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 28 September 2021

Exploring the Bridgetown Jarrah Park, Western Australia

 Regular visitors to my blog will know that spring is my favourite time of year. I feel so privileged to live in Western Australia where there are thousands of different wildflowers. Particularly in the south west which is a recognised biodiversity hotspot. 

On Sunday we visited a patch of natural bushland which we hadn't been to before. The Bridgetown Jarrah Park is located 25 kilometres west of Bridgetown and 25 kilometres east of Nannup on the Brockman Highway. Here there are 3 walk trails of varying distances. We opted to do the Fallers Brand Trail and the additional loop, the Hollow Karri Trail. All the trails were circuit trails so you see different parts of the bush, not walking out and back on the same path. 

I didn't realise at the time, and wasn't properly prepared, that there is an additional loop, the Blackbutt trail. The loops are all connected so you can decided how much you want to do. I will have to go back another time. In fact there are a number of bushwalks in the area, so i think we should spend a few days down here. 

The trails take you through a mix of jarrah, marri, karri, blackbutt and banksia with a mixed understory of flowering plants. It really is a lovely walk and we had perfect weather, light cloud, but not cold, and no wind. 

Below you can see a huge karri I asked my husband to hug so you could get some idea of the girth. The karri trees - Eucalyptus diversicolor - are a medium to tall (10 - 60 metres) forest tree. It is Western Australia's tallest tree and one of the two tallest hardwood flowering plants in the world (the other is Eucalyptus regnans - mountain ash native to Tasmania and Victoria). 

The karris shed great strips of bark which litters the ground all around the base. 

The Fallers Brand Trail is an easy 2.2km with an additional 1km for the Hollow Karri Trail. There are some short steeper sections. Nowadays I take a hiking pole with me.  Much easier. 

We saw lots of wildflowers, some of which I will share here. 

Below is Clematis pubescens - which is a climber. You can see it clinging to the karri tree in the photo below. 

Below is Tree Hovea - Hovea elliptica - also a bush or climber. So vibrant. 

Not to be confused with this one below here - Native wisteria - Hardenbergia comptoniana. Also a climber, the main difference I can see between the hovea and the wisteria is the the leaves of the Native Wisteria are in groups of three. 

We also saw a lot of the Water bush- Bossiaea-aquifolium - You will know why it is called this if you brush against them after it has been raining. There are several colour variations - the one we see commonly up in our area is a darker yellow and more orange. 

Below is one of my favourites - a small tree called by the unusual name of Snottygobble - Persoonia longifolia. It is a papery type bark that is red underneath. Don't you just love the name1 

Below is an unusual one - Emu Berry - Podocarpus drouynianus. It is unique in that it is believed to be the only one of the podocarpus to have survived when the ferns and rainforest died out due to drying climate 2-10 million years ago. Only produces edible fruit following burning.

Below is the tassel flower - Leucopogon verticillatus

And a few others - clockwise from top left - one of the Banjines - one of the orange pea flowers - one of the wattle varieties - and Karri Hazel - Karri Hazel-Trymalium odoratissimum

And of course there has to be orchids - we were lucky to see these. The Leaping Spider Orchid - Caladenia macrostylis - happened to be right on the edge of the track when I looked down. And the snail orchids - I think these are the Slender Snail orchid - Pterostylis aff. nana - were clustered under a tree.

We were hoping to see more orchids, and we could see where leaves were emerging, but probably we were a couple of weeks too early. 

The last part of the walk takes you past the "Shield Tree".  Introduced to forest management mapping in 1924, this was part of a system of one mile grids into which the forest was divided. Within each grid reference trees were marked with a shield cut into the trunk and engraved with the grid identification. 

I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me in the Bridgetown Jarrah Park. I wondered why I hadn't been there before. Possibly because it is about 2 hours from home! But I will be back. 

A useful book I have when I am looking for a different walk is Bushwalks in the South West - published by the WA Department of Environment and Conservation 

Nannup Tourism has a downloadable app with maps etc of trails as well as lots of other tourist info. Experience Nannup

You might also like to check out HikeWest's web page - their main banner is one of my images! (smile) 

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a favourite spring bushwalk - perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday 20 September 2021

Hunting for wild orchids - Western Australian wheatbelt

 Hi everyone, I hope you and yours are safe and well.

It is spring and wild orchid time here in the south west of Western Australia. I've blogged about wild orchids before...Here is one... Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid west ... more links at the end of this post. 

So as you can see I love wild orchids. Many are shy and tiny and hide under bushes or logs, so you need to look carefully to find them. Some of their colours also blend in to their surrounds, particularly the green ones. 

Our orchid hunting this year started back in mid August as we were making our way south through the mid west and wheatbelt after being in the north west of Western Australia for 6 weeks. The wildflowers have been spectacular throughout Western Australia this year, but more about them another time..... 

