Wednesday, July 30

A Guest from Taiwan

I received a call from a friend who has students boarding with her.  She asked if I could have one as a guest for a about 6 days, and I happily agreed.  After the QUEDREX event I drove to Carina (still in costume, I might add, though I had discarded the mop cap) to meet Vicky.  She is a  delightful young lady with good English skills and we were soon on our way to Caboolture.  I had my Caboolture Historical Village Colleague with me, and yes, she was still in costume.

I had forgotten that I needed to get petrol for the trip, but when I went to pay at Coles Express at Cannon Hill no one seemed to notice I was in costume!!!

It was an uneventful trip to Caboolture to drop Cassie off, and Vicky and I went on to Beachmere, where she settled in my guest room.

We had a busy week - the first day I showed her around Beachmere, and during the week we visited Toorbul (saw nearly 50 wild kangaroos enjoying their beachside home), we went to Brisbane city and the Art Gallery, GOMA, and The Edge, visited Maleny, Nambour and the Ginger Factory, as well as Bribie Island.  It WAS a busy week!!!!

Oh, and one day Vicky was at the Caboolture Historical Village while I did my volunteering.  She was a delightful house guest and I hope to see her again soon.  She is studying in Australia perhaps for the next four years.

Vicky at the Caboolture Historical Village

On Bribie Island

At Beachmere

Beachmere Lake

Curious swan swims towards us.

Beach at Beachmere

Monday, July 21


My volunteering at the Caboolture Historical Village takes me on many adventures and another is dressing up for QUEDEX - details here.

A great place to promote the Village to the teachers who attended the Expo to learn more about the many resources for teachers.

I was impressed with the venue - the revamped old show pab pavilion is now a great Royal International Convention Centre - really a smart looking building that does justice I think to the history of the building.

Saturday, July 19

Jumpers and Jazz at Warwick

I stayed in Brisbane overnight with my daughter and grandchildren so was up early to set off for Warwick and the Jumpers and Jazz Festival which has been running for ten years now.  It certainly brings visitors from both sides of the border!!!

It was cold - actually that is why it is held in winter as prior to the festival the town was pretty quiet.  It certainly works well - groups of well rugged up visitors trudged back and forth looking at the entrants.  They do hold a competition and are waiting to hear who the winners are.  I note that some of the entrants came from Brisbane and NSW - so there is a lot of interest around Australia I would guess.

I only saw the exhibits in the streets, and some in some stores.  I noted that there were many craft shops (patchwork, sewing, etc) in the town too, and some "pop up " shops for the festival were busy too.

I had coffee and a very high calorie (but wonderful) dessert at the Joie de Vivre Restaurant - which had an eclectic collection of art, tables and chairs and other things of interest.  They are an active retailer in the Festival.

I took nearly 200 photos - but won't post them all here.  Well not at once.  I walked from one end of the main street to the other, crossed the road, and kept taking photos - and then went up several side streets and ......................kept on taking photos

I went to the Art Gallery which had a great exhibit of "knitchen" - see photos below.

(The above photos are at the Art Gallery)

The knitchen is above - all items made by knitting or crochet.  Even the floor "tiles" are knitted.

The streetscape is different.  The theme for the year was Zen - so there is a wide variety of interpretations of the theme - some extra ordinary clever pieces too.  The town hall pillars are covered with coloured squares, and in the middle of town the local celebrity is suitably dressed.

A statue of the 12th Queensland Premier Thomas Joseph Byrnes is located on the corner of Palmerin and Grafton Streets, Warwick.   (Wikipedia)
I went back to Joie de Vivre Restaurant  for another coffee but they were closed (having some sort of event there), so I made my way to The Coffee Club and had "linner" as I had not really had lunch and I figured I would need to have dinner if I had the "hot pot" which was great.  

I was booked into the motel at Aratula, but had a phone call from them that they were in Brisbane and hoped I didn't get there until after 4.30 pm, which worked out for me.  I arrived just before 5 pm after a lovely drive through Cunningham's Gap (wishing I could stop and take some photos of the rugged scenery - but no where to stop), and into Aratula.

It was the coldest night I had endured for a while.  When I woke up it was 0 degrees and for the first time every I had a warning on my dashboard about "icy roads."  

I arrived home safely at Beachmere after a detour to Ikea and Spotlight at Logan.

Thursday, July 17


I think I have always had an interest in history - as much I think because I am a descendant of the Ragless family of South Australia.  My mother was born Ida Joyce Ragless - when she died a few weeks ago on June 6th, she was the last of her generation.

I was doing a little research on the family and found a brochure giving details of a walk around St Mary's in Adelaide, which includes a little about the family who settled in the area in 1869.  I remember visiting the Tonsley farm as a little girl.  The brochure is here.

Maybe it was my interest in history that enticed me to work as a volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village - where I spend one or more days a week.

