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Columnist — Dr. Kemp Mabry

The land down under in brief

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Posted: November 12, 2006 12:09 a.m.
Updated: November 22, 2006 5:00 a.m.

    It really was “the trip of a lifetime. The heavy, large format 300-page National Geographic book title says, “Australia: Journey through a Timeless Land.” There were 22 folks on the Collette Tour, 10 of whom were from Statesboro. The tour included Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
    Dr. Jack Proctor and Mrs. Sally Adams showed me more than two hours of photographs from “Down Under.” Space does not permit more than a few items reported here.
    There were pictures of animals which are native to Australia and nowhere else on earth, such as the kangaroo and the wombat, marsupials.
    They showed pictures taken in a rain forest with snow-capped mountains in the background. There were glaciers. Sally swam in the Great Coral Reef, the only living thing visible from the moon.
    Bats were the only mammals found native to New Zealand. There they saw Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. They also saw the Southern Cross, a constellation of stars seen only in the Southern Hemisphere.
    New Zealand is made up of two islands. The largest town on the North Island and capital of New Zealand is Auckland. The largest town on the South Island is Christ Church.
    In every town in Australia and New Zealand is an ANZAC war memorial. The architecture is similar in every town there, but different from our war memorials. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps.
    On the tour from Statesboro were: Richard Keithley, coordinator; Ron Adams, Sally Adams, Jo Ann Glenn, Judy Kent, Bill Kent, Margaret Kluttz, Beverly Proctor, Jack Proctor and Susan Radovich.

Australia
    Here  are some items gleaned from my Herald feature story published on July 19, 1987. The word Australia means “Southland.” It is about the size of the United States but far few people live there.
    There are 11 deserts. The middle of the continent is largely barren. The people live in cities near the coasts. There are mountains around much of the continent. The middle is mostly flat except for such areas as the red rocks of which Ayers Rock is the largest rock in the world.
    Considered sacred by the native Aboriginals, it was returned to their ownership several years ago but leased back from them with assurances that the huge rock which they call “Uluru” would be protected from climbers except for a marked trail.
    I understand that in the early morning and late evening Uluru glows. No wonder the Aboriginals consider it mystic, even sacred. Alice Springs is the nearest “place,” in the Outback to Uluru (200 miles).
    The Indian Pacific Railroad extends from Sydney in the southeast corner of the continent across the southern portion 2,500 miles in almost a straight line to Perth on the west coast.
    In 1770, Captain James Cook had sailed the “Endeavor” to the east coast of Australia into the fine harbor he named Port Jackson.
    On May 13, 1787, a squadron of 11 ships sailed from England with over 1,000 people aboard. Eight months later they arrived with 700 prisoners aboard, many having died en route. The British didn’t want to build more prisons so they shipped the convicts off to Australia. Many “old families” have a convict ancestor in their family trees.

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