Friday, June 15, 2007

Uni Daze

This week, I visited Macquarie University to put in the application for the first course in my BSc in Conservation and Biodiversity.

Culture shock, frankly.

It occurred to me that it's now *cough* thirty years since I started my first degrees (Arts/Law). Thirty years?! Okay, so I've had a very full and satisfying life in those years--marriage(s), a baby now a big girl, a career in screenwriting and stage and a minute or so in law, travelling around the world a few times, plant stuff--but still, it's a bit spooky.

The place has changed a lot. Everything, of course, is digitalised now. The uni even has an on-campus wireless service (note to self: buy laptop). PCs didn't even exist when I started uni. I thought I was so hi-tech because I wrote my essays on an electric typewriter with a daisy wheel and a very exciting innovation--the eraser ribbon.

The old union cafetaria now resembles a Westfield foodhall. (It's not allowed to be called a "union" any longer in these politically correct Howard days. "Union" is a dirty word. Any minute now it'll be expunged from the Anglican marriage service.) There's not much sign of politics there nowadays. In the seventies, the walls were covered in political posters, but now, there are lots of ads for various Christian groups. Ugh.

The old Jughouse Theatre where I spent a huge chunk of my youth has been replaced by a motorway, and the on-campus house I shared with various mates in Culloden Road is no more. The uni now sprawls with dozens of new buildings, but the architecture and landscaping look great. I'd have loved a lake like this when I was there first time round....

This photo is from Macquarie's website, taken by Damian Moran. Browse the pics. They're really lovely.

Looking through the staff directory, I can find none of my old lecturers and tutors. I guess they're all retired or dead! But an old mate, Andrew Simpson is there. We were undergraduates together, and now he's Dr Simpson, Director, Museum Studies Program, Division of Environmental and Life Sciences. It'll be good to catch up with him for some ancient gossip.

Another deluge of rain this weekend, this time, landing on the catchment for Warragamba Dam. The dam stats are going to look better than they've been for ages. Unfortunately, the rain is heavy in the Central Coast region which is still flooding from last weekend.

I keep looking anxiously at the trees in our garden, but they're hanging on. There's a waterfall behind our neighbour's house, and I took this photo this morning.

Buckets of the wet stuff!

While I was down there, I spotted this sign....

It'll be wonderful seeing brush turkeys (Alectura lathami) active during the breeding season. I wonder if my new plants will survive.

At some point, I hope I'll be able to take a photo to show you, but in the meantime, here's an image from the Canberra Ornithologists Group.

And here's Mungo, a magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) that has adopted us. It seems he might have been hand raised, because he's ridiculously tame. His flight feathers are cut, so someone is obviously "keeping" him. After the last storm, he vanished for a few days but now he's back.

But I do wish he'd get out of the rain.


Anonymous said...

There's an effing lake? Where have they put that? And the atrium? Where my linguistics tutor was housed I hope. Oh but it is a beautiful place. That photo of the stand of trees in front of the union building...I never did appreciate it while I was there. None of it. Just sucked it all up and left. Good luck with it all.

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