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.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Monday, 26 September 2016

Once in 40 years wildflower extravaganza - visiting Lesueur National Park

They say that this year's Western Australian wildflower bloom is the best seen in 40 years. Favourable weather conditions - rain and sun - have brought on a brilliant wildflower extravaganza spreading across our state.  

Western Australia boasts up to 12,000 known species and the Western Australian wildflower season spreads over several months starting from July in the north’s Kimberley region till November in the south. Walking through the bush during spring you will see the browns and greens of the bush erupt in a dazzling display of vibrant colour. Everlasting magic

One of the Australian wattles - genus Acacia
Over the last ten or so years I've been blessed with the opportunity to travel across much of our state and touring, whether it be only a few days or a couple of weeks, during our wildflower season has a big attraction for me, especially since I discovered digital photography and my love for wildflower photography.

You don't need to go far, even a small bush block in suburbia can reveal hidden treasures in spring. Photographing wildflowers    

 In July we discovered the magic of the Kimberley wildflowers - oh the brilliance of those reds, yellows and oranges against those vast Kimberley blue skys and red earth. I blogged about them here - The wildflowers are blooming in the Kimberley

 As we travelled south during August the changing variety of wildflowers followed us. I was hard pressed to not keep saying "stop the car", as I know that walking only a few metres into this wonderland of flowers would reveal hidden treasures I couldn't see from the highway. But I also knew that my travelling companions didn't want to always be "stopping the car".... so sometimes I had to be content with "drive-by shots". 

These yellows and whites are yellow and white everlastings. The whites looked like snow across the ground spreading as far as you could see through the scrub. 

We did however decide to extend our trip by another day and night just so that I could visit Lesueur National Park. 

Named after Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, a natural history artist aboard the French ship Naturaliste during its 1801 expedition, Lesueur National Park covers 26,987 hectares and has a wide range of geological formations, landscapes and soil types. It is a biodiversity hotspot boasting an exceptionally diverse range of flora, with more than 900 species, comprising 10 per cent of the state's known flora, including seven species of declared rare flora, making it an important reserve for flora conservation. Much of Lesueur is covered by low heath, known as Kwongan by Aboriginal people - low scrub that a man can see over.

We approached Lesueur from  the north via the Coorow-Greenhead Road east off the Indian Ocean Drive just north of Greenhead, and then turning south onto Cockleshell Gully Road, or you can approach it from the south via Jurien and the Jurien East Road. The first part of our drive took us along a ridgeline with view of the coast and the Indian Ocean to the west.

From here you turn onto a 18.5 kilometre one-way bitumen road which takes you through the park. There are regular pull-over places where you can park and enjoy the scenery and take photos. The one-way road make these pull-overs very convenient as you don't have to worry about oncoming traffic.

Please note there is a $12 day entry vehicle pass payable by self-registration at the entrance or you can pre-purchase a 12 month WA Parks pass.

About a third of the way along the trail you will come to a day-use area where there is a 400 metre return wheelchair-friendly bitumen path where those less able can enjoy the wildflowers. You can also learn more about Lesueur on the information boards. 

From here you can follow the 2.5km Gardner circuit trail or the more challenging 4km Mt Lesueur walk trail to the summit of Mt Lesueur. Please allow approximately half a day to complete this moderate, at times challenging, walk which requires a good degree of fitness. Bring your own food, water, sun cream, wear a hat, good walking boots and take away your rubbish.

Please make sure you help prevent Dieback (Phytophthora spp.), which can be spread through the transfer of infected soil on your boots,  by cleaning your boots at the boot cleaning station. 

 Even if you decide you don't want to tackle the Mt Lesueur walk there will be plenty to see especially during wildflower time. Below you will see just a small selection.

Please note: I am not a botanist so I can't accurately name these flowers, but I will do my best. Some of them I will just give a family name, whereas others where I have given a botanic name I am fairly sure of their identification. 

