October 13 - 19, 2019: Issue 424


The Backyard Bird Count of 2019: G . E. Archer Russell (1881-1960)& his passion for Avifauna from Narrabeen to Newport

Narrabeen Lagoon Black Swans - photo by Michael Mannington, Community Photography, in 2013. 

From 21-27 October 2019, Australians will head into their backyards for BirdLife Australia’s annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count. 

Pittwater is known for being one of those places where you can count many species of birds - everything from shorebirds, to coastal heath warblers and birds found in the bush among trees or those that visit seasonally can be found within these green hills, along the estuary and on our beaches. Even those who forget we have a Heron Cove, Currawong Beach, Whipbird Circuit, Heron Place, Swallow, Cockatoo, Robin and Songlark Way, a Honeyeater Grove, Shearwater Drive and Fantail Way will still be awoken at the first brimming of light by a chirp and a cheep.

Pittwater is also known for having a high number of early bird-watchers, and this is not just Neville Cayley, author of 'What Bird is That?', who once lived in Marine Parade at North Avalon, or Church Point's Mr. Wheeler who lauds the symphony of bird song found in McCarr's creek.

There is also another sometimes forgotten champion of the doe-eyed feathered ones who once lived at 'Suncot' in Idaline Street, Collaroy Plateau, in the form of George Ernest 'Archer' Russell, who said in one article 'The bird-lover never tires of watching birds in flight; I myself used to spend hours doing little else in pre-war days.'

Born in Port Pirie on June 16th, 1881, Archer was one of the youngest sons and daughters of James Russell and Kezia (nee Headland). His parents arrived from England, his mother aboard the Lismoyne on August 23rd, 1855 and landed in South Australia.

Kezia Headland was born in Brigstock, Northamptonshire, the third daughter of George and Sarah. She was baptised on 27 September 1835 at Brigstock. Kezia emigrated with her father and siblings at Port Adelaide. Her mother had been suffering tuberculosis, and died on the journey.

Kezia settled with her father at Charleston, and soon married James Russell who had also migrated with his family from Brigstock, and lived at Athelstone near Kezia's older sister, Elizabeth Cox. Kezia and James married at St George Church, Woodforde on June 3rd 1856 when James was 24 and Kezia 20. James became a farmer and his mother had listed her occupation as 'servant' prior to embarking for a new land and a new life.

His father passed away in mysterious circumstances in 1887 when Archer was just six years of age. By the age of 14, according to some biographers, 16 via others, he was on the road - and that road was very long; it took him all through outback Australia and then around the world before illness brought him home to ramble anew in Australia. He was home for seemingly just minutes, with a January 1914 article on the Congo being published under 'G. E. Archer Russell', before World War One and Australia's involvement were announced - with Mr. Russell signing up to serve soon after that August 4th 1914 announcement, his service number being 147.

Mr. Russell served as a driver with the Field Ambulance to begin with, spending time at and on the blood-soaked heights of Gallipoli, and then was sent to England where he served as a Medical Officer and met and married a Nursing Sister, Annie Marion Gammon.

On their return home Mr. Russell renewed his wordsmithing and accompanied many of his articles with photographs he had taken or these were simply published as stand alone insights into places as well as birds:


Swans nesting on the Torrens near the City Bridge. Photo. G. E. Archer Russell. ON THE TORRENS. (1921, May 7). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 26. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165652497 


The old Ral Ral Hotel, beyond Renmark, on the famous overlanding track from Morgan to Wentworth, a well-known public house in the early day of Murray settlement. The building is now used as an outhouse at Ral Ral outstation, known in former days as Bookmark.  Photo: G. Archer Russell

The old hotel at Overland Corner, now an accommodation house. Built about 1800, it presents very interesting link with the past.  HISTORIC LANDMARKS. (1923, March 17). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 28. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165701261 


Church of St. John the Baptist at Canberra, built by the first Campbell of Duntroon. Next year (1924) will mark the centenary of this church. Photo: G. Archer Russell.  A HUNDRED YEARS OLD. (1923, March 17). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 28. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165701260 

His observations and willingness to go where no others would led to more works and article being published. He reviewed books, edited for others, and this led to more work and a move to Sydney to work on the Sydney Mail and then the Sydney Morning Herald. He was prolific, there are so many articles penned on everywhere he went, some being assignments for newspapers, that only a sample specific to our subject, his love of birds, runs here. 

He also had some great lifelong mates, John R. Fairfax being one and a great supporter of local Art, Will Ashton being another.

A fellow Adelaide educated son, and renowned Australian Artist Will Ashton, wrote the foreword for the book published in December 1930, 'Sunlit Trails:  a bird-watcher's tramps and camps in Australia', while the illustration on the cover was created by Adrian, the son of Will Ashton, and the work itself was published by Narrabeen habitues George and Florence Taylor. Now publishing under  'Archer' Russell, he filled his books with uniquely and proudly Australian stories.

Archer Russell's "Sunlit Trails"

SUNLIT TRAILS by Archer Russell, F.R.A.I., F.C.I.-As a Renmark resident of recent date and contributor to The Murray Pioneer, Mr. Russell has numerous friends in these parts, and as a writer on nature subjects of many years standing his work is known and valued by many in South Australia and elsewhere. He is now a Sydneysider, and his book is the product of a Sydney printing house (Building Ltd.) and is introduced with a foreword by Will Ashton, the well known S.A. artist now resident in Sydney, who writes:

''As a painter, who also appreciates the beauties of nature and trees to record them in another medium, I merely add to miss reading this little book is to indeed forego a pleasure.”

In his own introduction Mr. Russell says:

"The habit of sauntering and the study of bird-life, and of nature generally,-are worth all the time we can give them. Profit and pleasure will be ours; they will carry us into the wide open spaces. Beyond the edge of beaten travel they will lead us and the wild creatures of the wilderness will be our cohorts. From the wild and solitary places we will see the flaming splendour of the sunrise, the glory of the dying sunset still be ours for the looking. We will build our; campfires on the brinks of rivers, and the shores of lone lagoons will be our resting places. For Nature is :a lavish giver in beauty, in health, in peace, and in interest, and none there are to whom she will not give who go to seek."

It is of such things that Mr. Russell writes, and writes with compelling charm. There may be naturalists more deeply versed in bird lore and in the natural sciences; there is none in Australia whose writings show a more sympathetic understanding of the ways of Nature or a finer capacity for interpreting them to men through the vehicle of literature. 

Mr. Russell has wandered far in many lands. In the series of detached sketches in this little book he draws from his experiences and observations on the Murray, in the Riverina, and in Central and Southern Australia.

Many of the scenes he depicts will be familiar to some among his readers, but there are few to whom he will not I reveal beauties of sound and sight unsuspected by the casual observer. And in these in quiet days of feverish rush and hurry and carking anxiety, there are few who would not be the better for the breathing calm and soothing balm that Nature yields even in Australia to those who, like Mr. Russell, learn to love her and know her ways.

Beauties of the Bush 

It was not of Central Australia that,the following, from an essay on "The Lure of a Hill Track." was written: 

"The air is redolent with bushland breaths, thistledown floats airily between the trees, butterflies flutter where the sunlight gleams, the song of birds-the Tinging carols of the magpie, the chatter of the wagtail, the piping call of the peewee-come dawn from the big wide gums"; but beauty as compelling is to be found far from 'the coast, as in "The Spell of the Plains" (in the Riverina), describing a camping place on a lower Darling anabranch: "Ducks whistled overhead, ibis honked, and a flock of swan, flying low made a cuneiform script upon the waters. That from my camp at sunset time I look over a scene splendid in its beauty

"Across the lagoons, the blue of the saltbush stretched out to far horizons. Dark clouds, lined with amber and gold, bound the rim of the west, and hid the setting sun from sight. But not for long. The cumuli, mounting higher, drew apart, and through the rifts a dozen sunrays fell across the treetops. and splashed the lagoons with opal and gold 

"Slowly the sun sank, shadows fell, and a slumberous silence came over the land. The waters that had been as opal turned to grey, and from grey to darkest slate, and a thousand stars twinkled in their depths.

"Suddenly a frog croaked the croaking grew into a concerted roar. Only in the jungled m'setas of equatorial Africa had I heard anything to equal the frog concert on the Ana-branches. '' A NATURE LOVER (1931, February 6). Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record (Renmark, SA : 1913 - 1942), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109389893 

It is in 1931, the Spring of, that Mr. Russell and his wife move from the Central Coast to our area:


Mr. and Mrs. Archer Russell, who have been residents of the Ourimbah district for the past 18 months, left on Sunday last and have taken up residence at Dee Why. LEFT THE DISTRICT. (1931, September 3 - Thursday). The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate (NSW : 1906 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163885744

MR. ARCHER RUSSELL, The Australian author, whose articles and stories have appeared from time to time, in the columns of the 'Mail,' and whose new book 'A Tramp Royal in Wild Australia' was reviewed on our Library Page last week. (Photo: Falk.) The LIBRARY (1934, March 28). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 44. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166102697

Mr. Russell had good companions of like-minded people in Sydney who would readily take to the road with him, while the newspapers had a boon in someone who could not only write about where they had been but also take images to illustrate those words:

WILL ASHTON, the landscape painter, and Archer Russell, writer, naturalist and anthropologist, will shortly begin an extended motor caravan tour through Eastern Australia to paint and write about it as it is today. They intend to explore both beaten and unbeaten tracks. During the last 18 months Mr Ashton has had three of his pictures, making nine in all, accepted by the National Gallery of Sydney. He is also the winner of the Queensland Art Prize for this year. Mr Russell is not only familiar with a great part of Australia, but he has travelled the world a good deal. He has made a south to north trip across Africa, camel trips through Central Australia; and has traversed Europe, Arabia and the Middle East. PERSONAL (1933, August 29). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243424031 


Mr. Adrian Ashton farewelling Mr. Will Ashton, the painter, when he left in his motor caravan yesterday. Right: Mr. Archer Russell. CARAVAN FOR SKETCHING TOUR. (1933, September 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17006265 

MR. WILL ASHTON Visit to Goulburn 

Mr. Will Ashton, one of Australia's famous artists, accompanied by Mr. Archer Russell, was a visitor to Goulburn yesterday and to-day. Mr Ashton has just returned from a trip to a spot about 30 miles on the other side of the Victorian border, and had come on to Goulburn after, calling at Collector on the way. Mr. Ashton expressed his pleasure with the Goulburn War Memorial. "It Is there-what it is Intended to be," he sad, "a reminder. One sees It and at once the query must be answered,. 'Why Is it there?' and the answer comes to the lips, 'Lest we forget.' It has a dignity all Its own." 

Mr. Ashton spent all the morning endeavouring to obtain a suitable spot from which he could obtain a sketch pleasing to himself. The artist was also full of praise for the beauties of Windradeen homestead. 

No adjectives could describe the place, he said. The car in which Mr. Ashton made his trip is of his own design. It carried two beds and, despite this, has a small wardrobe and water tank, while there Is also ample room for easel and painting materials. It is a complete caravan. MR. WILL ASHTON (1933, October 10). Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), p. 1 (DAILY and EVENING). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102858362 

One example of what Mr. Russell wrote of on his return:

Caravan Road in Eastern Australia
No. I.
By ARCHER RUSSELL, Author of 'A Tramp-Royal in Wild Australia,' ' Sunlit Trails' etc.

This is a brief narrative of wandering and discovery. It is the narrative of an artist and a writer who went out to find Australia — the Australia of growing traditions and ageing memorials, of villages and towns and ten thousand roads, of thriving peoples and happy homesteads — the land we know, yet know not. Such, then, was their province, and 'it is of the things they found in search of it — the things that make us proud to be Australians - — that this narrative records.

The narrative is not a narrative of hair-raising adventure. No sensational escapes figure in it. The fact was, we just went quietly on our way. If we were often hungry it Was because a healthy, out-of-doors appetite made us so. In short, the narrative is just a plain unvarnished record of days spent motoring down the roads of eastern Australia, just as you would do it — just as you will do it and enjoy it as we did. This article deals with the journey to the South Coast.

Give us from dawn till dark Blue of Australian skies; Let there be none to mark Whither our pathway lies. . . . ? — J. Lister Cuthbertson. 

THE Artist was really the proud parent of the tour. The brilliant conception was his — his entirely; so, too, was the syren in whose company the tour was made — as, by the way, was the cheque which brought her into being. 

I will make no secret of this syren which so unblushingly lured us to the roads and abolished time and space. She was the Austral Maid, the dream-caravan of the Artist's vision — and here she was knocking at my very door. 

'You'll join me, eh? Of course you will. No, no; plenty of room, old man. Great old bus, you know. Sleep in caravan. . . . Buy grub-stakes as we go along. We'll ? ' 

But here I interposed. 'But where are we going?' I asked, still thinking it might be all a dream. 

'Going?' said he. 'We are going out to find Australia. . . We are going where the mood and the moment take us. . . We're going. . .

NEVER before, I think, had I loved Sydney so truly and so well as on the day we left her. I understood now how the souls of men become chained to a great town. In George-street a thousand people looked at us. But on we went. The Austral Maid was quivering with emotion, gathering speed. We were proud of her; combining all the essentials of road comfort with speed, low running costs, and reliability, she was proving — as she proved to be throughout the journey — as reliable a little caravan de luxe as ever travelled the roads. The hour was noon; it was a mid-September day and golden — and it was spring. Springtime and the roads were all before us. Strangely unobtrusive, Australia was stealing in upon us. 

THE hills shone blue at Engadine and Waterfall. . . . Helensburgh we chiefly remember for its lovely red roads and tang of coal-dust. ... The glory and the splendour that is the South Coast — rolling hills and valleys, misty blue headlands, and the blue seas of the Tasman pounding at their base — burst upon us at Stanwell Park; and on we went until, on the summit of the hills, at the turn where the road winds down to the coast, we fixed our camp. And there, there while the gum -wood crackled round the billy, there, beside a little rock-paven creek tinkling to the sea, a grey thrush sang. 'Oberon's about,' said the Artist.

That was all he said, but it was enough. For a lovelier land than this approach to the Illawarra, unless it be the Illawarra itself, one would go far to find. How those bush-ways lured us on — wooded hill and shadowy gully, shining creek and ferny grot, palm and wattle and nodding wildflower, as colourful a haunt of mystery as ever was— a land of the Little People, or I do not know of one. Here and there one discovered the dripping lips of rocks and caught the murmur of a waterfall, the while a bell-miner chimed or a whipbird 'cracked' among the brush — particles and colours and sounds that formed, merged, and then were swallowed in the maze. Or perhaps one saw wonderful perfections in patterns, as in those delicious red roads, trailing down through, tunnels of overhanging greenery towards golden strand and far-away wisps of blue. And through and over all the racy smell of loam and moss and flower, a great peace, and the sun. 

THIS great countryside over which we have just wandered is an extraordinary land. Growing pensive a moment ago, I let my imagination carry me back to that dim dawn of time when — something like two hundred million years ago — the land was largely covered by fast fresh-water lagoons inhabited by fearsome, marsh-living creatures called, appropriately enough, labyrinthodonts. The ages rolled on and still those prehistoric monsters crept and sludged through their labyrinthine wastes over great portions of where Sydney and her environs now stand. Then came the slow uplift of the land. The lagoon beds rose from their slimy depths and became hills and valleys, dark with forest growth, while the labyrinthodonts passed away — for which we are duly thankful — and the kangaroo and blackfellow took their place. So the centuries passed and the white man anchored his ships in Botany Bay, till he sought the northern harbour, affording better anchorage and more ample needs for the settlement he had come to found. The bark and bough wurlies of the blackfellow were displaced by the log and daub huts of the settler; the soil was cultivated, the pastures stocked; roads and bridges and towns were built. The conquest had been won, but still went on — will still go on. And so to-day, barely a century and a half later, twenty miles at most from where I lie if measured as an arrow flies, stand the homes and marts of a million-peopled city. Incredible, yet so it is. It is, I think, just these thousand and one wild places that cling about her skirts, the city's enduring primitiveness equally with her harbour and man-made landscapes, that make for the beauty and the glory of Sydney. Wherefore, it seems to me, our job is not so much to make new landscapes as to preserve the old. We went on down the dappled bush-ways with reverence in our hearts. 

YOU remember, of course, that Stanwell Park is but a few short miles from Sydney. I really cannot say how many. Ask the Tourist Bureau; it is not mileage that makes a road short or long. And high hills and great valleys stretch between. Yet, verily, as we sat on a friendly balcony of the guesthouse at the summit of the road and looked down into that great cup of hills with its golden beach which is Stanwell Park, we might have been a thousand miles away. And the music of the bush was as subtle as a dream and potent with the charm of the untracked wilderness. 'There are more secrets hidden away among these tangled hills than one would ever dream,' said our host.




'Let's climb them, . . but with our eyes instead of our feet.' And he pointed to a corner of the balcony where a six-foot-long telescope stood peering into the valley below. He swept the long gun-like barrel across the valley, focussed it upon the great forested overhang of the hills, and motioned to me to look. 'Don't move it,' he added. 'Keep it there.' I kept it there, all right. No need to shift it. What I saw held me spellbound. Tumbling all over, as it were, that living riot of lichened rocks and greenery was a waterfall three hundred feet high, a silver veil gleaming and leaping among the sun-flecked shades, gleaming and leaping till it disappeared into the jungled depths of the forest below. 'Any more like that?' I asked. 'Why, yes,' he said, as he swung the telescope on to another and yet another. 'And now look with your naked eye. They're gone, you see, hidden, as it were, among the brush of the mountain-side.' 

And so we looked and looked again, down into groves of tree-ferns twenty-five feet tall, down into fairylands of rock and brush and moss where the feet of man have but rarely wandered. We supped with our kindly friends that night, looking down and out upon the little clusters of glow-worms which were the towns of the South Coast. 'That's Scarborough,' said our host, 'where coal was first discovered in New South Wales. And that bigger cluster is Wollongong. On a clear night you can see Shellharbour, too.' 'And now watch that light,' he went on, as a powerful flare lit the far corner of the valley and began to climb the hills. Nearer and nearer came the light, its projected glare playing upon the walls of the balcony, upon the windows, upon the ceilings of the rooms within, like the rays from a giant torch. And now the light is in a direct line with us, searching our faces; another moment and the great glare will have crashed into the house. But no; even as it is upon us it dives below the balcony and is gone. 'Weird, isn't it?' remarked our host. 'You see, this house is built directly above the Otford tunnel — the railway tunnel, I mean — and that flaming torch that seemed about to hurl itself into the house was nothing more than the headlight of a train. She's in the tunnel now — no; she's out again, at the other end,' he concluded, as a far-away rumble trembled across the quiet hills.


