Category Archives: GEM COLLECTION


odds and ends


I am emerging – to some degree. The Telstra man came today to work on the phone lines. Our phone hasn’t worked for many months. Crackles and no ring in. He traced the cables and found them deep in water. Still my phone didn’t quite work so the Telstra Man checked my actual handsets etc and found that they were corroded from so much wet weather  Now, that’s one thing. The thing that caught me short was that I hadn’t even checked there. I’m usually pretty good at stuff like that. There are quite a lot of things that I am pretty good at. Someplace in shock, grief, joy and transition – I haven’t been very good at anything much.

I emerge. Shaken. And wash the curtains. Check the cables. And polish the bit and pieces that I usually love. Like the ceramics my niece gave me and the table I work on. My head is above water a little more than it has been. And that is despite the rain falling still. I emerge.


JANUARY 27 2012 : I always say to my nanna that all that had happened to her was meant to be.

Poem by Walha Udi Marvyn McKenzie Snr, Port Augusta, South Australia
Read more:


Take your old brown feet and walk
Make footprints that will stand the test of time forever
Make handprints of ochre along the way
Whiteman coming many things clever
And little or no knowledge of the Never Never

Paolo’s Poems



Don’t want to write about anything tonight. Been flooded in another day. There’s some good flood stories floating about I might get to them one day. And though I don’t feel like writing,  I’ll go for my 250 words. The frogs are about tonight. My daughter tells me they are so loud at their place that she can’t even record her presentation for uni and her mother-in-law says that in the 30 years she has lived there, she’s never heard anything like it and is closing her French doors of a night – something she don’t even do in Winter.

And now we have the frogs here. The big water birds still haven’t come back. I suspect more flooding if they don’t come back for a bit. I thought we were going to  town today. My girl rang and they had come in the back way over the dirt roads. Right, says I. We’ll meet you there and have lunch. The pair of us dressed fast as and into the Starwagon to meet the family in town. We splashed through a bit of water on the driveway, powered  on to the road to the Highway – and STOPPED. The road was maybe 200 metres impassable underwater. Bugger.

Home again. Home again.

Hear tell that SES has been stringing ropes across flooded spots and sending foods and medicines in. I like the SES down here a lot better than I liked the ones we encountered in Ulmarra. Then again – this is not a TERRIFYING flood whereas that one in 2009 was full on TERRIFYING.

This is a seeping, soggy, sodden, saturated flood is all. 

I like the neighbours as well. People are pretty good to one another at times. This is one of those times.


JANUARY 26 2012 : At dusk, a family drives sheep out through the yellow of the Aboriginal flag.



Ngunda: messenger of God

Ngunda Bimiai spoke the message.
All I did was draw this.
All I did was pass on
But one thing they gave me
is my own selfing self.

Lionel Fogarty


I am about to write a peaceable post after a fractious day. 250 words without insult or entering into dispute. I am also going to find a white Australian song and post it. No problem.
Hmmmm – that’s me taking a deep yogic breath or two. It stayed flooded today but the rains have now eased. We have plenty of provisions and some delicious foods for dinner. Tomorrow, I think I shall be able to get out and about and maybe get some post-flood photos. I started a new photoblog and now the owner of the property walks past in high gumboots through the long grasses.

I have my OWN SELFLING SELF. I surely do like that expression. MY OWN SELFLING SELF.

I’m still waiting for the big waterbirds to come back. We have water now. The paddock is back to mini lake and maybe the algae has washed from the dam. I am still forming visions of what I want in a home. Last time, all the little kids sat in Urunga School, brainstormed and then meditated a little before drawing and writing about the perfect home for me and mine. Within a week, I had a 5 bedroom mansion for $200 per week with its own rose garden and situated on a wee creek out in the Valley. The Gleniffer Valley. It was a magic little class to teah, that one was.

The detail I add to my vision today of HOME is – ENDURING.

With a bathroom with a bathtub. A room with perfumes and lotions and potions and views onto tropical plants and a stream.



