Wednesday, April 16

Open Gardens at Beachmere.

There is a wonderful program called Open Gardens Australia where people open their wonderful gardens to the public on weekends in particular.  I did have in my diary to attend one at Caboolture some time ago, but something happened and I didn't get there.  Today I found a notice on a shop window about one at Beachmere, and I am looking forward to seeing it.

It is called Kerryville at 744 Beachmere Road, Beachmere.  I often wonder how I can get to see the garden as clearly from the road as I pass, there is an interesting garden behind the trees that face the road.  I pass it several times a day often, and each time my curiosity gains momentum.  Amazing that I should discover it's opening days on the weekend of April 26th and 27th.  There is a donation of $7 requested and I am sure it will be well worth the visit.

On the Open Gardens website it says "Kerryville garden
Bridges cross ponds fringed with willows and dietes in a garden alive with colourful jacarandas, poincianas and weeping melaleucas. Archways and arbours festooned in wisteria, stephanotis, lady slipper vine and mandevilla. 'Duchesse de Brabant' and other old-fashioned roses. Hibiscus garden; palms and tropical foliage."  There is also a photo on this page if you follow the link on Kerryville garden.

According to information the place was purchased in 1998 - a neglected former fish farm.  Read here.

(Beachmere is in Queensland, (north of Brisbane), Australia.

Brisbane Town Hall Museum

We made the journey from Caboolture to Brisbane city yesterday - myself and the two grandchildren who are staying with me for the week of school holidays.  I had to collect my Passport ad Visa from the Chinese Visa office for my trip to China next month, and as the train journey of one hour was long and boring for the children, I decided to take them for some "education" at the Brisbane Town Hall Museum.

The Town Hall is a lovely old historic building, built around 1920 - 30, and was completely renovated and restored between 2010 and 2013, and now has an amazing museum on the third floor.  I was stunned with the amazing exhibits in the museum - from awesome photographs and other ephemera, great films to watch, and touch screen exhibits that allowed the visitor to see more of their choosing.

The Many Lives of Moreton Bay Exhibit was excellent, with so much to see, read, and learn.  The children were fascinated, but typically their attention span was short and I spent most of my time trying to find them, as they ventured off on their own.  Still, I reason, I have to go back next week to collect my sister's visa, so will be able to explore more when I am on my own.

We came to live in Brisbane first in 1971, so I remember some of Brisbane as it was then, especially around the river.  We were living in Sydney for the 1974 floods which so devastated the city, and we moved here just after the floods.  I remember flying in to Brisbane over the river and seeing debris on the land beside the river down towards the mouth.

There are many events on at this wonderful building which are listed here.  There was a performance in the main hall (I remember it well from speech nights for my daughter's school (Clayfield College) in the 1980's, and even earlier (I think on the same floor as the museum) where I used to take my small children for child care while I did my shopping or attended medical appointments in the city.  Many memories were revived yesterday at this place.

On the ground floor is the cafe The Shingle Inn - the original one opened in Brisbane in the 1930's and is now a franchise with Shingle Inn's popping up around Australia.  I will visit for a coffee and cake when I return to the city next week.

In front of the Town Hall is King George Square, with a number of statues including two lions, and one of King George V respendant on his horse.  It was given his name in 1936 after his death.  It has only recently been renovated and changed and is a busy throughfare between Adelaide Street and Ann Street.

The bronze statues are great places for photos!!!!

Monday, April 14

To Lake Argyle

I have had many people ask me what place/s impressed me most. What was my favourite....  and I have not been able to answer this.  There were so many places on my journey that I loved, and would return to in a heart beat, but I guess there are a couple of standouts.

In my original plans there were a number of key places I wanted to visit.   One was Mataranka in the Northern Territory which is "famous" because it is the home of the late Jeannie Gunn, or Mrs a
Aenaes Gunn (taking the name of her husband as was the done thing in the days when she had her book "We of the Never Never", and the other place was the Kimberley, home of another writer, Mary Durack, another well known writer.

