Remnants of a Rainforest

Robertson Nature Reserve
Robertson Nature Reserve

It was windy and cold today, however plenty of sunshine and beautiful clear air. We thought it would be wonderful to go up to the highlands on a day like today. To drive up Macquarie Pass was no problem. Here is what it says about this pass in the Wikipedia:

“Macquarie Pass is an eight-kilometre-long section of the Illawarra Highway passing through Macquarie Pass National Park. It was opened in 1898.[1]

Macquarie Pass links the Southern Highland town of Robertson to the coastal town of Albion Park, descending the Illawarra Escarpment via a very narrow bitumen roadway, which has several single-lane sections and is mostly two lanes with double “no overtaking” lines. It is in the Shellharbour local government area.

This section of roadway is very steep, and contains a large number of hairpin bends, resulting in buses and trucks needing to reverse on some of the bends. The pass is quite notorious for accidents due to its nature, and drivers and riders are required to be cautious.

After heavy rain, the Macquarie Pass can be closed due to flooding on the top half of the pass. Cars and motorcycle riders may opt to use Jamberoo Mountain Road between Robertson and Jamberoo, while trucks are advised to use Mount Ousley Road (Southern Freeway) and Picton Road as an alternative.

The road is very popular with motorcyclists on weekends and public holidays. The Shellharbour and Wingecarribee Councils and the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority have therefore published a safety brochure entitled ‘Motorcycling Macquarie Pass.'[2]”

We reached Robertson and decided we would first of all have an early lunch with one of the famous Robertson pies and a cup of tea. The pies were delicious as ever. We have frequented this PIE SHOP in Robertson for over fifty years. The pies there are really special. Peter had a pepper steak pie and I had a beef curry pie. A hot cup of tea with it was lovely.

In the Wikipedia it says that the road is very popular with motorcyclists on weekends and public holidays. And so it is. At the pie shop for instance scores of motorcyclists had just arrived for a well deserved break. The eating section of the shop got pretty crowded after a while for lots of other holiday makers with children on winter school holidays had also arrived. The shop did a roaring business with their pies.

Near the railway line and near what used to be Robertson station is the little bit of rainforest which we had not been visiting for decades. Today was the day. We got ourselves reacquainted with it. There is a round-track of only about 600 m. We walked along it and felt like being in another world.


DSCN5980 (2)





Earlier in the morning on the way to Macquarie Pass we stopped at the Marshall Mount Dance Hall. Our daughter Monika liked to go to their dances nearly forty years ago. Looking at the hall today Peter recalled how he drove to this hall on a Saturday night to pick up Monika and her friends after the dance had finished. We noticed today also a building next to this hall which used to be the Marshall Mount Public School.

We did a little detour through the country side where we noticed some ducks crossing the road. All in all we had a lovely day on this beautiful sunny winter day with gusts of wind that felt very cold.







On this coral tree were already some flowers appearing. Does this mean spring is not far away any more?
On this coral tree were already some flowers appearing. Does this mean spring is not far away any more?

A Book by Matthew Wright

I’ve been reading a few very interesting blogs again today. Somehow I ended up looking at what Matthew Wright had to say. I found out he is a historian and a successful writer. He published for instance this book about New Zealand’s hidden past. Maybe some bloggers would like to have a look.

Highlighted book:

Convicts: New Zealand’s hidden criminal past
Penguin, Auckland 2012

‘As Matthew Wright acknowledges, although “generations of historians have told and retold the tales, openly and happily”, the true story of convict involvement has been ignored by many New Zealanders who have sought to differentiate themselves from their Western Island… Although some academic reviewers use the word “prolific” as a pseudo-insult, Wright combines a scholar’s mastery of the sources with a journalistic skill at communicating complex messages to lay people, all sharpened by the experience of writing nearly 50 books.’ – Gavin McLean, Otago Daily Times, 11 August 2012.

‘…great reading, full of specific real-life personalities and daring escapades, some horrifying, to be measured and understood against the background of Maori and British cultures of those decades of the nineteenth century. This is the first time the tale of New Zealand’s convicts has been told to this detail, in a single book – one destined to become a New Zealand classic.
– Jo Keppel, Greymouth Evening Star, 26 July 2012

‘Wright has done a great job of exposing activities which society had considered best forgotten, and made it interesting reading to boot’.
– Graeme Barrow, Northern Advocate, 23 July 2012, and Wanganui Chronicle, 16 August 2012.

‘…an entertaining and informative account of some of the larger-than-life characters who made this country their home in the early 19th century…’
– Alister Browne, Manawatu Standard, 17 August 2012.

