2020 Australia Day Weekend in Portland
Australia Day Weekend in Portland
Despite the unforgiving wind we watched as tents and a covered stage were erected in readiness for the weekend events. There were the usual craft stalls covered with the quaint products made at times chosen by their creators in the privacy of their homes. The activity at the skate board park was quite a spectator sport with families picnicking on the grass while watching the impressive skills and risks taking by the youngsters, it was roller skates when I was a kid, clatter clatter over the gaps in the pavements.
The chap at the marine rescue coastguard stall let me photograph the sea areas on his phone. We were now in West Coast Victoria and Cape Otway you see in the picture was the landfall much hunted for on the horizon as the sailing ships used to arrive from the west, and originally England, full with settlers.
A bored wombat did not like being looked at and was doing his best to dig underneath the mesh of his pen and we lunched on delicious spinach and ricotta rice cakes with tzatziki and sweet chili sauce.
Beyond the Foreshore we climbed up the hill, waited for the pretty and busy tram to pass, on past the two well restored buildings I told you about towards the botanic gardens, which were peaceful, we were the only visitors, I think everyone was at the event. There are some lovely wetlands and lagoons beyond which are a haven for ducks and teal but we wondered what advantage had been gained when the town decided to cut a canal from the area to the harbour, letting in salt water, maybe they didn’t like the tea like colour of the brackish water.
On our return we noticed piles of burned tree trunks in the lumber yards that must be from the fire torn areas. Later we heard about a tragic occurrence at a private blue gum plantation just outside Portland. The official logging company had finished extracting in November, checking every tree for koalas before felling it as they have to do by law. Then another company came in and just felled the rest of the trees with the koalas still in them, knowing what they were doing. A walker came across the area with koala corpses piled up, some had been killed by the bulldozer and a few were wandering around injured. Over three hundred felled koalas of which more than a third died. Animal Welfare people called for the imprisonment of the offenders but too late of course.
That evening we enjoyed our dinner out, watching the concert begin on the grass opposite our table and as we strolled back to Zoonie a famous Australian, Jon Stevens was giving it his all to a good crowd.
The annual speeches and address by the lady mayor, Councillor Anita Rank came the next morning. Last year we were sat in our hotel room in Darwin watching the speeches at Canberra by the lake on the TV as the monsoon rains hammered down outside. Again this year amidst rain showers Anita in her Aboriginal print dress opened the proceedings and welcomed seven new Australians, awarding them their citizen certificates. She then went on to introduce Simon Lewis, an inspirational man who has taught life-saving skills all over the world among many of his selfless and giving activities and shared with our Queen in her Christmas Day speech by emphasising the importance of ‘small steps’ to achieve big goals. I liked that, but I think the little spaniel had had enough.