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CAT Day 12

Monday, June 03, 2013

Well here I am again and working to catch up. My knee is now MRI'd, X-rayed and I'm just now awaiting the Surgeon appointment for the Knee surgery. I'm so glad that it is an outpatient surgery and all of you will be great nurses! Of course that does mean that someone will have to push me in a wheelchair for a bit. But I'm down to 194 pounds! emoticon I'm back on track and moving down again.

So we ended up following Ann on one of her famous "short cuts" and if it hadn't rained the night before it would have been short. But true to her word she got us through and all in one piece. So now we are back on the Buntine Highway which has no speed limit which makes Ann and the rest of us happy. Of course those of us from the US are a bit surprised with the Road Trains at first. We don't have them in the US for the most part. I have seen them in the middle of the plains a couple of times but usually they use the Rail Roads for the longer hauls.

A road train or roadtrain is a trucking concept used in remote areas of Argentina, Australia, Mexico, the United States, and Canada to move freight efficiently. The term "road train" is most often used in Australia. In the United States and Canada the terms "triples", "turnpike doubles", and "Rocky Mountain doubles" are commonly used for longer combination vehicles (LCVs). A road train consists of a relatively conventional tractor unit, but instead of pulling one trailer or semi-trailer, a road train pulls two or more of them. They are referred to as "pup" trailers because of their historical use at dog farms.

Early road trains consisted of traction engines pulling multiple wagons.

Traction Engine

During the Crimean War a traction engine was used to pull multiple open trucks. By 1898 steam traction engine trains with up to four wagons were employed in military manoeuvres in England.

In 1900, John Fowler & Co. provided armoured road trains for use by the British forces in the Second Boer War. Lord Kitchener stated that he had around 45 steam road trains at his disposal.

There is an earlier road train built by its inventor in the United Kingdom. It is shown in the No. 320 (No. 8. Vol. 12, February 23, 1907) edition of "The Auto" Title: The Renard Road Train, page 242.

In the 1940s, the government of South Australia operated a fleet of AEC 8x8 military trucks to transport freight and supplies into the Northern Territory, replacing the Afghan camel trains that had been trekking through the deserts since the late 19th century. These trucks pulled two or three 6 m Dyson four-axle self-tracking trailers. With 130 hp, the AECs were grossly underpowered by today's standards, and drivers and offsiders routinely froze in winter and sweltered in summer due to the truck's open cab design and the position of the engine radiator, with its 1.5 m cooling fan, behind the seats.

Australian Kurt Johansson is recognised as the inventor of the modern road train. After transporting stud bulls 320 km to an outback property, Johansson was challenged to build a truck to carry 100 head of cattle instead of the original load of 20. Provided with financing of a couple of thousand pounds and inspired by the tracking abilities of the Government roadtrain, Johansson began construction. Two years later his first road train was running.

Johansson's first road train consisted of a U.S. Army World War II surplus Diamond-T tank carrier, nicknamed "Bertha", and two home-built self-tracking trailers. Both wheel sets on each trailer could steer, and therefore could negotiate the tight and narrow tracks and creek crossings that existed throughout Central Australia in the earlier part of last century. Freighter Trailers in Australia viewed this improved invention and went on to build self-tracking trailers for Kurt and other customers, and went on to become innovators in transport machinery for Australia.

This first example of the modern road train, along with the AEC Government Roadtrain, forms part of the huge collection at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Love the look. I so want one now to get people to move out of my way as I drive! hehe

So we quickly get over the size and length as well as the noise they make and most of us fall asleep or are reading a good book. Then the songs start up. There is literally a lot of nothing to see except sand/dirt and shrubs. Soon enough we finally start seeing signs of civilization again and see signs for our next destination. Litchfield National Park.

Litchfield National Park, covering approximately 1500 km2, is near the township of Batchelor, 100 km south-west of Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Each year the park attracts over 260,000 visitors.

Proclaimed a national park in 1986, it is named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a Territory pioneer, who explored areas of the Northern Territory from Escape Cliffs on the Timor Sea to the Daly River in 1864.

The Aboriginal people have lived throughout the area for thousands of years. It is important to the Mak Mak Marranunggu (northern portion), Werat and Waray (southern portion)Aboriginal people whose Ancestral Spirits formed the landscape, plants and animals and are still present in the landscape today.

The discovery of copper and tin led to the establishment of several small scale subsistence mining operations. Pastoral occupation also began in the 1870s, with loggers and graziers facing the difficult conditions of torrential rain, mosquitoes and sandflies.

