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Monthly Archives: November 2012

ZOO TO YOU HQ CAIRNS – MEET FNQ WILDLIFE IN THE CENTRE OF TOWN

LION FISH – ZOO TO YOU HQ CAIRNS

People visit far north Queensland for all sorts of reasons. An escape from the rigours of a southern winter, a bit of five-star resort time, a holiday in the tropics without having to go overseas. Two things consistently at the top of the “why visitors come here” list are our rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef. Part of their enduring appeal is the chance to see our wildlife in the wild. Exotic fish, crocodiles, the mighty cassowary, wallabies, pythons, turtles. You name it – we’ve got it.

If you have the time for a reef trip or a wander in the rainforest, chances of a wildlife encounter are good. If you’re short of time, a visit to one of our zoos or wildlife attractions might be right for you. We have quite a few, and one of the newest is in the centre of the city, at The Pier complex on the Cairns water-front.

It’s Zoo To You HQ, opened in September this year by wildlife biologist Jodie Creek. About four years ago, Jodie started a business called Zoo To You, teaching kids about our FNQ critters by visiting schools and kindergartens with an assortment of wildlife. Now she also runs Zoo To You HQ at The Pier. There’s fish, pythons. lizards, frogs and turtles – one of which breathes through his bum – in a very child friendly display, with lots of information about the animals and their habitats. Jodie calls it a wildlife discovery centre.

AUDIO CLICK ON THE RED ARROW TO TAKE A GUIDED TOUR OF ZOO TO YOU HQ WITH JODIE CREEK AND OUR WILDLIFE CORRESPONDENT MARTIN COHEN.

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Read more about Jodie and Zoo To You at http://www.zootoyou.com.au/

And Zoo To You is also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/zootoyou.qld

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals

 

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THE KEN McKAY BENEFIT CONCERT – A GREAT SHOW FOR A MUCH LOVED FNQ MUSICIAN

Far North Queensland has been blessed with an abundance of musical talent. We have great musicians, fine songwriters, first class bands. Years ago, before I moved here, I got hold of the now very hard to get CD Music From The Far North, compiled by Jason Hagen for ABC Far North. The music I heard on that compilation convinced me — this is the place for me!

One song on that CD really stuck in my head – Ken McKay’s “Bartalumba Bay”. It’s a catchy, quirky song about a bay on the Northern Territory side of the Gulf of Carpentaria. As time went by, I got to know something of the Ken McKay story. Moved to FNQ years ago, lives on the Walsh River, had some top 40 success in the 1970s as part of McKay Stuart, And there’s the remarkable story of Ken meeting Chris Young, the brother he didn’t know he had.

The FNQ music community embraced him as one of their own from Ken’s earliest days up here, and Ken has worked with and encouraged so many established musicians and new musical talent.

On Thursday night, November 22, musicians and music lovers turned out in big numbers to honour Ken McKay, and to raise funds for his struggle with lung cancer. Entertainment Cairns proprietor Ray Elias put together a line-up that is a who’s who of FNQ music. Atherton’s historic Barron Valley Hotel was packed, and thousands of dollars were raised to help Ken meet his medical expenses.

AUDIO CLICK ON THE RED ARROW to hear some of the highlights of the Ken McKay benefit

Read more about Ken McKay on Tony Hillier’s blog http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-kens-the-real-mccoy.php

You can find Ken’s 70s hit song Hey Billy on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uNUGbtRxgI

And another song Full Speed Stop at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Xt-Vy6TWc</strong>

Ken’s lovely song Xmas Time Up North is at http://soundcloud.com/ken-mckay/01-track-01-2

Ken McKay died in the week before Xmas 2012.

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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, community, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, People, rd on the road

 

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THE WET SEASON IS COMING – AND OUR WILDLIFE CAN’T WAIT!

BARRON FALLS DURING THE WET SEASON

The long hot dry season is coming to an end. The wet season is not far off. The signs are all there. Afternoon storms building up on the Atherton Tablelands and Cape York Peninsula. In Cairns and along the east coast, the south-east trade wind has dropped out, replaced by the much less-refreshing north-easter. Days are becoming stickier. The night-time temperatures seem higher. Sleep comes to a sound-track of calling frogs and rumbling air conditioners.

