Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, February 28, 2015


It was Bill's Birthday a few weeks ago but due to the cyclone we had to postpone the Birthday Bear celebration. So yesterday our Birthday Bear Group went to the Chatswood Hills Tavern for lunch. They do a great tender steak for lunch at a very reasonable price.
When we arrived Birthday Bear was already standing on the table ready to greet Bill for his birthday. I burst out laughing when I saw him because he was so appropriately dressed for Bill.
Anyone who knows Bill, they know that it doesn't matter where he is or what he's doing but come 10:30 am and he is looking for a coffee.
It doesn't matter if we are walking in the city, walking in the forest, walking along the beach , travelling overseas or on a road trip, come 10:30 and we desperately have to find a coffee shop before we can continue.
So now Barista Bear is on hand to make him a coffee anytime he likes. His T-Shirt says,
"However you look at it. Its coffee time!"

 Bear had his own little coffee machine and clocks to remind him when its time for coffee. He also had a cap from a train company in New Zealand. Bill collects caps and loves trains. Bear had also brought some books  by Dick Francis, one of Bill's favourite authors. I think Bill is going to enjoy having Bear at home with us for a while until its time to celebrate the next birthday.

 Ann was the clever clogs, who thought of dressing bear like this. She has experienced Bill's moaning if he can't have a coffee at 10:30am.

We always have fun at our Birthday Bear celebrations.
If you haven't read about our Birthday Bear tradition read it here on Birthday Bear's own blog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


After we were married in May 1969, Bill found us a brand new apartment to rent, we actually had to wait until the building was finished. It was in Korobosea, a suburb of Port Moresby in P/NG. It was in a lovely position high up on a hill and close to the school where I worked.
The view from our front door and car park. We were very excited on moving in day and looked forward to playing grown ups in our very own brand new apartment. Luckily, the company Bill worked for paid the rent. We only had to pay for food, petrol and the 'haus boi'.

The 'haus boi' came every morning before we left for work and he would wash the car. After we went to work he would wash the dishes from the night before, wash the clothes and towels, clean the house and iron the clothes. When we came home all was clean and washed. It was a wonderful luxury. 

At work, Bill supervised and taught the local workers how to build a switchboard for an air-conditioning unit for a government building.

The apartment was three stories high.

The living room was on the ground floor. There was no TV or computers then. We used to read, listen to music and play games. Note the state of the art record player and tape recorder.

From the living room there were stairs going up to a mezzanine level to the kitchen. The apartment wasn't air conditioned so as you can see we didn't wear a lot of clothes. Bill wearing his lap lap.

 I wondered what was on the little sticker in the corner. I zoomed in and was a little surprised. It says "This way to the orgy." The picture on the floor is waiting to be hung.

Playing grown ups in the kitchen.

From the kitchen the stairs switch back to above the living room to the bedroom and ensuite. Like the kitchen there were no internal walls. It was open plan and quite modern for the times.

Sometimes we would go to the new public swimming pool to cool off. This day we were child minding for very good friends of ours, Joan and Norm. I taught with Joan and went on a holiday with her around Papua/New Guinea. We are still friends today and having lunch with them tomorrow.

Another day we were invited to watch the parliament sitting in the House of Assembly. In 1964 the first parliament was elected to self govern the Australian Territory of Papua/New Guinea. The Australians were teaching the 'Nationals' how to govern their country democratically. In 1975 the people of P/NG were given independence and started the National Parliament of P/NG. In 1984 they moved into a beautiful new building and this one has been demolished.

My brother worked in the House of Assembly as the Deputy Clerk of the house until 1975. (Circled in red)

My brother, David, 1969

Saturday, February 21, 2015


It was 1969, after a whirlwind romance, I was soon to be married to a Swiss boy. We were living in Papua/New Guinea and we had to decide where to get married. Switzerland, Australia or P/NG. We thought it would be unfair to my parents if we got married in Switzerland and unfair to Bill's parents if we got married in Australia. In those days air travel to the other side of the world was very expensive. So we thought getting married in P/NG would avoid that problem. Neither set of parents would be able to afford to come and although being sad for all of us at least it was fair. (Now being a parent myself, I think that was a pretty harsh decision. )
 So we pushed on with the marriage arrangements. We had our photos taken to be used on the invitation cards.

