Gauge the journey

One is for The Ghan, a train that goes from South Australia to the Northern Territory and the other is a small steam train that travels the foreshore from Semaphore to Fort Glanville, in South Australia.

The Ghan track

The Ghan is 2979km long and has a standard gauge of 1435mm (Wikipedia). The origins of the name are disputed, although both theories mention the Afghans, who once operated a successful camel train through the centre of Australia.

Semaphore

Semaphore Steam Train track is 2km long and has a 457mm gauge. That’s ten times smaller than The Ghan.

A popular tourist or family activity, particularly during the holidays, it runs along the foreshore, parallel to both the road and the tide and is a great sight, whether you are on it or viewing the people waving from open carriages.

Another perspective for Becky’s squares.

Top of the tower

Semaphore Beach is home to the Palais, bar and bistro, built in 1922 and used for a time as the surf life saving club. Hence, there is a viewing tower at the top.

And can you see what’s on top of the flag pole, on top of the tower?

I only had my phone with me – sorry.

My grandmother walked several miles to attend dances at the Palais, in the 1930s. It is steeped in history and has been renovated keeping the original design. Facing the ocean, beside a playground and fair ground, it’s very popular.

It’s my entry, today, in Becky’s squares for April.

Oddities at the beach

In response to Cee’s Oddball challenge this week, I am submitting a couple of photos of I don’t know what, taken at the beach.

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strange sea offering

They just got washed up on the shore and I tried to google any sightings of odd sea creatures at Semaphore, but nothing showed up.

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seaweed adds authenticity to this one

The patterning and colour is very like Aboriginal artwork.

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Each one is about the size of my hand.

They are soft and jelly-like (yes, I touched them). Mysterious, beautiful, creepy.

Safe beach travels. Watch where you tread!

Tour Guide – Parafield, South Australia

An unknown suburb of a quiet and often un-visited State, Parafield is surrounded by many beautiful water catchments. It is my entry in this week’s photo challenge, tour guide.

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The council of Salisbury, in which Parafield sits, has over 50 wetlands which have made it a leading centre for water conservation in the driest State, of the driest continent. Parafield is nestled between the Little Para River and Dry Creek, with the salt lakes a stone’s throw away, making it swampy 50 years ago, barren 20 years ago and now a beautiful habitat for wildlife we hadn’t seen before.

The Watershed Restaurant, possible due to the storm water catchments
The Watershed Restaurant, made possible by the storm water catchment

Mawson Lakes is 5 minutes away, with it’s higher education facilities, modern housing and opportunities for remote-controlled boats, walks and stunning sunsets.

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Our small suburb is home to an airfield, that may have become Adelaide’s major airport, but was seen to be too far out of the capital city. It hosts one of the last pilot schools and many international students come here. If you’re very game, you can pay to have a spitfire flight over the nearby coast.

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I personally think this was short-sighted, as Parafield sits on Highway 1 and the northern train line, the latter carrying The Ghan (to the Northern Territory) and the Indian Pacific (to Sydney).  Why! Either a short, scenic walk, a shuttle or a personal chauffeur could take you there. Only a little fog in winter, as we are on the plains.

cofcof Did I mention nearby coast? Only 15 minutes by car and you are at Semaphore Beach. Ideal for families, dog-friendly and plenty of fish and crabs, not to mention to the huge range of eateries.

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Parafield has the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines and is also home to a Khmer Buddhist Temple, the wall of which we watched being built by hand over a couple of years.

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Multi-cultural, as old as the State, with delightful waterways, we have a forest of native trees that lure rosellas to the area all year long. We have sulphur-crested cockatoos in the warmer months but they fly west in winter.

Welcome to Parafield.

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Safe travels.