Three Australian Geocaches Reveal More Beauty and History

by theaudioprof on November 1, 2009

If you’ve been following The Audio Prof blog over the past couple of months you know that geocaching is a new hobby that I’ve taken up. If you haven’t, go to an official site to find more about this Global GPS Cache Hunt and see about a few of my own hunts in a previous post.

 One of the reasons I am attracted to geocaching is because it gets me out of the house and hiking around in beautiful places.  And, perhaps one of the reasons that geocaching is so big in Australia is that there are lots of beautiful places in the island continent to hide caches.  Forgive me for having a post that is so chock full of photos…but when I tried to find ones to delete I just couldn’t weed ’em down any more.

The Monument

The road into Monument Park

The road into Monument Park

Just about 5 blocks from the flat we are renting is a beautiful hill that overlooks the waterfront of Fremantle.  It is known as The Monument and it overlooks the Port of Freo and on into the Indian Ocean to the West and the skyscrapers of Perth off to the Northeast. 

This geocache was EXTREMELY well-hidden.  In fact, it took me three (or maybe four) visits to the park before I overcame my frustration, retraced steps, and finally found the darn thing.  But, I didn’t mind (much!), since the weather and time of day was slightly different each visit and I was able to experience unique and exquisite views. 

The monument is actually a war memorial with the central obelisk commemorating the battles of Gallipoli, Flanders, and Palestine.  There are other smaller memorials…such as one for submarine vetrans which is actually a formerly working periscope that has been mounted in the ground…scattered about the park grounds as well.

Far from a somber place, though, the park is also a place for people to come and walk or jog, relax and look at the ships coming in and out of the port, have picnics with family and friends, etc.  So, during my several visits here searching for this darn cache (which was by far the most cleverly hidden one I’ve experienced yet!) I had to not only be on the lookout for people wondering what I was doing turning over every everything that wasn’t nailed down (Geocacher’s call these people Muggles 🙂 ), but also be aware of people who may have been visiting the monuments to honor those Australians killed in battle.

The Port to the West from Monument Hill

The Port to the West from Monument Hill

 

And Perth to the Northeast

And Perth to the Northeast

 

Now, I’m going to be honest.  The extent of my knowledge of Gallipoli, Flanders, and Palestine when I started writing this post was a 1980s Mel Gibson movie, Homer Simpson’s neighbor, and a place in the middle east respectively.  So, I did a little bit of investigation and found out the following about these WWI battle locations and their impact on Australia:

Gallipoli was a World War I battle that started on April 25, 1915 when Churchill and the Allied forces invaded Istanbul in order to force the last of the Ottomans out of there.  It was supposed to be a breeze. It was not as the stalemate lasted until early January of 1916.  What it was however was a the first defining national act for both Australia and New Zealand.  It was the first battle of the ANZAC–Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and in fact the start of the Gallipoli battle–April 25th–is known as ANZAC Day here in Oz…their Memorial Day for sure.  Over 11 thousand Australians died in the offensive and more than 28 thousand were wounded. 

F landers is harder to find information about, actually.  But, this recent press release led me to search for details about the Australian soldiers who fought in Belgian battlefields during the 1917 Third Battle of Ypres.  Ypres was the only city in Belgium in 1916 that had not fallen into Imperial German control.  Securing it and driving the Germans back would have not only been psychologically important but would have weakened their ability to get supplies to the German submarines that had occupied Belgian ports.  But, this was horrific fighting for seemingly a stone’s throw worth of real estate.  All-in-all over 36 thousand Australians died in the swamplands.  The horrors of Flanders drove one Canadian army doctor to write the poem In Flanders’ Fields.

Palestine is the hardest to be concise about.  However, after serving at Gallipoli, a variety of Australian Light Horse Brigades were redeployed to the East and helped to mount offenses against the Ottomans in Gaza.  There were several battles and summative casualty counts are not easy to come by…not nearly as easily as estimates for Gallipoli and Flanders.  But, there is some fascinating first-hand accounts and history at the Australian Light Horse Studies Center Page.