My first stop after Fitzroy Crossing was Kununurra where I stayed at the caravan park at Lake Argyle.  On my way into the Lake Argyle area I saw the sign to the Durack Homestead, and drove right in.

I was quite overcome with emotion having reached this special spot on my itinerary, and was overawed at hearing more of the story of the Duracks.  The homestead had been moved, brick by brick, stone by stone from its original position as it would have been under water after the great lake was inundated with water.   Hearing how amazing the Durack family was I found quite moving, and learning how they treated and trained indigenous people also was impressive.

When I reached the Lake Argyle Resort and Caravan Park they only had expensive accommodation, camping facilities and as it turns out, staff accommodation - so it was the latter that I moved into for a couple of nights.  It was a small room, well set out, and had all I needed albeit a big squeezy, but I was happy.

As it turned out I was there in time for the Sunset Cruise on the big lake, and I happily booked on it.  Here is a video which might give you some idea of the cruise.

The scenery was amazing, as were the stories of this amazing place.  The boat did quite a tour of the lake and the size of it was breathtaking as was the scenery.

Next time I would like to explore more of the Ord River Scheme, and the many amazing proprties growing all sorts of fruit and other crops.

In recent days I have been reminiscing this trip, and even now am giving consideration to a drive across the top end.  I don't know if that dream will come to fruition, but if so, I will get back to three places that impressed me immensely - Broome, Lake Argyle and Mataranka.

We will see.  They are the three most important places for me to go back to, though I loved Winton and Longreach.  Really, there was so much to see, amazing scenery,  incredible history.  So much.

Fitzroy Crossing and Geikie Gorge

Last year's journey from Broome to Fitrzoy Crossing was about 400 kms, but with nearly 100 kms extra via Derby.  It was early afternoon when I arrived at Fitzroy Crossing, and I checked in with the local Visitor Centre, as I knew there was a tour of the nearby Geikie Gorge.  There was one due in the afternoon, so I headed off to the caravan park to book a cabin - and a nice one it was too!!  Upstairs though - above flood waters I was told.  Eeek.

The mighty Fitzroy does flood - but luckily that was not a problem on my journey.  The manager was not there, so I left a message and took off for the Gorge, which is 20 kms from Fitzroy Crossing.

The Gorge was a hive of activity - with rangers everywhere, and the grounds were being maintained.  My car was covered with grass clippings thrown up by the mowers when I returned to it!  I carefully walked through some of the bush - my eyes peeled for crocodiles or snakes.  

An aboriginal was waiting until groups arrived for the tour - and he rather rudely had an argument with them.  There was great confusion about the cost of the trip - apparently two groups run tours and we happened to be on the more expensive one with the narky tour guide.  One group of potential passengers left after arguing with him.  We other passengers were a bit shocked and initially wary of him, but he got over it and was quite amiably towards the rest of us.

It was a smallish boat that we boarded shortly after paying, and withour guide explaining the inidgenoous history and life in the area, we set out to see Geikie Gorge at sunset.  Certainly the views of the rock formations were spectacular.

Our little tour boat awaits.

The rock formations were spectacular.

The little boat took us for quite a sedate ride along the beautiful rock formations and the guide explained various indigenous stories, and special areas.  There is one area that he pointed out that only women are allowed to go.  There were a couple of small crocodiles, and other bird life that he pointed out before returning us safely to the park as the sun had almost disappeared.

I knew it was a "sunset" cruise but had not factored in the risk of driving the 20 kms back to Fitzroy Crossing in the dark.

I set off with great caution.  The road was narrow with tall grass on both sides of the roadway.  I hadn't gone far when a kangaroo brushed passed my car and hopped across the road in front of me.  Near miss.  Heart beating a little faster.  