JANUARY 25 2012 : They’re fancy talkers about themselves, writers. If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talk about writing or themselves. Lillian Hellman.



gang gangsflood

Council Road Closures

Updated: Wednesday 25 January at 8:35am

The road closures Council is aware of as at the time of the last update are listed below.

Most watercourses and low lying areas in Bellingen Shire are currently affected by flooding.

This list is not comprehensive due to the wide spread nature of the current flooding and many other roads are likely to be affected by flood waters and storm damage.

Motorists are advised to be aware of these conditions and drive carefully. Motorists should not attempt to drive along roads which are covered by water.

The road network will progressively be inspected by Council staff and this web page will be updated, based on these inspections, as reports are received.

Waterfall Way

East of Bellingen, between Short Cut Road and Bellingen – ROAD NOW OPEN WITH CAUTION


NOTE: accident 3km from top of mountain, road open under traffic control

The following roads are closed:

Darkwood Road at Leans Bridge 1.2km from Waterfall Way.

Kalang Road at Moodys bridge at 2km from Bowraville Road.

Bridge Street at Lavenders Bridge at Bellingen.

Bowraville Road at Kalang River near Hains Lane.

North Bank Road at Slarkes Bridge approx 3.7km from Bellingen.

Valery Road – Eastern end near Keevers Drive and near Raceway.

Moonpar Road closed at 3.5km from Tyringham Road, Dorrigo.

Bowraville to Bellingen Road Bowraville – About 17km south of Bellingen – Nambucca LG Area – Landslips




Its quite a nice flood really. Sitting here at home, it’s quite nice. Going on rather long but lacking in violence and storms or the threat to the house. So it’s a little dreary and rather chilly and there’s water between us and getting out of here but – it’s quite a nice flood. The power is still on and the internet is working and no snakes have appeared on the verandahs. The only hairy patches were crossing the wee barrier of flood yesterday and John the Canadian from next door  towed the Starwagon through on a rope so that was briefly experienced.

The white pony looks a little miserable but she’s munching her way through the paddock and has a tree for shelter from the occasional downpours. We have skies full of black cockatoos, the GangGangs which warn of flood and we have dozens of lorikeets and other smallish birds hanging out round the back feeders of the cottage but the big waterbirds seem to have all gone. I do not know why. The unnerving part is that the rain keeps coming and keeps coming.

In the Meantime, I’m watching the A TEAM and chatting and waiting for the frogs to start up croaking again.


AND THEN BELLINGEN CANCELS AUSTRALIA DAY DUE TO THE RAIN. I don’t do Australia Day, myself, but talk about weak knee-ed.

ABC Coffs Coast

Bellingen Council has postponed their Australia Day celebrations at Urunga tomorrow. A revised Australia Day will be held at a date to be advised. #nswflood

This is the Spirit. Eungai about 3/4 hour south of us.

Eungai Creek Post Office & General Store

You don’t have to go into town to shop – we’re open till 5pm and maybe we’ve got what you need! Call in and say hello soon! 🙂

Also open tomorrow – fresh bread delivered by 9am, fresh free-range local eggs in today, fresh milk today as well and maybe freshly baked Date Loaf slices for tomorrow!

JANUARY 24 2012 : Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. George Bernard Shaw.




Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), Monday 21 June 1937

WINDOW Advocate (Burnie, Tas. 1890 - 1954), Monday 21 June 1937,



Council Road Closures
Updated: Tuesday 24 January at 6:10am
Due to the recent heavy rain events there is minor to moderate flooding occurring across the Bellingen Shire. Motorists are warned not to enter low areas on roads that could be inundated by water, particularly lying bridges.
The following roads are closed:
Waterfall Way, Dorrigo Mountain – ROAD CLOSED DUE TO LAND SLIPS (To be re-assessed at 1:00pm today)
Darkwood Road.
Summervilles Road at Rosewood bridge.
Lavenders bridge at Bellingen.
Gordonville Road at McFadens bridge.
Kalang Road at Moodys bridge.

