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Varun the Goanna


willedoo
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You can make goannas into pets very easily. Had wild ones tamed in a short time, and taking chop bones out of our hands, when we had mining camps set up in the bush, in the Goldfields areas.

 

They are bloody fearless, they have virtually no enemies, apart from perhaps wedgetail eagles. The brother and I found a huge one (about 2 metres) strolling through our fruit trees right alongside our house one day. We'd never seen him before.

He was like a little croc - wasn't in the least bit fearful of us. Brother tried to grab him by the tail, and he pulled a classic goanna "kill" technique - swishing his tail violently from side to side, a technique they use to knock over prey.

 

Brother finally grabbed his tail and held him up - and he swung back and latched onto the toe of the brothers boot, with a grip like a vice. Brother let him down, he let his boot go - but he wouldn't even walk away - just glared at us.

No doubt he was sizing us up for a meal, if he could figure out how to bring us down. I wouldn't like to tangle with a big goanna when partly incapacitated, I reckon they would take chunks out of you.

 

The problem could be for that girl, they are exceptionally fast - and if startled, that goanna would shred her, trying to get away from a threat. Their claws are like rapiers.

 

Watch this snake catcher get a vicious reaction, from just a modest-size goanna, that he's trying to put in a plastic crate. The goanna wants to eat him, and he's a real handful.

Imagine him around 50%-60% bigger, and that's the size the brother grabbed by the tail.

 

 

I love watching the goannas beat the crap out of snakes. I reckon they're actually faster than snakes. They always win, the snakes can't get a bite on their tough hides.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpxeqiyQLlk

 

 

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This photo is very low res, but it shows a goanna at my place a few years ago. I heard a clunking sound and went outside to find he had a baked beans can stuck on his head and was thumping it against a rock to try to dislodge it. He ran into strife because it was the ring pull type of can which leaves a flange inside the rim. He was able to squeeze his head inside but when he pulled back, the flange would grip onto him. The can was stuck solid and he was walking around blind, bumping into things with his baked bean helmet.

 

I knew I had to get it off or he would die, but was a bit wary of his reaction once he was freed. So I grabbed hold of the can and gently applied pressure while twisting it a bit sideways. Surprisingly, the goanna just stood there and let me do it. When the can came off his head, instead of attacking me and going for the jugular, he just stood there for a while looking up at me and then casually sauntered off. I think he knew I'd helped him. Little did he know I was the idiot who left the can on the ground in the first place. He was ok, apart from a couple of very small abrasions.

 

He was known as Ned after that incident.

 

 

Ned.thumb.jpg.037de732bf5b0f0a162c93de872188c8.jpg

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The problem could be for that girl, they are exceptionally fast - and if startled, that goanna would shred her, trying to get away from a threat. Their claws are like rapiers.

 

onetrack, it's had to see clearly in that clip, but I think she might have his claws trimmed back. She hatches a lot of snakes and lizards from birth, so I'd guess she would have raised this one from birth. It lives in a city apartment with them and the dog, so it probably wouldn't need claws. Having said that, like you say, if it got a fright and took off it could be a problem.

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I can tell you a hilarious story about a goanna - and a young blue heeler dog.

My three nephews were working for myself, the brother, and his wife, when we were re-treating a number of old gold tailings dumps, in the Northern Goldfields of W.A. in the mid-1980's.

 

We had 3 caravans set up as a camp, and the eldest nephew, aged about 20 at the time, acquired a young male blue heeler dog, called Rocky.

Rocky was a classic heeler - territorial, nip any intruders heels in an instant, and bark at anything that intruded into his territory.

 

Well, one day, Rocky was wandering through the low scrubby bushes and small Mulga trees around the camp, when he came across a smallish goanna.

An intruder into his territory! He started barking at it, and the goanna took off at warp speed.

The dog took off after the goanna, but had no hope of catching him! - goannas move faster than dogs!

The goanna did what all goannas do, when they're being pursued, they find something to climb - and the chosen climb was a small, half-dead Mulga tree.

 

The goanna climbed right out to the end of a precariously thin overhanging branch on the lower outside of the Mulga, and camped there - about 2.5 metres above the ground.

Rocky spotted him, and parked himself underneath the goanna and started barking. We'd all been alerted by the barking and the chase, and we watched with amusement as the dog jumped and barked, and ran around in circles underneath the goanna. You could virtually see the goanna giving him the finger.

