Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, February 27, 2014


    Our short trip to the central coast of Queensland came to an end. We motored home a different way and called into the small country town of Howard. We had heard of an historic house there, so we called in. It is a privately owned house but it is heritage listed. The owner gives tours and tells of its history. She included some spooky stories too. She and her husband have lovingly restored the house after finding it in a run down state. Empty except for local teenagers using it as a hangout. However, their children have left home and the owners want to move on and the house is up for sale. $799,000.00

An historical 64sq Queensland home built in 1890. Brooklyn House, with its 14 feet high ceilings, marble mantelpieces, cedar and beech panelling comprising six bedrooms, two bathrooms, lounge and dining room, study, sun room, kitchen with eating nook, upstairs  apartment, open 9 feet wide verandas on three sides, a grand double stairway entrance and four marble fireplaces. Includes a cottage craft shop and Devonshire teas.
 The house was built for Dame Annabelle Rankin, a famous politician:
Dame Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin DBE (28 July 1908 – 30 August 1986) was the second woman member of the Australian Senate, the first woman from Queensland to sit in the Parliament of Australia, the first Australian woman to have a federal portfolio and the first Australian woman to be appointed head of a foreign mission.

The owners bedroom

Guest room

The kitchen had both old and modern appliances.
Then it was home to our little suburban houses in Brisbane.

Monday, February 24, 2014


It was our last day on the central coast of Queensland. Since we were here celebrating George's birthday, he was asked to choose what activity to do on the last day. He chose to go on a river cruise on the Burnett River which flows through the town of Bundaberg.
 We arrived at the mini dock at 9:00am where the "Bundy Belle" was waiting for us and a few others too. It was already a hot sunny day.

 The captain of the boat was also a local school music teacher but he gave us a running commentary on places and their history as we lazily motored along the river. We couldn't go any further up stream than this because the huge floods last year filled the river with silt and sand. The water came up to the top of the bridges and did a lot of damage in the city.

 So we headed towards the mouth of the river. George, in the checked shirt, chose to sit in the hot sun on the top deck.

 Paul, Helen and the rest of us sat inside and collected a cool breeze through the windows. We admire Paul so much as he is having treatment for cancer and he is in quite a lot of pain but he keeps fighting it and joining in with us whenever he can. We hope this new treatment will give him some relief and more time with us all.
We passed the rowing club and.....

 the sailing club. Behind the yachts is a huge sugar storage shed and the wharf where ships come to fill their holds with bulk sugar. Bundaberg is famous for its sugar, rum and ginger beer.

 We passed miles of marinas crammed full of million dollar yachts shimmering in the sun.

After three hours we had returned back to the little wharf and a huge seafood restaurant. We didn't take long to decide this is where we'll have lunch and.....

it was delicious!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


After the late night before watching the turtle lay her eggs we had a sleep in. Then we had a leisurely breakfast and went for a stroll along the beach front at Bargara (on the central coast of Queensland)

Some of the birthday bear group, Mary, Bill, Helen, Paul and George. Ann was on a park bench soaking up the beauty of the sea and I was behind the camera. 

 It was a very hot day so we didn't venture too far out of the shade.

 On the return walk I was interested in the variety of beach accommodation. This was a neat house but..

there was a well worn beach house and...

 a spruced up old house trying to hold off the encroachment of new apartment blocks.

Then we arrived back at our apartment block. We had lunch, a rest and a swim in the pool  before it was time to prepare a BBQ birthday dinner with Birthday Bear.

 George had to wait in his apartment until I had pulled Bear out of his bag and set him up on the table by the pool. I dressed him as a tree lopper with a chain saw and ear protectors. He had a sawn down tree at his feet. George is a great friend and he saws down trees in my garden with his chain saw when I need it done. It was George's 70th birthday and that is why we did something special. We did a five day trip to Bargara to see the turtles. Those not familiar with our Birthday Bear tradition can read more on Birthday Bear's blog.

 The boys kept an eye on the BBQ, with Paul doing a great job of cooking.

We had a relaxing dinner by the pool watching a big orange moon rise.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I have returned home from a week in the Bundaberg Region on the central coast of Queensland. I am happy to be back blogging on my laptop instead of my iPad. Now I can make the photos tell the story.
After an early morning walk along Woodgate Beach on the path under the graceful Sheoak Trees, it was time to pack the car and head for Childers, Bundaberg and Bargara.
Woodgate Beach
The access road off the main street in Childers
 Our travel companion and tour guide, Ann, comes from this area. She took us to a The Old Pharmacy Museum next to the Dentist - decayslayer. 

A passionate local historian gave us a talk about all the exhibits. It was the original pharmacy from 1894. It was a fascinating place with old remedies, jars, medicines and prescription books.

 Then it was time to reboot TOH with a coffee at the old Post Office, which is still in use today but it has a gift shop and coffee shop operating there too. This is also where Ann used to work in her youth as a telephonist.

 The little town is full of these quaint old buildings still in use today. 

