Cockatoo Inspection 2009 Phase III

The former Industrial School or Reformatory is quite extensive and contains a number of wooden structures. We have been monitoring them for termites for several years now, but I am happy to report that none has been discovered. One of the largest buildings associated with the school is the old headmaster’s house and we spent several days examining the walls and flooring for signs of pests. In the process we met a new ranger, Ted Wilson, who seems to spend much of his time there. He has also taken over responsibility for the tunnels and associated cavities that we will be inspecting as the last phase of our study.

Cockatoo Inspection 2009 Phase V

It would seem that we must forgo any inspection of the tunnel and cavities areas of the site this year as Ted Wilson informs me that he has stored some technical equipment there on a temporary basis.  He promises that we may inspect next year if we simply give him a quick call before coming.  This area has been clear of pests for the last two inspections and there is no evidence of any problem so we shall have to respect his wishes in the matter.

Cockatoo Inspection 2010 Conclusion

The time and budget allotted for this year’s inspection has now been expended and I feel we have done a very thorough job with one glaring exception. We still have not been able to view what people increasingly call the ‘cave’. Ted Wilson has been unreachable and other staff are too busy with their own responsibilities to get involved. We have all agreed to let this go another year as there has not been any indication of pests that would cause any worry.

Cockatoo Inspection 2011 Cave

Well, we have come to the same impass as in previous years. Ted Wilson continues to resist our inspection of the large cavernous area formed by one of the tunnels that was not fully built out. As no one has time to pursue this further and we have no authority to forcibly enter we must again omit this area from this year’s inspection. Fortunately, our lack of inspection in recent years seems not to have had any deleterious effect on controlling pests on the island as we continue to find the island pest-free.

Cockatoo Inspection 2012 Crisis

Yesterday Laura and her team reported that some of the staff were concerned that the smells noticed in the vicinity of the cavernous areas where we set rat poison several years ago were an indication that these pests have returned. This has made the situation with Ted Wilson whereby we are prevented from inspecting these areas untenable. I spoke with John who tried to reach Ted and found him on the ferry headed home. It appears that Ted has become increasingly erratic and spends much of his time in the ‘cave’, even sleeping there.  The staff consensus was to forcibly remove the lock and enter in order to conduct the inspection, but nothing had prepared us for the experience that ensued.

Even as I write about this tonight I find myself immersed in the mysteries of this cave, reliving the experience as if I were still there.  The sweet smell of beeswax mixes with the odour of fertile, humid soil. My eyes resist the dimness of the cave and I rub my face. I look around in this uneasy environment and see a workspace, crammed with tools and a section of soil in the back. It looks like an excavation. The walkway I am on leads me past buckets, tubs and tools, piles of slabs of beeswax and a makeshift desk full of uncleaned, earthy artefacts. I find myself standing in front of a honeycombed section of soil, at eye-level with cavities and tunnels that branch deep into this earthen wall. The hollows compose a larger form, something like a mould of a human female figure. Am I the only one who is seeing this?  What is going on here?

Tallong Apple Day

Had a chance to visit the Tallong Apple Day yesterday. It’s refreshing to step back in time to visit a Southern Highlands country fair and eat too much of the wonderful apple pies on offer. The local fire brigade put on quite a show. And not a pest in sight!!

I have been thinking a great deal about some of the more personal items I have found among Ted’s artefacts. I feel I should respect his privacy, but I have such as strong need to get to the heart of what drove him to create all these mysterious objects. I have resolved to permit myself access to this material for the purposes of investigation, but will do my best to guard against public exposure. I wish I could speak with Ted about these things, but perhaps I can find someone who will shed more light on the events that are behind this creative outpouring.

Bundanoon DanceFest

Managed another trip to the Southern Highlands, this time to the Bundanoon Bush Dancing Festival. I’m not usually one to kick up my heals, but I wanted another trip to this area and the DanceFest seemed like a good opportunity.

You can see the fun at their web site/.

I picked up some beeswax on this trip. I’d like a more tactile sense of what Ted was up to.

Anima Mea

St. Dymphna, virgin and Martyr, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, daughter of royal parents, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, child of great beauty of soul and body, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, docile to the lessons of thy pious mother, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, obedient to thy saintly confessor, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, who abandoned the court of thy father to escape the danger of impurity, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, who chose a life of poverty on earth so that thou might lay up treasures in Heaven, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, who sought consolation at Holy Mass, Communion and prayer, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, ardent lover of the Divine Bridegroom, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, devoted to the Mother of God, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, beheaded by thine own father, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, Martyr of holy purity, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, brilliant example of Christian youth, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, renowned for many miracles, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, glory of Ireland and Belgium, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, full of compassion for those in need, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, protectress against all nervous and mental disorders, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, friend of the helpless, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, comforter of the despondent, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, light of those in mental darkness, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental diseases, pray for us.

The Secret Life of Bees

Had a chance to watch The Secret Life of Bees the other night. Reminded me of the beekeeper I met on my trip to the Bush Dance Fest in the Southern Highlands a few weeks ago who sold me the beeswax for my re-creations. Turned out that she knew Ted and Nelly. In fact she had known Nelly since childhood and she had later sold wax to Ted as well. She told me many stories, which I have again vowed to keep under wraps. Increasingly I fear that my personal life is converging on Ted’s in disturbing ways.