardens are named after a long-serving teacher at Albany State School, Alison Edith Hartman (1906-1978).She was the daughter of John Hartman, who built Albany War Memorial, and she was the Principal of Albany Primary School from 1935 to 1967.

The gardens contain two large Norfolk Island Pine trees and a Quereus Robur tree that date back to the 1890s along the southern edge. The pines are decorated every Christmas season. The statue of Mokare was erected in 1977 as a memorial to the Noongar man who helped he early settlers maintain a peaceful coexistence with the traditional owners. A series of community sculptures were set around a granite outcrop in the gardens in 1989. These include large, century-old timbers are from the original own Jetty that symbolise Jetty, ships loading cranes and other agricultural machinery to acknowledge the importance of shipping and agriculture in the early development of the town. An old tractor seat and other pieces of old agricultural machinery symbolise the agricultural history of our region. The sculptural installation is not meant to be decorative. It is meant to say something about our history, about the way we feel about our history. It is a “sensory ” piece. People are asked to feel it, walk around it and look at it, listen to it. Above all, to think about the years that have gone into making this area what it is now .

A Peace Pole at the rear of the gardens was erected in 2011 as part of the Harmony Day celebrations. It features the message “May Peace prevail on Earth” in six languages.

Old Farm, Strawberry Hill

Maggie van Santen

The Old Farm is located on Strawberry Hill in the suburb of Mira Mar in Albany, Western Australia. It is known as being the first farm in Western Australia.

Old Farm - Strawberry Hill
By HughesdarrenOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The hill on which the property is situated rises to a height of 237 feet (72 m) and is a spur of Mount Clarence. The soil is a mixture of clay and gravel with rich black loam on the lower side.

The farm was initially established in 1827 as a government farm when the first Europeans settled at King George Sound Edmund LockyerAlexander Collie and John Lawrence Morley selected the site as a government farm. Originally it occupied an area of 1,536 acres (622 ha) but only 6 acres (2 ha) remain today. The next three commandants of the settlement, Captain Wakefield, Lieutenant Sleeman and Captain Collet Barker, followed Lockyer’s plan of continuing to develop the farm.

Alexander Collie was appointed Government Resident of Albany in 1831 and moved into a wattle and daub cottage situated on the farm. He named the property Strawberry Hill after the small plot of strawberries he was cultivating. Collie retired in 1832 and his successor was D. H. Macleod but it was the farm superintendent John Lawrence Morley who handed the property onto Richard Spencer.

Spencer was appointed as Government Resident in 1833; he acquired the farm and resided there with his wife, Ann, and his ten children.  Spencer arranged for the erection of a granite two-storey building at the rear end of the original wattle and daub structure at a cost of £100. The garden was now well established and producing blood orangesraspberriesgrapesasparagusfigs and almonds. The first visitors to stay in the new building included Charles Darwin and Captain Robert FitzRoy, of HMS Beagle

The old thatched roof wattle and daub part of the main residence burned down in 1870. A second cottage was built by Charles Miner in the same year.

Francis Bird, the Chief Architect of Western Australia, acquired the property in 1889 and changed the name from Strawberry Hill to the Old Farm. His family retained ownership of the farm until the 1930s.

The site lay derelict for many years until purchased by the Federal Government in 1956 and it was then vested in the National Trust of Australia in 1964. Conservation work commenced shortly afterwards and it was later opened to the public. 


Source: Free Wikipedia

Patrick Taylor Cottage

Maggie van Santen

Patrick Taylor Cottage, also referred to as Patrick Taylor Cottage Museum, is a museum in Albany in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia.  The cottage is the pride and joy of the Albany Historical Society and a must-see attraction.

Located below road level on Duke Street overlooking Princess Royal Harbour, the cottage is on the second oldest title in the area. The title dates back to when the town was a military outpost. The wattle and daub construction is representative of the traditional building methods used by the early settlers

The cottage is a single storey residence with walls variously constructed of wattle and daub, ( a mixture of woven sticks, mud and Cow dung) mud-brick, wood-fired brick and framed weatherboard. It has a corrugated iron roof,replacing the original shingled roof. The cottage consists of eleven rooms: an entry, dining room, bedroom, nursery, family room, sewing room, kitchen, laundry, box room, parlour and side verandah. Much of the verandah has been walled in using weatherboard on studs and sun-baked bricks. It is surrounded by an English cottage garden.The entire site is found at the base of a gently sloping hill and has several mature tress and shrubs growing around the building.


