Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I am trying to get rid of kilos that I have put on from the last holiday and two Christmas dinners, so I have been walking every morning but it hasn't made any difference yet. However, some of the walks have been interesting. Most mornings I walk on my own to the forest then around the ring road and then home again. This takes about an hour. On Saturdays I drive to the forest and walk with two friends and we go deeper  into the forest, where it is shady and pretty. We walk for about an hour, taking different tracks each time.

A lot of mountain bike riders use the tracks too. On our last walk we came across a rider who was in a heap on the ground and his bike was dangling from a wire fence some way from the track. The skin was missing from one side of his face and his jaw was agape as if it was broken. Luckily a group of bikers had found him just before us and they had called the ambulance and they stayed with him. Some of the riders go at crazy speeds and fly over crests. We always have to listen out for them coming and get out of the way but most do the right thing and slow down and give us a warning. The rules are that bikes give way to pedestrians and horses.
We continued walking towards the gate exit and expected to see an ambulance coming but none did. We walked for another 30 mins before reaching the gate where we saw the ambulance and a fire truck. The gate was locked with a padlock. The firemen were trying to cut off the lock.                                                              

Finally a forest ranger turned up with a key.(There were no rangers on duty as it was 7:00 am)  As we passed, I heard the ranger chastise the ambos and fireries for not having a key. She said that Logan City emergency services all should have a key. They then told her that they were from Brisbane not Logan (They are adjoining cities and we were close to the city boundaries.) What a stuff up!! I kept thinking of that poor guy lying there injured and suffering from shock. Anyway the gate opened and off they went and we returned to the car park and home.
Every Thursday the Logan U3A bushwalking group walk in the forest. I usually play tennis and can't join them. However, tennis is not on during the school holidays, so I could join the walkers today. Wow, what a walk. These guys are not faint hearted they hiked along at a cracking pace. We took a track that I have never been on and it was very hilly and scenic, almost a rainforest in some places. The track was narrow, windy and steep but on the return walk we came via the wider track as seen above. We hiked for two hours at pace. I loved it but I was tuckered out when I got home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I play tennis every Thursday with a great bunch of senior ladies. At the end of each year they have an outing paid for by the little extra that we pop in the tin each tennis day. This year we chose to go to the Full Moon Hotel at Sandgate.
Sandgate is a bayside suburb of Brisbane situated 16k north of the city. It was settled in 1853 and when the railway arrived it became a popular place for people to go for seaside recreation and to cool off in summer. 
 We copied the early travellers and caught a train. First we all met in the city and had a coffee.

Unfortunately it wasn't a sunny day for us but it didn't stop us having fun. We walked from the station.....

 ....passing the historic Town Hall.

 We soon arrived at the Full Moon Hotel, which was built in the 1860's and called Osbourne House then and provided accommodation for the travellers. It overlooks Bramble Bay and has a great seafood menu
This is how it looks on a sunny day. I took this with my phone on an earlier visit to Sandgate.

 After a delicious lunch and lots of happy chatter we strolled back to the station without needing umbrellas. We passed some earlier styled homes on the way.

The next Thursday at tennis we decided to continue the Christmas spirit and we all brought a plate of food and had another party
My great tennis mates. Two ladies cannot play any more due to medical reasons but they still come for  the social enjoyment.

Party in the tennis shed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Corrigin is a small country town in WA. It has a population of 900 and it is situated in wheat and sheep country. However, the town is known for its love of dogs. It is quite a familiar site in the country to see a dog in the back of a ute. (utility truck as above). In 2003 the locals organised a world record parade of 1,527 utes with a dog. 
I learnt a few new words this week, one of them being taphophile (one who enjoys cemeteries, graveyards, funerals and the trimmings of death.) Photographing headstones and graves is also included.

A dog driving a ute, installed on top of the roadhouse. Note the number plate and windscreen text.

A statue of a dog erected in commemoration of the world record for a "Dog and a Ute" parade. 

So I guess it is understandable for this tiny town to have a Dog Cemetery. I learnt a few new words this week, one of them being taphophile (one who enjoys cemeteries, graveyards, funerals and the trimmings of death.) Photographing headstones and graves is also included.

It was touching to see pet names on the gravestones but a bit unusual.

Monday, December 26, 2011


We celebrated on Christmas Eve at our house with a seafood and salad buffet, a fruit platter and Christmas cake.
Prawns, Moreton Bay Bug and Snapper fish hiding behind the prawns.

Only a small crowd this year. Carol, David and his parents, Alma and Bill.
 On Christmas Day we went to Alma and Bill's house and had traditional turkey and ham with roast potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious. There was also trifle and pudding.
Two happy, full reindeer.

 More Christmas bokeh.
Now the diet begins.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Our immediate neighbours have put us to shame in the Christmas lights department. It's rather nice because they do all the work and suffer the expense, while we sit here and enjoy the light show.