 

After maybe 6 or 8 minutes of frenzied barking, Rocky decided to take a break - still standing underneath the goanna's position.

About that point, the goanna must have decided it was time for some fun. As we watched incredulously, the goanna launched himself off the Mulga branch - and landed precisely positioned on the dogs back, like a jockey!! - and he hung on!!

 

Well, Rocky went ballistic - you'd think the Devil himself, had landed on his back!! He took off at warp speed, running blindly through the bush, yiking and yelping - while the goanna just clung on, enjoying the ride!!

I could swear there was a grin on the goanna's face - but it was hard to see, we were too busy rolling on the ground, with belly-aching laughter!!

 

After about 200 metres of riding Rocky like a jockey, the goanna decided it was time to bale - so he jumped off, and ran one direction, while Rocky kept going in a wide circle, well away from that Devil creature on his back - until he made it back to the caravans, whereby he promptly dived under one, obviously convinced the goanna was still after him!!

 

It was one of those times when you wished you were ready with a camera - but in those days, we rarely carried a camera, mobile phones with cameras were still unheard of, and you would have had to have been ready with the camera, at exactly the right moment, anyway! Regardless, the episode entertained us for years afterwards, whenever it was brought up again.

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I bet Rocky pulled his head in after that. The things you see when you haven't got a camera. Always funnier with a young dog with things like that; they seem to pull some incredible faces when they get in trouble.

 

I remember doing some work for a gold prospector in 1986 in the Hall's Creek area. We had an idle machine at the time and he had the gold, so we combined to do a bit on his lease. It was the first time I saw a nugget in the wild. Not the brown type.

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I can tell you a hilarious story about a goanna - and a young blue heeler dog.

My three nephews were working for myself, the brother, and his wife, when we were re-treating a number of old gold tailings dumps, in the Northern Goldfields of W.A. in the mid-1980's.

 

We had 3 caravans set up as a camp, and the eldest nephew, aged about 20 at the time, acquired a young male blue heeler dog, called Rocky.

Rocky was a classic heeler - territorial, nip any intruders heels in an instant, and bark at anything that intruded into his territory.

 

Well, one day, Rocky was wandering through the low scrubby bushes and small Mulga trees around the camp, when he came across a smallish goanna.

An intruder into his territory! He started barking at it, and the goanna took off at warp speed.

The dog took off after the goanna, but had no hope of catching him! - goannas move faster than dogs!

The goanna did what all goannas do, when they're being pursued, they find something to climb - and the chosen climb was a small, half-dead Mulga tree.

 

The goanna climbed right out to the end of a precariously thin overhanging branch on the lower outside of the Mulga, and camped there - about 2.5 metres above the ground.

Rocky spotted him, and parked himself underneath the goanna and started barking. We'd all been alerted by the barking and the chase, and we watched with amusement as the dog jumped and barked, and ran around in circles underneath the goanna. You could virtually see the goanna giving him the finger.

 

After maybe 6 or 8 minutes of frenzied barking, Rocky decided to take a break - still standing underneath the goanna's position.

About that point, the goanna must have decided it was time for some fun. As we watched incredulously, the goanna launched himself off the Mulga branch - and landed precisely positioned on the dogs back, like a jockey!! - and he hung on!!

 

Well, Rocky went ballistic - you'd think the Devil himself, had landed on his back!! He took off at warp speed, running blindly through the bush, yiking and yelping - while the goanna just clung on, enjoying the ride!!

I could swear there was a grin on the goanna's face - but it was hard to see, we were too busy rolling on the ground, with belly-aching laughter!!

 

After about 200 metres of riding Rocky like a jockey, the goanna decided it was time to bale - so he jumped off, and ran one direction, while Rocky kept going in a wide circle, well away from that Devil creature on his back - until he made it back to the caravans, whereby he promptly dived under one, obviously convinced the goanna was still after him!!

 

It was one of those times when you wished you were ready with a camera - but in those days, we rarely carried a camera, mobile phones with cameras were still unheard of, and you would have had to have been ready with the camera, at exactly the right moment, anyway! Regardless, the episode entertained us for years afterwards, whenever it was brought up again.

I was into tailings retreatment at that time, thanks for the story.

