Ravensbourne National Park, Queensland – Thank You for the Music

Rare adventures with my adult daughter, Tough Cookie, are always memorable, and the great finger debacle of 2016 was no exception.  I’d planned to share our gory trip this week but photographs still need sorting and the final outcome for the finger is yet to be determined.

Instead, I’m showcasing another walk we did some time ago which had me leaping and twirling about on the slopes like a short, jiggly, tone-deaf and highly uncoordinated version of Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music.  We may not have experienced whiskers on kittens, warm woollen mittens and sleighbells that ring, but Ravensbourne National Park delivered many of our own favourite things.

We could be twins. The likeness is uncanny...

We could be twins. The likeness is uncanny…

I value solo walks for many reasons but the company of my daughter was a special treat. I appreciate the unpredictable and often amusing directions our conversations take.  She has a practical head which helps offset my risk-taking and her excellent first aid skills come in handy (as you will find out in the next blog post.) And to top it off she endures my singing which at best can be described as enthusiastic. What does she think of walks with her mother? Tough Cookie is also a diplomatic soul. What she likes best apparently is my “confidence in our ability to tackle any challenge.” It’s quite possible by confidence she really means “a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.” In other words,  “Thanks for trying to kill me, Mum.”

I’ve discussed my love of history and art in previous posts and how they relate to hiking, but Ravensbourne National Park reminded us that music, literature and film exposure also influence our impressions of a walk.  From the innocent delights of Sound of Music, Beatrix Potter and C.S. Lewis to less wholesome psychological thrillers and gruesome scenes from the anime, Akira, Ravensbourne triggered diverse topics for discussion. Thom Hickey from Immortal Jukebox describes how significant memories are often linked to artistic experiences.

And, when we shuffle through these moments we will find many have been supplied by our encounters with the music, films and books that have become part of the imaginative and emotional furniture of our lives. Snatches of lyrics and melodies from favourite songs that you find yourself unexpectedly singing; scenes from films that seem to be always spooling somewhere deep in the consciousness now spot-lit in front of the mind’s eye, lines of poetry read decades ago that suddenly swoosh to the surface, seemingly unbidden, in response to some secret trigger.”

Ravensbourne National Park, 33km from Esk in Queensland, is one of the few remaining examples of rainforest and wet eucalypt vegetation which originally covered this area of the Great Dividing Range before Europeans arrived in the 1860s and 1870s. It was originally home to the Jawowair and Jagera people who for thousands of years welcomed travellers on their way to the annual bunya nut festivals in the Bunya Mountains.

After negotiating the scenic winding mountain road between Esk and Ravensbourne, we fueled up on morning tea at the Gus Beutel Lookout picnic grounds before exploring the trails. It was surprisingly cold on the exposed  spur and my lizard-like daughter was feeling the chill. Even I donned a long sleeved shirt, bulky wind vest and track suit pants instead of my usual ti-shirt and shorts, which added to my “muscular” appearance.


As we gazed at farmland adjoining the 687 hectare park, it was difficult to believe towering forests of red cedar, blackbean, rosewood, piccabeen palms, blackbutts and Sydney blue gums once dominated the landscape.  Back then, timber-getters were limited by hand saws and horses, which probably ensured the survival of Ravensbourne. Would it have remained if they’d possessed the chainsaws and bulldozers of later generations?



The lookout is named after a German immigrant who had a passion for preserving Ravensbourne. He was granted permission to clear a small section of land at the lookout for locals to use for picnics, tennis and dances.


While researching Gus Beutel, I was surprised to discover a link with my family tree. Some of my relatives also arrived by boat from Brandenburg and settled in the area at the same time as Gus. Like many from that era, his family experienced deaths from insufficient medical care. His partner, Anna, died of pneumonia a few days after giving birth to her ninth child, and baby Alfred died several days later from lack of milk. Some years later his twelve year old son, Bernard, also died due to a shortage of medication after Gus had to choose which of his two sick children could receive it.

The majestic views and powerful silence at the lookout have made it one of my favourite destinations. Despite the absence of human sound, Tough Cookie and I felt a strong presence.  It was easy to imagine the laughter and songs of Indigenous and European gatherings from the past. I asked Tough Cookie why she felt so moved by the vista and why, like me, she was reminded of the The Sound of Music. She replied that rather than the grand view making her feel insignificant, it comforted her to feel part of the macrocosm. It reminded her that she is a part of something much greater and this was exhilarating.


We also discussed John Steinbeck’s use of song to symbolise emotion in his novella, The Pearl.   Whenever Kino, an indigenous villager, experienced a powerful emotion, he would hear music – the ancient songs of danger, family and celebration. So, despite the superficial silence of the lookout it did seem as though,

The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years.

The farmland also reminded my daughter of English landscapes from children’s books. Tough Cookie spent her early years in hot, dry, flat outback regions of Australia, so it is not surprising that the rolling hills of English countryside would have appealed to her green-deprived life.


The peaceful lookout may have been devoid of real human sounds, but it was periodically alive with bird song. Ravensbourne is known for its many feathered species. Inquisitive eastern yellow robins became avian stalkers, following us from tree to tree. I was surprised by my daughter’s delight with them. She explained that red robins featured strongly in picture books and the tilted faces and fluffed up round chests of the eastern yellow robins brought back memories of Beatrix Potter’s animal characters. She could easily imagine a story involving these cheeky birds.


