The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

355 – Pitch-black Podcast From Our Dark Sky Reserve

355 Pitch-black Podcast From Our Dark Sky Reserve

We wear our podcasts at night in South Australia’s Dark Sky Reserve

In this episode, we stay very still to let our eyes adjust before recording interviews at night time in the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve. We met the originator of the Dark Sky Reserve idea for the Mid Murray region, Chris Tugwell, former SA Chief Scientist-turned-astrophotographer, Don Bursill, and astronomer, Joe Grida. We didn’t get to interview Ivy from the Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Site but we hope to get back for a separate episode because her stories of her people and the land were deeply intriguing and impressive.

We also have a chat with Captain, Max Lindsay, on board the PS Marion, which had docked on the side of the river, along with Michelle de Leeuw-Smeets, Tourism & Heritage Officer – Mannum Dock Museum of River History.

The SA Drink Of The Week has made its mark in the space-time continuum; a non vintage Rosé from David Franz Wines, ably supported by our guest taster, Glenn Malycha.

And in the Musical Pilgrimage, we have a new song from Kyan Burns, which has a big sound for a big mission.

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Running Sheet: Pitch-black Podcast From Our Dark Sky Reserve

00:00:00 Intro

Introduction to the show.

00:03:51 SA Drink Of The Week

This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is the 2021 Cuvee Non-Vintage Red Rosé from David Franz Wines.

As you’ll hear (and see) in our tasting with Glenn Malycha from Wine Pro Australia, this wine features 108 varieties in every bottle – that would make for a fun wine night!

00:16:16 PS Marion interview

We recorded this episode on the PS Marion, a fully restored heritage paddle steamer built in 1897 and one of the last operational, heritage, steam driven, wood fired, overnight passenger carrying side paddle steamers in the world.

Captain, Max Lindsay, has a lot of experience on the river and driving boats, and I’m told he loves the PS Marion. As does Michelle de Leeuw-Smeets, Tourism & Heritage Officer, Mannum Dock Museum of River History.

Max,  what is it about a vessel made of wood and steel that can make a grown man LOVE it?

Can you sort out one discrepancy for me? The official website says the Marion was built in 1897 but some accounts say it was built in 1896 as a barge them converted to steam power in 1900. Will we ever know the exact dates?

The Australian National Maritime Museum: Although planned to be a steamer PS MARION was originally built as a barge. In 1896, shipbuilder A.H. Landseer from Milang on Lake Alexandrina South Australia was commissioned to build a steamer by Mr. George Swan Fowler, a prominent Adelaide business man. Unfortunately Mr. Fowler died soon after building began, and his trustees decided that the hull should be completed and offered for sale as a barge. It was named MARION and first floated in February 1897.

The Marion played an important role in the early years of Federation by being the platform for the openings of lochs, even at one time having Prime Minister Andrew Fisher on board. Who else has graced its boards?

One thing that sets the Marion apart is that its owners and designers were very good at making sure the vessel could change with the times. I believe it’s configuration changed a few times from simply carrying goods to being able to carry passengers, and its big funnel is of an adjustable height. What else can you tell me about what it carried?

Most of us experience the Murray as a quiet, meandering old soul but does danger lurk under the surface for riverboat captains?

Tell me about the Mannum Dock Museum?

What do you get from hopping on board while the PS Marion is stationery?

Should we return to paddlesteamers for moving freight?

00:39:37 Dark Sky Reserve

Eight out of every 10 people on this planet, live under night skies that are ruined by light pollution. And, yes, that includes Adelaide and surrounds. While it’s nice to see the Adelaide Oval lights juxtaposed against a deep red sunset, what happens when we lose sight of the stars at night is that our sleep patterns become disrupted, nocturnal habitats of our native animals become disturbed, and we get cut off from being reminded just how spellbinding the night sky can be. To me, this means we forget the healthy reminder, captured beautifully by Carl Sagan many years ago, that we are living on a pale blue dot amid a vast, vast, incomprehenisible universe. I think this is healthy because it can remind us to look out for each other as humans, and not get swept up into our fickle vanities. But before I get too deeply lost in philosophical meanderings, let’s meet tonight’s guests who are joining me in the dark on a cold night on the PS Marion, in the middle of the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve; Chris Tugwell, and Don Bursill.

The IDA (or International Dark Sky Association) defines an International Dark Sky Reserve as a location on public or private land where we can experience starry nights of exceptional quality and becomes protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. At the moment, the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is the only IDA reserve in Australia. Chris, there are many questions but first, where is this River Murray reserve?

What criteria did you have to meet to get listed, what things have to keep happening to maintain the listing?

How should or can South Australians interact with the Dark Sky Reserve?

What do we think about Elon Musk’s dozens of broadband internet satellites that are apparently visible in the night sky?

How connected are we to the stars – not re astrology but in relation to understand space and time?

01:19:22 Joe Grida interview

Joe is an astronomer who entertained passengers on the PS Marion Dark Sky Reserve cruise, and he shares his thoughts on the night sky and star gazing.

One bit of trivia: Do you have any idea why this being episode 355 is perfectly linked to the topic of the stars and time? It’s because our calendar is based on 24-hour days but the orbital period of the Earth is not an exact multiple of 24. Over time, calenders get out of step with the actual orbital period. After moving from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, we had to do a little jump in time. So, in 1582 the date jumped from 4th October to 15th October, making that year the only one in history that had 355 days! What other delights and stories can we gather from the night sky access?

He also referenced former guest, Vic Gostin. Here is a link to Vic’s interview: 220 – Vic Gostin On Time, Rocks, And Space

You can have the “Joe Grida” experience as part of one of the Day/Night tours arranged by Juggle House. Here are the details for the Dark Sky Gold Stars Sunset Dinner

01:29:29 Musical Pilgrimage

In the musical pilgrimage, we have We Won’t Let Them Win by Kyan Burns.

Kyan wrote this song after observing kids struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic by being isolated from their peers and more exposed to bullying due to being online more.

It features hip hop artist, Boffa, and a kids choir.

We’ve also embedded the official music video in the show notes, plus there’s a link to Ditto FM to make it easy to add the song to your playlists on your favourite streaming services.

Here’s this week’s preview video

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.

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