The South Coast, Between Clifton and Wollongong

What a week of splendour and adventure it has been! At Thirroul we remembered that it was here that D. H. Lawrence lived during his — seemingly somewhat unhappy — sojourn on these coasts. . . . Sublime Point and Bulli Pass gave us sheer rock walls, down which we looked into wildernesses of palms and creepers, into cow-yards and smoking chimney-stacks, into red-roofed towns, into bays and islands, into the sea. . . . Nor will we forget that magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree at the little village of Pig Tree; the proud villagers acclaim the tree as the largest of its kind on the South Coast, but I have heard that there are many larger ones in the brush forests above Dapto. Ah, yes — Dapto, the home town of Bill Beach, the famous 'Dapto blacksmith' who became the world's champion sculler. . . . The shades of Henry Kendall trudging his way to school came to us at Wollongong; and we liked its friendly coal-mine tucked away among the hills and its Five Islands floating in the Tasman. . . . The Blowhole sucked and spouted for us at Kiama, and Gerringong and Berry were dreams in pasture. 

And so to-night we have come back to build our camp-fire under the looming hills of Bundywalla Valley, with the moon gleaming mistily over the ridgetops. By these quiet hillsides we shall sleep — sleep and wake and see the moon still gleaming; . . sleep and wake and take the roads again. (To be Continued.)

Caravan Road in Eastern Australia (1933, December 6). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 33. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165960307 

After the sojourn 'caravaning' with Will Ashton, of Mosman, Archer settled at Collaroy and by the 1930's, when he was in his 50's, was penning a biography celebrating another Australian as well as penning articles still. He took inspiration from his rambles around Narrabeen Lagoon as well as along the headlands to Newport, bird-watching and celebrating Bird Week being his aim in this instance:

In Honour of Our Birds

Bird Day – August 25

This is Bird Week in New South Wales. Each year appreciation of the value of our feathered friends is growing throughout the community, the Work of the Gould League of Bird Lovers and the nature instruction in the schools doing much to foster interest in 'the most charming things God ever made.'

The Naming of Our Birds
By A. J. Marshall.

ALTHOUGH the check-list of Australian birds is known to contain the names of some of the most brilliantly-plumaged as well as vocally attractive of the world's avian population, it is surprising to consider what inelegant and inappropriate vernacular names were bestowed upon these winsome creatures by early ornithologists and others. To this unfortunate lapse of early workers we may to some extent attribute the lack of publicity, homage, and enthusiasm on the part of Australians towards the feathered denizens of our bushlands. For example, even to-day we find people ready to apologise for the supposed lack of songsters in this country. Yet, on checking the relative numbers of song-birds of England and Australia, we find that the Old Country has only about ninety species, whilst Australia has 345. Famous men. have sung the praises of British birds, such as the thrush, the skylark, and the nightingale, until they are known throughout the entire world. In Australia we have birds which are equally good songsters, much better mimics, and more brilliantly plumaged; yet for the most part they are unknown to all save the country man, who often shoots them for 'sport' or food when the occasion offers. Even if we had the poets capable of doing justice to our birds, how would they overcome such names as 'rufous-breasted thickhead,' 'chestnut - rumped ground-wren,' 'warty-faced honey-eater,' and so on? Yet behind these crude, unpoetic names dwell three of the most winsome birds there is; the first is a magnificent songster, the second a wonderful mimic; and the third one of the world's most beautiful birds. 

FOR many years these fascinating birds went by those painfully unmusical names, and it is only comparatively recently that 'echong' — the 'thickhead' calls 'eee-chong' — has been substituted for he of the rufous breast. The 'ground-wren' has been called 'heath-wren' because it frequents the heathlands, and the 'warty-face' has been renamed the 'regent honey-eater.' There is still a tremendous lot to be done in this connection. Haunting the eastern coast of the continent, and particularly abundant in the shale-lands west of Sydney, is a charming little creature at present masquerading under the names of 'little field-wren' or 'streaked field-lark.' The bird is neither a wren nor a lark; but little errors of that nature apparently did not worry the august bestowers of the names. An admirable title in the children's descriptive name, 'speckled Jack,' is now to be used. Failing aboriginal names, which are often too long and almost unpronounceable, it is the school-children's names we want. The familiar and ever-popular willie-wagtail was once known as the 'black and white fly-catcher,' and the jacky winter as the 'Australian brown fly-catcher.' 

No wonder our birds have lacked proper appreciation. An interesting fact connected with our birds is that some of the most beautiful are also the possessors of outstanding voices. Take, for example, the scarlet honey-eater and the golden whistler, both magnificently plumed and gloriously vocal. Marcus Clarke described the laugh of the kookaburra as 'horrible peals of semi-human laughter.' The Americans call it the 'million-dollar laugh!' 

BECAUSE of the fact that our birds are still comparatively unknown to many Australians, imported birds frequently get the credit for the beautiful songs of the natives. For instance, a person not realising the wonderful capabilities of our own native larks may be prone, upon seeing a lark soaring and singing vivaciously, to think that it is the imported British bird he sees. The famous American mocking-bird is generally thought to be the world's premier mimic, but Americans who have had the good fortune to hear out lyre-bird giving voice to its mimetic powers have willingly conceded that he is the better 'mocker.' Then can be no possible doubt our birds are outstanding among the avian population of the world. Let us hope that ere long they will be recognised as such, and that our sunny land will ever remain a haven for these interesting, beautiful, and, in some cases, unique birds. 

Regional Variation in Bird Song 
By Archer Russell. 

STRANGE that so few of our nature-writers have sought to reproduce in words or music the undersongs and whisper voices of the Australian bush, that vast fantasia by which the natural life and elements of the wilds express their ceaseless urge. The voices of the birds, for instance, with all their differences and valuations in timbre, modulation, meaning, rhythm, and, of course, region, and, as a further instance, that fountain of melodious sound, the song of a mountain forest after rain, with its tarantella of cascading water: bird-music, leaf-song, and the myriad rhythmic creature voices of leaf and mould. So thinking, I cannot but recall two little incidents in bird life which, correlated as they are, will probably show in a more individual way what I mean: the song of the grey or harmonious shrike-thrush heard in the scrubs by Narrabeen Lake as compared with the song of the same species which I used to hear in the Mount Lofty hills, in South Australia. How their dusky-grey throats run a-quiver as the birds send forth their liquid fugue, floating across the trees and hills, blending and reiterating their notes in a seeming endeavour to Recapture The first fine, careless rapture. And yet, to me, in no instance have the melodies of the two birds — the birds of the South Australian hills as compared with the birds I have heard about Sydney — seemed quite alike. 

ON trying to analyse the variation in their songs, it seems to me that the rendition of the harmonious thrush in South Australia is bolder, clearer, and more sustained and rhythmical; while that of the Sydney-side bird is more delicate and subtle, with, perhaps, in one or two of its minor notes, tinge of sadness a little alien to the thrush, which is so pre-eminently a bold and cheerful bird. This regional — and for that matter, seasonal— variation in the song of like species — of which the song of the magpie of the mountain lands, as compared with the song of the same species 0:1 the plains is, to me, a good exemplar — could be made a rich and fascinating study by an able naturalist. It would need a subtle technique and some fine writing, it is true; but in the hands of a master-musician and word - painter with a love of Nature it should not be impossible. Certainly it would open up a theme of exquisite beauty, alike illuminating to Australians as to the peoples of other lands. Indeed, it has long been my opinion, after wide experiences in the wilds of other lands, that the undersong of the Australian bush — owing largely, I think, to its wealth of feathered musicians — has probably no equal in aesthetic appeal in the world.

THE ROSE-BREASTED COCKATOO. A photograph by Donald Thomson, B.Sc., from Cape York Peninsula, where the species is very common and provides a dainty morsel for the aborigine's menu.

THE LILY - WALKER. A comb-crested para and its nest on a North Coast swamp covered with giant blue water-lilies. The photograph was taken near Grafton. In Honour of Our Birds (1933, August 23). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165962592 

Others - there are more under 'Extras' - show he walked or found his way along the whole of our peninsula:

Joys of a Bush Walk
The Narrabeen Lake District
By Archer Russell

I CAN imagine few more pleasant places to wander in than the Collaroy Narrabeen Lake district in New South Wales. Not alone, perhaps. You should have one or two sympathetic, perhaps mildly sentimental, companions; the sort of companions who, understanding your moods and loves, will neither weary you with words nor prove too dull to frame a thought. I think you should start some-where about the Dee Why Lagoon, climb up and over the Collaroy plateau, and end your walk at Narrabeen; and the chances are that you will consummate one of the most delightful rambles of your hiking days. I have tramped this way many times now and have never been disappointed. For instance, there was my little walk taken there last winter. Soft and odorous with Spring was the air on the Collaroy hills as I set out for my walk on a day of sunshine after rain. The rain and dew were on the grass, and the moist earth, first drenched with drifting shower and now by golden sunlight, was letting loose the smell of leaf and mould, a fragrant savour and refreshment to body and soul. Leaving the Dee Why Lagoon at my back, I went up South Creek-road, up Parkes-road— built, they tell me, during the relief-work days of forty-odd years ago — and so along the climbing road that would lead me to the Collaroy plateau. 

EVERY WHERE the rock-strewn way ran roughly up over green slopes of native shrubs, among which, though it was yet winter, were glowing patches of scarlet and pink grevillea. Blossomed here, too the willow-leafed crowea; while here and there the blooms of the bottle -brush lit the green with candles of gold. A solitary bush of the red correa was also seen. On what appeared to be the crown of the plateau I rested on a rocky knoll. It was a happy star that led me here. All the loveliness of the land — its hills and valleys, sea and coast and jutting head land, reef and lagoon, lake and creek, cliff and jungled gully, fern and palm and shrub— lay in view from out that favoured spot. And over all and through all came the song of birds— the liquid piping of the thrush, the plaintive songs of the singing honeyeater, the cries of the peewit— holding carnival among the trees. I realised now — the more so, perhaps, because I had never quite realised it before— that for all my wandering in this part I was far from knowing it well. Truly now I could recall what each walk had brought me— new vistas to explore, new solitudes- to muse in, new gullies and mountain-sides to climb, new creeks and shores to trace, new tracks to wander— an inexhaustible beautiful wonderland. 

I LEFT the road now and descended by a twisty track that led me down through spiny grass-trees and slippery rocks and mire. Every hill oozed moisture and every creeklet went singing in foamy cascades to the lake. A blue gully opened beyond the upper waters of the lake, which now lay below me, and this I knew for Middle Creek; and there, but more towards the westering sun, are the green palms and the red and white club house of the Dee Why Golf Links. The scene is wild and rugged now, embracing the hills and gullies of the French's Forest and Elanora country. On the dark hills are necklaces, tiaras, brooches of shining topaz where the wet rocks scintillate to the sunlight on the ooze. Some day we will climb those wild and forested hills. But to-day we must turn eastward, down along the lakeshores towards the sea, for this is the track that we must follow if we would come to the place for which we started. Rough and rock-strewn track and unmade roads still guard, though I some times think with growing care, these upper waters of Narrabeen Lake. Clearly is it to be seen in wild and lovely half hidden solitudes, the haunts of the hiker and the Nature-lover rather than the gunner and the vandal. There is wild life, too. 

TWENTY feet from where I rested, there beside the lake, lay a blackened log among the shallows. I suppose I had ranged my eyes across that log a dozen times before I noticed that a bird — a big, dark-plumaged bird — was standing on its end. Yet there it was, and must have been for quite a time— standing as rigid as a statue, staring into the shallows. Simultaneously with my seeing it the bird cocked its head aside, rose heavily to the wing, and dropped down again among the rushes. I had missed a close up study of my bird, but it was fine to think that the bittern still found a refuge on these waters. And so the hours passed by, and all too soon the sun went down. Another mile of tramping and the red roofs of Narrabeen showed among the trees, and I heard the pounding of the surf. My little walk was over, but not its memories. Truly it had been a day to be remembered, so peaceful, so interesting, so full of joy it was. Joys of a Bush Walk (1936, February 26). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160638836 

The Amazing and Masterful Gannet

AS I watched the red sun rising over the Pacific, absurdly near to Barrenjoey headland it seemed-a large, long-winged bird, snowy white and black, swept along above the estuary of the Hawkesbury. Some fifty yards off-shore, and at a height of quite seventy feet above the water, it suddenly dived and plunged like a giant javelin to the sea.

Keeping Its wings wide open until almost the very moment of impact, the bird struck the water with a splash and disappeared beneath the waves. Nine seconds I counted; then, as if shot up from below, the bird rose to the surface, and. after shaking the water off its body, with a graceful and unhurried motion sailed aloft again. The terns and the osprey are notable high divers, but neither these nor any other pelagic birds are the equal ol "the gannet. Indeed, as a high-diving expert, the gannet-for such is the bird we have been watch-ing-is supreme among the feathered fishers of the seas.

Unerring Instinct

I have often marvelled at the gannett amazing diving power. Think of it! A- dive of one hundred feet or more-though, of course, the gan-net frequently dives at much lower heights-is not to be undertaken lightly, except by an expert physically and instinctively adapted to withstand the shock of impact. The bird's bill, which is used to part the water, is Iong and powerful, the body well-formed, strong-framed, and buoyant. In Its Plunge into the water, the bird descends to a considerable depth, where, having first seized its prey with its strong serrated bill, it is propelled back to the surface largely by the natural buoyancy of its body. What unerring instinct directs the falling diver to close its wines in that instant before the shock of impact; by what intuitive gift is the fish kept in sight during the course of that flurried Plunge through the watery depths? who would not like to know?

And where do they belong, these wheeling, roving divers of the seas? Thejjtrd we mostly see off our south-eastern and southern coastlands is the Australian gannet (Sula serrator), a denizen of the temperate seas: for gannets are cosmopolitan, and there are northern and tropic species, as well as the one under review. But oula serrator seems to be an exclusively Australasian bird, ranging the southern seas from Freemantle to Brisbane and New Zealand, and breeding on age-old gannetries on islands in Bass Strait, on a rock- off Portland oil the Victorian coast, and on the islands and mainland of the North Island of New Zealand. And what amazing places these nesting stacks are. Peopled with almost inconceivable myriads of hardy sea birds, mewing and moiling among the rocks, the gannetries at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and on the Furneau Group in Bass Strait are counted among the wonder sights of the southern seas.

You naturally wonder, as you approach these gannet-haunted scarps and ledges, how so vast a congregation of birds could make their living from the harvest of the surrounding ocean. But soon, as you climb across the beds of reeking guano, you notice that there are always birds flighting in from the sea. And they come from all quarters of the ocean.

Australian Gannet.

Hundreds of miles those birds have flown, and now, as'they come winging back again, their flight is heavy and laboured, for they are "well-fished," their bodies filled with the prey the fishers have caught in their long rovings among the winds and waves. While the mother birds have sat patiently on the nest, these, the mother birds' mates, have ranged the ocean for food, which, now that they aro back, they will proudly regurgitate at the sitting bird's feet. Can you imagine a land bird setting off on a day-long flight to bring food to its family? Hardly.

Yet, when a storm is raging in Bass Strait and the fish are difficult to sec in the churned-up waters, the gannets from the Furneau Group are believed to fly as far south as the Der-went estuary, a distance of something like three hundred miles. Do they perchance bear In mind the welcome that invariably awaits them at every homecoming? Certainly they have every inducement. As the food-bringer lights gallantly at his spouse's side, the birds greet each other with affectionate cries, each caressing the other as fondly as though they had just met after a long separation. In each nest, which is built of kelp, grass, and twigs, on a flat, cone-shaped base of earth, Is laid one or perhaps two lime-encrusted bluish-white eggs, and these are incubated usually in from twenty-eight to thirty days. On its nesting haunt the gannet remains surprisingly imperturbable, the sitting bird rarely, if ever, rising from its nest when approached; oh this account, it is often called the "booby."

The gannet, with its long, narrow wings, gleaming white and black-tipped, is Indeed a remarkable bird In flight, and although one may enjoy a climb among the rocky confines of its nesting haunts, it h when one sees the bird in its swift and sure movement through the air, or plunging almost vertically Into the waves, that one feels that here are the elements to which It truly belongs. There, whether m storm or calm, Its wheeling, diving, floating form seems to be part of the very spirit of wind and sea-the wind and sea It has so completely learned to love and learned to master. ? There was no weak link in the gannet's chain of physical and sense-perceptive development.

HIGH DIVER OF THE SEAS (1943, December 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17872564

The Australasian gannet (Morus serrator or Sula bassana), also known as Australian gannet and Tākapu - photo taken off Barrenjoey Headland in 2015 - A J Guesdon. Visit: Sea Birds Off The Pittwater Coast: Albatross, Gannet, Skau

Mr. Russell was still living at Collaroy when his wife passed away in 1950. He passed away, August 24th, 1960, then residing at Darling Point although his funeral service was held at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. Essie De Suffren Russell was his beneficiary.

His works are still sought by those who prefer an Australian voice telling Australian stories, although for many, it is Mr. Russell's celebrations of our own birds that still bring delight to readers.

With the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting warmer than normal Spring temperatures, BirdLife Australia is predicting a record-breaking count in one of Australia’s largest citizen science projects.

“Spring is always an exciting time for bird watchers in Australia, not only because it brings an abundance of bird life but it also signals the return of the popular Aussie Backyard Bird Count,” Chief Bird Nerd Sean Dooley said in the lead into this year's Backyard Bird Count.

“Australians will begin to see, and hear, a range of birds returning to their backyards over the coming months, making it the perfect time of year to count,” he added.

Spring also means the birth of many new birds, and data from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count will help BirdLife Australia keep an eye on bird populations across the country. The updated Aussie Bird Count app (available from 1 October) allows you to take part anywhere—not just backyards, but in local parks, botanical gardens, schoolyards or beaches—wherever you might see birds.

The national total will be updated in real time, and the app allows you to see which species are being counted in your local area.

A group of famous Australian bird lovers have been named as Chief Counters for BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count to help count more than 3 million birds in 7 days when the count begins next week.

Leading the diverse group of Australians who share a passion for birds and are supporting the 2019 Aussie Backyard Bird Count:

  • journalist Chris Bath who loves birdwatching with her son
  • radio announcer Myf Warhurst who adores the Superb Fairy Wren
  • actor William McInnes who sees the power in how birds bring people together
  • horticulturalist Jane Edmanson who understands the important link between plants and birds
  • musician John Williamson with a passion for the sounds of Aussie birds
  • comedian Alex Lee who finds the humour in the sights, sounds and names of Aussie birds.

Like the thousands of Australians who will participate in BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count, the Chief Counters bring a range of experiences to the count and have varying levels of birdwatching knowledge.

