For day two of our country outing, we were taken out of the comfortably spacious “back yard” for a ninety minute walk around some of the much larger property, almost all undeveloped bushland, yet bearing some traces of habitation from colonial times. As the Irish immigrants on my mother’s side poured into the country through the early part of the nineteenth century, many of them moved north of Sydney, occupying the Hunter Valley and then sweeping through the northwest of modern-day NSW.
A few hundred million years before that, the weather and landscape of this area was considerably different. Everywhere we walk now there are hundreds of leaf fossils exposed in weathered sedimentary rocks.
With their trained eyes, Scott and Pierre were able to point out some of the variety of trees on this land. One might be forgiven for thinking there was one of each of the hundreds of eucalypt species along out path. More distinctive still are the grass trees, seen here towering over Gustav.
While I grew up in rural NSW, mostly in small farming communities, there wasn’t much exposure to native flora outside of the rare science-class excursion or orienteering sports day. Since the latter favoured speed over observation, one saw the bush as more a blur of grey-green than a fascinating environment.
Munson’s favourite experience was almost certainly the shallow pond that he nearly drained as he lapped at different corners.
Once more, lunch under the trellis.