Monday, March 30

The First International Airport in Australia was........?

I called into this place just about two years ago (April 2013)  on my drive around Australia.  It had not been on my agenda, but as I drove along the Stuart Highway on my way south to Tennant Creek, that I saw the turn off to Daly Waters.  I did a u-turn, and went back and took the turn off to Daly Waters - a 3 km trip from the Highway.

But it was only recently when I found the brochure that I had collected on my journey that I read that it was at Daly Waters that the very first International Aiport in Australia came into use.

I knew about John McDouall Stuart - we learned about many of the early Australian explorers at school, though I confess I have forgotten most of the details, but when I see the names of the early explorers much of it comes back to me and I can now (thanks to Professor Google) find out more information.

It is about 620 kms south of Darwin and  John McDouall Stuart during his expedition from the south to the north of Australia in 1861-2 found the site and it was named after the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominic Daly.  It was an important place as fresh water was found in the area.

  I do wish I had planned to stay there - rather than drive in and out - taking photos.  There's plenty of fun around Daly Waters as you can see from the photos.

The Pub was originally a "Drover's Store" opened by Bill Pearce and he and his family were responsible for not only feeding passengers but refueling aircraft at the Daly Waters Airfield for many years.  It was a major Air Force base during World War 2, and was the first international airport when it "opened its hangar doors" for the Australia to England air race, though I understand that many planes stopped at Parap Airport in Darwin, so I am not sure about the detail of this.  

As you can see there is a lot of Aussie humour on display at Daly Waters.  below is a building beside the service station, with a crumpled helicopter on the roof with a sign below  offering scenic flights.  Mmmm.

The scenery all around is spectacular.

Maybe next time I will be able to stay a bit longer.

Gertrude Bell and the Movie

I am a fan of Margaret Throsby on the ABC - I download her Midday interviews and listen to them while I am driving.  Recently I was listening to her interview with Alan Gold, who writes historical novels and was fascinated to learn about Gertrude Bell.  I had never heard of her before but listened in awe at the story of this amazing woman.

Alan Gold said that we hear little of the women in history because only men were historians and they were really only interested in what men did.  Mmm.  No different to our world - though marginally more women are recognized  The story is here.

When I did my research on line later, I learned that there is a movie due out sometime soon in which Nicole Kidman plays the role of Gertrude Bell, so I look forward to seeing the movie - to be called Queen of the Desert.

The above video tells something of her life - a play actually.  I look forward to the movie.

Saturday, March 28

One More Ticked Off the Bucket List!

I have written about it in more detail here.   It is something I have had on my "Bucket List" for some time - a visit to the 77th Floor of the Q1 Building in Surfers Paradise Queensland.  I have done it! Tick!

Above  is the view from my room at the Outrigger Hotel.

Above are the views from the 77th Floor of the Q1.  Awesome.

People in Business

Do you often wonder why, how some people survive in the Retail sector of business?  I have written about it before, but it is something that I constantly find annoying.  Why do some people appear to deliberately piss off their customers and then wonder why their business is going downhill?

Today a new business opens not far from where I live and I will pop in to see how they fare on day one - I do suspect they will be much better than the folk that ran a similar business there and went "under" some months ago.

Clearly some people do not do their homework before they set up a business, and clearly if they had a business plan or marketing plan, they didn't bother following their plan - or if their plan was followed it was fatally flawed.

It was a cafe - where the staff were dressed terribly, had no personality, and much to the annoyance of those who did initially support it - they never opened on the hours they promised to open.  The shop was crappy - no personality, bare, boring.  With the staff with no personality, a boring shop, limited items on their menu, coffee that usually came cold, and often shut when you called by - you can guess what happened.  It failed.  Miserably.

So I shall be interested to see what the new cafe offers today.  They started their advertising recently on Facebook with updates, photos, and clearly gained much local enthusiasm already before the doors open.  They already have a good number of people interested in the business - so Day one will be interesting.

Around the local area, there are (a) vacant shops and (b) businesses with 'for sale' signs on the windows.  It is not a good look - and I don't have any issue with them trying to sell their business in any way that they can.  It is often not easy to sell a business.  But when there are several shops in a row with "For Sale by Owner" signs, it is not encouraging for any potential buyer.