 Bill was friendly with a Swiss artist in P/NG and he offered to draw a cartoon of us being cooked by the natives. Inside the card we wrote the invitation in both English and German. We sent them to family and friends in all three countries. But as expected only those living in P/NG could attend. However, my brother was living on the other side of P/NG way up in Kavieng on New Ireland and he couldn't get away from work so he wasn't able to come. He sent me a letter saying he was sorry that he wouldn't be there, but for a wedding present he would pay for Mum and Dad to fly from Sydney.
Mum and Dad at Port Moresby airport.
Wow! That was exciting news but I was worried about how Bill's parents would feel about being left out. Nevertheless, Bill assured his parents that we would go to Switzerland to visit them. That was something for me to look forward to. Bill nor I had met our prospective parents in law. So it was going to be bad luck if either of our parents disapproved. Anyway, we continued on with plans. We weren't religious so we decided against a church wedding and we made enquiries about where we could have a civil marriage ceremony. We were told that the District Officer could marry us in the District Office. The trouble was we had to be married in office hours, so we made an appointment for 5:00pm on a Friday afternoon in the school holidays on 10 May. We told our friends not to worry about coming to the ceremony if they were working but to make sure they came to the reception later in the evening. We had booked out the whole of the "Purple Parrot" restaurant with over 60 guests. Some of our friends said they would like to come to the marriage ceremony too.

At four o'clock Bill climbed into a suit and tie which was very hot to wear in the tropics. I was luckier because mini dresses were the fashion. I was daring, and with the help of a dressmaker, designed a mini wedding dress. At least it was cool. We drove to the District Office with my parents. We met Willy, who was going to be a witness together with my Dad. The District Officer was nervous because this was his first marriage ceremony. We told him not to worry because it was our first one too. We all had a good laugh and waited a few more minutes to see if any of our friends would arrive. The clock ticked on and no one came so we had to get on with the ceremony. It was short and sweet. Our hearts were fluttering and we were very happy. We wondered why no friends arrived but thought they must have had to work and we would see them later at the reception.
After the ceremony, the plan was to stop by my friend, Kerrie's house, for a few drinks before going onto the reception.
It so happened that we had to pass the Registry Office on the way to Kerrie's house. Outside the Registry Office was a small crowd of our friends all waving at us to hurry up. Bill hit the brakes.  We heard them calling out, "Hurry up! You are very late for the marriage ceremony." Bill laughed and said, "But we are already married. What are you doing here?" "We're here to see you get married." One of Bill's friends had told everyone we were getting married at the Registry Office instead of the District Office. Oooops what a mix up!
Someone had a camera and took a few shots of us anyway, in the street instead of in the office. Oh well, Cest la vie. Anyway we all apologised and had a good laugh and then we went to Kerrie's house for drinks and nibblies.

I can't believe how silly it was of me not to organise someone to take decent photos, especially as I was keen on photography even then.

We did hire a "Professional Photographer"??? for the reception but none of the photos, were any good. This is the best of the worst photos I have ever seen of a wedding reception. But nothing could stop us feeling happy.

 One of Bill's Swiss friends secretly made a phone call to Bill's parents while we were at the table.  Bill was thrilled to be able to talk to them. I couldn't because I couldn't speak Swiss German.

We had a great party with our friends and all the mix up was forgotten.

We had decided to postpone our honeymoon until the next year when we would have saved enough money to go on holiday to Switzerland. Well that was the plan ....

The next morning we took my parents to the airport and loaded them onto a small plane to take them over the other side of P/NG to Kavieng to visit my brother, David,  his wife, Ann, and their little grandson, Michael. I think my parents were fairly pleased with my choice for a husband. It must have been hard for them to try and get to know him in a few days. Bill had only just learnt to speak English and he was very confused when my Dad asked him, "What do you do for a crust?" I had to translate the slang. "What do you do for a job?"
Flying TAA in 1969. That airline doesn't exist anymore.

Monday, February 16, 2015


 At last I have a little time to continue with "My Story" posts. Any new readers who are not familiar with this series of posts they are on my sidebar under "My Story" or you can click on the label "My Story". I self published a book of the first posts about my family making a new life in Australia. I hope to publish a sequel about my life after that. The books are mainly for my children and grandchildren but are available to anyone from blurb.

Anyway on with the story:
Last time you may remember, that in Dec 1968, I had just gone on leave to Australia from Papua/New Guinea after falling in love again after a few disastrous affairs. This time I was cautious but hopeful things would turn out well. I was worried that when I returned to P/NG, the charming Swiss boy would have found someone else. However, there were hopeful signs as he had written to me every week that I was away.

