Monday, December 31

Bamboo, Pandas and Brighton Beach

I had a ticket to the Adelaide Zoo, and set out to see the Panda's mainly.  I have visited the zoo on a number of occasions over the past few years, but the Giant Panda's are a new addition, as is the new entry to the zoo on the Botanical Gardens side of the zoo.

Giant Panda's are an endangered species, and despite living in China I had never seen one.  So as Adelaide Zoo is the only place in Australia to see one I wanted to see them.  There is a male and a female, and they live in separate quarters until the mating season.  The boy, Wang Wang, is apparently a big rough on his girlfriend, Funi, so they are kept apart.  You can watch a video of them here.

There's plenty of parking there, though you must pay (tickets at the machine) though I had to do extra leg work as not all the machines were working.  Luckily the Pandas were not far from the new entry, so didn't have far to go.

Panda (Behind glass)


More bamboo

After the Zoo I went to DFO which is adjacent to the Adelaide Airport and wandered around the many shops and sales, but resisted!!!  Then on to Brighton, as I was looking at taking some photos.  Would love to have been in a building high over the waterfront, but this is the best I can do.


A couple, after having visited the Giant Panda's put their two children on a ceramic panda nearby for a photo. The children were most suspicious of the panda and had to be convinced that they were quite safe.  After the photo was taken (and I clicked my camera to get a shot) the older boy stood up and proudly announced that he had donged the panda's willy.  The father looked at me, and unsuccessfully hiding his mirth, said "Come on, let's go and find your Mummy and Daddy" and added to me. "They are not my boys" as the mother dissolved in laughter.  So did I!!!

End of 2012 - Reflection

2012 was a big year for me, and I think 2013 will be another big year.  It is not easy to record every wonderful thing that I experienced in 2012, but here are some that I have listed:

Great things to remember from 2012

The love and support from my special family
The support and friendship of many special people
Spending time with grandchildren at sporting and school events
Completing my Master of Arts
Graduation in Melbourne in September
My mother reaching her 97th birthday in October
Visiting Adelaide and Perth in February
Travelling to Bali in February
Various house sits during the year
• Getting my very own new Mitsubishi Lancer in March
Being on the Advisory Board of Griffith University Friends of the Library
Travelling with a special friend in Melbourne and Adelaide in September
Catching up with nursing friends from Mt Gambier Hospital in Adelaide in September
Setting off from Brisbane in November and travelling via Miles, Charleville, Bourke and Broken Hill arriving in Adelaide to spend Christmas with my mother and sister.
Planning my round Australia journey

I have probably forgotten a few things too..................

Message for My Blogging Friends

Just in case you are starting a new blog in 2013, or wanting to increase your readership - I can recommend this Challenge.  Let me know (Comments below) if you are doing it so we can check on each others' blog.


Sunday, December 30

Ultimate Blog Challenge is on Again

I have done it before, and will endeavour to complete it again.  It is a project by a number of ladies in the US - with lots of information on blogging and how to get more readers.  One has to post something on the blog on a daily basis - not too difficult for me at the moment as I roam around Australia.

If there are any readers who are keen to learn more about blogging, I can recomment the Ultimate Blog Challenge - either click on the banner to the right or click this link and register.  Untimate Blog Challenge.  It is FREE.  It starts on January 1st, and it really doesn't matter if you are a day or two late!!

I have only two more nights at this house sit, and while I appreciated the accommodation here for the last two weeks, which enabled me to stay in Adelaide and not impose on my family, I am keen to go.  I actually enjoyed in many ways looking after all the animals, but I am not keen on animals in the house and while they were not permitted in the bedroom area, they stayed in the family room and kitchen.  One dog snores loudly - so much so that if she has her head near the door adjoining the bedroom section of the house, I can hear it from the bedroom. 

Actually it is a nice house, though it does need some work on it.  It is a nice old Unley house, about a hundred years old, but with renovations at the back of the house.  It is close to the shops of Unley, (walking distance - so great), and I have enjoyed being able to do my own thing, once the animals are all fed, cleaned, watered etc.