 Banksias.... clockwise - Firewood Banksia (Banksia menziesii), either the Hooker's or Acorn Banksia, Violet Banksia (Banksia violacea)


Blue Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia biloba), Free-flowering Leschenaultia (Lechanaultia floribunda),  Catspaw, and Mangles Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)

Reds - left to right from top left - Fringed Bell (Darwinia neildiana), Pink Poker, Grevillea, Bottlebrush, Clawflower, Cockies Tongues (Templetonia retusa), Scarlet Runner or Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata), Murchison Darwinia (Darwinia virescens), and Scarlet Featherflower (Verticordia grandis).

Pinks and purples - Hovea, Purple Tassels (Sowerbaea laxiflora), Blue Tinsel Lily (Calectasia cyanea), Veined Hakea (Hakea neurophylla), Coneflower, Myrtle, Pepper and Salt, Pipe Lilly, Starflower.

Creamy whites - I can't identify the first and last one on the top line, but the middle one is Smokebush, I think the first one on the second line is a Coneflower, White plume Grevillea (Grevillea leucopteris), Clematis, Hakea, Long-Eared Petrophile, Ribbed Hakea

I love the way that Clematis drapes over the bushes. 

 Petrophile, Dryandra, unknown (bottom left) and Banjine. 

Yellows - Horned Poison Bush (Gastrolobium polystachyum), Chittick, Catspaw, Wattle, Cottonheads, Hibbertia, Pea family, Spiny Synaphea (Synaphea spinulosa), Tailflower.

And maybe even orchids hiding in the undergrowth

And this one below which I promised last week to identify? This is Murchison Darwinia (Darwinea virescens), listed as uncommon in my Wildflower identification book, although as not threatened on DEPAW-Florabase. Grows in white or yellow sand in heathlands, August to December or January. Kalbarri to Northampton and Murchison. A prostrate shrub, 0.05-0.3 m high, Round red to pink flowers 25-40mm across.

It is truly magical when I find a wildflower I have never seen before.

Murchison Darwinia (Darwinea virescens)
 Lesueur is also the home to 52 species of reptiles, 122 species of birds (You might see a wedge-tailed eagle, one of Australia's largest birds of prey, whilst on the Mount Lesueur walk trail), 15 species of native mammals, and 29 species of jewel beetles - all of which are protected, like the one you see below - 

Jewel beetle on Dryandra at Lesueur National Park
Further along the one-way drive you come to Cockleshell Gully picnic area. Picnic benches, shaded by the surrounding tree canopy, and disabled-access toilets are provided. No fires are permitted as this park is extremely susceptible to fire. A walk trail leads 
 down into Cockleshell Gully. The first few hundred metres of the walk trail is wheelchair accessible.

From Lesueur it is only about 30 kilometres to Jurien. We chose to camp just north of Jurien at Sandy Cape (but that will be in another post).

Lesueur National Park is approximately 30 kilometres from Jurien Bay, a three hour drive north of Perth, Western Australia. 

For more information:
 Lesueur National Park downloadable brochure - DPAW-Lesueur
 Jurien Bay Tourism - Visit Jurien Bay

You might also like - 

Midwest, Western Australia
How to take great flower photos

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!


Mosaic Monday 
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

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Spring has come to Western Australia

The month - September - tells us that spring is here, but down in the south west of Western Australia we are still in the midst of our winter cold. It's been a long cold winter this year and we are all looking forward to some warming sun. But the Western Australian wildflower season is in full bloom - reportedly the best in 40 years. The wildflowers know that spring is here, so it must be true. 

They were certainly blooming in mid August when we made our way down through the mid-west on our way home from our north-west trip.  Here is one of Australia's most widespread flowers - the wattle.

I had intended to bring you some of our Western Australian wildflower delights this week, but I am down with a later winter cold, so you will have to wait till next week. 

Till then, I wonder if you know what this unusual flower is? You'll find out next week on my blog.

Till then, take care, enjoy the rest of your week and the weekend ahead.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Sacred Heart Church, Beagle Bay, Western Australia

I love small country churches. There is something so special about them. You can feel the community's heart especially when they have a long history and the community have been involved in the building of the church.  Whatever your religion or belief, places of worship are quiet sanctuaries to sit and feel peace settling over you. 

On our recent trip to the Kimberley we went camping up along the Dampier Peninsular north of Broome with local friends. On the way they took us to visit the Sacred Heart Church at Beagle Bay, 170 kilometres north of Broome via the dirt Cape Leveque Road. We had never visited this church before, so I was very glad we were able to take this short side trip on our way north.

