Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Tuesday 30 August 2016


Last Thursday evening 25th August, my writer's group, the South Side Quills, launched their first anthology, "The Runaway Quill", at the Bunbury City Library. The anthology has been a labour of love for us over several years to reach this point. A few of us had had a small insight into the publishing world previously, but for most of us it was new to us. What a huge learning curve it was with writing, editing, reediting, finding a publisher/printer (no they are not the same thing...), proof reading.... We could hardly believe that the night of the book launch had finally arrived. 

South Side Quills. That's me second from right.

I have several pieces published in the book and my images are on the front and back cover. So today, instead of continuing with stories from our recent Kimberley trip, I am going to share with you here the short piece that I read at the book launch - Bilbarin Morning. This piece is close to my heart, as my mother spent her early years in the tiny wheatbelt siding town of Bilbarin, north of Corrigin in the central Western Australian wheatbelt. Those were tough years..... My Mum passed away in 2012 but in her memoirs she wrote....

My early years were the humblest of beginnings near Bilbarin "in the bush". Our home was a tent-cum-shack  My mother has told me it was the hardest time of her life before and immediately after I was born (1924). She knew what it was like to be really hungry and went without herself for the children. There was no fresh milk, fruit or vegetables, and meat was probably rabbit, kangaroo and even parrot. 

When I was two or three we moved to the siding town of Bilbarin where my father John, who was called "Jack" by many people, had built a cottage with a dirt floor, walls of corrugated iron and bush timer, cut on the property, corrugated iron roof, and white washed hessian linings. We had one small rain water tank. Two soaks produced fresh water which could be used for washing, but also to water a beautiful vegetable and flower garden.

....My brother Phil, born in 1927 in Corrigin, was closest to me in age, so we played a lot together. At Bilbarin there were trees and scrub up the back end of the paddock, and we played there. We got big sticks to ride, pretending they were horses. Down the front of the property a gully ran when it rained.... We played in the gully and dug out frog's holes to get to the eggs right down the bottom..... 

.....We had a horse called Daisy. She was very very quiet. She had been a baker's horse in Narrogin before we got her. 

... At Bilbarin there was a one teacher school within close walking distance. Miss Laurie Jeffrey was my first teacher. 

Bilbarin Sunday School, circa 1929. My mother is the small girl standing in the centre, in the light coloured coat, next to Mrs Smith.

 My story - Bilbarin Morning - come's purely from my imagination but based around that time in the late 1920's early 1930's. I share it with you here....

by Jill Harrison
A wild wind whips across the yard scattering leaves in devilish dance, battering a loose piece of tin on the roof and whistling through a crack in the sapling walls of the hut.  Tendrils of golden morning light seep thinly through the trailing branches of the peppermint trees.  It bursts through the door as we tumble out onto the verandah in a blur of coats and scarves. Icy water baubles clinging in wait for us on the eaves release themselves as we bound down the steps. The ground crunches noisily under our boots like a military tattoo.  The gate clatters behind us.  

Daisy stamps impatiently in her stall. Her hot breath swirls around her like a smoky wreath. She thrusts her head into the stream of grain spilling into the feed bin. 

Dry wheat stalks whip against our legs as we run across the stubble paddock.  Through the stringy gimlet trees, jumping the gurgling water in the gully, pushing our way through the scrub.  A kangaroo bounds away into the mist. Red gum flowers are bursting from their cups and we stop to pick a spray for Miss.

The clanging bell calls out to us across the dusty school yard. The welcoming warmth of the fire in the stove as we slide into our desks and pull out our books.   

Miss smiles at us, absorbing the perfume of the bush as she arranges the flowers in a jar on the window sill. 

Red gum flowers are bursting from their cups

I hope you have enjoyed my little vignette "Bilbarin morning". If you would like to buy a copy of "The Runaway Quill" please let me know. They are for sale for $20 plus postage. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

You might also like - 
The life of women in Australia's past 
Walking down memory lane 
Spring in the Western Australian wheatbelt 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

 Mosaic Monday
Life Thru the Lens 
Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Pepper and Salt
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday

Travel Photo Thursday
The Weekly Postcard 

Some more flowers from the Western Australian bush nearly Harvey this past weekend.


Monday 22 August 2016

The Wildflowers are blooming in Western Australia - Part 1 - Kimberley region

We might feel like we are in the depths of winter here in the South West of Western Australia, but it is wildflower time. Followers to my blog might know that photographing wildflowers is a passion of mine, so this is my favourite time of year. Usually I have to wait till September to get out and about taking photos of wildflowers, but I was lucky that my wildflower experience started in July this year when we travelled north to the Kimberley during the north-west's warm and sunny winter dry season.

The wildflowers were blooming and followed us down the coast as we made our way home two weeks ago. Well....it was thrilling for me....not so much for my travel companions my husband (who actually is a fantastic orchid finder) and my son (not my thing! came the muttering from the back seat). But they did survive. I took hundreds of wildflower photos, which I haven't had time to process yet as we only arrived home last Monday, so I will restrict this post to some of the more wide ranging, iconic, spectacular, flowers I had never seen before or just my favourites.