I really have appreciated being here - amongst so much history - the old stone and brick houses that I was once familiar with, and exploring other parts of Adelaide that I had long forgotten, or not visited.  I have been able to visit family and keep on doing what I choose to do.

Among things that I hope not to forget, as I do think they will be indelibly imprinted on my memory are:

  • Fields of gold - grain crops either ready for harvest or the stubble left behind after harvesting

  • Agapanthus - I had no idea that the plant/flower was so popular here - they feature in many gardens and public places, and one image that I will not forget is the left hand side of the road entering the town of Tanunda.

  • The contrast in the wine areas of McLaren Vale and Barossa (and no doubt other areas) of the bright green of the vines, adjacent to fields of gold.

  • The awesome old (often deserted) old dwellings that are dotted around mostly rural areas of South Australia.  I often ponder these - some clearly still loved, but too costly to restore, and others deserted and continuing to decline.

  • The stone ( and brick) buildings of Adelaide.  Often very old buildings, but wonderfully newer buildings are also being built.  Restoring of old buildings is an valuable art.

  • Corrugated Iron.   Of course the old buildings had corrugated iron roofing, and the verandas were curved corrugated iron, but I am impressed how it is still used - often in fences, but still new roofing is corrugated in some areas.  (I am told though that modern corrugated iron is not as strong as the old product, and hail can piece it!)

Here are some of the flowers in the garden here, and some of the produce I have collected.

 And here is just one of my charges..............

Saturday, December 29

Sowing Wild Oats

I remember seeing this grass around years ago, and I'd forgotten its name, so I picked some and took it to the friendly guy in the office at the Lyndoch Lavender Farm, and he say it is called 'wild oats'.   There is a lot of it growing around the Lavender Farm, and along the roads.

It was explained to me, that when it is green and with the seed inside, it provides good fodder for sheep and cattle, but in reality it is an unwanted weed and causes problems within the cereal crops around Australia.

Lyndoch Lavender Farm

I had intended to go to the Lavender Farm south of Brisbane earlier, but ran out of time, so when I heard there was a Lavendar Farm at Lyndoch, just north of Adelaide, I set out to see it.  It is much smaller than the one in Queensland, but interesting.

It is of course summer so everything is dry here in South Australia and you can see the dry golden grasses midst the gardens.  The lavender does have irrigation, but everywhere you look (other than the many vineyards and the lavender plants) it is dry and gold.

There is a small shop with a variety of products made with Lavender and other products (e.g. rose) - one pays $2 per person to wander through the Lavender fields and have a cup of coffee or cup of tea, and there is a cafe with a small range of items for lunch.

A number of bus companies take tourists to this place as well as other spots around the area.

Lyndoch is a small town, with lovely arts and crafts shops, and a huge bakery and cafe.  There are plenty of wineries around the area of course, and it is recommended to stay in one of the many hotels, B & B's, Caravan Parks etc.

Vineyards and golden hills.

Friday, December 28

My Old High School

One place I love to visit is the Adelaide Markets - not necessarily to buy anything, though I usually do, but just to wander around and peruse the wide variety of product on sale.  It seemed that it was not as busy as usual and I had a leisurely stroll from where I parked my car to the market, around the market and back again.

I parked in Grote Street, so walked past my old school.  I spent just one school year at Adelaide Girls High School, doing the special Commercial Course after doing three years of an Academic Course at Brighton High School.  I knew that it was no longer in use as a high school, and if I recall correctly the last time I saw the old building it was a Wine club or something.  I am pleased to see it is now a school, a Montessori School.  I took some photos.

It was originally a high school for boys and girls, started in 1908, but later the boys moved to the new school on West Terrace, and in 1979 boys and girls were back together, this time at the West Terrace campus.

I bought some cheese, roasted garlic hommus, dried tomatoes, and  a half a Peking Duck and have already tasted most.  (I have two cheeses to test later.)

