Yarramundi

Yesterday I went to Yarramundi Reserve, a small and frankly not very interesting area at the junction of the Nepean, Grose and Hawkesbury Rivers, north-west of the Sydney metropolitan area. Yarramundi (or Yel-lo-mun-dy, or Yal-lah-mien-di, or Yèl-lo-mun-dee, or Yellomundee, or Yello_mundy, or Yellah_munde) was a leader and healer of the Buruberongal (or Boo-roo-bir-rong-gal, or Bu-ru-be-ron-gal, or Bu-ru-be-rong-al, or Boorooberongal, or Buribırȧŋál), a ‘wood tribe’ whose country extended inland from somewhere north-west of Parramatta towards and including the Nepean/Hawkesbury River.

A party of British explorers led by Governor Arthur Phillip met him and several others in April 1791, on an expedition to discover if and how the Hawkesbury (which they had previously explored upstream from its mouth) and the Nepean (which they had encountered after walking overland westward from Parramatta) met. As it turns out, the Nepean/Hawkesbury is essentially one river, but the two names have stuck, and this junction is the arbitrary point at which the names officially change. (The Grose River was named later; Major Francis Grose (later acting governor) did not arrive in the colony until 1792.)

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Sydney and Nepean

(long but hopefully interesting) The Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers circle the Sydney metropolitan area and surrounding countryside to the south-west, west, north-west and north. I live in a suburb on the banks of the Nepean and last weekend went photo-hiking to four lookouts about 20 minutes’ drive south of here, in the small part of the greater Blue Mountains National Park east of the river. An online friend from Canada commented “Your Nepean is a lot more photogenic than ours” – “ours” being a major suburban centre of Ottawa, Ontario.

The former British colonies, big and small, are strewn with names commemorating places and people from Great Britain and Ireland, alongside names from other colonial powers (most notably Spain, France and the Netherlands) and indigenous names. Canada and Australia both have a Sydney and a Nepean. (And a Toronto – Australia’s Toronto has a population of about 5000; Canada’s Toronto … doesn’t.)

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I used to be …

To illustrate the grammar point ‘I used to V’, I showed the students several photos of me as a child. One was of me at the age of three with my youngest sister at the age of less than one. One student asked ‘Which one is you?’.

On a previous occasion, a student said ‘Wow, you used to be cute!’.

Lotte World Tower, Seoul

In July 2016 I visited Lotte World Tower in the Seoul suburb of Jamsil. At that stage the building was complete (at 555 metres, currently the fifth highest building in the world) but still being fitted out, so the observation decks weren’t open, but a shopping mall at the base was open. It was officially opened last week, on the 3rd of April, preceded by a fireworks and laser display on the night of the 2nd.

Short documentary about the building and the fireworks (from Lotte World Tower-Mall’s Youtube Channel)

News report about the fireworks (from YTN News)

My own photo

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almost but not quite

A few weeks ago, I went to a national cemetery on the outskirts of the city I’m living in. At one point, I took two photos six seconds apart of (a modern reproduction of) a traditional pavillion reflected in a pond, adjusting various things in the time between. Looking at the two photos, one is ‘almost but not quite’ and the other is now in my album of ‘very best photos’ for this year. The differences are small: in the first, a few leaves on bush on the near shore are visible, along with a band of the reflected sky; in the second, I’ve zoomed slightly, framing out the bush and sky, and including less of the trees at the top. The reflection is not quite symmetrical horizontally, but the fish fills the extra space. It may not be the best photo ever, or even my best photo ever, but I unhesitatingly chose it among my ‘very best’ for this year.

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