Tuesday, February 28, 2012

THE STINSEN SEVEN


When we were in the jungle on O'Reilley's Plateau a few weeks ago we were reminded of the story of the Stinson aeroplane crash. The plane with two pilots and five passengers  left Brisbane for Sydney on 19 Feb 1937. It was to stop at Lismore on the way. It was very bad cyclonic weather. When the plane didn't arrive in Lismore it was thought that it had flown direct to Sydney down the coast. When it didn't arrive in Sydney search planes were sent out to look for the Stinson. By Feb 26 the search was called off.
Ninety years ago the only access to the plateau was by foot or horseback up a narrow track carved into the mountains by the O'Reilleys, eight Irish cousins who started farming in the area. One branch of the family set up a guesthouse. In 1937 Bernard O'Reilley and his wife Viola were running the guesthouse. It was 26 Feb before Bernard heard the news of the Stinson. He believed the plane would have gone into the mountains on the way to Lismore.
 This monument at O'Reilley's Guest House tells the story of Bernard's amazingly brave search for the Stinson in the jungle clad, rugged mountains of Lamington National Park.

 Bernard draws a line on the map of the route of the plane.

 He cut his way through jungle, he cimbed slippery cliffs, he was scratched by thorns and plagued by leeches for 2 days. He climbed a tree and saw a burnt tree in the distance.

 After eight more gruelling hours he lost sight of the spot due to low clouds but he thought he heard a voice calling. He followed the sound and called back. When he arrived he found two survivors, Joe Binstead 54 and John Proud 30). The bodies of the two pilots (Rex Boyden 41 and Beverley Shepherd 26) and two passengers (William Fountain, James Graham 55) were dead in the burnt out wreckage.

 One other survivor, James Westray, 26 had gone for help but Bernard found him sitting at the bottom of a waterfall dead after an obvious fall had crushed his ankle..

Bernard left a few supplies for them and returned to the guest house to get help. Proud had a broken leg and Binstead was badly burnt and lacerated from walking to a creek to get water and berries every day for Proud. Bernard ran most of the way back travelling through the night, wading through creeks and jumping over rocks.
Fianally after 13 hours he reached a farm and he was given a horse for the rest of the way. He then organised a group of volunteers and a doctor  and took them back to bring out the survivors on stretchers.
The bodies of the dead men were in a too badly damaged state to bring out and they were buried at the site under rocks. Later a family member had an obelisk erected on Mt Lindsay at Border Gate for James Westray, the survivor who tried to get help. You need to be a very fit, hardened bushwalker to reach these burial sites.

Monday, February 27, 2012

O'REILLY'S PLATEAU

A week ago we had a Swiss backpacker staying with us and we took her for a drive into the mountains to O'Reilly's Plateau.
 It is a narrow, windy road through spectacular scenery and it disappears into.........


...beautiful lush rainforest.

While we were there we went for a tree top walk on an old swinging tree top bridge.



The ferns were beautiful.

The tiny mushroom fungi were so delicate.

The vines tempted you to do a Tarzan and Jane act.

After the tree walk we meandered through the forest on a boardwalk. Backpacker Silvana and Bill.

She didn't like our big spiders.


But the parrots were pretty and flew out of the forest for a feed.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

SPORTS MAD

I am in second row on the right.




My last year at school was coming to an end.

I found it hard to concentrate on my studies as I was still keen to participate in every sporting event possible and I had also discovered boys. 

I attended the State High Schools Athletic Carnival. I enjoyed representing my school but I didn't win anything.


But our team won the shield.

Second back row, Fifth from left.


My favourite sport of all was hockey. I played in the school team but also for a club on the weekends. I played hockey from when I was 13 to 28. 
Port Hacking High School Hockey Team 1959. (Front row first on left)

 I had the best parents but I probably didn't appreciate them enough when I was a teenager. They had worked hard, lived in a tent, built a house and educated two kids. They had no extended family in Australia to give support.

Dad and I are studying the morning before an exam.
My dad had to leave school when he was very young. He missed out on getting a free scholarship for further education by one place. They only took the first placed boy, Dad came second.He got a job pulling a concrete roller over the local cricket pitch and earned sixpence a week which he gave to his parents. In 1959 after he had finished building the house he went to night school after work and studied to get his Leaving Certificate. It was the same year as I was doing it at school so we studied together and sat the exams on the same day. We both passed. He pursued a better position in the public service and I had qualified for Teacher's College.

Friday, February 24, 2012

LEARNING TO DRIVE

When I was 16 and 10 months I had saved up enough pocket money to buy some driving lessons. I was as keen as mustard to learn to drive. The driving school instructor used to pick me up outside my school at 3:30 and off I would go in my school uniform for a driving lesson. I was so proud of myself. My mother couldn't drive and not many women were driving in those days (1950's). The minimum age for a license was 17 and I passed the test on my birthday.  I can remember going home as proud as punch and telling my parents. Then my dad said to me,
" Okay, now I will teach you how to REALLY drive" (He had been a truck driver for many years). So every weekend he would take me for lessons and  taught me how to drive like a truck driver. He wouldn't let me drive his car until he was satisfied with my progress.