I learned on the news later that there were celebrations at Glenelg, with the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, to celebrate Proclamation Day, when South Australia - according to Wikipedia "Proclamation Day in South Australia celebrates the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. The proclamation was made by Captain John Hindmarsh beside The Old Gum Tree at the present-day suburb of Glenelg on 28 December 1836."

Perhaps if I had known about the celebrations I may have gone - as some of my ancestors arrived on the good ship Buffalo in 1836.  The replica of the Buffalo is in trouble too - it needs a lot of work (and a lot of $$$$'s to restore.)

In Adelaide Gaol

It is something that is indelibly marked in my memory – the Adelaide Gaol, which came into view as the train to school was a short distance from  the Adelaide Railway Station.  We would look out the window at the austere building, and see the prisoners working on the prison vegetable garden.  As little children we all knew that this is where one ended up if we broke the law, so it was rather unsettling to see it.  We would be locked up away from friends and family for our bad behaviour, and we were in fear of ending up there.

The Entrance to Adelaide Gaol


Even in the past years as I caught a train to the city one could look out the window and see the now unused gaol.  I learned that it was now open to the public, so decided to visit.

The state was settled in 1836, with the good ship Buffalo, with some of my ancestors on board arrived at Glenelg.  South Australia was a ‘free colony’,  not settled by convicts from England, as other states were, and history says that they had initially believed that they would not need a prison, but within a short time, it was clear that not everyone was going to obey the laws.  Initially the ship that brought the new settlers to Adelaide was used as a prison ship, but it was recalled to England, and prisoners were chained to logs preventing them from escaping.  There were other temporary prison, before the Adelaide Gaol was built close to the city, in 1841.  It was a working gaol until 1988.

Much of it is as it was when it was closed, and now a wonderful band of volunteers and others work to preserve this amazing piece of history and show the public around.  The Gaol is open Sunday to Friday (except public holidays), and one can do a self guided tour – they give you a few pages of laminated information, and there are plenty of information boards and notes around, and you can follow the directions through all areas of the gaol.  Some of the cells and other rooms are not open, but there is more than enough to keep one fascinated about the place.

Some of the things that  particularly interested me, are the stories about the women who were there, and in particular, the story of the only woman to be hanged in South Australia.  Elizabeth Woolcock apparently poisoned her husband, and was hanged inside the gaol on portable gallows in 1873.

I spent some time in the Hanging Tower, which was used between 1953 and 1964.  It was a weird feeling sitting in the tower, reflecting    the lives cut short in that place.  When one was hanged, their bodies were buried within the gaol compound, and one can walk around and see the markings that indicate where the prisoners were buried. The stone work of South Australia has really impacted on me this time – and I marvelled at the amazing work of the stone masons who worked on the gaol wall.

There is so much to see, read and understand at the Gaol and is well worth a trip.  It is within walking distance from the city of Adelaide.

The Adelaide Gaol brochure states "The Adelaide Gaol is one of South Australia's oldest public buildings.  It operated continuously from 1841 to 1988 and is now a significant State Heritage Place entered in the South Australian Heritage Register."

It is at 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton.

Visit the Website.  Adelaide Gaol. 

Thursday, December 27

Christmas in Adelaide

As best I can recall this is the first Christmas that I have spent with my sister and my mother in around 50 years.  Usually when we travelled south from Brisbane to visit family it was after the Christmas period.  It certainly has been a long, long time.

My sister called for me around 8.45 am, (nearly 40 minutes late - I thought she had forgotten me!) and we went to her daughter's home for Christmas breakfast, of ham, cheese and mushroom croissants and fruit.  Then it was gift opening.  Watching my  great nephew open his copious gifts and play with them was a treat. He's nearly two years old, quite smart, and kept us all amused as he tried one gift after another.  The favourites?   A toaster - a small plastic device with plastic toast which pops up,  a basketball goal set, and the best?  A kitchen from Ikea.

We visited our mother in the nursing home - she was quite confused about it all (the dementia) and refused to believe it was Christmas.  It is hard to engage with her sometimes, but she happily looked at a photo album about two of her great grandchildren.  She's 97 - so we never know what the future holds for her (and us!).

