Australia · Mount Warning · photography · sunset · Tweed Valley · winter

Musings Over a Mountain

Photo taken 13th July 2020 at 1:15 pm

Just over twenty-six years ago when we built the home where we live, one of the main attractions was the imposing views we would have across the Tweed Valley and specifically the view of Mount Warning. Over the years I must have taken hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos of the mountain and I never tire of my view, even after all these years.

Some people said we would forget about our view eventually. According to some, water views are far more impressive than views across inland scenery. Water views are constantly changing and are therefore far more interesting, we were told. Views across the land, they said, never change. We would become bored of our view. How wrong those people were.

Close up taken 1:15 pm today

I’ve always spent a lot of time at home. I love spending my days here, working from home, studying from home, and working in my garden. During the COVID-19 restrictions when we were all urged to stay at home as much as possible, I have been the typical example of one of the memes seen on Facebook. I’m the quintessential person who hasn’t noticed much change in my life as I stay close to home regardless. And while I’ve been at home, I have been noticing and photographing Mount Warning more than ever before.

Every day, the mountain looks different than it did the day before. Every hour of the day, the light cast across the mountain changes its appearance. Cloud formations over the mountain present a different appearance yet again. The sun changes the mountain; the rain changes its appearance even more. As the sun rises each morning, the top of Mount Warning is the first place that the sun hits Australian earth. If I catch the sun rising at just the right time, the top of the mountain glows.

Sugar cane fields in the valley provide a beautiful background for a lone kookaburra. Photo taken today.

The mountain is to the south-west of where I live, and some afternoons the sun sets without incident. Other days, however, the sky about the mountain lights up. I have possibly seen every colour imaginable lighting up the sky above our magnificent mountain over the years. Recently, I have taken photos of the mountain at sunset more than ever before, and seeing a multitude of different images from day to day has got me thinking, maybe I should take a photo of Mount Warning every day for a year. How great would it be to have a journal of photos of the mountain taken every day, throughout the seasons, to show how versatile and magnificent a view across land can be?

Sun setting over the mountain yesterday at 5:15 pm

The obvious place to add a photo of Mount Warning each day is here, on my blog. Today though, I begin a new semester of university study, online of course so I can study at home. I took a break from uni earlier this year to help my husband get his elderly parents settled into aged care, so now that’s sorted I can begin working on the final five units of my Bachelor of Arts. There have been times in the past during semester, particularly when assignments are due, I have become chained to my computer and I’m not looking forward to that situation again now I’m back at uni. The trouble is, I know it will happen. How can I commit to adding a photo a day, when some days I hardly have time for anything other than reading and assignments?

Mount Warning from Tumbulgum, a small village beside the Tweed River. Photo taken Wednesday last week.

I think I’ve worked out a solution. Even if all I do is take a photo of Mount Warning while I’m eating breakfast, it will only take five minutes to add it to my blog page. If I have time, I can add a few words to my post. If I’m too busy, I can just add a “wordless” or “silent” image. As it is, most days I hand write a few words in my journal while I eat, with each entry beginning with a description of the morning view across the valley, and specifically a description of Mount Warning. I’m sure I can manage to find a minute to take a photo each day as well.

Lets see how my plan goes. Hopefully by mid-July next year I will have a year long blog-journal-record of my ever changing view across the picturesque Tweed Valley and magnificent Mount Warning.


Australia · Changes · daughter · Mount Warning · spring

Ten Minutes of Sunset (and a wet kookaburra!)

5:52 pm

The rain crashed suddenly onto the car as I drove south along the M1 Motorway. Sitting beside me in the passenger seat was my daughter Emma. She said nothing at all and I didn’t dare look at her although I could feel the tension in my girl, as I struggled to see the road.

At first, I wasn’t sure whether the loud crashing was due to millions of huge raindrops on the car, or hail. It could have been either.

5:52 pm A close up of Mount Warning in the south-west. Yes, there’s a mountain behind those clouds!

When Emma did speak, all she said was, “we can’t even pull over mum, we’re on the freeway”.

She was right. The visibility of the road ahead was perhaps two metres, we couldn’t pull over safely, freeway or not, as I couldn’t see to find a safe place to park for a while, whilst we waited for the deluge to pass.

5:53 pm, the southern sky.

I continued to drive, oh so carefully and ever so slowly. I knew Emma was scared; so was I.

Our exit off the freeway seemed to take forever to arrive and thankfully, by that time, the rain had eased slightly, so I could actually see our exit! We could have ended up having to continue over half an hour further south on to Byron Bay. Not that Byron Bay isn’t a lovely town to visit, but please, not today, not in this weather!

5:53 pm Looking directly west.

Five minutes later, (after we had reached our destination!) the rain had stopped.

