Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Continuing with our history hunt of the local area from the last post we visited the old Kingston butter Factory. It was built in 1907 after a group of 50 local dairy farmers formed a cooperative to run a butter factory in Kingston. It opened in1907 with one butter maker, 2 engineers and a cream tester.
By 1930 there were more than 30 employees and the weekly output was 50 tons. A new large factory was built in 1932 with an output of 3,367 tons of butter. It won awards at home and abroad.
Betty Botter bought some butter,
"But," she said, "the butter's bitter;
If I put it in my batter,
It will make my batter bitter;
But a bit of better butter,
That would make my batter better."
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she put it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter;
So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.
In 1958 it was taken over by "Peters Dairy Company" and by 1979 it had ceased taking milk and only made Cottage and Baker's Cheese. In1983 the factory ceased operation. (Thanks to the take over of the dairy industry by big businesses)
In 1988, bicentennial year, the factory was transformed into a community facility by the Logan City Council. It is now a Theatre and home of Logan City Theatre Co. It also houses a museum, Arts &Craft shop and function rooms. I often brought my class here for children's theatre productions.

Inside the museum we saw this old milk delivery cart. On the back there were a variety of milk churns.

This one caught my eye because the name L.Benfer, Mt Cotton was familiar to me. I used to teach in the rural suburb of Mt Cotton and I taught Benfer children and Len was their Grandfather.

In the corner of the museum we were amused by the old "dunny" (an Aussie term for an outside toilet.) They even had fake spider web and a Red-back Spider (poisonous), which were notorious for hiding in the dunny. I can remember carrying a lantern like this to the outside dunny when I was a kid. Squares of newspaper hung on the back of the door, which made interesting reading if you could get comfortable with the smell and fear of spiders and snakes.

There was a pan under the seat. Once a week the dunnyman (nightcarter, sewage worker) would come at night or in the early hours of the morning and pull the can out of the little door and replace it with an empty one. We always hoped he wouldn't come while you were sitting there. He would heave the full can onto his shoulder, careful not to spill any, and run with it to put it on the dunnycart (night soil truck). There was nothing worse than being caught behind a dunnycart on your bike on the way to school.

Here is a famous Australian song about the Red-back Spider:

There's a Red-back on the Toilet Seat
by Ralph Ernest 'Slim' Newton
The red-back spider (Latrodectus hasseltii) one of Australia's most venomous spiders. It's found across Australia including Tasmania and is often found in outdoor dunnys, letter boxes, under logs and rocks and other dark areas.
Since the poison attacks the nervous system, it only takes a small amount of venom to cause serious illness. The red-back spider's painful bite can be fatal, especially to the young and elderly. An effective anti-venom was developed in 1956 and you should seek medical help immediately if bitten.
The red-back spider is most active at dusk and during the night. The man bitten in this song was bitten by a female red-back. The male does not bite.
There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn't see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
I jumped high up into the air,
And when I hit the ground,
That crafty red-back spider
Wasn't nowhere to be found.
There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn't see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I'm ere in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse the red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.
Rushed in to the missus,
Told her just where I'd been bit,
She grabbed the cut-throat razor blade,
And I nearly took a fit.
I said "Just forget what's on your mind,
And call a doctor please,
'Cause I've got a feeling that your cure
Is worse than the disease."
I can't lay down, I can't sit up,
And I don't know what to do,
And all the nurses think it's funny,
But that's not my point of view.
I tell you it's embarrassing,
(And that's to say the least)
That I'm too sick to eat a bite,
While that spider had a feast!
And when I get back home again,
I tell you what I'll do,
I'll make that red-back suffer
For the pain I'm going through.
I've had so many needles
That I'm looking like a sieve,
And I promise you that spider
Hasn't very long to live!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Last week we did some history hunting in our Logan City, which adjoins Brisbane City. We went to the suburb of Kingston where there is an early pioneer cottage. John and Emily Mayes  and two children arrived from England in1871, he had been a gardener and she a servant. They took up a selection (free government land, which had to be developed) of 321 acres and built a slab hut, built fences and dug a well.
They lived in the hut for many years before building the cottage. 

They planted fruit trees, sold timber from the property, had dairy cows and kept bees. They had 5 more children. After some years they bought the property from the government.

The kitchen was built away from the house in case of fire, but it is connected by a walk way.

A later model stove sits in an alcove.

There were 3 bedrooms, this one for the parents , one for the girls and one for the boys.