In nearby patches of invasive lantana, eastern spinebills feasted on nectar, brown cuckoo doves plucked berries, thornbills flitted and tiny wrens teased us with  twitching tails.






Adjoining farmland was perfect for kookaburras, magpies, and butcherbirds to survey a buffet of insects and reptiles.

Within the forest we caught glimpses of large-billed and white-browed scrub wrens, brown breasted button quails, whipbirds, and white-headed pigeons. ( A big thank you to Carol Probets, birding extraordinaire and blogger for helping me with some of the bird identification in this post.)


There are 4 dedicated walks at Ravensbourne National Park and we did them all. Cedar Block at the lookout picnic grounds is a 500 metre, class 3, self-guided tour through rainforest and is a sharp contrast to the open, sunny lookout area. The walk is cool, dark and earthy with information boards showing examples of flora used by Indigenous people.






As well as prized timber, giant stinging trees frame the paths. There are few snakes, ticks, leeches and mosquitoes in winter, but the potential pain from this broad leafed species remains year round.



I’ve tried to describe my ambivalence towards rainforests in past posts. While I do enjoy my wanders through them, after a few hours there’s a tension in the air that’s almost claustrophobic. I imagine being lost in thick rainforest could be a profoundly unnerving experience. The rustling in the canopy and the forest floor from invisible creatures, the eerie cry of catbirds and the sudden silence could contribute to paranoia. But there’s something else. My daughter describes it best. She always does and should be writing this blog. My attempts are a stale vegemite sandwich compared to her three course dinner featuring duck a l’orange.

As she says, it’s not so much that the rainforest feels sinister, it’s just that it feels less forgiving. There is this sense that if you fall asleep you might wake to find yourself covered in roots, vines, moss and fungi. Everywhere you look in a rainforest, dead things are being rapidly consumed and concealed by living things.







When we lived in arid regions, meat eats, maggots, termites and carrion eaters disposed of  the dead but even so, the bleached skeletal remains of large animals would remain for months, sometimes years. It was also the case with car wrecks, fallen trees and rubbish. In rainforest, not only do the dead rapidly disappear, but the living are targeted also. Strangler figs are an example. Massive trees eventually disappear after tiny fig seeds are deposited in their limbs and trunks through bird activity.


Epiphytes, fungi, moss, lichen and ferns cover rocks and trees. Vines and roots invade, squeeze, smother and suck out nutrients.


Sometimes it’s almost like we’re inside an enormous breathing, pulsing organism. In fact, the textures and shapes sometimes resemble anatomical features like veins, muscles, tendons and nerve cells.


Rainforests remind my daughter and me of many books and movies. We share an appreciation of Tolkien and it is easy to imagine his talking, walking tree people, the ENTs,  inhabiting the forests of Ravensbourne. I’m also reminded of Day of the Triffids, Jungle Book and the dodgy TV series, Tarzan. For Tough Cookie it’s a little more grotesque.  She’s a human anatomy student and also saw the internal workings of animals as a young child. She sees body parts in the rainforest and it also triggers scenes from the post-apocalyptic anime, Akira. In this Japanese animation, Tetsuo has a mutation causing his body to send out flesh which consumes people and buildings.

Inverting rainforest scenes illustrates what we mean by the abundance of life force that surrounds us on these walks. They may also help show what we mean by parts resembling human anatomy.



I read a fascinating article recently about The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web which is relevant to my musings. It describes the way organisms “communicate” and interact in forests, with an emphasis on the powerful influence of mycorrhizal fungi, and it raises the idea of whether we should approach forests as a single super organism rather than a grouping of independent individual ones.

Three other short walks are accessed by the Blackbean picnic grounds lower down the mountain. Rainforest Circuit is a 1.7 km, class 3 wander and contains evidence of Aboriginal yam-digging sites.


The 3.6 km class 3, Palm Creek Circuit is named after the piccabeen palms Archontophoenix cunninghamiana which cover the gully banks.



The Buaraba Creek walk is a class 4, 6.2 km return walk and contains a variety of vegetation types including wet rainforest and open eucalyptus and meanders downhill to a creek at the bottom of a gully. Most of the path is gentle and well cleared but there are some steeper sections which may slow people on the return.


While the Buaraba Creek track was only a short walk in terms of distance, it seemed longer in time. We speculated this was due to variations in vegetation which fooled our bodies into feeling we’d travelled much further, perhaps in the same way we may feel disconcerted after finishing a book or movie that spans years but for us only a few hours has passed.   This “long” journey through different “lands” was a good excuse to overdose on chocolate anyway.








If you’re in the region, it’s worthwhile setting aside a  day to appreciate Ravensbourne National Park. The 12km of walking trails and well equipped picnic spots at the Gus Beutel Lookout and the Blackbean carpark make it an ideal place to relax.  Beware of the  stinging tree branches which drape some of the paths though and apparently leeches and ticks are common in summer after heavy rain.

If you’d like to see others enjoying Sound of Music moments at Ravensbourne National Park, check out Neil Ennis’s blog post about a family trip there. It seems the place even inspires handstands.

For more detailed information about Ravensbourne National Park, please refer to the Queensland National Parks site.

And to finish up the post, I’d like to share ABBA lyrics triggered by the birds and invisible hill singers of Ravensbourne. Yes, I admit that 8 year old Jane was a diehard fan of the Swedish super band. I hope you will forgive me.

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me. 

