Australia · family · gratitude · history · knowledge · memories · Mount Warning · remembering · sunrise · Tweed Valley

Hattons Bluff ~ Familial Pride

Hattons Bluff and the Hatton homestead. Photo taken c1869

On Australia Day this year – 26th January – the usual debate of who “owns” Australia broke out yet again. During one news channel interview, the interviewer ask the interviewee a very thought-provoking question. Without going into too much background as it is not a topic I wish to debate, although it adds context to my story, was this – If indigenous Australians were declared the “owners” of Australia, and all other nationalities of people were required to leave the country and go “home”, where in the world would the descendents of the early settlers, for example, move to, when Australia is the only home they have known for several generations?

This question opened up an interesting conversation between husband and myself. While I am a first generation Australian, my husband’s family, on all sides of his family tree, have lived in Australia for well over 100 years. The first of his ancestors arrived in 1833, while another early arrival was in 1853, that of Richard Hatton and his son, William. In every line of husband’s family tree, he is at least a fourth-generation Australian. After so many generations, the roots of his family tree are well anchored in this land.

William Hatton, husband’s two-times great-grandfather, was an early settler in the Tweed Valley region. William arrived in Australia in 1857 with his father, Richard. With Hattons Bluff being a well known landmark in the area, I have often asked husband in more recent years if his family might have a connection to Hattons Bluff. Husband didn’t know, and not being overly fond of family history, seemed disinclined to find out.

After the Australia Day debate, I became super-curious. Who was Hattons Bluff named after? Even if husband isn’t overly interested, I am the mother of four people who can confidentally claim to have roots in Australia which can be traced back seven generations. Besides, if there’s a story to be found, I want to know about it. 😉

Hattons Bluff c1930

As I searched for information about Hattons Bluff which could potentially tie into my husband’s Hatton family, I found several old photos of the area. I am sharing three of these photos today, however, I cannot add a credit for any photographers as no names were listed. Undoubtedly, these photos have been passed along through the generation and the owner, or owners, have kindly shared the images online. For this, I thank them.

These photos, and the information I discovered online have confirmed that Hattons Bluff was named after my husband’s two-times great-grandfather, William Hatton. Husband’s grandmother shared many memories about her mother, a daughter of William named Emma Hatton, in the early years of our relationship, and I have racked my brain to try and recall if she ever told us about her family’s connection to this local landmark. I don’t think she did, but perhaps she did tell us and we were too young to appreciate the magnitude of the knowledge. Or perhaps it wasn’t an important enough story to share. Perhaps she took for granted her place in this country, in this state, in the Tweed Valley region, just as my husband does.

For me, it is a surreal concept to imagine, knowing that you are walking in the footsteps of a previous generation – indeed several generations – of people who if it were not for them, you wouldn’t exist. My husband really doesn’t know how lucky he is to have that immensely strong connection to the land on which he lives today.

Or does he?

This morning, as the rising sun battled with clouds to find a place to shine upon earth, husband noted the mist, swirling around the south and western base of Hattons Bluff. It’s well defined this morning, he announced.

Do I detect just the teenist note of familial pride creeping in? 😉



Australia · birds · books · knowledge · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · photography · respect · Tweed Valley · University · winter

Kookaburras in the Mist

‘Twas another misty morning today. The mist wasn’t as thick as it has been recently, but it looked lovely all the same.

The mist sat in pretty pockets all through the valley, like a puffy layer of cotton wool blanketing the earth.

Another beautiful sight in the valley was a pair of kookaburras perched on a strong branch in a gum tree.

I completed a university assignment yesterday for the diploma course I started last year, the Diploma of Sustainable Living. I’ve been slotting a unit in here and there amid the Bachelor of Arts I started in second semester of 2017, and so far I’m coping okay. Units are often on offer during out-of-semester time slots, but this semester I’m studying one unit for the diploma and two for the BA, all at the same time.

The assignment I completed yesterday was for a unit I’m doing called Backyard Biodiversity. We were asked to choose one creature, be it birds, amphibian, mammal, or whatever else we may have seen in our yard, research the requirements for our chosen backyard buddy, then answer a series of questions for the assignment.

