Tag Archives: South Australia

Roaming about Glenelg at Dusk

One of my nearby beachside suburbs in Adelaide is Glenelg. Located at the end of the tram line from Adelaide’s city centre, Glenelg has long been a popular spot for both Adelaide residents and visitors to spend time down at the seaside. For me, in summer particularly, it’s a great spot for some sunset and dusk photography and I find myself down there from time to time with camera in hand.

Back in January, I started a month long photo challenge at a photography website I frequent. The idea of the challenge is to nominate a particular lens and then, with that lens, take and post a photo every day through that month. Sounds easy, but keeping up the discipline can be surprisingly challenging as the month wears on. My January challenge failed miserably after only a week or so, but I did get some nice photos of Glenelg at dusk along the way.

While the Glenelg foreshore area provides a few different subjects and scenes for the photographer, on the evening of my visit I concentrated on the jetty and those promenading along it.

The first five of the following images were taken with my challenge lens for the month, an old (as in late 70’s/early 80’s) Pentax M 35mm F2.0 lens mounted on my Pentax K-3 camera.

So, here we go:

Glenelg Beach at Dusk

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Adelaide’s Titan Arum

Today’s post is a flower picture. But not just any old flower.

The titan arum, aka the corpse flower, is one of the world’s rarest, largest and unusual flowers. Native to Sumatra, Indonesia, the titan arum was discovered in 1878. It has been cultivated subsequently in botanical gardens but flowers only intermittently. So intermittently that the flowers tend to be given a name to mark the occasion.

For the first eight years or more of its life, the titan arum grows a single branched leaf on a long stem that can be six metres or so high. During this time, the plant develops an underground corm in excess of 50 kilograms. It then enters a long dormant period while the flower forms in the corm. Somewhere around its tenth birthday, a single flower emerges.

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens has quietly been growing titan arums from seed donated back in 2006 and this year has been rewarded with not one but two flowering plants.

The second flower opened on 1 February 2016 and the conservatory in which it was located remained open until midnight that evening for visitors to observe the flower. I drove there around 10:30pm, took a look at the length of the queue to get in, and kept driving. I was keen to see the titan arum, but not that keen!

So I popped back the following afternoon after work and was able to walk straight into the conservatory.

So meet Ganteng (which is Indonesian for handsome).

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Very nice you say, but why the corpse flower? Well, for the day or two it opens, the flower emits a strong odour described as a heady mix of onion, smelly socks and rotting fish. Not a pot plant for the dining room table!

It does this to attract pollinating flies and insects to come and visit during its short life. The ‘petal’, which is in fact a leaf, is also deep maroon in colour on the inside to convey the impression of carrion. Not only that, but the centre stalk warms itself to around human body temperature to further embellish the charade. The peak of the pong comes during the first evening when it is believed the titan arum’s preferred pollinators are most active in the jungle night. The true flowers that the insects must find are quite small and hidden deep inside at the base of the stalk. Quite some specialisation!

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Ganteng, as shown here, is finishing its flowering after a day and a half, the petal is slowly closing for good, and the pong has largely dissipated. Tomorrow the whole structure will start withering away and the corm will enter another rest period before throwing up another single leaf somewhere in the next year or so. Re-flowering will occur, with any luck, in two or three years time, but could also be as long as another ten years. As I wrote at the start of this post, titan arums flower ‘intermittently’.

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

This image gives you a better idea of the size of the flower. Ganteng measured just over 2 metres tall. Impressive, but some way to go to match the largest ever grown in cultivation which came in at a little over three metres.

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So there you have it, today’s flower photo.

Is any one else left thinking of Audrey II from the Little House of Horrors film?

To Learn More

Wikipedia’s article on the titan arum can be found here.

The scientific name of the plant is Amorphophallus titanum while the popular name “titan arum” was invented by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough for his BBC series The Private Life of Plants, in which the flowering and pollination of the plant were filmed for the first time (I do remember that segment from when it was broadcast in Australia).

I’ll let you deduce from from the Wikipedia article why he decided a name make-over was considered necessary. You may also wish to keep ‘Amorphophallus titanum’ in store as a suitable put down for the annoying person inevitably encountered at office Christmas parties!

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Christmas greetings from Adelaide

Well, what happened to Photo Morsels in the second half of 2015? My previous post was way back in July and now it’s less than a day before 2016 arrives.

It seems odd writing this now in the middle of some 38°C weather but winter this year seemed cold and dreary, prompting me to stay in the warm part of the house rather than wander into the not-so-warm room which houses my photo-editing computer. So there went July and August. Then it seemed like I was in any timezone other than my own for a couple of months, mostly work trips but a little holidaying also.

So here I am in the last day of the year. Although there have been no new Photo Morsels posts for a while, I’ve still been busy with my camera, and in coming weeks will look to share some of what I captured over 2015.

T’is the festive season, so first up, Merry Christmas and a happy new year to Photo Morsels readers.

And sticking with the seasonal theme, I share with you an Adelaide Christmas tradition, the Brewery Christmas lights, a favorite of small kiddies since 1959. Nothing too flash in the context of modern era and its wizz bang technologies, but for the target audience of 3 to 10-ish year olds where everything in the world is new and exciting, it remains a great family evening out. Simple, ageless displays that remain thankfully free of trade-marked characters from Disney and the like.