The building was constructed by the Morley brothers in 1832. John Lawrence Morley was a former sailor with the East India Company and one of the first settlers in the area. He also leased the Old Farm at Strawberry Hill, and was the builder of Wollaston House. The cottage was originally set on a 240-acre (97 ha) block.

When Richard Spencer arrived in Albany in 1833 to take up the position of magistrate the cottage was one of “three miserable houses” mentioned in his records.

The building was sold to Patrick Taylor in 1835 by the Morleys for £400 on a much smaller block size. Taylor had arrived in Western Australia from Scotland in 1834. During the voyage he met Mary Yates Bussell; the two later married, with Patrick dying in 1877 and Mary living in the building until her death in 1887. Taylor’s son inherited the property and it was still owned by the Taylor family in the 1950s.

The building was condemned as unfit for habitation in the 1960s, and the Albany Historical Society began campaigning to preserve it. In 1964 the cottage was opened as Albany’s first museum..It is currently owned by the Albany Historical Society who use it as a museum. It contains 2,000 historical items including clocks, silverware, costumes and kitchenware.

The cottage was moved permanently onto the State Register of Heritage Places in 2009.

Meet the Australian wildlife most threatened by climate change

Maggie van Santen

Image 20150525 32551 3fnrgq
The Mountain Pygmy Possum, which is the only Australian mammal confined to the alpine zone of Australian Alps. is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Matthew Pauza, Author provided
Jasmine Lee, The University of Queensland; Ramona Maggini, The University of Queensland, and Richard Fuller, The University of Queensland

Nearly half of 200 Australian species are threatened by climate change, according to our research published today in PLOS ONE.

Climate change is one of the major contributors to global biodiversity loss, and plant and animal species can be affected by climate change in different ways. Some may be directly affected by sea level rise or snow melt, whereas some may lose a pollinator or prey species that they rely on.

Species that cannot move to more suitable habitats, or who have no suitable habitat left, risk becoming extinct. Understanding how each of our species is affected by climate change means we can help them survive it.

A recent global study showed that between 11-15% of amphibian species are threatened by climate change (depending on how much the world warms), yet we rarely know how to help these species because we don’t know why individual species are vulnerable.

We set out to document how many of Australia’s threatened species are likely to be impacted by climate change, and which aspects of their biology was leading to the vulnerability. We chose a balanced selection of species, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and plants for our analysis, and assess them using a method developed by NatureServe.

Which species?

Over 45% of all the threatened species we assessed were moderately to highly vulnerable, including a wide range of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and plants.

The species most vulnerable to climate change was the Mountain Pygmy Possum, threatened by increased snow melt, and further habitat loss through development of ski resorts.

Overall, and perhaps not surprisingly, amphibians are most highly vulnerable to climate change. They have small and fragmented distributions, and rely heavily on particular moisture regimes and aquatic habitats.

Plants were the next most vulnerable group, because they often have low dispersal ability (they cannot move freely like animals) and rely on specific soil types. Birds, who are very good dispersers, were the least vulnerable group.

The Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) is one of Australia’s threatened frog species. Potentially manipulating water sources or providing artificial water points may be the best way to ensure the future of many Australian amphibians under climate change. Jeremy Ringma

Where should we focus our efforts?

The three most pervasive factors for all the assessed threatened species were low genetic variation, dependence on particular patterns of disturbance (often fire, required for reproduction or to maintain suitable habitats), and reliance on particular patterns of rainfall or habitats.

Crucially, the reasons why threatened species are vulnerable to climate change varied markedly across Australia. Along the south-east coastline, the major driving factors were reliance on particular patterns of disturbance and low genetic variation, while in contrast one of key factors driving vulnerability of the species residing in the upper Northern Territory was reliance on particular moisture regimes and habitats.

Each of these regions will require a set of on-ground actions targeted specifically to address the factors causing climate change vulnerability of the species living there.

Fires play a large role in maintaining suitable habitat for many Australian species and are required by some for reproduction. Reliance on fire regimes is one of the factors driving species climate change vulnerability across the south-east coastline. Julian Murphy/WWF

What can we do?

Once the drivers of climate change vulnerability are understood for different species, groups of species and regions, we can start to take action. Actions that are targeted to help species adapt to the changing climate and give them the best chance of surviving into the future.