“BirdLife Australia is delighted to have the support of so many Australians across the country including our Chief Counters who will play a key role in promoting the importance of the bird count to their communities,” Sean Dooley said.

“Like the diversity of bird species in Australia, the mix of Chief Counters highlights the range of people who share a passion for birds. We are excited that our unique birdlife has been able to bring together comedians, journalists, gardening gurus and musicians,” he added.

Pittwaterians, in fact all Australians are encouraged to join Chief Counters across the country and get involved in the Aussie Bird Count from 21-27 October.

Perhaps even tread the trails Archer Russell trod when seeking out his personal favourites - our own Narrabeen to Newport birds!

For events and activities during National Bird Week visit aussiebirdcount.org.au.


Join BirdLife Australia's National Twitchathon - and help birds like this beautiful Bush Stone-Curlew.

Image: Andrew Silcocks

You don’t need photographic evidence, just a keen eye and a sharp ear. Register a team today and show your friends who’s the best birder in 2019.

No time to pull together a team? You can support your state bird or a local team, all funds raised go towards BirdLife Australia's crucial conservation work.

After decades of silence, the wailing calls of the Bush Stone-curlew are ringing out in Canberra. #Twitchathon teams in the ACT are raising funds to ensure future success of the program.

Get involved at: https://twitchathon.birdlife.org.au/

Members of the Australian Ornithological Union at Kangaroo Island. 1905, courtesy State Library of South Australia. Image no: B30126

The Australasian Ornithologist's Union was formed in 1901 as a national group of bird enthusiasts with the objects of promoting the advancement and popularisation of ornithology, the protection of Australia's avifauna, and the publication of a magazine to be called The emu. In 1910, with the granting of a Royal warrant from King George V, it became the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.

Following a period of decline the RAOU was revived in the late 1960s with an increased emphasis on the scientific aspects of ornithology. The RAOU has a number of regional and special interest groups, and established observatories in several States. Major initiatives of the RAOU include the Atlas of Australian Birds project and the publication of the 5-volume Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds (1990 - 2006). In 1997 the RAOU became Birds Australia. As well as publishing The emu the RAOU issued a members newsletter from 1969 (later named Wingspan). [2.]

Sydney session of the Royal Australian Ornithologist's Union, 1921 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-147146986

From left; 1st Row- E.M. Cornwell, Dr E.A. D'Ombrain, A.J. Campbell, A.F. Basset Hull, A.H.E. Mattingley. 2nd Row-Mr[unidentified], Capt. S.A. White, Dr J.A. Leach, Chas Barrett. 3rd Row- W.B. Alexander, M.A., J.E. Chubb, Neville Cayley, Mr [unidentified], J.F.Thomas.


An interesting ceremony took place in St. James' Church, Sydney, on October 31, in connection with the Congress of the Koyal Australasian Ornithologists' Union, to honor the memory of a brother ornithologist. A wreath of flowers was placed upon the tablet erected to John Gilbert, the ornithologist who accompanied Dr. Ludwig Leichardt on the first overland expedition to Port Essington. and who was speared by the blacks on the journey. June 29, 1845. The incumbent of the church, the Rev. W. F. Wentworth-Sheilds, eonducted a short, though impressive, service, and the president of the union (Mr. J. W. Mellor), assisted by the past president (Mr. A. J. Campbell) placed the large wreath of beautiful Australian wild flowers upon the tablet. The tablet bears the motto, "Dulce et decorum est pro seientia mori". HONORING A LONG DEPARTED ORNITHOLOGIST (1911, November 3). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 2 (5 O'CLOCK EDITION SPORTS NUMBER). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209935692

Group photograph of members of the Royal Australian Ornithologist's Union Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-147147498

References and Extras

  1. TROVE - National Library of Australia
  2. Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Wild life in bushland : a nature-lover's tramps / by G.E. Archer Russell ; with foreword by Ernest Whitington

Published in Adelaide : by W. K. Thomas and Co. [s.n.], 1919:  Wild Life in Bushland' is a republication in book form of a series of papers that had appeared from time to time in two Adelaide papers, tho 'Saturday Journal' and the 'Register;' and they were well worth putting into permanent form, for little-known life forms are among those described, and even -when Mr. Russell is talking of familiar birds find boasts, his sympathy and insight odd something to our mental conception of tho animal BOOK OF THE WEEK (1920, February 3). The Farmer and Settler (Sydney, NSW : 1906 - 1955), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article123324638

Most of the book is devoted to bird life from the black swan of the lagoons and the emu of the plains down to the silver-eye of the orchards and the dottrel of the river sand-reaches. One of his notes on the reed-warbler should increase our love for that tuneful little bird: — -

'Somehow I had guessed it would be so. Herald of the warming days as he is, it seemed but natural that his song - the song of the merry little, reed warbler — should come -again with the first warm breath of spring. And so it was; for we had been but a moment among the rushbeds when the old familiar notes came ringing down the river, not in the fulsome song of summer, but lather like the testing notes of the tuner. Time and again, in late autumn and winter, I had wandered down to his old haunts on the river, hoping to  hear his song, but from late January to early August I had heard it but once.

When the summer suns decline he goes away, and his lay is still. He loves not the grey days and the rain, not the chilling wind; these hold no themes for his warbling notes. He is a summer bird, and he voices a summer song, a ballad of blue skies and sunshine, of love and wooing, and the weaving of pretty cradles upon the rush stems.

Thus, for a little while, we will not hear him at his best. Winter must pass and spring time wane ere the rushes ring to the full glory of his song.'  Wild Life in Bushland. (1920, February 13). The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 - 1942), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132523699

Ernest Whitington (1873 – 13 April 1934), known to his friends as "Ern", was a journalist in South Australia, who as "Rufus" wrote the popular Out among the People column in the Register then The Advertiser when those two newspapers were amalgamated.

Sunlit trails : a bird-watcher's tramps and camps in Australia / by Archer Russell

Published in Sydney : by Building Limited, 1930and again in 1931: in Sydney : by Building Publishing Co., 1931 reprint (?)

Building, also known as Building : the magazine for the architect, builder, property owner and merchant, was a monthly magazine published by the Building Publishing Company in New South Wales, Australia from 1907 to 1942. 

Building was first published in September 1907 by the Building Publishing Company, established by George Augustine Taylor and his wife Florence Mary Taylor. The magazine "offered influential commentary on the built environment in Australia for the next half century". Florence Taylor wrote a regular column in the magazine which highlighted women in architecture.

The Taylors are known as the couple who made the first flights at Narrabeen. Visit: First To Fly In Australia, Sunday December 5th, 1909 - George Augustine Taylor and Florence Mary Taylor and Sir Edward John Lees Hallstrom and The House at the End of the Road by Robert Whitelaw

By Archer Russell
112 pp. 7A in. x 5in. Frontispiece. Foreword by Will Ashton. Building Publishing Co. Ltd. Sydney. Price 2/- per copy.

What a pleasure it is to know that there are still a few men left on this globe of ours who appreciate the green earth and sunny hills and their feathered inhabitants, but how much greater is the satisfaction felt when one of these is such an enthusiast as Archer Russell, who is able to impart to us his fancies and philosophy in such a delightful series of impressions as' are contained in 'Sunlit Trails.'.'

The author in his Invocation says ''One of the greatest delights in this trammelled world is the enjoyment of periods of unrestrained freedom. In all my life I have experienced no greater exhilaration than when pursuing an unmapped itinerary. Going a-sauntering. I fear too few of us go a-sauntering nowadays. It has become relegated to the sundowner. 'It is too idle; it brings no monetary recompense,' says the get-rich-quick maniac. 'It holds no excitement,' says the all-week-end card player. 'Life is too strenuous’ says the book student. And perhaps it is all true,' Indeed, it is true. But because it is true, because it brings but little money and little excitement, because it is idle and life is strenuous, let us make up our minds once in a while to go a-sauntering. We needn't be sundowners. We needn't lose our self-respect. We won't lose our self-interest, nor will we be beggared. Let us have our saunter.' . 

Let us indeed saunter through the pages of this little work and browse on such luscious morsels as 'Glimpses by the Waterside,' 'A Columbus Amongst Birds,' 'Of Bird Toilet,' and 'The Land of the Elusive Milage.' Archer Russel is an Australian revelling in his native bush, telling us of our real Australians so let us know our feathered brethren. "SUNLIT TRAILS" (1930, December 17). Construction and Real Estate Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1930 - 1938), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130906910 

Out Among the People
By Rufus

ITS pleasant to renew friendships after a long interval. A few days ago when Will Ashton came to see me and talked about Arthur Russell's little book Sunlit Trails for which the artist's son designed the cover my mind flew back to the days when G. E. Archer Russell used to contribute regularly to the notebook column of the old Saturday Journal. For want of a better non de-plume I christened him G. E. A. R. Yesterday another contributor, who started her literary, career in the same paper called on me. She is Mrs. E. Sandery. I gave her the penname of Kircaldy because she resided there by the sea. It was wonderful bow she could rattle off paragraphs about incidents in town and country. They were very intimate and the vivid words pulsated with life. Mrs. Sandery went to Sydney and had success as a novelist. Under the penname of Elizabeth' Powell she wrote the Beehive and the sequel Sunset Hill. Quite A Tragedy We started chatting and laughing about our misfortunes and Elizabeth Powell said.

'All the outback central Australian scenes in Sunset Hill were taken from memory from another book called Tomorrow's Yesterday, the typewritten copy of which was stolen out of my car in Macquarie 'street, Sydney, when I was catching the train for Adelaide three years ago. In addition to that there were taken a big suitcase of clothes, a folding typewriter, the camera I had taken all through New Guinea, an Jingnsn rain coat, a rug and numerous other articles. I rewrote the whole lost manuscript from memory in Sunset Hill reintroducing the characters from The Beehive. I forgot to tell you a budget of short stories were in the car. I had intended looking through them on the train and posting them in Melbourne as they were ordered. When I pH to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon I found the greatest difficulty in the world in purchasing a toothbrush. ' I retyped the short stories from memory and posted them to the various newspapers. I have a book with an agent in London which will probably be placed this year. It is called Morn. I am at work on a novel for adults entitled Impediment. Yes I travelled on camels through Central Australia. I followed the track of the Horn expedition and I journeyed to New Guinea and went up the Fly River. I contributed articles to the Eastern press on these trips. I had charge of the children's supplement of The Sunday Times till that paper died, and I was social editress of The Daily Telegraph till if changed over, so you are responsible for much in helping me on my way in journalism.' …Out among the People (1931, January 21). The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54170772

Birds : the adventure of living : authentic stories of the life and habits of Australian birds by Archer Russell, Published by Sydney : Fairfax, [1939?]

ARTICLE: AUSTRALIA'S MOCKING BIRDS. Archer, Russell. The Field, May 20, 1939, Vol.173(4508), pp.1148-1149

Archer Russell's Book Chosen

THE Australian Book Society has announced that its April Book Choice is BUSH WAYS, by Archer Russell. The Committee of Selection comprised Miles Franklin, Margaret Trist, B. G. Howarth, and George Farwell. Speaking for the Committee Mr. Howarth says of the Choice: "It is the work of a naturalist-explorer with an eye for beauty and a feeling for style. Many of his observations, helped by photographs, must be unique, and he has the faculty of interesting the ordinary reader in them. BUSH WAYS is probably one of the most valuable and deserving books of its kind that we have had for some time." Archer Russell’s Book Chosen (1946, April 12). Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 - 1976), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206682942 

William James Farrer : a biography / by Archer Russell. Published in 1949

William James Farrer was a leading Australian agronomist and plant breeder. Farrer is best remembered as the originator of the "Federation" strain of wheat, distributed in 1903. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/farrer-william-james-6145

River Wanderer
MURRAY WALKABOUT, by Archer Russell. - Melbourne University Press.

A USTRALIAN writing about the inland has been entering a new heroic age, at least physically speaking. Half a century ago, as the shelves show, a usual title for a book in the "by flood and field" school of the time was "Wanderings of -." In these days it seems to be "Walkabout." The two latest books so strenuously named (the other is Coralie and Leslie Recs's "Spinifex Walkabout," reviewed last week) have appeared independently but almost simultaneously.

The word, in fact, is becoming trite through its frequent appearance; but of all our authors Mr. Russell has probably the best right to use it. His book is a record of more than 20 years of periodical journeying on foot in the Murray Valley. He writes:

"Usually I 'waltzed Matilda' and slept beside my-fire; at other times I carried only a haversack, resting at roadside huts and lodging-houses. I did so for two basic reasons: firstly because I liked walking and felt the urge to walk: secondly, because I could afford no other way. If I varied my mode of locomotion and travelled on horseback, by canoe, motor-car or bicycle, it was only for convenience and generally from compulsion."

He has spent solitary weeks in the dunes at the Murray mouth and along the Coorong, thirsted across the saltbush plains, and roamed through many a long strip of redgum forest; he has camped for an entire six months on the edge of the lower-central Murray where the ancient red cliffs rise high, and he has climb-1 ed about the river's alpine head-waters.

In the book he describes those journeys, tells of what the river used to be and is now with its weirs, locks and barrages, and tells of people encountered. Most of all he writes about birds, for Mr. Russell is a most enthusiastic naturalist. 

"My birds and beasts," he. points out, "are not dead specimens; they are alive and social, and exact a sympathy without which they can never be under-stood." He writes animatedly but (this has to do with the mechanics of it) he does not always write well, as. for instance, when he reports: "That first evening, 1 remember, we camped on a little island filled with the vesper songs of a coterie of white-winged trillers . . ."

Such fragments of Victorian baroque are, however, infrequent, and this reviewer finds them even engaging and the enthusiasm infectious. Mr. Russell has produced a book that is valuable and pleasant because it is deeply informed, honest and, in everything except occasionally the language, unpretentious. -P.G.H. River Wanderer (1953, December 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18399794 

Laughter in the camp / by John Fairfax ; edited by Archer Russell ; illustrated by Lenore O'Brien. by Fairfax, John, Published in Sydney : Warwick Boyce, 1958


Scientist, explorer and author, in Zoology at St. Paul's College, Sydney University Highly popular as "Jock, the Back-Yard Naturalists, " of the A.B.C. National Children's Session. A. J. (Jock) MARSHALL (1941, October 28). Manilla Express (NSW : 1899 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196344811

On return to Australia - early publication (1914) in South Australia of African insights

(By G. E. Archer Russell)

There is an expanse of plateau country lying immediately north of Northern Rhodesia and west of the great Lake Tanganyika, in Central Africa, that is, in my mind, and in the mind of many another, destined to be the copper Eldorado of Africa-the Katanga, or South-Eastern Congoland. Within its boundaries have already been located copper deposits which are said to be the largest and richest in the world, and that is saying a great deal. At Kambove, about 110 miles north of the Anglo-Belgo-Congolese frontier, lies the biggest copper ore body in the world, where, when I was there in May, 1911, the ' crosscut at the 100-ft. level had been driven over a length of 440 ft. with rich ore, as lying in places up to 35 per cent, copper,  and averaging 12 per cent, copper along the whole length, still showing in one of the faces. When I arrived in SoutbI Eastern Congoland from Northern Rhodesia in 1908, the Katanga was to all intents and purposes a land unknown. It lay in much the same state as when Commander Gameron, the African explorer, crossed it in 1872-5, and spoke so optimistically of its wonderful natural resources.

For about 20 years prior to 1902 the Katanga lay practically dormant and undeveloped in the hands of Belgian Concessionaire companies, but 11 years ago (in 1902) a company known as the Tanganyika Concessions, Limited, and entirely British in its inception and character, being under the directorship of Robert Williams, the friend and co-worker of Cecil Rhodes, took the development of the country over, with the result that better progress was soon apparent. However, not until towards the end of 1910 was progress at all sensible. In ' September of that year the northern ex-tension of the southern section of the great Cape to Cairo railway (Rhodes' great project) reached Lubumbashi and the Star, of the Congo mine. It marked the beginning of a new era for Central Africa, for with the, ad vent of the railway the heavy machinery for the mines and works, which had had to be held back, were pushed forward, while prospectors, miners, embryo traders and planters, poured into the country from the south to add to its development. 

In February, 1910, I had erected on the Lubumbashi River a "darga and thatch" trading station, in what was then virgin wilder-ness. It was destined to be the pioneer building of the capital town of the Katanga, for by September of the same year, when the railway arrived, around my little station had been planned and surveyed, and had grown mushroom-like, the Elisaoethyille of to-day with its 2,000 inhabitants. its wide and well-laid-out, streets and avenues, its brick and stone public buildings and dwellings, its clubs, and its re-creation grounds. I am proud of the fact that no less than three Australians (two of whom are Adelaidians) participated in its early development.

In addition to the vast deposits of cop-per ore {there are over 200 "known copper mines in the Katanga), large and rich de-posits of iron, tin, and flux have also been discovered. Unfortunately the tin deposits mostly occur in the dreaded Busanga region of the Haut (high) Katanga, where sleeping sickness, that most awful of tropical maladies, is known to exist. It will, therefore, be some years before the tin country can be safely and profitably exploited and worked. Besides its wonderful mineral resources, the Katanga has a wealth of timber suitable for furniture, building and mine timbering, as also wide areas of country out in the Kasai Basin (which will shortly be tapped by the Lobito Bay-Katanga railway), where grows the rubber vine in rich profusion, as well as other natural products of great commercial value. The Katanga ,is the south-eastern province of the Congo Free State, or "Belgian Congo, as it is now termed, and is administered by Belgium. This is unfortunate in a way, for although the Belgians are now alive to its possibilities and potentialities, it has been mainly won and pioneered by British capital and enterprise. 

The greatest drawback of the Katanga lies in its inaccessibility. It is over 2,400 miles by rail north of Cape Town, while1,200 miles or more lie, between it and its western and eastern seaboards.

Away from the railways, travel and the carriage of goods and supplies and the products of the region, cannot be accomplished by native-transport; and is often difficult and slow.. It is along paths 12 in. wide at the most, and through dense forests and ''msetas" or jungles. There are no roads in Central Africa. It will, therefore, be seen that great difficulty is experienced in the carriage of heavy goods and machinery for. the mines. But this difficulty is being met, and will, in all probability, be overcome in the course of a few years. No-where, in the world is railway construction going on at such a remarkable rate as in Africa. There are at present no fewer than five huge railways, either built or under construction or on the point of being started, that lead into or tap the Katanga. In fact, with the southern section of the great trans-African (Cape to Cairo) line already arrived in the Katanga, the northern part of the same railway wedging down to meet the southern section,'the Lobita Bay-Katanga railway gradually creeping in through Portuguese Angoland to the Katanga, the Matadi-Rasai Basin line already surveyed, with still another line to come east from Nyassai and strongly mooted and favored, the Katanga will in all probability become the greatest railway junction in Africa. With the advent of these rail-ways on to the high plateaux "of Central Africa, new and vast regions, rich in natural. resources, but now languishing to a certain extent, must be opened up to civilisation and commerce.

