Category Archives: Gippsland

Stories about Gippsland people, townships, festivals, history, landscapes, wildlife

Vale Tas (Aug 2008 – Dec 2021)

Christmas Day 2021 started with the usual activity and family gathering, but soon the festive season turned into sadness and tears when Tas, our 13+ year old Labrador fractured his upper leg. He was in great pain initially, but was able to move with difficulty after a while though still clearly in pain. I wasn’t in the mood to continue with the Christmas gathering given how Tas was suffering and decided to get him home to a more comfortable environment, where he could rest at least in some modicum of comfort and familiar surrounds. We gave him some Valium and that allowed him to sleep the night through and, in the morning, I called the emergency number of our local vet. I held off from calling on Christmas Day, but it turns out that the vet was busy all Christmas Day and well into Boxing Day.

Playing in the park - Mirboo North Victoria

Playing in the park – Mirboo North Victoria

We got Tas to the vet in the afternoon and, after a brief check, it was clear that Tas had fractured a bone and x-rays were needed. We feared the worst and when the vet called us with the diagnosis, our fears were confirmed. A tumor had developed in the bone and weakened it, which caused the break, so it was only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen. There were only two options that the vet could give, amputate the leg to stop the spread (if it wasn’t elsewhere already) or put Tas to sleep. We’d already discussed the possibilities for the worse happening and, given that Tas was already suffering hip problems and finding it increasingly difficult to walk, the only kind option was the most difficult to make. He had been so healthy and full of life until now.

Ang & Tas - Mirboo North Victoria

Ang & Tas – Mirboo North Victoria

Tas and Me

Tas and Me

So once again, we had to make that awful and final decision. At least Tas was already under anaesthetic and the pain killer he’d been given had also made things more comfortable for him before the x-rays, so it was a peaceful departure. Anyone who loves dogs understands the impact of losing a lifetime friend. Dogs aren’t here for a long time, but what they contribute is worth many lifetimes. What this brought back to me was the loss of Tas’s sister Jenna a few years ago, also to cancer. The loss struck very hard and it took some time for emotions to settle, but having Tas around helped a lot. Now the house feels so empty and everywhere I look there is evidence and memories of what is no longer.

Jenna & Tas at the Bush Hilton, waiting for the storms to pass - Bentley Plain Victoria

Jenna & Tas at the Bush Hilton, waiting for the storms to pass – Bentley Plain Victoria

Adventure Bound - Bentley Plain Victoria

Adventure Bound – Bentley Plain Victoria

We’ve cleared some things away now, such as bedding, but I don’t feel like wiping away everything that reminds me of Tas in one fell swoop. There’s no rush and it’s not like we need space for the small things that remind us of what was. Tas will be cremated and his remains will join those of Jenna and our previous Labrador Jamie. One day we’ll find a suitable place for the ashes of all three friends. What we do from here, I’m not sure. We’ve had dogs in our life for most of our marriage and there’s something special that they bring to our lives. For the time being though, I’d like a break and take the time to settle before deciding whether to get another and when.

Bush Christmas, everyone enjoys the bush - Gippsland Victoria

Bush Christmas, everyone enjoys the bush – Gippsland Victoria

I think we’ve been blessed in that all of the dogs that we’ve owned have simply been marvellous and well behaved, friendly to all and great companions. My only reservation is that it’s become increasingly difficult to take dogs anywhere camping in Victoria, as I’ve noted before, more than once. Our state and local governments seem to hate dogs, as they impose more and more restriction every year, not just in state parks, but also in local parks. Every year we have to search harder and harder to find bush camping spots where we can take our four-legged family members and it’s never an easy task.That said, having a dog is always worth more than the hassles.

Jorgensons Hut - Donnelly Creek Victoria

Jorgensons Hut – Donnelly Creek Victoria

All I can say is that both Tas and Jenna are sorely missed.

The Generator

Since moving to Mirboo North almost 10 years ago, one extremely annoying thing that happens around six times a year, every year, is the power being disconnected for ‘essential maintenance’ of lines. I have never been able to find out why this is required to be done so often, even after contacting AUSNET the electricity suppliers. You’d think that after 10 years things would have been fixed such they didn’t need constant attention. The power is always off from around 8:00am until around 5:00pm, with a reprieve arriving sometimes at 3:00pm. It’s incredibly frustrating because other areas of the town usually don’t have their electricity disrupted at the same time as they seem to be on a different line. We happen to be the unlucky ones so that when the power needs to be turned off along the Strzelecki Highway, we have the power turned off as well, even though we’re well away from the highway.

