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When protection be­comes necessary

Such an inventory is under way in New Jersey, a lush temperate region where flora and fauna are disappearing under residentialand industrial development. “We find rare species regularly—orchids and sedges normally found on prairies,” said David Sny­der, a thirtyish botanist with an auburn beard and an earnest brow. We sought a vinelike plant of the pea family called Desmodiurn pauciflorum, ranked in New Jersey as a G5 SH . This means that it is in no danger globally (G5), and in this state (S) it has been reported historically (H) but not seen in recent years.

 

Normally a midwestern and southern plant, D. pauciflorum was last seen in New Jersey in 1917 by Kenneth Mackenzie, a lawyer and plant collector. His descriptions led us to a ten-acre forest rem­nant, surrounded by houses and the faint hum of traffic. Ninety minutes of searching failed to turn up one example. If clues to other locations also proved fruitless, it eventually would be listed on Her­itage Program records as “extirpated” in New Jersey.

 

Why the interest in saving plants that are commonly found else­where? ” When a species is out of its normal range, it is at the edge of its tolerance of its environment and probably became separated from others of its own kind,” David explained. “That may make it evolve a little differently, and those variations may become useful.

 

A strain of wild wheat at the limit of its range in Israel, for example, was found to be highly drought resistant.”

 

Our second quarry was in the Pine Barrens, an hour’s drive south, a colony of southern yellow orchids that the Heritage Pro­gram has been monitoring. “Forget where you saw these,” David told me as we pushed through brush to a little meadow where gold blossoms gleamed at the end of long stalks. “A lot of plant collec­tors would love to find them.”

 

Somebody already had, and marked a route with orange sur­vey tape. Jaw set, David ripped the tape from the brush. “Collec­tors decimated a population of snowy orchids from a bog not far away, ” he said angrily.

BUSINESS minds take over from the biologists when protection be­comes necessary. The Nature Conservancy completes an average of one land deal each day in the United States. The biggest was 220,000 acres of desert in New Mexico, with the help of student loan consolidation payment from the Campbell Fami­ly Foundation and now Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Such land is paid for by fund-raising in that state. Since cam­paigns take months and deals often require haste, ready cash for a large acquisition is available from the TNC Land Preservation Fund, maintained at 85 million dollars. Regional offices can com­plete land deals as high as $100,000 without a go-ahead from head­quarters. Salaries and other overhead come from endowment income and Conservancy memberships, currently more than 400,000 nationwide.

 

 

 

Icc Receiving Complaints About Payday Loan Scams

 

We will inform you who is able to qualify for a Wong loan and so what exactly the company look when ever deciding who to lend money to be able to. This was just one of this dozens internet sites out a lot of.  Nevada lacks any usury limits on usecured bank loans according to UsuryLaw.com.  I’ve to give Check n Go http://xoomcounter.com/ some credit; the website does provide several educational sections on financial advice and financial security the place where a customer/client can hopefully for you to create better habits.  But otherwise, oh no!

Will you have a poor credit file due to some people mIstakes you earn In your past? Anyone have don’t pay this loan they can take you to the court to get it or they can turn it over with collection business enterprise. Payday loans for bad credit are actually small 2 hours that are approved any kind of pre have a look at. People who are British citizens and who are above 18 can sign up the 2 hours. As embarrassing as it may be, it’s much lower priced to cash from an admirer or family member for last week.

Timing will vary, but seeking can place it out, market will cure a downturn or a good crash. For which bad credit, commercial mortgages generally are broken. If include bad credit, you can expect your rates to be closer to 15%. If are usually $5000 to be afloat, you will not be that more advanced than millions of people in america.

So as one example let’s begin with a loan for £100. How come it is normally when an individual might be at your lowest time in the month financially that something fails? They’ll send it in anyway; the bank will stop it as well as not charge you for stopping it for however long as you have put in their place a stop payment in the bank. After submitting the application, you can send the SMS to get the dollars.