Any guesses on who I chose? 😉

The Laughing Kookaburra, (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a most interesting little character, which I already knew of course. But even I had a lot to learn about the habits of these gorgeous guys who visit my garden daily. I’ll add the information here straight from my assignment  –

“Discuss the biological needs of your selected species:

  • For food, this species requires: worms, insects, lizards, snails, grasshoppers, small snakes, and unfortunately, amphibians. Kookaburras are carnivores, and also eat small mammals, rats and mice. They occasionally eat crustaceans. When larger items of food are caught, a kookaburra will bash their meal against a tree branch or on the ground to kill, or “tenderise” the food before eating it.
  • For shelter, this species requires: large eucalyptus trees with strong branches and natural hollows to shelter in. Kookaburras are family orientated and choose favourite trees in which to sleep together for approximately twelve hours each night. They often begin and end the day with a collective raucous chorus of “laughter”. In cold or wet weather, kookaburras huddle together for warmth in their chosen tree for lengthy periods of time.
  • For water, this species requires: clean water for drinking, although similar to owls, most of a kookaburra’s water requirement is obtained through their food. Being the largest members of the Kingfisher family, however, they enjoy bathing in water, therefore need to have access to water for this purpose.
  • For space, this species requires: a large area with plenty of eucalyptus trees. Kookaburras live in large, sociable family groups, they mate for life, and the dominant breeding pair of the group keep their young with them after reaching maturity to help tend future clutches. Kookaburras also occupy forests and woodlands, ideally where open ground areas offer clear visibility for spotting food. Kookaburras are territorial and their territory can cover several hectares of space, but they are respectful of other kookaburra families and will not encroach on spaces already claimed.
  • Other things this species requires are: safe retreats from predators. A main enemy of the kookaburra is domestic animals. During September to January, which is their breeding season, kookaburras also require a safe hollow in a tree which is large enough for the mother to lay approximately one to four eggs. Elevated termite mounds can also be hollowed out to build their nests in.”

I’ve always suspected the twelve kookaburras who visit my garden were one family, and now I can relate that information to my lovely visitors – my original visitor, who I named Larry, always came into my garden alone. After a while he brought along a little lady friend who I named Shilo. Those two kookaburras have learned to trust me, and I can now hand-feed both of them. They still visit.

Meanwhile, the family has grown. I had always wondered if other kookaburras had joined my original family from elsewhere, but from what I have read, Larry and Shilo are the dominant breeding pair, making all the rest siblings who remain with their family.

I also read that kookaburras are usually the first birds you’ll hear in the morning and the last you’ll hear at night. Just after finishing my assignment, I went out into my garden, and what did I hear? A collective chorus of kookaburras, laughing, right down the bottom of my garden! They may have a favorite tree just beyond my yard, but the were close. With my new-found understanding of their habits, hearing the kookaburras last night, right on nightfall when there were no other bird-sounds to be heard, I felt privileged to know they were so close, and that they had chosen a “favourite” tree to rest in so close to my home.

I have also learned this week that kookaburras were seen by the early settlers in Australia, and were noted as a species of bird they had never seen before. In 1788, the kookaburra was identified as a “Giant brown Kingfisher”. I found this information in a book I just bought called Journals of the First Fleet, which is the journal entries of Captain Arthur Phillip and Lieutenant General Watkin Tench, who both arrived in Australia with the first fleet of convicts, brought here to settle on our shores. Many of these convicts, mainly from England and Ireland, are the ancestors of Australia’s current inhabitants.

1788 drawing of a kookaburra.

The drawing depicts details of the Great brown Kingfisher which we can easily identify as our Laughing Kookaburra. And here is the information accompanying the picture, and written in the 1788 journal …

Isn’t it strange to think we see the very same birds species today, even sounding the same, as they did back in 1788? Barbara spoke about this concept in her post The Continuation of Life. Since I read Barbara’s post, the thought has remained with me, and every now and then I try to drag past situations into the current age. I have also tried to “see” things from the point of view of people who lived 200 years ago. I don’t believe it is possible to understand what life was like for people living so many years ago, nor do I believe it is fair for us to place judgements on them based on the values we have today. Yet my contemplations have made people of the past seem more “real” somehow, although that’s another concept that is difficult to explain. Of course they are real! But it is difficult to imagine them as real because we didn’t know them.

