Robert Onfray

Heading for “The Gates”: memories of the old Hampshire gatehouse

I didn’t provide any coverage of the gatekeepers in the book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, as I had limited information at the time. And yet, you couldn’t tell a story about Surrey Hills and AFH without mentioning the gatekeepers.  Back in the 1950s, the Ridgley Highway didn’t exist. You could only get to Waratah via …

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Testing life on the road – screaming rug rats, midges and algal blooms

As spring progressed and we neared the start of humid weather in the lead up to the tropical summer, we were gradually making our way down the coast of Queensland. During the first week of the school holidays in September, we found ourselves at a secluded caravan park at Cape Hillsborough, just north of Mackay. …

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The aristocratic satinay

Fraser Island is a beautiful place. It is the world’s largest sand island and vegetated dune system. I had the opportunity to work on Fraser Island in the mid-1980s and have had several recreational visits to the island over the years. I still pinch myself these many years later on how fortunate I was to …

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The radio electronics maestro

This is a story about a quietly spoken Dutchman who had responsibility for setting up and maintaining a radio communication system in the early days of AFH when access to Surrey Hills was much more limited than today. The radio system was the only form of communication between the administrative office in Burnie and the …

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The banana (and sugar and pineapple) state – a look at some major food crops in the Queensland tropics

Driving around tropical North Queensland, we have seen and walked in remarkable rainforest-clad mountains and viewed beautiful coastal scenery. However, one of the more enduring memories was the actual extent of banana, sugar cane and pineapple farms. I was exposed to banana and sugar cane farming in my youth. When I lived in Maryborough (Queensland) …

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A strange name for a tree

While visiting Cardwell in North Queensland, we enjoyed the forest drive in Cardwell State forest. We stopped to look at Attlie Falls, and as I walked the short distance, my focus was towards the ground. I noticed bark on relatively large trees resembled a Pinus spp (an exotic pine tree). I had a brief but strange …

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