The permanent way is the elements of railway lines: generally the pairs of rails typically laid on the sleepers (“ties” in American parlance) embedded in ballast, intended to carry the ordinary trains of a railway. It is described as permanent way because in the earlier days of railway construction, contractors often laid a temporary track to transport spoil and materials about the site; when this work was substantially completed, the temporary track was taken up and the permanent way installed. The earliest tracks consisted of wooden rails on transverse wooden sleepers, which helped maintain the spacing of the rails. Various developments followed, with cast iron plates laid on top of the wooden rails and later wrought iron plates or wrought iron angle plates (L-shaped plate rails). Rails were also individually fixed to rows of stone blocks, without any cross ties to maintain correct separation. This system also led to problems, as the blocks could individually move, and it was replaced by the “modern system” of rails and transverse sleepers. Although, Brunel’s 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge system used rails laid on longitudinal sleepers tied to piles. Developments in manufacturing technologies has led to changes to the design, manufacture and installation of rails, sleepers and the means of attachments. Cast iron rails, 4 feet (1.22 m) long, began to be used in the 1790s and by 1820, 15 feet (4.57 m) long wrought iron rails were in use. The first steel rails were made in 1857 and standard rail lengths increased over time from 30 to 60 feet (9.14 to 18.29 m). Rails were typically specified by units of weight per linear length and these also increased. Railway sleepers were traditionally made of Creosote-treated hardwoods and this continued through to modern times. Continuous welded rail was introduced into Britain in the mid-1960s and this was followed by the introduction of concrete sleepers. The earliest use of a railway track seems to have been in connection with mining in Germany in the 12th century. Mine passageways were usually wet and muddy, and moving barrows of ore along them was extremely difficult. Improvements were made by laying timber planks so that wheeled containers could be dragged along by manpower. By the 16th century the difficulty of keeping the wagon running straight had been solved by having a pin going into a gap between the planks. Georg Agricola describes box-shaped carts, called “dogs”, about half as large again as a wheelbarrow, fitted with a blunt vertical pin and wooden rollers running on iron axles. An Elizabethan era example of this has been discovered at Silvergill in Cumbria, England, and they were probably also in use in the nearby Mines Royal of Grasmere, Newlands and Caldbeck. Where space permitted round-section wooden tracks to take trucks with flanged wheels were installed: a painting from 1544 by the Flemish artist Lucas Gassel shows a copper mine with rails of this type emerging from an adit.
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Much of the Australian lifestyle is based around the country areas, with farms and properties accounting for much of the land use in this huge country. Livestock such as cattle and sheep as well as other farming types including growing a huge variety of crops is widespread in non-built-up areas. Visitors to Australia will often only see the cities and coastline, so getting out to some farms is a great way to see the countryside and experience some of the ‘true blue’ Aussie farming culture. Natural attractions also abound in the Gold Coast region. The area was formed about 24 million years ago when two massive volcanos erupted (one of them being Mount Warning), spilling out huge volumes of rock and molten lava previously stored beneath the surface of the earth. Subsequent volcanic activity worked further on the terrain, creating a variety of features and forming the country-side we see today. The area is now blessed with a combination of rainforest covered mountains and lush green flatlands.
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For at least 6000 years, Aboriginal people lived in and visited these mountains. The vanished Wangerriburras and Nerangballum tribes claimed home to the plateau territory. Roughly 900 years ago the indigenous population began to decline. Bushrangers Cave, which is close to Mount Hobwee and is 60 metres (200 ft) long, was once an aboriginal camp. This site shows Aboriginal occupation going back 10,000 years. Captain Patrick Logan and Allan Cunningham were the first European explorers in the area. The timber cutters soon followed, including the Lahey family who owned one of Queensland’s largest timber mills at the time. In 1863 a survey of the Queensland/New South Wales border was conducted. The task was carried out by Francis Edward Roberts and Isaiah Rowland, both surveyors, who had to define the border along the highest points in dense rainforest where there were very few clear lines of sight. Robert Collins campaigned heavily for the protection of the area from logging from the 1890s. Collins entered state parliament and saw a bill passed that preserved state forests and national parks but he died before the McPherson Range was protected. Later it was another local, Romeo Lahey who recognised the value of preserving the forests. He campaigned to make it one of the first protected areas in Queensland. The O’Reilly family established a guesthouse near the park in 1926, now named O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, and founding members of the National Parks Association of Queensland built Binna Burra Lodge next to the park in the 1930s. Lamington National park was established in 1915. The park was named after Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1902. In 1937, Bernard O’Reilly became a hero when he rescued the survivors from a Stinson plane that crashed in the remote Lamington wilderness. In typical Australian bushman fashion he embarked on his rescue mission taking only onions and bread to eat. Only a small portion of the original wreck remains today, 10 km south from the O’Reilly’s guesthouse.
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The Lamington National Park is a national park, lying on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range on the Queensland/New South Wales border in Australia. From Southport on the Gold Coast the park is 85 kilometres (53 mi) to the southwest and Brisbane is 110 kilometres (68 mi) north. The 20,600 hectares (51,000 acres) Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views. The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds. Most of the park is situated 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level only 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Pacific’s ocean shores. The plateaus and cliffs in Lamington and Springbrook National Parks are the northern and north western remnants of the huge 23-million-year-old Tweed Volcano, centered around Mount Warning. Elevation in the south of the park is above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) in some parts. The land declines to under 700 metres (2,300 ft) in the north. Some of the mountains in the park include Mount Hobwee, Mount Widgee, Mount Toolona, Mount Cominan, Mount Roberts and Mount Bithongabel, containing much of Australia’s few cloud forests. The Nerang River, Albert River and Coomera River all have their source in Lamington National Park. Eastern parts of the park feature high cliffs which rise above the Numinbah Valley. The park is within the Gold Coast City and Scenic Rim Region local government areas. Southern Lamington and sections of O’Reilly, Binna Burra and Natural Bridge are protected with Lamington National Park.
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