But how do we go about it? As an example, we can increase moisture in an environment to help amphibians by installing microhabitat refuges (such as fallen logs and cover boards), or directly manipulating the moisture levels at breeding sites by installing irrigation sprayers.

We can target actions to specific sites. The south-east coastline for example could be benefited by having dedicated areas that are specially managed to maintain appropriate patterns of fire.

Other actions may be broader and target a larger number of species, such as habitat restoration, or corridors to counter increasing fragmentation. We need to identify and protect critical refuges for as many species as possible. Whatever the case, helping our species adapt to climate change is going to require novel and unique management strategies.

Now that we know which of our threatened species are being impacted by climate change and why, we can begin to design on-ground management strategies to start combating the impending changes.

In conjunction with increasing on-ground actions, we must keep in mind that the cost and difficulty of more intensive management to save threatened species underlines the importance of bringing about rapid and deep cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions that are creating this crisis.

The ConversationThis article was co-authored by Martin Taylor, Conservation Science Manager at WWF-Australia.

Jasmine Lee, PhD candidate, biodiversity conservation and climate change, The University of Queensland; Ramona Maggini, Honorary Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, and Richard Fuller, Associate professor, The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Maggie van Santen

How Anzac Day came to occupy a sacred place in Australians’ hearts

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Australians are deeply attached to the cluster of beliefs and traditions we call the ‘Anzac legend’. Shutterstock
Carolyn Holbrook, Deakin University

Australia is spending the extraordinary amount of A$562 million commemorating the centenary of the first world war between 2014 and 2018 — far more than any other nation, including the major combatants. This is compelling proof we are very attached to the cluster of beliefs and traditions we call the “Anzac legend”.

While we identify Anzac as one of the most prized components of the Australian identity in 2017, that has not always been the case. The values we associate with Anzac today – mateship, sacrifice, the birth of the nation – are not necessarily the qualities that would have come to mind for an Australian of the 1920s.

And if you asked a university student in the 1970s what they thought about Anzac, they might well have told you that it was an old-fashioned idea that glorified war; the sooner it was forgotten, the better.

The Anzac legend has an often-controversial history. That history began almost as soon as news of the dawn landing of the Anzac troops at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 reached Australian shores.

Newspaper editors, politicians and leaders of the church readily proclaimed the charge up the cliffs into Turkish fire to be Australia’s “baptism of fire” and “the birth of the nation”.

Australian soldiers and their dugouts built on the hillside overlooking the landing area at Gallipoli. Australian War Memorial

The more obvious occasion for Australia’s national birth — the peaceful act of federation on January 1, 1901 – lacked the bloody appeal of Gallipoli. The Australian nation was created during the age of “New Imperialism”, when the empires of Europe were engaged in furious competition for colonial outposts and the resources and markets they would bring.

It was a contest that led in 1914 to the outbreak of the first world war. According to the chest-beating nationalism that accompanied and justified this imperial jostling, war was the truest test of the character of men and nations.

Australians felt especially keenly their lack of bloody initiation (the frontier wars with Aboriginal peoples did not count), given our penal past. A good showing in battle would expunge the convict stain and prove us worthy members of the British race.

Even the radical poet Henry Lawson favoured war as the national midwife over peaceful federation. “We boast no more of our bloodless flag, that rose from a nation’s slime,” he wrote in The Star of Australasia. Instead, Lawson forewarned:

The Star of the South shall rise, in the lurid clouds of war.

The earliest version of the Anzac legend reflected the society from which it sprung. It sought both to distinguish Australians from Britons and earn their approval. Thus, the original Anzac legend emphasised the fighting ability of the Australian soldiers, and their national distinctiveness.

Unlike the English, we were laconic and egalitarian. We didn’t stand on ceremonies like saluting and parading, but when it came to battle we were second to none. None of these comparisons with Britain indicated disloyalty to the “mother country”. One of the tenets of Anzac commemoration remained our continuing devotion to King and Empire.

The Anzac legend became an important addition to the Australian identity during the 1920s and 1930s, but it would be wrong to assume that it enjoyed the celebratory connotations it does today.

Anzac commemoration had natural constraints. Sixty thousand Australians were killed in the war, and 160,000 were recorded officially as wounded. Australians felt immense pride in the achievements of their soldiers, but that pride was tethered to the grief of those who had witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of war.

Along with the deep attachment to our British heritage, female subservience and sexual abstinence, the Anzac legend was one of the foundation stones of Australian society that was upturned by the generation that grew to maturity in the 1960s.