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Leongatha Show And Shine – 2021

This year’s Leongatha Show & Shine was, without a doubt, a massive event. I think everyone who enjoys cars and the like and attends these events, either as a competitor, just to show off their vehicle or as a spectator; have been fed up with all the cancellations and closure of events in 2020 due to the virus. One thing is certain, the place was full and it’s great to see the interest in cars, trucks and motorbikes both old and new. As a motor head myself, these events are truly enjoyable and I especially admire the effort and detail that so many go, not just to restore old vehicles but to keep classics going and in pristine condition as possible. The variety this year was huge and I don’t think I did justice to the event.

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Wattlebirds Are Evil

Wattlebirds have been a long time feature of our backyard and I think we’ve had pretty much the same family, or pair, around since we moved to our country abode. I’ve always thought of them as somewhat timid, nectar eating, birds that prefer to mind their own business as much as possible. How wrong could I be. Wattlebirds are simply evil, spawn of the devil, in the way they have been behaving this last year. And I don’t think it’s anything to do with the virus we’ve experienced since late last year. We have two families as best as I can tell and both are right royal bastards when it comes to the other birds that live and visit our backyard.

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More Backyard Birds

Over the last year, I’ve been giving our backyard birds, those that are meat eaters, a little bit of mince each day just to see how they react. And because we’ve been under COVID lockdown for most of the year, this has become a regular event in the mornings and evenings. The amount of mince that I give them is quite small, no larger than a ping pong ball in size each morning and evening, and this is for four Kookaburras, two Magpies, two Butcher Birds and a Wattlebird, with the occasional Crimson Rosella snaffling a small piece. The birds, naturally, have become quite accustomed to this (though surprisingly quickly) and I now have nearly all of them taking mince from my hand, or when placed very close to me on our veranda balustrade.

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While still in pause mode, I thought I’d add something along the lines of my page on Backyard Critters that contains videos of the various animals that I’ve come across near and far. To that end, I’ll include a this page on Gippsland covering videos that I’ve taken of the natural events that occur in this region. Again, I’ll simply add to this and re-post as new videos arise.

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A Pause

Following on from my post on Change Of Pace, until this virus crap is over, I’m going to pause further posts for the time being. I really don’t want to write stories pointing out absurdities and the like that’s going on at the moment. The world is an increasingly depressing place and I’d really like to get back to writing about Gippsland and more positive stories, rather than how the world is swirling down the toilet. Nothing is happening anywhere and all that we hear on the news is doom and gloom. We’ve only just been allowed ‘some’ concessions as to what can be done in Victoria but, in reality, most activities are still in shut down mode. With Winter on its way, there’s even less happening and I can see things remaining much the same for some time to come.

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Backyard Critters

This particular page is solely intended to be a record of the various videos that I put together that record the numerous backyard critters that live in and about our backyard. Most are directly from our backyard and others from our metaphorical backyard and surrounds, such as the High Country. There’s no story to be told, just a visual record that I’ll add to from time to time. Hopefully YouTube will remain in existence to retain these videos for a long time to come. One day, in the future, it may provide an informative reference as to what we enjoyed in our rural abode and I hope that future generations will continue to enjoy this wonderful wildlife of ours.

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The Police State

As Australia, and the world, copes with the Coronavirus (Wuhan Virus, COVID-19 or what have you), governments around the world and notably in Australia began to impose ever more draconian rules and regulations in order to ‘save lives’. Some of the concerns and the actions were warranted, especially in the early days when little was known about the virus, but many mistakes were made by Federal and state governments and some of these mistakes exacerbated the dangers of this virus. Australia was well placed to avoid the perils that other countries had experienced and continued to experience, yet once again politics as well as experts and the like delivered the wrong assessments and outcomes and continued to do so until virus cases rose and most states, especially Victoria, began to impose restrictions and penalties that resembled a Communist era police state, with associated public support.

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Leongatha Show And Shine – 2020

I’ve often intended to visit the Leongatha Show & Shine, but for whatever reason I have always missed it. So this year I made sure that I wouldn’t be doing anything else or forget that it was on. I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at the size of the event and the quality of vehicles that were on show. I remember going to a show & shine event in Townsville many years ago and the what was on display was, to put it mildly, somewhat amateurish. Not a lot of effort had been put into any of the vehicles to make them show worthy, with wiring in many looking like a rat’s nest, as well as hoses and the like looking old and manky. Even though it was a long time ago, people had been doing show cars for much longer and doing so a lot better.

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