Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
April 2020
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Who needs Capability Brown?

bWaratahBloomCapability Brown was the famous landscape architect responsible for the gardens and waterfall at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, near Oxford (see earlier post). They’re all very pretty, but, well, nothing compares with the cool temperate rainforest and the subalpine vegetation of Mt Field National Park.

Mum, Dad and I headed up the Lake Dobson area yesterday, where there were many wildflowers in bloom, including the spectacular waratah with its bright red spider flowers. There is a lovely walk around the lake, where the snow gums, pencil pines, pandani and waratahs were growing among the boulders in densely packed plantings that any botanical gardens would be proud to be able to mimic.

There were lichens and mosses, ferns and flowering shrubs, and, of course, the gnarled majesty of the slow-growing pencil pines together with the towering spiky pandani plants that grow up to 4m tall. In the winter time the pandani look spectacular covered in snow; in summer they have unusual flowers growing out from underneath the spiky leaves. Pandani is a member of the Richea genus, and its prickly little brother scoparia was also present (it’s quite pretty too, despite being the bane of bushwalkers wearing shorts!).

At the top end of the main lake there is a small tarn, with thin reeds and an unusual water plant that I don’t think I’ve seen before growing from the sandy bottom. We stopped for lunch, much later than would have been expected given the relatively short length of the walk … because I’d been stopping every few metres to take photos. We found ourselves a nice sheltered spot just beside the shore to avoid the cool breeze; unfortunately we didn’t manage to avoid the mosquitoes.

On the way back to the car I also spotted a few little sundew plants, which have leaves with small dewy hairs growing on them that are used to catch insects. I also became curious about why the broader landscape seemed so harsh and grey when there was such a profusion of colour and greenness and softness in closeup. Maybe it’s because of the prevalence of the grey-green snow gums on the surrounding mountains, together with the blue-grey of the dolerite boulders that underlie everything.


bRussellFallsWe headed down the mountain and then did the gentle stroll into the famous Russell Falls, in amongst the rainforest (I’m afraid Capability Brown didn’t have a big enough “drop” to work with for his waterfall at Blenheim!). We were treated to a close encounter with a relatively rare pink robin, which fluttered around and settled from time to time within a metre of our feet. There was a veritable cacophony of other birdlife around, too, plus the occasional pademelon (smaller than a wallaby (which is smaller than a kangaroo)).

As confessed earlier, I took heaps of photos. You can find some panoramas and “texture” photos here (a 1.5MB page), and some flowers (plus a blurry robin) here (a 0.7MB page). As usual the two pages are linked.

3 comments to Who needs Capability Brown?

  • That is a beautiful waterfall!

    • Helen

      And that’s only the bottom third … plus it’s summer so there’s less water coming over than usual. There are a couple more levels above; in all it is about 40m (120 feet) high, and normally you can visit the higher levels too (but the track was closed this time). I didn’t take many photos of it on this occasion, as I’ve photographed it many times in the past and there were lots of visitors “getting in the way”.

  • Yvette

    Just been editing Mum’s life story (120 Chapters in all) and reminiscing many trips back to Tassi. One holiday she recalls driving to Russell Falls, with only the younger kids in tow – they opted to stay in the car. I’m shaking my head as I remember how beautiful it is and wonder why the interior of a car could in any way be a preferrable place to be. Thanks for the photos, I feel homesick!

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