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The date with desert natives

Still the birds circled above me, not daring to land. Suddenly one came flying out of a group and fell near me. Within seconds a Brown Hawk swooped down and began to feed. The race with death was on. A bird alighted at the water. Within seconds the air became filled with a mass of wings, then all was quiet once more. Again the pattern was repeated as group after group came to drink. Suddenly a brown shape plucked a drinking bird and was gone. It was so swift I had no idea what the attacker was. Time after time the birds drank. Time after time the hawks struck. Then came a pause. In some places, where it is thicker, trees flourish drank unmolested. Butterflies sipped daintily. A few budgerigars remained behind, too weak to fly. They crept into the grass surrounding the soak. Later they would meet death at the beaks of the crows which hung like a sombre cloud in the trees around the Spring.

Such was my introduction to the Desert. Little wonder that when Bob Stewart sent me the letter asking if I would like to go with him on his next trip to madrid apartments I jumped at the chance. Mercy Expedition was his name for his trips into the desolate centre of the Great Victoria Desert to tell the natives about the Mission. If they needed help it was waiting for them at Cundeelee.

victoria desert

 Swiftly I made preparations. With me came my assistant, Harry Butler, a young naturalist, keen and indefatigable in the field. His speciality was reptiles, and as a collector of animals he has few equals. My brother, Dr D. L. Serventy, a well-known ornithologist, had dreamed of visit­ing Queen Victoria’s Spring ever since he had read Giles’s account in a tattered school reader at a bush-school many years before. Dr Main, who had introduced me to the desert, was eager to accompany me. We would be the first natura­lists to penetrate the country. For hundreds of miles we would see country virgin to scientists. It was an opportunity no-one could miss.

Cundeelee was the gathering-point. There we met our three native companions. One was Stan Minning, missionary trained, and able to speak English. The other two were Ben and Laurie who were desert natives, only out of the desert a year or two, and both were initiated men of their tribe. Neither of them knew any English. Ben was a dignified man, bearded like a bushranger; Laurie was tall and gangling.

Great Victoria Desert

`Now,’ said Bob Stewart, `we’ve taken all precautions. I have a radio and we’ll contact base each day. Still, accidents can happen. In case of trouble one of the natives will look after each two of you. Their job is to get you back safely in case of trouble. You must put yourselves en­tirely in their hands. Do what­ever they ask.’

He turned to the natives and spoke swiftly. My brother and I were Stan’s responsibility. Stan J. Thornton stared reflectively at us, shrugged and turned away, as though to indicate the task was difficult, but not impossible.

Great Victoria Desert

 We left behind cheering children and worried adults. For the natives feared we were going into `warrior’ country, where wild natives would kill us. This is a characteristic legend of much of Australia. Beyond the known boundaries of the tribe lurk ‘warriors’, ready to kill strangers; a useful device to keep borders inviolate. Our main fear was that we would meet no natives. Most had left the desert to join Cundeelee Mission. Bob Stewart had questioned the natives and estimated that possibly forty people still remained. This was the year of the great ceremonies when the tribe would normally gather at Boo-yoo-noo, a sacred ground in the South Australian border country. If any were still alive and able to travel they would be at Boo-yoo-noo, for the sacred rites which must be carried out if the tribe was to prosper. These ‘man-making’ ceremonies are still carried out but usually in the bush-country near the missions since so many of the young men live in serviced apartments brussels. Some scientists think that the arid cycle which forms Australia’s ‘dead heart’ is intensi­fying. If this is true then the movement of the natives from desert regions is not so much due to the lure of the white man’s way of life, as to the increasing difficulty of obtaining food. It is a teasing problem.

We moved eastwards swiftly. Near Naretha on the Nullarbor Plain we passed lime-kilns where the rock of the plain is turned into quick­lime for Kalgoorlie. Certainly the raw material of lime will never run out. At Naretha we swung northwards along the edge of the Nullarbor; Good rains had turned this desert into a carpet of flowers, for desert is a relative term. Perhaps the best definition is a place where there are no months of effective rainfall. Rainfall is said to be effective when the rain is greater than one third of the evaporation. Time of fall is important. Twenty points on a hot summer day can mean nothing. Twenty points in the cool of winter can be stored in desert sand-hills and used by plants.