I like this old Federal Hotel because it doesn't have any gaudy advertising on it like in some towns.

We walked up the main street to The Palace, which used to be a hotel and then a Backpackers Hostel but today it is an Information Centre, Art Space and most importantly a Memorial to 15 young backpackers who died when the hostel was deliberately burnt down by a disgruntled man, who is now in gaol. We were asked not to take photos in respect for the families. The young people were from all over the world working here on the tomato and zucchini farms.
While there we booked accommodation in Bargara and a turtle tour at Mon Repos Beach. After stopping for lunch in Bundaberg we soon arrived in Bargara on the coast. Our other friends. Helen and Paul met us there. They couldn't join us earlier due to Paul's cancer treatment.

We just had time for a quick sandwich before we needed to be at Mon Repos Beach to hopefully see the turtles. 
Watching videos about turtles
 We had to be there by 6:45 and there were about 200 people and we put into groups.We had to wait until the rangers had found turtles on the beach before we were taken there. We watched videos about turtles and visited the Information centre and ate ice creams while waiting anxiously for the ranger to call our group. We waited until ten o'clock. The turtles were late this night. Mon Repos is a conservation area and the beach is closed at night during the nesting and hatching season except when accompanied by a ranger.
In the information centre we learnt that Mon Repos is the biggest turtle rookery on the east coast mainland. There are different turtles, Loggerhead, Flat back, Leather back and Green Turtles. The turtles drag themselves up the beach to above the high tide line, dig a hole and lay around a hundred  eggs, cover them with sand and then return to the sea. Six to eight weeks later the little hatchlings dig their way to the surface and flop to the sea. This all happens between November and March.

 This is what we were hoping to see the hatchlings. These photos are from the web.

Finally after hours of waiting we were called to assemble on the beach with the ranger who told us we would be seeing a nesting not hatchlings but that was okay. For a while we thought we might not see anything this night. We were given rules about when we could or couldn't take photos. Turtles use light to help guide them to the water. We had to wait until the turtle had lumbered up the beach and dug her half a metre hole and started to lay eggs before we were allowed to get close. It was hard to take decent photos.
 The ranger crept up to the hole at the back of the turtle and slid a torch onto the edge  so we could see the eggs coming out and dropping into the hole. It is hard to make out but an egg is about to drop out.
 The ranger picked some eggs out to show us. We could touch them, they are soft and leathery.Scientists have done lots of research and know what can and can't be done to the eggs and the turtles.

 There was a research team there doing lots of measuring while the turtle is totally absorbed with her job of laying eggs. You can see that I had a front row view, Bill took the photos.

 The scientist is showing some new volunteers how to tag the turtle.

She has finished laying eggs and is busily flicking piles of sand over the eggs and herself and everyone close to her. The scientist checks the tag is good. This guy has been responsible for the protection of these Loggerhead turtles and the steady increase in population but they are still on the endangered list.

 She is done and now we must move away and stop all photography and lights as she turns around and lumbers back to the sea. Last year a turtle was found by a farmer in his fields close to death because she had gone inland attracted by the lights. She was rescued and rehabilitated and returned to the sea. She has returned this year to lay more eggs. Residents and councils now have a policy of keeping lights dim during nesting and hatching season. Only one in a thousand hatchlings survive for 35 years, which is when they will return to this same beach to lay their eggs after travelling thousands of miles around the oceans. 

She finally disappeared under the sea and swam away after a mammoth effort. After all this effort her eggs would not survive because she did not go far enough up the beach to save her eggs from being washed away by high tides. However, the research team went back to the site and dug up all the eggs very carefully and then dug another nest in a safe place and put the eggs in it.
By then it was nearly midnight, we were tired but uplifted. It was an amazing experience.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


On our second morning at Woodgate Beach I went for a walk along the beach. It was quiet and serene. I saw a couple fishing with the early morning sun glinting off the water. After breakfast we all went for a walk through the wetland forest on the boardwalk but there wasn't any water because the wet season forgot to come this year so everything is very dry. Ann packed us a picnic for lunch and George drove us to Walkers Point which is on the northern bank of the Burrum River. We found a table in the park near the river and set out the picnic. Ann had cooked us an Aberdeen Sausage, which she sliced for us to have with a variety of salads. While we were doing this kookaburras started to gather in the trees around us. We started eating and the kookaburras came closer and closer, laughing at us. We were getting a bit apprehensive as we knew they have been known to steal your food. However, they left us alone until Ann was about to finish off the last slice of sausage. Suddenly one swooped down with his wide wing span and big ferocious beak, landed in Ann's plate and stole the last slice of sausage and flew onto the ground where others tried to get some sausage too. Ann got a fright and knocked over her glass of homemade pear cider. It was a scary but funny event. It reminded me of Hitchcock's 'Birds'.

Woodgate Beach

Woodgate Beach

Woodgate Boardwalk

Woodgate Boardwalk

Theodolite Creek Woodgate

Walker's Point


Burrum River