These businesses do not advertise locally - there is limited advertising options in the area, but surely they could band together and create some interest in their businesses?  Surely the landlord with empty shops can be creative and do something to enthuse people to become customers or even business owners.
People in Retail have to display bright personalities, engage with their customers, market their business, and don't constantly whinge about the challenges they face!!!  Grrr.  It drives people away!!!
Retail is not easy - but one has to make an effort to market their business.
Make changes.  An example is a local newsagency which has had challenges since day one of the new ownership.  I guess the lady/owner was so stressed she didn't realise that she was saying and doing things that her then customers did not enjoy.  Many walked.  Elsewhere.
But the shop has always looked tatty, and there's been little change in displays and it all looks as boring today as it was the day she took over.
I get quite annoyed when I see all this and know that they have no idea that they are destroying the business that they had hoped to make a success!!!  Darn!!!

Monday, March 23

Respect for Elders

I am rather fed up with all the negative rubbish in the press about the large number of elderly people (with growing numbers of course) and the high cost of caring for them/us in the future.  I am also fed up with being treated with disrespect, condescendence etc. though I admit to being one of the lucky ones as for some reason I "don't look my age" or sound like I am old - according to some conversations I have had.

A lovely lady the other day told of how she was spoken to in a bank - in a very condescending manner and how she "retaliated".  I had to laugh!  But it is a real dilemma for old people who are not treated with the respect that they deserve.  

Even going to a doctor can be challenging.  We get the message that we are old and to "suck it up"!  Many of us are just given tablets - in an almost random way.  A weekend article reported the high cost of this over medication regime of doctors.  Just think how much money would be saved if people (and it is not just the elderly) are prescribed medication randomly.  There is much research being done on this at the moment.

I saw on the ABC yesterday of a retirement "village" in the US where many former film industry folk live and how they are creating a series and a movie about their life in the establishment.  They are doing something because they can.  There was also a segment about men visiting groups of men in a nursing home for "man talk" as if when they are with women they can't do man talk!!  Not sure what that means!!

Many elderly wonder what is going on - they see the young of today earning excessive amounts of money - especially in comparison to what they earned in their early working days.  It is well known that women do not earn as much as men, and indeed their retirement/superannuation is far less than men of the same age - because women take time out of the workforce to raise children.

With all the negative talk, and the absence from the press (unless you read Seniors magazines and the talk about the high cost of keeping seniors alive in the future) it is no wonder that younger people have a difficult time with older people.

I recall years ago doing a presentation in a nursing home about some of the things the folk would remember and they talked for a long time about the items, times, that I spoke about.  But it was the reaction of the nursing staff who accompanied their "patients" that amazed me.

They had no idea about the things that made the seniors folk sit up straight and talk about.  It was as if there was a complete difference in language between the two age groups.  I found it quite frightening in a way.

Perhaps we need to education young people in the ways of seniors, and show them how to respect everyone who is not the same as them - race, colour, ethnicity and age!

Monday, March 16


I love figs.  I remember having them growing at home when I was a child, and I grew them myself a while ago, though don't have a garden now.   I have bought them occasionally but they can be expensieve.  I love dried figs but most of them  in the shops here are from Turkey.  Occasionally one can find dried Australian figs!

One of the other volunteers at the Caboolture Historical Village has a family business - growing figs, and she has on two occasions brought some in for me. Oh, yum.

I have tried many recipes since I had my "supply" of figs - even to drying them in the oven (now have a container of dried sliced figs" and I guess I will nibble on them until they are gone. I don't want them to waste. has many recipes - too many to try.  One recipe that I tried was in a magazine - and I did my version of it.

250 mls whipping cream (whip until thick)
figs (10) - cut and put in a vitamiser type machine (I used my stick mixer) and whizzed until all mixed.

Mix the cream and figs - and put in containers in freezer.

Now the recipe says to thaw and beat again, several times.  I haven't done that.  I have actually eaten it as is.  And it is Yummy on fresh fruit!!!

Wednesday, March 11

Mum's Ashes

My mother passed away in June 2014, but her ashes had waited at the Funeral Home until last Friday, when my sister and I went to collect them in the big plastic container that needed a screw driver and a strong arm to open!!

I had known that my mother was born in Wistow, just out of Mt Barker, (abaout 40 kms from Adelaide), and knew that she wanted her ashes to be scattered there.  We were to meet three cousins, Carol, Rae and John to join us, but we met first at The Barker, a hotel in the centre of Mt Barker, and had a glass of wine.  We had a wonderful conversation - talking about our parents, our mothers (who were sisters) and what we knew about them.  My sister and cousins did not know about the Wistow connection.  My mother and their mother were born at Wistow, but the family left Wistow when they were very small.

