USA

Hostages to fortune – soldiers and civilians lost and forgotten in the fog of war

Rabaul and its strategic military importance

Rabaul, a town of striking beauty nestled on the north-eastern tip of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, boasts magnificent deep-water harbour encircled by a stunning volcanic flooded caldera three kilometres wide.  This natural fortification, combined with its strategic location, made Rabaul a coveted prize for colonial powers and, eventually, a significant battleground in the Pacific theatre of World War II.

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Can rangeland pastoralists survive by riding on the goat’s back? 

During our trip through western New South Wales in March 2022,  we saw significant numbers of feral goats. These goats were everywhere, spanning from Broken Hill east through Wilcannia and Cobar onto Nyngan, covering over 600 kilometres in mulga country.

We had an overnight stop on the Barrier Highway at the Meadow Glen Rest Area, about 60 kilometres west of Cobar.

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The 6th Mass Extinction Crisis – speculation without substance?

Unfortunately, conjecture based on limited facts has produced “research” trumpeting catastrophic fears of extinction”. Jim Steele

Introduction

Our planet now faces a global extinction crisis never witnessed by humankind. Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades”.

As the world commemorates another Endangered Species Day, you will undoubtedly read or hear claims like the above.

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The humble clothes peg

Ever since humans have worn garments, they have had to wash them. Where to put the garments to dry has a fascinating history. We always think that pegs hung them. However, clothes pegs only have a relatively recent past. Before the nineteenth century, laundry was hung on bushes, limbs or lines without fasteners to hold the clothes in place. … Read more

Fudging the figures

“The fundamentals of science are you do not tamper with the original evidence. That has happened with our temperature record, where the past has been cooled and it makes it look as if we’re warming. That is fraud.” Ian Plimer

BOM are right often enough to be considered, but wrong often enough not to be relied upon.

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The cable cutters

I’ll put a girdle ‘round the earth in forty minutes

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

While travelling around the country, I came across yet another little-known wartime story which again highlights the heroics of Australians. This time it involves midget submarines and divers cutting underwater telegraph cables to thwart the Japanese communication efforts towards the end of World War II.… Read more

What does a forester do? (Part 2)

Because the forestry profession is far from simple and the work highly variable, I have tried to describe what a forester does by outlining the development of the profession in Australia. In Part 1, I outlined the broad principles of forestry and the development of the forestry profession up until WWII.… Read more

Origins of woodchopping as a sport

While working in Tasmania in the forest industry, I met many people who had competed, or were still competing, in woodchopping events. It is a popular sport, and many chopped competitively as a hobby. It originated in Tasmania and it has produced a lot of world champion axemen, so it was no surprise that many in the state competed regularly.… Read more

Helms arboretum

There is an interesting 4,000-hectare forestry reserve located just outside Esperance called the Helms Forestry Reserve. It protects one of the largest areas of sandplain heath near Esperance, known as kwongan. It is dominated by banksias, hakeas, grevilleas and woollybush. 

Within this reserve is an 800-hectare arboretum named in honour of Andy Helms, a well-respected forester and academic.… Read more