Then it was on to the home of a long time friend of my sister, a couple I too have known for a long time.  We ha a grand dinner which included prawns, salmon, salad, and copious desserts!  It was sad that I was not with my own children and their children, but we did chat with them several times on the day, and on Boxing Day.

On Boxing Day, we met again at my neice's places for a wonderfully relaxed afternoon, and a great BBQ dinner, while watching Master Nearly Two, continue to play with his wonderful toys, and in his sand pit and pool.

As I left their home I went to see my grandparents home in Prospect, just a few streets away from our niece's home.  It is just around from RM Williams Museum and Shop, the street now with healthy trees on both sides of the road.  Sadly I could see little of the house as it has a tall fence and lots of trees in front of the house.  Memories though came back of visiting Wally there over 50 years ago.

All in all a great Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 24

The Saga of My Shoes

Living on the go as I have done for the past few years, I limit (or try to) the amount of 'stuff' I carry around with me.   If it does not fit in my car, in my suitcase, or whatever, I don't take it.  When it comes to shoes I know they take up a lot of space.  I have big feet which doesn't help my cause!

I carry thongs (don't like wearing them usually, but they can be useful), have an 'old' pair of shoes for 'around the house', two good pairs (or good enough for most events), and that's it.  I guess too, readers, you also know that I buy (almost) anything that is in the shops that is PURPLE.   One day when wandering around Marion Shopping Centre, I spied some PURPLE shoes (actually CROC look alikes), for only $3.  So I bought them.  When I showed mys sister my bargain purchase, she was unimpressed.  "Where would you use those!???" she asked.

As it turns out, they have been a great investment.  When I moved into this house sit, I did not know that I would need my 'crocs' and other 'old' shoes.  As the dogs live in the living room, I chose not to go bare footed, so I use my "old around the house" shoes in the house.  When I go outside I can use my thongs, but when I go into the hen house, my 'crocs' are invaluable - keeping my feet from copious chook poo underfoot.  And I  can hose them clean when my hen house chores are done. 

I must say I am more inclined to buy the real Crocs too - as I have learned that they can be very useful, and the Crocs brand does have some awesome shoe designs in their stores.  I guess $3 shoes for the chook pen is good value too, and I am sure they have a much shorter life than the real ones!

Some of my chooks/hens in the hen house.

Christmas Eve

It is a weird Christmas for me.  It is not the only Christmas that I have been away from family - spouse, children, grandchildren etc.  This Christmas I am with my sister (some 40 + years since I have spent Christmas with her) and her daughter, spouse and child, in Adelaide, and we will visit our mother in a nursing home.

Talking Christmas with her is a sensitive issue - she is confused at times, and does not believe it is December, and then she gets upset that she hasn't bought gifts, or sent cards.  It does make it hard for us all at this time of the year, depending on how she is feeling.  We will see her today, with some Christmas goodies (chocolate, wine etc), and depending on her mood and our time tomorrow, we may visit again.

At 97 she's done very well, and lives happily (for the most part) in the nursing home, but conversing with her is challenging as she does get so confused and tells silly stories.  Sometimes she denies having two daughters - upsetting the one that is the forgotten one.

It is especially hard on my sister as she lives in Adelaide, and she is committed to visiting our mother on a weekly basis.  It is my sister who is often the brunt of mum's complaints and bad moods too.  I have visited more often of recent times, but getting down from Brisbane is not easily and I hate the cold of winter so avoid that time of year.

Luckily all is well on the house sit front - I have one more week to go at Unley, with no other house sit opportunities on the horizon, so within a few days I will have to decided what to do after January 1st.  Will I head off from Adelaide to the west?

I have a few more places to visit - I have a ticket for the Adelaide Zoo (to see pandas), and I'd like to go to Adelaide Gaol too, and the Barossa Valley.  Mmm.  I'm going to have to stay at least another week in Adelaide.

