Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merv 's love of Moreton Island keeps growing

IMAGE of the Cape Moreton lighthouse courtesy DERM.
IMAGINE being up there in a cyclone as described below.

THE old term, "green thumb", referring to plant-growing skills, can fit comfortably in the new vocabulary of environmental awareness.
Gardeners must be mindful of propagating the right plants as some nasty pests have gained a toehold on the continent in someone's backyard and spread to threaten nature's balance.
Merv Tyler, of Birkdale, can wear the two-leafed title of "green thumb" as a badge of honour. He has devoted about 30 years of voluntary service to the subtropical wonderland of Moreton Island.
A boilermaker at the Evans Deakin shipyard before it closed in 1976, Brisbane-born Merv started a new career, qualifying with diplomas in horticulture, conservation skills and coastal land management.
In 1980 he answered a newspaper notice seeking volunteers for roadworks on Moreton Island.
"As soon as I saw the island I just loved it," he says. After the road project, Merv applied his growing and gardening skills, working with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

FOR the past four years he has run a nursery at North Point to grow endangered native species for planting where needed. He also looks after the camping grounds and other public areas.
Three years ago Merv received an Arbor Day Award for his plantings on a 500m sand blow where the Cape Moreton lighthouse keepers had thrown their rubbish for about 150 years.
Merv has been propagating pony-tailed casuarinas. He goes to the island often and stays in one of three cottages that formerly accommodated the lighthouse keepers.
With the cyclone season near, Merv recalls wild winds in the cottage high on the northern cliffs: "I have been through two cyclones up there; the winds were 130km an hour; I couldn't walk out the door." He makes a whistling noise to emphasise the point.
Merv says residents' plantings of pest species including cocos palms and umbrella trees continue to threaten the island's ecology, with the seeds spreading into sensitive areas, especially around the southern town of Kooringal and Bulwer in the north.
"The Brisbane City Council is always going over there to try to get people to remove these sorts of trees, but they can only ask," he says.
"The area is very sensitive; it's not good."

MERV's interest in native plants doesn't stay on Moreton Island. Many years ago during a stint in his old trade in the Central Queensland coalfields he developed a liking for the bottle trees of the region.
He has grown some from seed in his backyard and has offered 700mm bottle trees for sale to Redland home gardeners.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Kwacker' roars in cultural journey

Image of the 'Kwacker' model discussed below, courtesy of fellow blogger FloridaSteve.

SOME powerful engines have run sweetly through the decades in tribute to the 1974 Australian movie Stone.
The movie about a Sydney cop's undercover mission in an outlaw motorcycle gang seems to be one of those classic "love it or hate it" productions.
The staunchest critics would cringe at notes about Stone at the national audiovisual heritage website, Australian Screen.
"An instant box-office smash, it connected powerfully with audiences as the first true depiction of life among Australian ‘bikies’, and not American ‘bikers’," curator Richard Kuipers says.
"More than three decades later, Stone commands a cult following like no other Australian film."

ALLAN Baggs, of Victoria Point, is proud to be a member of that cult. Allan's love of motorcycles started on his family's vineyard at Berry, South Australia.
As he grew into a teenager,he cut the bodywork off an old DKW scooter and rode it around the farm. After he saw Stone he dreamed of owning a Kawasaki Z900, the bike that had a star role.
About three years ago he swapped a Honda that he had restored for his dream bike that had been in a garage for years and had only 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometres) on the clock.
"The Z900 was the first of the real superbikes and went from 1973 to 1976; mine was the last of the model," Allan says, adding that riding it is "a real buzz: it takes me back to when I was a young bloke".
Allan qualified as a chef and escaped the southern cold to move to Queensland about 30 years ago. He worked at some prestigious eateries including "the old Oscars" on the Gold Coast.

OVER the years he has built up several businesses cleaning and maintaining specialist equipment in the food industry and now is the proprietor of Precision Powder Coating, Underwood.
He and wife Cynthia, who have two daughters, built a house at Victoria Point in 1997. They are now putting the finishing touches on a new home in the same suburb.
That's why Allan advertised his beloved Kawasaki as a swap for concreting on the drive and paths. He estimates the project totals more than 200 square metres.
Allan is sad about the impending loss of the Kawasaki, which the ad described as awesome,but he is keen to get the work done before the wet season.
Cynthia learned about the Queensland climate a lot earlier than Allan as her family moved from Herberton to the Redlands.
After three keen inquiries for the bike valued between $10,000 and $12,000, the couple appears likely to get the work done before the storms.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.