This is another fascinating aspect I’ve found about geocaching…the things I can learn about the areas that I go to.  But, of course, the other fun and challenging thing is finding the hidden cache (if you’re a cacher…spoiler alert!).  And, like I said, this one was a bugger to find.

A Frustrated Audioprof

A Frustrated Audioprof

But eventually I was able to find the darn thing.  In fact, much like some who have posted to the online log for this cache, I had the treasure chest in my hand many times before figuring out how to open it.  But eventually I did:

We Will Remember--GC13YP1

We Will Remember--GC13YP1

And even picked up my first geocoin, which in later November I’ll be taking with me on a trip to Newcastle, NSW to drop in a cache there.  More on that later…but look at the Cloud 9 Multievent Geocoin:

My first retrieved Geocoin

My first retrieved Geocoin

 

King’s Park

Eternal Flame @ King's Park

Eternal Flame @ King's Park



On top of a hillside overlooking the city of Perth is King’s Park and Botanical Gardens.  It’s over 1000 acres of prime space…which rather than selling off to developers the city has committed to an ANZAC day memorial flame and a tremendous garden spread.  During my kids’ spring break from school (which in Australia is 2 weeks long!) we hopped the bus and train (and then another bus) and headed out there.  [This, BTW, helped us establish a new family rule:  If the transit trip requires three routes…bus, train, bus, for example…it’s too long and we need to hire a car!]  Under the influence of my new hobby I searched for a nearby geocache and found a new type–the virtual cache.  This is a cache that isn’t like the others I’ve written about–there is no physical box of stuff you are looking for.  Instead, it’s a location.  And, in this case there were questions that the seeker needed to answer by wandering through the park.  And let me tell ya’ I really loved looking around this park.  Beautiful stuff:

 

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 IMG_2837 (Medium)

The virtual cache itself was called “Glass and Steel” and it referred to a tree-top bridge that overlooked the Swan River.  One of the questions that I needed to answer was what ancient Nyoongar (Aboriginal) peoples believed created the rivers.  It was, I learned from a sign in the park, the Waugal, the dream time Rainbow Serpent who “meandered through the landscape creating rivers, waterways, and landscapes.”   And, what a landscape.  Here’s the sights from the Lotterywest Federation Walkway:

Heading onto Glass and Steel

Heading onto Glass and Steel

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Minim Cove Park 

I thought this sign was funny @ Minim Cove Park

I thought this sign was funny @ Minim Cove Park

Finally, this cache was known as a puzzle cache…something that I didn’t quite understand when my daughter and I first went out looking for it.  The original GPS co-ordinates were nearby my house…and took us to the nearby John Curtin College of the Arts.  And, besides that, but it took me to two medium-sized water tanks on the campus.  Two water tanks…name of the cache is “By Waters Verge”…made sense to me.  But, no luck.  No geocache.  Good thing I didn’t start turning and twisting knobs on the tanks, eh?

Returning home, I figured that the theme of Bach music must be important (duh).  And so I started poking around.  Turns out that the Bach works were numbered in the 1950s.  The numbers are called BWV numbers.  And the geocache page asks you to figure out which compositions are referred to and then which BMV numbers are associated with them.  These numbers then are arranged in a puzzle to figure out the REAL geocache coordinates.  Plugging them into the GPS took us across the river and to Minim Cove Park, a place that used to be a tool-making location for aboriginals, apparently

     
Babbling Brooks!

Babbling Brooks!

From the Minim Cove Shoreline--Kayaking!  Something else to explore here in Australia

From the Minim Cove Shoreline--Kayaking! Something else to explore here in Australia

 

 

 

Lotsa ducks joined in the hunt

Lotsa ducks joined in the hunt

 

 

This was a nice day to spend in the park with the family…and luckily I found the cache just in time, before a late-spring rainstorm came in.  Not only did the creator of this geocache spend a lot of time creating the up Bach-related puzzle, but he also MADE A FAKE ROCK to hide the tupper-ware-type inside.  So Cool! 

 
GC12E5X (it's under the "rock"!)

GC12E5X (it's under the "rock"!)

If you know me at all…you know why I love doing this stuff!!

I think I’m off to hunt for one now….

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