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There are numerous ways to re-treat gold tailings, but the two most common methods are grinding again - or simple treatment with cyanide solution, utilising plastic-lined leach vats. We carried out the latter.

Our family, as earthmoving contractors originally, moved into cyanide leach vat construction - initially for ourselves - and later on a contract basis for other gold tailings dump owners.

 

We ended up re-treating over 2,500,000 tonnes of gold tailings, all through the W.A. Goldfields, and up as far as Marble Bar.

Most leach vats held around about 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes, but we could build them virtually any size, if conditions were right.

 

The bulk of the old gold tailings dumps were between about 1 to 2.5 grams per tonne. When the gold price was high, it was a pretty profitable operation.

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Interesting stuff, gold. The prospector we did some work with at Halls Creek was one of the few full time serious small prospectors in that area. That was the tax free days and he made a living from it and supported his family ok. He and his lease partner camped in caravans during the week and went home to the wife and kids at the weekends. They were working over the old alluvial diggings at Old Halls Creek. The creeks had been worked over in the 1800's by a lot of panning and then picked over by the Chinese.

 

They had an old backhoe and were trying to find the areas where the ancient creek bed went; theory being that aside from the odd historic shafts sunk, the undiscovered virgin beds would be gold bearing. There was a limit to what they could do with the backhoe. We had a couple of unemployed D80A Komatsus at the time, so I walked one from Tanami to Old Halls Creek. From memory it took about three days from daylight to dark as we couldn't get a float at the time.

 

So when we got there, the routine was the prospector would pick a likely area; usually at a bend where the ancient bed might have taken a different path. Then the overlying material would be stripped off and stockpiled for restoration. We kept going down until traces of gravel were found. Once that happened, we would blade runs no more than 3 or 4 inches deep and as slow as possible, full de-accleration. The idea was to keep the remaining surface as dust free as possible for a better detector signal, hence the slow caution. At the end of the run, I would push what was in the blade into a heap, then wait while the prospectors scanned what I'd just bladed with detectors. After they'd picked out any gold, I'd back up and do it again. It was a very slow pace and used very little fuel.

 

The stockpiled heaps of gold bearing material were too jumbled with dust and dirt to be worth detecting straight away. The heaps were their reserve income. After the wet season had washed the heaps, they'd run the detector over the top of them and pick out any easy gold. If production was low and they needed cash, they would then process the heaps through a dry blower. That was a dirty, dusty, noisy job, so I could understand why they kept the heaps for the lean times. But with the right machinery, they were able to concentrate more on the easy stuff. That job with our Komatsu earned him enough to buy his own machine, a D6C, and away he went, from strength to strength. He was stuck in a rut with a backhoe and all he needed was a more capable machine. Easy work with that type of gold you can physically see. I'd imagine hard rock mining would be a different world altogether.

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The brother and I purchased the Fairplay Goldmine at Higginsville in 1972, right after I returned from 'Nam.

We had been agricultural earthmovers since 1964 - but while I was serving in 'Nam ('69-'71), W.A. endured the worst drought in nearly 70 years.

This drought in the W.A. wheatbelt lasted from 1969 to 1971, and wheat quotas also played a big part in the rural recession during those 2 years.

The brother went to Kalgoorlie in 1970 looking for earthmoving work, because he was pretty much on the bones of his bum, by then.

 

He went there initially to do nickel exploration gridding (which was good-paying work) - but he ended up doing some of the first open-cut earthmoving work on the Golden Mile with one of our D6C Cats (we had 2 of them).

The mine bosses on the Mile all gathered around to watch the D6C work, this was an entirely new concept to them, this dozing and trenching and earthmoving. All mining work on the Mile back then, was carried out by hand, and underground.

 

Open cut mining was essentially a very rare operation in the W.A. Goldfields in those days, because there wasn't the expertise, or the equipment in the Goldfields to carry it out.

Some open pit mining had been done at the Big Bell mine, just NW of Cue, W.A., in the 1950's, but this was carried out by dragline.

 

Whilst in Kalgoorlie, the brother became good mates with a former underground miner who had retired from mining, and bought himself an Albion Reiver tandem tipper, and a Chamberlain FEL, and he went around Kalgoorlie and Boulder doing FEL and tipper work.