West End Brewery Christmas Lights

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West Cape, Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula lies across the Gulf St Vincent from Adelaide and in a similar way to Italy is shaped much like a leg and foot, but much smaller at around 200 km in length.  My prior post took a look at the setting sun at Moonta Bay which lies at the very top of the peninsula, at the ‘hip’ as it were.

Travelling down the peninsula by road you eventually arrive right down the far ‘toe’ end. From Moonta Bay, it’s a 2½ hour drive, and 4 hours or so if travelling directly from Adelaide. Rugged Cape Spencer and West Cape define the toe and for this post I’m featuring sunsets again, this time at West Cape.

The two capes are within the Innes National Park and around 20 minutes drive from the last township on the peninsula, Marion Bay (which has previously featured on Photo Morsels in A wet and rainy day in Marion Bay).

The images in this post were taken in July last year (2014) which is mid winter down here in Australia. Despite that, the weather while I was there was fine and mild.

In sailing ship days, ships approaching from England and Europe would make landfall in the general vicinity of the capes and enter Investigator Strait in order to proceed to Adelaide. This would have been the first land those ships had seen since rounding the Cape of Good Hope at the base of Africa. Combine the navigational challenges associated with a journey of some 10,000 kilometers without any land observations, the presence of islands and reefs, strong tides and notoriously rough and windy weather on the wrong day, and the area soon became a shipwreck coast. To improve maritime safety, lighthouses were established as early as 1879.

West Cape beach, Yorke Peninsula

West Cape beach in the late afternoon, with shadow formed by the West Cape headland extending into the dunes. The patch of clear water perpendicular to the beach is a powerful rip carrying water deposited on the beach by the swell back into deeper water. Definitely not a swimming beach, and only experienced surfers look to surf here.

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End of the day at Moonta Bay

I’m sitting at home tonight with the first fire of the 2015 winter imparting the pleasant and satisfying warmth that only a wood fire can generate.

It only seemed like a few weeks ago South Australia was enjoying the transition from summer to autumn which weather-wise is undoubtedly the most pleasant time of the year along the southern side of Australia. For this post I’m revisiting one of those balmy late summer evenings.

Just before Easter I traveled up to Moonta Bay, a popular holiday location on the upper Yorke Peninsula some 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Adelaide for an overnight stay. During the day, cloud cover made the light quite unattractive for photography, but as the sun dropped low into the sky, things got a bit more interesting.

Moonta Bay, South Australia

Puddling about.

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Heading for the hills: Pichi Richi Railway

NM25, Afghan Express, Pichi Richi Railway

Continuing on from the prior post, we follow the Pichi Richi Railways’ Afghan Express as it heads out of Port Augusta and up into the Flinders Ranges through the Pichi Richi Pass.

If you haven’t taken a look at the earlier post Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway I suggest you take a look there before continuing with this post.

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Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway

Yep, I’m back to posting about trains again. It’s been a year since the last post dedicated to trains, so that’s not too bad for self discipline!

There are two historical railway societies within South Australia running regularly scheduled tourist railways. One is the Steamranger Heritage Railway operating in the Adelaide Hills and along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula  and which I have previously looked at in several posts. The other society is the Pichi Richi Railway located some 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Adelaide in the southern Flinders Ranges.

In early October 2013 I took a major detour on the way from Adelaide to a camping weekend along the Murray River to first head to Port Augusta and check out the Pichi Richi operations. Photos from this trip were to have been posted to Photo Morsels but an unexpected visit to the National Railway Museum in suburban Port Adelaide later in October yielded an extensive collection of photos. Those photos rather than the Pichi Richi photos ended up appearing on Photo Morsels in late 2013.

I still intended though that the Pichi Richi photos were to have been a follow-on series published soon thereafter. The ‘soon thereafter’ didn’t eventuate, so with considerable delay, let’s now take a look at the Pichi Richi Railway.

The Pichi Richi Railway is headquartered in the township of Quorn, historically an important railway junction straddling the east/west line across Australia and the railway that headed north to Alice Springs. The heritage railway workshops are in Quorn, but rolling stock is also stored in Port Augusta. This allows heritage services to be operated out of either location.

Joining Port Augusta to Quorn is 39 kilometres (24 miles) of lightly built narrow gauge railway. This section of line was built in 1878 as part of the South Australian Railways’ Port Augusta & Government Gums Railway, and later formed a part of the Commonwealth Railways Central Australian Railway and the east-west Transcontinental line. The original Ghan passenger service operated on the line initially to the remote South Australian community of Oodnadatta and later to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The section of track maintained by the Pichi Richi Railway is the oldest remaining section of this now abandoned and largely removed narrow gauge track. The Ghan still runs, but on standard gauge track built in the late 1970’s on a completely different alignment to the original.

This post looks at the assembly of an Afghan Express heritage service prior to its run from Port Augusta to Quorn and back.

NM25, Pichi Richi Railway

After building up steam, former Commonwealth Railways 4-8-0 locomotive NM25 brings the some of the original Ghan’s wooden railway carriages out of the storage sheds located at the Port Augusta railway station.

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