Beagle Bay is the traditional home of the aboriginal Nyul Nyul people, who call the area Ngarlun Burr, Place Surrounded by Springs. 

European connection to Beagle Bay began in 1838 when Her Majesty's ship, "The Beagle" was used to make a survey of the north west coast of Australia. JC Wickham, the surveyor, named the bay Beagle Bay.

Central to the Beagle Bay community is the heritage listed Sacred Heart Church.  Beautifully decorated inside with pearl shells, the church is an amazing fusion of traditional aboriginal and Christian symbols, local materials and European techniques.

The first church in Beagle Bay was built by French Trappist Monks from bush timber, paperbark and iron sheets.  In 1917 the German Pallottine Missionaries, brothers and local people, under the guidance of Father Thomas Bachmair, began to build the present church, modelled on a photograph of a German village church.  Officially opened on 15 August 1918, Fr Bachmair died two weeks later from septicemia. 

The missionaries experimented with different clay mixtures to achieve the correct proportions of white clay and black mud to make the 60,000 bricks for the church and 30,000 bricks for the bell tower.  They were unable to obtain cement, so lime for the mortar and plastering was extracted from seashells gathered from the beach in bullock carts and fired in the kiln. 

Fr. Droste worked with a team of local women to decorate the inside of the church. The main altar is decorated with mother-of-pearl and coloured shells embedded into the plaster. Cowrie shells were used to frame the tabernacle. Shells are used for decoration throughout the church, along the alter rail, around the window frames and along the central isle. The result truly is unique and beautiful and the detail and crafting is exquisite.

The original ceiling over the sanctuary was constructed from strips of mangrove wood plastered with lime.  The plaster was painted dark blue and inlaid with mother-of-pearl shells to represent the stars. Unfortunately white ants attacked this ceiling and it eventually collapsed. The ceiling was replaced with flattened kerosene tins. 

There are three bells in the twelve metre bell tower. The smallest is the original French bell which came with the French Trappist Monks. The other two bells were a gift from a German parish.  

Cyclones, white ants, heat and damp have taken their toll on the church. Over recent years preservation work has been carried out including rebuilding the bell tower which collapsed in 2001. 

The French Trappist Monks came to Beagle Bay in 1890. In 1900 the monks left their Australian missions and were replaced at Beagle Bay by Pallottine Missionaries from Germany.  The German missionaries were placed under internment at Beagle Bay during World War 1. In 1907 the Sisters of St John of God arrived from Ireland. They dedicated themselves to teaching and caring for the Stolen Generation children brought to Beagle Bay under government orders. 

The Beagle Bay community became independent from the Church in 1970 and became self-governing, however the Sacred Heart Church remains the centre of the Dampier Peninsula Parish.

The Sacred Heart Church is not a museum, but you are able to visit. Please leave a donation to help them with their ongoing work. 

Beagle Bay Church and school

 Where is it:  Beagle Bay is on the Dampier Peninsula, north west Western Australia, 170 kms north Broome via the dirt Cape Leveque Road. 4WD recommended. You can see a view of the road below. Please reduce tyre pressures and drive to the conditions. Allow 5-6 hours return. 

The Cape Leveque Road - reduce your tyre pressures and drive to the conditions.

Two more churches you might like to visit with me:

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little look at the Sacred Heart Church at Beagle Bay. Do you have a favourite country church? 

 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!


Seen at Beagle Bay
Mosaic Monday 
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

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Finding the Green Birdflower

For those who are regular readers of my blog you will probably know that I love photographing wildflowers. I had a wonderful time photographing wildflowers, especially species I hadn't photographed before, during our recent six week trip up through the Western Australian Kimberley region.  I blogged about some of the Kimberley's amazing wildflowers here - The wildflowers are blooming

 Wildflower season starts in July in Western Australia's north (the time of our visit), and as we moved south through August the wildflowers were starting bloom through the Pilbara and Mid-West regions.  The heathlands of Lesueur National Park near Jurien in the Mid-West were ablaze with colour (but they will have to wait for another post). 

