Kurri Kurri’s Col Maybury is enchanted by golden daffodils lining the railways of the Coalfields.
So much so that he felt inspired to quote the great English romantic poet, William Wordsworth.
I wandered lonely as a cloud; That floats on high over vales and hills; When all at once I saw a crowd; A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
As a child, Col asked his dad where the daffodils came from and why they lined the railway.
“He told me they were discarded grave adornments from Kurri Kurri Cemetery, spread by the winds generated by the busy coal trains,” Col said.
“The coal trains have largely gone and I notice the golden daffodils spreading to the busy roadways. At this rate, will the day come when they become universal?”
Col writes that the golden daffodils reflect Hunter history.
“The onset of the amazing 20th century began with a coal rush on the Kurri Kurri or South Maitland coalfields,” he wrote.
“Coal was the motivating force of the fossil-fuel revolutionary age and the 63 mines provided that power to the world. Transport was provided by ever-larger steam engines hauling the wagons of black diamonds to the crowded port of Newcastle.
“The towns of Kurri Kurri, Weston, Abermain, Neath and Cessnock sprang up with homes for the underground miners and their families seeking prosperity deep underground, toiling in the stygian dark.”
Col imagines it was around this time that a visitor to the new Kurri cemetery discarded a vase of “faded and drooping flowers”.
“That discard seeded an amazing spread of flowers by railway rolling stock. Why the flowers spread by rail and not by the ever more numerous motor cars is unknown, but the pictures show widespread distribution only along the arteries of rail tracks.
He said the flowers were coreopsis, also known as tickseed, and their “bright golden flower seems to be heliocentric”.
“The flower turns its face to the early summer sun, tracking it across the high northern sky. Is it invasive here? Or, is it an additive to the bright Australian bush, thriving under the higher carbon-dioxide onslaught from the burning of fossil fuels.”
The way Col sees it, the daffodil blooms along the old railway tracks of the Coalfields are bookends of a revolution.
“These golden harbingers of spring denote the beginning of the fossil-fuel revolution and its ending 120 years later, as we move to sustainable energy.”
Topics likes it when people get into the spirit of an event. We’re thinking of grand final day, the Royal Wedding, the Melbourne Cup – and why not the Newcastle 500?
When it comes to celebrating the big event, many will go to the race itself. Others will celebrate by cracking a can of bourbon and cola and rocking on to Simple Minds at Number 1 Sports Ground on Saturday, while having flashbacks to the opening and closing scenes of The Breakfast Club.
But some are celebrating the event in different ways. Take for example the City Of Newcastle’s Dress Up Your Business competition. Entrants included a cafe decorated in chequered flags, bottle shops and a copy shop sporting balloons and bunting, a hotel with a Supercars lobby display and an auto-repair shop adorned with Newcastle 500 shirts and posters.
But ladies and gentleman, there can only be one winner. Drum roll … the honour of the best-dressed business in support of the Newcastle 500 goes to The Good Property Company in Hunter Street. And what a cracking name that is, just quietly.
As winners, the city council tells us the company receives a bunch of Newcastle 500 passes, merchandise packs and behind-the-scenes tours of pit lane. What, no Simple Minds tickets?
We told you last week about an event at Bar Petite in Newcastle’s East End, in which artist Tony La Chiusa put a stack of large paintings up for sale and auction.
Turns out there was a surprise at the event, which was a fundraiser for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. Tony had painted a tribute portrait of the helicopter service CEO Richard Jones. We hear Richard was chuffed with the painting. And understandably, it tugged at his heartstrings.
To mark the tribute, host Mike Rabbitt sent a bucket around to collect some extra cash for the chopper service. The painting raised about $1200. Nice one, Tony.
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