Birdlife at the Museum

One of the things that surprises me most about working in Griffith is the variety of birds

As someone who grew up among the Brindabellas, there's a deep sense of satisfaction about seeing the hills rise around me on the drive to work.

It starts with three gentle crests along Irrigation Way after one turns north past Whitton.

Scenic Hill is another of these increasing landmarks and from there I can see they become mountains like Binya, Bingar and Brogden in the nearby Cocoparra National Park.

Griffith Pioneer Park Museum's grounds on the Hill feature a mix of older grey box trees and younger cypress pines, which provide shade for the gardens maintained by a group of volunteers.

On these branches and among the flower beds I get glimpses of communities of birds.

There's a family of magpies and over recent months I've watched as they teach an offspring to be wary of me.

Mallee ringneck parrots have also been breeding and they used a hollow in the grey box near the Goolgowi Train Station for a while.

Earlier this year I observed a parent showing their bird where to find a meal from a succulent, which might've been a pigface.

In previous years a college of noisy apostle birds could be heard making a mess by tearing off plant limbs.

This season might be the first that the Museum has been visited by white-browed babblers.

My manager Jenny reckons she'd never seen them at Pioneer Park before and it was good to have assistance from Jo and her bird books to identify them.

These babblers seem to share their call with the grey-crowned variety, which Wikipedia notes has earned them names like dog-bird, barker and barking-bird.

They will share a cute "ruff" sound excitedly with each other, so I found myself describing it as a canine-esque noise.

You can hear it in this short video I made when a babbler got lost in the Wine & Irrigation Museum building 

Another recent observation was a trio of tawny frogmouths sitting in a cypress pine near the Griffith Hospital building.

It's great to see such a variety of birds and so different to those at home in Leeton, although I'm often frustrated by my inability to get a good photo using the mobile phone supplied by Council.

However, this iphone has been great for recording my duets with pied butcherbirds.

You can see more of my photos at


Ducks in a row

"Ducks in a row means having everything well-organized or fully prepared before taking on a project or anything else."

A friend pointed out the ducks' shadows seem off and it prompted me to observe that sometimes the ducks appear in a row, but sometimes it's an illusion.

Sometimes things are a lot worse than they appear.

FM3 Buddha Machine

I've had a couple of these machines and they proved most useful when trying to sleep at Burning Man's regional events in Australia

You can probably guess how the soothing drones from a couple of Buddha Machines will interact and help with sleep when confronted with multiple sound systems shaking the earth and vibrating air molecules.

One of the best lessons my father taught me was to put on a radio when nights were too noisy to sleep.

The FM3 loops provided a sound to focus on, rather than having my ear wandering the paddock and becoming annoyed by the sound systems that drift in and out of time and gratingly never agree on a musical key.

It was surprising how well my partner and I slept as the ground rumbled and people partied through the night.

I ended up buying one for my mother out-law and she used it to sleep on her travels.

The latter editions of the FM3 Buddha Machine had the advantage of being louder and adjusting pitch, but mine didn't seem as robust as the earlier model.

I'm hoping to buy a replacement whenever they are stocked in Australia again.



This week I was invited to speak with Yenda's Rotary Club and outlined how my background as a writer and artist informs my work at Griffith Pioneer Park Museum

It was good to share a meal with the group and encourage them to be part of the Museum's Action Day event on Good Friday.

(They seemed a bit deflated when I said the Lions Club look after the sausage sizzle!)

It was an engagement that followed from talking at an event celebrating the centenary of Rotary's sister organisaton Inner Wheel last month, although at that one they asked I discuss Griffith in the 1920s.

Today I was surprised to see in my Facebook Memories that I spoke with Griffith East Rotary Club seven years ago.

There have been a series of events that make me feel as though I'm returning to events from 2017 through returning to the role of Curator at the Museum.

As the song says, "it's all just a little bit of History repeating"!