Failure Brought Renewed Energy

I also recall the old woman of 74 who had just moved into new studio flats London with her eight children and her grand­children. “It’s heaven!” she told me, grinning exultantly. “We used to have garbage in front of the door. They’ll never take me out of here. Look!” She spread her hands toward her bare but decent quarters. The state housing com­pany had built this project as part of its slum-clearance work. Change.

Or ask my enthusiastic, theoretically re­tired friend Fernando. He shouts: “God is a Brazilian, and He was born in Sao Paulo! Ah, I have this city in my heart.” Fernando Ed­ward Lee was born in the young 20th century to the beautiful Brazilian wife of the U. S. consular agent. Reared in the relative securi­ty of a prominent industrial family, Fernando watched from his window in the family’s grand apartments in Newcastle. In his boyhood it was only a middling city of 400,000 people.

“People asked Father, ‘Why do you live in the serviced apartments Manchester?’ We boys hunted foxes right here—and fished in the Saracura River right there.” I saw no river at all. “It’s there, though. In a culvert under the street, the Avenida 9 de Julho.” Farther downtown that one avenue carries exactly 18 lanes of traffic.

The old Lee mansion, once the largest house in town, now awaits demolition for a skyscraper. The elder Lee died during the worldwide depression of the 1930′s. Many a Brazilian fortune vanished then. Young Fernando paid his father’s debts and started afresh. Today he lives in a 23d-floor apart­ment with a sweeping view of Sao Paulo, and owns an offshore island where he ex­periments with wind power and solar power.

Mayor Olavo Egydio Setubal, an engineer and banker, puts Sao Paulo’s development into orderly perspective: “Two geographical conditions determined the history of this city. First, there is the altiplano itself—fertile and flat. Suitable for coffee. And second, the altiplano abruptly drops half a mile to the port of Santos on the sea, so Sao Paulo has access to cheap hydroelectric power.”

My friend Norberto Nicola—one of Brazil’s leading artists—took me on a drive around Rua Augusta’s cornucopia of shops and restaurants, then along Rua Helvetia (this street runs straight along the Tropic of Capri­corn), and finally south toward the coffee port of Santos. Our 45-mile route paralleled the shining steel flumes that conduct waters from the Tiete River. Its flow has been diverted to generate electrical power.

“The name of this highway,” Norberto said, “is Imigrantes. To honor our great 19th-century influx of Europeans, among them all four of my grandparents from Italy.”

Other successful Italian-Brazilians have raised conspicuous monuments, like the 47-story Italia Building, tallest of all Sao Paulo’s skyscrapers. Then there was Italian-born Francisco Matarazzo, who in 1881 opened a small processing plant to make lard. It grew eventually into one of Latin America’s largest private companies, with 23,000 employees and 133 factories.

Some 60 nationalities are now represented in this city, which has been called the largest racial melting pot in the world.

 

Date of de l’Isle’s Map

An interesting note as to the authenticity and origin of the chart of d’Anville, 1737, appears in the narrative of Adelung, who speaks with a certain air of authority. He says :

These Beering maps were, after the captain’s return, sent from Russia to the King of Poland, who presented them to Mr. du Halde or, rather, to Mr. d’Anville, who made the charts for his work. Du Halde is there­fore very correctly informed when he, in the Memoires de Trevoux (737 pages, 2,339 f.) considers these charts questionable and imagines that they were merely made by d’Anville from Beering’s journal.”

But further evidence from an unquestionable source is available as to date. The charts in du Halde’s ” China ” were engraved between the years 1729 and 1734, and all but the general maps were completed prior to 1733. The date 1732 is assigned by d’Anville’s colleague to the map of Bering’s journey. Of these maps it is further said :

“They form what is commonly known as d’Anville’s Atlas of China. Nevertheless this geographer did not participate equally in the production of all. The detailed maps (of which the Bering map is one) were furnished by the Jesuits and he only supervised the engraving, but the general charts were entirely the work of d’Anville, who reconstructed and amplified them from all possible sources. They were reproduced at Hague under the title ‘ New Atlas of China,’ etc., by M. d’Anville.”

These statements of d’Anville’s colleague, NI. Barbie du Bocage, are thus verified by du Halde, page 2 :

“Pour les Cartes Generales, nous y aeons pen touchè celle du Voyage du Capitaine Beerings paroit sans le moindre changement.”