98 thoughts on “Ravensbourne National Park, Queensland – Thank You for the Music

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thanks for sharing the link! I will have to have a good look at it tomorrow as it is after 2am and I need to go to sleep. From a quick glance it looks like a very interesting and useful site. Due to our isolation, we do have many unique species of flora and fauna. Unfortunately introduced species such as cats and cane toads are decimating some populations though. To me the creatures and plants of other countries seem just as special. I’ve not travelled out of Australia but hope to do so eventually. Thanks for your lovely words about my photographs. It is kind of you. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Hi again, Daniel,
      I just checked out your bird and butterfly collections on iNaturalist. Wonderful! I especially like all those butterflies. I have only have a few in my collection. Thank you for sharing the site with me. It does look like a great way to share nature shots. I hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

  1. It is such a treat for me when you post a new blog, wonderful pictures, interesting commentary and plenty of food for thought. You had a couple of splendid trees which are my especial favourite.

    • Thank you very much, Susan, for those lovely words. Each time I write a blog post I wonder if it will be my last. I can become quite anxious about writing. If it wasn’t for the kind encouragement of people such as yourself I would have given up a long time ago. Every time I do a post I try to include some tall tree shots as I know you are fond of them from your visit to Australia many years ago. I still marvel over them myself and will miss them if I ever move overseas. Best wishes. 🙂

  2. Hi Jane

    these woods look so different from a few of your latest instalments, they seem almost… European! Still, a beautiful nature, and I’m glad some part of it escaped the tree loggers.


    • Hi Fabrizio,

      Firstly thanks very much for reading and commenting even though I’ve been neglectful about doing so in return. As well as some extra family responsibilities, I am working on some new ways to increase my income and as this year draws to a close I am having to make some plans about the future. As for some of these scenes looking European compared to previous posts, that is because much of the region in this post is lush farming or grazing land now whereas Lamington National Park from my previous post is a large area of pristine rainforest. In fact, the Fassifern Valley and Darling Downs region is very similar to pictures I’ve seen of rolling English countryside. Fertile soil and fairly mild conditions make these areas popular for food production. Whenever I go to thick forested areas that border vast areas of cleared land I marvel at what it once must have looked like. The traditional owners of the land cared for it for many thousands of years. In the short time since Europeans have arrived, massive clearing has occurred. Having said that, Australia is a diverse country and many parts are naturally colder, more mountainous and have alpine regions, such as in Tasmania and parts of Victoria and New South Wales. I’ve barely explored it myself. Yes, I’m so glad that Ravensbourne was saved too! It’s a special place for sure and I will go back often. Best wishes! 🙂

      • Hey there Jane. I said that before, there’s no need to feel the pressure to comment in return, at least not from me! 🙂 I hope your plans work, and thanks for having given me the shock of the week with the “year is drawing to a close”, I’m already dreading the moment of panic at work, when people realise it! But today’s Sunday so it’s not a problem for today.

        • Oh yeah, sorry for the reminder about the year ending. 🙂 I guess it isn’t even October just yet but those last three months always seem to fly by for me! Enjoy your Sunday, Fabrizio. 🙂

  3. First, I was stunned by the views from the look out area. Then, I was amazed by the variety of birds that you photographed so well. Next, it was the rainforest itself, with the towering trees. And on it went, through the fungi and other-worldly images that followed. The entire time I was chuckling to myself as I read your commentary through out this post. I hope that the finger survived.

    • Thanks very much, Jerry. It is kind of you to compliment me on my bird shots when yours are far superior. It’s lovely when people much better than me offer encouraging feedback. With a lot of help from this new Canon, I am getting better with birds but I have so much to learn. It’s a real lesson in patience that’s for sure, but I’m finding great joy in finally being able to see these little birds in closer detail on my screen. At least I have a chance of identifying them now! Watching birds is also pleasurable in itself. They just carry on with their lives regardless of the setbacks they face. I would like to be more like them. Ravensbourne is a fantastic place for birds. I’m sure you’d love it. Thanks also for appreciating my humour which can be rather odd at times. Best wishes! 🙂

  4. What a wonderful and interesting nature there..I’m always happy with a lot of information and superb photo’s.Thanks so much for let us looking at al this amazing beauty

    • Thanks very much, Marylou. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I’m thankful to have so many special places in my region to enjoy. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Isabel. Ravensbourne National Park is small but has much to offer. The lookout, the diversity of vegetation and the prolific birdlife make it worth a visit. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. Once again you have delighted me immensely!! Your photographs were just stunning in this post, and of course the narration just as I would expect from you – very informative with a touch of humor! Hiking torture?? Where do I sign up?? 😀

    • Haha. Thank you! Your company on walks would be an absolute delight, Lori. I’m sure we’d scare all the birds away with our laughter but have a fantastic time! Some of these bird shots were taken on subsequent visits by me as the sneaky little things teased me so much on my first trip with my daughter. It really is one of those places that has a special atmosphere. It’s hard to describe it really. The hills there really do make me feel like running around and being a kid again. It’s just a shame that my enjoyment of it has come at the cost of the traditional owners who had their land stolen. European settlement has really damaged so much of the environment here in such a short time. Anyway, thanks again Lori. It makes me very happy to know I have delighted you, my friend. 🙂

    • Thank you. You are too kind. I must admit this blog post has taken me a long time to finish. I enjoyed this place so much that I found it difficult to feel satisfied with anything I wrote. The trip was made extra special by having the company of my daughter. Some places just feel perfect. Ravensbourne felt that way for me. I hope others enjoy it as well. Best wishes. 🙂

  6. Hi Jane.
    Thanks for helping me remember some happy times we spent in Ravensbourne NP.
    Sometimes the joy I feel when I visit places like this is tinged with grief at the natural heritage we have lost.
    Do you ever feel that?