Somewhere around Xmas. the monsoon will arrive. Heavy rain, the prospect of cyclones and flooding. Summer in the far north is a curious mix of bliss, tedium, and anxiety. The first real rain will have us dancing in the streets, some of us not fully clothed at the time. And the renewal of the FNQ environment is an extraordinary thing to behold.

Mind you, after a while, the thrill does wear off. A soggy, stinky, mouldy ennui prevails, the moist adjectives get a flogging and people begin to scan airline websites for cheap flights to arid destinations.

And there’s the worrying prospect of a cyclone developing in the Gulf or the Coral Sea. They can meander out there for ages, sometimes coming to nought. Other times, they make landfall and cause tremendous damage.

It’s hard to imagine that such a potentially dangerous time of year is, for our wildlife, a time of renewal. But that’s exactly what it is. Food sources become plentiful, water abundant, and the critters flourish. Even now, a few weeks out from the wet, our wildlife has sensed it coming, and is getting excited at the prospect.

Martin Cohen at Lake Eacham FNQ

Martin Cohen at Lake Eacham FNQ

 

 

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear ABC Far North Wildlife Correspondent Martin Cohen explain how the approach of the wet season affects FNQ and its amazing creatures.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Cairns Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, Coral Sea, cyclones, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals

 

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A DAY WITH THE TURTLES – FITZROY ISLAND FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

BERTIE & BARNEY READY FOR MEAL TIME

Have you ever seen a turtle up close. It can be hard to spot them in the wild, but your chances improve at this time of year when they’re coming on to beaches to lay eggs. I got to hang out with four very lucky turtles on Saturday, at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island, about an hour boat ride from Cairns. I met Splash, Bertie and Barney – green turtles – and Angie, who is an Olive Ridley turtle.

These turtles are lucky to be alive. The Rehab Centre has been caring for sick and injured trutles since 2000 at a facility in Cairns, and more recently at the new centre on Fitzroy Island.

Turtles are brought in from all over the far north, injured by encounters with boats, trawlers, discarded fishing nets, and predators. Many turtles are brought in with floaters disease, basically a gut blockage that prevents the turtle sinking down to feed in the sea grass. In the wild, they would probably starve. Treating floaters disease is not easy, but the Turtle Rehab Centre says 85 percent of its turtles go back to the wild, up from 30 percent a few years back. Floaters can be caused by turtles eating things that just shouldn’t be in our seas, like plastic bags.

The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is a not for profit organisation, with a crew of volunteers feeding and caring for the turtles each day. If you’re on Fitzroy Island, head for the Centre and if the roller door is up, head in and say g’day to the turtles and the volunteers.Read more at http://www.saveourseaturtles.com.au/about-ctrc.html

And more about Fitzroy Island at http://www.fitzroyisland.com/about-us

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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Cairns Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, Coral Sea, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals

 

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SOLAR ECLIPSE FNQ STYLE – NOW THAT WAS WORTH THE EARLY START

I’VE SEEN SOME THINGS IN MY TIME – BUT TODAY’S TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE HAS ECLIPSED THEM ALL. LAST NIGHT I WAS LISTENING TO ECLIPSE CHASERS WHO’VE BEEN TO DOZENS OF THEM AND I WAS THINKING – WELL, WHY? NOW I GET IT!

We watched it from the Palmer RIver Road House with a group of seasoned eclipse chasers. We were all blown away. Click on the red arrow to hear the magic moment when totality arrived over FNQ.

CRITTER CONFUSION

GEE THAT WAS A SHORT NIGHT.JUST TWO MINUTES LONG!

 

All over FNQ today, people have been keeping an eye on the wildlife, to see how an eclipse might change their routine.

The eclipse came early in the morning, when some creatures are just getting up, others are trying to get to sleep. So does a sudden, unexpected two minute “night” confuse animals? Birds, flying foxes, even fish, could have their sleep and activity patterns mixed up.

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear our wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen explain how the eclipse affected the critters of FNQ.

 

THROUGH INDIGENOUS EYES

The path of today’s solar eclipse passes over country that’s been home to indigenous people for tens of thousands of years.

