There has been much discussion lately about the 410 visa and much of it, we have been led to believe, has been done by the new Government. At the recent Perth Community Cabinet Meeting where the issue was raised by a lady called Nita Sadler, the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration said they wanted to know all about it and one of the local Federal MP's certainly set about making herself a champion on our behalf. The next meeting will be held on the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland this Sunday, and 5 of our BERIA members have been granted a 10 minute meeting with the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans to put forward our case for granting us Permanent Residence.
We are all keeping our fingers crossed that the meeting not only goes well, but the Minister will listen favourably to the arguments. John Wittering, the chief scribe amongst us, has produced some excellent documents that have been well constructed. He has looked at the all the pros and cons that had been discussed with the previous Government, who were not at all sympathetic to our cause, nor did they actually acknowledge any of the positives that were put forward, rather they did what politicians are known for and that is ignore what they don't want to discuss and put forward what they do, so it is like having a discussion with someone who speaks a different language.
Regretfully, I am not able to attend, but I am sure the meeting will be in good hands.
I am pleased to report that the indentification of the mystery spider has been solved; here is the reply I received from the Queensland Museum:
That is a male Garden orb-weaver, Eriophora transmarina. This is a common spider and you are likely to be familiar with the female which is just a little larger (especially in the abdomen) and makes very large orb webs mostly at night. She lacks the special patch of spines on the 2nd leg that he has. The males have this strange habit of suspending themselves by a single strand of silk from eaves and other vantage points with their front legs outstretched. I imagine they are smelling for females (but that is just speculation).
Another place to look for males of this species is as the dead husks left by the females in their webs!
The female looks so different that it isn't surprising we couldn't identify it as the books only tend to show the female; as you will see from this photo, it looks nothing like the one we have.
Our friend, Peter Kuttner, who produced the DVD archive entitled The Biodiversity of Tamborine Mountain, arrived at our house yesterday, with a spider that he had not been able to identify. I got an old fish tank out of the shed, cleaned it up the we placed the spider in it. At first we wondered if it might be dead as it was all scrunched up, but after a while it did move around. Peter wanted to film it to add to his archive on his website, however his camera was elsewhere, so we used ours and both Graham and I took some stills. We all found it difficult to focus through the glass however it was impossible to get the tripod positioned so that the camera could bend over the top of the tank. Not knowing what kind of spider it is, we didn't want to take too many chances by with it.
I have sent some photos to the Queensland Museum asking them if they can identify it, however I haven't heard back from them yet.
Here are the photos:
Recently, I have been attending the rehearsals of an Australian play called Dimboola, being performed by the drama group I belong to; the Tamborine Mountain Little Theatre. The play is about the wedding reception from hell! If you can imagine a more uncouth group of people at a wedding then this is it! I am doing prompt for the rehearsals and waiting on tables for the performances. I did have an opportunity to act in the play, but felt I couldn't devote the time required to attend the rehearsals, and here I am doing just that! Of course there was another reason and that is I am not sure I can rely on my memory these days, and felt I wouldn't like to let anyone down. If you want to read about the rehearsals and look at some photos then go to the TMLT website
The performances will take place this coming Friday and Saturday nights and as all the tickets are sold, they should go with a swing. Bernie and his band will be supplying the music and there will be dancing. Graham will be taking photos, however, I won't be able to do any filming, due to being on duty with the catering. All profits will go towards the refurbishing of the Zamia Theatre.
Last Sunday, there was a pleasant break in the weather and a group of 40 volunteers set about planting over 1,000 trees in a clearing in an area just around the corner from where we live. The spreads over 3.5 acres and many years ago the block of land used to be owned by the Crawfords, then it was owned by the Council who in turn exchanged it with the Rainforest Trust for the Zamia Theatre. The ground had become terribly overgrown by Lantana, and many other noxious weeds. The bulldozers came in and cleared it all away, leaving a large area for the new rainforest trees.
Here is an excerpt from one of the local papers written by one of the volunteers:
"Some great surprises emerged from the ocean of privet and lantana. Among these were a magnificent old-growth red cedar, and a couple of well preserved out-buildings from the Crawford home, which will be preserved. The only occupants of the old toilet block were a surprised brushtail possum mum with her two tiny babies clinging to her back. We left them sleeping.
Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Trust is working closely with Landcare to return this area to its original condition through an intensive program of noxious weed removal and replacement by rainforest species indigenous to the Mountain.
The commitment of so many volunteers to this day indicates the value we all place on the preservation and enhancement of our unique Mountain environment. The range of people involved was interesting.
The project is well-advanced, but the heavily weed-infested area right on the corner of Lahey and Long Roads is the next challenge that will be met in the spring. In the meantime we hope that the rain will continue to push the trees upwards."After the marathon planting we were all very pleased that there was prolonged rain the next day, to give them a good start. To see more photos of the trees and some of the volunteers go to the Gallery page.
Goodness, the weather has come back with a vengeance, causing certain areas that had been badly affected by drought, to become completely engulfed by water. Residents have also been warned to watch for crocodiles in floodwaters after unconfirmed sightings.
Mackay has been severely affected by the floods, although it was interesting to hear an elderly couple say that this was how the weather used to be when they were younger. The photo on the left is from the Courier Mail. Here are more photos.
I remember when I was living here in the .60's hearing how the normal summer weather for Queensland was monsoonal, and all the houses here on Tamborine Mountain have to be built to cyclone standards, although we have never experienced one in the 14 years we have lived here.Have a look at the video clip of the floods on the video page.
I attended my first AIR Meeting today. Perhaps I should explain what A.I.R. stands for; it is Association of Independent Retirees and is the peak body representing the views of fully and partly self-funded retirees. I joined because the group I set up to represent 410 visa holders, who are also self-funded retirees, have been developing closer links with the AIR, as they have been lobbying the government for improvements to our visa for a long time. Admittedly the majority of the visa holders who are members of AIR are mainly based in Western Australia, nevertheless, as I discovered today there is definitely a ground swell amongst the Australian members to push the Government of the day for a fair deal for 410 visa holders in respect of permanent residence, and it was really very heart-warming for me to hear the passion with which the Branch's President's wife voiced her full support..
The actual meeting today, was certainly not a 'normal' one as is consisted entirely of forum for the five candidates for the position of Mayor for the Gold Coast, including the current Mayor, Ron Clarke (the ex-athlete). Each candidate was given 8 minutes to put forward their proposals and about 15 minutes for Q & A afterwards.
It was only after the meeting that I got an opportunity to discuss my group with some members of the committee and the 410 issue in particular. This AIR branch has around 430 members, although it is not known just how many of those has a 410 visa; it is thought only a few.
Still it all seems quite interesting and I look forward to going to a more normal meeting.
For the first time, in what seems ages, the sun has come out and I am hoping it will stay that way for a while to allow everything a chance to dry out. Instead of the corn being as "high as an elephant's eye" (quote from the musical Oklahoma), in my garden it's the weeds and grass and everything else that looks as if it has swallowed a bottle of hormone pills! I am just taking a break from putting in some plants that have been waiting for nearly a week for the weather to improve so I can put them in their new homes. Of course, I have to clear the weeds out the way first! The photos on the right show the length of the grass which has grown so fast. (Just click on them to enlarge and see slide show - not particularly inspiring, however).
Unfortunately the grass we have to grow here in Queensland has to withstand severe drought as well as rain, so the strongest grass is the worst one in terms of maintenance; it is Couch. I remember in England it was a curse and one always strived to get rid of Couch, and believe me I wish I could here; it is so invasive. I used to have a gardener who came and mowed and weeded for two hours every week, but I decided to do it myself, but as usual other things have taken up my time, and poor Graham can't help because of his sciatica and disc problems. My neighbour has been doing it, only last week he managed to cut his leg with an old rusty water tank he was cutting up, and now he is out of commission for a while.
Well, this isn't getting the gardening done, so will call a halt to this.
Once more the rain has returned with a vengeance. In a couple of hours this morning we had nearly 3", and it has barely stopped since. The forecast is more of the same for the week, so we are all going to feel rather damp by the end of the week if the weathermen are right! The weather radar chart is showing the distribution of it around the South-East Queensland area. If you are interested in weather charts there is a link to this one on the Links page, or you can click here. On the video page you will see a very short video of the rain coming down, although, because I took it with my small still camera, the quality isn't all that good; however, the sound is most effective!
Update: 11.00pm. Have just emptied out the rain guage as it was nearly overflowing and there was another 4.5" in it; the frogs are loving this weather!