Our first orchid find was in the Wilroy Nature Reserve, about 18 kilometres south of Mullewa. These little snail orchids were hiding under a tree not far from the carpark. There are several varieties of snail orchid - Pterostylis - all very similar, so I can't identify which variety this is. They tend to grow in colonies like this one. 

Continuing south our next orchid find was at our campsite at Bunjil Rocks about 25kms south of Perenjori. We have camped here before and it is always a nice quiet camp off the highway.  
Granite rocks in the wheatbelt are always a good place to look for orchids around the edges of the rock, and also in the little rock gardens formed on depressions on the rock. We were devastated to see the influx of weeds at this camp and the damage done to the trees by tropical Cyclone Seroja in April this year. 

We had seen Little laughing leak orchids - Prasophyllum gracile - here for the first time last time we camped here and knew where to look in one of the rock gardens. These orchids are tiny and really blend into their environment. 

We had also seen Lemon Scented Sun Orchids - Thelymitra antennifera - here before, but never in numbers like this clustered under a tree at the base of a rock - glorious! Also known as the Vanilla Orchid, this is one of my favourites. I love their little faces. This orchid is very common and opens with the sun and likes wet area around granite rocks. On a cloudy day or early in the morning they will most likely be closed up. 

Our next stop heading south was Mia Moon Reserve, 17kms west of Wubin. This is a flat rock area which we had visited several years ago. Here we saw again the Lemon Scented Sun orchids and the Little Laughing Leek orchids, but also the Bee Orchid - Diuris laxiflora. It was nice to be able to show some other visitors these orchids. 

We now headed slightly east further into the wheatbelt and stopped at Xantippe Tank. Built between 1923 and 1927 this is similar to 11 other tanks throughout the wheatbelt. The water is channelled into the tank via a series of rock walls near the base of the rock and constructed with pieces of the rock itself. Here we saw donkey orchids and again the little laughing leek orchid. For an orchid we had only seen for the first time last year, we were certainly seeing a lot of them! Perhaps we just know what to look for now. 

We had lunch in Kalanie and noticed the the sky was progressively looking darker - rain clouds were approaching. We were keen to get to our next destination - the old Kwolyin townsite camp about 37kms east of Quairading. We had also camped here a couple of times before and were happy the rain had cleared by the time we got there - although the mosquitoes were in full force! 

However a little later we were able to have a campfire and cook the last of our marshmallows. 

Next morning we took a walk around camp and over the rock behind the campsite.  Below you can see donkey orchids (there are many varieties), the lemon scented sun orchid (not open), and the Clown Orchid - Caladenia roei - also known as the ant orchid or jack-in-the-box orchid. I love his little stripy pants We had only seen this orchid a couple of times before, and not in these numbers, so he was a very exciting find. 

We were now only 41km to our final destination before home for our trip - Bruce Rock - where my sister's family farm. It was lovely to catch up with family, especially my two cousins who were part way through a driving trip from Tasmania. The canola and lupin crops were looking fantastic. 

While we were there we went out to Bruce's Rock and the old rifle range with my sister and cousin to look for orchids. My cousin from Tasmania had never been orchid hunting before. 

At Bruce's rock we saw....yes...you guessed it... Lemon Scented Sun Orchids and Little Laughing Leek Orchids. This laughing leek was more brown in colour than the greener varieties we had seen before. There are actually around 25 species of leek orchids in Western Australia - orchidswa.com.au/prasophyllum-leek-orchids/

We then went out to the old Bruce Rock rifle range. I had been told by a lovely lady in the Bruce Rock CRC (Community Resource Centre) that orchids were starting out there. It is quite a large area of bush and we wandered around out there for quite a while. 

We found donkey orchids, spider orchids and blue fairy - Pheladenia deformis - orchids. I won't even try to identify the variety of donkey and spider orchid - there are many many varieties. 

As you can see in this pic below many of our wild orchids are tiny....

There are acres of everlastings and many other wildflowers along the road verges and through the bush in the wheatbelt this time of year, drawing tourists into the wheatbelt. But more about them another time.

The next day we headed 4 hours to home. We have just started seeing orchids around our area. I'll be back with some of those another time. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little look at some of the wild orchids found in the Western Australian wheatbelt. There are many more which you can find if you know where to look and are able to travel out to the wheatbelt during orchid time. Around the base of granite rocks and in their 'rock gardens" is a great place to look. I think we were a little early to see many varieties. September would have been better. 

 A good orchid identification resource is helpful like these two: 
Orchids WA

WA Native Orchid Study & Conservation Group

You might also like some of my previous posts:

Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid west - September 2017

Down in the woods today - hunting for wild orchids - September 2018

Hunting for wild orchids - Dunsborough - September 2019

Orchids in the Stirling Ranges National Park -  September 2020

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. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday 6 September 2021

Congratulations Forza Dragon Boat Club - 30 years and still paddling strong!

 Hi everyone, a different post than what I thought I would bring to you today, but I believe it is worth sharing. 

On Saturday night we went to the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Forza Dragon Boat Club. 

