Happy Saturday. Here is a librarian parody of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that was making the rounds on Facebook last month. Thank you Shoalhaven Library (Nowra, New South Wales, Australia) Enjoy!
Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
This architectural masterpiece takes us “down under” to Melbourne, Australia, and the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria. The library collection contains more than two-and-a-half million books and sixteen thousand serials. Some pieces of historical interest within this collection include:
- the diaries of the city’s founders, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner,
- the folios of Captain James Cook, and
- it also houses the original armour of Ned Kelly.
This year marks the 160th Anniversary of the establishment of this library which officially opened in 1856. The La Trobe Reading Room (and its great dome) was not built until 1913. This octagonal building is six stories tall and can house up to 32,000 volumes (and 320 readers). At the time of its construction, the La Trobe Reading Room was the largest reinforced-concrete structure in the world.
“I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.” (Virginia Woolf)
This week finds us visiting Homebush Bay, Australia, where you will find at least four ships’ hulls and the remains of several barges and smaller vessels still visible in the Bay. Many of these will be protected under the historic Shipwrecks Act of 1976 (applies to all shipwrecks over seventy-five years old).
The main wrecks that are still visible include the colliers Ayrfield and Mortlake Bank, the tug Heroic, the steel boom defense vessel HMAS Karangi, at least one other smaller vessel and some barges, lighters and dredges.
SS Ayrfield (originally launched as SS Corrimal) was a steel-hulled, single screw, steam collier of 1,140 tons and nearly 260 feet long. It was built in the UK in 1911 and registered at Sydney in 1912. It was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and used to transport supplies to American troops stationed in the Pacific region during WWII. The registration of Ayrfield was cancelled on 6 October 1972 and the ship was sent to Homebush Bay for breaking-up.
From the southern Pacific Ocean, we will travel to Australia to the remote northern Cape York Peninsula (in northnmost Queensland). This peninsula is purported to be one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth (and the largest unspoilt wilderness in northern Australia). Of particular note: this peninsula parallels a portion of the Great Barrier Reef (which I’ve actually visited — by way of Cairns). The climate is tropical (May to October) and monsoonal (November to April). During the monsoon season, the forest becomes almost uninhabitable. The temperature is warm to hot, with the average low temperatures in the low- to mid-70s°F to highs in the mid- to upper-80s °F. Temperatures over 100 °F and below 40 °F are rare. The moderate temps sound wonderful, but I’m not so sure that I would enjoy the monsoon season at all.
This week finds us in the American Southwest . . . the slot canyons within the Colorado Plateau of north Arizona and south Utah. Slot canyons are narrow canyons, formed by the wear of water rushing through rock. They tend to be deeper than they are wide and are generally formed in either sandstone or limestone rock. In addition to the American Southwest, slot canyons also exist in the Sierra de Guara in northern Spain, the Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain, and the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.
- Here are where you will find the slot canyons of the American Southwest:
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Paria River
- Escalante River
- San Rafael Swell
- Grand Canyon
- North Lake Powell
- Zion National Park
- and other locations
All of these are easily explorable (i.e., no special equipment is needing), all can be visited on day trips (with a few exceptions in the Escalante region), and all of the trailheads are readily accessible by regular vehicles.
This week we travel to Australia, home of the Great Barrier Reef (the world’s largest coral reef system), a wonder that I’ve actually visited. ‘Tis a wonder indeed! And, now for some fun statistics (the biodiversity is amazing):
- More than 2,900 individual reefs.
- More than 900 islands.
- Stretching more than 1,600 miles.
- Covering an area of over 344,000 square miles.
- Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland (NE Australia).
- Visible from outer space.
- The largest single structure made by living organisms.
- Thirty (30) species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been recorded.
- More than 1,500 fish species live on the reef.
- Seventeen (17) species of sea snakes live on the reef.
- Six (6) species of sea turtle come to the reef to breed.
- Fifteen (15) species of sea grass grow in and around the reefs.
- Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the shorelines sections.
- 125 species of shark, stingray, skates, and chimaera live on the reef.
- 5,000 species of mollusk have been recorded (including the giant clam).
- 49 species of pipefish and 9 species of seahorsehave been identified.
- At least 7 species of frog inhabit the islands.
- 215 species of bird visit the reef or nest/roost on the islands. (More than 1.7 million birds use these islands as their breeding grounds.)
- The islands of the reef also support 2,195 different plant species.
- There are at least 330 species of ascidians on the reefs as well as 300-500 bryozoans.
- There are 400 coral species as well as 500 species of marine algae or seaweed.
Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) is a stunning sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Central Australia, is one of the largest monoliths in the world. Uluru is 348 meters high (1,1,42 feet) and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles). The nearest town, Alice Springs, is 208 miles to the northeast. Uluru has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in 1987). If you make it this far in your travels, then by all means go an additional 16 miles to the west of Uluru to visit Kata Tjuta (aka Mount Olga) — a group of large domed rock formations (36 domes). Here is an aerial view of this rock formation which covers an area of 21.68 square kilometers (8.37 square miles). The highest point is Mount Olga at 546 meters (1,791 feet).