Sunday, December 23

Heat and Animals

Today the weather is predicted to be HOT!  39 degrees HOT.  Adelaide HOT.  The morning sun blazes into the family room where I have parked my computer, books etc, and I have dog snoring beside me.  Loudly!!  I have watered and fed all the animals today, and given my bunny friend a frozen bottle of water.  If he gets too hot, he will get close to it to cool him down.

The owner rang today - she sent me two text messages which I ignored.  Actually I didn't - but for reasons I cannot explain, I thought it was from another friend of the same name, and sent that one an email.  She probably thinks I've lost the plot!  The owner thought I had deserted!!!

It was good to speak with her as I am worried about the lizard.  I haven't seen it since I have been here.  Is it dead?  I have no idea, but the owner told me that the lizard sometimes does this, and not to worry.  Also I have had some issues with eggs.  The hens are laying it outside my reach in a corner of the pen that requires a 3 foot high contortionist to reach it!  (Don't worry.  Ignore it - says the owner.  Phew!)  The lizard apparently is a huge Blue Tongue Lizard.  

Soon the sun will be more above the room and not heating my back from the window.  The room is like a 'conservatory' with and expanse of windows on two sides and plenty of fresh air.  I'd love to have my own studio like this.  There are fancy fabric curtains (that should come with instructions on how to use them) and I have managed to shut out some of the early morning sun.  I don't mind it - except today - as it is such a bright room.  Two cats and dogs occasionally wander around, but normally they are asleep somewhere, and I can hear Snora Dora (not her real name), so I know where she is.

The dogs are quite good, but I would prefer they spend more time outdoors.

Saturday, December 22

Buying a Fountain Pen

Do you use fountain pens?  Have you bought one lately?  I remember that when I was in China and South Korea I bought some, and they are now sitting in my shipping container in Brisbane, and since I have made a commitment to write more letters by hand in 2013, I am going to buy one.  I have had a look around in shops here in Adelaide and am shocked at the cost of them.

I do have my eyes on a German branded one, a Lamy, which is around $A50, but I will keep looking today to see if I can find one that is less expensive.  I have learned a lot about Hand Writing in the past few days as I have been researching it, after coming across some information (accidentally) on the Internet.

Handwriting is in decline - many of us do our writing with the aid of a computer, and some people just done do any handwriting, so instead of handwriting being an everyday 'activity', it is becoming an 'art' - something that I am hoping to encourage with my family and friends.    Hence the seeking of a fountain pen, as I find them so much more interesting to write with.  I have also set up a blog about Hand Writing too.

The cost of fountain pens is amazing - from a 'low' $50 or so, up to thousands.  Thousands?  I guess some of the big brands e.g. Parker, Watermans, Sheaffer, and it appears Lamy are big ticket items - right up to thousands, and I have learned that there are collectors of such items too.

I wonder how many of us really appreciate getting a letter in the mail, where the address has been handwritten, or the message/letter inside is handwritten?  

House Sit I won't do again.

I am in Adelaide and delighted to have a house sit, so that I didn't have to impose on family.  I even envisaged entertaining them at the house sit, but I am so disappointed with a number of aspects of the house sit, that it will go down in my notes as the worst one.

The family are a professional family and there is no doubt that they are amazingly talented people, but house cleaning etc is not their area of expertise.  I did see the house when I met them, and saw it as a crazy full on - kids and toys, and pets everywhere, but when I came on my own, I saw it closer.  It is dirty everywhere.  The cats and dogs have access to the back of the house (which includes the laundry, kitchen and family room), and they are none too clean.  The back yard stinks from the animals, including the chook house, and I am not impressed with their animal care.  The dogs need a good groom, and one of the cats has matted fur.

I found a dead mouse in a cupboard.  And so it goes.  I must say I do enjoy sitting at a huge table with my computer doing some writing when all my animal chores are done, but I cannot sit on the lounge chair to watch television (not that this is my favourite pasttime!), because the daggy doggies sit on it.

The house is a very old house, probably close to 100 years old and needs a lot of work on it, and there is a lot of work with all the animals.  There's a lot of work needed on the yard, and in the garden.

Essentially I am not happy here and will be counting the days until I move on.