Bill had kept himself busy with his hobby of making 16mm movies. Here he was filming a 'sing sing' a traditional celebration of dancing and singing by the natives nationals

Bill also went crocodile pig shooting while I was away.

When I arrived back in PT Moresby, there was a very happy Swiss boy waiting for me at the airport. He drove me home and we chattered non stop. However, it was back to preparing the next term's school work for me, before we could play. 

Soon we were having fun on weekends, going on picnics and drives to a river, the dam or a beach. One day we joined in a gumi race (rubber raft race), where participants used their blow up lilos to negotiate the rapids. Actually, I only watched and took photos. It looked a bit dangerous to me. We often went out to dinner, although, I asked him home for dinner one night and burned the chips. He said, "Its okay, I like them that way best." (Yeah, yeah. He was just being nice.)

One balmy, tropical evening we went to dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant for dinner. After a delicious Chinese meal Bill asked, ''How do you feel about marrying a Wog?"  (an Anglo/Australian slang term referring to ethnic European immigrants. It is a derogatory term in England but in Australia it has become a jocular nickname like Pom, Yank and Kiwi). My heart skipped a beat. Was this a proposal or a question about what I thought about it?  I guessed it was a proposal. I was surprised because we had only known each other for four months and two of those I had been on leave in Australia. I answered, "I'll think about it." (How dumb was that answer?) But after seeing the look of disappointment on his boyish face and thinking we could be a good team despite our different backgrounds. I said, "Yes, I could marry a Wog." I was very happy.

One day we went to the Post Office, which was near the wharf and we saw a ship unloading cars. We went to take a closer look just for something to do. The cars were brand new MGB's sparkling in the sun as they dangled from the cranes. Bill said, " I would love one of those!" 'Me too."I agreed. We both had a car, which was not in good shape. Mine had been in a smash and Bill's had been in a flood so we decided to trade them in on one of these beauties. We raced off to the dealer and asked to buy one of the MG's that we saw being unloaded. He sadly explained that all of them were already sold but he would order us another one. So we had to wait and wait for the next shipment.

 The day finally arrived. Wow! How happy we were. It was a beautiful car an MGBGT. Bill dropped me off at school and then drove it to work. ('Nogat wok' is pidgin English for 'No Vacancies' or 'no got work')

We drove to the beach and the drive in movies. We had loads of fun in that car.

 Relaxing in the shade at Ela Beach.

 We went to the end of term, Korobosea School Staff Dinner. Not long now before the big day. We had decided get married in May1969, just six months after we met. Our friends said we were mad and that it would never last. The question was where should we get married? In Switzerland with Bill's parents, in Sydney Australia with my parents or in Papua/New Guinea with no parents?

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Looking out of my daughter's window in Vaucluse, Sydney, I saw this daredevil. He was standing on the cliff overlooking the ocean about to tight rope walk across to the next cliff. I was glad to see that he was attached to the rope.
 I zoomed in for this shot.

 Then he edged out, sitting on the rope.

I zoomed out to give you an idea of where he was.

 Now gingerly he tries to stand. It took him a few goes. He would fall off and swing back up again.


Wow he's doing it.

 Oooops down he goes.

 Back up again, now he's got the hang of it.

 And makes it to the other side.

 Then he slides back. The view is fabulous from the apartment but this entertainment was a bonus.

Sadly we go home back to Brisbane today. Thankfully it is only a one and a half hours flight.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


We flew to Sydney yesterday to spend a few days with our daughter, Carol-Ann and SIL, David. The weather was perfect today and our young ones took us for a drive all around the harbour from Vaucluse on the South Head to the North Head. We stopped for coffee (of course) at a cafe with a fabulous view overlooking the harbour all the way down to the city.
 Coffee at a cafe on North Head

 Looking down the harbour to the city from North Head

 After coffee we went for a walk along the Fairfax Walk to the Fairfax Lookout. Looking up the northern coastline and the Pacific Ocean.

 Looking straight across the heads to South Head and Vaucluse, where Carol and David live.

 There are quite a few lookouts along the walk which is on top of the cliffs.

 Although I lived in Sydney when I was young, I had never visited this beautiful area called Sydney Harbour National Park, North Head.

 We walked back to the car and headed towards the harbour town of Manly for lunch.

 Manly Beach near North Head

 It was a week day but the beach was full of people probably mostly tourists.

We had lunch in a Greek Restaurant. I had Skarra, slow cooked lamb. It was delicious