    • Hi Neil,
      Yes, I know that feeling. I think I experience that on every walk I do these days. One reason I blog is to document the plants and animals I see in an area. When I make return visits, I often see changes as land development encroaches upon bushland and waterways are affected. Just in the 8 or so years I’ve been living here, there has been much land clearing in the Ipswich/Springfield area for housing and business development. The wildlife corridors are fast disappearing. The shocking amount of land clearing which has been done since the arrival of Europeans does upset me. My own grandfather and father were both heavily involved in tree removal to make a living. I just can’t imagine the feelings of our Indigenous population who were forcibly removed from the lands they had cared for for thousands of years. Yes, the happiness is tinged with sadness, Neil. It can be hard to reconcile my conflicting emotions sometimes. There is a sadness about Gus Beutel Lookout as well as joy. I probably didn’t express this in my blog post though. I think lately I am trying to recognise the suffering that has been experienced by others and the damage that has occurred to the environment and let that motivate me to try to do things which will help prevent injustice and environmental destruction occurring in the future. In a way, my blog is a celebration of what is still living and I hope by documenting it, this will add something, however small, to the fight to preserve it. Thanks so much for reading and adding your thoughts. RNP is such a special place. I’m glad it has survived the onslaught. Best wishes. 🙂

  7. Hi Jane, You’ve just made me homesick, I’ve never been to Ravensbourne NP but its on the radar now. There seems to be a lot of those little parks scattered through Qld, I might have to live to be 100 to check out everything I want to see. Good to see Tough Cookie and you had a nice day out. Cheers Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      Are you still in Papua New Guinea or back cruising the seas again? I’m interested to know what you and Sam thought of the place. Yes, we do have a lot of little national parks and reserves up here. Crow’s Nest National Park is not far from Ravensbourne so I’ve got my eye on that one too. I think it may even be smaller. I quite like these lesser known walks. They tend not to have large tourist groups so the wildlife hangs about more. You never know what you will find either. There are some interesting historical relics hidden away in these little spots. Yeah, no matter how old we live to be there will always be some walks left undone…somewhere! Thanks, Kevin. Have a safe trip. 🙂

      • Hi Jane,
        We’re in the Solomon Islands now heading back to Brisbane. It’s always good to write up the less well known walks I think. If you search Buaraba Creek walk I’m sure yours will be one of the only ones to come up, where as if you search the Milford Track you’d be lucky to find my post as every man and his dog has written up that walk. See you next Sunday hopefully, I’ll email you during the week.
        Cheers Kevin

        • Things are a little crazy at the moment but hopefully they will settle. I pranged the car today but it’s still drive-able. At least replacement parts for 20 year old standard models are cheap! Have fun. 🙂

            • Yes, it was a bit annoying at the time, but in the end it turned out quite well. It has been interesting getting used to typing without using the finger. I don’t really use the outer two outer fingers on each hand due to joint and nerve damage from past activity, so my pointer and middle fingers are the ones I usually type with. I’ve made some amusing errors! Thanks for your concern. Best wishes. 🙂

    • For a very small national park, it has a lot to hear and see that’s for sure. I really enjoyed it in winter but apparently the bities can be a bit nasty in the rainy summer months. The lookout area is wonderful for spotting birds if you are willing to just sit and be patient. The eastern yellow robins are gorgeous. Thanks very much, Vicki. I hope you are feeling better than you were. Best wishes. 🙂

  8. This is a beautiful post! I always enjoy seeing your excellent photos of a country that I have always admired but will not likely ever see, but I especially enjoy your narratives that make everything real and personal and exciting.

    • Thank you very much, Terry. I also love seeing the contrasting terrain from your part of the world. I’ve never left Australia but that may change in the next couple of years so perhaps I’ll eventually get to view the beautiful mountains and forests of Montana in person. In the meantime I’ll enjoy your wonderful pictures (when I catch up again!) I hope one day you have the chance to view my own country in person. Best wishes and have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, John. I’ll endeavour to keep doing all three. I’m not sure if others find my singing very tuneful though…;-) Have a wonderful week. 🙂

  9. I always seem to come far down your list of commentators so there are no kind words for me to say that others haven’t said already but you can take it that I have thoroughly enjoyed this post as I always do when you have the time and energy to delight us with one of your walks. Great bird pictures this time.

    • Thanks very much, Tom. I also hope you know that I’ve really enjoyed being able to see into the lives of the Tootlepedal family – your garden, the birds, cycling, walks, the events of Langholm, social outings and family doings…Matilda’s development. Even though I’ve been visiting your blog on a sporadic basis in recent weeks, I often think about my blogging friends in Scotland. Best wishes. 🙂

  10. A couple of days ago I read an article in the local newspaper about a Chinese space station that will fall to earth next year. Something at the end of the article caught my attention and reminded me immediately of the whimsical way you often carry out and describe your adventures in Australia:

    “This would not be the first uncontrolled landing, either. [American] President Jimmy Carter issued an apology to Australia in 1979, after the 77-ton Skylab fell to Earth. The wreckage landed near a remote Australian town. Although no one was injured, the Australian town fined the United States $400 for littering. A California radio DJ finally paid the fine in 2009.”