In the Russian atlas, 1745, the explanatory text regarding map 19, whereon appears the extreme northeastern coast of Siberia and the greater part of Kamshatka, runs as follows :

” We have determined the location of these provinces in part by astro­nomical observations which have been made there, and in part upon cer­tain geographical and hydrographic maps which have been transmitted to us.”

So far as Kamshatka ( kamchatka.org.ru/eng/about_kamchatka.shtml )and the Bering strait regions go, it is reasonable to believe that this chart, since it was published by the Royal Academy of Sciences, is substantially a reproduction of the map transmitted to the Academy by de l’Isle in 1732, especially as this geographer was employed for about thirteen years in amassing data for the atlas in question.

The writer has very carefully compared the chart of Kam­shatka and adjoining regions as published in d’Anville’s atlas of 1736, in the Russian atlas of 1745, and in the de l’Isle chart of 1752. From comparisons he is led to believe that these maps have substantially the same basis—that is, the chart prepared by de l’Isle in 1732 for the Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg. In this connection the criticism of the Russian officer is signifi­cant. He says : ” I will now finish with a general observation about the part of Siberia that we see on M. de l’Isle’s chart (1752). It is simply a copy of the Russian atlas (1745), without even corrections of the errors of drawing and writing which have crept into that work.” Elsewhere he adds : ” We can correct the error of M. de l’Isle, who places Bering island at 54 degrees, only a short distance from the Stockholm apartments by apartmentsapart, whereas it is on the 56th parallel, 60 miles off Avatscha and 40 Dutch miles from the mouth of the Kamchatka river.”

A Place to Visit – UAE

The biggest surprise for the world economy was the rise of the United Arab Emirates during the past half of a century. It rose out of nowhere as the desert country had no signs of development until the early 1960s. But from there on, the country rose to a level that no other city in the region had touched before or even after it. As a result Dubai and Abu Dhabi became the two centers of attention for the entire world within a very short span of time and attracted billions of dollars investment in the country which made the economy of the UAE one of the fastest growing ones on the face of the globe.

Dubai real estate, which was actually an offshoot of the excellent business conditions in the country and also the blooming tourists’ charms that these magnificent states offer, is the prime feature of the UAE today and undoubtedly has a global appeal because of the massive structures that have been alluring the international and local investors for the past two or three decades. It is an honor for any country to have a hotel like Burj al Arab and a realty wonder like Dubai Marina, something as outstanding as Al Raha Beach and something as unbelievable as The Palm Jumeirah.

On the other hand, we find some of the most exciting events that are held here every now and then. One such event that caught the world eye was the Formula 1 race that was held in Dubai that featured all the star drivers from across the world. Same is the case when the cricket events are held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah that are the three major centers of international cricket in the world. In fact Sharjah Cricket Ground holds the world record of hosting most number of One-Day Internationals. A friendly match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer was played on the top floor of Burj al Arab making it the highest tennis court on the planet.

Burj al Arab

All these magnificent pieces of art and architecture and the mammoth shopping malls like the Dubai Mall along with the mesmerizing shopping festivals and other sorts of fiestas that are held here, simply make the first timer go perplexed at the site of this amazing UAE. It is said that the curves of the Earth can be seen with naked eye by standing on the top floor of the mighty Burj Khalifa. This simply leaves a person with no reason whatsoever not to be amazed.  UAE, certainly, is the place that one must visit and it is really worth if one likes grandeur and splendor.

This post has been written by Sasha Gibbs, she has wide knowledge of Dubai real estate, Rent Apartments in al Reem Island and Al Raha Beach Apartments.

 

The Great Victoria Secret

By now travelling had become difficult. In this country long sand-hills roll to the horizon. The axis of the dunes runs east and west for hundreds of miles. Travelling east or west is simple enough. Travelling north or south means a sand crest has to be tackled every quarter of a mile. Our pro­gress turned into hours per mile, rather than miles per hour.