road closed


The floods came and are still here. I went to town for a bit and when I turned into my road to come home the last bit, I came straight to a sign saying ROAD CLOSED. My car is small. A charade. I sat a bit and watched. I knew for sure I would be going through the water and getting myself the last 1/2 kilometre home but I wanted to know what the road was like and how best t get through. Just beside the first flooded stretch is RALEIGH SANDS. They dredge the river and sell the sands. They were packing up and getting out before they were blocked in. One 4 wheel drive came on through. Gave me a bit of  a surprise. It was somewhat deeper than I expected. That had me sitting a little longer and doing some more thinking. Then another 4 wheel drive came out. Over to one side with his passeneger side wheels up on the concrete and stone of the bridge base.

Locals are good value. He stopped when he got through and said he would walk me back and show me where best to drive so the Charade and me came on through with wheels up on the concrete. All done sweet as. It’s a 1.9 metre tide as well and the river is pretty close to breaking the banks now.

The funny thing is there is no water in our paddocks. Floods are odd things. They do one thing one time and another thing the next. I’m just glad that the young smiling man with Hayden tattooed on his arm in beautiful script walked me through the water. Could have done it on my own – but it was better with Hayden.

I even asked him whether he sold small quantities of sand when they were opened. Yep ,  said he. From a bucket to  tip truck.  When the floods go down again, I will go along and buy one small child’s worth of sand for her sandpit.





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bilambil 012 AUSSIE DAY EVE 008
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JANUARY 23 2012 : You follow a season like whales or birds Heavy in thought, weightless in dreams. Then you escape it. John B. Fairfax, AO.

jabiru 069


This could well be the first time I am coming to some sense of fitting into this season of Summer. The memories of hot, beach days and sleepless mosquito ridden nights are dim now and the days of rain and coolness and heavy laden skies have almost become my norm. I have followed these Summertimes. Trying to fit into them as I once did. Each day I drive about with a bag of swimming clothes on the front seat as if the Season will resume its usual form. Most days it doesn’t.

I have followed this season in other places. I expected to find them different. I expected to take a while to adjust to the subtleties and dramas of new places.  But when I came home to my Valley, I thought I would follow the Summertime which I knew well. I thought my skin would go brown in the sun and my hair would be tangled with saltwater. I have followed this particular Season in this Particular place over many years. Followed it into deep freshwater swimming holes in the curved valley of the Promised Land and across the sands of the Sea Lido.

I have seen the afternoon storms come up from the South and curl in black clouds round the mountain ranges. Heard the wild winds whistle down the linear valleys with lightning sparking and trees falling and roads closing.  I have followed the seasons of fire here and of corn growing high.

I have been trapped in the old Following of the Old Seasons. 3 Summertimes I have been back. 3 Summertimes “ heavy in thought’ trying to follow an old leading of the Sun. Heavy in thoughts of sand and salt. Dreaming of the barefooted days and a single fishing line. Dreaming weightless of boats on the river and Seasons now passed by me.

Just this morning, I have escaped it. Just this morning with rain and grey skies and cold winds and a flood watch I have come right on through the Following to this side. The Other Side.

Give me a moment to think. This is about more than a Bellingen Summertime.

A few years back, I had a mass of lovers, old lovers, all making contact with me. Then I realised that each of them had had their place and time in my life. Important. Integral but not needed in the flesh in  the present. They were all done. Fitted in and done.

Now, the Summers are like that. I don’t need to grasp for the Old Summertimes with all the happiness they brought me. Its done. Integrated. Part of me. Now I live in the Wetlands. Now, the Wetland Birds are about and the big black cockatoos are flying about and nesting in the trees out the back. The nights are cool and comfortable and days are peaceful and silent.

And as for me, my own Summers are done and its time to follow something else. Some other season. Some other way of moving.

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Issued at 1:00 pm EDT on Sunday 22 January 2012

Note: This Flood Watch is a “heads up” for possible future flooding and is NOT a Flood Warning [see note below].