We then drove the 7 kms to Wistow to a little park on the corner of Morning Star Road, with a huge oak tree in the corner, and we scattered Mum's ashes there.  We stayed a while and said our farewells.  I was to learn later that another cousin, Betty Snowden, actually knows the property that they lived.  Shame she didn't tell her siblings the story!

There is an old church on the hill - now a 7th Day Adventist Church but I guess it was probably a Church of England Church in its early days.

Max Harris and the Book

I flew into Adelaide on the Wednesday afternoon and after a coffee in a new Cafe in the great open space between the domestic terminal and the car park, my sister called as she was on her way.

We, as usual had lots to talk about - catching up on family news etc.

Next morning we were up early, and my sister dropped me at familiar territory - South Terrace, Adelaide.  I have many happy memories there as the South Australian Girl Guide headquarters building was on this street, opposite the park.  I remember meeting Lady Baden Powell, the founder of Girl Guides - I was an enthusiastic member from aged 10 to 18.

I caught the tram (free) into the city near Rundle Mall, and walked the rest of the way.  I stood and looked at the building on the corner of North Terrace and King William Street - where I worked back in 1961!!  I walked down King William Road towards the River Torrens, past Government House - where I visited each year on Thinking Day (February) where each year we celebrated Scouting and Guiding and where, in South Australia, Queen's Scouts and Queen's Guides were presented with their certificates.  I was one of them!!!

Beyond Government House is an area which I remember as a Military area - on special occasions military folk assembled there.  Between that area and Government House is a special garden - Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden,  and it was in this area that my cousin Betty Snowden was a guest for Adelaide Writer's Week, talking about her biography of Max Harris.

As the review mentioned, Betty did not get much of a look in to talk about the book - but I still found it most interesting and look forward to getting a copy of the book, which maybe some time away.  It appears the book was published in a rush and was not complete, and also the glue holding the pages together did not hold!!  So someone made a decision to give all 60 books away for free.  I was not lucky enought to get one of the free ones, and hope I will be able to get one sometime.  However, the publisher was not happy with someone's decision to give the faulty books away, and there may be a delay before the book becomes available.

I knew little of Max Harris until attending this event and listening to Betty - as I left Adelaide as a teenager, but went to live in Mount Gambier, which is where Max lived in his early days and his known for his reading of evey book in the Mount Gambier Library.

I do want to read the full story of Max!!

Monday, March 2

Adelaide Writers Festival

I had a call from my cousin Betty Snowden recently informing me that she was presenting at the Adelaide Writer's Festival on March 5th - so it was a good excuse to go.

I am almost packed, but don't leave Brisbane until Wednesday at midday, but I am nearly all ready to go.  I am looking forward to attending the event - which is regarded as one of the best writers festivals in Australia.

I should have thought of going before - but was certainly inspired to listen to my cousin!!!  Adelaide is where I was born, and I generally know my way around quite well, though I am not familiar with the area where the festival is being held, but am sure I can find my way there.

My sister will get me into the city and I will have to walk (or taxi - depending on the pain in my foot).  My sister works all day, so I will probably stay at the Festival, and hopefully she can pick me up late in the day.

On Friday we will probably scatter my mother's ashes - perhaps up to Mt Barker where she was born way back in 1915.  She made it to nearly 99 - not quite the 100 she was targetting.

This photo of my mother, Joyce Watson, was taken a few years ago, when we (the family)  had sat by her bed all morning as she lay "unconscious".   We had thought that was the end for her, but after about 5 hours of being in this condition, she awoke, and put this crazy hat on - (not hers!) and chatted on as if nothing had happened.

Clean Up Australia 2015

I have been a frequent volunteer at Clean Up Australia events - I don't recall how many or for how long I have been doing it.  I did so in Beachmere last year, and this year volunteered to be a site co ordinator.

It's not a mammoth job, but it certainly would be easier to just be a clean up volunteer.  I have paperwork to complete now, as well as having to peg signs in yesterday, pick them up, and deal with the volunteers etc.

It all worked well, though some of the guys came back with items that they should have left - including big shards of broke glass - which I had to get picked up by the council quickly as it was so dangerous.  Didn't want to leave it in the park overnight.

One thing the group did bring back was a lady's hand bag full of drug paraphenalia, and I did, as requested phone the police.  I am glad I didn't sit in the park waiting for them as they arrived at my house around 4.30 pm!  They did look in the bag, and took it away. 

I wondered if the locals might think that I was in trouble with the police.