To my mind, the steady progress now being made in developing tropical Africa affords an object lesson which ought to be of inestimable benefit and value to Australia. With far greater difficulties than would be met in Australia to overcome, such as malaria, sleeping sickness, tse-tse fly, the keeping in subjection of the native races, the physical irregularities of the country, avoiding or bridging wide-flowing rivers and swamps, the great value of the hinter lands of Africa has been realised and their wealth tapped and won. If, therefore, it can be done in tropical Africa, why not, I ask, in tropical Australia? 

I have hitherto mentioned the fact that the Katanga, although Belgian territory, was won and pioneered mainly by British, capital and enterprise, and the same may apply to the whale of Africa. Indeed, through the length and breadth of the continent (and I have wandered over wide portions of it) British influence and enterprise are everywhere seen and felt. This constitutes one of the outstanding features in Africa, and is especially marked in regions under foreign control; notably in the Belgian Congo, in the Portuguese provinces of Mozambique and Zasmbezia, and in Portuguese West Africa or Angola. Of the nations holding power and dominion in Africa to-day, Portugal is the least progressive. Germany only is Britain's rival, and she would displace Britain from supremacy in Africa if she could. Germany is surely training ground, both commercially and diplomatically. It is for Britain to see that German ambitions are not realised.

SOUTH-EASTERN CONGOLAND. (1914, January 10). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5404169

A Book for Christmas
A Fascinating Travel Book

CATTLE camps of Queensland, sheep-dodging and brumby-running in western New South Wales and Central Australia, dingo-hunting, ; opal-gouging, and voyaging down the Darling; trading, hunting, and adventuring in Central Africa. Around these landmarks on the wander-trail of his own life Mr. Archer Russell has written one of the most fascinating travel books of modern times.

"Gone Nomad," the recently published book by this Australian author, is something new. The outback of two continents is the vast canvas upon which he has depicted his wanderings and upon which he has drawn vivid and colorful sketches of life on far frontiers.

There's a Legion that never was listed,

That carries no colors or crest.

But split in a thousand detachments,

Is breaking the road for the rest.

Mr. Russell, now living in quiet retirement at Collaroy, a seaside suburb of Sydney, was for twenty years before the Great War a member of Kipling's Lost Legion-a trail-breaker in little-known parts of the interiors of Australia and Africa. And in "Gone Nomad" he tells of his adventures in these outposts of desert and bush, jungle and veld gripping yarn of Empire-building in sun-scorched and fever-ridden places, the personal memoirs of an unassuming Australian who wanted to see the world.

Archer Russell is no stranger to readers of "The Land." Several of his articles have appeared in these columns, notably "A Saga of the Centre," published in "The Land" Farm and Station Annual this year.

Boundary Rider, Drover 

The first ten chapters of "Gone Nomad" cover his early experiences as boundary rider and drover in northern South Australia - and western New South Wales, opal gouger at White Cliffs, and deckhand on a Darling River "dreadnought."

Adventures in Africa

The next fifteen chapters are devoted to his adventures in central Africa, mainly as a trader in Northern Rhodesia and the southeastern Congo; and the final three describe his wanderings up the east coast of Africa, to Aden.

Absorbing and colorful as the whole story is, probably the most interesting chapters are those in which Mr. Russell tells of his trading and hunting experiences in Africa.

As a trader he came into intimate contact with the natives and made the acquaintance of all the whites in his district, as well as numerous birds of passage-queer characters, many of them with an international record, all of them interesting.

The author's trading expeditions took him out among the negro tribes far from his post-often into hostile territory-and, as he had, to keep his carriers in meat, his hunting adventures were numerous and thrilling.

Menaced by Monkeys

There was, for instance, the time when, after shooting a baboon, one of a large mob, the author and; his native carriers found that the rest of this tribe of monkeys had turned on , them, creeping through the jungle, grimly intent on surrounding them:

"Back, shoulder to shoulder!" I bawled in native dialect. "Back' for your lives!"

And back we went, stumblingly, but never once dropping our eyes from that pack of grimacing, gibbering, half-human forms creeping upon us. Had the pack completed its encircling movement, once drawn its cordon around us, our doom would have been quick and sure.

They would have torn us limb from limb and scattered the gory fragments through the forests. As it was we escaped only by the proverbial "skin of our teeth."

Elephant Hunting

Tracking man-eating leopards to their lairs, and hunting elephants for their tusks, were not the least exciting of the author's adventures in Africa. To be a successful elephant hunter, says Mr. Russell, one had to possess:

(1) infinite patience. .

(2) a knowledge of forestcraft of the highest order.

(3) the ability to subsist for days on a pocketful of dried meat. 

(4) the ability to walk a hundred miles through trackless forest, practically without rest.

(5) absolute coolness in the face of danger.

(6) dead-sure marksmanship.

In short, to be an elephant hunter one needed an inflexible will, a constitution of iron, a flawless mind, a. perfect .body, extraordinary alertness, complete self-control.

"I found I possessed all but six of these half-dozen qualifications," Mr. Russell modestly adds.

. "Gone Nomad" is a book that will hold your absorbed interest from the first page to the last.  [GONE NOMAD (Angus and Robertson, Ltd., Sydney). By Archer Russell. 7/6. Our copy from the author. ] A Book for Christmas OUTBACK ADVENTURES IN TWO CONTINENTS (1936, December 4). The Land (Sydney, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104195566 

An Australian Marco Polo

"WE do well to keep our minds adventurous and curious." writes Archer Russell in one of his books. He has lived to that prescription.

He is a writer with a literary style of grace and charm. He is a lover of good books. Yet he has not been in any way a cloistered student. Rather, he has followed the rainbow of adventure and, to quote again his own words: —

“IN chasing my rainbow I have in turn chased mules; herded sheep; rounded cattle; ridden brumbies (or tried to) ; trapped wild dogs ; hunted elephants and leopards; been besieged by lions; ambushed by buffaloes; have dodged assegais and arrows, shells and bullets; slept with a cobra; traded ivory and rubber; delved for gold; gouged for opal; fossicked for diamonds; made money and as surely lost it; starved; thirsted; fought and drunk." 

None of this is the boasting of an egotist. Archer Russell is one of the most modest of personalities, quiet-voiced and as likeable as he is retiring, a man who awakens instant responses of respect. 

In addition to the above list of achievements he has been cricketer, footballer, amateur boxer, author, naturalist, original Anzac, orchardist, member of Royal Zoological Society, vice-president of Fellowship of Australian Writers, river-canoeist, bush-walker, and now, living in retirement on a cliff-top at Collaroy, NSW, overlooking the Pacific, he is working on a "Life of William Farrer," the man whose work on wheat is estimated to have saved Australia to date approximately £400,000,600. 

Archer Russell was born In Port Pirie, SA, on June 16, 1881. His father was a farmer and contractor. When Archer was three the family moved to Adelaide, where he grew up and attended North Adelaide State School and Christ Church C of E School. When he was just on fifteen he went as jackeroo on a sheep and cattle station near Lake Gardiner, out on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain. During two years there he became on sitting terms with buck -jumpers and friendly terms with aborigines, in whose lore he is greatly interested. After other wanderings —roving and opal-gouging, and as a river-boat hand — he took a job in a stock-brokers' office in Adelaide for a couple of years, saved some money, and in 1907 decided to move on. Three regions beckoned — China, Patagonia, Africa. He tossed a coin. Africa won. He landed in Durban, wandered north to Bulawayo, in South Rhodesia, heard of a job as trader and bookkeeper, right next-door at Kanshansi, in Northern Rhodesia. It was only a thousand miles from Bulawayo. 

A new section of the proposed Cape-Cairo railway took him to a place called Broken Hill, and he walked the over 250 miles, with native carriers forming a safari or caravan. After a stay there he went, with an American as partner, into Belgian Congo and established a trading post on the Lubumbashi River, in the vast Katanga territory. Trade prospered. The American seemed an honest man. One day, as from nowhere, a man with a theodolite arrived, stared at the trade-store, and announced that he had come to survey Elisabethville to be capital of the Katanga territory He added: — "And, Name of Deity ! Monsieur, your post is in the centre of the town." 

During six years in Central Africa, Archer Russell visited Victoria Falls, six times; inspected the mysterious ruins of Zimbabwe, rumored to be the site of legendary King Solomon's Mines; met King Albert of Belgium; learned five native dialects, and got malaria. He came back to Adelaide to recuperate, returned a year later to the Lubumbashi, and found his partner had vamoosed. So had Russell's share of the funds, about £6000. He tried prospecting for diamonds in Transvaal, returned to Belgian Congo, spent a term, and saved money, as overseer at Star of Congo. From there he set off for China, reached Zanzibar, heard of a job in German East Africa, landed at Dar-es-salaam. That was in 1912. 

There he was arrested as a spy, and though no charge was made against him, he was told to get out. 

The War of 1914 was brewing. He wandered to Mombasa, Nairobi, and next to Aden, where he set out to establish trade in Yemen. British soldiers brought him back. Political complications were feared. Next to Bombay, on his way to China, then Colombo. There, severe malaria. 

He returned to Australia about the beginning of 1914. Shortly afterwards war broke out. He enlisted the first day volunteers were called for, went with the AMC attached to 10th battalion, was at The Landing, spent six months on Gallipoli, then, wounded and ill, was invalided to London. There he met and married a nursing sister, Annie Marion Gammon of London. 

Back in Australia in 1918 he worked in a Government office for a while, then took up an orchard property at Renmark, SA, which did well till the locking of the river ruined his land by salt and seepage. 

Meanwhile Archer Russell had started to write, and as far back as 1920 became a valued contributor to "Smith's Weekly." Subsequently, via the "Sydney Mail," he became feature writer to "The Sydney Morning Herald," and later, over initials "AR," chief book reviewer, his work being memorable for scholarly style and informed judgment. 

He has travelled extensively over Australia with John R. Fairfax. When his engagement with "SMH" ceased a while ago, Archer Russell for a while reviewed books for the Communist "Tribune." It is possible that his friend John Fairfax, at this juncture, might have regarded him as having gone wrong. Certainly he had not gone Right. To-day, more or less retired, he is 'working on his "Life of William Farrer." 

His works, some published in London, some in Sydney, include "A Tramp-Royal in Wild Australia," "Gone Nomad," "Sunlit Trails," "Truth About Spain,"  "The Adventure of Living,"  "Birds of Australia" (of which 55 20,000 copies sold in three 55 months) and, recently "Bush Ways." He is an authority on Australian wild life. 

If Archer Russell decides to write an autobiography it will need to be a ten-volume job. Life, for him, has been a rare combination of mental, and physical adventurousness. An Australian Marco Polo (1946, October 26). Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article240010205 

“Fitz” on a wanderer: Seventy-two-year-old Archer Russell, whose Murray Walkabout has just been published by Melbourne University Press, set out to see the world at 14, carrying a swag alone for 200 miles in his native South Australia. At 16 he was mustering cattle and sheep-dodging, brumby-hunting in the wild Everard Ranges and droving cattle down the Birdsville track. Followed years as an overseer west of the Darling, deck-hand on a Darling River wool-boat and opal-gouger at White Cliffs. In 1908 he went to Africa; got a job with a trading concern on the Congo-Zambesi Divide; traded with another in the Katanga region of the Belgian Congo, dealing mostly in rubber, ivory and native-grain and doing a good deal of big-game hunting on the upper Congo; visited Victoria Falls six times; explored the famed Zimbabwe ruins. Arrested as a spy in German East Africa, he was released owing to lack of evidence; came War I and he was with the A.I.F. on Gallipoli.

In the ’twenties he tried Centralia —on camel-back —covering the Musgrave and western Macdonnell Ranges and the Finke River country from the river’s source. He’s written close on a dozen books, the best of which are A Tramp Royal In Wild Australia, Gone Nomad and Bushways; also a biography of William Farrer.

A slightly-built chap, brisk in his movements and an alert talker, Russell has a passionate love of Australian birds. Years ago I saw him tackle and put to rout a gang of young louts, one of whom had wantonly shot a kookaburra. Vol. 74 No. 3850 (25 Nov 1953) The Bulletin Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-526823738 


Mr. Will Ashton, the accomplished South Australian artist, was expected back in Adelaide this month from England, where he had intended to stay for a considerable time. The war, however, has upset everything, and Mr. Ashton's health has not been thoroughly satisfactory since he went to London. He would have gone to the front in some capacity but for a physical defect, for which he was rejected. Latest news from Mr. Ashton is to the effect that he has decided to remain in England for a while longer, and he is now residing at the famous art centre, St. Ives, Cornwall, where he has taken the studio of Mr. A. Talmadge. Some fine pictures of St. Ives and the fishing fleet have been seen from Mr. Ashton's brush in Adelaide, and there is a large canvas now in the Art Gallery of the boats. PERSONAL (1917, February 7). Critic (Adelaide, SA : 1897-1924), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article212168950 


A robust young man of medium height with a complexion bronzed by the suns of many lands, Will Ashton, apart from his subject matter, is entirely different from most of our landscape painters (writes V. F. M. in The Sydney Evening News). He owes much to the teaching of Julius Olsson and A. M. Talmage, and the influence of Olsson is readily seen in his preference for water subjects, and in his adoption of the modern impressionist method of representing light. 

Born in York, England, in September, 1881, Ashton came to Australia with his parents three years later. His father, James Ashton, has been painting and teaching in Adelaide ever since. Will was educated at Prince Alfred College, and received his first training as an artist in his father's classes. In 1900 he journeyed to England and studied at the Olsson-Talmage studios. He then went to the Academie Julien in Paris and worked for two years under the direction of Professors Baschet and Schommer. After an absence of five years he returned to Australia and exhibited his work in the principal cities of the Commonwealth. 

In 1912 he left again for Europe and spent two years painting in Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, and Egypt. He returned again to Australia in 1914, held further exhibitions and set off for Inland again in 1915. He acted as adviser to the Governors of the Adelaide Gallery in the purchase of works, and obtained for them some fine examples of Arnesby Brown and Hughes Stanton's work. Ash-ton was appointed an examiner for the Royal Drawing Society of London, and was made a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy and other English and Continental exhibitions, and won an H.M. at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, U.S.A., in 1913. He won the Wynne prize of the Trustees of the N.S.W. Gallery in 1908, and is represented in that, the Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth Galleries. Ashton has settled in Sydney. His cheerful disposition and enthusiasm for art make him popular among his fellows. WILL ASHTON. (1923, January 26). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63824742 


The Chief Justice (Sir Philip Street) on Saturday officially opened the Manly Art Gallery and Historical Collection on the West Esplanade. The scheme was inaugurated in 1924, and the con-tents of the new building are valued at more than £3000. Many well-known artists are represented in the collection, which includes paintings by Messrs. Will Ashton, Charles Bryant, Dattilo Rubbo, Syd. Long, Lawson Balfour, Lister-Lister, Fred Leist, Muir Auld, and W. A. Bowring. OPENING OF THE MANLY ART GALLERY. (1930, June 18). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160631730 


Lady Game who was accompanied by Miss Crowdy visited the Manly Art Gallery last Friday afternoon at the invitation of the trustees and inspected the pictures in the gallery which is the only municipal one in Australia. Lady Game was received by Mrs. W. Hermon Slade and Mr. Charles Bryant. Mrs. Slade invited a number of her friends to inspect the gallery on the same afternoon and later entertained them at afternoon tea at her residence in Manly. Those present included Lady Barlow, Lady Fuller, Misses Fay and Joan Fuller, Mrs. H. L. Quick, Mrs. John Garlick, Mrs. Longfield Lloyd, Mrs. A. C. Godhard, Mrs. E. C. Riddle, Madame R. Kuraz, Mrs. E. A. Buttenshaw and Miss A. Buttenshaw, Mrs. C. Gourlay, Mrs. Frank Chaffey, and Miss L Chaffey, Mrs. V. Aveling, and the Misses Aveling, Miss Alice J. Bryant, Mrs. Will Ashton, Mrs. E. Wunderlich, Mrs. J. M. Maddrell, Mrs. J. J. C. Bradfield, Mrs. Alfred Dickson, Mrs. H. R. Moodie, Mrs. W. Daniels, Mrs. H. Horsfield, Mrs. R. McKinnon, Mrs. Vernon Cole, Mrs. Nesbit, Mrs. H. Earlham, Mr. Chas. J. Bryant, Mr. Lawson Balfour, Mr. and Mrs. Neill, and Mrs. W. Edwards. PARTY AT MANLY. (1930, October 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16722241 


Manly Municipal Council has appointed the following committee for the Manly Art Gallery and Historical collection: Messrs. Will Ashton, Lawson Balfour, P. W. Gledhill, J R. Jackson, H. R. Marriner, Alderman R Miles and P. L. Nolan. Cav. A. Dattilo-Rubbo. Messrs. W. Herman Slade, J. V. Strong. J. Stuart Thom, and J. R. Trenerry. The committee has reappointed executive officers as follows: Chairman, Mr. J. R. Trenerry: hon. secretary, Mr. H. R. Marriner; hon. treasurer, Mr. P. W. Gledhill. During 1936 more than 38,000 persons inspected the collection. MANLY ART GALLERY. (1937, January 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17308290 

Will Ashton's Fine Show

When, about 10 years ago, Will Ashton made a bonfire of 250 of his canvases In his backyard at Mosman, he showed his disrespect for the past stages of his own artistic evolution. At his exhibition at David Jones's the fruits of his critical intolerance of incompetent work are seen in a very impressive array of sound painting. Perhaps there is too strong a suggestion of competence in the hard execution of some of the landscapes, especially in those canvases in which the clear light of Spain gave no softness to his edges or repose to his color. The continual insistence on the sharp definition of fact gives some canvases an impression that is tiring to a temperament less gusty than that of Mr. Ashton. This impression is most marked in No. 63, "Marbella, Spain, Prom My Hotel," a National Gallery purchase, and in No. 9, "Algeciras, Spain, Before the Revolution," where the rows of white Spanish houses have the factual brilliance of a set of false teeth. 


Mr. Ashton's palette is a percussion instrument rather than a stringed instrument. No. 2, "Place St. Pierre, Sospel, France," and No. 29, also painted at Sospel, are lovely canvases, serene and untouched by the over-characterisations evident in his other work. The most successful pictures brought back by Mr. Ashton from his recent tour seem to be the Paris and Marseilles street scenes. No. 21, a remarkably fine canvas, is probably the best of the group. In this the artist's acceptance of his material is not embarrassed by an over-opulence of nature. Mr. Ashton looks for "facts," and is not as happy in his English landscapes where he has little else to paint but varieties of green. The exhibition will be opened today by Mr. B. J. Waterhouse, a trustee of the National Gallery. Will Ashton's Fine Show (1936, November 18). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246973780 


Sospel is the uncommon name which Mr. and Mrs Adrian Ashton, whose marriage took place on Saturday night, have chosen for their new home. It Is called after a small town between Italy and Prance, which was painted by the bride-groom's father, Mr. Will Ashton, who is the director of the National Gallery, and the picture was bought by his Excellency Lord Gowrie.