    • Hi Steve,
      Sorry to take so long to reply. I read your comment and got called away. The excerpt made me laugh and I’m pleased it reminded you of my blog. I don’t think anyone has ever called my writing “whimsical” before but I like the description, so thank you. 🙂
      I think there is a cheeky element about some Australian culture. There is a tendency to joke about or rebel against authority and rules but when it suits us (as in the case of the littering fine) we will use laws for our own benefit. There is a tendency to barrack for the underdog and make fun of the powerful/famous. Fining the US for littering with the skylab wreckage doesn’t surprise me. I can imagine the chuckles over that decision! Thanks for sharing the article with me. It certainly put a smile on my face. Best wishes! 🙂

        • I actually checked on it myself as it came up as a “mistake” but here in Australia we use if often when referring to cheering for a sports team. I was surprised that it’s not used in that way in many other places. It just goes to show how much word use can be transformed by living in another country. Here, I think barrack can also mean something a little stronger than cheering. Many Australians do love their sport. It’s the AFL grand final on Saturday and the NRL grand final on Sunday here. Australian football is BIG here! 🙂

  11. I echo Tom’s comments! I love reading your posts and hope you continue giving us a glimpse or two of the treasures to be found in your country. I enjoyed reading the link you provided regarding the Wood Wide Web. I have been reading up about that recently too. The more I think about it the more it all makes sense to me. I think that everything on this planet is somehow connected to each other – either by being related or, as in the case of the mycorrhizal fungi and trees, by some other kind of relationship. What saddens me is the fact that through our arrogance and ignorance we humans have destroyed many of the links in the chain. We may never discover the cure for many of our diseases because we have killed the plants that held the key.
    I also love the Ents in The Lord of the Rings and would like to think that once upon a time trees were able to move about. I am also reminded of the bit in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Lucy asks the Beavers if Aslan is safe and is told – no not safe, but good. I think that is how I regard all of nature, everything on this planet and in space – except human beings! We continue to mess up!
    I am also currently reading one of Robert Macfarlane’s (see your link) books – ‘The Old Ways: a journey on foot’ in which he travels along many of the old tracks in Britain and beyond and discusses the relationship between paths, walking and the imagination. He tells us that in many languages the word for ‘track’ and ‘story’ are the same and are inter-changeable. The English verb ‘to learn’ can be traced back by etymologists to the Old English ‘leornian’ – to get knowledge, to be cultivated. This word in turn leads back to the Proto-Germanic word ‘liznojan’ – to follow or to find a track’. Really interesting.
    I am sorry to hear that you have injured yourself. I hope you get better soon.
    Much love and best wishes, Clare xx

    • Hi Clare,
      Thank you very much for your supportive comments and sharing your thoughts and knowledge. I loved the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and often fantasised about being able to walk through a door and escape to or explore another world. It’s a wonderful book on a few different levels. I remember our teacher read it in class and I was so eager to know what happened next that I took the book out of the library and finished it in a weekend. 🙂
      Many cultures have regarded the natural world – the animals and plants – as needing to be dominated or conquered. In the same way they also regard some humans as lesser beings and treated them as slaves (using religion and and science to justify this at various times.) Progress is seen in terms of ownership and materialism. Valuing the natural world was/is low in priorities. But in other cultures, land is not seen as being owned but needing to be cared for. “If we care for the land, it will care for us” is one philosophy. We are now seeing in major ways how short-sighted profit making at the cost of the natural world will backfire on humans in a big way. As you say, the damage caused so far means we’ve already probably lost many important cures/answers. I’m hopeful that the change to renewable energy will help halt this soon before it’s too late.
      I will have to read ‘The Old Ways: a journey on foot’. The etymology fascinates me! I remember reading how many of the authors of the past would regularly go on walks to help them write. Walking and writing seemed to be very much linked together. I know that when I am walking (or even driving on quiet country roads) it triggers so much more imaginative and reflective thinking than sitting at a computer. It seems to unlock/free up so many thoughts. It’s interesting how often people will say that going on a journey inspired some kind of revelation and changes in their lives. Walking/travelling do seem linked to paths of learning. A physical path leads to a thinking/learning path.
      No need to worry about the finger, Clare. It is not perfectly right yet, but much better than it was. 🙂 Thanks again for your kind encouragement and good wishes. Best wishes! xx

  12. Thanks again Jane for an amazing post, with such wonderful photos all stunningly beautiful, including your excellent bird shots. It was a great time for mother and daughter, and these are the treasured times as you shared a very treasured experience in a very treasured place. I just spent the weekend with my brother I hardly see and it was a great bonding time also. The idea of ecosystems as working like an organism has been kicking around now for some time. In my medical work I have regarded uour bodies as many different bodies inside each other to form us and make us function. One scientist proposed the Gaia Hypothesis as an explanation for the earth and how it appears to make up the depletion’s caused by man’s over use and destructive tendencies to the environment, working together as one unit. This is very interesting stuff. Just considering the amount of oxygen consumed each time a jumbo jet takes off, as hundreds do each second, is enough to make you wonder how we survive, but the earth compensates using the microorganisms in the ocean to keep the balance. It is such a delicate balance, we dare not destroy it or we threaten to destroy ourselves. Thanks again Jane for a wonderful look at a beautiful place. I just have to get to Queensland again some time:-)