 The fun of bokeh photography. 
 Christmas lights are easy to get the bokeh effect.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


 Birthday Bear took his friends, Ann, George, Helen, Paul, Mary, Diane and Bill to the Lighthouse Restaurant at Cleveland Point for a Christmas lunch.  
The building was constructed in 1936 after the original built in 1879 burnt down. The restaurant got new owners and a renovation in 2006. Since then it has become a very popular seafood restaurant.

It is built on the water's edge and the view of Moreton Bay is very relaxing.

 Birthday Bear looked very Christmassy in his Santa's Helper suit. He had lots of presents to give out too.
 Ann dressed Bear and she is just adjusting his smart boots.

Bill and I shared a platter. It was delicious, fish, scallops, oysters, octopus, calamari, smoked salmon, prawns, and Moreton Bay Bugs.

 Bear enjoyed the prawns.

He also partook of some fruity, red wine.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


We left Geraldton and headed south towards Perth in Western Australia.

Pt Denison.

We stopped at Port Denison for morning tea. It was showery and cold. I found a seat but wished that I was 60 years younger.

It was the last day of our "Western Wildflower Wonderland Tour" so we got together for a group photo. They were a great crowd to travel with. Everyone was friendly and helpful.

Before arriving in Perth we had lunch at the town of Cervantes. Then we were taken to Nambung National Park to see The Pinnacles . They are limestone spires, which were created millions of years ago. Wind and rain erosion has exposed the Pinnacles from under the golden, quartz, sand dunes. No one knows how they were formed.

However, there are theories. The favoured one is that plants played a role in the creation of the Pinnacles. Minerals are drawn from the sand to the roots. There is a lot of calcium derived from shells. An excess of calcium builds up over the plant and turns into calcrete. When the plant dies the cavities are also filled with carbonate material.

One of my tour buddies and I did the 2.5 k walk around the desert and up to the lookout. The structure's shapes and sizes were fascinating. 

 Cars are allowed to drive around but they must stay on the designated tracks. We walked up the hill in the background to the lookout.

The view was like out of a science fiction movie. We were lucky that the rain held off.

Then we headed back to the bus for the last time. It wasn't easy trying to find the markers that led us out of the desert. Soon we were in Perth and at the end of this tour.

Friday, December 16, 2011


After the thrilling visit to Shark Bay WA were on our way back to Perth but we stayed overnight at Geraldton.
 This little flower was growing on the beach at Monkey Mia.

 This tour was called the 'Western Wildflower Wonderland Tour' so the bus often stopped for us to photograph the huge variety of wildflowers. (Luckily there wasn't much traffic on the road.)

 In the afternoon we pulled into the coastal port town of Geraldton. We were taken to Mt Scott where the HMAS Sydney ll Memorial is situated. The HMAS Sydney ll often visited Geraldton. In 1940 she went to war in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. She fought many battles. In 1941 her last encounter was with the German ship Kormoron, masquerading as a Dutch ship in the Indian Ocean. Sydney was sunk and all 645 men were lost. The Kormoron also caught fire and sank and there were survivors who were interned in Australia.
 There are 5 elements to the memorial.
(1) The Dome of Souls comprising of 645 stainless steel seagulls to represent the men lost.
It overlooks the town and the Indian Ocean. There is a podium with the nautical compass and a propellor from a ship. This is where wreaths are laid.

(2) The Waiting Woman Sculpture represents anxious mothers looking over the ocean waiting for the return of their sons serving on the Sydney.
 This wonderful statue and the look on her face brought tears to my eyes as I thought of the agony mothers and wives must have endured. It also reminded me of how the mothers and relatives of the men overseas at war now must be feeling. I wonder will there ever be an end to wars?

(3) The Steel monument is symbolic of upright gravestones and it is a stainless steel representation of the prow of the HMAS Sydney ll. It is best viewed from the front (I have since read) but silly me didn't get that shot.

(4) The Remembrance Wall where all the names and photos of the men and ship are shown.

(5) The Remembrance Pool which I didn't see. (I must have been looking in the wrong direction). It has 644 seagulls on the bottom of the pool and the 645th seagull is flying with its wing tip pointing down into the water to where the ship is lying. 

The Sydney and the Kormoron were found on the bottom of the ocean in 2008.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


After Shell Beach we boarded the tour bus for the small settlement of Hamelin Pool. We are still in the Shark Bay World Heritage area of WA. Hamelin Pool is the home of the oldest life form on earth--Stromatolites. Recent research claims they were on earth 3,450 billion years ago. Modern ones are only found in two places in the world, The Bahamas and here in Shark Bay.  Stromatolites were the first structures built by cyanobacteria which produced oxygen and so led the way for the development of plant and animal life. They need shallow, warm, salty water to grow. 
The videographer is filming our group walking out on the boardwalk, which protects these fragile life forms.  At first they look like rocks but they are not, some are spongy and some are hard.  We learnt about these strange organisms by reading the plaques on the boardwalk. 

So there you have your science lesson for today. I vaguely remember a David Attenborough program about stromatolites but it was a special treat to learn about them in real life.