The house, which is in Hopetoun-avenue, Mosman, was designed by the bridegroom, and built of white bricks, and has a red tile roof and blue doors and shutters.

The bride, who was Miss Lesly Willis, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Willis, of Mosman, was given away by her brother, Mr. Harold Willis. She chose a, parchment chantilly lace gown, which she worn over parchment satin. Cut on classical lines, it had a v-neck and a train cut into the skirt, and long sleeves. Her cut tulle veil was arranged with a pleated halo of tulle arranged, and posies of orange blossom on either side of her head. Magnolias and gladioli formed her bouquet.


Misses Biddy Willis and Patsy Robinson, Who were the bridesmaids, were gowned in powder blue taffeta, which was made plainly In front and had a double row of frills at the back. They carried sheafs of salmon pink gladioli.

The bridegroom was attended by his brother, Mr. Colin Ashton, is best man, and Mr. Jack Wangie as groomsman. The wedding took place at St. Thomas' Church, North Sydney, and the ceremony was performed by Canon Baker The ushers were Messrs. Frank Willis, Jack Willis, and Basil Ashton.

Roses and frangipani were used to decorate the Neutral Bay Club, where the reception was held. A black lace sows s_u$ black hat were chosen by Mrs. Willie, and she carried red roses. ASHTON-WILLIS. (1937, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17303080 


A wedding of local interest was that of Miss Margaret Harris and Mr. Colin M. Ashton, which took place at St. John's Darlinghurst, on September 12. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Lucas.

The bride, who is the second daughter of the late Canon Harris and of Mrs. Harris, of "Bevis," Peel Street, Bathurst, was given away by her brother, Mr. E.C. Harris of "Tyrie," Trangie, with whom she has often spent a holiday here. She wore a becoming ankle length frock of heavy white crepe, embroidered with gold beading. Her cut tulle veil was held in place by gardenias, and she carried a sheaf of cream stocks, hyacintha and rock lillies. She was attended by her sister, Miss Elizabeth Harris, in a full skirt-ed frock of ice blue tulle over taffeta, with a matching taffeta jacket. Her tulle veil was held in place with a spray of pink flowers, and she carried a posy of pink sweet peas and blue hyacinths. The bridegroom, who is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Will Ashton, Tivoli Street, Mosman (the former a director of the Sydney Art Gallery), was supported by his brother, Cpl. Basil Ashton, who acted as best man. The reception was held at Vere Matthews, in King Street, where Mrs. Harris, smartly dressed in black with a posy of purple shades, received close relatives of the bride and bride-groom. Mrs. Ashton was unavoidably absent as she was in hospital recovering from an operation. Mr. and Mrs. Ashton will make their home at Mosman. WEDDING BELLS (1942, September 25). Narromine News and Trangie Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1955), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article99985999 

A few More Songs About Birdsongs by Mr. Archer Russell + Extras

Outdoor Australia (1930, December 31). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159657939

[All Rights Reserved.]
[By G. E. Archer Russell.]

"You call them thieves and pillagers; but know 

They are the winged wardens of your farms." . . . " —Longfellow. 

Upon our awakening at red dawn, there comes to us across the waters the faint faraway whistle of birds. It is the whistling eagles leaving their eyries in the big redgums by the river. The cry has scarce died away when a butcher bird will call; end as it is now autumn we hear him in his sweetest mood. Simultaneously there comes a flutter in the foliage, and a "wagtail chatters 10 feet above our heads. Portents of a great movement, every one. Night's slumbers over, the day birds are astir. These gumlands and riversides ring with the melody of birds. From earliest morn to an '.hour after sunrise, and from mid-afternoon to the after glow of sunset, the air is vibrant with songs blending in one harmonious whole. -For let it not be thought that because the calls of this bird are less musical to your eats than the voice of that, there is song in the one and not in the other. Far be it. The eerie dawn cry of the eagle, the melancholy—to you— notes of the ground dove are much a part in the full symphony orchestra of the forest as the mellow fluting _of the thrush. Each has its meaning as sweet is the other. ID each is a song of love and wooing, or a paen of praise from a happy heart. Beautiful is the forest, font the morning song of •the forest birds is the crowning glory of it all. Nor even in the interval are. the voices of the forest vocalists wholly still. Some bird—it may be this bird or it may be that—is always calling. The difference is in the unison and the volume. You now ' no longer "hear the birds as a massed choir, but as vocalists singing their own separate and distinct little songs. Wonderfully concordant is the birdlife of the valley. One sees or hears but few dissensions. Each bird-class has its own sphere and habitat, and, in the main, rigidly adheres to them. There is little trespass. Thus, if we would watch the tiny tit-warbler at work we look into the mallee tops; surprise the bablers at play, we lurk among the underbrush; see the ponderous pelican, we mast hide by the sandbars; gaze upon the ibis, the spoonbill, and the swan, we linger on. the backwaters. In time, the reason and wherefore become as plain to you as A B C. AH has -chiefly been regulated by -the food the birds eat, and where such food Abounds. The titwarblers haunt 'the treetops because it is there the leaf scale and other minutae mostly thrive. The babblers are also insectivorous, but they hunt for bigger game —such a woodborers. beetles, moths—and find them by assiduously scratching the forest floor among the fallen bark and loaves. Also, they love to play among the undergrowth, and thus, between food-getting and play, more often frequent the ground than the Air. 

The pelican abides on the sandbars, because where sandbars ere shallows lie, wherein he fishes for the "pieberrie," bony bream, end shrimps, which form his staple food. The ibis and the spoonbill love tie swamps and backwaters for the small snails and mussels and from that abound: the swan for the vegetable matter which grows in the shallows. In our tramps through the flimlands we are never far on our way ere the sunlit aisles are wakened by a series of liquid notes so appealingly rendered as to arrest the ear at once, and we pause awhile to catch the melodious song.- What can be this creature gifted with a voice so fine! Why, 'tis none other than—

". . . . the thrush undaunted, unfeprest, who carols thinking of his love and nest. . . . " 

I always look upon the grey or Harmonious shrike thrush—for by these names is our best-known species called'—as among the finest of Australian songsters, not alone for the variety of his songs, but also for the mellow richness and. far-sounding 'quality of his voice. In the woodland groves his liquid notes fall upon. the responsive ear as from a flute. I have staged the thrush upon every chance occasion, end now am thoroughly convinced that he Is one of the recognised alarm birds of the wilds. A cracking of a twig underfoot and, if a thrush be near about, you ere bound to hear his call. "Fly! Fly! Fly! here comes a white man," it seems to say, and instantly every bird voice is hushed, the bush becomes tense with silence.' . . . The alarm call of the thrush is seldom disobeyed. 

The thrush is not the sole guardian of the bushland peoples. His duty is shared by those garrulous squeakers, the noisy minahs, and these are never absent from the forest. But, whereas the warning voice and manner of the thrush are incomparably sweet and tender, the "squeaker” is peevish and ungraceful, and he is little beloved of the birds. Possibly, his blatancy is not so much a. desire to warn his fellow creatures of danger as to shower his dislikes upon the intruder. He is a comic bird, is this noisiest of honeyeaters, is never so comic and garrulous as when worrying the butcher birds. A pair of butcher birds come frequently to" our camp. If we do not see them arrive, or ' the queer old crow-shrikes themselves fail to apprise us of the fact, we are nonetheless soon aware that they are here. The squeakers tell it to us at once. For the jacks are no sooner settled in the gums than half a score of mtnaliB follow in their wake, not, indeed, to the same tree, but to one that is adjacent. And what a hullabaloo there is to be sure. The squeaking is never ending. Not that the jacks take much notice of the minahs; no two birds could show more indifference. They just sit unperturbed as long as they like, and move only when they desire to do so. This demeanour of the minahs toward the butcher birds makes one think. If it happened in the nesting season only, one could more readily understand it, but the apparent aversion of the minahs to the jacks is carried into all seasons of the year. Of course, we all know what a mischievous old rascal the butcher bird is; bos- in his bloodthirsty moments he will strike down the smallest and more helpless of his feathered folk, spitting his victim on a thorn or pointed twig until such time as he would devour it flow, too, in his rascality—and lie re we find it hard to forgive him—he preys upon the eggs and fledglings in the nests. But, then, he surely would sed: to prey upon the foinak itself. Aye, but he might upon their nests. And here we have it, I think. Here’s the explanation—the minahs, steadfast antipathy and shadowing of the butcher bind, is probably nothing more or less than an inherent "understanding of what th^; latter bird will, and does do, in nesting time, when the opportunity presents itself. Still, when all is said, there is something good and Ioveable in both minah and butcher bird, and I, for one, will never seek to destroy them. In - 'Nature's balance the butcher bird, and the minah, also, have each their place and purpose. That they fufil their purpose we may be equally sure. When the cool crisp winds of Spring had drifted by, and the Summer shine had come, came also the masked and whitebrowed wood swallows, those elfin lovers of sun and woods. What times we have stood among the trees to watch their lightsome wheetings overhead, as they hawked the (insects of tie air. But their stay -in the valley was not long. A mouth of summer still remained, when they disappeared. every one. Apparently, they do not prognosticate so well as the other migrants, which mostly defer their departure to this day most tamely for it. Or is it that they do not care to take the risk? At any rate, how utterly misfitted they would look, these birds of essential warmth and shine, in bleak and stormy weather. Synchronal with the arrival of the two wood swallows appeared the rainbow birds and fairy martins, and these remained with us much longer. Neither oi these birds departed from the valley until the last week of February, and then they seemed to 'leave together, not at the one hour, nor in the one flock, of course, but seemingly within a day or so of the other. At all events, during the week both birds wore observed in •numbers, and then suddenly, neither fairy martin nor rainbow bird could we descry. Both had gone, vanishing, it seemed, on the dawn of day. There ere few birds so handsome, and none more graceful, than the rainbow. Every day for months on end when the summer sun did shine, they came to wheel and glide above our camp, their bright, spine-tailed liveries flashing in the sun. And so, unanimously, we accorded them a place among the peers in the kingdom of the birds. Hawking above the pastures for insects of the air, the rain-... often sing a soft tinkling trill, sweet at any time of day, but especially so when heard in the quiet glow of sunset. Listening to their vesper hymns from afar was like hearing the song larks singing down the breeze. 

Equally pleasing birds to us, though not so- "rich an raiment clad’' are the oriel swallows, or fairy martins, they which build the bottle nests in the river cliffs. For these are some of Nature^ most able potters, and never so happy or so busy as when ' hunting or building. Wonderful constructions, these nests of theirs. Watch them as they -build. Ah, there they go, in endless flight* passing and repassing, cliff to river, raver to cliff, every one bearing in its bill as it leaves the waterside, a little pellet of mud for addition to their nests. And now examine the nests. See, they are in all stages of construction, sou.-o just begun, others quarter built, half-built. nearly built, and. yes, a few are ready for habitation, and all cosily lined with feathers and down. The colony when complete will contain 30 nests. Each bird, you see, is doing his bit and doing so well. For they are communal workers all but, mark you, they have no drones among them. These are birds; not humans. All through the summer they will treed, nest, and feed their young, hunt, repair their nests, and roost. Some are already on the wing, cleaving the open spaces of the river in quest of insects. Fleet of wing and enduring, none were better made for the service of mam. If you search the creek that winds down to the river through the Gully of the Pines, or indeed, any other creek of a like Mature in our neighbourhood, you will observe here and there in the sand facts of the walls, round perforations about the size of tennis balls. Just little holes that some one might have made by thrusting a pole into the soft earth. But they are more than holes; they are tunnels, passage ways leading into the nesting chambers of the black and white swallows or sand martins. Wonderfully social are the sand martins. One evening, as we stood observing their nests from the opposite wall, we saw a remarkable sight— the emergence of no less than 43 martins from one and the same tunnel. I had never seen anything like it before. First, two popped out, then two or three more, coming slowly and a little hesitatingly in the beginning, but faster and more fast as if pushed out by pressure from within, until the- "popping ' grew to a quick succession of darting foiaia that cleaved the air above us and were gone. Forty-three sand martins in on nesting a community! And there still remained some doubt as to whether the chamber had been emptied. For long -... -felt tempted to improvise a ladder and excavate into this cave village'' of the birds, but I did not do so. For who could do it? Who could despoil the work wrought by such infinite patience and resource. That passage way, probably not an inch less than 3 ft. deep, together with the nesting chamber or chambers to which it led, had been drilled, picked, and carried away, grain by grain, inch by inch. by the tiny 'bills of the birds. Weeks and weeks of work had been involved, the result being a home of which the birds were evidently justly satisfied and -proud. To excavate into the chamber would be to ruin it all without possible hope M repair. And so. casting the tempter aside, I left the nest untouched, and trust it may ever be so. 

Although of great economic value, the members of the swallow family are not generally accorded the name of songster, in the sense in which I’ve know the word. Yet; there is at least one among them that is gifted in no mean degree. It’s the male of the welcome swallows when he sings his love songs at dawn and eve to the ears of his listening mate. We have heard him often these months of March to May—he of the jolly pair which have their domicile in yon tree hollow. A pretty melody at any season of the year is the song of the little "welcome" father, but never so sweet as when he is espousing his mate for the nesting season to come. 

Among the multitudinous songs that combine to give our camp its sounding harmony, none is so beloved by us as the chatter and trill of the Shepherd's companion, the willy wagtail of our youth. The voices of these birds are seldom still. 

Awake and about by day, and by night they hardly know what weariness is. "What d'yer think yer doing?" enquires a small shrill voice in the wee hours of a moonlit morning. "What d'yer think yer doin'?" indeed. Well might we have asked of him what he, pray, was doing at so early an hour. But we knew from whom the perky enquiry came, and so had no need to question. It was Master Wag, out on a night's foray among the thrips and mosquitoes, those perritlential sprites that drone night-long among the foliage overhead. Wag is a magnificent worker in man's behalf. One could never know a dull moment with wagtails for company. They are what I have called them, "wags," every one. Such friendly little chaps, too, and such genial and cheery hosts. I was going to say guests, but remembered in time to avert a misnomer. It is we who are the guests end (they the hosts. The birds do not depend on us: it is we who depend on them. GUMLAND AND RIVER (1920, September 11). The Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1923), p. 6 (Sports Results Edition). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200886852 

OUT OF DOORS COMMENTS ON NATURE No II. NIGHT BIRDS Of the Australian Bush and Rivers By G. E. ARCHER RUSSEL R.R.A.I.  OUT OF DOORS (1927, October 29). Saturday Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1929), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199276640 


Sir.-I was an interested reader of Miss B. M. d'Alpuget's article titled "Our Rich Dead."
But might I be allowed to point out that, the beautiful lines quoted at the conclusion of an otherwise admirable article are not the work of Masefield, but of Rupert Brooke? The sonnet, of which the lines referred to form a portion, is one of two incomparable poems titled "The Dead." and may be found in "1914 and other Poems." Also, the concluding two lines are misquoted. These should read:
That men call age: and those who would have been
Their sons, they gave, their Immortality.
I am, etc.,
Collaroy, July 25.

AUSTRALIA'S RICH DEAD. (1936, July 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17255577 

A Naturalist's Notebook.

He is a tuneful fellow, a most elegant little forest gentleman, in his snowy white cravat, coal-black cap, and shining green and gold coat, blackbanded across the breast. We call him Golden Whistler, and never was name more fitly given. For his voice is ap rich with harmonies as his coat is with gold-the pipes of a feathered Pan that whistle and float through the jungle shades from silver dawn to grey eve.

No, don't say you've never seen him. We've all seen him. In Kangaroo Valley, among the quiet headstreams of the Minnemurra, and on the mountain road of the Macquarie Pass we have heard his piping whistle along almost every mile of the way. His dwelling Is among the green-mottled loveliness of the jungle gullies and in the recesses of the forest, and when he pipes his pleasing tunes, of which he has a rich and varied repertoire, his little white cravat pulsates with the spirit of his music.

Hen of a Golden Whistler on her nest in forest bush.

"Twitty, twitty, twitty, chew-oo-whit." That's him, the little wood-god. And again: "Which are we, which are we"; and then, "When he eat he chew, when he eat he chew." Why, the little rascal must have been watching us at breakfast.

It was a late October day on the Illawarra hills I had long wanted to get photographs of golden whistlers going about their inner privacies of life, and had sought far and wide for a nest, but find one I could not. But now, hard by off a breeze-swung sassafras tree, his form a mere part of the sun-dappled greenery at his back, sat the very sprite with whom I was concerned. Would he show me his nest? I wondered. The thought had scarcely crossed my mind when, light as thistledown, a white moth rose from the grass, fluttered up against the tree, and fluttered again. The whistler saw it at once, and, i though his kind wee not, in general, true "hawkert" of the air, his Instinct for food gathering proved stronger than habit. As a moth, now caught by the wind, tried vainly to settle on the leaves, the bird snatched it from the air, and, with the flight of an unerring arrow, shot straight for a jungle covert at the foot of the hill. I knew then The bird had a nest somewhere in that area. Would I find it? I could at least try.

Up and down, in and out, through every tangle and every thicket of that jungle, I stole. But the bird had vanished, lost in the dim green mysteries of the trees. Then just as I was in despair I discovered the object I sought. With a mixture of cunning, shy-ness, and boldness the whistler and his little brown-grey spouse had built their open cupshaped cradle in a wild raspberry bush a mere three feet above the ground

If there is anything more touching in all nature than the care and patience of an Incubating wild bird, I do not know about It. Other birds may flit and sing from bough to bough above her head, butterflies dance and flutter through the undergrowth, and creaking branches make moving shadows all around, but she sits still, with never a sound, hour after hour, in light and dark, through all ha brooding days. And so it was, I found, with the little brown-grey hen of our golden whistler. But that the male bird also takes his turn on the nest, I more than on« observed. The nest contained two whitish, red-spotted eggs, from which In due time emerged two wide-mouthed chicks, and they are n-w. 30 doubt, fully grown and feathered birds. Far and wide over the Illawarras may they fly and sing.

The Call of the Boobook.