Bamboo Creek's tin mining operation began at Makanbarr, A Mak Mak Marranunggu campsite, in 1906. High-quality tin was often found in the ancient riverbeds and on the surface of the hills. All it needed was to be bagged and sold. Small groups operated this way for the next 30 years. By 1941 miners began following the tin-bearing seams into the hills using picks and shovels, and loading the ore into wagons to be pushed or pulled back to the mines' entrances.

Logging of paperbark, cypress and Leichhardt pines began in 1948 in the north-western section of the park. Again, Aboriginal people assisted and ex-army equipment was utilized to take the timber to the mill where it was prepared for local builders.

Uranium was discovered outside what is now Litchfield's eastern boundary in August 1949, by a local prospector, Jack White. Australia's first fully operational uranium mine was opened at Rum Jungle, and underground mining occurred from 1950 to 1953. The name Rum Jungle is derived from an accident that occurred in 1871. A bullock-wagon load of rum, destined for the construction gangs, was said to have been bogged near a patch of jungle on the crocodile-inhabited East Finniss River - the bullockies untethered the oxen and set about drinking the rum, having one of history's most glorious binges. Production from the open cut area started in 1953 and proved to be one of the largest economic influences in the development of the Top End, with sales to the United Kingdom for their atomic weapons program. The mine closed in 1971.

The Central sandstone plateau supports rich woodland flora communities dominated by species including Darwin Woolybutt and Darwin Stringybark, as well as banksias, grevilleas, terminalias and a wide variety of other woodland species.

The Darwin woollybutt (Eucalyptus miniata) is a eucalypt which is native to Australia's Top End, found from Cape York in north Queensland across through to the Northern Territory into the Kimberley Region of northern Western Australia. It is a medium-sized tree which can reach 15–25 m in height. The bark is soft and fissured, grey to red in colour. The greenish-brown juvenile leaves are 3–6 cm by 2–3 cm and elliptic in shape, while adult leaves are 7.5–15 cm by 2.5–5 cm and lanceolate or falcate and light green in colour. Flowering occurs from May to September and orange or scarlet flowers are up to 3.5 cm in diameter. Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos living in the north of Australia prefer feeding on the Darwin woolybutt. The Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are fairly common with 5 sub-species. Two of the sub-species are threatened.

A beautiful Male in flight. Only the Males have the red in their tails.

Wonderful head shot.

The Darwin stringybark, Eucalyptus tetrodonta (family Myrtaceae), is an abundant eucalypt in central Cape York Peninsula. Stringybark woodland (woodland dominated by the stringybark trees) cover 37% of the total area of the Peninsula. This tall, erect tree stands 10 to 30 meters tall. As indicated by its name, the bark of this tree is stringy, rough and fibrous.

The bark of this tree is put to a wide variety of uses. The bark is used for making a messmate bark humpy, a type of shelter. The bark, and the shelter itself, is called uk algnggar. The wood of this tree is used to make spears, woomeras, yamsticks, a bark dish etc.

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae, native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia and Sulawesi. It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville. The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 50 cm tall to trees 35 m tall. Common names include grevillea, spider flower, silky oak, bottle brush and toothbrush plant.

The brightly coloured, petal-less flowers consist of a calyx tube that splits into 4 lobes with long styles. They are good bird-attracting plants, honeyeaters in particular are common visitors. They are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Dryandra Moth.

Terminalia is a genus of large trees of the flowering plant family Combretaceae, comprising around 100 species distributed in tropical regions of the world. This genus gets it name from Latin terminus, referring to the fact that the leaves appear at the very tips of the shoots.
Trees of this genus are known especially as a source of secondary metabolites, e.g. cyclic triterpenes and their derivatives, flavonoids, tannins, and other aromatics. Some of these substances have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer and hepatoprotective effects.

Remnant pockets of monsoon rainforest thrive along the bottom of the escarpment, and in the deep narrow gorges created over thousands of years by the force of the waterfalls cutting into the escarpment walls.

They are significant because of their size and lack of disturbance. Here visitors will find lilies and slender ground orchids growing among Pandanus, paperbark and swamp bloodwoods.

Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Many other plants have "lily" in their common name but are not related to true lilies.

1. Stigma: Receptive tip that receives the pollen from another flower.
2. Style: Where seeds are produced after pollination.
3. Stamens: The pollen-producing reproductive organ.
4. Filament: What the Stamens grow upon.
5. Tepal: The petals of the flower.

