ME think it AMAZING - me really doOct 23, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line it sure is a weird land
What a crazy country - what a weird mob.
I thought it might be a bit of fun to have a look at some of the weird aspects of Australia. These are at random and all are true, except for one or two that aren't, but you'll be given a clue as to which they are.
First we should go back to the start, since we are at the start, and that point was really when a young fella called Christopher Columbus made the world round. As I recall from my school days, Chris reckoned it would be better if the world was round - I guess because it would take out all the sharp corners and being round it brought things closer together.
All of a sudden sailors started heading down south, some approaching "The Great South Land", as they called it, some from the east, others from the west. They almost always tried to sail around it, but it was too big so they kept crashing into the coast, causing over time the rugged appearance. Even Captain Cook, who they reckon had brakes on "The Endeavour", avoided crashing but he still holed the trusty ship on the submerged, but only just, "Great Barrier Reef".
Spanish and Dutch sailors had punched many holes into the west coast. They always took the opportunity to walk ashore but saw nothing but desert, so told their governments the "Great South Land" wasn't so great. About this time it was renamed "Terra Australis" meaning something I suspect derogatory.
Of course the British had a different attitude - Dirt was dirt and if the Union Jack would stand up in it they would claim it regardless. But Captain Cook, having read Edward de Bono's "Lateral Thinking", figured there must be water somewhere. And sure enough, when he entered Botany Bay there was none to be found. But being the original "cookie monster", he was undaunted and sailed and bounced off the coast northwards about five miles where he saw another inlet. In he goes like a rat up a drainpipe and this time he sees rugged hills both sides, too steep to do much with, so he kept going and as he rounded a bend there it was! The Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Skyscap........er hang on, no, not yet - there was a near flat area with a creek running down hill, as usual, to the harbour. "Thar she blows" he yelled, but quickly realising the error yelled "this will do".
In his excitement he forgot the brakes and ploughed into the bank, creating what is now Circular Quay, which is big enough for the QE2 and ten ferries to park abreast. The stream became the town centre, with tents erected each side, and to make sure there was always plenty of water it was dammed about every fifty yards or so. Except the word dam hadn't been invented, so they called these pools tanks, and eventually the whole river was called the "Tank Stream". It is still there, under the city, and it can be viewed in all its concreted glory.
So Australia was born, at least to the white man.
Leaping slightly ahead a hundred years, it became apparent that most of the country was dry, dry as a week old cookie. And the driest bit was in the middle in the State called South Australia. In the hills around the fledgling State Capital Adelaide, Gold was found. Tons and tons of it. But after countless amounts of gold was extracted from numerous extremely profitable mines a major tragedy occurred. Not one mile from where you scribe lives was the richest gold mine of them all, the "Bird in Hand". Nobody knows how much gold was taken from this mine but it was most definitely a huge amount. But right here, in the driest State of the driest continent on the planet, the mine flooded! Jumping Jehosephat, exclaimed the owners, or something similar - how could this be? This joint is weird, but it can't be that weird!
So, the very next day they found out the biggest pump in the world (and it is still one of the biggest) was in the USA. They offered the owners just about anything to get it and it was brought here and installed. Well it pumped, and it pumped, and it pumped - but got exactly nowhere. So, beaten by water in the driest place on earth, the mine closed and has never re-opened.
Another small jump to the year 2001. In late September of that year a long held belief was put into action. "The Basin", a huge depression in the Outback about four hundred miles across, was known to have relatively rich black soil at its centre down to a depth of a hundred and forty feet. Over millions of years all the soil had settled into the centre of the basin and numerous large gum trees were growing happily, most around two thousand years old. But it had not rained in this area since a sprinkling in 1995, so it was assumed things were pretty dry down below. It was also assumed oil would be down there, so a test bore was drilled.
When bores are drilled in the vicinity of big trees usually some root fragments come up in the soil. And so they did - and they did, and they did - the fragments stopped coming up just after the bore passed through the depth of two miles! For the last quarter mile the soil was damp, so these trees had sent their roots down two miles to get water. But no oil, so they kept going and found a small amount at 3.5 miles. The Geologists calculated they should move forty miles to some point and they now have a raging supply of both oil and gas only a half mile down which has been capped for the future.
A startling discovery was made in the year 2000. Australian native trees, all of which are evergreen, were believed to live up to three hundred years. The relatively short lifespan was assumed due to their propensity to develop holes in their trunks, thereby being infested with termites and birds.
These assumptions were based on the art of tree surgery practised in Europe and North America, where trees can be generally aged by the number of rings in the trunk.
A big mistake - Only in about September, 2000 was it proved that Australian trees are not remotely similar to their northern hemisphere cousins. A ring of growth being about one year in the north, takes about thirty years here. The holes regularly occurring in tree trunks are intentional because the soil is so poor. A gum tree aims to be eaten out by termites within eight hundred to a thousand years to reduce weight and provide nutrient for the tree. The outer shell remains intact and the tree takes on the engineering strength of a pipe, very strong indeed.
By being hollow, countless wildlife moves in at various levels, providing the much needed nutrients which naturally fall to the base and over time and washed into the soil by rain.
The crazy thing is for two hundred years tree surgeons have been killing gum trees by filling in the holes, even poisoning the termites! Well intentioned though, of course.
Australia - it sure is a weird land and these are but a few of the weird aspects. More will be covered later.
|Read all comments (6)|Write your own comment|
Ads by Google
Australia Tour Packages See Melbourne, Barrier Reef, Sydney & More. Customize Your Trip Today!
Travel to Australia Get help planning your trip with or without air. Ask an Aussie now.
Tours In Australia Info on Tours In Australia Answers, Results and Great Info!
Tours Of Australia Search for Tours Of Australia Find Quick Results now!