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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Wattle Day - and Spring!

For reasons I don't have at my fingertips, Australia uses the agreed Meteorological definition of the seasons, which sets the change of season at the first of September (and December, March and June), while Europe and North America use the Astronomical definition, which uses the equinoxes and solstices to mark the season kick-off. I have heard people assert quite strongly that these are the 'real' seasons, but I don't really get that - they're both human conceits. There are good reasons to define the seasons by what's actually happening, as many societies have done, and as some Australian indigenous communities (such as in the Top End) still do. This would of course mean that the dates would change from year to year, and while that seems perfectly reasonable to me, I doubt that we could cope easily with it. 

I love spring and hang out for it every year. This is the time when wildflowers around here are beginning to burst forth, and the migratory birds are returning from their winter sabbatical in places north. So, today is a good day for me. It's also (semi-officially) Wattle Day, celebrated sporadically from the earlier days of our colonisation, as part of a growing sense of identity and even independence. It's an interesting story in its own right, but as this is an 'extra' posting I'll limit myself today to celebrating by way of some wattle photos - and I've selected just one from each Australian state and territory, starting here in the ACT and moving round the country clockwise.

I hope the pictures can stand alone without further commentary.

Wedge-leaf Wattle Acacia pravissima, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory.
(For more pictures of local wattles, see here, courtesy of my friend Martin Butterfield.)
Sunshine Wattle Acacia terminalis, Monga National Park, New South Wales.
Gorse-leaf Wattle Acacia ulicifolia, East Gippsland, Victoria.
Blackwood Wattle Acacia melanoxylon, Tasmania.
Port Lincoln Wattle Acacia anceps, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.
Prickly Moses Acacia pulchella, South Beekeepers Nature Reserve, Western Australia.
Fire Wattle Acacia inaequalitara, Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Terrritory.
Net-veined Wattle Acacia retivenea, Bladensburg NP, Queensland.
And a happy spring if you're in my hemisphere, and a happy Wattle Day to you all!

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1 comment:

David McDonald said...

Thanks Ian, a delightful state by state roundup of wattles. I forwarded the link to my rellies in Scotland and they were delighted to see the images. Especially since they plan to migrate to Australia soon.
- David McD