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Is that a Coolibah tree beside the abandoned house? Every Australian knows about Coolibah trees because the bush ballad Waltzing Matilda is nigh on our unoffical national anthem but most of us live nowhere near the inland where they grow.

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.


  1. And that's a pretty shot of an Aussie rural scene!

  2. Unfortunately I do not know about the tree and I know Waltzing Mathilda only in the Tom Waits version, ;-).

    Now, is that a round-shaped silo in the background?

  3. Martina, I think I would call that a "grain bin" rather than a silo. Those big cement round buildings like I showed at the End of Day 1 is what I would call a silo.

  4. I had always thought a Coolibah tree to be nowt but a wattle variety. But that is sheer prejudice.

    Love the peeping effect and all the CI.

    I did not think about the various types of storage required for wheat, etc. Would this store grain for feeding cattle or grain for transport to the railhead?

  5. Julie, your comment illustrates my point ... we don't know what Coolibah trees are!!! It's actually a variety of eucalyptus.

    I have been thinking about the grain storage, having seem farms with rows of these types of bin. They look permanent so I am assuming for feed. However, I also saw some wheat being harvested and being put into a bin at the side of the field, I assuming this was a temporary bin used to transport to the town's silo. Just to throw another name into the mix, I've heard of such bins referred to as bulk bins.

    Truth is I am almost as ignorant of rural matters as I am of coolibahs ... could've asked my Dad if he was still alive.

  6. Ok, here is another bone for us to gnaw.

    Hawkesbury-Nepean River system: which is the main and which is the tributary.

    As I said on Sydney Eye, I thought the Hawkesbury was the main and that the Nepean was a tributary that flowed into it. Now I guess this to be definitional. The river that flows becomes the Hawkesbury at the confluence of the Nepean and Grose Rivers at Grose Wold just out of Richmond. The Nepean rises in the Southern Highlands near Robertson and collects waters from many tributaries including the Avon and the Warragamba.

    Lower down, the Colo, MacDonald and Mangrove Rivers all flow into this main body which continues to be name Hawkesbury until it flows into the Pacific Ocean. When I read the maps, I suspect that the Brisbane Waters are only those waterways that branch up into Woy Woy and Gosford.

    Dont know much about the history of the exploration of these river systems other than what Grenville includes in her books and that has been fictionalised beyond what makes me comfortable.

  7. Other readers ... this conversation follows on from a comment on Julie's blog.

    Look at what you have just described about the river system .... the Hawkesbury starts at Grose Wold, a big fat fully formed river ... and that's not how rivers work .. they start little at a source and grow big from tributaries ... the Hawkesbury has no source ... that's because it's source is the Nepean ... they are one and the same river not main river and tributary ... it is frequently called the Hawkesbury-Nepean for that very reason. I'll look up some of my Blue Mountains history books to see if there is something on they story behind the double name.

  8. Julie, there is this description out on wikipedia "When the British colony was established at Sydney in 1788, the Royal Navy men in charge of the settlement went exploring by boat. They discovered the mouth of the Hawkesbury River about 50 kilometers north of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and followed the river upstream, naming it after Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool, who at that time was titled Baron Hawkesbury.
    Meanwhile, Watkin Tench of the Royal Marines set off to walk inland, west of Sydney. About 60 kilometers inland, at the foot of the Blue Mountains, he discovered a large river which he named Nepean after a different British politician, Evan Nepean. It took the Navy and the Army about three years to realise they had discovered the same river and given it two different names."

  9. Yes, I can see that rivers start little, meander around, join with other rivers, get bigger, and then empty into the ocean. However ... however ... when two rivers join together, sometimes they take on the name of the larger river (and the smaller one is ignored) and sometimes they take on a new name to signify that two sources have contributed to the river that now flows. In the case we are discussing, they are not one and the same river because the Hawkesbury carries the waters of the Nepean, Grose, Colo, MacDonald and Mangrove Rivers.

    I always took the Hawkesbury-Nepean to mean the "system" meaning all the rivers and all the creeks and all the floodplains through which both these rivers flow and the effect that the waters have upon the land use.

    I have found the bit from Wiki to which you refer, under the entry for Nepean River. However, if you look up the entry for Hawkesbury River in Wiki you will find it all expressed quite differently and the word "tributary" used. They also say the river "system", it took the early explorers three years to realise that they had discovered the same river "system".

    I must organise a weekend road trip out that way. It is riddled with vehicular ferries. Now, I am a ferry tragic ... as well as a graveyard tragic ... there are probably plenty of them out there, too.

  10. Julie, we know we shouldn't trust wikipedia! In government acts etc it is referred to as the Hawkesbury-Nepean River for the river and Hawkesbury-Nepean River System when they mean the broader catchment.

    As you are history buff you might be interested in this link.
    Pictorial History of Hawkesbury Shire page 9 says that back in the mists of time they confirmed it was the same river.

    I'm done with this subject because I'm not going to change my mind :-)

    And yes it's great country to drive around and the ferries are fun.

  11. Having just read the discussion of rivers and names of rivers I no know as much about the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system as about the Arkansas River which passes 1oo meters west of my house. Such things are interesting really.

  12. Is that a Coolibah tree

    I have no idea, but in my attempt to find out, I discovered that the Yuwaaliyaay language whence the word came had only 3 speakers in 1997. I guess that number has probably been reduced to zero by now.

  13. AB, that snippet of information makes me feel sad.


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