Page 95: More from in and around tamworth
|During our Sunday afternoons at the Banalasta Winery I keep finding myself watching the cloud formations. This undoubtedly comes from my days as a glider pilot. I have to admit to a strong longing to be up there again. Very often I can see strange images in the clouds. When I took the picture below it was more from nostalgia than anything. It wasn't until I put it onto this page that I noticed a creature in the towering cumulous. Can you see it?|
|Some fascinating cloud formations viewed from Banalasta.|
|This is another of my hair brained ideas; clearly I don't
have enough to occupy my time.
We have 'gone metric' in terms of currency, temperature, linear measurement, weight and so on. But what about time? Our present system of measuring time is antiquated and illogical. Where's the sense in having two five o'clocks in every day? Why is the day divided into twenty four hours which are subdivided into sixty increments of one minute, then those minutes into sixty increments of one second? Strangely, to measure time smaller than one second we do adopt a metric system - milliseconds, microseconds, nanoseconds etc.
Suppose we adopted a full metric system with each day divided into one hundred 'units' of whatever name? Each unit would be 14.4 minutes long - quite a handy time interval near enough to a quarter of an hour. Dividing by ten, the next subdivision would give a unit equivalent to 1.44 minutes then 8.64 seconds and so on. Now that would create some employment!
Why do it? Well, for the same reason other units of measurement have been decimalised; it's a far simpler system once you get used to it. You and I probably never would get used to it, but following generations would. It's almost bound to come eventually - except in the U.S.A., of course, where they still use the old Imperial standards which, ironically, were legally established in Britain. (Quote from the Macquarie Dictionary.)
|Easter at the hunter valley.|
|Easter (2009) presented an opportunity to renew our friendship
with Greg and Bev Wetzler. Greg worked as a supervisor in the Sydney office
of Tektronix, the company I rejoined on arrival in Australia in 1982.
He was extremely kind and hospitable to me at that time and we've remained
firm friends ever since, though a huge volume of water has passed under
that proverbial bridge.
We rented a lovely little cottage - Murray Cottage - in the village of Pokolbin (pronounced Puh kol bin with the emphasis on the 'kol'). Using the cottage as a base we carried out raids on wineries over a wide area, carrying back the spoils to drink in the evening.
|Easter in the Hunter Valley; three glorious days with Greg and Bev, two very good friends of long standing. Notice something missing? There isn't a bottle or glass in sight. Don't be fooled, this was taken on the morning of departure. We left a big stack of empties near the back door.|
|Anybody for a ride with Bev? Bear in mind there's no pillion seat - you sit on the mudguard, just until she opens the throttle. Then you sit on the road. The sign on the wall actually read "Brewery Tours" but these days the camera can be made to lie.|
|Back in Tamworth|
Do you remember how I finished Page 93? No, of course you don't. I boasted that I was not on the scrap heap yet in relation to finding employment. Well, I may have spoken too soon. As you'll be only too aware, the whole world is in recession and employment has become almost impossible to find as more and more workers are laid off. I found the following quotation, which came in by email, particularly poignant:
Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost
of electricity and natural gas, health care expenses, as well as current
Never mind, it was probably just a train
coming the other way.
|Tamworth's Power Station Museum|
|Hands up all those that knew that Tamworth was the first town in the whole of Australia to have electric street lighting? It's true, Folks. Little old Tamworth. This happened way back in 1888. The 9th November 1888, to be precise.|
|Signs like this were displayed in New York when electric lighting was installed in 1882.|
Not a lot was understood about the efficient use of 'elec-trickery'
in 1888 and the system used 240 volts D.C. (as opposed to A.C. which is
universally used today). As a result, when the cable feeding the electric
street lights was strung out along Peel Street they discovered that the
available voltage reduced as the distance from the power station increased.
Bulbs rated for 240 volts worked fine close to the generators but lower
voltage bulbs were required to obtain the same light output from those
|One of two restored John Fowler under-type semi-portable steam engines at the Museum. They are the only two of their kind to be found in the world. This one's boiler is fired up about three times a year and drives the engine beneath it and another in the main museum building. See picture below.|
A working Belliss and Morcom compound high speed
steam engine (in black) driving an A.C. alternator (painted green). A
pair of engines similar to this were added in 1907 to supply the first
electricity to houses and shops in Tamworth though those engines drove
D.C. dynamos. The engines' rotational speed was so high that direct coupling
to the generators was possible. It was run at night to light homes and
also charged a bank of batteries which supplied current to the town during
daylight. Remember, electricity was only used to power lights at that
time - no other electric domestic appliance existed.
electricity was first made available to houses and shops it was for lighting
only. In 1907 there was no other use for it! Radios, televisions, air
conditioning, electric irons, fridges, electric stoves, water heaters,
washing machines, clothes driers, fans, pumps, microwaves, computers and
so on, didn't exist.
In 1907 the dynamos were run at night to supply lighting current. During the day, when the demand for power was low, Tamworth was supplied from a bank of batteries situated near the dynamos. The batteries were recharged by the generators each night.
|Hey, I feel old! There, in the centre of this picture, is a Hotpoint washing machine. The same, or a very similar model, to the first washing machine I ever had, handed down from my mother. Now the machine is a museum piece.|
|Millions and Billions.|
Did you listen to the Federal Treasurer handing down the
2009 budget? Did you notice how the words 'million' and 'billion' were
bandied around with abandon? Do you really appreciate the immense
difference between a million and a billion? Listening to the radio a day
after the budget, I heard this difference beautifully emphasised:
|It was a Saturday and the Tour Director, having been imprisoned in an office all week, wanted to visit somewhere we hadn't been before and she picked out Quirindi (kwuh-rin-die).|
|Quirindi from the "Who'd A Thought It Lookout".|
|The 64 kilometre drive took us along the Werris Creek Road which follows the railway through Duri, Currabubula, Werris Creek and Quipolly. Lovely names, aren't they? And what about the Who'd A Thought It Lookout itself? The name is said to have originated from an exclamation by a traveller in times gone by who, believing himself miles from anywhere, rounded a clump of trees to find a hostelry and the early beginnings of Quirindi.|
|Just in case you thought I was making it up, here's a photo of the notice board.|
Also at the lookout there was a pedestal declaring that
the lookout had been officially opened on 31st May 1963 by His
Excellency, the Governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant-General Sir Eric
Woodward, K.C.M.G, K.C.V.O., C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., K.St.J.
Pointer off the picture:
A Kenworth prime mover semi with a flatbed trailer.
Now isn't that something? The man who built it borrowed
the real thing for two days and measured everything. The scale was set
by the size of the wheels he was able to obtain. The driver, of course,
has his head and shoulders protruding through a hatch in the top of the
cab. The story is that the truck used to be registered, making it legal
to drive on the road. The man standing at the side of the truck is Eric.
The exhaust stacks were the same height as I am (5' 8" in the old