    • Hi Ashley,
      Thanks very much for your comments. Some of the bird photos and scenes from the lookout were taken on subsequent trips. I enjoyed Ravensbourne so much I had to return. Plus those cheeky birds teased me so much on the first trip that I just had to go back to try to get some better shots for the blog. I actually saw many more species that I couldn’t photograph. Whipbirds continue to elude me. 🙂
      Yes, I love walking with my daughter. She is so busy finishing her degree this year that we rarely go out anymore and soon she will be leaving the nest and venturing out by herself to start a separate life. My sons have already left home but are still studying and very busy so I see them even less. We are all very close though. I hardly ever see my brother either so I can understand that you would appreciate the time you spent with yours.
      Considering the amount of damage that has been done to the planet by humans (and continues to be done in many places) it is surprising how resilient the natural world has been. As I wrote in my reply to Clare there have been varying approaches/beliefs about how we treat the natural environment. Dominating/conquering/taming it to suit our needs is one that has come back to bite us. In the end we will sorely regret this short-sighted approach. In many cultures the interconnectedness of living things has always been valued. Sadly, this way of living has been seen as backward. Progress has been viewed in terms of buildings and material wealth. Thank you for your continued support and for your own enthusiastic sharing of the beauty of the natural world and the lessons it can teach us. Best wishes. 🙂

  13. Jane this post has it all! Walking, rainforest, poetry, artistic inverted imagery, Julie Andrews and Abba!
    I too feel the rain forest feels very unforgiving, but at the same time I love it. Whenever i immerse myself in it, I feel like its giving me a big embrace, taking me deep into its bossom. I love the walks that take all day, and I find i feel almost lonely when I emerge from the forest and go home. I feel i have become so acquainted with Binna Burra now that I have named particular trees along the border track and touch them and greet them when I pass now. I really enjoyed this post Jane. Keep them coming.

    • Thanks, Amanda! I wonder if you were ever fond of ABBA too. People don’t seem to like to admit it these days. 🙂
      Binna Burra is certainly a special place. If my car wasn’t making so many groaning sounds these days I’d be there more often. I know what you mean about becoming familiar with certain trees. Many of those long tracks share parts of the border track so I’ve come to really know certain sections well. I had hoped to do two long walks (I think you’ve done them) with my daughter during the mid-year uni break when we stayed at Binna Burra but I had a slight accident with my hand and we had to change our plans. I took her on Dave’s Creek Circuit which I’ve already been to and loved and re-did Cave’s Circuit. I’m planning another long walk there. I would like to give the walk from Binna Burra to O’Reillys a go but that takes more organising. There is something very powerful about the place. I feel a lot of different emotions when I’m there. I think it’s hard for me to completely shake that feeling that I shouldn’t be walking alone so I am not as relaxed as I should be. So sometimes I can’t let myself embrace the peace and relaxation that the forest can give. I can understand that feeling of loss/loneliness though when you leave the rainforest and enter modern life again. The forest is a great escape from what in many ways is a materialistic busy modern world full of complications. Sometimes I crave the simplicity and the quiet of Binna Burra. I wish I wasn’t such a tick magnet though! Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Carol. Considering the high quality of your bird shots, it is very encouraging to me that you think the photos are worthy. Thanks also for helping me ID some of the birds. I may have a few more to ask you about soon! Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi Annette,
      Since it’s quite a small national park and a long way from Brisbane, it’s the kind of place that is great to visit if you are already driving in the area. I live SW of Brisbane and have been travelling through Esk regularly to visit a sick relative in the northwest, so it was convenient for me to drive the extra 33km to Ravensbourne. It’s probably a bit far for you to make a special trip for but if you are already in the area it is certainly worth a visit. I would go to the Gus Beutel lookout first to enjoy the views, do the Cedar Block walk next and then head back down to the Blackbean picnic grounds where the other 3 trails are. The 6.2 Buaraba Creek walk will give you all the examples of vegetation that the smaller walks have. I think it would be better done in the cooler months. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for reading and commenting. Happy walking! 🙂

  14. I knew very little about Ravensbourne NP until reading your post Jane. Thanks! I really enjoyed your imagery of the rainforest being one “enormous breathing, pulsing organism” and believe that to be true. The connectivity that we witness in natural landscapes is inescapable. I find it important to experience so that I can ‘land’ in that truth and carry it with me after leaving the bush or ocean or whatever wild setting has taken me there. The hills really are alive!
    And yes, the resemblance is uncanny 😀 Lovely post Jane and gorgeous photos of those little tweeters.

    • Hi Gail,
      I think Ravensbourne National Park is one of those spots that the locals really enjoy but is not very well known about by others because it is a little out of the way. I’ve been past the turn off many times but it’s just not been convenient to check it out as I’m usually on a journey to or from somewhere distant. It struck me as a little piece of Binna Burra but with a few little extras. Perfect for picnics really. The number of bird species at the Gus Beutel look out was surprising. There were many more species I couldn’t capture with the camera. Yes, it’s when I get a chance to escape technology and the busyness of modern life by heading out to places like this that I get a chance to feel a different sense of life and energy. In our daily lives it can be difficult to be aware of it as everything seems a rush and complicated by schedules and deadlines.
      Haha…yes, I’m sure Julie Andrews and I must be distantly related. 😉
      Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always lovely to receive your feedback. I’ve very much neglected the blogging world of late due to aspects of my non-online world taking precedence. That’s part of the ebb and flow of life I guess. I can’t control everything no matter how much that seems to be a preference of mine sometimes. Haha 🙂