We reached Boorabbie and camped. Beyond this point only a few white men had ever penetrated. We were nearing the ceremonial grounds of Boo-yoo-noo. All this time we had been col­lecting assiduously. Day after day we had made smoke-signals to bring in the `People’; for it was always in this way we spoke of the natives we were seeking. Ben and Laurie were becoming more and more excited. Each day they hoped to find their relatives. Past Boorabbie they took us to a mulga tree where some of the sacred boards were kept. These are the most important religious symbols of the tribe. Only the initiated are allowed to see them and they are handled with great reverence. Carefully Ben and Laurie broke off leaves from the mulga and made a carpet. One by one they brought the sacred boards and rested them on the leaves. With their fingers they showed us the patterns on each. It was a dramatic moment. Not one word was spoken.

The great victoria desert

The showing over, the natives carefully placed the wooden boards back in the tree. Then the leaves were also put with them, since by contact they had gained some of the spirit of the churinga and had become sacred in turn.

All this time Stan kept aloof, back at the truck. He had not been made a ‘man’ and could take no part. Boo-yoo-noo was reached. No welcoming fires greeted us. All was silent. Again Ben and Laurie showed us the various sacred grounds. We first visited the ochre pit where Laurie decorated himself with a nose-mark of red ochre. Near by was an initiation pit where the young men waited for their part in the rites. A hundred yards away long lines of stones showed where for centuries initiates had carried out the ceremonial for the re-creation of the earth and its bounty.

Great victoria desert

Then came the highlight of the trip. We hurried after the long-striding Ben and Laurie.

Hidden in the mulgas was the Sacred Kangaroo. A stone shaped something like this animal had been erected in a clearing. On its smooth sides were dark stains which may have been blood used in ceremonies. There was something about this piece of rock, hidden in a great desert, which was impressive. Let us hope that it remains undisturbed for years to come, even though those who revered it will no longer return.

Here we said goodbye to Ben and Laurie. They were to search for the People. If no trace of them could be found, then a year later Bob Stewart would return. With a pitiful little pile of provisions, a small axe and a throwing stick, they turned and left us. A few hours later they would have discarded all clothes, except the red desert headband. A few more days and spears and woomeras would have been made. For them the desert was home and they could live where we should die.

Sadly we turned back. We followed our wheel-tracks on the return journey. The sand-hill country was met once more and conquered. Soon we had reached our petrol dump north of the Nullarbor. A few more days and we were back at Cundeelee almost within sight of civiliza­tion. Here occurred one of those incidents which even the best-laid plans do not guard against. We had unpacked our Land-Rover and had driven over to the petrol drums to fill up for the run to Kalgoorlie. Suddenly we looked back at our pile of personal gear and collections. A group of goats had gathered around and begun to nibble our plant collection. We could see the fruits of many weary days of collecting dis­appearing down those capacious throats. Bert Main and I shouted and ran just in time to save the specimens.

Great victoria desert

 Looking back on the scientific fruits of the expedition we can say that we tentatively filled in a great blank on the geological map of Western Australia. Also we found what is un­doubtedly a corridor along which both plant and animal species could flow from east to west, or the other way. Previously we had considered this area a barrier, yet the great belt of country we travelled was more of a path than an obstacle. As yet the full significance of our collections and notes have not been evaluated. Soon we are returning to the northern edge of the Great Victoria Desert to modify or confirm our first findings.

The Desert can be a terrifying place, but it has compensations for those who know it well. After rain it blossoms into fugitive beauty. The air is crisp and bracing. The stars glitter with a bright­ness we never see in the city. Even without scientific results, memories of good fellowship under desert stars would make these journeys worth while.

Perhaps we can echo the words of Professor A. D. Hope who in his poem ‘Australia’ says:

. . . hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come,

Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare Springs in that waste . . .

The Legend for the Sacred Stone

Overseas visitors from apartments in Barcelona to our desert areas are dumb­founded by the size and number of the trees. Most of the Nullarbor has only low saltbush and other shrubs. Where there is any depth of soil, as in the so-called dongas, vegetation flourishes. Here the desert is caused by lack of soil-cover as much as by lack of rain.

