Page 126: More of Mildura, then . . .
     
  Correction.  
  References to the Paddle Steamer Rothbury on this site are incorrect. When Rothbury was restored in 1968 her steam engine was replaced with a Gardner diesel. She became the Paddle Vessel Rothbury.  
     
  The meeting of the waters.  
 

One place that Greg and Bev really wanted to see while in Mildura was the meeting of those two great rivers, the Murray and the Darling. Pam and I had visited the confluence before and expected to see a change as both rivers are currently swollen. In fact, there was very little difference. The river levels are, as stated previously, kept constant by the weirs so the water was not appreciably higher. All the scum and algae that had been covering the water surface previously, however, has been washed away by the greater flow.

 
     
   
  A view of the Murray / Darling confluence taken in February 2008. Below is the same view taken in October 2010.
The stump with the hole in it shows the water level to be the same, however all the 'gunge' floating near the
bank and in the centre of the river has gone in the 2010 view.
 
     
   
  The Darling meets the Murray, October 2010.  
     
  Mega Mozzies  
  The wet winter and sudden warm weather has resulted in huge mosquitoes this spring and they don't wait for evening before attacking. Hell, if these critters get any bigger we'll be in danger of getting bowled over by them when they land on us. If it's any consolation they are also quite slow and we discover why when we squash them. They contain almost as much blood as we do did.  
     
  Another photo of P.S. Melbourne, Mildura's only steam-Driven Paddle boat  
     
  A nice image of the P.S. Melbourne passing the Apex Caravan Park.  
     
  A strange warning  
  You've probably seen notices on beaches or near rivers warning swimmers of strong currents. Well how about this:-  
     
   
  Shocking, isn't it? Electric eels, perhaps?  
     
  Mildura's gone digital  
 

For the first time we have been unable to receive any analog television signals. I understand Mildura was the first area to switch to digital transmissions exclusively. Thankfully we have a digital set top box which was given to us by good old Greg and Bev when we stayed with them in Sydney last Christmas. On ya, Guys!

Our television cabling has become a bit of a "rat's nest" with two antenna inputs, an analog television, a set top box, a VCR and a satellite decoder box. Not to mention remembering which remote control does what and how. When I had finally plugged enough cables into the correct sockets and we received a beautiful digital picture, somebody wasn't happy because I hadn't included the VCR in the loop so she couldn't record programmes.

 
     
  Hello again Bendigo  
  We finally departed from that lovely town of Mildura as the water level in the Murray was falling. We tracked directly to Bendigo where we intend to stay for a week. There to greet us was a clump of Spitfires, or more correctly, defoliating Sawfly larvae.  
     
   
  The larvae of the Sawfly which is actually a wasp, not a fly. The larvae feed on Eucalypt leaves.  
     
 

We found these little critters very amusing. The whole clump moved very slowly across the ground until we disturbed them, then they froze. After a while all the rear ones began to lift their tails and begin smacking the ground with them. That seemed to be the signal to move again and off they went, the ones on top hitching a free ride.

 
     
 

Once or twice, when they'd been disturbed by my foot and had all frozen, I tapped the ground behind them with a twig and all the rear ones joined in with their 'tails'. The bunch promptly set off again.

I tried to separate one from the rest but two of them hooked their tail ends together and clung on so I got two. I placed them on a sheet of white paper for a better look and a photograph.

Two Sawfly larvae looking for their mates.

They are called 'spitfires' because . . . "when disturbed, larvae tap their abdomens up and down and regurgitate a thick, greeny-yellow fluid. This is a very effective deterrent for would-be predators and parasites".

The green text is a quote from a South Australian Government website. In fact, none of 'our' larvae squirted anything at us and the tail tapping seemed to work as a signal to start moving.

A message to you blokes out there. Male Sawflies are very rare. The females lay fertile eggs without any help from a male. Is this a danger sign? Could we be made redundant? According to the Internet site I studied, ants and bees are up to the same tricks - not requiring a male to reproduce. This must STOP! Do we want a world full of Germaine Greers? Heterosexual ladies, is this really what you want? No more hanky panky?

Thankfully the adult female Sawfly only lives for about a week. And serve her right.

 
     
  Bendigo's Sacred heart cathedral  
     

The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo. Because the building is in the city and surrounded by other buildings, trees, power poles etc., taking an uncluttered
photograph means getting close and using a wide angle lens (18mm in this case). That results in the building appearing to lean inwards, bottom to top.
The fact that the cathedral is on a slight rise only exaggerates this effect. There are lenses that will correct such distortion in the camera but, failing that,
good software will do the job afterwards on the computer. Remember when taking the picture that you will lose a little from the sides;
you may be able to add some margin to be sacrificed later.

     
 

Looking at the cathedral it appears that the spire was added later using different stone. That, in fact, is what happened. The building was commenced in 1897 and sections added over the years. The spire was only finished in 1977. It's a shame the same stone wasn't used but doubtless there was a reason.

 
     
   
  The inside of the cathedral was as impressive as the outside.