Last weekend the Caboolture Gem Club which operates out of the Village, had a Gem Fest.  One of the exhibits that was from the Queensland Museum - the Patron of the Gem Club is associated with the Museum - if I recall correctly he is a Paleontologist and Geologist, as a well as a Gemologist.  (I hope I have that right)

What amazed me is that the stone in the cabinet (and I apologise for the quality of the photo as it is behind glass) is that the stone is 1650 million years old, one of the oldest fossils found in Australia.  Amazing to think about it.  It is a stromatolite.   It is on display at the Caboolture Historical Village for the next couple of weeks.

There are other ancient rocks on display too - just inside the entrance of the Village.

History is amazing - and the things I see and learn working in the village constantly impress me.  We have over 100 dedicated volunteers who spend many hours working, clearning, reparing, showing, and educating the many visitors to the Village.

Sunday, July 13

Life at Beachmere

I often laugh as I have to explain where Beachmere is.  It is a tiny spot on the map and as it is a destination not a place you go through on the way to somewhere else, it is almost hidden.

On the Beachmere Blog it says:

Beachmere is a township at the mouth of the Caboolture River where it enters Moreton Bay, 38 km north of Brisbane. Positioned on a small peninsula formed by the river and the bay, Beachmere was somewhat inaccessible, and was mainly a fishing community. When first settled by Europeans, Beachmere's access road could be impassable during flood time. Population: 3,888 (2011). 'Beachmere' means a beach upon marshy ground. Beachmere occupies land belonging to the Indigenous Gubi Gubi people

I "found" it a couple of years ago and was impressed by the peace and tranquility of the place.  Not a huge population, though I suspect bigger than is recorded above.  Having lived on what was a quiet road when we moved in, and later became a popular and noisy through road, I longed to live in a place where the traffic noise was non existent.  I found it here.

There's not much at Beachmere - a handfull of shops, a tavern, an IGA, a bowling club, some lovely parks, and the beach.  Not too far away is the river - so it is a boaties paradise I think.

I have reported on my fishing exploits here before, well, crabbing.  I have not "wet a line" for a while.

One of my joys (and there are really many around here) is walking on the beach front.  There's a lovely sandy beach (even at high tide there's room for beach games etc), but plenty of places to walk along the foreshore.   The sand is ok to walk on, and only in some rare places do you get tat "sinking" feeling with soft sand.

Yesterday I went for a walk, and these are photos taken in two places - at the end of Beachmere Road, and at the River.

There are usually (as there were on this day) thousands/millions of tiny soldier crabs running around the sand. Fun for the children to try and catch.

At the top of Beachmere Road, there's a great childrens playground, plenty of seats for those who want to picnic and also some BBQ's.  And it is not far from a new Cafe on Biggs Ave.

Low tide - Moreton Island in the distance

Looking left

Towards Scarborough

From the stairs to the beach at the end of Beachmere Road
 I often walk to the Caboolture River - there are boats everywhere and folk trying t catch fish from the banks of the river or on the small jetty.  Usually there are a few pelican around looking for a feed.

Another boat ramp is on the other side of the river.

Along the river bank.

Friday, July 11

Peace in Shanghai

Shanghai is a city with a long history.  It is believed to have been inhabited for over 5000 years, and in 2014 is a modern European looking city with the major brands now ensconced in the city which as well as having a population greater than the whole population of Australia, is a place where tourists come from all over the world.

Just walking through Nanjing Road you can see people who are clearly not Chinese, and hear a variety of languages spoken!  It is a great mecca for tourists as there is so much to see in and around the city and it is a great starting off point for many of the other cities of China.

There has been much violence and fighting in Shanghai.  For example (from Wikipedia).

"The Japanese Navy bombed Shanghai on January 28, 1932, nominally to crush Chinese student protests agains Japanese occupation of Manchuria.  The Chinese fought back in what was known as the January 28 Incident.  The two sides fought to a standstill and a ceasefire was brokered in May. 

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the city fell after the 1937 Battle of Shanghai (known in China as the Battle of Songhu) and remained occupied until surrender of Japan in 1945.  Under Japanese rule, the foreign concesions remained intact until December 1941.  Tensions within the city led to a wave of assassinations against Chinese officials who worked with Japanese authorities: during January and February 1939, 16 pro-Japanese officials and businessmen were assassinated by Chinese resistance organizations.

During World War II, its extraterritoriality made Shanghai a haven for visa-less European refugees.  It was, along with Franco's Spain, the only location in the world unconditionally open to Jews at the time.  However, under pressure from their ally Germany, the Japanese removed the Jews in late 1941 to what became known as the Shanghai ghetto, where hunger and infectious diseases such as dysentery became rife.  The foreign population rose from 35,000 in 1936 to 150,000 in 1942, mainly due to the Jews.  The Japanese were still harsher on belligerent nationals: the British, Americans and Dutch.  These slowly lost their privileges and had to wear letters - B, A or N - when walking in public places.  Their villas were turned into brothels and gambling houses.  They were finally force-marched into concentration camps in 1943."

Of course the history of Shanghai is far more complex than can be written in an article for Wikipedia, but you can get some idea of the trauma that the people of the city endured.

In 1949 Shanghai came under communist rule and many of the international businesses that had been there, moved to Hong Kong.

I have not attempted to write the history of Shanghai here, but give some inkling into the trauma that has faced the city and people.

