Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, April 30, 2011


In 1959, my last year at school, I had to study hard to keep up with the work load. I wasn't very clever, but I desperately wanted to pass the Leaving Certificate so that I could go to Teacher's College. However, nothing could stop me going on the school ski trip. The year before, I had been thrilled that my parents could afford to let me go on my first trip and once again they allowed me to go. I had my trusty Brownie Box camera with me.
The bus
The funny looking bus arrived at the school to take us on the long journey to Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains. Everything was packed in it, and on it, and we set off. Little did we know the bus would let us down.
Our Chalet
We arrived late in the evening at our destination. It had been spruced up a little since last year. It used to be an old hotel servicing the early gold diggers but later it  became popular with skiers. It is hard to believe that the Chalet and the town of Kiandra don't exist any more. The skiing tourist resorts have been developed elsewhere now.
Our hut

The accommodation was still spartan, but being young and not knowing better we still had fun. I am helping my friend Sasha out of the cabin as she had sprained her ankle skiing. We all had falls and aches and pains. While skiing, I hit an ice patch and my skis went in two different directions. I fell on my knees. One of them has given me twinges ever since.

The ski slopes were a bit short on snow.
This snow season wasn't as good as the year before. Each day, we got the bus to take us up higher to find enough snow for skiing.
I loved skiing
My mum made me this jacket from vinyl. It was lined with wool and had a woollen collar, cuffs and waistband. It sure kept the wind out. However, it was often sunny and warm especially after carrying skis to the top of the hills. No chairlifts in those days.
The teachers cook us lunch on the slopes.
Our teachers looked after us well. To save us getting the bus back to the Chalet for lunch, the teachers would cook for us. I think it was hotdogs this day.
While we waited for lunch we made a snowman. (front left)
It looks like I got a bit of a snow tan. My mum used to nag me to have my hair permed in those days, but I never liked it very much. In fact I never liked my hair period. It was always too straight and too thin.

Lunch on the side of the road.
After a week of fun, we all piled in the bus for the long trip home to Sydney. However we hadn't gone far when the engine made an awful noise and ground to a halt. After the adults discussed the situation, we were told that the bus couldn't be fixed out here in the country. We all scrambled out of the bus and sat on the side of the road. Luckily the weather was fine. One of the teachers got a lift to the nearest town and bought a load of sandwiches for us for lunch since we had been there all morning wondering how we would get home, but we were all confident our teachers would solve the problem.

Somehow, (without mobile phones in those days) the teachers organised a local bus to take us to the nearest train station, I think it was Cooma. They also got tickets for all of us to get back to Sydney. They had  contacted our parents to let them know we would be late and arriving at Central Station not Sutherland. After hours of clackity clack we arrived at Central StationI. I rang my parents and made my own way to Sutherland on the train, where they picked me up. That was a long day and I fell into bed exhausted and happy. The next day I realised it was back to the books.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


After we left the Goodwill Bridge, we continued on our walk along the river edge into the old City Botanical Gardens. The gardens were first established in 1825 by convicts who grew food crops for the prison colony. Later, in 1855, it became a botanical garden where Charles Frazer experimented with adapting imported plants to this new environment. Due to the gardens being flooded nine times and plants washed away, a new Botanical Garden was established at Mt Coot-tha on the higher side of the city.
Riverside walk

There were lovely plants along the walkway to the gardens even though it was all flooded here in January.

We turned off the main path and continued along the boardwalk through the mangrove trees.

An ibis looking for a meal.
Mangrove trees provide fish with a breeding ground, birds with a feeding ground and the trees prevent erosion. The spikes are pneumatophores or aerating roots which are sent up from the main root. They collect oxygen for the plant which has its roots mostly covered by water.

We continued walking until we.....