The house stayed in the family until 1973. The Qld government acquired the estate except for 2 hectares around the cottage, which is now a park where we had a picnic lunch. The house was saved by local citizens storming parliament house and protesting against its destruction in 1979.

Some remaining mango trees from the original orchard planted over 200 years ago. I have enjoyed reading the family histories from the booklets given to us. The cottage museum is run by volunteers and maintained by the Logan City Council.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


My friend Cindy has dubbed us Tarzan and Jane as our garden has turned into a jungle with all the rain. Today Jane had to clear a path so Tarzan can get the wheelie bin up to the road on garbage day.

Then Jane had to cut back the lavender so as to reach the compost heap.

But Jane got sidetracked by the beautiful Banksia plants. She remembered seeing them like this a week ago but today they are big and blooming.
Then Jane thought she had better get back to clearing some more jungle until she saw thisssss fellow sunning himself.

I think it is a harmless Tree Snake but it could be a deadly Brown Snake.

I'm not game to get too close. 

He was quite long. Can you see his tail finishes in the bottom right hand corner? Jane is leaving the jungle just as it is in that corner of the garden, even though it badly needs attention.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rain, can stay.

It is very unusual for us to have rain at this time of the year. Usually from April to November is very dry and we have to spend a lot of time and water to keep the garden alive. Not now! The garden and I are loving it. Here are some shots from around our garden.
Lillipilly trees

and their new leaves.

A pathway under the trees.


and its flower

Tarragon under the lemon tree.

Tarragon flower.

OH look! Autumn leaves in Brisbane (never happens) The native trees lose their leaves and regrow them all year round. This is the melaleuca tree that the lorikeets like, see last post.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The Melaleuca quinquenevia tree in my garden had buds now it is bursting with cream flowers, which look like bottle brushes. They have a very strong smell of sweet nectar and ..........

the Rainbow Lorikeets just love it.

They rarely sit still as they are continuously jumping from one flower to the next. They hang upside down and they are entertaining to watch. They also have a noisy squawk too.

Friday, April 16, 2010


At last the weather is cooling down enough to be able to work in the garden. With all the rain this summer it has been hard to keep the garden from overgrowing into a jungle because it has been too hot to work outside. 
The pathways were impassable, so.....

 with my trusty secateurs I declared war on the jungle.

The slaughtered jungle grew into a big pile....

which had to be moved, so I filled the wheel barrow

and I got my daily exercise pushing it up the hill.....

four b........dy times.

Crikey! The garden bag is what?

Just stuff it in (yet another bum cam from Mr B.)

Before and After
Ah ha now I can see the path and walk through the garden (and lie down and rest my sore back).

Monday, April 12, 2010


Last weekend we drove to Wivenhoe Dam to meet friends for a picnic. It is about 90 k from here and our friends live about 20k on the other side of the dam. 

We were excited to see how much water was in the dam. Over the last five years we had very little rain, a drought in fact. The three dams providing Brisbane and surroundings with water dropped to 15% capacity. We were on very strict water restrictions and the State Govt was worried we would run out of water so they constructed a desalination plant and water recycling facilities. However, at the end of last year it started raining and it has been raining on and off all through summer, like it is supposed to in the sub tropics. The dams are now 98% full. Unfortunately we don't have mountains and melting snow to help fill the dams.

People stopped going to the dams for outings as they were nothing more than mud puddles but Easter weekend saw more people at the dams than ever before. This is just one of many picnic sites. There are also camping areas too. Some dams allow boating but not this one.

We met our mates, Joan and Norm, who had secured a table for us with a view over the park and water.
Joan and Norm are our oldest friends,( not their age), but how long we have known them. Joan and I taught at the same school in Papua/ New Guinea back in 1964. I was single then and I used to babysit for them sometimes. Later when I met Bill, I took him to meet them and I asked their opinion of him. Like, "Do you think he is OK to marry?" They approved and it turns out that they were right. We left P/NG before them but we met up again here in Brisbane in the 70's. Later they took a "tree change" and moved to Esk, a country town, which is turning into an artist's retreat, Joan loves this because she is into weaving and felting.

Not bad weather for Autumn!

After our ham salad lunch, we drove back over the wall and around to the spillway. There are five steel gates 12 metres wide and 16 metres high. The biggest of that kind.

Then I tried to get a shot of the earth and rock wall which is 2.3 k long, with the Brisbane Valley Highway running along the top. However I couldn't get far enough away to fit it all in and the damn tree got in the way of the dam wall. The dam holds 2.6 million megalitres. 

 We saw a scaly breasted lorikeet.