  15. Yes, definitely you are Julie’s twin 🙂 I loved this post. You sound like you are feeling fit and joyful. It’s funny how one responds to a habitat. My earliest memory is of forest, and it is there that I feel safest. Out on the prairie I feel exposed and vulnerable, the area seems harsh and unyielding. But I can see your point about the resemblance to body parts. That can be unnerving. Like you I always look forward to chocolate as a reward for a walk! (Overdose??? Is that even possible? 🙂 )

    • Hi Melissa!
      This was a walk I did back in July while my daughter was on her mid-year uni holiday and we did have a lot of fun together. It seems to take me a few months to finally write up a walk these days. I think I still have one from New Year’s Day 2016 to share. My blog is running at snail’s pace, like my walking! 🙂
      I spent all my youth in open lands and then a large portion of my adult life so I think I am more used to it. Also, I think I have a bit of a tick phobia and the forested areas I tend to visit do have these parasites as well as venomous snakes. I’ve never been to alpine regions and I suspect I may feel experience these differently. I’ve really not travelled far out of Queensland. I love the rainforest, but I certainly appreciate the sky again at the end of a dark walk. I do have to be more careful when walking in them.
      Ah yes, chocolate is pretty special. I’d like to believe we can never overdose on chocolate but I’m afraid on a few occasions I have really gone way too far and felt quite ill! Nowadays, I am a fan of what some people call real chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa and less fat and sugar, so I can safely consume vast quantities! Haha.
      It’s lovely to hear from you, Melissa. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. I told Steve (Portraits of Wildflowers) that I was planning to spend a particular weekend catching up on blogs. That weekend passed a while ago due to family illhealth, and now I find myself just starting to look at my reader on Monday! I will catch up, eventually…perhaps!
      I hope you are well and I look forward to checking out your beautiful artwork and Steve’s photos again. Happy chocolate eating. 🙂

      • Hi Jane, so good to hear from you too! Don’t be hard on yourself on catching up on blogs~I’ve learned I simply cannot do it and so enjoy it more by reading what I can.
        I think a real rainforest, such as the ones you visit, would feel quite scary to me. In the redwoods there aren’t so many threats, although there are mountain lions and bears. And marijuana growers. I wish they weren’t there. Which reminds me that in the prairie preserves sometimes prescribed fires take out pot fields and everyone in the vicinity gets a little high 🙂 This makes me giggle but my drug of choice will always be chocolate. Like you, I’ve discovered the delight of the good stuff, which you can eat more of because it is (clearly) good for you 🙂

        • You made me smile in regards to the pot fires. Marijuana is illegally grown in bushland and farms in my region sometimes and I live in a bit of a dodgy suburb in regards to drug dealers. It’s something that does cross my mind sometimes on walks. In fact, when I first moved here we had quite a few seedlings come up on our 1/2 acre. Yes, the “good” choccy is definitely worth consuming in large quantities. Haha Thanks, Melissa. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I am fortunate to be living in such an interesting and beautiful part of the world. Best wishes. 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Ravensbourne is one of my favourite places to visit. I love the Gus Beutel lookout area. Thanks and best wishes. 🙂

  16. A belated ‘Hi’ again, Jane. I loved the photographs of the cloud shadows on the hills and the photographs of the birds are delightful. It is a testimony to your skills that you were able to capture those little flitty birds which hardly ever keep still.

    • Hi Margaret,
      It’s always lovely to hear from you. I really enjoyed watching the way the shadows moved across the hills so I’m glad you appreciated the inclusion of the photographs. The scenery took on different moods as the light changed throughout the day and with the varying weather conditions. I spent many hours relaxing at the lookout and I returned on another day in order to catch a few shots of those teasing little birds. Fortunately they seemed rather curious about me which helped. Ravensbourne is known as a good birding spot and many species can be seen around the picnic area at the lookout without having to venture into the forest. It’s a calming place and no doubt I will return one day. Thank you for your lovely feedback. It is always much appreciated. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi Neil,
      It’s great to hear from you. I hope you and the family are going well. Thanks very much for reading, the nice comments and sharing my blog post. I’ve been really lucky with this new Canon Powershot SX60. It does all the hard work for me and has an amazing zoom. It makes taking pics of birds so much easier. Yes, I am sure Julie Andrews and I are related in some way. Haha. I’m been very slack on the blogging front over the past few months – both in writing them and in reading other’s blogs. Best wishes to you and the family. 🙂

  17. Jane, your post sings from beginning to end. Your photos, your words and your thoughts make a beautiful song. As you walked and talked and listened and observed, you made me think about Aboriginal songlines (about which I know very little, except that they exist and are vitally important). And ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years’ is completely true, but we often don’t listen for the songs, and sadly the songs of a thousand years are changing in many places. https://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/3/203.full

    • Thank you so much. What lovely words. You are too kind. I wanted to talk about the Indigenous songs of the land but like you I know very little about it. I have older half-siblings who are Indigenous but sadly I do not know their names or even if they are alive. I often wish I could have known them. When I go hiking in national parks here – to places which show us what vegetation used to cover most of the surrounding country – I think about what has been lost. Ravensbourne National Park really had a vibe of the past. The lookout can seem quiet but at the same time you do “feel the music” and that’s why it brought to mind the song lyrics, “the hills are alive with the sound of music. It’s hard to describe, but from your comment I know you understand perfectly. It’s made me “listen” more to the sound of the land now. Thank you for that marvelous link! What a great article. I will be sharing that one. Best wishes and thank you again for your encouraging feedback. 🙂

      • Perhaps there will come a time when you do know your indigenous family. Recently I discovered via the internet several extended family members; in the space of a week I went from thinking I was sort of the end of the line to discovering I belonged to a huge clan living in the north of New Zealand. It was the most extraordinary feeling of belonging which came to me through complete happenstance. I wasn’t even looking for family!.

