Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Last week Carol and David spent a day at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art). They love art galleries and have visited many in Europe but they think our GoMA is very good and a cool place to visit in hot weather. We joined them for lunch at the GoMA restaurant. The restaurant always change their menu to compliment the latest art exhibition. At the moment it is the 6th Asian Pacific Triennial Contemporary Art exhibition, so the menu was Japanese.

We started by sipping an Australian red.

David had eye fillet.

Carol and Bill had chicken curry.

I had garlic prawns.

All the meals were delicious. We decided to have a stroll through the gallery before going home. They allow photos but not flash. These days there are less and less pictures on the walls (oops should say static displays) and more and more installations. The first one to catch my attention was this:

It is hanging from the ceiling in the corridors. This is looking up at it from the ground floor.(above)


This is looking down at it from floors above.


It is made of six thousand A3 sheets of paper held together with bulldog clips.

Unfortunately, I couldn't be bothered taking notes on the artists or the names of their art works, but I was entertained with what I saw. 

My friends, Judyth and Richard, left a comment on my blog and they have kicked my butt and dragged me out of my lethargy and coerced me into looking up information about the art that I saw. Judyth is a curator of an art gallery. So here is the missing information.

The above piece is called Cloud by Wit Pimkanchanapong

Cloud responds to and transforms the dramatic interior spaces of the Gallery of Modern Art. Comprised of A3 paper, bulldog clips and metal wire, this piece is based on a signature motif that Pimkanchanapong initially developed for a rock concert venue to create a cheap, effective means of transforming the environment. Wit trained as an architect.

Judyth and Richard's comment:

WE are with Carol and David, Diane.

No visit to a major city should be concluded without taking in the galleries (or museums as they're known in the US).
So we're sure your goodself and Billy B. would take in the works on display in good old (and expensive) Switzerland when you're there.
And yes, in Museums of MODERN Art installations are more prevalent than static displays --- read, pictures hung from the walls.
New York, London and Paris have some of the world's most famous galleries. Berlin has an entire precinct devoted to gallleries/museums.
It's a sheer delight to wander around these iconic places. Will we have to Google the Brisbane establishment to discover the artists' names for the installations you have captured.

Piccies without captions leave the job half-done !!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Sonya and Bernie were only here for the weekend from Sydney. While here in Brisbane, Bernie rang his brother, Steve, who lives on the Sunshine Coast. Steve told Bernie that their sister, Margaret, was also on holiday on the coast. So it was arranged that we all go to Mooloolaba Surf Club for lunch the day after our belated Christmas celebrations.

It is a great view from the Surf Club restaurant.

Looking east

Looking north.

Looking south

Enjoying a seafood platter for lunch It was the first time that Carol and David had met Bernie's brother and sister and their families. From left to right: David, Carol, Nadine, Steve, Lachlan (hiding), James, Margaret,Georgia, Jason, Sonya, Bernie and Bill. Both Bernie and Steve are actors and it was quite interesting watching the people recognising them and asking for photos etc.

After lunch we drove to Point Cartwright and had a walk along the Mooloola River bank. It was very hot and people were cooling off in the water. The young ones all stopped here for a swim but Bill and I decided it was too hot and set off for home. We said our goodbyes to Sonya and Bernie as they were going directly to the airport to fly back to Sydney.

We passed the marina on the way back to the car (and air conditioning.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Because we knew the young ones were coming here in late January we postponed Christmas until now. Inside we had buffet salads, prawns and BBQed Snapper Fish and.......

..........we went outside to eat in the warm evening air.For dessert we had Alma's famous trifle. Our guests were from left to right, Bernie, Sonya (hiding behind Bernie), Carol, David, Bill, Alma,(David's parents) Steve, Melody (David's sister), Erica (hiding)and Jon,(David's brother), and BB.

After dinner was our traditional gift giving time. David is giving out the gifts. It was an enjoyable evening with family.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today is Australia Day, celebrating Captain Arthur Phillip planting the British flag in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. Arthur Phillip arrived with eleven ships of convicts and soldiers and started the first European settlement where Sydney now stands. He became Governor of the eastern half of Terra Australis called the colony of New South Wales. Little regard was given to the aboriginal population.

This weekend we were also celebrating the homecoming of Carol and David from London and the imminent birth of Sonya's baby.

Breakfast (muesli and fruit salad) on the balcony with......

....from left to right, Bernie, Bill, Carol and Sonya (David was at his parents house)


Sonya, a happy mother to be. (My baby having a baby)


It is a very hot, long weekend  at 35C°

Friday, January 22, 2010


We have had an empty nest for 13 years but now and then the young ones return for a visit and this weekend is one of those times. Our eldest, Carol-Ann and husband David have returned to live in Australia after after living in London for seven years.

They have arrived in Brisbane via Singapore. Here comes Carol for a hug.

Nothing feels better than a hug from a loved one after being apart for a long time.

