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Fri, 01 Jul 2011
Well, this is the first time I've been somewhere in Australia that isn't
along the eastern coast since... since before I can remember. Since
getting back to this country at the start of 2003, I've just been
messing around on the eastern edge of the continent. Well, that's all
changed now. Temporarily.
I'm in Adelaide for about a week, for the Australian Systematic Botany Society 2008 National
Conference. The excitement doesn't start until Sunday, I got here a
earlier so that I could look around Adelaide a bit.
I had been warned(?) in advance that Adelaide was designed by the same
man as Christchurch in New Zealand. According to Wikipedia this isn't in fact the case, but walking along the river
I did get a certain sense of deja vu, the city feeling more
like Christchurch than any other Australian city than I am used to. This
doesn't explain why I kept thinking that the traffic would be driving
on the right, maybe I was subconsciously being reminded of a European
The walk along the river was pleasant, and graced by musk lorikeets
and Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus).
In a tree, noisy miners were raising a nest-full of appropriately noisey nestlings. The next was part twigs, part plastic: old shopping bags fished from the river, having
finally found some use.
I crossed over the river on a rather ornate bridge, and walked across
the fields. My attention had been drawn by church spires, by analogy
with Christchurch, there should surely be some sort of square out in
front. Sadly, the analogy did not stretch quite that far. Walking across
the fields, though, I found a juvenile magpie using the tried-and-tested
"nearly tread on it" method of bird detection. There were adult magpies
lurking nearby, I could but hope that at least one of it was the
juvenile's parent. Though no longer a chick, I don't think it was quite
up to looking after itself.
The delusion that I was in Christchurch was more or less dispelled by
the CBD. I didn't really look around the city centre much, though, but
headed straight for the South Australian Musuem. Sad thought it may sound,
this was one of the main reasons that I had arrived those extra few days
early. Here, they have some very rare and unusual fossils indeed - trace
remains of the first animals ever, from the
Ediacaran period -- some 650
million years ago. It's something quite special to see, and think
how long ago they lived. That the imprints of soft bodied organisms have
survived so long is quite amazing. It's incredible to think that these
ghostly shapes in the rock could well have been the ancestor of all of
us. Debate still rages as to if, and how, these things are related to
modern life. That they don't really look like any thing that you would
see out there today still is undebatable.
This wasn't the only thing to see at the Museum, and I enjoyed looking
through the Pacific Islands cultures exhibition, and the extensive and
brilliantly done exhibition of Aboriginal Australia.
Then I capped off another amazing day by getting the wrong bus back to where
This is where it helps to have made a note of what bus you got into town
Adelaide photo gallery
posted at: 01:50 | path: /travel/australia/south_australia |
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