The 2016 Australian Meeting was well worth the trip, and exceeded my expectations in every way. The meeting location was a horse-race track and meeting hall in Charleville, Queensland, and was spacious, comfortable, and memorable.
|Good thing racing was out of season, or I might not have had any money left for wood specimens.|
|The RFDS hangar at the Charleville airport was built by American CB's as a base of air operations during the second world war. The wooden trusses were built of eucalyptus and are still as solid as the day they were bolted in place.|
|Back during the war, these old pits near the air field were lined with tar and used as baths to relieve the soldiers relatively free of lice and disease-carrying mosquitos. Each soldier was required to dip at least once a week.|
|These are mulga trees, Acacia aneura, which is the dominant forest type around Charleville and was our "host tree".|
|Wood of the mulga. From Max Kline, in A Guide to Useful Woods of the World (IWCS): "Mulga is a coffee color or has reddish-brown alternating with golden-brown stripes. The sapwood is a golden creamy yellow color. It has an extremely fine texture and generally straight grain. The luster is low to medium, but it takes a high polish. The odor is distinct but not aromatic; taste is not distinct. Mulga is one of the hardest and heaviest woods known. Average specific gravity is 0.92 (oven dry/green volume), equivalent to and air-dried weight of 75 lb/cf. Wood is highly distinctive in appearance."|
|What's that weird but familiar-looking tree in the middle of an Australian mulga forest? Melia azederach, the chinaberry, found practically all over the world.|
|Entrance to Nick's property. This is a good start.|
|Spinifex, a type of grass found in most of Australia, and often used as bedding by the hoppers.|
|Nick (blue shirt and straw hat) led us through several different forest types within just a few miles of each other.|
|Here was an interesting and rare sight...a shield tree. Aboriginals cut a shield from the stem of this tree long ago, and the tree kept growing.|
|The tenants of Nick's property were friendly, but glad to see us move on.|
The next day we were honored to visit an historical old outback cattle station, Maryvale. Hosts Bob and Jenny Crichton welcomed us to a day of relaxation, exploration, and an authentic sunset barbeque. But this post grows long...tune in tomorrow.