I wonder if that is why lately people the world over are showing so little respect for people of the past? You know the people I mean, those who are trying to rewrite history books and smash statues that are there to honour the achievements and sacrifices people of the past made in an effort to forge a better world for future generations.

It is not for us to judge the decisions made by people who lived so long ago. No one can change the past, and as life continues, so different to the way it was 200 years ago, I find it comforting to realise that those early settlers heard and saw the same Laughing Kookaburras that I admire every day in my garden.

advice · inspiration · knowledge

The Psychology of Colours ~ Featuring the Colour Red


“Red is the great clarifier – bright and revealing. I can’t imagine becoming bored with red – it would be like becoming bored with the person you love.” ~ Diana Vreeland.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge announced a week ago invited us all to add a post about colour. Even though I didn’t add anything during the allocated week it did have me pondering colour yet again, and more to the point the psychology behind colours.

Varying shades of red...
Varying shades of red…

My favoured colour has always been within the range of red, although the colour that I would call “fire engine red” is one that I use sparingly. My preference begins within the range of pinks, but excluded baby pink, which I only like for babies, and hot pink which is great for the young. The photo above shows the colour of the walls in one of the rooms of my house, which is more of a dusky pink.

Various shades of pink in the curtains.
Various shades of pink in the curtains.

As you can see here, Miss Tibbs is the focal point of the above photo, but take a look behind her and you will see various shades of pink in the curtains. These poor old curtains have seen better days now and will one day be replaced. When I have worked out what I would like to replace them with, that is!

There are shades of red in the office too.
There are shades of red in the office too.

Even on my office desk I have some red items, although as I look around this room I don’t see a lot of definite colour in the room. What is there, however, is pink to reddish tones.

More varying shades of the colour red ~ they are everywhere!
More varying shades of the colour red ~ they are everywhere!

I’m working on a new knitting project just now (more about that at a later date though!) and the colour that I was immediately drawn when choosing the wool was maroon.

My Very Comfy Favorite Chair is burgundy, there are pink and red splashes of colour on the quilt over the arm of the chair and even my coffee cup, a Royal Albert Old English Rose design, has red roses on it.

So what does this all mean? Red is known as a colour of warmth and strength, a power colour, promoting a strong will and confidence. Red is also known as the colour of passion and love. Think about the number of red roses sold on Valentine’s Day and when a love-heart is shown in colour, it always appears in the colour red.

Keywords of the personalities of those who favour the colour red are ~ optimistic, courageous and confident, action oriented, energetic, ambitious and competitive.

Red colour people are explorers and pioneers, and on the down side can also be aggressive and argumentative. They have a need for power, like to control and are hard workers.

The colour red is regarded as a lucky colour in Chinese culture and is a sign of purity in Indian culture and a touch of red is often added to a wedding dress to symbolise the bride’s purity.

My appetite usually does need any help getting motivated, but apparently my red bowls are helping anyway!
My appetite usually doesn’t need any help getting motivated, but apparently my red bowls are helping anyway!

Also known to stimulate an appetite, red is often used in the advertising and business colours of food outlets. (I’m thinking of McDonald’s here!)

Too much of the colour red surrounding a person can also have an adverse reaction, making them feel irritated, even to the point of becoming angry. If a person is feeling unwell or under any kind of emotional stress, red is a colour to steer clear of, due to the high energy levels that red generates.

It is suggested that a dislike of the colour red suggests that you may find anger, which too much red can promote, a difficult emotion to cope with, therefore you will avoid the colour. Hmm, I can totally relate to that! Too much bright red really can upset my equilibrium, to the point of feeling extremely agitated and I don’t cope with that feeling well at all!

However, like I said, I have a preference myself for varying shades of red, so I have researched this aspect of the colour also. I don’t see myself as a power-hungry explosion of energy, that’s for sure, which is how a red personality person seems to be portrayed, so here are some variations on the differing shades of red ~

Those who are drawn to the colour maroon are more controlled in thought and action than their red-favouring friends.

Burgundy is associated with a more serious and sophisticated personality, and is less energetic than a “red” personality. (Whew, that’s a relief to know!)