Today I want to tell you about an exciting find for me on our way south - the Green Birdflower - Crotalaria cunninghamii - listed as "uncommon" in my wildflower identification book, but as "not threatened" by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife Flora Base website. 

I had only seen the Green Birdflower once before, on a scraggly plant in a dry river bed between Mt Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges in the Pilbara in July 2014. I was keen to see one again. Below you can see the flowers and the pods.

 When we were in Broome on the west coast of the Kimberley during our recent trip, I told our friends who were visiting their friends in Broome, and had lived in the north-west themselves for many years, about my desire to find a birdflower. They told us a place in the sandhills of Broome where plants were often found, or had been found. However, despite tramping over these sandhills, we failed to find the elusive Green Birdflower. 

We had to leave Broome the next day and head for home, but I still hoped to find a Green Birdflower somewhere on our travels. From my reading I found that, it favours sandy soils, on and behind coastal sand dunes, and inland on loose sand in shrubland, grassland or Savannah woodland, and along drainage lines. It flowers from March to December, and despite being listed as  "uncommon" it is found over a wide area from Pardoo to Exmouth and Carnarvon, through the Pilbara and Kimberley, as you can see from this map downloaded from Flora Base from the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife. 

It also grows in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. Perhaps not so "uncommon" after all! 

Browse to the list of specimens for Crotalaria cunninghamii R.Br.

During our return south I was in luck.  How surprised do you think I was when I discovered the Green Birdflower in the sand dunes at Cape Keraudren Coastal Reserve, located in from Pardoo Roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and Broome. There they were, great bushes of them, not far from the beach. You can see the ocean in the background of this photo.  We had only visited Caper Keraudren once before, about 30 years ago, I wonder now if they were there then?

The Green Birdflower is a shrub 0.6-4 metres high with grey velvety stem. It is a member of the pea family and the flowers are yellow-green 20-50 mm long in a spike 50-250mm long and 50-70mm wide. The leaves are velvety, grey-green, and the seed pod is egg-shaped with a sharp point and contains about 20 seeds. It generates rapidly after fire and is pollinated by large bees and honeyeaters.

The Green Birdflower is a plant of the legume family Fabaceae.  It is named after early 19th century botanist Allan Cunningham who collected it in 1822 from Cygnet Bay north of Broome. The Bardi aboriginal name for this plant is oorlgoo, and the Yawuru call it minmin.

If you click on this link from Gardening Australia, you can see a little video about the birdflower. Gardening Australia

And if you go to 2.54 minutes on this video from SBS Adam Liaw's Destination Flavour Down Under you can see that you can actually eat part of the bird flower - bush tucker - amazing -  I didn't know that! episode-1-north-western-australia-cape-leveque
Aboriginal people also drank the nectar of the Green Birdflower and sucked water from it.  

Cape Keraudren is in the Shire of East Pilbara.  There are several camp-sites, but I recommend Sandy Beach campsite if you can find a spot. It has lovely views over the ocean. This is where we camped 30 years ago, and hoped to camp there again, but it was full with caravans, so we went around to Bossut Formation camp-ground. You can see a picture of it in the collage below. 

One thing I would recommend if you camp at Cape Keraudren is repellent against sand-flies, especially if you are going to sit and watch the sunset. There are veracious, probably because of the mangroves through this area, also seen in the collage below. I wonder if the kangaroos are bothered by them. The kangaroos didn't bother about us much.

A few more wildflowers from Cape Keraudren. Both of these are from the Mulla Mulla family. Tall Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus exaltatus, and the small button one is the Mat Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus axillaris

Cape Keraurden is 179 kms north of Port Hedland. Fees are payable at the Ranger's station on the way in. Please bring all supplies, including water, and take away your rubbish with you.  Information about Cape Keraudren can be found here - East-Pilbara-tourism/Cape-Keraudren.

Useful references:
Common Plants of the Kimberley - Department of Parks & Wildlife publication

Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia - Part 4 - Exmouth and the Pilbara by Eddy Wajon 

You might also like:
The flowers are blooming in the Kimberley
The wildflower hunter
Everlasting magic in WA's Mid-west
 Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the Green Birdflower. 

 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!

Mosaic Monday 
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