Finally he let me drive our car to the paper shop every Sunday to buy the papers. I was chuffed.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HUMPYBONG HISTORY

This post is for Julie's Taphophile Tragic meme. 
 While we were on the Redcliffe Peninsula, I remembered that this was the site of the first settlement in Queensland in those days called Moreton Bay penal colony. In 1824 a small settlement was started by soldiers and convicts on the edge of the bay. Due to Aboriginal attacks, mosquito attacks, and lack of a safe anchorage the settlement was relocated to the banks of the Brisbane River in 1825 , where Brisbane stands today. The houses were left empty and the aborigines called them "oompy bong" meaning dead houses, this was anglicised to Humpybong and that is what the area is called. I thought it might be interesting to check out the cemetery for some historic graves.  To get an idea which graves to look for we went to the Information Centre but arrived five minutes after it closed. So I just chose some that interested me.

 A local told us the old graves are near the back fence, so off we went. When we arrived I discovered the sun was in the wrong place for good shots. After one shot my battery went flat and my spare was flat too. I had forgotten to charge it after the last outing. Dementia is getting closer.

 So I had to rely on old phone. This marker interested me as it was surrounded by an old iron fence, a give away for an old grave. I wondered if it was to keep out wild animals or to keep the loved one in. Another point of interest was that Thomas died on my birthday. No I wasn't born in 1889. The headstone is supported by a steel support post clipped over the top.

 The people of a nearby suburb, Woody Point, remember an old aboriginal. They often decorate with shells.flowers and artefacts.

 Unfortunately I don't have any interesting stories about the residents so I just chose some interesting graves. This one was a beautiful clean marble grave but I was astounded at the dates. Mabel lived to 106. I bet she would have some stories to tell.

This one was chock a block full of flowers (artificial) we couldn't even find any name. However there was a card and drawings left on a clip. It was a sad card from a mother to her daughter and the drawings from her sister.

Monday, February 20, 2012

BIRTHDAY BEAR VOLUNTEERS

It is Bill's Birthday today but we celebrated last week with the Birthday Bear Group.( New readers can read about our Birthday Bear Tradition here.) 
Bill decided he would like to have a birthday dinner at Morgan's Seafood Restaurant at Scarborough, a northern bayside suburb. Instead of driving home at night we stayed in a beachside resort. Just for fun we made it a 2 night getaway.

 Morgan's is famous for it's Thursday night seafood buffet. The seafood is fresh and varied. There were crabs, Moreton Bay Bugs, prawns, oysters, mussels, calamari, fish as well as meat, vegetables and salads. You can fill your plate as often as possible.

 Paul, Mary, Ann, George, Bill, me and Helen all had a great meal. Then we headed back to our apartments for dessert and the presentation of Birthday Bear. He didn't come to the restaurant this time.

 Bear is dressed to reflect the recipients personality. Bill loves trains and we all went on The Pichi Richi historical train a few months ago. So bear is dressed as a Pichi Richi railway volunteer, selling tickets and gifts.

 It was Mary's turn to dress bear. Bill was very happy with it, especially bears morning tea bag which contained Bill's favourite biscuit, a TIM TAM.

Bear has his train driver's hat and the guard's whistle around his neck.

 The next morning we went for a walk along the water's edge.

A storm was just passing by. (Photo taken by Bill) It is easy to see why this area is called the Redcliffe Peninsula.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

KOALA KAPERS

We had a Swiss backpacker stay with us for a while. I took her to see some Koalas at the Koala Centre in Daisy Hill Conservation Park. It is an education centre to teach the public about the decline in population of Koalas and how we can protect them. They care for rescued Koalas, usually babies/joeys that have been found in a mother's pouch after she has been killed by a dog, a cat or a car. When the joey has grown big enough, it is released back into the forest near where it was found.

 Koalas are not bears and we have been taught not to call them Koala Bears any more as they are not related at all. 
 They are marsupials, which means they are a special mammal that give birth to a tiny baby called a joey, which is no bigger than a jelly bean. It climbs up from the birth canal into a pouch and finds a teat to hang onto for the next six months .  Can you see her pouch opening which has a draw string muscle?
 Koalas are nocturnal and they climb down from their safe haven high in the Eucalypt Tree at night and walk from tree to tree eating only Eucalypt leaves from certain species of trees.
 They are usually solitary animals. When they want to mate they raise their head and make a loud growling, grunting noise. It sounds like a pig.
 They sleep most of the day. When it is cold they curl up in a ball but when it is hot they stretch out their limbs.
 And when they wake up they are so darn cute but take note of their big, sharp,strong claws. They are not easy to catch, if they don't escape by scooting up the tree, they will claw and scratch you to shreds. Rangers catch them when they are sick and for research. They use nets and bags. In tourist parks they are tame and you can hold them for photo shoots quite safely.

It is hard to see Koalas in the wild. Last week we had a huge storm and there were two of them in a tree behind our neighbour's house. They used their strong claws to hang on while the wind and rain lashed them to and fro. Can you find them?
 It was hard to hold the camera still under an umbrella and with rain drops on the lens.
You can see his wet coat and he is curled up trying to escape from the elements.
They are gorgeous little animals, a little smelly, up close. It is sad that housing developments are eating away at their habitat. 4,000 per year are admitted to the Koala hospital in Brisbane.