Tag: eucalyptus

Oz Everywhere!

Incredibly, just about everywhere I went, a little piece of Australia popped up in front of me.

I left home on my bike not long after 6 a.m. to head out on an errand before having a regular, quarterly hospital check-up.

I left the route up to my Wahoo Elemnt BOLT device, and next thing I knew, I was riding up a hill in Hachiojji where I could see eucalyptus trees. I had been looking up news about them only recently, so stopped off, took some photos and headed to the hospital.

The doctor visit went well. He is very supportive and understanding. But I didn’t need to receive help today, and was delighted to receive blood test results that show I am physically fitter now than at any other time in my life!

Getting home, I was surprised to hear from the delivery company. With my pay severely slashed, all frivolous spending has gotta go out the back door, so I had no idea what I’d done…or, thought I had. Fortunately, I hadn’t spent anything: it was a gift of an absolutely spectacular Christmas wreath, crafted by the astounding Alex Endo. It is just exquisite, made of gum leaves and dried flowers and now adorning our front door.

Last year, we also received a wreath. Following the festive season, we brought it inside where it became a favorite of the dinosaur. This year’s wreath is at least double the size, so she’ll have something to look forward to.

The Aussie didn’t end there, though. A quick shower and change and it was off to Komazawa Park for the day’s planned Australian event, the Japan AFL Grand Final of Australian Rules football.

Blessed with a balmy 17 degrees and sunny winter skies, the day was a fantastic one and the match itself a ripper as the Tokyo Goannas held off the valiant Senshu Powers, winning by 9 points. The Goannas have a majority of ex-pat Australian players and the innate skills bore out against the kids making up the Powers, a team comprised of university players, who only started playing in adulthood. All in all, it was a much more enjoyable match than Mrs. Kangaeroo and I had been expecting, and it proved to be a fun day. Being able to watch after getting stuck into some decent tucker, including a pretty tasty lamington, was the, well, icing on the cake?

Things weren’t to finish there, though.

We got on the Keio Line train to head home and I noticed something about the baseball cap being worn by the kid sitting opposite me. A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions: it was a West Coast Eagles cap. And then the kid confirmed it when he turned his head and I could read the club logo on his headgear. This is the first time I’d ever seen a member of the Japanese general public wearing Aussie Rules paraphernalia, so it was a bit of a thrill, especially in light of what had been happening throughout the day.

Finally, I got one last taste of Aus. Tomorrow I have to spend the day working for the community, so wanted to get a blog post done tonight. But the connection was as poor as anything that Aus famously fails to deliver, so I could use none of the really decent photos I got during the day.

Gallery of the Japan AFL Grand Final

Of Banksia and Birdies

Bird’s eye view of Kangaeroo Corner

It’s the most glorious day of the year so far in terms of weather and I am sitting in my back office, stuffing myself full of chocolate and lollies and preoccupied with bloody banksia and birds.

I’m stuck here because I’m waiting on delivery of the newest member of Kangaeroo Corner, a hairpin banksia that I am positive is going to be worth the wait.

For me, no flower is more iconic of Australia than the banksia.

And it holds a place in Australian folklore, named after Sir Joseph Banks, an 18th-century British naturalist who accompanied Capt. James Cook on the navigation of the northeast coast of the country that led to European colonization (or invasion, as most Indigenous Australians view it). Banks would take the banksia, acacia and eucalyptus from Australia and spread it around the world.

Even more iconic for me, though, is an anthropomorphized version of the hairpin banksia called the Banksia Men terrorized my early childhood.

Big Bad Banksia Men

Banksia Men were the villains in the delightful tales composed by May Gibbs, an early 20th century Australian author who wrote stories for young children featuring native Australian flora and fauna, most notably The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Anyway, I digress…a little bit, at least.

While I was waiting, there wasn’t much else to do than clean the house and garden.

I was shocked yesterday to learn that I had, indeed, destroyed the mower during the May working bee even though I thought I’d fixed it.

Worse still, I discovered that while trying to mow the lawn, which was still sodden following a week of virtually unhalted rain.

But, I borrowed a weed whipper from the estate office and cut the grass. I initially put the clippings in the kangaroo paw pots I’ve set up, but thought they were perhaps creating too much humidity and it would harm the plants, which like the dry, light heat of their native western Australia.

Waiting with me is our bird, who continues to sit on her eggs and appears poised to add to their number.

She looks a little lethargic and she worries me sick with fear of binding. She won’t eat the calcium I leave for her.

And…the banksia finally arrived just after 3 p.m. It was boxed with tremendous care and meticulousness and looked to be a flourishing picture of health.

Dino came to life, too, with the box presenting her with a new opportunity to tear something to shreds and use it in her nest.

Originally my plan was to leave the banksia in its pot rather than plant it in the harsher weather conditions of the rainy season.

For the time being, she’s in her pot alongside the Fountain of Strewth.

It’s a hardy tree. I’m thinking now might be as good a time as any. Mrs. Kangaeroo will need to be consulted!

Welcoming the Hairpin Banksia

Namatjira Legacy Torched! 豪画界の重要な自然遺産が放火で破壊される

Ghost gum trees depicted by Albert Namatjira

Ghost gum trees depicted by Albert Namatjira

Ghost gums on the verge of being recognized as part of the Northern Territory’s heritage have been destroyed by arson, according to various mainstream Australian media reports on Jan. 4.
These eucalyptus trees had come to prominence after being painted by Albert Namatjira, the first indigenous Australian artist to achieve widespread global recognition.
The torched trees were apparently about to be recognized as an important part of the state’s heritage, but were burned to the ground some days ago. Northern Territory authorities are investigating the motives into the arson attack.
Namatjira was active and his work recognized globally at a time when Australia did not even recognize its indigenous populations as citizens of the country. Many of his works featured ghost gums.
Albert Namatjira

Albert Namatjira

Namatjira lived a tragic life. When he was born in 1902, indigenous Australians were all wards of the state, and they would not even be regarded as “second-class citizens” until voters “deigned” to give them that status in a 1967 referendum (that came too late for Namatjira, although he had been granted rights akin to the average white Australian upon achieving wealth and global fame in the 1950s). Namatjira first attracted attention within Australia in the 1930s and his renown gradually spread across the world. He subsequently became wealthy, but used nearly all his money to support members of the Arranda tribe to which he belonged. Unfortunately, Namatjira, like many of his fellow tribe members, was an alcoholic and died impoverished in 1959 at a tragically young 57.

Ghost gums that inspired great art felled by fire