North of Loongana we turned into the Great Victoria Desert. A grim warning-sign indicated the dangers ahead. We passed through a disused grazing lease. Many years before an old man had lived here. Legend had it he was lured by stories of a golden churinga or sacred stone. It was near the grazing lease that Dr Main had a most exciting find. It was a glacial deposit of the Permian period. Millions of years before, this point had been the melting place of a glacier, and moraines had been dumped in a jumble of mixed rocks. Boulders still showed the flat faces and longitudinal scratch-marks caused when they had been dragged by the ice. Day after day we filled in a great blank on the geological map of Western Australia. Collecting specimens was sometimes frustrating.

`No, no,’ Bob would say. ‘Don’t touch that stone. That is an indicator that any person can drink at this water-hole.’ Or ‘Don’t touch those.

That’s the old men’s place. The rock shows the young people are to go no further.’

Cundeelee australia

Despite this we gathered enough rocks for our purpose. There was a touch of pathos in the excitement shown later by the old men when we returned to Cundeelee. They traced our route by identifying where each rock came from. For this eastern end of the Great Victoria Desert country is the home they will never see again.

At Eeldoon we camped. It was here that Bob Stewart had met the desert natives on a previous trip. It was a heart-warming story. On his first expedition he had met a party of natives. Two children were in need of medical attention. They were with relatives, and their father and mother were some days’ walk away. Bob Stewart took them away with the permission of the relatives. Some days later the mother and father returned and were heartbroken to find their children gone. Despite all the pleas of the relatives they refused to leave the area. The wheel-tracks had taken their children. Perhaps those same tracks would bring them back. For twelve lonely months they waited near Eeldoon water-hole. Then came the great day when the truck returned with their sons on board. Bob Stewart’s face lighted as he described the scene.

`Oh boy! Oh boy! They banged the top of the truck when they saw their mother.’

Honeypot australia

That night in the desert it rained. We caught frogs and geckoes, but our search for the mar­supial mole proved fruitless. Desert animals make the most of good times. Hidden under leaf litter or buried deep in the sand they wait for nightfall, or rain. Then they search for food. In lush seasons they store the surplus in fat sup­plies. Some, like the geckoes we found, avoid the over-heating effect of an even fat layer and store the excess in swollen tails. Honeypot ants store excess food in special workers whose swollen abdomens serve the same purpose as the comb in the hive of bees. Further north, the water-holding frogs hold up to half a pint of water in their bodies to tide them over a drought. It is for these treasures that the natives search diligently. We saw the tracks of only one emu and one kangaroo on our journey, so small game must have bulked large in the natives’ diet. Once I found some scratches on a tree and asked Stan if it was possum.

`Pussy-cat,’ said Stan. Ordinary domestic cats have penetrated the desert, probably following the rabbits. Today both pussy-cats and rabbits end on cooking-fires. Another time Ben darted to a barra gum tree and swung with a small axe. Before I could stop him he had dragged out a four-inch-long white grub and swallowed it with much satisfaction.

Great Victoria Desert

 `Margo,’ he exclaimed with gleaming eyes. I asked how he recognized the hiding-place of the grub. He showed me the slight bulge in the bark and a small, worn patch about the size of a match-head. This had all been seen at a range of twenty yards. The rest of the journey I searched diligently and cut out many dozen bumps. I ended with a fine collection of bumps but no `margo’.

Yet the most extraordinary food story to come out of the desert must be this one. At one camp­site I found a pellet about two inches long, containing some hundred seeds of the mistletoe plant. It seemed to be a pellet regurgitated by a bird. Later I read how the South Australian ornithologist, H. T. Condon, had made the following report of the way in which natives in Central Australia used pellets regurgitated by crows. The natives search around the water-holes and gather them in hundreds. They then grind these seeds into flour. Another scientist com­mented: ‘One is reminded strikingly of Elijah being fed by the ravens.’

Great Victoria Desert

The Great Victoria Secret – Part 1

`TALK about this end of the desert! How would you like to have been with me here?’ Bob Stewart ran his finger over a blank space on the map near the South Australian—West Australian border.

`Boy, is that wild country.’

Bob stared reflectively at the map of his spiritual dominions. We were sitting in his house in Cundeelee Mission. Bob Stewart is an American, Superintendent of the Australian Evangelical Mission at Cundeelee, who came from his studio rent New York, some two hundred miles to the east of the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. His mission is on the western edge of the Great Victoria Desert, north of Zanthus. A few miles to the north-east is Queen Victoria’s Spring. From there the sand-hills roll to the South Australian border over three hundred miles away. As we looked at the map that hot summer afternoon with the shrill voices of the native children playing outside as a background to our thoughts, Bob went on: ‘Would you like to come with me next time?’ So this desert expedition was born.

