This is Tom Maloney, and his faithful horse Dobbin, whose job it was to collect leaves around the streets of Canberra. He and another man called ”Old Sox” worked for the Department of Interior on parks and gardens, also using a horse and dray. Maloney did this job until the early 1970s!
Younger members of the family remember that Tom even made time after work to take the local kids at Marymead School in O’Connor for a ride on the horse and cart.
How slow and innocent the times were…
American Elm trees in the inner city of Canberra
…can’t you just imagine old Tom and Dobbin clip clopping up this street? It must have taken a long time to clear the leaves in one street.
When Old Parliament House was built, it was surrounded by dusty paddocks, used for grazing sheep…
Opening of Parliament House in 1927 : photo: library act.gov.au
Politicians of the day, were not happy about moving from the developed city of Melbourne to the windy plains of Canberra. However, in time, trees and shrubs were planted to build gardens around Old Parliament House and surrounding buildings.
Canberra now has a mixture of mature native and deciduous trees, and it gives the city a real sense of space and parkland.
Old Parliament House, now the Museum of Australian Democracy
On this lovely autumn Sunday we are taking a walk from Old Parliament House to the lake, to look at the autumn colour before it disappears.
Old Tom Maloney would have needed more than one horse and cart to gather leaves these days…
The Sulphur Crested Cockatoos love the oak trees, and spend the autumn days dedicated to eating….
…a very sensible idea with the coming cold Canberra winter..
The male and female Red-rumped parrots are blending into the grass and leaves, while a Galah is feeding around them. Galahs are one of Canberra’s most familiar cockatoos.
These young Australian King Parrots are well camouflaged in the grass, but once they reach adulthood they will be bright orange and green.
Down at the lake’s edge, autumn is the perfect time for a fishing competition….on this slow warm Sunday.
Lake Burley Griffin, the Carillon in the distance, and a Darter drying his wings
Lake Burley Griffin, Telstra Tower in the distance, and the Manchurian Pear trees along the lake
We finish our walk with a cup of coffee looking out on these beautiful Manchurian Pear trees along the edge of the lake…..I think they are my favourites…for today anyway.
Do you have a favourite tree in your garden, town or city?
Does your heart sink when you see those autumn leaves falling…do you need a leaf blower, or even Old Tom and a horse called Dobbin?
Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.