...finally entered the botanical gardens. Soon we needed a rest and a snack. We were lucky to find an empty bench where we gobbled down some eggs, apples, cheese and Easter buns. It was beautiful sitting under the huge trees. The garden has very old trees, rainforest trees and exotic plants, but alas someone was a bit tired and didn't want to go on and see more plants. It did look like rain and we had a long walk back to the car.

So we headed back to the bridge and South Bank where our car was parked. This time we took the main path higher above the river.

What is this? I think it is an Autumn leaf, we don't have many deciduous trees in Brisbane but I think I found one here in the gardens.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


After strolling through South Bank Parklands, we continued our walk over the Goodwill Bridge to the north bank. The bridge passes over the Brisbane Maritime Museum.
HMAS Diamantina
The HMAS Diamantina is open for inspection after the dry dock was flooded last January. Volunteer US sailors cleaned up the old frigate. The sailors were from a US submarine visiting Brisbane for some R&R. The HMAS Diamantina is a River Class Frigate built in 1945 and she went to war in the Pacific Ocean. After the war she was an Oceanographic Survey ship in WA. By 1980 she was the last war time frigate still sailing, but her time was up and she was given to the Brisbane Maritime Museum.

Ella's Pink Lady
Ella's Pink Lady is also in the museum. She is the tiny yacht, in which 16 year old Jessica Watson sailed solo, non stop, around the world last year.

The City Cats are back.
A City Cat ferry passed underneath us and it is good to see them back on the river after they evacuated during the flood. They sailed out of the river and sheltered in a marina on the bay. Many of the ferry terminals were washed away. Many have been rebuilt. It was quite a sight seeing  all 20 of them come back up river together.

Brisbane City-north bank of Brisbane River.
These clouds are a familiar sight these days. They come rolling in every afternoon and drop a tropical downpour and they hang around until the next morning when we have blue sky and warm sun again. Typical tropical weather but it has usually gone by this time of the year. We were lucky it didn't rain until after we got home.
Looking back across The Goodwill Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists only.

Captain Cook Bridge
One of the many road bridges over the Brisbane River, which is still a revolting colour from the floods.
The pedestrian bridge passes under the motorway.

CityCycle station
At the end of the bridge there is a CityCycle station. It is a council, sustainable, public transport scheme aimed at reducing traffic congestion and parking problems. It also encourages fitness exercise. Patrons must pay a subscription on line and wear your own or hired helmet. (This could be a bit off putting for casual trips and tourists.) I'm not sure how it works but I think you have to punch in a pin number to release the locks. You don't have to return the bike to the same station you can drop it off at any one of the 150 stations for the 2000 bikes. Then we walked into the Old Botanical Gardens.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Today we visited South Bank Parklands in the city on the southern bank of the Brisbane River. Parts of it were badly flooded in January but tireless workers are getting it back to it's former beauty. It is a great community park with lots of areas for walking, cycling, playing, swimming, resting and having picnics or BBQs. It is close to the cultural centre, restaurant precinct and university campuses.

The Arbor walkway

Uni campus on the edge of the park.

The statue of Confucius was given to the people of Queensland from the people of Ji'nan, Shandong, China for QLD's 150th birthday in 2009. 

There are streams and ponds all over the park, with fish. ducks and lilies.

 There are a few Banyan Trees with their unusual aerial roots, which drop down from the branches, take root in the ground and then help support the huge branches. This is only a small tree compared to others that I have seen.

 The common Bird of Paradise plant is flowering at the moment.

 The water dragons were sunning themselves. This is a baby.

The road at the end of the park is pretty too. We walked from the park over the bridge to the old Botanical Gardens.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


In 1959 we had been in Australia for ten years.  My Mum and Dad had arrived in Australia with 250 pounds and they had worked hard to build our house after clearing the bushland, living in a tent, and a garage.They continually worked on improving the house and establishing a garden.

They both had jobs and saved for a car, for holidays and for my brother and I to stay at school.

Although establishing themselves in Australia was a difficult road, they both enjoyed the challenge and loved their adopted country.