 

This bloke had a tribute on the famous "New Celebration" mine, on the Kalgoorlie-Kambalda Rd, and he saw the potential in dozing trenches through the shallow New Celebration orebody, and then trucking the low-grade ore to the Kalgoorlie State (stamp) Battery to crush it.

This was quite profitable, even in those days of a fixed $35 an oz Gold price - because the State Govt subsidised the cost of crushing at the State stamp Batteries, and they only charged around a $1 a ton to crush the ore.

 

It was reputed to cost the State Govt around $25 a ton to crush gold ore through the State Batteries - but it had been subsidised since the Great Depression, to reduce unemployment in remote Goldfields areas - and to bring in gold income for the State.

This worked fine, in the days of hand-won ore - until the era of earthmoving arrived - and the Batteries then became overwhelmed with stockpiles of trucked-in low grade ore, and the bill for the running of the Batteries became unsustainable.

The W.A. Govt then decided the State Batteries were an unnecessary burden on the State Budget, and they were all closed down by 1987, after a 1982 W.A. Govt review deemed them to be a continuous loss-making burden.

 

Anyway, this bloke with the New Celebration tribute, told the brother and myself about the Fairplay mine that had come up for sale, that could provide a good source of gold income for us, using similar techniques as he was using at New Celebration.

The old Slav who owned the Fairplay was eager to sell it, he wanted to return to Yugoslavia to see his wife and retire (he hadn't seen her for 40-odd years!) - so the brother and I became owners of the Fairplay for a very modest sum!

 

With the Fairplay, came a 240,000 ton gold tailings dump, that was part of the Fairplay lease. In those days, under the old (pre-1980) W.A. Mining Act, ownership of a tailings dump stayed with the mining lease it came from, provided the lease had never lapsed.

 

If the lease had lapsed, it was possible for anyone to peg the tailings dump as an LTT (Licence to Treat Tailings), which became separate to the ground underneath.

This was a complex pegging system which was abandoned when the new 1980 Mining Act was introduced. From then on, all gold tailings dumps then became inseparable to the ground underneath.

 

We worked the Fairplay as an open cut from 1972 to 1980 (it had originally been operated as an underground mining operation in the late 1940's, with a decline shaft to about 120 feet deep, and a large stope at the bottom, whereby the ore was simply dragged by air winches and scrapers to the bottom of the decline shaft, for raising to the surface for crushing and gold recovery.

 

The underground operation at the Fairplay was wound up in the early 1950's, and the roof of the stope fell in in the early 1960's, with a couple of wet years - making for the start of a simple open-cut.

We just cut a ramp down into the caved-in stope with one of our Cat D7F dozers, and then started trucking the low-grade ore out, loading with a JCB backhoe/FEL.

 

Once we started mining the Fairplay ore with our Cats and tippers, we trucked it to the Norseman State Battery for treatment (about 60kms). We started with a 1968 International ACCO tandem tipper, and then later on, moved onto a semi-tipper, hauled by our F-700 cabover Mack. Then we moved onto a Cat articulated loader. We trucked about 13,000 tonnes of Gold ore to Norseman over that 8 years.

 

The tailings dump at the Fairplay went about 2.2 grams to the tonne - and the ore we mined at the Fairplay, went about the same grade. Very low grade for that era, but we had cheap mining and treatment costs.

We continued as agricultural earthmovers and just worked the Fairplay "on the side" - hauling a stockpile of ore to the Norseman Battery, and then leaving them for weeks to crush it.

No-one else was doing this back then, the gold price was $35 an oz in 1972, no-one was interested in Gold, the minerals hunt was all about Nickel. So we had the Norseman State Battery to ourselves.

 

But the driver behind all this planning of ours, of course, was that one Mr "Tricky Dicky" Nixon had taken America off the Gold Standard in August 1971. Up until then, U.S. currency was fully convertible into Gold.

The Americans had controlled the gold price, and restricted it to $35 an oz since the early 1930's - when America owned the majority of the worlds gold. But once Nixon took America off the Gold Standard, the Gold price started to soar.

 

However, the Americans thought they could still control the worlds Gold price. Every time the Gold price rose, the Americans sold off some Gold to depress the price.

But when they had to sell 400 tons in one day to keep the price pegged down, it was then the whole Gold ball game started to fall apart.