A broad low pressure trough lies over inland parts of New South Wales while another trough lies over the northern Tasman Sea. The offshore trough is expected to move closer to the coast and deepen on Monday. This will combine with an upper disturbance and strengthening onshore airstream triggering possible local heavy rainfall for parts of the mid-north coast on Monday. Spring (king) tides are current and are expected to increase the risk of flooding in low lying areas near the coast.

At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of minor to moderate flooding as well as local flash flooding along the following river valleys from Monday onwards:

1. Bellinger River Valley

2. Macleay River Valley

3. Hastings River Valley

This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop. Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service. Across NSW, about 75% of Flood Watches are followed by flooding.

JANUARY 22 2012 : At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment. Benjamin Franklin.



This is what it means to be an adventurer in our day: to give up creature comforts of the mind, to realize the possibilities of imagination. Because everything around us says no you cannot do this, you cannot live without that, nothing is useful unless it’s in service to money, to gain, to stability. The adventurer gives in to tides of chaos, trusts the world to support her – and in doing so turns her back on the fear and obedience she has been taught. She rejects the indoctrination of impossibility.”

hib & kika, off the map

THE YAAN : I have woken unintelligent which is a Bummer when the GEM COLLECTION has 2 quotes like these, requiring intelligent comment.

When I was 20, I was teaching in a 2 teacher school way down in the Southern Bush in the cold country. Maybe WILL reigned briefly back then but now that I am looking at me with the class of littlies, I think it was the age when I realised that the price tag on adventuring could be very high.

Then at 30, I am bridesmaid at my sister’s 2nd wedding. 2nd marriage as well. I don’t look as though WIT was reigning then. I don’t recall it as a witty time of my life but I had married so I may well have been living on my wits – or I could have been at wit’s end.

And at 40 – at 40 – FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST.  Good Judgement had come. Sober and drug free and working at Bondi Beach in Sydney. JUDGEMENT and the wisdom to know the difference.



an adventurer in these days

I am going out now.  Just a couple of kilometres but at the end of the couple of kiometres is an AA meeting and that, in itself, makes me an adventurer in this day because what it will ask of me is this :

to give up creature comforts of the mind

JANUARY 21 2012 : The evening advanced. The shadows lengthened. The waters of the lake grew pitchy black. The gliding of the ghostly swans became rare and more rare. Wilkie Collins


jabiru 047

Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), Thursday 4 September 1952

sanctuary Western Mail (Perth, WA  1885 - 1954), Thursday 4 September 1952



Good morning, All and Sundry.

A quiet day here. A little overcast but warm and sub tropical.

Back to the GEM COLLECTION for a little while .

Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.


Kick Off 2012 with Project 365

by Erica Johnson

If you were going to blog about one thing for an entire year, what would you choose?

Would you post photographs of your favourite place? Interview different people from your hometown? Create a new piece of art each day?

Dash it. Well I am going to keep right on YAANING. The other thing I am going to do is go on with the GEM COLLECTION.  That means I had best get to serious work on choosing a better theme. It means, too, that I do it every day despite marked lack of interest from other people.  I am not dumbing it down and I AM going to use  odd Australian poetry. This year I will pay some conscious attention to it . The good thing about the GEM COLLECTION from my own end is that I do not add one opinion or comment of my own. I MIGHT make note of things that happen on some days – but thumbs down to my explaining or sounding off.

DECEMBER 15 2011 : An Australian Girl : “She’s pretty to walk with, And witty to talk with, And pleasant, too, to think on.” Sir John Suckling. « the GEM COLLECTION 2011

DECEMBER 15 2011 : An Australian Girl : “She’s pretty to walk with, And witty to talk with, And pleasant, too, to think on.” Sir John


via DECEMBER 15 2011 : An Australian Girl : “She’s pretty to walk with, And witty to talk with, And pleasant, too, to think on.” Sir John Suckling. « the GEM COLLECTION 2011.

via DECEMBER 15 2011 : An Australian Girl : “She’s pretty to walk with, And witty to talk with, And pleasant, too, to think on.” Sir John Suckling. « the GEM COLLECTION 2011.