I heard the call of a boobook floating over the Narrabeen hills the other night, What a truly Australian sound it is! I have spent hours of quiet happiness in the bush listening to calls of the boobooks. If I, perhaps in a way that all will understand, write of the song of this bird as something as singular beauty, it is because no night voice wakes In me so deep an emotion or so keen a feeling of home. Of music It has ... none at all; but of peace and quiet solitude, harmonising and filling the mind with the brooding spirit of the Australian summer night --- it has ample and enough. However it be, let it be fancy or association, I know no bush sound that so completely meets the camp-fire mood.

The Music of the Garden.

The pleasures of the garden are by no means confined to beautiful flowers and trees. The liquid call of a thrush in the apple tree, the humming of the bees as they gather nectar from the blooms, make the sounding music of a garden: a silent garden would be a very sad place Indeed. The cheery chatter of the wagtail, the ringing "Peter! Peter!’’ of the Jacky winter-what would a garden be without them? As we dig and rate and hue, not one moment of the day are we aware. How could we be? Tiny thornbills haunt the leaves above our heads; veritable wisps they are never still; here one moment, they are gone the next. But though they hide their tiny forms among the leaves, their Silvery tinkles are ever near. A sudden whirr of wings and lo! a great .. sits perched on the garden fence; ...roff honeyeaters, wrens, Peewfts-all are near.

Waking the day with a wild, glad burst of song and chuckling and chattering through almost every hour of the day, they make the garden a very place of living Joy. A Naturalist's Notebook. (1939, January 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17553550 

Sea, River, & Bush

The -white-crested waters of Jervis Bay gleamed in the summer dawnlight. Away to the north-east lay rocky Bowen Island, rising from the bay like the hump of some monstrous -whale ringed with foam. Over the scrubby shores of Governor Head an osprey flew.

I saw him first as he approached high in the air from the south-a thing of flashing beauty the great fish-hawk of the sea searching the foam-tipped waters for prey. Down across the bay he swept, tipped his wings, wheeled, tipped again, and swept on, his mottled breast shining like finest silver, his crested aquiline head down-pointed to the sea Would he, I wondered, come charging down?

Wheeling in his flight, he poised, hall closed his wide dark wings, and dropped dropped like a falling plummet, straight to-wards the sea That silver breast gleaming in the sunrays; would it stand the strain of that terrific impact? Next instant he was gone, a shower of spray marking where he fell. How deep he went I cannot say. I only know that he reappeared almost immediately, r_ dripping apparition that shook itself from the water and was aloft again, the silver form of a fish wriggling in its grasp. But unlike those other peerless divers of the seas, the terns and gannets, which strike with their beaks and swallow their prey in midair, the osprey gripped his fish with his sharp, crooked talons and flew back to land And it was there I left him, perched on his nest in the topmast fork of a gum tree, where we had watched him tear and devour his slippery prey with all the savage manner of his tribe

If we are to know anything of the wild life of a locality we must explore its every environment Jervis Bay, St George's Basin, Sussex Inlet, with the Pigeonhouse Range as a background, are full of changing environments and historic associations, and these are materialised in golden beaches, foamy reefs, blur- coves, black headlands, tussock marshes, scrubby downs, brush Jungles, open forests, grey rock lines on wild ranges, and, often poked away unseen, bits of old load and colour reminiscent of the days of cabbage-tree hats and crinolines.

Wooded Wilderness.

Nowhere did I And in this district more interesting motifs for the study of wild Nature than in and around Erowal Bay, and among the gum and she oak forests which girdle, even to their edge, the blue waters of St Geoige's Basin. Here one may wander through wooded wilderness as grim as any in the land and where Nature reigns almost as untouched as she did in the days of the black man Through the amber-tinted gum-tops flit "colonies" of spotted and yellow-tailed pardalotes and diamond birds; on the tussocky spaces in their midst emu-wrens run and play, while, at night, from the dark world of trees and stars, come the eerie screechings of barn owls, the "morepork" of the boobook, and the '’oom" of the frogmouth

One day in late afternoon I was wandering through the gumwoods and came to a place where a forest fire had swept the country-side a year or so before. Nature, however, with that quick recuperation so typical of Australian forest growth, was doing her utmost to restore the land to ancient semblance the air was heavy with the scent of the blossom, which had made a carpet of silver on the forest floor. I sat on a mossy root to I to grasp the beauty of the reborn scene.

I did so a strange chirping sound or my attention to a mottled, dark-winged kite which was sitting, partly in shadow, and a Grey or White-shafted Fantail on the cone of a banksia tree. Almost simultaneously a much smaller bird flew up from the under growth, and, darting to the side of a larger bird, appealed to feed it

A Bush Scandal.

Bringing my field glasses to bear I saw them and realised that the larger ... The grey fantail is one of the commonest of birds on the Tasman coastlands I have seen nesting In every open ... And, standing there with the wattle and gum bloom In the air, I value, all the fine music of the air.. not excel that one wild song. Sea, River, & Bush. (1939, February 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17564423 

An Island of Brooding Birds.
By Archer Russell.

The river wound down and parted, forming an island, dense with tussock grass and gaunt, wind-bent trees. At the point from which we first looked, the trees seemed weighted with heaps of driftwood, and the bare limbs were as if mounted with graven images-the images of big, white-bodied, long beaked birds.

At about the third time of looking, the shapes, as If by a miracle, suddenly took life, and, rising into the air, went whirring round and round the island in long white spears of wings At the same time, there arose such a clamor of honking and croaking and trumpeting as could only come from a rookery of brooding buds. And that, indeed, is what it was. In our passage down the river we had come upon a home of Australian white ibis, and those heaps of "driftwood" in the trees were none other than their well-used nests the cradles of all those silver-winged sickle-billed birds rose circling, mounting, swooping, clamouring above us.

We paddled our canoe to the black shore and stepped out Squash! We were knee deep in oozy mud foul with bird droppings.

A White Ibis.

It had the grip of a vyce To walk through it seemed almost Impossible, but, impelled by our curiosity, we decided to struggle on, and so came at last to the firmer ground among the tussock grass and trees Here was a strange wild world. The relics of birds' feasts hung from the trees or lay caked in heaps upon the tussock grass and earth, every inch of bare ground was patterned with the footmarks of countless birds A carrion crow (that ghoul of every rookery) cawed dole-fully among the trees.

Qualified Pleasure.

Well, here we were, looking what we were, mud-caked and happy, In a breeding-ground of ibis containing perhaps some five or six hundred birds. Yet it was not an undiluted joy, the effluvia was positively nauseating. But we could afford to laugh It off, in such a place and soon forgot to hold our noses in the interest of our search. As a fact not all the seven and twenty smells of Cologne singly or combined would have turned it back from that great nursery of birds.

It was the heyday of the blooding season the nests were built, the eggs hatched and now on every tree nestfuls of downs little ibises were craning down their neck to watch our coining and our doings. Some few nestings stood already at least tweleve inches high and though none as yet could fly and most on our near approach huddled away from our gaze on the outer sticks of the nest there was not one but showed a singular tameness or was it courage? There was a moment when from curiosity about what they would do we clapped our hands and shouted but the noise did not distract them and not one left its nest. Indeed the nestlings with their craning necks and huddling ways were both extremely funny and exceedingly moving a combination that could not fail to appeal to anyone. Otherwise they accepted our intrusion with good grace and made no sound.

Odorous Neighbours

It was not so however with the young black and pied cormorants whose nests reeking with dead fish often reposed upon the same boughs side by side with the ibises. These kept up a continual murmur of protest and more than one youngster leaving its nest in precipitate haste fell crashing to the ground. It seemed to feel no hurt however and none though never out of the nest before ever failed to find the little swamps and pools that lay stagnant among the trees into which never for a moment hesitating they dived like experts and disappeared among the weeds.

But the master bird of the rookery was not the cormorant in its coat of slime but rather the beautiful white ibis a bird who_; species is endowed with the grace of the heron the soaring ability of the pelican and a value in the economy of the farmer perhaps only comparable with what its weight would be in gold Mr Dudley le Souef author of Wild Life in Australia computes the average crop of an adult ibis to contain some 2 410 young grasshoppers from this one may gather some idea of the numbers of grasshoppers and insect larvae a single ibis must feed to itself in the course of a year add to this then the numbers it must take annually to its three four or five nestlings in the rookery and one may be able to form some estimate of the immense value these Ibis flocks must be to the pastoral and agricultural communities of Australia It was not for nothing that the ancient priests of Egypt selected the ibis for veneration and protection and embalmed its bods In the sacred tombs of their dead.

With Its long sickle shaped bill the ibis Is a skilful hunter of its pick Out there on the river. Ants and plains see them at their work birds dotted everywhere among the grass and herbs and all busily tap tapping at the ground. One in every 100 taps spelling death to some plant eating grasshopper or perhaps a caterpillar or a snail. And when they rise upon the wing, as we have often seen them in this our voyage down the Murray, how beautiful they look. There are few sights in bird life so impressive as a flock of soaring white ibises

This nursery was singularly unlike the ibis rookeries-those of the straw necked species -which I had known among the anabranches and backwaters of the Murrumbidgee and the lower Murray There the birds were nesting low on the lignum bushes in most part if not entirely surrounded and hidden by the swamplands. IN AN IBIS ROOKERY. (1940, March 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17652069 

Our Australia
Return of the Cuckoos

Tramping over the sandstone hills of the Hawkesbury one morning I came to a wide sweep of mountainside covered with open forest. It was a warm sunny August day and there was the scent of wild boronia in the air. I climbed slowly, all my senses at rest, yet keenly receptive to any little adventure that might happen to come my way.

Small birds, such as the thornbills and lesser honeyeaters, flit-ted in and out among the gum boughs, and in a little while I came upon a nest of the tawny crowned honeyeater hidden in a small grevillea bush. Suddenly, even as I stooped to examine the nest, a larger, grey-brown bird with a white-barred tail flew into a nearby tree and began to call.

It was a strange call, a call as insistent as it was clear, and it floated out over the mountainside in a succession of running notes rising into a climatic crescendo. Even if I had entertained any doubts about the identity of the bird, I had none at all about the call My bird, of course, was a pallid cuckoo-probably of all bird-voices of the bush the most reviled.

But not by one bush-lover-nor by him alone. As often as I hear this bird it brings to me a symphonic beauty of which I never grow tired. Despite its "brain-fever" persistency, its monotonous unchangingness, there is a certain quality-call it a subtle piccolo sweetness in the crescending scale-unknown to any other bird voice of Australia. Moreover-and In this, perhaps, lies an even grander association-It portends the mobilisation of a sublime dynamic, It tells us that spring is near.

Young pallid cuckoo In the nest of a white-eared honeyeater.

Cuckoos-these gipsy harbingers of spring the world over-are a cosmopolitan and fairly numerous clan. In Australia we have about a dozen species in all, and each of them is more or less a migrant, returning to the south when spring approaches, and moving north again at the end of autumn; though some members of the Australian section of the clan, notably the little bronze cuckoo and the chestnut-breasted cuckoo, seldom, if ever, come farther south than the northern parts of Queensland. Indeed, of the flight-lane and habits of these two species, as well as those of the Oriental cuckoo, very little is known in Australia.

The species best known to eastern and southern Australia is, perhaps, the pallid cuckoo, already introduced; the fantailed, or ash-coloured, cuckoo; the koel cuckoo, or cooee-bird; the Horsfield bronze cuckoo; and the pheasant-coucal. 'There it also the giant channel-billed, or storm, cuckoo, but this bird, in at least Australia for its species, like some other, is Austro-Malaynn in habitat-is mostly a plainland dweller. And the strange thing is that, though the Australian cuckoos all belong to the world-wide family of Cuculidae, and are, there-fore, true cuckoos, yet not one makes any call approaching that of its famous English namesake. Indeed, broadly speaking, each Australian species has a distinguishing call-note of its own; the bronze, a prolonged and peevish whine; the fan-tailed, a downward inflected trill; the koel, a long-drawn, full-throated coo-ee; the pallid, a running scale-like crescendo; the channel-billed, a-well, a prolation that might, for very frightfulness, have come directly out of Belial it-self.

Like the general run of the Cuculidae, the Australian cuckoos, excepting the pheasant-coucal, build no nests of their own. They are para-sites and gate-crashers. They simply break into other birds' nests and lay their eggs there, and then leave these birds to hatch the eggs and feed the young cuckoos. But only a single egg is laid in each nest, and that, not before one of the original eggs has been removed in order that the cuckoo egg may take Its place.

And how docs the young cuckoo repay the hospitality of its foster - parents? Very Ignobly, indeed. Soon after it is born, although the foster - parents are always most industrious in feeding it, the young usurper heaves its cradle-mates -the young of its foster parents -over the side of the nest, so that they rarely survive their foster brother or foster sister, as the case may be.

In striking contrast to the parasitic cuckoos are the many cosmopolitan species, who build a nest and rear their own young. Of this group, Australia has only one species: the pheasant-coucal. This lovely bird, also known as the swamp-pheasant, Is of a lustrous chestnut-buff-apparently black from a distance-with a bright red eye and a long pheasant-like tail. The coucal is fairly abundant about Sydney: and its loud "wook-wook" call, uttered persistently from a low tree or from among the rocks and ferns as it forages for food, may often be heard on summer days in the brush gullies of the Collaroy-Narrabeen Lake-Broken Bay district.

As for the channel-bill, I well re-member my first meeting with this largest and weirdest-voiced cuckoo in Australia. It was on the Barcoo River in central Australia: and the great broad watercourses, dry for years, were once again in flood. The birds were following down the river in advance of the floodwaters, waxing fat on the insects and small mammals and reptiles that were vacating the low country to seek safety on the higher ground beyond. Yet at no other times,' seemingly, do the channel-bills come to these parts. But there they were in great numbers. Our Australia HERALDS OF SPRING (1941, September 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17757532 

Red Wattlebird Adopts Fledgling Common Koel - Summer Birds 2013 - photo by A J Guesdon - Careel Bay Tennis Courts

Channel-billed Cuckoo - at Mona Vale's Village Park - photo by A J Guesdon, November 2014

Our Australia
Eccentric Antics on the Wing

Why is bird life more fascinating than any other form of life? An answer may be found in the magic word, "wings"- in the ability of a bird to do naturally what man can do only artificially.

For what, of all things on land or sea, so symbolises freedom, that most precious possession of man, as the flight of a bird?

In the minds of the ancients the heritage of wings was an insignia of immortality, a passport to Olympian pastures. The Greeks of old gave us in story tile speeding Mercury, with wing's on his cap and on his heels, and Daedalus, and Icarus his son, who fall into the Icarian Sea. Those fables, one feels, were not born merely of an idle poet's licence. They are full of meaning-man's earliest symbolizations of his sacred love of liberty.

And so, to many, the flight of a bird is one of the most delightful and perfect things on earth.

It is not necessary to go far afield to see what speed and skill of wing some birds possess. Not long ago I was wandering along the headlands between Narrabeen and Newport. In places the cliffs, dark with rock and shadow, rose a full 150 feet above the sea. A fine place for kestrels, I thought, as I climbed along-and sure enough there they were, perched among the crags. As I advanced, first one and then another of the birds took to the wins: now to go sailing in a graceful glide along the wind, and then by a sudden tilt and turn to hover fascinatingly in space, as perfect a bit of aerial evolution as one would wish to see.

Three things kept the birds poised on the air; the life force within them, their wings, and the power of the wind. But if Na tine had not taught them to adjust their perfectly-shaped wings and body against the air-current the birds would have had to resort to movement to avoid falling like a stone to the ground.

The bird-lover never tires of watching birds in flight; I myself used to spend hours doing little else in pre-war days.

Radiant Salmon-Pink

At the trumpet of the swan his eyes turn intuitively to the zenith to watch the V-shaped company as it drives across the sky on moonlit nights he may catch the forms of wild duck fleeting like ciphers across the face of the moon. The flight of the river kingfisher speeding along the stream is to him like a coloured dart thrown by some joyous Naiad to catch his eye.

Who watching a flock of galahs in Company flight, has not marvelled at the cloud of radiant salmon-pink that presents itself to the inward eye as the birds sweep and wheel above the plains. But the aesthetics of bird flight are only of secondary importance: it is the air-motion, aero-dynamics, In all its varied and complex movements, that the bird world displays its most marvellous attributes.

Some birds are bold and powerful in their flight, speeding like arrows over tree or water; others by comparison are clumsy and faltering, arresting attention more by their oddities and capers than by speed or grace. The keets are familiar examples of strong, bold fliers; while, on the other hand, the magpie-lark or peewit gains its objective through the air by means of odd, dipping jerks. But for quaint wing caperings we have but to await the coming of the roller or dollar bird. Watch this bird as often as you like, the eccentric antics it adopts in its never-failing rolls and tumbles be-tween the trees are most striking; but aerobatics are very characteristic of this Puckish, loud-voiced summer migrant from the northern isles and forests.

Vertical "Take-off"

Some birds which have a good wing-spread, such as the crow, brolga, and heron, fly with fine undulatory motion when on long-distance flight, while the last-named bird-particularly the white-fronted species of one family is one of the few birds of the world that is able to rise in almost vertical flight. Though few may emulate this vertical "take-off," most, if not all. of the ‘'birds of the wandering wing" are endowed with rhythmic, steadfast flight. Also, having often to descend from great heights, they are wonderful gliders, in which respect few are able to excel the eagle, the hawk, the ibis, the pelican, the tern, and the heron.

As for the owls and nightjars, any-one who has examined these silent, night-haunting predators will know that the feather vanes of their wings, rigid in other birds, are so soft and flexible as to make them capable of movements that no other bird can, execute. Likewise, their flight is almost noiseless. You will hear no loud swish of wings when owl or nightjar pass you by. Flying swift and low over the river ¡ and the scrubs, fleeting, wavering wraiths of the night shadows, they pass and are gone. ' 

A tern in flight. Our Australia THE LURE OF BIRD FLIGHT (1942, May 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27942633 

The Apostle-bird and its nest.

The Babblers and Apostles

IN the dry scrub belts of the interior, in the open forests of the eastern coastlands, and occasionally in the mountain gullies where the gum leaves car-pet the ground, live companies of feathered revellers which for sociability, tireless energy, and sheer individual and collective happiness shame even the dancing brolgas of the backwaters. Certainly not for nothing have the apostle birds and babblers been called the "Happy Family" birds of the bushland.

You always know when the babblers are on the move. In the first light cf day you usually have no indication of heir existence. Then from somewhere near you become aware of a host cf voices racing through the scrubs like chattering monkeys. The voices come nearer, grow louder, then willy-nilly the floor of your camp is swept by a dozen brown little bodies.

What a revel it Is, what an expression of the joie de vivre. Every bird is fearlessly and chucklingly alive; there is a hopping here and a hopping there, a throwing aside of this leaf, on overturning of that, until soon there remains not an insect about the place to spy or capture. The birds sweep by you as though you do not exist. Merely they come and move on. One moment the camp is filled with happy chattering life, the next it is empty and quiet. So the hunt gees on from place to place, dawn till dark.