Carol came home with us and David went home with his parents to Sandgate but on Thursday we all went over to Sandgate for fish and chips by the bay, it was very breezy. They look happy to be back in a warm place after freezing London. After lunch we went to the airport to pick up our youngest daughter, Sonya and partner Bernie, who came from Sydney to visit. We were all looking forward to seeing the baby bump.

It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to see your daughters hug each other.

That sure is a new look Sonya, who has always been thin. iPop in the background looking very proud.

All home and excited to be together again and with something extra special to be excited about. Carol is waiting to feel a kick from her nephew.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


We motored along the coastal road heading south from Brisbane to Sydney. The scenery was breathtaking. Around every bend there was a delightful view of golden beaches and a deep blue sea covered by a big, vibrant blue sky.We were all taken by the beauty of the Australian coastline and we were happy to call this country home. Our next stop was Byron Bay for lunch. Today Byron Bay is one of the biggest tourist meccas in the country. However, the council has strict laws for development. There are no high rise buildings and it is a beautiful but expensive place to stay. It is also a centre for artists and alternate types. Once a year there is a huge blues festival there too. In the 50's it wasn't that popular maybe because it was the site of a smelly, whaling station.
Byron Bay Whaling Station 1956

John, Mum and Dad beside the carcass of a Humpback Whale waiting to be processed into tons of oil at Byron Bay. The oil was used for lamps, candles and soaps. I remember the smell, it made me retch and my Mum bought sandwiches for lunch but I couldn't eat anything because the smell was so foul.
Between 1954 and 1962 there were four whaling stations on the east coast and 12,500 whales were killed. The industry destroyed itself by over exploitation. Numbers of Humpback Whales declined drastically and in 1978 commercial whaling was banned. Most countries signed the treaty but not Japan. Today we have drama on the high seas with protesters in boats trying to stop the Japanese harpooning whales close to our country.

In Byron Bay today, they probably earn more money in the whale watching industry than they did in the whale processing industry. The Humpback Whales have been able to increase their numbers again, but it has taken thirty years.

In the last chapter, "Settling in Australia Part 6" I explained how the long, working hours and the strain of building a house, bringing up two kids and making ends meet finally caused my Mum to suffer a breakdown after 5 years without a holiday. A nursing colleague arranged for Mum to spend a two week holiday with friends in the northern New South Wales beach town of Ballina. Mum didn't know the couple as they were friends of a friend. However, they were very kind and helpful and Mum had a wonderful time and recovered. Where Mum stayed, the man was the lighthouse keeper and lived in the keeper's house nearby. I remember Mum came home with sea shells and wonderful stories of days spent beach combing . She also said, "One day I will take you there." I'm not sure if Mum went by coach or plane, probably by coach. Two years later she kept her word because on our way home from Brisbane to Sydney, we pulled into the Ballina Caravan Park .
The Lighthouse Keeper's house.

Mum showed us the house where she had stayed, with lots of windows facing the ocean. She loved it there and in later years she dreamed of retiring in a place like this, but sadly it never happened.
Loading sugar cane onto a barge on the Richmond River.

The lighthouse at Ballina  is actually called the Richmond River Lighthouse. It was built in 1886. It was one of five identical ones built along the north NSW coast, designed by James Barnet. It was automated in 1962. The keeper's house has been demolished. (How sad) We spent some time in Ballina and Mum showed us her favourite beaches and walks. Ballina is still a beautiful seaside town.
As we left Ballina we drove through acres and acres of sugar cane fields. We had never seen this before. We stopped and watched the cane cutters cutting the cane by hand, loading it onto little trains to the river and then onto barges to the factory. We also saw the fields being burnt, with flames and black smoke billowing into the sky. The fields were burnt to clear the undergrowth and chase away deadly snakes so that the cutters could access the canes better for cutting. It was a fearfully hard, backbreaking job. Most cane cutters were Italian migrants and there have been many colourful stories and histories written about this era. Today, they have sophisticated machines which harvest, strip and load the cane without the need of burning.
Me, Mum and Jenny in a banana plantation.

Next stop was another charming coastal town called Coffs Harbour. Besides being a popular holiday destination for Sydney siders it is also the heart of the banana industry for NSW. We had never seen banana plantations before either. So this holiday was not only an adventure but also educational. This town now is a huge tourist resort, as it isn't too far from Sydney, about six and a half hours drive.
The photos in my Mum's album stop here. I guess we were home in Sydney after this shot, ready to start work and school again. It would only have been a two week holiday but oh! What fun it was for us new Australians.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The two caravans gingerly negotiated the steep, winding, narrow road down the ranges to Brisbane. We had arrived and we were excited to see the capital city of Queensland. I can remember my parents were not impressed with either the city or the camping place where we stayed. They must have been so disappointed because they didn't take any photos. So I have raided my folders and the Internet to find some. I guess my parents were not impressed because in the 50's Brisbane was like a big country town where the people were friendly but slow in developing. So it wasn't a modern beautiful city like Sydney at that time.

