Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Newstead House

We visited another historic house last week. This is Newstead House, Brisbane's oldest surviving residence. It was built in 1846. (I know this is not old compared to other countries but Australia wasn't discovered until 1770 and the first settlement, Sydney, wasn't started until 1788).
The pioneer Patrick Lesley built the house but didn't stay long and he sold it to John Wickham, Police Magistrate of the Moreton Bay Settlement. 

Later it became the home of George and Jane Harris, ship owner and Consul for the USA. They lived there for 27 years.

During this time it came to epitomise the elegant Brisbane society. 

In 1878 the Newstead estate was subdivided to create the suburb of today's Newstead.

In 1939 the house was preserved by the Queensland Government as an example of the earliest domestic architecture.

The back of the house has a lovely view over the extensive gardens and parkland.....

and down to the Brisbane River.

He looks familiar.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Last week we visited Ormiston House, a historic house in the bayside suburb of Ormiston. We went with the camera group of the University of the Third Age.
Ormiston House was built in 1862-1865 by craftsmen brought from Scotland by the owner, Captain Louis Hope an aristocrat from Scotland. He had a big property for farming and grazing in Kilcoy, north west of Brisbane. He built the house for his wife and 8 children.

Unfortunately no photos were to be taken inside. However this is looking in the front door. It is beautifully restored with many items on display that once belonged to the Hope family.

At the back of the house stands a slab hut with a shingle roof. This was the first building and was used by Capt.Hope and overseers while the house was being built. Later it was used as the kitchen and bake house. Most Australian pioneer houses had the kitchen outside due to the fire risk they caused.

The laundry was outside. Wringers and a copper to boil the clothes.

The camera group had morning tea of scones, cream and strawberry jam. One of the guides told us the history of the place before we were taken on a guided tour.

The view of Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island from our table was magic.

Capt Hope loved plants and he had beautiful gardens on the 800acres that surrounded his house. He also had sugar cane growing and was the first to start crushing and milling it in Queensland. 

Monday, March 22, 2010


I had often read in our local paper about a Buddhist Temple which is only a 10 minute drive from home. I always  wanted to visit but never got around to it until recently when we had interstate visitors and I thought it would be a good place to take friends. I was surprised at the size of the place and the extent in which they help the community.
The Chung Tian Temple was built in 1993 in a bush setting on the border of Brisbane City and Logan City. It is a palace like building.

The entrance and pathways are lined with statues and Chinese gardens.

As you walk through the entrance it opens into a pretty courtyard. I just missed capturing a fellow banging the bell with the swinging wooden gong. There were many rooms for different activities; classrooms, conference rooms, dining rooms and prayer rooms. (No photos allowed inside) There were many photos displayed of activities held there for the community and school children. Chinese writing, art, meditation and Thai Chi. 

We walked out of the courtyard to a pagoda like temple. It was a beautiful building.

I could take pictures from the doorway. We took off our shoes and went inside. It was so calm and peaceful in there. The walls were covered in thousands of little identical plaques but each had a different number. I wondered why and should have asked one of the attendants but I was too shy.

We walked back into the courtyard and then through the front entrance. The statue in the entrance is of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder of Foguangshan Buddhist Order in Taiwan.

Chung Tian means "central heaven". It is a cultural, educational and religious centre for devotees, students, scholars and tourists alike. It is in a tranquil, woodland setting and gives credence to the saying...'"Chung Tian temple is heaven in Australia" (Information from a brochure published by the Buddhist Assoc. of Qld.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


We had visitors last week and we are lucky to have a Koala Centre 5 minutes away by car or 15 minute walk. It is situated in Daisy Hill Forest.  It is an educational facility to teach the public and school children about Koalas. It is not a zoo but they often have Koalas there, which need rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. They are usually babies that have been found in a dead mother's pouch on the roadside. Sometimes they are sick ones which are getting treatment.
This is what Koalas do most of the day. At night they go hunting for the best juiciest eucalyptus leaves. They only eat certain species of eucalyptus trees.

Sometimes they will rouse for a scratch. They rarely drink water as they get enough from the leaves.
We were very lucky as this one woke up and started to move which doesn't happen often during the day.
Ah ha! She can see some juicy leaves over there.

Down she climbs. They have a hard cartilage callus on their backside for propping in the fork of trees and sleeping..

They walk on all four legs.

Do you see the long sharp claws she uses for climbing? They cause a problem when rangers want to catch them for treatment. She's not hungry, she'll wait for dark.

Maybe its more comfy up there. The local school have established a Eucalyptus plantation to provide the centre with fresh leaves every day. They munch through tons of them. Unfortunately the Koala is facing extinction as we human beings keep bulldozing their habitats for housing. There are some forest areas where they are safe, like Daisy Hill but not enough.BTW Koalas are NOT bears but marsupials and we don't call them Koala Bears any more. (They get offended.)

Friday, March 19, 2010


On our walk around Surfer's Paradise last weekend we came across this sculpture called, "FINS".
I couldn't find an artist's name. One of the fins was covered in hundreds of everyday articles.

It was fascinating to search and recognise items.

We walked on down the street and came upon another sculpture. I couldn't find a name or artist mentioned anywhere,

The palm trees were interesting too as they had ferns growing out of the trunk and hanging down while the palm fronds were growing upright.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anyone for Jass?

Last weekend we visited friends on the Gold Coast. After breakfast we walked around Surfer's Paradise.
Lyn and I scanned the beach and found a pleasant sight rippling with bronzed muscles. After he did some stretching exercises and really got us excited, he jumped on his surf ski and tackled the crashing waves.

The boys steered us away towards a coffee shop.

We passed hundreds of apartment blocks all shapes and sizes.

The sign of old age is when men prefer to look at an Aqua Duck instead of beautiful young women. He he, aren't they good boys.

We reached Caville Avenue Mall and had a coffee with hundreds of tourists even on a wet day.
After coffee we returned to our friend's house for another game of cards.

Ben and Bill were friends in Switzerland and migrated to Australia together in 1967. Ben married an Australian girl, Lyn, and we have been friends ever since. The boys taught us girls how to play "Jass", it is a Swiss card game. We love it when us Aussie girls beat the Swiss boys at their own game. (Doesn't happen too often). The reason for the red hat is because we are getting old and forget who's turn it is to deal (how pathetic) so who ever is dealing wears the hat. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Rainy Day at the Beach

We were invited to stay for the weekend at friends, Ben and Lyn's house. They live on the Gold Coast, 30 mins to south of here. The tropical, monsoon, summer rains are still hanging around but it is a little cooler and rather lovely at the beach in between showers 

Narrow Neck Beach looking south towards Surfer's Paradise Beach. 

Looking north.

It wasn't crowded but families were still out having fun.

Nothing stops the teenage board riders having fun.

The rescue helicopter patrolling the beach keeping the swimmers safe.

Swim between the flags. 

No swimming here only board riding.

Leave nothing behind except footprints.