Alan Seymour’s 1958 play, The One Day of the Year, notoriously condemned Anzac Day as a day of “bloody wastefulness” perpetuated year after year by a “screaming tribe of great, stupid, drunken, vicious, bigoted no-hopers”.

The unpopularity of the Vietnam War from the mid-1960s greatly exacerbated anti-Anzac feeling. Later, in the 1970s and early 1980s, feminist protesters targeted Anzac Day, condemning the rape of women in war. For many among the baby-boomer generation, war commemoration had become indistinguishable from the glorification of war.

Myths and legends always reflect the societies in which they exist. So, we have seen the Anzac legend bend and sway to accommodate our contemporary concerns with diversity and inclusiveness. Women and non-Anglo Australians have been increasingly drawn into the Anzac tent.

The extent to which Aboriginal Australians have both sought and been invited to participate has been one of the noticeable trends of the Anzac centenary commemorations. Tom Wright’s play Black Diggers has toured the country, telling the story of a group of Aboriginal soldiers who fought loyally for Australia, only to be relegated to their lowly status after they returned.

Monuments to British and Australian army forces in Gallipoli in Canakkale, Turkey. Shutterstock

As the centenary of the Gallipoli landing loomed in 2015, it looked as if Anzac was becoming the kind of commercially driven carnival that Easter and Christmas have morphed into.

Canny business people knew a cash cow when they saw one. There were Gallipoli cruises, camps and concerts. Men’s magazines and merchandisers peddled Anzac porn (before the Department of Veterans’ Affairs shut them down). We even had Gallipoli the Musical.

The most notorious of the “Brandzac” ventures was Woolworths’ “Fresh in our Memories” campaign — a public relations disaster for the ages. Leading up to Anzac Day in 2015, Woolworths encouraged people to post images of those who had been affected by war. At the bottom of the images, Woolworths’ picture generator inserted the slogan “Fresh in Our Memories” and the company’s logo.

The blatant commercial motive drew an immediate social media backlash, including a rash of satirical memes.

Woolworths’ blunder was a symptom of a bigger problem. Perhaps the public appetite for Anzac had been overestimated. Amid rumblings about Gallipoli fatigue, Channels Seven and Nine scaled back their plans for coverage of the dawn service in Gallipoli. Lee Kernaghan’s “Spirit of the Anzacs” arena spectacular was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

Channel Nine’s seven-part TV series, Gallipoli — predicted to be the “biggest show on television” in 2015 by network head David Gyngell — was a spectacular ratings flop, despite critical acclaim. Foxtel’s excellent Deadline Gallipoli, starring Sam Worthington, also failed to fire.

Anzac commemoration has been noticeably more muted since 2015. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is less ready than his predecessor Tony Abbott to exalt the Anzacs and prime the nationalist pump. Like his son-in-law and former army captain, James Brown, who criticised our “Anzac obsession” in his book Anzac’s Long Shadow, Turnbull prefers to emphasise the service and well-being of contemporary military personnel and veterans.

Criticisms of the Anzac excess from commentators including historian Marilyn Lake, co-author of What’s Wrong with Anzac?, and David Stephens at the Honest History group have arguably helped to temper the more exuberant rhetoric of politicians and ambitions of cynical commercial interests. Stephens has recently co-edited The Honest History Book, which argues that:

Australia is more than Anzac – and always has been.

While Australians no longer blink an eye at the rampant commercialisation of Easter and Christmas, we have drawn the line at allowing Anzac to be surrendered to the profit gods. Does this mean that Anzac is more sacred to Australians than the Christian traditions of Easter and Christmas?

With its invocations to suffering and sacrifice, its quasi-worship of long-deceased young men and its solemn dawn service rites, Anzac commemoration shares many of the elements of conventional religion.

The ConversationThe historian Ken Inglis wondered as long ago as 1960 whether Anzac functioned as a secular religion in Australian society. In 2017, I think we can confidently answer: yes, it does.

Carolyn Holbrook, Alfred Deakin Research Fellow, Deakin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australia’s south west: a hotspot for wildlife and plants that deserves World Heritage status

Maggie van Santen

Australia’s south west: a hotspot for wildlife and plants that deserves World Heritage status

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The numbat, Australia’s equivalent of a meerkat, is one of the unique mammal species confined to the south west. Sean Van Alphen, Author provided
Hans Lambers, University of Western Australia and Don Bradshaw, University of Western Australia

Southwest Australia is one of 25 original global hotspots for wildlife and plants, and the first one identified in Australia.