Those who favour crimson are still known to be determined to succeed, but will do so without stepping on anyone’s toes, unlike their red loving friends.

Scarlet is also known as a less intense colour, indicating enthusiasm and a love of life.

Favouring the colour pink is a whole separate topic again, but just as the colour is softer than red, the suggestion is that “pink” people are much gentler in personality.

So as you can see, there are many diversions to the psychology of a colour, it’s not just a simple matter of the associated personality traits all being “black and white” (yes, pun intended….groan….)

I’ve enjoyed researching the indications of preferences for colours, and how each colour can affect our personalities. I do hope you have enjoyed reading this too, just for a bit of fun.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you agree that colour choices we make and colours we favour can have a psychological impact on us and influence our lives in any way, and whether or not a colour can be associated with a certain personality type.

If enough interest is shown, I may even follow up with some more research into the other “colour” personalities on the spectrum of life, but for now, I think I’ll head off, (wearing my dark red jumper, blue denim jeans and deep pink Ugg boots,) for a cup of coffee, in my red roses cup, of course.  🙂

friends · knowledge

Pondering the Unanswerable

“Questions are guaranteed in life; answers aren’t”.

Why is it that I can write a post perfectly in my mind, when access to pen and paper or computer is impossible, yet I will sit, hours later, in front of the computer screen and the words escape me?

Gone. No clues remaining. Not even a hint of those fly-away words.

And why are there periods of time in my life when I’m completely solid and unswayable on a subject, yet at other times I fuss and bother over “nothing” questions?

Perhaps it’s all the fault of my Libran personality. Librans are said to be just a tad (ha!) indecisive.

But wait, I’m not even a Libran! I’m Taurus! Taurus, with Libra moon and Libra ascendant.

If I were a totally, fully-fledged Taurus, I’d know, with total, absolute certainty, the answers to all of the so-called unanswerable questions. ‘Coz Taureans are unwavering and determined.

Aren’t they?

Which leads me to another question; why do I, the Taurus, find myself most compatible with Sagittarius personalities? And Aries?

Why have I spent my entire life being drawn to Virgo men, who annoy the life out of me with their finicky, perfectionist ways?

When I spend too much time at home, I can go stir-crazy, so I spend time out…and miss spending time at home. The weather is hot, so I wish it were cold again. After a few months of cold, I miss the warmth. But only sometimes!

Is everyone this indecisive? Do we all long for the opposite to what we have?

Are we ever satisfied with our lot in life? Does everyone ask these questions?

Some questions are so profound, they hurt. Questions such as why are there unsuspecting people in the world today, who are suffering due to the effects of an earth quake? Why them? What did they ever do to deserve this?

There are no answers to these questions that I’m aware of.

So, I avoid asking the questions. They’re too painful and serve no purpose to a single soul, either to the questioner or to those suffering.

There once was a time, a number of years ago now, when I had thought that helping another human being meant everything. Being only one person myself, I knew that help on a grand scale would be impossible for me to achieve, therefore setting my sights on helping those closest to me, in their times of need.

Little did I know back then that I was on the verge on learning one of life’s biggest lessons.

During a traumatic time of a friend’s life, one of unimaginable pain and heartbreak, I attempted to offer assistance, to smooth the road to recovery for a period of time by taking care of all of the mundane aspects of their life; the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, shopping; whilst she focussed all of her energy on recuperating from the upheaval which was present in her life.

Day after day she slept, while I took care of her life.

After two weeks of seeing not a single sign of progress, not a hint of resurrection to her own life, I sought help myself, in the form of a psychologist.

I asked the question, “Why won’t my friend at least attempt to help herself? I’ve taken all of her life’s mundane chores over myself, thinking it would help, but she’s making no progress at all. She sleeps all day, every day”.

The answer to my question was not what I had expected, nor was I prepared for. The psychologist, in his infinite wisdom, told me to stop helping. He told me to leave my friend to her own devises. He told me to turn my back and walk away!

Walking away was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. But after he explained to me why she wasn’t making any progress, I knew I had to. For her sake.

While I attended to all of my friend’s chores, she had no need to get up off her butt and take care of her own family, so she didn’t! When the help no longer existed, she was forced into action!