South Australia

First a background of history.

In 1875 Ernest Giles, one of the most com­petent and daring of Australian explorers, set out on a journey from Boundary Dam on the border of South Australia to explore the country. For 323 waterless miles his party trudged westwards. On the night of September 25 the group settled `in a most abominable encampment’. That day the member of the party who had charge of navigation had bungled the matter. Giles reprimanded him and he retorted: ‘Perhaps you’ll steer then if you don’t think I can.’ Giles took over and turned more to the south. He com­mented: ‘The fate of empires has hung upon a thread, and our fate now hung upon my action.’

Next morning Tommy, one of the natives, went with a riding-camel to scout for water. Soon he came hurrying back, full gallop.

`Water, water. Plenty here. Come on, come on. This way. This way. Come on, Mr Giles. Mine been find them plenty water.’

victoria desert

Further enquiry as to whether this water was a mere native well or a big expanse brought this exultant reply: ‘No fear shovel. That fellow water sit down meself along ground. Camel he drink ‘em meself.’

Giles hurried to the spot and in his journal wrote: ‘It is the most singularly placed water I have ever seen, lying in a small hollow in the centre of a little grassy flat’ and surrounded by clumps of ‘funereal pines’.

Giles in his enthusiasm called the desert the Great Victoria Desert and the water Queen Victoria’s Spring. Some eighty years later my wife planted seeds of these funereal pines on Giles’s grave in the cemetery of the mining town of Coolgardie.

Other explorers made this water-hole in the desert a stopping-place for further journeying. So harsh was the Great Victoria Desert country that, once tentatively explored, it was left alone. The Trans-Australian Railway skirted this desert’s southern edge and travellers, after the treeless plains of the Nullarbor, stared with some relief to see it clothed in trees, shrubs and, after good rains, masses of wild flowers. It was left to the native peoples undisturbed. Then came the mission at Cundeelee.

victoria desert

A party of naturalists visited Queen Victoria’s Spring. Their report sent others exploring, and it was in the summer of 1956 that I had my first experience of the Spring and of the Great Vic­toria Desert as a member of a university expedi­tion led by Dr A. R. Main, a leading Australian ecologist.

We had driven fast over the sand-hills to avoid being bogged and it was almost sunset when we reached the Spring. The track wound through blackboy trees, standing like heraldic spearsmen guarding the water beyond. Then we mounted the crest and the hollow lay before us.

The ground was covered with everlastings and it lay like a cloth of gold in the setting sun. The clay-pan was empty but the soak had a few gallons of water. We explored the country around the soak. I captured a large cockroach which I named Archy, after the famous member of its race, who wrote vers Libre. The green desert cockroach rejoices in the name of Poly zosteria mitchelli. Archy swaggered around the Triodia clumps and refused to take refuge in their prickly ramparts. With head held high he defied me. Safely bottled, he returned with me to civilization and lived for many weeks.

I set up a hide near the soak and turned in. A Boobook Owl called just before I drifted into sleep in my central London apartment. At 5 a.m. I was up. As the sun rose higher small groups of budgerigars began to circle the Spring. Dozens became hundreds, hundreds became thousands, until a huge black mass swung overhead, as though in orbit, held by the attractive forces of the Spring. High above, a falcon circled, then stooped through the mass of birds. It seemed incredible that the hawk could miss, yet miss it did. As though plucked by an invisible hand, the falcon rose above the green mass. Once more it plunged and missed again. Here was a case of safety in numbers. The dis­tracting effect of a large flock seemed to confuse the falcon and it withdrew. Later I saw it beating over my head with an unfortunate honey-eater tucked under its body. Still the budgerigars circled above me. In the desert country there is abundant food in the form of dry seeds. Seed-eating animals need the water lacking in their diet. Galahs, bronze-wing pigeons, cockatiels, finches, budgerigars—all these are good indi­cators of water in arid country.