Since the first analysis identifying biodiversity hotspots in 2000, the list has expanded, and now 35 hotspots are recognised, two in Australia: the Southwest and the forests of east Australia.

Biodiversity hotspots are defined as regions “where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat”. As many as 44% of all species of native plants and 35% of all species in four animal groups are confined to the original 25 hotspots, which comprise only 1.4% of Earth’s land surface.

This opens the way for a conservation strategy, focusing on these hotspots in proportion to their share of the world’s species at risk.

The Kwongan with national parks, reserves and other conservation aras marked in blue.

Introducing the south west

Australia was once part of the ancient continent Gondwana, that supports the Southwest’s unique wildlife formed when India broke away from the supercontinent. While there are some young sand dunes, much of the southwest has been geologically undisturbed for tens of millions of years.

Southwest Australia, also known as the Kwongan, is therefore an old landscape with a stable climate. It has not seen glaciers or ice for more than 200 million years. This has allowed species to evolve without the major extinctions seen elsewhere in the world.

The region is about the size of England. England has about 1,500 species of vascular plants (all plants except ferns and mosses), 47 of them found nowhere else.

Contrast that with Southwest Australia, which harbours an astonishing 7,239 vascular plant species, almost 80% of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Kingia australis is completely unique to the south west. Graham Zemunik

Among these unique species is Cephalotus follicularis, the Albany pitcher plant, a carnivorous species that belongs to its own family and is not at all related to other carnivorous pitchers.

Another iconic endemic is Kingia australis, a single species in an Order found nowhere else (to put this in context, an Order is the same same level of classification as all butterflies and moths).

There are fewer animals in the south west than plants, but the Kwongan is home to some of Australia’s most iconic species, such as the tiny nectar and pollen-feeding Honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). The Honey possum is only distantly-related to other Australian marsupials and is the only member of its Family. Some DNA studies also place it close to a small South American marsupial, the Monito del Monte (Dromiciops gliroides), suggesting a link between its ancestor and the time when South America was joined to Gondwana.

Another amazing marsupial found exclusively in the Kwongan is the termite-eating numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), the only truly diurnal marsupial with sentinel behaviour similar to that of the African meerkat.

The Brush-tailed bettong or Woylie (Bettongia penicillata) was until recently very abundant in the south west but, starting in 2006, it has suffered a dramatic decline and is now currently listed as Critically Endangered. Nobody knows why. This underlines the critical need for protection of these unique species and their habitat in a biodiversity hotspot under increasing pressure from urbanisation.

Due to its ancient geology, the soils in the region are almost all poor in nutrients, but this is likely the secret to the south west’s astonishing diversity. Like most of Australia, the region has been inhabited by humans for well over 40,000 years, so that a rich cultural heritage adds to the biological and geological value of the region.

The honey possum’s closest relative may be in South America, indicating ancient connections.

Of poison and plants

What are the threats for the Southwest Australian hotspot?

For small animals, these threats are predominantly feral cats, foxes and other introduced mammals. The main method to control these is by using sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as 1080.

Introduced animals are highly-sensitive to this poison, which blocks their metabolism. Native animals in south-western Australia have co-evolved with Gastrolobium (a type of pea flower) species, which produce and contain fluoroacetate. The native wildlife is therefore relatively immune to 1080.

Plants known to produce fluoroacetate are rare. Outside the genus Gastrolobium, the trait is known for one Acacia species in Australia, a single genus in Africa and three genera in Brazil.

Baiting with 1080 is expensive and some animal rights supporters object to it on the grounds that it is not humane. Fencing is an excellent alternative, and used by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. It is expensive in the short term, but may actually be a better option in the long run.

It looks like a pitcher plant, but Cephalotus follicularis isn’t closely related at all. Hans Lambers

Threats to plants have historically been land clearing for agriculture. Not only did this remove the original vegetation, including endemic species, but it also gave rise to dryland salinity, as a result of a rising saline water table.

Salt that arrived from the ocean with the rain has accumulated in the landscape, but low in the soil profile. When perennial vegetation was replaced by annual crops that use far less water on an annual basis, the saline water table rose. This gave rise to expanding salt lakes, which are a natural element in south-western Australia, as well as new salt lakes and salt scars in the landscape.