It is not surprising that they want PEACE!

In the Peoples" Square - at the top of the famous mall, Nanjing Road, that there is a place with great reminders of the fight for peace.  It is in the form of the white doves that inhabit the park.  They are well fed and much enjoyed by visitors to the park.

But it is not the doves nor the history of Shanghai that I wanted to write about. It is about the Peace Hotels.  Yes, there are two of them. They are on the corner of Nanjing Road and the Bund, overlooking the Huangpu River.  They have an amazing history in their own right - especially their involvement in the Opium Wars. 

When I was in Shanghai in 2008, both hotels were boarded up, waiting for renovations.  I am sure there was a security guard or two around, but it looked deserted, derelict and abandoned, but from the outside the building looked most interesting.

I did hear at the time that it was to be renovated in time for the 2010 Expo. As I understand it, not all of the hotel/s were ready in time for Expo, though one part of it was used for accommodation for artists in what was then called the Swatch Peace Hotel.  (Guess who the sponsor was?)

When I visited Shanghai in June 2014, I went into the newly renovated hotel and took some photos.  How I would love to stay there - even for one day.  It is such a historic hotel and the interior has been restored and well worth seeing!

The flowers in one of the foyers

In the foyer

Looking skywards

Photos of famous guests - yes, Steven Spielberg
Next time, I will try and spend more time there - perhaps even one night, if the budget can cope.

Thursday, July 10

School Holidays

Back in the real world.  As readers know I volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village and I am back now and very busy as we have a number of major events coming up.

This weekend is the Gem Fest - so for all those folk interested in jewelry making, lapidary, etc it should be a great weekend.

Yesterday was my "normal" working day at the Village - and I started by taking some photos.  I love petunias - cheap, easy to grow and so colourful!!   Amazing. The garden itself is ot brilliant though there have been some lovely orchids in flower, but they are not at their best right now.  We certainly need some rain - well, the plants need some rain!

It is school holidays - and unfortunately these holidays I have not had my grandchildren staying with me.  The G girls have been in the north of the state at hockey carnivals, and the H grandchildren are with their Dad a lot of the time.

Many children have been at the Village for our kids activities - they all seem to have a wonderful time around the Village, learning about life back in the early days of Australia and Caboolture in particular.  Below is a group at the old school building.  There is so much to do.

As I wandered around with camera in hand, I heard bagpipes.  And there on the grass in front of the main building two guys were keeping the visitors entertained with their music.

Below is a photo I too - the shadow of the windmill.  You can just see the pipers in the back ground.

Monday, July 7

Is this the World's Biggest Baby?

It was a busy few days in Singapore - as we tried to fit in all there is to see in the short time we had there.

We went to Marina Bay Sands to see the extra ordinary building that has everone talking - it is a most remarkable feat of engineering and such an amazing sight.   We walked through the busy foyers and paid to go right up the top to see the view over Singapore.

The view was quite spectacular!!!  We walked around and took photos and marvelled at the sight below and beyond.

Gardens by the Bay

After we had "taken in" all we could, we went back downstairs - I might add that everyone has a photo taken, but when my sister and I looked at it, we chose not to buy it.  We didn't like it at all - neither of us like having a photo taken!

We had a good look around, and then set off on foot for the Gardens By the Bay.  It is a pleasant walk, and so much to see too.  The gardens are wonderful, and around every corner there is something new to see.

We will have to go back as we didn't make it into the huge conservatories, but we did catch a little shuttle around the gardens - and I would HIGHLY recommend this as there is commentary to explain much of the things that we passed, but there really is so much to see.

The view back to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel was awesome, and the gardens - so much to see. The tall gardens with, amazingly, restaurants at the top, were amazing.  I think if you don't do a tour on the shuttle, you have little idea what is there.  A must do!

The baby?  From the Huffington Post "Singapore, 18 January 2013 - Planet, a giant sculpture of a sleeping baby by internationally acclaimed British artist Marc Quinn, was unveiled at a ceremony at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore this evening. The sculpture has been donated for permanent display at the Gardens by Mr and Mrs Putra and Imelda Masagung."

There are many more images of the baby and the gardens here.

There are over 40 artworks throughout the gardens.  So go visit, and take your camera.

Sunday, July 6


I recall visiting this place on one of my previous visits.  It is a new development - well it was a couple of years ago, in an old area.  It was transformed into a modern "lifestyle area" with many restaurants, upmarket shops etc.

When I was there once before we caught a taxi from Xiantandi to a friend's home - and she knew the usual price of the taxi ride,  and when she noticed his meter wasn't on she challenged the driver and he gave an inflated price for the trip.  She argued - and he did a u-turn and took us back to the Xiantandi area, and we jumped out at traffic lights.  Had to get another taxi - one with the meter going and we paid the correct price!!!

This visit was with my sister in May 2014 - just a few weeks ago.  I did not that the trees have grown, though of course they would have been mature trees when I was last there.

There are many places to eat and a wide variety of shops to visit in the area - well worth more than one visit especially if you wish to try out the restaurants which were excellent.

It is one of the "must see" places when you visit Shanghai.