Friday, August 28, 2009

Perth City in far.

Despite the abundance of Tim-tams, I haven't actually sampled any flavours yet. I did eat Mud Cake today and that was quite the treat. It was about the size of a small brick, rich chocolate cake completely frosted all the way around. I actually only made it half-way through. On my way here I passed a billboard for coffee flavoured milk, so yes, they are still crazy about their flavoured milk products.

I'm about to go back to the hostel and pack up. Tonight I'm meeting Meaghan (an old member of our research group) for dinner in Fremantle, a sort-of section of Perth. I'm catching the bus tomorrow morning at 9:00 am to head down to Albany. It's a 6 hour drive, of course, because nothing is nearby in Australia.

Here are a few pictures from my time in Perth City and environs.

The conference organizers planned a series of fieldtrips for all of the attendees. I decided to go see the massive restoration project at the Alcoa Bauxite Mine. The mine is the largest bauxite mine in Australia. Bauxite is a red rocky soil that contains aluminum. The top few metres of soil have about 30% aluminum and this is what they extract from the earth. Therefore, the mine is very shallow, but covers a HUGE area. Also, the bauxite is underneath the world's only Jarrah Forest. This ecosystem is mainly composed of eucalypt species, merri and jarrah. Since this whole operation is so close to Perth the company has been held accountable for the restoration of the forest. They've been working on restoration here since the 60's, so they're starting to really get the hang of it. They do a lot of seeding, topsoil saving, tissue culture, and they have a large nursery operation to produce all of the plant material required.

These are some eucalypt seed pods. The seeds are the size of 'pepper flakes'. The seed pod hangs on the tree from the fat end and the little opening has a cap on it until the pod is ready to release the seeds. The cap is gone from these pods and I could shake little seeds out of them. I just picked them up from the ground.

This is what a one year old restored area l0oks like with a tour group walking on it. In the background you can see an unmined, but logged, section of the Jarrah Forest. The aluminum is deposited in a very patchy pattern across the forest. They only mine areas with the required concentration and over the 100 year life of the mine they will only be mining 5% of the entire forest.

I can't remember what this is called, but it will grow up into a tree. It's name is starts with 'grand' and you will see why once you see the seed pods that a mature one of these has.

This is me in the unmined, but logged, Jarrah Forest.

This is the seed pod from the grand-something tree. It's very prickly. And used to have a grand flower around it.

This is very, very long conveyor belt that takes the bauxite to the crusher. They keep adding length to it as they mine deposits farther and farther away from the crusher. After 15 years deposits are too far away from the crusher so they pack up the crusher and move it too the next spot.

We had lunch and a tour at the nursery. They are growing many legume species there and harvesting the seed. This is an example of one of them. They flowers are all very colourful.

This is a coldroom storing 1 million dollars worth of seed. They use half of this amount each year.

Today I spent a little time touring around Perth. I went to WACA (Western Australia Cricket Association) to see the museum. They just refer to everything around here with acronyms. The WACA is what they call the entire cricket stadium. It's huge and really cool. The museum is very well-kept and is run by old cricket player volunteers. There is serious history behind this sport.

These are some tickets for a match in 1969. I liked the lady's ticket vs. the member's ticket.

This is how they make cricket balls.

This is in the entire room dedicated to The Don. Don Bradman was the best cricket player in Australia. Ever.

Then, of course, I found a little wool store. I couldn't buy much, but I needed a project! It was wild. Horribly organized, no prices labelled at all (the Aussies aren't really into signage), just like home. They really do carry a beautiful selection of merinos though.

1 comment:

  1. The "grand" thing looks like a banksia? The wool store looks crazy, and how to make cricket balls looks very cool. I do like a good sport equipment disection!