The babblers' devotion to happy living seems to last throughout almost all the year. And they are inveterate play-birds. One morning in a Murray mallee scrub I came upon a round dozen of these birds gambolling around an old dead stump. Round and round the stump in single file they hopped until one, who was evidently the commander of the troop, suddenly broke away and in a trice the whole chattering company was hopping after him-as fine a game of "follow the leader" as ever they had played. 

And just as the babblers work and play so do the apostle birds. They are always busy and always on the move.

Most people do not credit animals with the power of communication. But I cannot fully accept that idea. Listening to a troop of babblers, I feel as if their chatters and babblings are truly communicative; certainly they convey their feelings and emotions to each other, if not in any formal language, then by first-rate vocal suggestion. These birds-babblers and apostles both--are no mere inarticulate automatons; they are free and emotional spirits reaching to every influence affecting their daily needs and habits. As for us who watch, their madap frolics provide some of the most amusing, yet spiritual, sights of the bush. Incidentally, the apostle-birds derive their name from their habit of consorting, like the babblers, in companies of about twelve individuals. I have noticed up to fourteen in a company, but have never seen less than ten.

One of the great peculiarities associated with both these birds is that they are communal nesters; they build nests which belong to the whole community and not exclusively to any one brooding bird or pair. The babblers definitely build six or seven nests to a company. These are placed in separate trees, spaced over perhaps half a square mile of country. Of these nests perhaps two may be reserved for brooding purposes, but the remainder are merely play-houses or shelters.

That the birds often shelter in these nests at night in lieu of rooting, like most birds, in the trees, I »ave more than once observed. On 'one occasion during a cold spring evening. I watched no fewer than five birds enter and cuddle down in one nest. If they came out again before morning, they must have done so in the dark, for they were still in the nest long after night fall. 

How curious, then, that these two birds should not even be near-related. Indeed, they should never be con-fused: though both belong to the more or less ground-living type of bird, and are, in some respects, of almost similar habits, they arc yet, in other ways, widely divergent, as is seen by the babblers building large dome-shaped nests of twigs, and the apostle-bird a basin-like nest of mud. 

As a matter of fact, the apostle bird belongs to the Corvidae, or crow family; the babblers to an ill-defined group which includes the whipbird, log-runner, and quail-thrushes. PLAY-BIRDS OF THE BUSH (1942, December 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17804098

Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) taken in central Australia - photo by and courtesy Benjamint444 -

Mud nest high in a fig tree  - photo by and courtesy Benjamint444 -

Our Australia
Way of the Whistling Eagle

THE sun was setting beyond the backwater in flames of orange and gold. The bordering redgums were thrown into clear silhouette by the trans-figuring light. Only the tips of the higher branches remained green, and they were touched to an eerie glow by the gold of the sun.

What memories that Murray River scene brings back to me !

Above the' tall sentinel gums appeared a small dark speck gyrating into the sky; it drew nearer and yet nearer, until, some five hundred feet above me, there soared a majestic, wide-winged bird of prey. Simultaneously, a strange unearthly cry, half-scream, half-whistle, shrilled across the waters and faded away among the trees. In self-revelation it was more intimate than the bird itself. Heard in the ' water-wildness of a Murray anabranch or backwater, the cry of the whistling eagle is something that will remain in memory for ever. The bird was hunting, of course; out, prob-ably, on its last meal-chase of the day.

The whistling eagle is a peerless hunter of the sky. Wheeling and gliding at a goodly height above the earth, it watches the ground below. Never a rabbit leaves its burrow, scarce a lizard creeps from covert, but that buoyant, earth-gazing watcher Is at once aware, keyed for instant action.

The Australian whistling eagle.

It was so on this very evening. I had not gone far on my way when a rabbit, leaping- from its squat, ran along a nearby ridge and suddenly stopped. Looking up, I could see that the eagle had dropped nearer to the earth; another quick dive and it was poised a hundred feet above it. A button quail, which had been feeding in the open, scurried for cover, but the rabbit, pricking back its ears and thinking itself unseen, lay flat upon the ground. It was a fatal delusion. In a flash the eagle veered and dropped-rushed like a bolt to the earth.

I caught the sound of a feeble squeal and then all was over. Every act now had the precision of long practice. Trotting back a few yards and then forward again the eagle spread its wings and swung aloft, grasping in its talons as it rose the limp form of its victim. It had gone to feed the eaglets in his high eyrie among the gum tops.

If you wish to find a whistling eagle's nest or to be enfolded in the wild solitudes in which it is usually situated, your first choice of a walk will be down by a remote coastal in-let or along the wilder haunts of an inland river. And what follows? Do the birds threaten you for your prying tactics? Not a' bit of it. Regarding you with cold disdain they rise from the nest and sail away, nor do they return to it till you are gone. Few climbers ever reach a whistling eagle's eyrie. Built of sticks in the higher most forks of the loftiest trees, It Is rarely attainable without the aid of ropes and climbing irons. 'In general form the nest Is flat and it is in continual occupation, the breeding season of the whistling eagle ex-tending throughout almost all the year.

In my experience the whistling eagle's bill of fare consists principally of rabbits, lizards, and gamon. I have once or twice been told that whistling eagles have been seen harrying carrier or homing pigeons, but they positively could not catch these fast-flying birds, and though they may occasionally resort, like the wedge tailed eagle, to harrying their prey, I personally never have seen them do so habitually or over any great distance. Harrying is adopted mainly by the harriers-falcons and goshawk -the eagle-like predators being too large of body for close and effective dodging. Nor is the whistling eagle, superb soarer and glider though he be, a very fast flier. It reaches its fastest speed probably when dropping on its prey.

Yet perhaps the most impressive part of the whistling eagle's hunting is not so much the bird's rushing drop to earth as its quickness of sight. How do these birds contrive to see their prey as, descending and ascending, they wheel and glide at such lofty heights? How, too, do they keep the prey so unerringly in sight in their earthward swoop? Can it be that the focus of their vision is subject to rapid change? It almost certainly is.

The gravitational drop to earth and the focussing power of the "stooping predators" are, separate and combined, among the greatest marvels of the bird world. Our Australia HUNTER OF THE SKIES (1943, January 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17834195 

The Voice of the Bittern

THE first flush of the moonrise I glimmered on the swamp lands. The fringing reeds swayed and reflections of their slender stems rippled on the water. I stole to the nearest reed-bed. In that silence even the far-away bleating of a plain plover seemed of another world.

Suddenly, there arose from some-where near one of the most awe inspiring sounds to be heard In all I the bushland. Clear, yet sepulchral, it boomed across the night like the ghost-voice of some monstrous swamp beast. That bellowing, eerie roar was : no more than the natural voice of a i mere bird. I was listening to the warning-off call of Botaurus poiciloptilus, the brown bittern of the southern Australian swamps and streams.

In the music of the swamplands the boom of the bittern is a note distinctly Its own. Strangely haunting ,and mysterious, especially when falling on the ear from out the lonely spaces of a reed-bound swamp, the notes might well have given rise, as some writers say they did, to the formation of the bunyip legend of the Australian aborigines. Yet I hardly think so. Superstitious though they were, I have yet to believe that the river natives-skilled in bushcraft could be so easily deceived. Yet it is an Amazing sound (from a bird no larger than a good-sized cockerel), embodying three distinct booms delivered at short intervals, the effect being heightened by the eerieness of the night. The bird utters each boom after a great intake of breath, and if you are near to it you can hear the click of the closing mandibles as each bellowing roar comes to an end. The bittern's active life begins with the ending day, when it leaves its hidden resting-place to hunt for food among the reeds and shallows.

Not that the brown bittern does not sometimes go abroad by day. On few occasions have I seen the bittern better than I did one late afternoon on Tuggerah Lakes. Twenty feet from where I made my camp, there beside the lake, lay the ends of two-or what I took to be two-fallen branches pointing upward and outward from the water. I suppose I had ranged my eye a dozen times across those brownish, weathered "snags" before I realised that one of them was really a living bird-a brown bittern so perfectly counterfeiting the real snag be-side it that it might well have been its twin. Whether the bird had been there when I came or had materialised while I rested, I do not know all I can say definitely is that there it was, its neck and body stretched upward and outward as though they were elastic, its eyes peering straight at me through the parted reeds. I dropped my gaze for half a minute, and the bird was gone. Noiselessly it had returned to the cover of the denser reeds. But what a lesson in bird lore! Never have I looked into eyes so unwinking, so intense; never have I seen imitative colouring, arid camouflage by posture, so marvellously portrayed.

The whole build and habits of the bittern are a study in the adaptation of life to environment. The general colouring of its body is brown and creamy-buff marked, and streaked with darker brown, and the bill is yellow, the bird thus presenting an admirable suggestion of the lights and shades of the reed-beds. If danger threatens, the bird will adopt a stance, perfectly motionless, its extended neck and spear-like bill thrust skywards. Every line of the bittern's body is then merged into the general colour scheme of its environment, and as the tips of the reeds respond to the gentle breeze so will the bird sway and nod its head in perfect unison. Only the most ob-servant eye will then know it for what it is.

In spite of its strange and some-what uncanny aspect and habits, the bittern is a delightful creature. It is a sight of sights to watch its awkward-looking, but amazingly stealthy, form move spectrally through the reeds.

A Brown Bittern at Home. 

THE BROWN BOOMER (1943, September 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27941394

The Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), also known as the brown bittern or matuku hūrepo, is a large bird in the heron family Ardeidae. A secretive bird with a distinctive booming call, it is more often heard than seen. Australasian bitterns are now endangered in both Australia and New Zealand.

Botaurus poiciloptilus, Edithvale Wetlands, Australia - photo by and courtesy Wayne Butterworth

An Australian's Odyssey: Being the Library Page for the Week —
- By S.E.N.

DEPINITELY one of the best travel books yet written by an Australian and published in Ausgra55? tralia is Mr. Archer Russell's volume 'GONE NOMAD' (Angus and Robertson). Mr. Russell has led a most glamorous life, wandering during the course of his travels in many parts of the globe and visiting numerous strange places. As a youth he was badly infected by the 'travel bug'; and, with the passing of the years, the germ, instead of becoming less potent, became more active than ever, and led his footsteps many thousands of miles away from his own country. But Mr. Russell's travelling was not done in 'grand tourist' style. He had to pay his way, as it were, from the time he left Australia after boundary-riding and droving in northern South Australia and western New South Wales; until, twenty years later, he returned from overseas to his own country again, a man wealthier in experience and knowledge of the world, if not actually wealthier in pocket. During those years in which the wanderlust gripped him, what a life of adventure the author has led! As he says himself, he has in turn chased mules; herded sheep; rounded cattle; ridden brumbies (or tried to); trapped wild dogs; hunted elephants and leopards; been besieged by lions; ambushed by buffaloes; dodged assegais and arrows, shells and bullets; slept with a cobra; traded ivory and rubber; delved for gold; 'gouged' for opal; fossicked for diamonds; made money and lost it; starved; thirsted; fought; and drunk; and in this most fascinating volume he writes realistically and simply of these strange, often wondrous, often terrifying experiences. 

The Backblocks 

AT the early stage of sixteen Mr. Russell commenced his wanderings. As I have said, his initiation as a nomad began in the backblocks of his own country. The author devotes his first ten chapters to these early experiences in Australia, where (apart from his work upon sheep and cattle stations, his periods of idleness, when he 'humped his bluey,' and his spasmodic droving excursions) he was engaged in seeking — unsuccessfully—for opals at White Cliffs, and for some months was employed as a deckhand on a Darling River trading steamer. These early chapters are intensely interesting and most colourful; but it is the succeeding section of his volume, covering his experiences in central Africa, mainly as a trader in northern Rhodesia and in south - eastern Congo, that places the seal upon the attractiveness of the book, and it is mainly with this section that I intend to deal. 

To Africa 

It was the spin of a coin that sent the author to Africa. He had returned to Adelaide, after his spell outback, with the avowed intention of saving money, and with this object in view succeeded in obtaining a job as a stockbroker's clerk. But it was useless — the germ again became active and he decided to go overseas. The East, Patagonia, or Africa — which? Upon a penny-piece the decision rested. He tells us that by giving the benefit of the bye to Africa in the first round the other two possibles were eliminated, and Africa had it. He landed at Durban in Natal with seventeen pounds in his pocket, a canvas hold-all under his arm, . and a volume of Stevenson's in his pocket. Thus equipped he set out to make his way through the continent. He wandered northward through Natal, over the Drakensburg Mountains to Johannesburg, on to Pretoria, eventually drifting into Rhodesia. In Bulawayo he got a job, and he says that if it had been specially made for him it could not have been more completely to his liking. It was that of trader-assistant in a big trading company operating on the Congo-Zambezi Divide. On a wage of £40 a month 'and all found' he was now to go trekking out to the very heart of Africa. He was to go by train to the railhead, and from there a month's march would take him to his post in the interior. 

Apparently time was no object to the train, because it meandered along at its own sweet will, stopping frequently for no apparent reason. However, there certainly was a reason for one extended delay. A dead elephant had to be removed from the rails! It had charged the engine of another train with fatal results to itself and not a little injury to the engine, which was the own clear of the line. 

Now let Mr. Russell describe his first impressions of the Victoria Falls, which were viewed from the train: 

'We ran on through the night and awoke at dawn. Huge columns of spray, like the smoke of a forest fire, were rising from the depths of a vast purple valley, and the noise as of a cannonade drew nearer and nearer, then thundered in our ears. We were at Victoria Falls. I got my first near view of the Falls standing on the dripping moss-covered ledge known as Danger Point. . . . Between the ledge upon which I stood and the great cataract in front of me a chasm yawned, four hundred and twenty feet deep, three hundred and fifty feet wide, and a mile and a quarter long. Into this almost unbelievable abyss the mighty river tumbled, a wall of leaping water (except where Livingstone and Boaruka Islands subdivide it) thundering into the black and seething depths below. 

'The mind refused to believe; one felt in the presence of some awful cataclysm. I was silenced, stunned, awed. The terribleness of that scene, its sublime immensity, haunt me now. . . . The thunder of the waters renders talking impossible. But then you do not wish to talk; you move, transfixed by a scene that stops speech and defies description.' 

The Jungle 

UPON arrival at the railhead Mr. Russell engaged porters and a guide to take him to his destination, and it was during this long trek that he gained his first experience of the African jungle. It took place in the rainy season, and, as he says: 'From one of the driest regions on earth I had now come to one of the wettest, where rain is measured not in inches, but in feet.' 'Day after day, from dawn till dark, we struggled along the native path. It was all a central African path should be. It seemed to lead to every swamp and river and boghole in Africa. The grass was ten to fifteen feet high, with stalks as thick as young bamboos. Avalanches of water, dislodged from the grass-tops as we forced a passage beneath, splashed down my back and filled my eyes. Gnarled treetrunks, blasted by wind and lightning, blocked our way; and over these we dragged our feet, to plunge them to the knees again in oozy mud beyond. Once a python squirmed from the trail; and, anon, a hidden cobra hissed and purred. Stung by tsetse fly, and blind fly, and hippo fly, and black with mosquitoes and swelling leeches, we plunged on.' 

THE RAILWAY STATION AT ELISABETHVILLE. A few days after the rails reached that centre.

MR. RUSSELL'S TRADING-POST, NUBAMBASHI RIVER, HAUT KATANGA, BELGIAN CONGO, The first building erected on the site of Elisabethville. From 'Gone Nomad,' by Archer Russell, reviewed on this page.

The Trading Post 

TWENTY-SIX days out from the railhead the goal was reached, and Mr. Russell was initiated into his new job as assistant-trader. Not for nothing, he says, had he been drafted to this post, there to 'learn the ropes and find my feet,' as a novitiate in trader lore. From a life hitherto given to the study of sheep, cattle, horses, and mules, he had now to devote his energies to the study of men — wild men of divers races, strange dialects, and stranger viewpoints. He had to learn the relative values of trade goods and other incidentals connected with his work; but primarily he had to make himself a skilled veldtman and hunter of game. For upon his prowess as a hunter hung his reputation in the eyes of. the natives. Chief among the central African's attributes — the one, indeed, in which he mostly excels — is his voracious appetite for meat. 

The trader's first thought and studied care, therefore, is to make good, and keep good, his name as a successful hunter. Mr. Russell tells of those early days of his life at the post, of his hunting trips, of his gradually increasing knowledge of the customs and humours of the natives, and of his encounters with great hunters whose names were known throughout Africa. 

The 'Drum Telegraph' 

THE author refers in a very interesting way to the drum telegraphy of Africa, which he truly describes as 'an amazing thing.' 'So perfect is its method that, surmounting all obstacles of differing dialect and language — evidently by the use of a universal code understood by all — it is capable of carrying a message over vast distances with remarkable rapidity. And no news is speeded through with more celerity than that which affects the human relationship of the black man with the white. The defeat of Lobengula by the ILhodesian forces in Matabeleland in 1893 was drum-tapped over Zambezia in the course of a few hours. . . . 

The following, perhaps, will illustrate more aptly what I mean. 

At the time of the Jeffries-Johnson prizefight for the world's championship in America I was in a native village on the headwaters of the Congo, four hundred miles away from the nearest telegraph, yet I knew of the black man's triumph in a mere fourteen hours after the fight had ended. And I knew of it from native sources. As the tom-toms had been tapping ominously all night, I had no need to ask how the news had been transmitted. And so, no doubt, the news had gone out all over Africa. The crushing defeat of the white man Jeffries by the black man Johnson was a serious blow to European prestige in Africa.' 

Hunting Excursions 

SPACE does not permit me to recount some of the exciting hunting excursions that Mr. Russell undertook during his stay in Africa; but I can assure the reader that they are well worth reading. The author devotes a chapter to elephant-hunting and elephant hunters. He says that he has learnt one big fundamental fact concerning the hunters, and that is they are born, not made. 'To be a successful hunter of elephants requires the possession of so rare a combination of faculties and virtues that only one in perhaps ten thousand men would find himself fitted for the job. ... To be a successful elephant-hunter one has to possess: '(1) Infinite patience. '(2) A knowledge of forest craft of the highest order. '(3) The ability to subsist for days on a pocketful of biltong (dried meat). '(4) The ability to walk a hundred miles through trackless forest, practically without rest. '(5) Absolute coolness in the face of danger. '(6) Dead-sure marksmanship. 

'In short, to be an elephant-hunter one needs an inflexible will, a constitution of iron, a flawless mind, a perfect body, extraordinary alertness, complete self-control. I found I possessed all but six of these half-dozen qualifications.' 