Monarto Zoo

The opportunity arose to go to Monarto Zoo with my neice, her small (almost 2 year old) son and a friend, and we met there.  Funnily when I phoned to say I had arrived to see where to meet and they too had just arrived and were parked only metres from me in the car park.

Meerkat on guard duty

We walked to the Visitors centre, wandered around the exhibits there, including a retail shop, and then headed off to see the  meer cats, rock wallabies and chimpanzees.

There was a very popular animal at the chimpanzee section, but not so easy to photograph behind glass, but wonderful to watch.  It was a mother and baby.

We watched as all the chimpanzees were enticed into their wonderful 'yard' and apples were thrown for them to catch, eat, and there was quite a bit of fun as they chased the fruit.

There is a shuttle bus that takes visitors around the zoo - safely inside the bus!  (Challenging for photograpyhy).  

Mother and baby rhino

Great to see these lions

Mongolian Horses

I bought a ticket (discount) to attend the Adelaide Zoo - must go and see the pandas.

Wednesday, December 19

All about Cherries

Knowing I was to spend a long period in Adelaide during summer, I was looking forward to stone fruit.  I would be there right in the midst of the middle of the season.  In some ways it would remind me of my school holidays in summer - when we prepared all the produce from our back yard fruit trees - jams, preserves etc.  Still the taste of freshly harvested fruit is something special and I look forward to it.

However, I have arrived in Adelaide in the midst of the best cherry season the growers of the Adelaide Hills have had for a long time.  They are around $9 a kilo, and they a plump and juice and I have bought some almost every time I have stepped into a fruiterer and I am looking forward to going to the Adelaide markets to see what is on offer there.

I have plans to make some chocolate baskets with cherries as my contribution for the Christmas Day fare, but meanwhile I will just 'test' the cherries.

Today in the supermarket, I found another cherry treat.  Woolworths had a great special - Cherry Icecream at $1.50 a tub.  I couldn't resist.  Yum.

Road Rage in Broken Hill

I did intend to post about this episode earlier - as it did happen in Broken Hill a few weeks ago.  I was driving cautiously around BH because I was not overly familiar with the roads.  One afternoon I was driving from the Centro Shopping Centre and as I approached a roundabout I saw a vehicle approaching the roundabout from the right, but it was some distance away and I felt I had ample time to enter the roundabout and did so.

I did a right hand turn and exited and soon was aware that a four wheel drive was driving closely behind me and then he lined up beside me - on the left hand side.  I became aware that he was yelling at me.  My windows were closed, and I chose to ignore him and keep my eyes to the front. He travelled for about 600 metres yelling at me, and I kept looking ahead, though I could see via my peripheral vision that there was an angry bald headed (I suggest he shaved off his hair!), and his big arms, one which was dangling out the window, was covered in tattoos and he was quite menacing.  I headed into the busier part of the city.  He was a big bloke and rather scary.

A red light at an intersection stopped me, and he pulled up beside me and continued to yell.  I also saw, still keeping from eye balling him, that he put his hand to his head, indicating shooting his head.  I guess he meant to express that he would like to shoot me in the head!!  As I said, it was a bit scary, but I did not react to him at all.  I continued into the city centre and he pulled away and drove off.

On reflection, I can only think that I surprised him, and if he was speeding, which I tend to believe that he was, it was all his fault.  I don't think I did anything wrong.  If I did, it was accidental.  I didn't mean to cause any problem.  Anyway, I am glad I don't live in Broken Hill, and I was keen to leave - lest I meet up with him somewhere else.

Road Rage is so stupid.  To see so much anger on the roads is really a worry.  I've seen several events, even in Adelaide, that makes on think about the mentality of these angry folk.

PS  Have been reading of the awful events in Brisbane with naked and violent road ragers.  Scary stuff.  

River Torrens in Adelaide

The River Torrens wends its way from the Adelaide Hills out to Spencer Gulf, and it was its presence that decided the place where Adelaide was settled in 1836.  A good water supply, that still provides some water to the city and suburbs.