 

So, by 1972, they gave up on trying to control the Gold price, and the price rose steadily to be $120 an oz by 1975, and then reached a staggering $800 an oz by 1980, as the OPEC oil shock hit the worlds economies.

Naturally, by 1980, everyone was in on trucking low-grade Gold ore to State batteries - and the batteries were overwhelmed, and we had to go on a "restricted crushings" basis.

 

Everyone wanting to crush Gold ore by 1980, had to take turns, and they were limited to small tonnages. It was the end of the subsidised, easy Gold income period, from low-grade ores.

 

Yes, all Gold income was tax-free back then, too. :cheezy grin: We pulled about 600 ozs out of the Fairplay in those 8 years. It was a great time, and we made a lot of fairly easy money.

We probably averaged about $350 oz over that 8 years, $210,000 doesn't sound like a lot of money now, but that was big money in the 1970's, particularly when it was "income on the side", and we were still doing agricultural earthmoving with 3 dozers, for our main income.

 

Our re-treating of tailings story, is another whole story in itself, and it's tied in with farming, another major drought, the oil shock, high interest rates, and near-bankruptcy.

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Thanks onetrack, a very interesting history there and one with a lot of memories, no doubt. As you might have guessed, my involvement with gold and minerals was very limited. It was something we only occasionally did between oil contracts. That same period at Halls Creek in the 80's we did a small amount of gold exploration for companies like Freeport, mainly earthmoving to prep for core drilling rigs. Also a bit for a mob involved with rare earth. Pretty boring really, compared to working with the prospector where you got to see actual gold.

 

The only other gold involvement was a few weeks working with a driller doing exploration core drilling for a Japanese company. Probably the easiest job I've ever had. We were diamond drilling at a 60 degree angle which was slow work. Not much to do except swap over the inner tubes when full and clean and pack the rock samples. The beauty of diamond drilling was that all the rods stayed in the hole and only the inner tube was replaced when full. Compared to standard drilling where all the rods are pulled every time the core barrel is full, it was a real bludge.

 

It was drilling on an old historic mine in Queensland. I had a look at the mines department report and it had been closed since WW1. One of those mines that ran out of manpower during the war and never restarted. According to the report, the quartz vein was 4 foot deep and about 8 inches wide and snaked sideways and up and down. Hence the 60 degree drilling angle - more chance of hitting the 4' side rather than vertical drilling finding the 8" width. I had a look down one of the old hand dug shafts and it was scary. Those old miners were either brave or mad; possibly a bit of both. I couldn't get over how small in diameter the shafts were. You wouldn't want to be real big.

 

Good memories, but I'm glad I did it then and not now.

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Willedoo - Yes, underground mining is not something I ever would want to do. Like being a submariner, it takes a special kind of person to be an underground miner - but they get rewarded well, financially, though.

I've known underground miners who pulled in $300,000 a year as hard rock miners - in the 1990's. In the old days, even back in the 1970's, it was hard and exceptionally dangerous work.

 

Drilling mechanisation has advanced enormously, as well as general mechanisation. In the 1970's, one of the most dangerous parts of underground mining was what is called, "barring down".

You set a charge, blew the face - then you had to return to the blasted stope area and make it safe for further driving of the drive or crosscut.

This involved checking the roof area and crowbarring out loose slabs or big rocks, bringing them down - or rock-bolting them, if they still looked dangerous, but couldn't be barred down.

A lot of blokes were killed doing this, they'd select one rock to bar down, and the one alongside it would let go, and land on them.

In the 1970's we were still losing at least around 10 to 15 blokes a year in the W.A. underground mining industry. Barring down is now done with the arms on underground loaders with rock protection cages, so any rock falls don't kill the miner.

 

The State Stamp Batteries are a fascinating piece of equipment, and the brother and myself, and probably just a few handfuls of other blokes, are possibly only the ones left, who still know how to operate a Stamp Battery.

But the OH&S crowd would probably stop you from operating one today, deeming the risk from the machinery, the endless loud noise, and the constant playing with mercury, as being totally unacceptable, health-wise!

 

There are still a few fine example of Stamp Batteries left - but most were burnt down by scumbags intent on getting the gold out of them.

Over the decades, the Stamp Batteries ended up holding substantial amounts of gold, absorbed by the timbers, and stuck in crevices everywhere - and it was very profitable to burn down a Stamp Battery, and treat the ashes for gold!