Showers of rain continued on and off for the rest of the day, but nothing anywhere near as ferocious as the rain Emma and I had driven through, for perhaps ten minutes, on the freeway.

5:55 pm Mount Warning has been completely hidden by the clouds.

Late in the afternoon, when safely home and standing in my back garden, camera in hand, this is the series of photos I took, which also spanned a ten minute period of the day.

5:55 Looking south again, the sky is changing rapidly.

Did we need to endure the sudden colossal downpour a few hours earlier in the day, to be rewarded by this amazing sunset? I suspect we did, as I don’t remember ever having seen the sky on fire in such a beautiful and magnificent way!

5:57 pm Mount Warning is completely hidden behind the clouds.

In some of the photos you will notice Mount Warning peeking through the clouds here and there. Mount Warning is an extinct volcano and has been there for as long as time. I can imagine the sunsets that the mountain has seen over the years.

5:57 pm Within moments the view has changed again, and the top of Mount Warning is just peeking through the cloud mass.

These photos are straight from the camera, just as I took them, no editing other than reducing the size to download them here. This is the colour that I saw, standing in the garden, shivering, after what had been a sunny and pleasant morning. Isn’t it spectacular? I just had to share these with all of you.

5:59 pm Hello Larry!

And look who came to visit, just as I was about to head back indoors to the warmth of the house!

6:00 pm As Larry and I enjoy the fading sunset.

One poor, wet, bedraggled kookaburra. This is my very tame friend, who I have named Larry, due to his Three Stooges hairdo!

6:01 pm Here’s a close up of Larry. He really is very tame and will take bacon rind from my hand. 🙂

I would like to think that Larry was there to enjoy the sunset with me, but in all honesty, I have to admit that I know he was there for the bacon rind I feed him!

6:02 pm As the night sky overtakes the incredible hues of the setting sun.

I wouldn’t have missed this sky show, only lasting for ten minutes, for anything.  🙂

Australia · autumn · Mount Warning · old house · Tweed Valley

Towns of the Tweed ~ Fingal Head (Part 1) The Tiny Lighthouse Watching Over the Huge Ocean.

When my children were little people who loved having a bedtime story read to them each night, one of their favourite books was called “The Most Scary Ghost”. There was nothing particularly significant about  this story, other than said star of our story, the ghost, resided in an old lighthouse and would run up and down the one-hundred stairs each night shrieking, “I’m the most scary ghost, whippety-woo!

A view over the Pacific Ocean.

The big attraction to this book was definitely the lighthouse. There’s something rather romantic to the image of a lighthouse, even to a child; of being a lighthouse keeper, living in the lighthouse, and being responsible for the safety of countless ships and the lives of the crew, as they pass the rocky points of land the flashing lights are a warning of.

The lighthouse sits so peacefully, overlooking the ocean. I wanted to take photos from every angle possible.

One such lighthouse exists at Fingal Head, a lovely little seaside village just south of the New South Wales and Queensland borders.

The beacon flashes every five seconds and has a range out to sea of between 14 and 17 nautical miles.

This tiny lighthouse, situated twenty-four metres above sea-level, stands only seven metres in height, making it one of the smallest lighthouses in Australia. But height wasn’t an important factor when designing and building the lighthouse in 1878, due to the natural elevation of the site.

Once upon a time this lighthouse did have a keeper, in fact the first keeper, William Arnold, happily resided in the keeper’s residence with his wife and eleven children for twenty-seven years. What a view they enjoyed, with Cook Island just half a kilometre out to sea, and the endless blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, as far as the eye can see!

Cook Island, just half a kilometre from the headland.

These days, Fingal lighthouse has the honour of being the oldest public building in the Tweed Shire. It was converted to automatic operation in 1920 and with the keeper’s cottage having no further use, it was demolished.

Yesterday, when I visited Fingal Heads, the sky was the most brilliant of blues and a pod of dolphins frolicked playfully not far from the shore. I wonder if Captain James Cook was met by such a delightful day, back in 1770, when he sailed north along the eastern coast of New South Wales, sighting Fingal Head and Cook Island, and naming the local landmarks of Point Danger and Mount Warning?

Looking down the rocks just beyond the lighthouse we saw a group of fishermen.

If there were any ghosts present at Fingal lighthouse yesterday, they were no doubt basking in the glory of the day, watching the dolphins play in the ocean below and sighing with contentment at the sight of the multitudes of happy people, enjoying a day in the sun in the surrounds of the old lighthouse.

Look carefully in the centre of the photo, you will see some dolphins in the water.

And what became of the scary ghost in my children’s beloved childhood story? The child in the story yelled “BOO!” to the ghost, and it fled down the one-hundred stairs, never to be seen again. 🙂

One contented Fingal resident. 🙂