‘…adds to the colourful tapestry of New Zealand’s early settlement.’
– Mana, New Zealand, 1 September 2012.

‘Wright has carved out a niche for himself in pre-Treaty New Zealand history, from which very few written records survive. It’s not an easy field to research.’
– Mike Houlihan, D-Scene, 5 September 2012.


This rollicking tale of white crime takes us to pre-1840 New Zealand, a riotous age when lawlessness leaked from the periphery of Empire – in this case, the penal colonies of Australia, established in 1788.

Prisoners stowed away on boats, escaped in boats and otherwise made their way across the Tasman – where Maori looked on most of them with disdain. Some left as soon as they could. Others stayed.

Curiously, the biggest criminals weren’t convicts – they were sea captains, supposed upholders of the law who became involved in all kinds of skullduggery around New Zealand’s coastline, ranging from cannibalism to genocide. They were bad, some of them were mad – and it all happened in just a few exciting decades in a tiny corner of the South Pacific.

Available in print and e-book.

Paperback, 256 pp
ISBN 13: 9781742532493 ISBN 10: 1742532497 

This is an article by the Initiative & Referendum Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Initiative & Referendum Institute

at the University of Southern California 




Initiative & Referendum Institute


USC School of Law


Los Angeles CA 90089-007

What are ballot propositions, initiatives, and referendums?

Ballot measures or ballot propositions are proposals to enact new laws or constitutional amendments or repeal existing laws or constitutional amendments that are placed on the ballot for approval or rejection by the electorate. There are several different kinds of ballot measures:

An initiative is a proposal of a new law or constitutional amendment that is placed on the ballot by petition, that is, by collecting signatures of a certain number of citizens. Twenty-four states have the initiative process (list). Of the 24 states, 18 allow initiatives to propose constitutional amendments and 21 states allow initiatives to propose statutes. In most cases, once a sufficient number of signatures has been collected, the proposal is placed on the ballot for a vote of the people (“direct initiative”). In some cases, the proposal first goes to the legislature, and if approved by the legislature, is not voted on by the people (“indirect initiative”). For constitutional amendments, 16 states allow direct initiatives and two allow indirect initiatives. For statutes, 11 states allow direct initiatives for statutes, seven allow indirect initiatives, and two states (Utah and Washington) allow both direct and indirect initiatives.

referendum (sometimes “popular referendum”) is a proposal to repeal a law that was previously enacted by the legislature, and that is placed on the ballot by citizen petition. A total of 24 states permit referendums, most of them states that also permit initiatives. Although the Progressives considered the referendum as important as the initiative, in practice, referendums are fairly rare, especially compared to initiatives.

legislative measure or legislative proposition (or sometimes “referred” measure) is a proposal placed on the ballot by the legislature. All states permit legislative measures (list) and all states except for Delaware require constitutional amendments to be approved by the voters at large. In some states, legislatures place nonbinding advisory measures on the ballot. Legislative measures are much more common than initiatives and referendums, and are about twice as likely to be approved. Some states, such as Florida, also allow certain commissions to refer measures to the ballot.

There is no provision for any sort of ballot proposition at the national level in the United States.  However, the initiative and referendum are available in thousands of counties, cities and towns across the country and are utilized far more frequently than their statewide counterpart.



Click here for helpful handouts on the I&R process


© 2013 Initiative & Referendum Institute

USC School of Law

Los Angeles CA 90089-007

Sunny Days

Caroline and Mama Uta
Caroline and Mama Uta sitting outside towards the end of summer

This photo was taken a few months ago when Caroline had been at our place for a visit. We were sitting behind our house for morning tea. Peter and I always love to have a cup of tea outside enjoying a beautiful sunny day in our backyard that is overgrown with trees. We just love to sit under these trees and listen to a variety of birds who usually chirp happily close by. It is such a peaceful place. We always call it our little paradise.

Caroline and Papa Peter
Caroline and Papa Peter
This is what the table looks like without the table cloth.
This is what the table looks like without the table cloth.

We are in the midst of winter now here in Australia. After a long rainy period in June, the month of July is promising to be full of sunshine. However the nights are extremely cold. All the rooms in the house are extremely cold too, not just during the night but during the day too unless we put the heaters on. We usually switch our electric heater only on in the rooms we happen to use for a while. The warmest room is usually the computer room for it is small and does not require a lot of heating to get it comfortably warm.