A more recent threat to the biodiversity hotspot is the massive development for housing and recreation that has grown in the southwest region of Western Australia. This brings with it weed invasions, higher incidence of animal road deaths due to cars and trucks, and habitat destruction due to more frequent bushfires.

A 2011 bushfire caused by a prescribed burn in the Margaret River region resulted in the death of large numbers of now endangered Western ringtail possums and the destruction of many houses.

Australian vegetation has a long history of exposure to and resilience in the face of fire, but an increase in fires due to climate change may overwhelm native wildlife and plants.

Protecting the Southwest, forever

Lack of knowledge among the local community of the amazing diversity of the southwest is one of the reasons it is not cared for as well as it should be. So we founded the Kwongan Foundation in 2006 with a view to conserving the south west and promoting research.

Woylie have inexplicably declined since 2006. Mark Bundock

Our main aim is to secure UNESCO World Heritage Listing for the entire Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot, focusing on national parks and existing reserves, without impinging on farming, forestry and mining activities.

UNESCO inscription would raise local awareness, offer better protection, and boost the tourism industry, which is worth billions to the state, with the “nature experience” one of the top drawcards for foreign visitors.

Tourism is not far behind the mining industry as an income-generating economic activity. Ecology and economy can therefore go hand in hand, leading to diversification of the Western Australian economy.

We’re hoping any WA minister for the environment or tourism will embrace the plan and wish to own it, as well as scientists. One thing is certain, without action soon, Australia’s most important biodiversity hotspot will be gone forever.

To find out more about the South West’s unique biodiversity see the Plant Life on the Sandplains in Southwest Australia and the Kwongan Foundation on Facebook.

Hans Lambers, Professor and Head of School, University of Western Australia and Don Bradshaw, Emeritus professor, University of Western Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Indigenous Tourism

Maggie van Santen

How Indigenous tourism can help bring about reconciliation in Australia

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Quentin Agius Aboriginal Cultural Tours’ Point Pearce tour, South Australia. Supplied
Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, University of South Australia

Indigenous tourism is “tourism activity in which indigenous people are directly involved either through control and/or by having their culture serve as the essence of the attraction”.

Ideally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be able to assert some degree of control over their engagement with tourism and should secure benefits from this.

One positive outcome that Indigenous tourism can offer is opportunities to foster reconciliation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples use tourism to bridge the cultural divides and create better futures by sharing culture, knowledge and country.

Settler-colonial states such as Australia have sought strategies to reconcile their divided peoples. One significant catalyst in Australia was the hosting of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. This placed a spotlight on human rights conditions and marked a moment when the country tried to project a reconciled identity.


There is a long history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement with travel and tourism. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been travelling between each others’ nations for millennia, sharing culture and ceremonies.

After colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples tried to access the settler economy by presenting aspects of their culture and selling handicrafts. One example is the performance of “corroborees”, as occurred in Adelaide in 1911 for instance.


The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation led a decade-long effort in the 1990s to move Australia forward. It promoted the vision of:

A united Australia which respects this land of ours; values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and provides justice and equity for all.

One key element of the process was described as the:

… education of non-Aboriginal Australians about the cultures of Australia’s indigenous peoples and the causes of division, discord and continuing injustice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Reconciliation through tourism

Indigenous tourism is a way for non-Indigenous Australians to hear about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and learn from their cultures.

This is important because, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples comprise only about 3% of Australia’s total population, non-Indigenous Australians can live their lives with little cultural interaction.

Experiences potentially fostering reconciliation include sharing history, learning on country, sharing culture, tours travelling the Songlines, connecting through native foods, and celebrating through arts, music and dance.

Reconciliation isn’t easy

The culture divide between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians is not easy to bridge. Uluru, also called Ayers Rock by some, is a case in point.

After the 1985 handback under land rights legislation, the Anangu custodians informed tourists that climbing Uluru violates their culture and spiritual beliefs. But they did not ban the climb altogether. One reason is that they want visitors to choose not to climb.

As Traditional Owner Kunmanara said:

That’s a really important sacred thing that you are climbing … You shouldn’t climb. It’s not the real thing about this place. The real thing is listening to everything. And maybe that makes you a bit sad. But anyway that’s what we have to say. We are obliged by Tjukurrpa[Dreaming law] to say.

And all the tourists will brighten up and say: ‘Oh I see. This is the right way. This is the thing that’s right. This is the proper way: no climbing’.