Nevertheless, Mr. Russell accompanied some of the greatest hunters in Africa upon their expeditions, and he got to know both the hunter and the hunted. The elephant is one of the most cunning of all beasts, and to get within range of him is supremely difficult. Although his eyesight is poor, his keen sense of smell — it is estimated that, with the wind in his favour, he can smell a human being more than a mile away — and his amazing sense of hearing enable him to detect the hunter before the hunter has even seen him. Mr. Russell says that he has often been asked to frame a list of African game most dangerous to man, and he places them in an order that will possibly surprise the average reader: the buffalo, the leopard, the lion, the elephant, the rhinoceros. 

Fever eventually drove Mr. Russell out of Africa, and after a short and interesting stay in Aden he returned again to Australia, only to go overseas again a few months afterwards as a member of the A.I.F. 

I can recommend 'Gone Nomad' with the greatest confidence. It has not a dull page and it is a book that readers of all ages can enjoy. TRAVEL and ADVENTURE (1936, September 30). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160636381

Not Even Nationals In Their Own Land

THE problem of the Australian Aborigines as encountered among the detribalised people of the towns and settlements, is vastly different from that which faces the administration of the more or less tribal "myall" blacks of the far interior. The detribalised Aboriginal is a "ward" of the State in the'majority of instances. The "myall" native's affairs, on the other hand, are still largely in the hands of the tribe.

He is a social outcast and in most cases dependent; the other, though threatened continuously by capitalist exploitation and possible detribalisation, has still largely his independence and dignity. The primitive life for the detribalised Aboriginal is out of the question, for he is in the halfway state, able neither to turn back to the old life of the black nor find a welcome place in the new life of the white. He is a dead-ender. And he is a dead-ender because we have made him one.

We do not realise yet that the average Aboriginal, male or^female, is an intelligent person, able, and in most cases willing, to learn. This is true despite the fact that he is a Stone-age man, pitchforked from the middle stage of the epoch of savagery. Culture-transition is a tough hurdle to vault, but it is not this in the main that holds him back. It is the white man himself. This is because our approach to the Aboriginal has not been socially-conscious and scientific. We have economically, and in some <'a*es spiritually, demoralised him, turned him into a liability instead of an asset. 

Here I would correct an absurd misapprehension concerning the Aboriginal's survival. Unimaginative observers have convinced themselves that his passing is inevitable—a sort of "Hand of God" extirpation. To be sure, he is dying out, but not because he wants to or of any mystical art of Providence. There is but one hand in this shameful process, and that hand is ours. If today we find the halfway s Aborigines, those at least who seek independence and a higher price than the dead-end of mission life had training, living, for the most part, a life of ostracism and poverty. Vet rarely do they regret the passing oi' the old. free nomadic days. What they do regret is that Australia can offer them nothing better than charity and the brand of the outcast. That they are not even nationals in their own native country. They do ask, and rightly, that they be given equal rank with their white Australians — independent, integral units in the white man's society. 

THAT sort of intellectual capacity does the Aboriginal display? Every native, I am convinced, is endowed with some industrial or cultural potential that could well be developed. Did you ever go to the Finke Pviver Mission at Hermannsburg? What I saw there thrilled and amazed me. Here were capable craftsmen not only in saddlery and wheelwrighting, but also in brushmaking, black-smithing and carpentry. As for the native girls, they were veritable prizewinners in needlework and embroidery and as makers of artistic bedspread and tablecloths. When, that night, sitting on the moonlit sandhills of the Finke, I heard these halfway people, men and girls, mingling their voices in well-harmonised renditions of old-world songs. I felt that there was little they could not achieve and enjoy in modern society, if given the opportunity fully to enter the white man's life. 

Nor, significantly, is it only the crafts and trades that interest them. They have a feeling for art, too. Quite aside from the ancient art of the race, expressed in crude rock and tree carvings and rock-wall paintings, the water-color work of Albert Namitjira, a Finke River fullblood, is ample evidence of the standard to which the Aboriginal may ascend in modern painting. In sculpture, in turn, we have the remarkable statuettes of the Aboriginal woman, Kalboori Yungi, who finds her medium in the outcrops of clayey soils and ochres of hills and river banks. This natural native artist belongs to the Pitta Pitta tribe of North-West Queensland, and does her work for the sheer love of it and to help support, her children. 

DO you look, too, for the technologist? Well here he is in the person of David Uniapon, inventor of a. sheep-shearing machine. A theologian, and a deputationist to the Australian Board of Missions, he is also a speaker of great power and fluency. 

Another theologian is the Rev. James Noble, a full-blooded native of the Kimberleys. As an ordained member of the North Queensland Synod, he was a speaker at the Anglican Church Congress in Melbourne, where also he delivered addresses before numerous schools and colleges. As for forgetting Peter Kropinyerri—that would be impossible.

Mr. Kropinyerri, whom I met years ago in the Goolwa district of the Lower Murray, could talk most of his white opponents to a standstill on the Darwinian theory. In fact, there were few subjects upon which Peter could not speak, often far out of the depths of his white companions. 

Closer to us here, and in more modern days, an Aboriginal, Mr. S. James, was recently elected Branch Secretary of the Food Producers' Union in the Ardmona Cannery. 

IT is, therefore, very important that we reconsider our attitude and policy towards our Aboriginal brother. What the Aboriginal needs—he, particularly, who lives within the framework of the white man's society—is full citizenship, equality of race, and a true understanding of his problem. A training system based on the mission idea alone will not give him ail he needs. We must restore his independence and his dignity. Brotherhood and fellowship would provide his greatest uplift. If people only knew! If they could see the Aboriginal as he is and would like to b'e, and not merely as we have so often made him! If they could enter into his life and talk with him and with his children! Then the democratic Australian public would insist that this original Australian have his chance.

Despite poor conditions offered them, Aborigines take pride in making their quarters as clean ; and comfortable as possible. Not Even Nationals In Their Own Land (1945, October 19). Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 - 1976), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208695905

Family Notes


Present-All the members. Tenders accepted from LePage for extension of bridge at Stepney for 19l, 10s.; also, from James Russell for removing stumps on lower road. Athelstone, at 2s. 10s.; water-tabling and forming at 3s. 11d, per chain ; and from George Hill for 40 chains, more or less, water-tabling and forming on Montacute-road, at 5s. 3d. per chain. McGrath to supply and stack stone on Montacute-road at 1s. 9d. per yard. Repairs ordered on the Glynde and Montacute roads, and water-tabling on Athelstone-road. Tenders to be invited and cautions published. Transfer of licence granted from Mr H. Alford, jun., to Mr. H. Alford, sen., Glynde Inn. PAYNEHAM. (1860, September 28). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article824505 

PRICE, July 17.

I am sorry to have to record the death of Mr. George Headland. The deceased gentleman had been a resident of Charleston for the past 30 years till within three months ago, when he left on account of continued ill-health for Yorke's Peninsula. He died from the effects of cancer, at the residence of his son in-law, Mr. John Whittaker, on Saturday, July 9, at the age of 78 years. He was respected by all who knew him. He leaves behind him a wife, 8 children, 47 grandchildren, and 24 great grandchildren. The funeral took place in the Price Cemetery, Yorke's Peninsula, on Monday, July 11. PRICE, July 17. (1887, July 23). South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94954554 

HEADLAND.— On the 9th July, at the residence of his son-in-law (Mr. (J. Whittaker), George Headland, late of Charleston, dearly beloved husband of Ann Headland, aged 78 years. Colonist of 32 years. Family Notices (1887, July 23). South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94954601 


An inquest was held at Knapman's Hotel, Port Pirie, on Tuesday, December 26, on the body of James or Louis Russell, who was found in the Port Pirie channel with his throat cut on Christmas morning, W. B. McDonald said he was on Hart's wharf about 10 o'clock on Monday morning, when a boy said there was a man in the water. Went and looked, and then went for the police. The body was face downward in about a foot of water about six feet from a channel running inland from the mainland alongside the jetty. Saw deceased removed from the water, and recognised him as Louis or James Russell.

George Graham, laborer, said he had worked with deceased off and on for the past three or four weeks. Was working with him on Friday and Saturday last on the Government wharf. He complained of being unwell on Saturday, with severe pains in the Btomach, and he began vomiting. Soon after they knocked off work, and witness did not see deceased again alive. In previous conversation he said he did not intend to get his family up here, as his girls were in good situations in Adelaide. He never complained of being hard up, but was duller in spirits on Saturday than witness bad previously noticed.

Wm. Underwood said deceased, whose name he did not know, occupied a little room of his detached from his house with another man named Hutchinson. Saw him last about half past 6 o'clock on Saturday last, when he came home from work. He complained of a severe pain in the bowels, and began to light his fire. Took him a basin of tea. He laid down on his bed, and after that witness saw him going down the street with the bag in which he brought home his provisions. He brought back two loaves, but witness did not see him return. They always had plenty to eat. Deceased used to buy the provisions. Hutchinson left for his home on Friday morning last for the holidays.

Dr. Stewart said he saw the deceased about an hour after he was taken out of the water. He was dead. His windpipe was cut through, evidently with a not very sharp instrument. There was a wound on his right hand near the thumb joint, and one on his left wrist-old wounds which had been eaten away by fish, Did not think the wound in the neck was sufficient to cause death till about half an hour or more after, as the carotid artery and principal arteries were not separated. Should think the wound was self-inflicted. The pocket knife produced would cause the wound. Should say the body had been in the water 12 or 14 hours. In reply to jurors witness said it was almost morally impossible for deceased to have hidden his clothes and knife away after committing the act. Could not say whether the stains on the knife are blood or rust stains. Did not think the wound would bleed very much. Had since seen the place where the clothes and knife were found, and did not think they could have been put there by deceased without stains of blood being about, which there were not.

Henry Simpson said he saw deceased on Sunday morning last about 6 am. on the Government jetty. Bid him good-day, and saw him afterwards in the street going along Florence-street.

Corporal Bird deposed to finding the body and the taking it to the morgue. He found the letters and purse produced in the coat pocket. The body was clothed in flannel drawers and trousers, flannel and linen shirt, boots and socks, and a handkerchief around the neck; There was no blood on the shirts or hand kerchief. No money was in the purse. The letters were from his daughter Maud, dated November, and written to deceased soon after his re-arrival in Port Pirie, expressing regret at the long tramp her poor father had had, and giving a general and affectionate account of family matters, which were not of the brightest financially. The last two were from his wife dated December 20, and enclosed apparently with one from his son Albert, dated Ward-court, December 21. Each letter commiserated deceased's case, and expressed the hope that they would soon be together again, Mrs. Russell saying she was afraid her husband would not spend a happy Christmas, and how disappointing it was to them being separated by such a distance. She referred to the rent getting behind, but there was nothing to lead or worry deceased into committing self destruction.

An open verdict was returned.

Our correspondent adds:-"The deceased bore an exceptionally good character for quiet, unassuming manners, industry, and frugality. He was rather deaf and reserved. He did not communicate his position, or ask any favors from any one during his stay here. He had been back here about six weeks, and was employed most of the time till about a week previous to Friday last, when be went on again for the two days-Friday and Saturday, No evidence was forthcoming as to what became of him during Sunday, The two loaves of bread he took to his lodgings on Saturday evening were left untouched, and his landlord has no idea whether he occupied the room during Saturday night or Sunday. He was evidently about early on Sunday morning. The mystery is with regard to the finding of the hat, coat, and waistcoat, and pocket knife, all blood-stained, 15 feet away from the edge of the jetty near which he was found. They were thrown into a hole, apparently, and then a jump must have been made into the water, or if the tide were out into the mud, which would be 10 or 12 feet below. It was impossible to know whether the tide was up, as there was no evidence when the deceased got there. There was no blood about and none on the clothes that were on deceased, not even the handkerchief round the neck, but there was a good deal on the bat and coat, as if the deceased had been lying down when he cut his throat," THE STRANGE DEATH AT PORT PIRIE. (1887, December 29). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207712735 

RUSSELL.-On the 11th February, at Eudunda, after two days illness, Lily Headland, third dearly beloved daughter of the late James Russell, of North Adelaide, aged 19 years and 3 months.-" Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. Family Notices (1888, February 16). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207761494 

RUSSELL.—In Ioving remberance of Lilly Headland Russell, who died very suddenly at Eudunda on February 11th, 1888.
Her trust in Christ was all in all;
Waiting for her Master's call.
At last she said, my friends, farewell, "
I am going with Christ to dwell.
So her spirit passed away
To commence an endless day.
Now she walks the golden street
Where all is joy and all is peace.
Inserted by her Sunday-school class, Eudunda Wesleyan Church.
Family Notices (1888, March 2). Christian Colonist (SA : 1878 - 1894), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article214697904 

RUSSELL.—In loving memory of Lily Headland Russell, who died at Eudunda, February 11, 1888, aged 19 years.
And thus it is ever with those that are dear,
Death soonest doth sever the brightest ones here;
Those that are nearest entwined round the heart,
The ones that are dearest the soonest depart.
—Inserted by her loving cousin, E. A. Pritchard, Queenstown, near Port Adelaide.
PRITCHARD.—In loving memory of our dear little Alan, who died at Queenstown, February 18, 1892, aged 1 year and 6 months.
God needed one more angel child
Amidst His shining band,
And so he bent with loving smile
And clasped our darling's hand.
—Inserted by his loving parents S. and E. A. Pritchard, "Alanhurst," Queenstown, near Port Adelaide.
Family Notices (1896, February 18). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 2 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article209058106 

Mrs Kezia Russell (nee Headland), who died at her residence, Tennyson-street, Medindie, on September 19, was a colonist of 58 years. Born in Brigstock, Northampton, on September 1, 1835, she arrived in South Australia in August, 1855, and settled with her father, the late Mr. George Headland, at Athelstone, where the early years of her life in the State were spent. She survived her husband, Mr. James Russell whose family name has long been associated with Athelstone, by 26 years. She was beloved by all who knew her for her tender solicitude for others. Messrs. Arthur J. Russell (of Yatala South), Albert W. Russell (of Rose-terrace, Wayville), and G. E. Archer Russell (of Medindie) are sons. Mrs. Charles Hewett (Glenelg), Mrs. W. J. L. Kelly (Quorn), and Miss E. Russell (Medindie) are daughters. There are 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. OBITUARY. (1913, September 27). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 44. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88776591 

RUSSELL. —On the 19th September, at Tennyson-street, Medindie, Kezia, relict of James Russell, late of Athelstone, in her 79th year, leaving 3 sons and 3 daughters to mourn their sad loss. Family Notices (1913, September 27). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 36. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88776638 

RUSSELL. —In loving memory of our dear mother, who died September 19, 1913, at Medindie. —Inserted by her loving son and daughter-in-law, A. W. and L. M. Russell.

RUSSELL. —In loving memory of my dear mother, Kezia Russell, late of Medindie, who departed this life on September 19, 1913. A beautiful soul at rest. —Inserted by her son. Archer. Family Notices (1914, September 26). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 33. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88847638 


KELLY—RUSSELL.—On the 9th November, 1896, by the Rev. Edwin H. Ellis, William James Lawrence, only son of the late Joseph and Anne Kelly, Port Adelaide, to Maude Mary, youngest daughter; of the late James and Kezia Russell,  North Adelaide. Present address, Quorn. Family Notices (1921, November 10). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 2 (5 O'CLOCK EDITION. SPORTS NUMBER). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210659601 

Annie died in 1950 – death registered at Manly: NSW BDM's - RUSSELL ANNIE MARION 4543/1950 parents: JOHN OSMOND EMMA MANLY

RUSSELL, Annie Marion -February 6 1950 at her residence Suncot, Idoline Street Collaroy Plateau, dearly beloved wife of Archer Russell. Adelaide papers please copy. Family Notices (1950, February 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18149730 

(By Wobbegong.) 

Some time ago mention was made in this column, of the fact that two fairy penguins had honored Mrs. G. 'Pratt, by coming to live at one of her seaside residences at Narrabeen. The birds are still- there, but they have had a substantial increase in their family in the form of some chicks.

Evidently other penguins in the vicinity got to hear of the happy event, for the other, night about a dozen of the species were about the nest, and they made as much noise talking about the babies as - a gathering of women do when they visit the home of a popular hostess who has been blessed with triplets. The babies are sturdy youngsters, and the parents guard thorn closely. The mother, of course, cannot cover her funny brood as a hen does her chickens, but she rests on her breast beside them, and they cuddle up close to her for companionship and warmth. 

"They are fed at night upon whatever the parents think is good for baby penguins — probably a predigested food which is not entered in the list of the wholesale grocers. 

When Mr. Pratt made a close inspection of the family the other day the mother managed to leave a memento of her beak visitation upon his hand when he took her inside to show some guests. When released she scuttled back quickly to her babies. The birds are not fed by Mr. and Mrs. Pratt. They forage for themselves. As they are in a dark, awkward place under an outhouse, the number of chicks has not been definitely ascertained yet, but Mrs. Pratt thinks' there are six. NATURE NOTES. (1913, November 16). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229348459 

Bird League.

The members of the League which has been formed in Braidwood for the preservation of birds, of which Mr. J. S. Maiden has been the promoter and is now Secretary, number in all, youths and adults, about 50, and have their regular meetings. The meeting which was called for Wednesday evening last lapsed owing to the unpropitious weather interfering with the attendance. The business for that night was to discuss the claims of the starling to come within the terms of the preservation afforded to the denizens of the air. This bird is a new one, it being only some three or four years since their first appearance here, but in that short time they have increased and multiplied at a rapid rate and the farmers and fruit growers are loud in their complaints as to the blows which they sustain through their ravages on the crops and orchards. As insectivorous birds, however, it is contented by their sup porters that their use in destroying the in sects and parasites which spread disease in fruit and vegetation, the benefits which they confer, largely, make up for injury they do in other respects. The question is a very old one, and would form the subject of an interesting debate, which might be opened up under the auspices of this Bird League. Bird League. (1912, September 7). The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article100635839 

Bird Week

The Gould League of Bird-Lovers last week celebrated the twenty-second anniversary of its formation. The principal feature of the celebration was an exhibition of bird paintings and photographs held in the gallery of the Education Department. The Director of Education (Mr. G. Ross Thomas), speaking at the opening of Bird Week, said the Gould League was now a family of and bird-protectionists. The exhibition was due chiefly to the efforts of two men — Mr. Harold Hamilton, the secretary of the league, and the well-known. Australian bird-painter Mr. Neville W. Cayley — through whose inspiration, zeal, and enthusiasm the idea of fittingly celebrating the twenty-second anniversary of the league in a definite educational manner had been carried through. Bird Week (1932, August 31). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166226870 

Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus) at Warriewood Wetlands. Picture by Michael Mannington, Community Photography