 

Here's photos of one of the best-preserved Stamp Batteries in W.A. - a 20 head Battery at Agnew. I don't know how this one escaped being burnt down.

 

https://www.exploroz.com/places/61190/wa+agnew

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Good video. Stamp batteries shouldn't be run without ore in the boxes, the noise level increases substantially with just water going through them.

 

Does the museum show how you spread mercury on the copper plates, and how you scrub the plates to get the almalgam?

 

We built special home-made electric scrubbers to scrub the plates, otherwise it's a bloody tedious job doing it by hand. Then there was the amalgam retorting, and smelting of the residue to recover the gold, that was the best part!

 

The tailings were often retreated with cyanide in many milling operations - even at State Batteries - and often the tailings were divided into "slimes" and "sands", for different styles of cyanide treatment.

 

There's the remains of a fascinating Stamp Battery treatment plant, on the original Hampton Plains leases, just South of the New Celebration mine, on Wollibar Station, N of Kambalda.

 

It's called the King Battery, and even though it was a financial and engineering disaster, it was an amazing setup, typical of the huge money poured into large British company operations, in the W.A. gold rush period of the late 1890's to 1914.

 

It's a shame that very little remains of the King Battery, because it was all dismantled and utilised elsewhere, not long after it was constructed - and vandals and thieves eliminated most of what was left.

 

But a couple of mining people have written up the story of the King Battery, and one of them, a Dr Sandra Close, has made a detailed study and record of the site, and its operations.

 

Mining History - the King Battery - Gerard McGill - http://www.mininghistory.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/11.-McGill.Article-11.2004..pdf

 

Dr Sandra Close - Study Paper - the King Battery - https://ausimm.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/King-Battery-Paper-Sandra-Close-Feb-2019.pdf (photos at bottom of article)

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When we set up the Sovereign Hill battery it was recovering gold using mercury with acid to clean the plates, corduroy then a Wilfley table. But use of mercury was then banned so now its just a demo. They are supposed to feed enough quartz to protect the stamps etc. When we set it up there were still State batteries operating in Victoria and I spent time with the operator Jack Cox to learn the tricks. Jack passed away a couple of years ago.

 

For a 1930s fil of cyaniding in WA see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G-MaBcolFA:0

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Lika seems to be heavily into reptiles. She has a huge amount of instagram posts showing the keeping and breeding of them. It appears that Varun the goanna lives with them in a city apartment, but most of the posts are filmed at what I assume is their dacha.

 

Regarding previous reference to claws, in this clip you can see he has them. He also looks to be over fat; probably overfed. He gets fed prawns, mussels and fish and also rodents.

 

[MEDIA=instagram]ByQC_6ajjYT[/MEDIA]

 

 

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PMC - That's a great historic piece of W.A. Goldfields film, thanks for linking that, I haven't seen it before. Bit of shame the film quality deteriorated before they got to put it on video.

 

Did you notice the filling and emptying methods for the sands and slimes in the cyanide vats? Yep, shovel it in, and shovel it out! The weight and stickiness of moist slimes has to be encountered to be believed.

 

It's interesting to see the horses and camels still in widespread use in 1936. Only the wealthy could afford motor cars and truck back then. Camels are much maligned, but they were invaluable for the development of W.A.'s interior.

 

Oh, for further digression - did I mention Dad owned a small camel team in the Murchison from 1934 to 1938? He would have been amongst the last of the camel team owners. He used them to haul around his percussion water-boring plant.

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Willedoo, I reckon that goanna knows which side of the bread his butter is on, he's got to be the fattest goanna I've laid eyes on.

 

I'm wondering if he likes cuddling her because she's warm, and all reptiles enjoy warmth, because they're cold-blooded. He'd have to get pretty torpid during a Russian Winter, you'd think.

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I'm wondering if he likes cuddling her because she's warm, and all reptiles enjoy warmth, because they're cold-blooded.

 

That's exactly what I was thinking. The cuddling from her side doesn't look like natural affection so much as targeted body heat sharing. Maybe the body heat calms the goanna. Cuddling a horse works in a similar way, but more the tactile effect rather than body heat transfer. It make a naturally insecure horse feel more secure and trusting. But I doubt a goanna has insecurity issues; my guess is just the body heat as you say.

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