Today it is a modern attractive city and developing faster than any other city in Australia. We have caught up at last and southerners agree, because they have been coming here in droves. However that migration is slowing now. We still get many people from New Zealand, Asia and Europe. (Photo from "Above Photography")

As mum just loved the sea (and we hadn't seen any since leaving Sydney because we came on the inland route), she wanted to camp by Moreton Bay at Wynum. Once again we were disappointed as it was low tide, muddy, smelly and there were lots of mosquitoes.

Low tide at Moreton Bay today. (There weren't many sailing boats in the 50's either. Not many people lived by the bay.)

However, today the bayside suburbs are very popular and it is very expensive to buy a house there. This is Wynum today at high tide and it is a beautiful, cool area to live. Councils eradicate mosquitoes.

So we didn't stay long but hurried off to the famous Gold Coast south of Brisbane, where my mother was excitedly looking forward to see the Queensland beaches. One of her dreams was about to come true.
Mum, Ida and Jennifer on Kirra Beach, Queensland 1956

She wasn't disappointed. It was winter but the golden sands and glistening blue water with frothy, white waves crashing on the sand was a thrilling sight for all of us. The sand was so fine, deep and soft. The caravan park was perched on the edge of the beach and we went to sleep with the sound of the rolling surf. It was lovely and warm and not many people around. (Today the caravan park has gone to make way for hundreds of high rise holiday apartment blocks. The beach is crowded with people especially surf board riders. Personally I think it has been spoiled by commercialism)

John congratulating my dad on a fine catch. In fact they were fooling around because it was a shark that had washed up onto the beach. It must have been around this time in my life (14) that I became interested in photography as I took a lot of these shots with my Dad's camera. I had to straighten the horizon in some.

We were not in a hurry to leave the fabulous Queensland beaches but I guess my parents had to get back to Sydney for work. Here John and Dad are checking the map for our next stop.

We drove south and it wasn't long before we crossed the border into New South Wales at Coolangatta. We found a beautiful camping spot at Brunswick Heads. Mum and Dad deserved this happy holiday time together. Walking along the water's edge was always one of Mum's favourite activities and like mother, like daughter I also love it.

Looks like I have the camera again. John and Ida are at the back and Mum is in the middle with Dad and Jenny in front. Enjoying a last look at the beach before motoring on down the coast. Northern NSW beaches are also very beautiful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So our first exciting holiday in Australia had begun in the winter of 1956. Two families in two caravans travelled north from Sydney to Brisbane via the inland route on the New England Highway.
First stop was Maitland and would you believe it was raining. In those days (50's) Maitland was an industrial town with coal mines being the biggest industry, so it wasn't a very attractive place. (How it has changed! Today it is part of the Hunter Valley Wine region, with thousands of tourists and hundreds of resorts and it is a lovely place to visit.) The next morning Dad lovingly cleaned the mud of his new(2nd hand) Oldsmobile and we ignored the rain and continued on.

We crossed many rivers but there weren't many bridges. We had to cross on a car ferry or barge. This is the Manning River. ( Now there are bridges over all the rivers on the main highways.)

The rain continued as we arrived in Tamworth. The grown ups rigged up a tarpaulin over the two vans to give us a little shelter from the rain as we shared time in one another's vans. Jenny is wishing it would stop raining so she could play outside. Tamworth was a pretty place when not flooded like it was then in 1956. (Today Tamworth is famous for it's huge Country and Western Festival. People go there from all over Australia and the world. Many famous singers have been discovered at the festival competitions.)
The Peel River in flood at Tamworth. NSW.

We journeyed on and at last the sun came out. The next drama was when one of the vans had brake problems. We saw some travellers going our way with the slogan "Brisbane or Bust" written on the back of their cars. The roads were not in the best condition and at this point in our journey we thought we might be joining the ones who "Bust". However, Dad and John fixed the brakes with fencing wire found on a nearby farm and we were on our way.

Excitement was mounting as we crossed the Queensland border and left New South Wales. We camped at Warwick for the night. A small country town in Queensland and a big farming area for sheep and cattle. As we headed for Brisbane we climbed over the Great Dividing Range.
Mum disappearing into the jungle to explore a waterfall. It was cool in the mountains.

We stopped at Cunningham's Gap and went for a walk in a real rainforest. Mum was very excited to be in a tropical rainforest where the plants had enormous leaves. I tried to pick one for a souvenir. It had little hairs on the stem and it was hard to break. I squeezed and pulled but it wouldn't come off. Suddenly, my fingers started to sting and burn and pain like being stabbed with red hot needles. Being ignorant of tropical plants then, I had grabbed a giant stinging nettle. The pain was severe and I can remember it to this day. I certainly respect the tropical plants now. I probably messed up my mum's desire to go hiking in the forest, lucky for me she was a nurse.

Next stop Brisbane.