Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Month in Australia 3 - Yollie and the Joeys

Beck and the oldest Wallabie
Susie Q and me. I'm in love!
1/29 The day is mostly rain. Despite this, and perhaps because we did nothing the day before, Jan takes me out to visit South Head, ont of the three promontories that mark the entrance to Sydney Harbour. The other two are called, strangely enough, Middle Head and North Head. We cross uner the harbour through the tunnel, past the CBD, Central Business District, and into what’s known as the East Suburbs.Our route takes us past various bays such as Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay and Rose Bay. At Rose Bay I see something I like and Jan stops so I can photograph a long line of Moreton Bay Fig Trees, sitting with huge trunks black with rain.

We visit the peninsula of South Head and identify the headlands of Middle Head and North Head, covered with trees and houses,  that mark the entrance to the huge harbour. A large tanker sails out. On the way back we stop on the seaward side and I find a huge rock cliff in the rain with high waves coming from the ocean and breaking on the rocks in white fury, then pulling back in jade green and white mass. I keep my camera in a plastic bag and get some shots even with the pouring rain.

1/30 Jan drops me off at the central railway station and I’m on the train to Melbourne, a twelve hour ride. This gives me a look at a good amount of Australian countryside. I see my first Kangaroo, standing nonchalantly at the edge of some scrub, unaware it’s a first kangaroo.
                The land is quite hilly coming out of Sydney, but flattening out toward the Melbourne end. It consists of vast expanses of pale brown lifeless grassbroken by solitary trees. I see little cultivation but sheep sheep sheep everywhere, grazing or sitting in the shade of a tree.There are cows and horses too. The ranchers single story houses look basic.

Austarlia seems to have not tried to modernize itself in quite the same mindless, ruthless way as North America. There are still lots of Victorian facades around and the tramcars in Melbourne seem to come in four versions, from huge streamlined new to a modle that looks to be from the 30’s or 40’s.

2/1  The next day I walk along the wide Yarra that flows through the town. The water is full of boats, sculling teams, and black swans.There are some wonderful large modern sculptures in all the park and public squares I go through. I visit the cottage of CJ LaTrobe, an ancestor who was the first Leautenant Governor of the state of Victoria. I wander around the huge Royal Botanical Gardens. I’m hot because it was cold and windy in the morning, so I took a rain jacket over my short sleeved shirt, but now I’m afraid to take the waterproof jacket off because of the brutal U- charged Aussie sun.

2/9 We visit Hobart at the south end of the island

2/10 Beauty Point, Tasmania
I go for a 5 hour hike along the coast by myself and visit a place called Copper Cove.
After dinner we are visited by Yolanda (Yollie). She comes in with two plastic cages, and a large bump in the middle of her bosom. One cage contains a baby wombatcocooned in several flannel pouches. I similar arrangement in the other cage contains two baby wallabies. The bump in her bosom contains a “pinkie”, a baby wallabie so young as to not have hair yet, and just two days out of its mothers pouch. They are all marsupials found in the pouch of their respecitve dead mothers after the mother was killed by a car.  
                I hold the wombat, then the pinkie. All the animals are unsure of themselves in the bright light and unconfined space. The wombat twists and turns against me and moves up my body. It has serious claws. Yollie says she knows its stressed because the pink soles of its feet have turned red, it goes back in a pouch. The oldest wallabie seems more relaxed than the rest and keeps its head out and give my finger a sniff. I hold the pinkie, it is almost fetal, with dry and loose skin. It continually twists and turns in the flannel with its long hind legs, with a huge middle toe,  vigourouly poking in all directions. Yollie later lets me name her Susie Q. I try unsuccessfully to give it a bottle, Yollie takes over, having to feed pinkies every 2 and a half hours, 24 hours around the clock she’s good at it. Beck,, my cousin’s daughter, feeds one of the older ones and Jo feeds the wombat.Then Yollie double wraps them all in tight flannel, the pinkie immediately stills against her bosom.

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