  18. Another delightful post, Jane! Very good to see you enjoying bird photography. All species that I enjoyed seeing in Australia. I loved to see the Spinebills as they reminded me of the Asian sunbirds that captivated me in Singapore and Malaysia. I miss seeing the beautiful Strangler figs. They look like poured hot wax. Ha, when I was a kid The Day of the Triffids scarred the sh*t out of me!! I wouldn’t want to be remembering that if I were out in the bush! 🙂

    • Haha…yeah I remember seeing the old black and white movie of Day of the Triffids (I think, unless it was a similar story – I was very young.) That scared me too! Sometimes the forest feels very friendly. Sometimes there’s a sense of menace. I can never predict how I will feel during the walk although usually I am happy to be out seeing blue skies again by the end of a walk. I used to watch the eastern spinebills sipping nectar from giant aloe stalks through my kitchen window. They are such pretty birds and I guess as similar to hummingbirds as we can probably have here?Asian sunbirds are gorgeous, that’s for sure. Yes, since buying the Canon Powershot SX60 with it’s great zoom, I am enjoying bird photography so much more. Great to hear from you, David, and thanks for your comment. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your enthusiastic praise in 2 languages! Greetings to you also from sunny Queensland, Australia. Best wishes. 🙂

  19. For someone who gets anxious about writing, you do a superb job, Love the way you weave all sorts of topics into what start out as walk recounts – they always end up so much more than this! I think you have such a skill in telling these stories. Best collection of eastern yellow robin pics ever.

    • Hi Rob,
      Sorry to take so long to reply to your comments. As you know I’ve been away in Melbourne and only had my cheap phone which has limited Internet access. Thank you for those most encouraging words. The eastern yellow robins delighted us and I was fortunate they were were quiet and curious. Other birds were not so as accommodating for photographic purposes! I enjoy writing but there is always some anxiety about exposing my thoughts and activities to the world. When people like you appreciate my attempts and give such positive feedback it encourages me to keep fighting the nerves. I hope you have a beautiful week, Rob, and thanks as always. 🙂

  20. What a beautiful collection of bird pictures 🙂 I hope you had a nice xmas and new year and I wish you the best for 2017 ! I’m trying to catch up of all the posts I have missed these last few months, as part of my new year resolution 🙂

    • Thanks very much! Don’t worry about being absent. I’ve been absent for over 2 months as well. Life can get very chaotic leading up to Christmas. I’ve been travelling a lot and seeing relatives. I’m just starting to wind down now. I really need to write a blog post to let people know what I have been up to. Hopefully I will manage one soon. I do hope 2017 brings you good health and lots of fulfilling moments. Thank you for thinking of me. Best wishes. 🙂

  21. Another thoroughly enjoyable post, Jane.

    Some tremendous photos, as usual. Love the inverted images.

    There’s a technical term for this type of forest , from researcher and conservationist Len Webb. He called this complex notophyll vine forest. The vines dominate, and they must be constantly moving, we just can’t get that perspective on it easily. This is a writhing, moving ‘organism’ that surrounds us, maybe this contributes to the eeriness. Strangely, I read recently that birds may have a very different sense of time to us, living in a faster world, they may see us as lumbering slow-mo organisms, probably ready to be entrapped by the vines.

    I was once lost in a rainforest in NSW (photographing a particular frog) and it was a challenge to stay calm and focussed. Looking back on that experience now I smile at the memory of it. It was an event of self-discovery that I fortunately survived.

    Then, there’s the songlines …. another discussion.

    Many reasons to protect these places.

    Cheers, Rob.

    • Thanks very much, Rob,
      This was a walk I did a few times last year in winter and I really appreciated the chilly, misty conditions. It’s an old blog post but my WordPress theme has it featured at the top of my most recent ones. I recently did the nearby Crow’s Nest walks with my daughter and loved it too.
      Thanks very much for the technical term for this kind of forest. I looked it up just now to read about it further. I think sometimes when we have stopped walking and slow our thoughts down it may be possible to somehow sense the movement of this “organism.” As you say, perhaps we pick up on this somehow when we feel a sense of eeriness. My daughter and I both get that sense that we are inside something growing. What you wrote about birds having a very different sense of time reminds me of how different the world appears for creatures that have different kinds of vision (eg spiders) and see different colours as well. When I first found out that human beings also vary in how they see different colours I was very taken aback. So the yellow I see may be different to the yellow my daughter sees. What colours I see when I look at a Van Gogh painting is not what another person may see. So how I see the world is not the same as the person next to me. I guess this may be partly why people disagree whether something is more orange than red or more blue than green. Inverting the images of the forest was a way of showing how much energy I feel surrounding me in such a place. It really does feel alive – pulsing – even when silent.
      I can easily imagine how disconcerting it would be to be lost in a dark rainforest, especially in cloudy weather. I’m glad you survived the experience, Rob!
      Songlines… 🙂
      Thanks very much for reading and adding your interesting thoughts and also extra information. I appreciate the insight of someone with such extensive knowledge who has worked in such areas for many years. Best wishes. 🙂

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