I had lived more of my life in Australia than England and I felt Australian. I was very happy.

My brother had returned to work in P/NG so there was just the three of us at home.

Mum worked hard at establishing a garden.
Dad added a carport to the garage, where we had lived for 5 years.

The Royal National Park, Sydney.
So now my parents could relax a little and enjoy themselves. Often we would go to the National Park for hiking, picnics and rowing on the river, especially when we had visitors, from England. like the lady in the photo. The Park was only a twenty minute drive from where we lived. I spent many weekends cycling there with my friend, Kerrie. We would hire a canoe and paddle up stream as far as we could go and then swim in the rock pools. It was such fun, I can't imagine young girls doing that unaccompanied nowadays.

Parliament House, Canberra.
Over the Easter holiday, we drove to Canberra for a few days. Dad was quite interested in politics and he was keen to visit the Federal Parliament House. (We have a new one now but this one has been preserved as a museum)

Swimming pool, Canberra.

But, you know me, I was more interested in finding the swimming pool. I do remember, though , that it was freezing cold.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


New school uniform
Ever since I arrived in Australia, I had attended school at Sutherland. Firstly, Sutherland Infants then Sutherland Girls Primary, then Sutherland Intermediate Co-Ed High School. However, the Sutherland Shire was undergoing a population explosion due to the baby boom after the war. Sutherland Intermediate High School was overcrowded and a new school had to be built. Port Hacking High School was completed in 1959 at Miranda. The Sutherland school was to become part of a much bigger primary school so we were all transferred over to the new school. It was very exciting. my friends and I were going to be the first seniors at this brand new school. At the time it was reported in the news as being the best Comprehensive High School in the country. (Many more were soon to follow)
New emblem

We had a new uniform and new school colours. We wore navy tunics with a white shirt and a bright royal blue beret and blazer, with a great new school emblem on the pocket.   Our school colours were red, blue and silver.

I thought I looked smart in my new uniform and I was very proud of it. Now I think it looks so old fashioned.

Port Hacking High School

The back of the school

1959 prefects- the first prefects, (last on the right, front row)
I was blown away when I was voted in as a prefect, I never thought I was that popular at school. I always felt a bit on the outer.

Giving a talk in class.
 During a Geography lesson I gave a talk on Papua/New Guinea using slides my brother had sent us while he was working there.
Another day, in class, we heard a bang and an aircraft screaming. We jumped out of our seats and looked out of the windows to see a small navy aircraft explode into flames and crash to the ground not far away. The pilot had stayed on board to steer the plane away from the school and a nearby caravan park to save lives but he himself was killed.

Nth Sydney Olympic Pool
 Soon it was State Swimming Championships again. This time I only made the team as a reserve. ( I never had squad training lessons like some of the others.)

Supporters of Port Hacking High swim team. (far right)
 However, I enjoyed being allowed to attend the carnival with a few selected supporters and reserves. Some of us had the summer uniform on. It was a light blue thinner tunic dress.

Port hacking High Swimming Team 1959 (front row, second left)

Just look at those awful Speedo racing swim suits!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


We went to our local nursery, Neilsens Native Nursery. for some potting mix. It is a good nursery, which has won lots of prizes for being the best Native Nursery in QLD. It is quite big and it has a variety of native birds there too as well as a big aquarium section in the building at the back of the photo. Another added attraction is a little restaurant, which is how I con Bill into coming with me to the nursery. He's not keen on gardening but having lunch out he can't refuse. I didn't have my camera so phone camera had to do.

This is the view from the restaurant balcony, it is only a very small part of the nursery.

When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by Mr Lizard.

A Water Dragon
He came over to our table hoping for a snack but you are not allowed to feed them.......

.......even when it gives you the pleading look. He was right next to my chair and I had to step over him to leave. They are not shy here.

We walked around the nursery and heard this fellow asking for a scratch, I was a bit hesitant of his sharp looking beak so he didn't get a scratch from me.