Forza Dragon Boat Club Inc (originally Forza Italia Dragon Boat Club) has been an important part of the Bunbury and Western Australian state dragon boat scene since the club was formed in 1991. The club’s 30 year history has shown distinction at local, national and international levels, taking out the coveted Western Australian Grand Prix Trophy in the 1996/97 and the 1998/99 seasons.  (The Italia was dropped from the name in 2003, voted in at an AGM, and in-line with current trends in sporting clubs, and in an effort to recruit more people into the club)

Here is a very early photo of the club - predominantly made up of people from the Italian community and created, managed and coached by Grant Barbera. 

Here is a pic from 1995 after winning a 1000 metre race. That is me in the front row first female on the left. I was much younger, thinner and fitter then! 

But  my family's history with dragon boating started much earlier than this. I paddled in the very first regatta in our city in March 1990 with a corporate team - The SCM Chemicals Dragonbusters. I was working at SCM Chemicals at the time and we put together a team, and trained for a few weeks before the regatta. We came second the to Lord Forrest Hotel in the Inter-Corporate Challenge. 

My goodness what an exciting day it was. I skipped the afternoon of a study course I was doing to compete. The Dragonbusters went on to to be very successful in the Corporate Division over the coming years, and my husband and eldest son followed me into the sport. The Dragonbusters folded at the beginning of the 1994-95 season, and that was when I joined Forza, with my husband and son following me again

Over the time our family has dragon boated, we have paddled on a State and National level, as well as competing internationally in Macau, Hong Kong, Penang and Singapore. I never imagined when I started paddling in 1990 where it would take us. I have never been into ball sports, but I found dragon boating was a perfect fit for me. 

Here I am with the combined Spirt of Bunbury International team before leaving for Hong Kong in 1993... far left second row. 

And with Forza in 1996 just before their Singapore trip after the men's crew won the right to attend the Singapore Invitational Dragon Boat regatta on Sentosa Island. And below that a photo of me with my husband and son at the Singapore regatta. My son was 17 at the time and swept (steered) the boat. 

Without a doubt these were exciting, heady days. The competition was fast and furious and the Bunbury Aqua-Spectacular Dragon Boat Festival had grown to a two day event with three local premier division club competing in mens, womens, mixed, veterans and junior classes (Forza, Spirit of Bunbury and the Bunbury Rowing Club), at least 5 local corporate teams, and a host of novice, ultra novice and high school teams racing against clubs from Perth and on two occasions a team from Asia. 

In 1998, my eldest son Paul, who started his dragon boat career in 1991 as a drummer, going on to become the team sweep, became a coach, and our youngest son Mark started paddling - as of today Mark is the only person in our state association who has Down Syndrome. The support Forza have given him has been absolutely amazing, and I thank them. It is an incredible thing for us that he can compete equally in a mainstream sport, and with his family in one boat. 

Paul - the guy on the back with the big sweep oar keeping the boat straight and yelling at the crew. 

 In 2005, with the help of a few others from our club, we launched Crewsaders Dragons Abreast for breast cancer survivors and their supporters. Part of a global movement for recovery and exercise and support for breast cancer supporters. 

And in 2009, our family was rewarded for our long term commitment to the sport, our club and the Association, when Forza's new Champion Class boat was named The Harrison after us. Below is a pic of us at the boat launch. That's our daughter-in-law in the middle, who had by then joined us. 

Dragon boating is truly a family sport - where all the members of the family, both male and female, young and old, can compete together in the one boat. It has been a great sport for our family over the years. 

But this post wasn't supposed to be about me and my family. 
Over the years hundreds of people have come through the ranks of Forza and dragon boating in Bunbury. Today there is only one club left in Bunbury, Forza, along with their partner crew, Crewsaders Dragons Abreast. Over that time there has been major upsets in the sport when both the State and National bodies were put into disarray and new associations formed. 

Numbers of club members have also waned, and it has been difficult to recruit young paddlers when there is so much on offer throughout our community. But throughout their 30 years Forza have remained true to their integrity and family values and their motto - Community Strength through Paddling.
Along with Fun, Fitness and Friendship.

My husband and I stopped dragon boating about 10 years ago but it still continues to be a part of our life with our two sons still competing, and our eldest still coaching. 

In 2020-21 season Forza won 6 medals at the WA State Dragon Boat titles. A very good result for a small club of mostly over 40 years olds! 

Congratulations Forza on your 30 years. May it continue for another 30. 

I am a life member of the Forza Dragon Boat Club. Here is a pic of me and the other two life members, Mark Kusin and Grant Barbera cutting the anniversary cake on Saturday night. 

What is the history behind dragon boating? It began in China as an occasion to drive off evil spirits and pestilence, to find peace and to supplicate the God of Water to precent diseaster and bring good fortune. The festival was later enriched by the legend of the poet Qu Yuan in 296BC during the Chou dynasty. 

Want to read more: You might like:

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. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.