Outside in the sun it is much warmer today than inside. So, naturally we had morning tea as well as lunch outside.  We sat there for quite a while, absorbing the lovely sunshine and listening to the birds. How lucky we are to have such a lovely spot behind our house. As I said, we feel this is our little paradise! 🙂

Lunch on Sunday

The Twins with their Aunty Caroline for their Birthday Lunch on Sunday.
The Twins with their Aunty Caroline for their Birthday Lunch on Sunday.
We are the early arrivals at the Restaurant. We are the early arrivals at the Restaurant.
We met at this Chinese  Restaurant.
We met at this Chinese Restaurant.
Another photo with me, Ryan and Ebony and Baby Lucas.
Another photo with me, Ryan and Ebony and Baby Lucas.



Our daughter Monika has arrived. She is the twins' mum. She proudly holds her little grandson, Lucas.
Our daughter Monika has arrived. She is the twins’ mum. She proudly holds her little grandson, Lucas.
Two of Monika's daughters with Troy
Two of Monika’s daughters with Troy
We're still waiting for Mark to arrive. In the meantime Lucas plays with his books.
We’re still waiting for Mark to arrive. In the meantime Lucas plays with his books.
Caroline took this picture of us with daughter Monika and the twins.
Caroline took this picture of us with daughter Monika and the twins.

Resume of AnnaMaria’s Father, another Reblog


Jorge L. Oyola


Extensive Experience in the Day to Day Operations Managing Integrated Logistics Support including, Supervising, Training and Delegating Operations.  Capable in Establishing New Client, Managing Vendors Relationships, Negotiating, Administrating Contracts, Deliverables, Work Orders, Controlling Costs and Improving Efficiencies.


  • 33 Years of Customer Relations with Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), Project Sales Manager, Point of Sales Retail Manager
  • 3 Years of Human Resource Personnel Activities Involving Updating, Migration, Filtering and Tracking Enlisted Personnel Classified Data.
  • 13 Years with The U.S. Army Managing 10 Classes of Supply      Involving The Integration of Information, Transportation, Inventory,      Warehousing, Material Handling, Packaging, Distribution and Security
  • 8 Years of Physical Training Instructor


  • Resolved Customer Complaints, Applied Diplomacy and Followed Up with All Customers Request
  • Maintained Extensive Financial Records, Equipment Purchasing, Budget Monitoring, Fund Allocations, Contract Review, and Financial Disbursements
  • Initiated/Closed Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss and Accountability Reports
  • Trained, Managed 30+ Personnel In Leadership Development and Career Progression
  • Managed Inventory Monthly, Quarterly Expense Budgets In Excess of $1,500,000 With 100% Accountability
  • Human Resources Operations, Personnel Actions, Retirement Benefits, Career Changes, Leave and Earnings
  • Monthly Inventory of  Durable/Expendable Property to include HAZMAT with Zero Losses Total Value $50M+
  • Maintained Accurate Filing System In Accordance with Required Policy and Procedures
  • Point of Sales Close Out, Bank Deposits, Credit Card Reconciliations and Record Keeping Annual Sales of 34M+
  • Established and Maintained Client Relations with Invoices, Customer Support, Upgrades, Product Presentation, Marketing and Day to Day Operations in Reselling Mobile Wireless Product/Services in the Tri-State Area
  • Customer Relations, Employees Scheduling, Cross Training, Mentoring, Established Team and Support
  • Conducted Quarterly Training Seminars for 25-30 Employees In Sexual Harassment, Alcohol and Drug Safety, Driver Safety Course, Driving Under The Influence, Supply Operations, and Supervisory Mentorship Training


  • 2011-2012         Senior Logistics Manager
  • 2009-2011         Human Resources Manager
  • 1999-2009         Logistics/Operation Manager
  • 1985-1987         Independent Reseller Agent PageNet
  • 1981-1997         Retail/Supermarket Assistant Manager


  • 2013             Kansas State Life Heath and Life Certification
  • 2009             Army Records Information Management System
  • 2009             Human Resources Certification
  • 2006             Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE)
  • 2003             Primary Leadership Course
  • 2002             Field Sanitation Certification
  • 2002             Certified Warrior Tae Kwon Do Instructor
  • 2000             Unit  Armorer Certificate
  • 1999             Logistical Support Certification
  • 1979-1983    Park East High School, 230-34 EAST 105 ST.


Microsoft Office (Excel, Power Point, Word, Out Look), PBUSE (Army’s Web-Based Property Accountability System), Bilingual Spanish/English

Home: 3142 Lundin Dr., Manhattan, KS 66503/785.320.3655/

Donation Web Site:


Peter and I just watched the follow-up of Chris Master’s documentary on the Great Depession in Australia before WW II. It is so very upsetting when people have no right to work and are being evicted because they can’t pay their rent.

Today I already did another reblogging about the father’s letter to his little daughter. Can anyone understand why this American citizen presumably doesn’t get help from anywhere? How is this possible? I mean it’s not the 1930s any more, is it?