The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with colorful and fragrant blooms, commonly known as the orchid family. Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, found in 880 genera. The family also includes Vanilla (the genus of the vanilla plant), Orchis (type genus), and many commonly cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis and Cattleya. Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

Often called pandanus palms, these plants are not closely related to palm trees. The species vary in size from small shrubs less than 1 meter tall, to medium-sized trees 20 meters tall, typically with a broad canopy, heavy fruit, and moderate growth rate. The trunk is stout, wide-branching, and ringed with many leaf scars. They commonly have many thick prop roots near the base, which provide support as the tree grows top-heavy with leaves, fruit, and branches. The leaves are strap-shaped, varying between species from 30 centimeters to 2 meters or longer, and from 1.5 centimeters up to 10 centimeters broad.

They are dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on different plants. The flowers of the male tree are 2–3 centimeters long and fragrant, surrounded by narrow, white bracts. The female tree produces flowers with round fruits that are also bract-surrounded. The fruits are globose, 10–20 centimeters in diameter, and have many prism-like sections, resembling the fruit of the pineapple. Typically, the fruit changes from green to bright orange or red as it matures. The fruit of some species are edible. Pandanus fruit are eaten by animals including bats, rats, crabs, elephants and monitor lizards, but the vast majority of species are dispersed primarily by water.

Common wildlife species include the Antilopine kangaroo, Agile wallaby, Sugar glider, Northern brushtail possum, Fawn antechinus, Black and Little red flying foxes and the Dingo. The caves near Tolmer Falls are home to a colony of the rare Orange leaf-nosed bat and the Ghost bat.

The antilopine kangaroo is one of few macropods to display sexual dimorphism, with the male being mostly a reddish colour above, and females being considerably greyer. It is one of the largest macropods, being only slightly smaller than the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus).



The sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small, omnivorous, arboreal gliding possum belonging to the marsupial infraclass. The common name refers to its preference for sugary nectarous foods and ability to glide through the air, much like a flying squirrel. Due to convergent evolution, they have very similar appearance and habits to the flying squirrel, but are not closely related. The scientific name, Petaurus breviceps, translates from Latin as "short-headed rope-dancer", a reference to their canopy acrobatics.

Its fur is a grey in colour, with a white underbelly and pink skin. The Northern brushtail possum can grow up to 55 cm in length, not including its tail, and are around the size of a small cat. Unlike its relatives and despite what its name suggests, the Northern brushtail possum does not have a bushy tail.

The fawn antechinus (Antechinus bellus) is a species of small carnivorous marsupial found in northern Australia. It is the only Antechinus to be found in the Northern Territory and has a patchy, restricted range.

The black flying fox, Pteropus alecto, is a megabat in the family Pteropodidae. Members of the genus Pteropus include the largest bats in the world. The Pteropus genus has currently about 57 recognised species.

The little red flying fox (Pteropus scapulatus) is a species of megabat native to northern and eastern Australia. With a weight of 280–530 grams it is the smallest flying fox in mainland Australia (the others being the black, bpectacled and grey-headed flying foxes).

The dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a free-roaming dog mainly found on the continent of Australia. It is a subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus.

The Orange Leaf-nosed Bat, Rhinonicteris aurantia, is a species of bat in the family Hipposideridae. It is the only living species in the genus Rhinonicteris. It is endemic to Australia.

A face only a mother could love. Or not...

Litchfield is a habitat for hundreds of native bird species. Black Kites, and other birds of prey are common during the dry season. The Black Kite (Milvus migrans) is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors.

The Yellow Oriole, Figbird, Pacific Koel, Spangled Drongo, Dollarbird and the Rainbow Bee-eater inhabit the sheltered areas close to waterfalls.

TheAustralasian Yellow Oriole, (Oriolus flavocinctus) is an inconspicuous inhabitant of lush tropical vegetation throughout New Guinea and northern Australia, including Cape York Peninsula, the Top End and the Kimberley.

The Australasian Figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti) is a conspicuous medium-sized passerine bird native to a wide range of wooded habitats in northern and eastern Australia,



The Pacific Koel (Eudynamys orientalis), also known as the Eastern Koel, is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family.



The Spangled Drongo is the only Drongo to be found in Australia. "Drongo" is Australian slang for "idiot", possibly referring to the bird's uninhibited and sometimes comical behaviour as it swoops and perches in search of insects, small birds and occasionally, small skinks.

The Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis), also known as the Oriental Dollarbird or Dollar Roller, is a bird of the roller family, so named because of the distinctive blue coin-shaped spots on its wings.

The Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is the only species of Meropidae found in Australia.

One can see why they are called Rainbow.

A species of marsupial mouse (the Northern Dibbler), the Rufous-tailed Bush-hen, a frog (the Pealing Chirper) and the Primitive archerfish, occur in the Wangi Falls area.

The Pale-vented Bush-hen (Amaurornis moluccana), Rufous-tailed Bush-hen or Rufous-tailed Waterhen is a species of bird in the Rallidae family.

Keeping in step.

The Robust Frog (Austrochaperina robusta) is a species of frog in the Microhylidae family. It is endemic to Australia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Toxotes lorentzi is a tropical freshwater fish found in New Guinea, Australia, and Indonesia. It was first named by Weber in 1910, and is commonly known as the Primitive archerfish or Lorentz's archerfish.

Wangi, Tolmer and Florence falls and Buley Rockhole, are popular with visitors and tour groups. The falls have large pools that attract birds and reptiles such as monitors.

Monitor lizards are generally large reptiles, although some can be as small as 20 centimeters in length. They have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs.

Orange-footed Scrubfowl, honeyeaters, Figbirds and Torres Strait Pigeons share the fruit and berries in the areas with nocturnal mammals like the Northern Quoll, Northern Brown Bandicoot and Northern Brushtail Possum.

The Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Megapodius reinwardt, is a small megapode of the family Megapodiidae.

The Torresian Imperial Pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa), also known as the Nutmeg Pigeon or Torres Strait Pigeon, is a relatively large, pied species of pigeon. It is found in forest, woodland, savanna, mangrove and scrub in Australia.

The northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), also known as the northern native cat, the Satanellus, the North Australian native aat or the njanmak (in the indigenous Mayali language), is a carnivorous marsupial native to Australia.

The northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus), a marsupial species, is a bandicoot found only on the northern and eastern coasts of Australia.

Frill-necked Lizards are common throughout the park, but will not be seen as frequently during the cool dry season months.

The frill-necked lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii), also known as the frilled lizard or frilled dragon, is found mainly in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. This species is the only member of the genus Chlamydosaurus. Its name comes from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard's body. It is largely arboreal, spending the majority of the time in the trees. The lizard's diet consists mainly of insects and small vertebrates. The frill-necked lizard is a relatively large lizard, averaging 85 cm in length.

Reminds me of Jurassic Park.

The Finniss River area also hosts a number of large Saltwater Crocodiles, commonly abbreviated as "salties".

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), also known as saltie, estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest terrestrial and riparian predator in the world.

Eye see you...

The magnetic termite mounds are a popular tourist attraction. These wedge-shaped mounds are aligned in a north-south direction as a response to the environment. The termites which build them feed on grass roots and other plant debris found in plains which are seasonally flooded. Therefore, the termites are forced to remain above the water, in the mound. The alignment of the mound acts as a temperature regulator, and allows the temperature to remain stable.

Termites are a group of eusocial insects that, until recently, were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera (see taxonomy below), but are now accepted as the epifamily Termitoidae, of the cockroach order Blattodea.[1] While termites are commonly known, especially in Australia, as "white ants", they are for practical purposes unrelated to the ants.

With so much to see and learn I'm so happy that we are having a longer stay about the area. I'll be able to go into more depth on many of these items.

We arrive at our camp in midday and set up. We get acclimated and have a lovely tea and then walk about the camp seeing what we can find in the bush. Of course we are careful about coming upon any snakes.

We settle in for the evening after a swim in the swimming pool and dinner getting ready for our sightseeing upon the marrow.

With that I say adieu and go to sleep myself. emoticon


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am getting back in the groove and can be a good nurse!
    1817 days ago
    Very, very interesting! Loved the pictures, too! Thanks for sharing!
    1819 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1819 days ago
    Wow!! and yes I did read it all!! Amazing amount covered!!
    I take road trains for granted as IO see them all the time - but I was fascinated by the history you gave -
    Flying foxes are the bain of our lives - they carry lyssavirus which kills humans!! Also they smell and are extremely noisy and they live in town areas and in huge colonies - when they leave their roosting place at night - to hunt for food they turn the sky black. They can spread a fatal disease to horses also!!
    1819 days ago
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