Categotry Archives: South Pacific

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Easter Holidays – Day 1

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Categories: 2019, Australia, Tags: ,

Today was our first day of the Easter holidays after driving down the coast yesterday.  Although technically the holiday started on Monday, I’d just returned from Dallas, Texas on Sunday and needed the Monday to try to adjust for jet lag.  Tuesday was the first day I started feeling normal enough for the 2.2 hour drive south.  Once we arrived, I did the yard work and went shopping for supplies before we all turned in for an early night at only 7:30pm.

Today we got up at around 7am and had an early breakfast.  We mainly stayed at the house for a few hours before I whipped the boys into the car for our first trip out.  We went to the park nearby and spent some time there before driving back so I could snap the model number of our A/C (Toni, back in Canberra, is attempting to get it serviced when possible).  Afterwards, we went into town and the boys played on the park flying fox for a while while I had a look at the river.  It’s a nice 25 degrees and sunny, and very pleasant.

We later drove to Vulcan street and parked nearby to see if the erstwhile Moruya ice cream parlour was open, but alas it is not (and unclear when it will reopen).  So we drove north to Mogo, and had ice cream there as I had a look in some of the unusual stores for records (found some, but over priced and meh).  We then drove up to Bateman’s Bay to Target, only to find it is closing down and had little stock.  We got back in the car and drove to the plaza.  We dropped into Kmart and I bought the boys some Lego for the afternoon.  We also had a look in EB Games on the way out.  I was disappointed to see the second hand bookstore has gone out of business.

We drove back to Moruya and had a late lunch and assembled most of the Lego.  It was around 4pm that I suggested beach, so we ended up at Broulee beach for about a half hour as the sun started to wane.  We left around 5pm and I got dinner on when we reached home.  The sun has set, and I’m angling to get the kids to bed around 7pm.  It’s worth a shot.. R

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Canberra BrickExpo 2016

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Categories: Australia, Hobbies, Personal, Tags: ,

This weekend in Canberra we had the annual Lego Brick Expo at the Hellenic Club in Woden.

Last years’ expo was marred by a ticketing meltdown, however this year order has been restored to the proceedings.  Unlike last years’ calamitous overpopulation of sessions, this year the numbers were far more respectable.

Although there seemed to be less exhibitors this year, there was still plenty to marvel at, and for this year the organisers decided to move the Lego train room into the main area for the first time.

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words, so rather than try and describe the expo, here’s a load of photos for you to enjoy.

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Excursion: Honeysuckle Creek

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Categories: Australia, Hobbies, Normal, Personal, South Pacific, Tags: , , , ,

This morning Damian and I took a little science excursion and visited the former site of the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station, south of Canberra.  It’s only about a 40 minute drive from the heart of the Nation’s capital, and this unassuming location played a huge role in the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s:

The Honeysuckle Creek station is most famous for being the antenna which received and relayed to the world the first historic TV images of astronaut Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon on 21 July 1969.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeysuckle_Creek_Tracking_Station

Ever since we re-watched the seminal Australian film “The Dish (2000)” (which I  highly recommend), I was curious about this other Australian tracking station which played a part in the famous Neil Armstrong moonwalk.  Being so close to Canberra, it’s a wonder I waited this long to explore!  The trip takes you south past the southernmost tip of Tuggeranong, out past Tharwa and across the rustic one way bridge and into the Namadgi National Park.

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There’s a decent sign pointing the way to former Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station (HSK), above – but nothing leading to or from the T-intersection hints at the historic location buried within the National Park. 
Once you make the right turn west, it’s nothing but rolling hills and winding road..

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It’s only a few minutes from the turnoff that you arrive at what is now known as the Honeysuckle Creek camping grounds, and at first it’s a bit hard to get your bearings.  Once a thriving centre of scientific exploration is now home mostly to concrete and scattered bush.  There’s a few decently appointed plaques and photos erected on top of the foundations of the former station, but not much else remains.

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Despite completely clearing the grounds, the terrain was untouched and looks as it would have back in the station’s heyday.  The information on site shows a floor plan of the station as well as aerial photographs of the facility when it was opened back in 1967, by the then Prime Minister – Harold Holt (who obviously wasn’t getting too carried away…).

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Properly orientated, the view from the foundations towards where the dish would have sat was quite emphatic. 
There’s still concrete stairs which would have linked the station to the dish, as depicted in the old photos. 

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One the way there’s another console style information panel with information on the constellations above.  It must be some view of the heavens out here at night, free of the city lights..

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We’re challenged by the information to locate the shower – it’s still there, to a degree.

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The steps leading from the driveway to the front of the station still exist to this day – but time has not been particularly kind to them.
It seems like we’re the only people for miles around, we have the whole place to ourselves, and the weather presented us with blue skies and the heat of a low 30s early March day.

After exploring the facility foundations, we made our way up to the location which once accepted man’s first video transmission from the moon: the antenna.

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Finally, a pan of the foundations of the antenna.  There’s some additional stands around the base of the foundation, although nothing which would replace the height and impressiveness of the original antenna, which is only a few kms away now, resting in retirement at Tidbinbilla Tracking Station.

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If you’re interested in further reading about Honeysuckle Creek, this website dedicated to HSK is worth a look.

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