Where it winds its way through the northern edge of the city, it is surrounded by parklands - the Adelaide Festival Theatre over looks the river, and the famed Adelaide Cricket Ground is on the northern edge of the river.

Where it heads out to see, it is rather like a lazy pond - home to a myriad of birds, and surrounded by lush green lawns, cycle and walking paths.  I took my camera there early yesterday morning and these are some of the photos.

The Great Chook Escape

As I entered the pen to feed the hens yesterday, one raced through the opening of the gate and despite my fairly quick reaction, it made the garden.  With two dogs and two cats eyeing it off, I quickly shut the other hens in, and raced to confine the dogs in the house.

Then to catch the hen and return it.  The yard is full of vegetables and fruit trees, roses etc so I darted all around in a futile attempt.  I reckon it is pretty hard to do solo - I need another person to help me - but that wasn't likely to happen!

I worked out that I could confine the five remaining hens in another section of the chook pen, and so leave open the gate so that our escapee could go in of her own accord. I could hear the excited dogs scratching at the back door too.  I found a long bamboo pole in the garden and weilding that like a bad banchi I set off around the garden to 'entice' one escapee hen back to the pen.  It took a while, but eventually, poking with the pole and darting around to block off any other escape route.  Then, success.  Perhaps in an effort to escape the mad woman with the bamboo pole, she darted in the open gate and I quickly moved to shut it.  I let the other hens out of their confinement.  All is well!

I needed a drink.  Too early for wine!

Tuesday, December 18

Adelaide - City of Stone.

Adelaide is the home of my birth, and where I spent the first 18 years of my life, before moving to Mt Gambier to train as a nurse.  I never returned to Adelaide to live again, though my parents moved to Mt Gambier for nearly 20 years, and returned to Adelaide to live.  My sister has lived in Adelaide for most of her life, though did spent time in Mt Gambier and Perth.

It is a place that I return to every year, for one or more occasions and mostly spend it with family.  We have done short trips e.g. McLaren Vale, Victor Harbour.

The description "city of churches" is often applied to Adelaide, but I would like to rename it "city of stone" - not meaning cold like stone, but to reflect the way the homes, and other buildings in (particularly) the older parts of Adelaide were made of stone.

In Broken Hill I marvelled at the old stone miners' cottages that stood the test of time, and most are still standing.  I love the way stone buildings and corrugated iron (good, old corrugated iron - not the less strong that is on the market now!) works together.

From Broken Hill and into Adelaide the availability of stone is remarkable.  Stone is freely available everywhere, and I can imagine the early settlers who would have had little choice but to use the stone, creating great masterpieces.  The stone buildings are cool in summer, and cold in winter, which is why many rooms in these places have fire places, though wood did become scarce.  In fact around Broken Hill, trees that covered the landscape were soon harvested and in many places the scenery is bereft of trees as they never grew back.

Though modern homes do not always feature the stone as old homes do, some do feature this.  Looking around it is easy to spot the older homes.  Where I am house sitting in Unley, there are many buildings of stone, including the one in which I am staying.

A short walk around the streets here - house after house was built around the late 1800's or early 1900's - of stone, and brick.  Mostly stone.

Street in Unley
I marvel at the workmanship of these houses - many built by builders using fairly basic tools - not like the modern one's builders have at their disposal in the 21st century.  It always amazes me how straight the walls are.

Like the buildings in Burra - built around the mid 1800's.  Awesome really.

RM Williams Outback

While staying with my cousin in Burra, I saw a copy (actually he had quite a few) of RM Williams OUTBACK magazine. Especially as I had already passed through, or hoped to visit, some of the places about which articles were written I found it a very interesting magazine.  Clearly the target market is country folk, but I am sure many city folk would find the articles of great value.