I am particularly lucky in Western Australia in that we have up to 12,000 known species of wildflowers including eight bio-diversity hotspots. The flowering period spreads over several months starting from July in the north till November in the south. However you will always find something flowering in the Western Australia bush somewhere.  

Our wildflower experience started on the first day of our trip at The Granites just north of Mount Magnet on the Great Northern Highway. Despite the rain I was out photographing this prickly character, the Flannel Bush - Solanum lasiophyllum.
From Broome we travelled north up the dirt Broome to Cape Leveque Road to go camping with friends. It was up in this region, the Dampier Peninsular, that we came across the Splendid Batchelors Buttons - Gomphrena canescens. You can see them also at the beginning of my post. I love them singularly and on mass.

If you saw last week's post - The Boab Tree - about the Kimberley's iconic tree, the Boab - Adansonia gregorii - you would have seen this photo of the Boab flower. If not, you can click on the link to check out my post.  I had never seen a Boab flower before, but a few trees were flowering in Broome.

One of my favourites since our first trip north 30 years ago - the Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus. Widespread in arid and semi-arid areas, there are about 100 species in the genus Ptilotus, all but one occurring only in Australia. Here photographed backlit at Purnululu. Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu

You will see the bright yellow flowers of the Kapok Bush - Cochlospermum fraseri - flowering from April to September throughout the Kimberley, particular in rocky sandstone areas. The large scented flowers are up to seven centimetres in diameter, and the swollen green fruits burst open to release silky seeds. It was the first time I had ever seen the inside of the fruit, see below, which we found on the hill overlooking beautiful Marglu Billabong south of Wyndham. 

The beautiful water lillies of Marglu Billabong. There is a bird-hide here. I've borrowed the two bird pics from my husband. The one on the left is a Brolga - Grus rubicunda - which is found across tropical northern Australia as well as southwards to north and east central regions, inhabiting large open wetlands, grassy plains, coastal mudflats and irrigated croplands. There courtship dance involves an elaborate dance. You can find out more here - Birdlife Australia.

Another birding site for Wyndham - Birding WA

And yes in the second picture can you see a crocodile in the background behind the White Egret. This is a salt-water crocodile. Yes, they do eat people, so definitely one you don't want to get near, and the reason why the bird-hide is enclosed in heavy-duty wire mesh. In case you can't see that croc....

Back to wildflowers...

Below is the Sticky Kurrajong - Brachychiton viscidulus - also known as the Kimberley Rose, or by the Aboroginal names darlab or djalad. We saw many of these along the Gibb River Road and also at Mt Elizabeth Station. Flowering from April to December the spectacular red flowers appear after the leaves have dropped. There are male and female flowers on the same plant, attracting large numbers of nectar-feeding birds. They usually grow in sandy area on hills and amongst sandstone and basalt rocks.  

 I confess I had never heard of the flower below before this trip - the Bat Wing Coral Tree - Erythrina vespertilio. The pea shaped scarlet flowers are produced along 30cm racemes and appear when the tree is mainly leafless during winter and spring.  There was a huge tree near the access gate we went through on the way to Mornington Wilderness camp about 90 kilometres south of the Gibb River Road. There was a flock of Red-Collared Lorikeet - Trichoglossus rubritorquis - chattering noisily as they enjoyed the blossom.

I love the unexpected nature of wildflower photography as you never quite know what you will find and it is thrilling to find varieties you haven’t seen or photographed before, especially the rarer species.

And below is Rosella - Hibiscus sabdariffa -  a species of Hibiscus. The petals of this plant, which are very high in Vitamin C, can be made into jam. They have a delicious sour-sweet taste. This was another plant that I had never seen before, though I had tasted the jam made by a local friend - delicious! I would love to see if I can grow this at home. We saw these plants near the Barnett River just off the Gibb River Road and at Mt Elizabeth Station. More info on the Rosella plant here - Green Harvest

I hope you have enjoyed these few wildflowers of the Kimberley. So much red! But then that is the colour of the Kimberley dirt. I have many more wildflower photos to share with you soon. In the meantime you might like to visit a couple of my posts (see the links below) where I give you a few tips about photographing wildflowers. But my most important tip is - get out there with your camera! 

Taking wildflower photos doesn’t need to be complicated. Slow down, think about your camera settings, choose the best specimen, and think about composition, orientation and how you want your photo to look. Are you going to get in close or take a wider view? Do both, and take photos from various angles. Set your aperture according to how much depth of field do you want. Remember small numbers ie F4.6 equals shallow depth of field with a soft blurred background.

Photographing Wildflowers 
How to take great wildflower photos 

On Thursday 25 August my writer's group, the South Side Quills, is launching their first anthology, The Runaway Quill, at the Bunbury Library. (Selling for $20). One of my pieces is about photographing wildflowers, and my photos appear on the front and back covers. 

You can read more about the South Side Quills by reading member, Ingrid Rickersey's post, on Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty blog by clicking here - Dedicated Writer's Reap Rewards  

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Life Thru the Lens 

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard 
Wandering Camera