QUINKAN FIGURE – HE’S THE ONE WITH THE POINTY ELBOWS

The area around Laura is Quinkan country, named for the powerful spirit beings of the region. They’re central to the indigenous stories of this country. While you might not encounter one yourself, you will see them depicted in Aboriginal rock art at hundreds of sites all over Quinkan country.

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear Matt Trezise at Jowalbinna Station give an indigenous perspective on the eclipse. Was Halley’s Comet a visit from the rainbow serpent?

Read more about Jowalbinna Station at http://www.jowalbinna.com.au/

And for info on Quinkan rock art go to https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/watch-the-eclipse-from-quinkan-country-jowalbinna-station-fnq/

or https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/quinkan-rock-art/

DANCE LIKE NO-ONE’S WATCHING – WELL ONLY 10 THOUSAND

FESTIVAL SITE PALMER RIVER FNQ

There’s a huge dance music festival underway just down the road from Palmer River, on the old Maitland Downs cattle station. There’s almost 10,000 people grooving their way through eclipse day, in what’s essentially a temporary town in the scrub. And there’s some great shopping opportunities, including Luke and Matt’s music stall. Some awesome musical instruments, but they’re more keen on teaching you to play than any hard sell. Click on the arrow to hear Phil Staley tuning up with Luke & Matt.

THERE’S MORE PICS AT THE EARLIER PALMER RIVER POST ON THIS BLOG. https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/solar-eclipse-2012-were-at-palmer-river-fnq/

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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Cairns Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, Coral Sea, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, indigenous, tourism, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals

 

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SOLAR ECLIPSE 2012 – WE’RE AT PALMER RIVER FNQ

SIGN OF THE TIMES MULLIGAN HWY FNQ

YOUR ABC FAR NORTH CREW HAS MADE IT TO PALMER RIVER FNQ FOR WEDNESDAY’S SOLAR ECLIPSE. WE’RE AT THE ROAD HOUSE, AND ACROSS THE ROAD WE HAVE ABOUT TEN THOUSAND NEIGHBOURS AT A DANCE MUSIC FESTIVAL. THEY’VE COME FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND WE’LL BE INTRODUCING THEM TO YOU ON THE RADIO OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

WEATHER FORECASTS AREN’T GREAT FOR ECLIPSE WATCHING DOWN ON THE COAST, SO WE’RE PROBABLY IN THE BEST PLACE AND RIGHT UNDER THE CENTRE LINE OF THE TOTAL ECLIPSE.

CHECK BACK OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS FOR AUDIO AND MORE PICS FROM PALMER RIVER FNQ.

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SEE 2012 SOLAR ECLIPSE FROM QUINKAN COUNTRY – JOWALBINNA STATION FNQ

QUINKAN COUNTRY. JOWALBINNA STATION FNQ

The solar eclipse is now under a week away, and competition for viewing spots is heating up. Far north Queensland is expecting thousands of visitors, many of them hoping to see the eclipse from the coast. The more adventurous are heading inland, into the scrub, to places like Palmer River, where an eclipse dance music festival is expecting 10 thousand visitors. http://www.eclipse2012.com/

If you’d like to see the eclipse far from the crowds, and see some very special country while you’re at it, consider Jowalbinna Station. It’s about four and half hours drive north of Cairns, on sealed roads until the final 40 kilometres. Jowalbinna was a cattle property, but these days it’s an eco-tourism destination renowned for its many Aboriginal rock art sites.  http://www.jowalbinna.com.au/

The Jowalbinna Station bush camp sits on the banks of the Little Laura River in the heart of Quinkan country. Quinkans are powerful spirit beings that are at the heart of the indigenous stories of this region. Quinkans are depicted in a lot of the rock art, along with other ancestor beings and stories of this country going back tens of thousands of years. 

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to take a tour of Jowalbinna Station with Matt Treszize.

MORE AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear Matt Trezise tell the story of how his father Percy devoted his life to the understanding and exploration of Quinkan country rock art.

You can read more about the rock art of Quinkan country at https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/quinkan-rock-art/

More on Percy Tresize at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Trezisestrong>

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