One article was about the Kelpie Man - artist Pieter Zaadstra, a man who lives now in Tasmania, but was an artist in Mt Gambier in the 1960s.  In fact his father was also an artist, and they settled there from Holland around that time.  I was doing nursing training at that time, and my parents moved from Adelaide to Mt Gambier, and remained there for many years after I left.  My mother who also enjoyed painting and won a few art competitions, was involved in the formation of the Mt Gambier Society and I recall the Zaadstra name from those days and also I have a charcoal work by Pieter Zaadstra, but at this point I am not sure if it is Pieter senior, or junior.  I think both father and son were Pieter.

I told my mother (age 97 in a nursing home and showed her the article.)  Her memory is pretty good some time, and on hearing the name she immediately stated that the spelling of Peter was different to what we know.  Pieter.

I found the website of the Kelpie Man and sent him  a message, asking if he remembered my mother.  He wrote back quickly and said that he did, and gave his best wishes to Mum.  She was thrilled.

Well worth buying!  This is the cover of the December/January issue - so guess it will be on the bookshelves for a while!

Sunday, December 16

Next House Sit - Lizard? Rabbit? Chooks??

I had applied for one house sit in Adelaide, but missed out for some reason.  However another one came up, and when I left Burra my destination was Unley to meet the family and see if I was happy with the opportunity.

Unley is not well known to me - my mother did go to high school there, and I am vaguely familiar with some of the trendy shopping in the region.  It is a very old area of Adelaide, with a high number of wonderful old stone homes, and now a collection of modern ones, in narrow streets, with huge old trees.  Many of the streets are tree lined, and I look forward to walks with my camera in hand.  There is a small park near the house sit house.

The house is in a lovely old home, a short walking distance from a huge shopping centre with Coles and Woolworths, a Cheese Monger, delicatessen, other food shops and a host of fashion and other stores.  I was early to my appointment so I went for a wander around the shops.  I look forward to spending a few dollars there!

I met the family, mother, father and twin boys, and the animals.  There are two dogs, two cats, about 7 chooks and a chicken, a rabbit, and a lizard!  I think it will be rather fun!!!  I move in on Monday 17th.  Shall be interesting with all my new animal friends.


We had passed through Burra on occasions, and stopped for short periods to visit my cousin, but time never permitted further exploration of this old mining town.  The story is that in 1845 when South Australia was in financial difficulties, copper was found at Kapunda and Burra,  and the fortunes of the state improved.

At one stage after copper was found the population of the area was greater than Adelaide and Perth combined, some 5000 people.

Today, Burra is in the midst of a vast agricultural area - claiming the title of the Merino Capital of Australia, with many of its historic buildings revitalised and part of a booming tourist area.  The first place to go is the Burra Visitor Information Centre, where one gets a 'passport' and a key (after paying a deposit) to open gates and explore the open cut mine site, and various buildings around the town.

In summer the area is surrounded by fields of "gold"  as the wheat and other grain crops mature and harvesting starts.  As I drove through the area there was much harvesting action.

With a map and booklet of information one can self-drive around the town, checking out the various places that are steeped in history.  The open cut mine is a picture with the green of the water that now collects in the bottom of the mine.
The open cut mine with the lake below.

Mines and their families created living quarters in the creek - but sadly after heavy rains the area flooded,  and they moved to safer areas.  These dugouts have certainly stood the 'test of time'.

There are some 49 places of interest around Burra, which includes the mines and museums, accommodation, hotels, government buildings including the gaol and court house, post office, and a raft of other places that remind us of the difficulties of living in this town in the mid 1800's.

In the time I spent there I was pleased to visit so many of these places, but I have not seen all, and perhaps I will go back to continue to discover more of the history.  I must say the restoration work and the way it is all presented is awesome.  One get's a "passport" with a key, and information booklet and can visit many of these places in one's own time, though some have guided walks, and volunteers who can give further information.

The gaol is particularly interesting as some of the film Breaker Morant was filmed there.  It is hard to believe that it was so long ago that the film was created - as Burra celebrated 30 years since the film was made, in 2009.  Read about it here.   Now I have visited Burra and seen more of it I will have to see the movie again.  The film was shot mostly around Burra - which of course lends itself very much to stories about that the 1800's and early 1900's.  There is more information about the filming here at Wilkipedia.