Fortunately the number of people climbing Uluru has been steadily declining, and the 2010-20 Management Plan for the site now envisions the conditions for phasing out the climb. Uluru serves as a litmus test in some ways for Australia’s journey to reconciliation.

Australia’s Indigenous tourism sector is struggling

Statistics for Australia’s Indigenous tourism niche are hard to find but suggest a decline since the heady dates following the 2000 Olympics and the peak of the Reconciliation movement.

A snapshot of this niche provided by Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor and National Visitor Surveys showed that in the period between 2006 and 2010, there was an 18.7% average annual decline in domestic overnight Indigenous tourism visitors. There was also a 4.9% average annual decline in international Indigenous tourism visitors.

It is a problem in our efforts to build reconciliation that Australians appear not to be taking up the hospitality of their fellow Australians.

The way forward?

Periodic international spotlights on Australia (such as the upcoming Commonwealth Games) mean that reconciliation business cannot be abandoned. Festivals like Garma, native foods presented by Mark Olive, award-winning tourism businesses like Quentin Agius’ Aboriginal Cultural Tours all show efforts to use tourism as a tool to build understanding and thereby contribute to reconciliation.

Importantly, non-Indigenous Australians hold primary responsibility to work towards reconciliation.

If every Australian committed some part of their holiday travel plans to booking an Indigenous tourism experience, we could potentially change this country for the better.

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, Senior Lecturer in Tourism, University of South Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Albany Region is a compelling choice for a relaxing discovery break

Maggie van Santen

Why the Albany Region is a compelling choice for a relaxing discovery break.

Dedicated Discoverer – Want to escape the daily grind? Looking for an authentic experience? Looking for adventure?

Aspirational Achievers – do you view travel and holidays as a reward for your hard work and success in life? Are you looking for a wine, food and activity based holiday?

Experience Seekers (International) – Do you want to challenge yourself? Visit authentic destinations off the tourist route?  Exposure to unique and compelling experiences? Grow as an individual and stay healthy?

Discover the Albany Region and enjoy a memorable experience in a nature based environment. 

“Make the change from Visiting to Discovering and Experiencing.”

Albany and our surrounding region offer tourists an experience like no other.
National and local attractions, beautiful natural surrounds and wildlife, farmers markets, events and festivals,  restaurants, bars and shops — Albany has it all.

Add to this the surrounding offerings all within an easy drive—  pristine beaches, national parks and a wonderful selection of regional wineries — Albany Region is a tourism destination which truly has something for everyone.

Albany Region for the Aspirational Achievers – Munda Biddi Trail

Maggie van Santen

Albany Region for the Aspirational Achievers – Munda Biddi Trail

“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” 
Heinz Stucke, German long-distance touring cyclist

The Munda Biddi Trail is a world-class, nature-based, off-road cycling experience. A unique trail where a 1000km track has been built through an undeveloped natural corridor from Mundaring to Albany.  

The Munda Biddi Trail  means path through the forest in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language.

Enjoy a meandering pace with plenty of opportunities to stop and look at the cattle, goats, horses and other farm animals along the trail. In the quiet of the trail keep your eyes and ears alert for the many different of bird calls from the native birds, enjoy watching small animals such as bandicoots and rabbits running across or beside the trail.  

During the wild-flower season enjoy the beauty of as the forest floors come to life with amazing colours.  Surrounded by nature, relax and enjoy as the trail unfolds through majestic trees, such as the Karri that are the third largest in the whole of Australia.

Cross the suspension bridge at picturesque One Tree Bridge, experience  the splendour of the Walpole Wilderness and beautiful coastal landscapes.

Finish at Albany and enjoy the comfort of a pillow top bed and a Jacuzzi to soothe those muscles.  As a cycle accredited business HideAway Haven offers you the basic repair equipment and air pumps to pump up the tires.  While you are here, Albany is a cycle friendly town with many cycle friendly businesses.

Albany Region for the Aspirational Achievers – Sail the Southern Ocean

Maggie van Santen

Albany Region for the Aspirational Achievers – Sail the Southern Ocean

“I can’t control the wind but I can adjust the sail.” 
― Ricky Skaggs

Sailing the open ocean challenges your reality like no other venture. … by joining Southern Ocean Sailing as one of their passengers, you too can feel the thrill of the wind in your sails.  Come along to gain experience and those just looking for adventure will get more than they imagined possible. 