Then another came along side the car, and I swear he was so close that he must have lost the whiskers on one side of his face!!!  Heart beating faster.  I had my headlights and high beam on and I was driving quite slowly.  It was pitch black in all directions.  The biggest scare was when a huge bull rushed from the tall grass into the path of my car.  I braked and missed.  I wonderd if I would make it back to Fitzroy Crossing and if not, if anyone would find me.

I made it back to "my cabin" safely, as you can guess, but did ponder the wisdom of a "dusk" tour in that area.   

Sunday, April 13

Broome to Fitzroy Crossing

This time last year, within a day or two I departed Broome and headed towards Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia on the Old Broome Road, and as the road passes the turn off to Derby, about 210 kms from Broome, it is hard NOT to take the detour.  It is about 36 kms from the highway, so not too bad.  It is an interesting place.

One of the very interesting places is the Prison Tree.

The Jetty at Derby has some very interesting history - and on the day I was there the tide was well out.  I drove around the jetty - would love to have walked but there was no time to do both.  I did get out of the car and take a few photos.  I noted the warning sign that said crocodiles inhabited this area.  I kept an eye out for them, but didn't see one.

Derby Jetty

Low tide

This beast was on the road and I had to wait while it slowly wandered off the road.  Didn't want to hit it.

The Boab Tree used as a prison.

Today I spent time working out how long it would take me to make the journey from Brisbane.  Maybe next year.

A Year Ago in Broome

I think it has been a huge mistake to reminisce about my journey last year.  It has made me keen to do it all again.  I'd do it again tomorrow - if I had the money to spare.  I often think of ways to do some of the trip again - this time going in reverse to what I did.  I think it would only take me three weeks to travel the route I am now more familiar with and go back across the Top End, (do I need to go to Darwin again?) and make it to Broome.

I wonder if I would get sick of it?  Should I take a companion this time?  Oh, hell, I am only dreaming....  But I would if I could, go back there, that is.  

There are some places that I might not go to again - I might just pass through.  But if I had a companion I might go on some of the walks through the bush to see some of the gorges that I missed as I didn't fancy walking alone through snake or crocodile territory.  

One thing I would like to see on the west coast is the Staircase to the Moon - while one of my photos looks a little like the spectacular, it is actually the sun setting on Cable Beach at Broome. but there is so much to see, so much history, that I'd like to "top up" my knowledge at a future visit.

I'd love to stay longer than I did last time - for a range of reasons my time there was limited but 

I have worked out that I might be able to do a drive from Brisane and across the top end one day.  Will keep the idea in mind, but for the moment I have some other travel plans.

Saturday, April 12

The War Cemetery

While I was in Western Australia last year I visited the War Cemetery near Perth - quite an incredile, well kept and amazing place to visit.  I was with a friend who was doing some research for a family member - but I realised that it was the first time I had visited such a place.

It was when I was there that I learned that there was a War Cemetery in Brisbane, and on the few occasions I have passed the Lutwyche Cemetery, I reminded myself of my promise to visit it.  Today I went to Queensland University for a 5W Luncheon, and as I approached the cemetery I decided instantly to honour my promise and turned left into the grounds.

It is a very old burial ground, having opened in 1878, with its first burials during that year.  It is certainly in need of much TLC - the roadways are potholed, the whole place looks pretty dismal - I know cemeteries are not party places, but I felt that those who were interred there and their families have not been treated with dignity and respect in relation to their burial place.

Below is a photo of part of the old section of the cemetery.  I am so glad I visited. In the front row I rad of the young men who had died in 1944 - so many young men were lost.  I walked along the row reading the inscsriptions until the tears were too much for me and I sobbed back to the car.  So many were lost - war is so horrible, but then so are the people who cause so much trouble in countries where some sort of war is seen as the only way to save some people, and change the course of their history to hopefully to be better.  

I do think this cemetery should have some work done on it - I was very disappointed in its condition.  The War Cemetery is very well kept as that is managed by the Federal Government.