Postcards from Australia: Landscapes

This is a guest post by Willie for the Notes from Africa Photoblog.

During December 2011 I went to Australia to attend a forestry conference. After spending a couple of days in Sydney, I flew to Canberra to start the pre-conference tour – essentially a road trip between Canberra and Melbourne, stopping off to look at forestry areas along the way. From Melbourne we flew up to Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, and travelled up to Mooloolaba where the actual conference was held.

Here are some random pictures from the road trip between Canberra and Melbourne.  Our mission was to learn about various (indigenous) Eucalyptus species growing in dry to moist sites along the way.  It was striking how similar the countryside in Australia is to the South African countryside.  The major difference is that the Eucalypts in South Africa are of course very successful invaders species.

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The Murray River snakes for an amazing distance through the Australian country side.

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A bunch of foresters discussing “sex between trees”, commonly known as tree genetics.

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Some distance from Melbourne, a lunch stop offers the opportunity to look at the countryside and to take some pictures.

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Getting into the mountains north of Melbourne.

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Strange to see some wattle (an Acacia species) in their natural environment.

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Beautiful tree ferns, again indigenous – we have the exact same species growing in our garden.

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In the Postcards from Australia series:

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About Willie

I am a forestry scientist living and working in the Southern Cape, South Africa.
This entry was posted in Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Postcards from Australia: Landscapes

  1. Reblogged this on Notes from Africa and commented:

    These photographs are from a trip Willie did to Australia in December 2011. Better late than never! 🙂 To see all the photographs, click here.

  2. Sue McB says:

    Those shots made me feel quite at home, particularly the one with the round hay bales as all the paddocks near hear are full of them. It has been a very good season, and my dairy farmer friend has too many for his own needs, so hopefully will make some cash from sales.

    • Willie says:

      Hi Sue – Yes the paddock shots are also very typical of the area between the Southern Cape and Cape Town. During early summer hay is made after the wheat harvest. Lisa has features a similar picture in this post at http://wp.me/pYuZP-1ts

  3. Eha says:

    Having just switched on the computer, am smiling naturally! My favourite is the last photo of the ‘country lane’ walk and I march along one very similar most days. I’m on the same longtitude, but about 250-300 kms further north! You say the S African countryside at your level is rather similar – that is a learning curve for me – thought it would be drier and more dramatic tree/bush-wise. [Oh, love the statement about sex between the trees: of course 😉 !]

    • Willie says:

      Hi Eha – I thought you may enjoy some familiar sights. We live in a higher rainfall area between the mountains and the sea. This area is commonly referred to as the “garden route”, not because of man-made gardens but due to the green vegetation and especially the indigenous forests. North of the mountains the rainfall is dramatically lower and is probably closer to what you imagine it to be. Glad you enjoyed the forestry joke.

  4. Some familiar scenes here, and great photographs of the Aussie bush. I lived in Canberra for 3 years.

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Gillian – I was glad some of the pictures taken while driving came out OK. In Oz the distances are even greater than in SA and it would not have been possible to stop for all the photo opportunities.

  5. Madoqua says:

    Great photos Lisa. I really love the forested ones you have – they are indeed typical of our forests.
    Sadly, the ones of the agricultural paddocks (eg that which shows the hay bales) are typical of many eastern Australian rural landscapes where most of the natural grassy woodland/forest has now been replaced with a few scattered trees. No regeneration can occur because the seedlings get eaten by the sheep and cattle. So these landscapes will shortly be totally denuded of trees altogether. The fauna which relies on the trees disappears too.
    The loss of the big trees has also (in many places) caused a thing called dryland salinity, where the ground water table has risen to the soil surface and brought soil salts with it. The vegetation can’t survive in those conditions and this causes more plant deaths.

    • Madoqua says:

      I must add here though, that many Landcare groups and concerned landowners have taken steps to plant many thousands of tree seedlings and looked after these until they were able to survive on their own. But a lot more remains to be done.

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Madoqua – We had some interesting discussions with various Australian foresters about this topic. It was great to see that some of the efforts in re-establishing woodlands and forests are starting to pay off. Some of the landcare groups have established seed orchards to sustain this effort and we visited some of those. The other interesting aspect is that parts of the Australian bush also have a fire ecology similar to our local Fynbos (natural shrubland or heathland vegetation). The big issue with a fire ecology is of course where nature and man-made infrastructure intersect, you always have conflict of interest – this is one of the aspects that we have to deal with on a regular basis.

    • Thanks Madoqua! A very interesting comment. Was wondering (and not for the first time) if you are an ecologist?

      • Madoqua says:

        Lisa, yes, you have guessed correctly. My passion is working with flora – Australian and South African species particularly. My research focus is on landscape ecology.

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