Southern Ocean Sailing has a beautiful 40′ yacht ‘Panacea’ berthed at the Albany marina available for half day cruises, whole day charters, overnight stays at anchor, or just learning how to sail from our very experienced and patient skipper Mark.  Mark’s passion is sailing but more importantly introducing you to the wonders of the oceans.

Why not book yourself into HideAway Haven and experience a few leisurely days sailing on our beautiful oceans.  Mark has plenty of options to suit you or will tailor make a tour just for you.

Albany Region for the Experience Seekers – Scuba Diving

Maggie van Santen

Albany Region for the Experience Seekers – Scuba Diving

Only Divers Know the Feeling.

Only a diver knows the feeling you get when your eyes slip below the surface and the addictiveness of the salt water! Albany offers countless dive sites. From natural reefs to Islands and even 2 sunken ship wrecks., with lots of different fish to keep you company. There are blue gropers to amaze you with their colour, Nudibranchs to fascinate you, friendly seals to make you laugh and if you are lucky you will meet a dolphin to play with! There is lavishness of colourful hard/soft coals and sponges to keep you interested and coming back for more! Albany has a hidden secret and it is waiting for you to find it under the surface of the ocean.

‘I find the lure of the unknown irresistible’ Sylvia Earle  (Sylvia Earle has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. She’s led more than 50 undersea expeditions, and she’s been an equally tireless advocate for our oceans and the creatures who live in them.)

HMAS Perth is a must dive when you visit Albany. Scuttled November 24th 2001, the diver-prepared wreck has extensive coral and sponge growth and is rapidly maturing as an artificial reef.

For all your diving needs contact South Coast Diving Supplies  

Wildflower Watch

Maggie van Santen

WILDFLOWER WATCH 30th August 2013

Queen of sheba  Thank you Judy Walker Photography

Queen of sheba

Thank you Judy Walker Photography

Today was a warm sunny day, and many Queen of Sheba orchids (Thelymitra speciosa) were spectacular. Note: the Queen of Sheba,” closes on cold, overcast days, and closes for the season when pollinated. The end of her season is usually the first few days in September depending on the weather.
As well, beautiful Caladenia orchids shown on the tour include the Club Spider
( C. longiclavata), Cowslip (C. flava),Joseph (C. polychroma), King (C. pectinata) Little Pink Fairy (C. reptans), Prisoner Orchid ( hybrid Zebra X Joseph), Reaching Spider ( C. arrecta), Stumpy Spider (C. ensata), White Spider Orchids (C. longicauda subsp. longicauda and eminens ) and Zebra (C. cairnsiana). The Blue Fairy (Pheladenia deformis), Silky Blue (Cyanicula sericea), Blue China (Cyanicula gemmata), Donkey (Diuris corymbosa,) Bird (Pterostylis barbata), Banded Greenhood (Pt .vitata), Dark Banded Greenhood (Pt sanguinea), Cupped Banded Greenhood ( Pt concava), Jug (Pt.recurva ) and Slender Snail Orchid (Pt slender) are also blooming.
Wildflowers delighting visitors include orange davesias and 1080 peas; red leschenaultia, grevillea, beaufortia, nemcia, kennedia , running postman, banksia; blue philotheca and dampiera; purple tinsel flower (Calectasia grandiflora), hovea and hardenbergia; white leucopogons and drosera; cream petrophile and hakea; yellow synaphea, pea flowers, and acacia; rust coloured (Stirlingia latifolia) and Banksia Gardneri; pink boronia, pixie mops
( isopogons) and cupped hakea.
To visit well camouflaged orchids and wildflower hot spots, join the Hidden Treasures Orchid and Wildflower Tour which leaves Stirling Range Retreat’s office every day at 9am, until 31st October. Duration 3 hours. Tariff $49 per person. Bookings recommended. Ayleen , Tony and Brian welcome you on board!
Did you know?
 The mountain bells (Darwinia lejostyla) which grow above the 300 metre contour level on Mt Trio are stunning. They also in bloom on the Bluff Knoll path.
 Unless you’re admiring a cultivated crop of yellow canola (rape seed), with mountains in view, spring at Stirling Range is all about plant diversity.
 Stirling Range Drive which winds through the southern section of Stirling Range between Red Gum Pass and Chester Pass Road is worthwhile. We drive via Chester Pass Road (due west) in the morning and Red Gum Pass (due east) after lunch to prevent being blinded by sun on the windscreen. Drive at 40 kph along this gravel road and stop when you see colour. You’ll be surprised what else you find.