Not helping my friend was the kindest thing I could do for her.

What I have learned is that the questions will always exist, no matter what. Some questions have appropriate answers, some don’t. And some of the answers are not necessarily the answers we wish to hear.

There are times when questions can frustrate. And other times when we wish to help, but it’s impossible to do so. And no one can explain to us why.

It’s at these times that sending a prayer (if we are so inclined), or kind thoughts of well being to those in need, is the best help we can offer. So, that’s what we do. It all helps, somehow. Don’t ask why…



basics · Changes · freedom · knowledge

Sense and Sensibility ~ Part 2

Life is the ultimate teacher.

You may or may not agree with my statement, that is your choice. We all choose our own truths, whatever is the right thing for each of us, as we carry on our existence, safely wrapped within the cocoon of our own realities.

My heart knows it to be true, my heart has chosen this particular truth for me, and my heart never leads me astray.

Sensibility reigns supreme within my life. Sensibility has my ultimate approval. And life has taught me the lessons with which I have reached my conclusion.

Over the last three years, during a crash course on reality, and life, and learning for myself the realities of my own life, I am often reminded of the time-proven adages, those little snippets of wisdom shared with us by the seniors of our society, words loosely thrown our way during times of need…

Gems such as ~

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Actions speak louder than words.

The simple things in life are often the best.

A penny saved is a penny earned….And…

A leopard never changes its spots.

What is right for one man’s life can be totally wrong in another’s. We must seek, find and stay true to our own truths, our own heart. We must heed the silent words seeped to us through our souls.

No man holds the right to change another, we are who we are. If we attempt to change another person to suit our own selfish needs, transforming them into something that they are not, or should another endeavour to attempt this task on us, there is only one ultimate possible outcome ~ a bucket load of lies. Make that a truck load. We are who we are…End of Story.

Pretty words, whispered lyrically into the dainty pink ear of an eager receiver won’t mean squat if the appropriate actions do not coincide with these words. You may as well wrap the empty words back up into the pretty little box from whence they came, tie the flimsy bow back around the box and toss them away as far as you can, preferably with their shallow creator. Who wants to live a lie? Listen to your heart…it hears the spoken words of truths and sees the actions performed in the name of honesty.

Do you remember the last time you were overwhelmed by such happiness that you felt your heart swell and your soul sing? Over the last three years, much to my amazement, I have re-discovered that wonderful feeling of light-headed, giddy happiness in some of the most unlikely places…

  • In the fragrance of a flower.
  • The sound of a buzzing bee.
  • In the blueness of the sky on a perfectly clear day.
  • And the shape and colours of a storm cloud.
  • A perfectly formed rainbow after a sudden storm.
  • My cats rumbling purring sounds.
  • Listening to the crystal clear harmonies of the voice of a famous singer.

This short list hardly does justice to the moments of happiness I have experienced during the past three years, but they all have one thing in common ~ not one of these magical moments has cost me a cent. They are free. They are the simple pleasures of life. And they mean the most to me.

I don’t need diamonds. I have no use for a fancy car. I can only wear one outfit of clothes at a time. And I only have one pair of feet on which to wear one pair of shoes each day. A minimalistic life saves money for sure. But oh, how much deeper the pleasure reaches, as it frees your soul and lightens your heart, when the need of the burden of multiple possessions no longer exists!

We are never too old to learn. I believe that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! (And yes, my heart told me that as well.)

The ultimate gift for me has been learning to listen to my heart and following my instincts (again), going back to writing (again) and becoming who I really am (yes…again).

Dropping the barriers and cutting the pretence can be, surprisingly, a real eye opener, for you may just find, hidden beneath all of those carefully laid layers of trying to be the person you think you should be, resides the person who you really are…

And the biggest surprise may come when you actually recognise an old childhood friend, the one who used to look back at you from the mirror each day. It may just be the child-who-you-once-were, from many years ago, when your heart reigned supreme and honesty was your middle name.

The packaging may have aged a tad, but take the time to peel back the layers of time, and take a peek inside. See for yourself if the leopard’s spots are, in fact, familiar to you.

“Just be yourself; everyone else is taken” ~ Oscar Wilde.