A few comments have come in recently asking about the oft-referred “Concrete Hilton” and we’ve realised we don’t have much available material so far, nor an explanation, of this home base for Swift and Beau. Orange campus of (the now) Charles Sturt University is built almost squarely around a very tall water tower which supplies campus with gravity-fed water pumped in from Orange town not far away. It was one of the first structures built on site when we were Orange Agricultural College in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. It’s about 50 meters taller than the surrounding landscape and contains a vast quantity of water inside a doughnut-shaped tank around a central pillar which provides access up through the middle and out in to a small, concealed room above the water, primarily for access in to the tank itself, but also more recently maintenance access for the old microwave dishes and data switches which used to connect campus to Sydney via the transmission towers on nearby Mount Canobolas – the old volcano overlooking Orange; allegedly the highest point between the Blue Mountains to the east, and Perth in Western Australia. Consequently this availability of power and data has allowed us the perfect physical scenario to bring FalconCam Project to life; we draw straws to decide who has to climb the tower for the next maintenance run!!
Conveniently in about 2007 Ian Grange and Cilla Kinross, both founding members of this Project, noticed our pair of peregrines hanging around the south side window, and the first eyrie was hastily constructed and mounted by fellow Project member, Ron Green. Both birds took to their new home immediately.
It’s one of the very best views across Orange, it provides a very secure and safe location for the peregrines, well away from all vermin and most weather. It’s an extremely tough climb for us but it also means the peregrines can be left alone without interruptions from other sources. It’s fairly waterproof, doesn’t sway too much (except during strong winter gales, and then it’s no place for humans either!) and it’s very quiet (unless the tank is re-filling!). We like to affectionately call it the “Concrete Hilton” – home base for Swift, Beau and all their offspring over the past few years!!
A good idea of the tower construction can be viewed in a video file of a Prime 7 News interview that we did back in September 2012 (thanks to Prime 7 News again). An earlier interview through WIN TV News in 2008 can be viewed here …
Thanks to Sky_Wings and Clare for asking the question!! …
Thanks Scott, that answers all my questions. The news video was very informative & I got some great snips of the tower. So much easier to understand now what the view from the ledge cam is about. Thank you.
Many thanks for both your explanation and the excellent links – it was great to see the tower (what a strange shape, though!) and its surroundings. It was also good to put a couple of your faces to names – though the photos of Cilla holding Snow really don’t do her justice.
A big Thank You to Scott, for the answers to the questions asked by Sky_Wings and Clare about Swift and Beau’s residence at the Concrete Hilton. The links and written explanation were most informative and quite enjoyable!