Cool Tasmania – with a Very Warm Welcome

Our plane was on time and as we walked down the stairs onto the tarmac we were reminded that Tasmania is much further south than Queensland. So much cooler.

The walk into the terminal seemed rather long for such a small airport. The security guards were ready for us with questions about covid. Have we been in high alert sites? No. Do we have any symptoms? No. Were we carrying any fruit or vegetables? 😅No. They are just as aware of passing germs to their fruit as much as covid to their people.

We were cleared and stepped outside to a warm welcome from Ginetta & Stephen. We haven’t seen them since before their 2020 year spent in France & Italy. We were meant to catch up in Edinburgh last year but no such luck.

We had a little tour of the docks and things are looking beautiful down by the water. Through Battery Point and along the waterfront to Sandy Bay.

Their house is beautiful. Newly renovated since I was last here. After the downstairs flooded they had to replace floors and carpets and have rearranged rooms. It’s lovely. Ginetta is a collector and has lovely pieces from her travels. They also have a library! With a bar and a sunny corner. We might not want to leave here.

After a delicious Italian style lunch the boys went into Hobart to visit the Mawson Hut and the Lark Whiskey Distillery. Ginetta & I had coffee with a friend from ADFAS. The arts society we are members of.

When the two Stephens arrived home it was Aperol time.

Sitting with a beautiful view we are very happy to be in Hobart

Quiet rainy day

I can’t complain.

About the rain!

We looked out this morning and though windy on the SE side the skies were only slightly cloudy.

Following breakfast we set off in an anticlockwise way to walk around the island. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The beach is a combination of sand, shells, rocks and rock pools. It’s rocky on the ankles but so full of things to look at.

By the time we’d almost done the circuit it had started to rain. Hard and heavy.

So it was back to the cabin to change, have coffee and settle into some reading.

Our friend Frances had brought a puzzle. 500 pieces – all about Gin!

We moved at around 1.30 to go on a walking tour but again it started raining! So into the bar for a G&T

Then at 3.30 we took the Historical walking tour with Mary our enthusiastic guide. She was very engaging as she told us about the history behind Lady Elliot.

It was named – as many islands and places in Australia are , after the English who may have sailed past or landed…… disregarding any indigenous occupation.

So Lady Elliot is the wife of the captain of the boat also named LE.

It’s was mined for guano in its early days before a tourism lease was granted in the 1960’s with a guarantee it was replanted and an airstrip established. The airstrip was completed in 24 hr. The tree planting and growing took a little longer

Originally just for camping it would have been a hot spot without shady trees! to read a little about the history …..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Elliot_Island

We visited the graveyard with two graves. Both women. One the daughter of the lighthouse keeper. She died in 1896 of a cold that developed into pneumonia. Built in 1866 the lighthouse would have been a lonely place with a ship arriving only every 4 months. The 30 year old died before anyone could help.

The other was Suzanna, in 1907. She was the lighthouse keepers wife. They say after her 4 sons left the island for boarding schools she was so lonely she walked into the sea and drowned. Not great stories.

Our walking tour finished at the lighthouse and the tiny museum.

Perfect timing. We arrived for sunset drinks.

Decorative Arts in Adelaide.

Visiting another city, even one you’ve been to before can offer opportunities for something new.

I had heard about the David Roach House Museum when talking to ADFAS friends.

ADFAS for those who haven’t heard of it is the Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Society and I am Chairman of the Brisbane Society. We have lectures on things of a decorative & fine arts nature: it can be painting, sculpture, gardens, music, fashion, porcelain…….

My sister in law booked us into the 10am tour this morning. It’s in Melbourne Street North Adelaide, a fairly trendy area with beautiful home and many coffee shops.

We arrived in plenty of time for our tour and were greeted at the door by name. The Director of the Museum Martyn Cook met us, introduced himself and took us to the stylish reception room. We were the only two for the 10am tour. Yesterday it was booked out.

Take a tour with me now. Let me know what you think!

The Reception Room

Our guide John then took over. He was super informed and gave us a very good commentary on all aspects of the house and it’s collection.

David J Roche AM (1930–2013), a collector for almost sixty years, spent his lifetime developing what has become The David Roche Collection. The collection, which spans the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and includes European furniture, ceramics, metal ware, clocks and paintings, is remarkable in its quality and range. 

House exterior

The central hall

He came from a large Irish Catholic family and moved to Adelaide as a child. He had a passion for dogs! He had around 53 dogs and was a world renowned judge and often a winner of Best in Show. It’s definitely reflected in the paintings, ceramics and collectibles around the house.

The house is not big. He lived there by himself and often had guests stay in the one extra bedroom. Every inch of the house is decorative. All furnishings were custom made with no expense spared. The effect is overwhelming but somehow, beautiful. The collections are vast and stunning. From walking sticks, to hat pins, jugs, vases …….

The Russian room

Mr Roach’s bedroom

The sitting room

The Library.

The kitchen collectibles

Then the urn where Mr Roach’s ashes are kept.

We had a wonderful tour for 2! I urge you to visit.

http://www.rochefoundation.com.au

Lest We Forget: a Special Day of Remembrance

A century ago the guns fell silent on the Western Front.

On the anniversary of the Armistice we honour all those who sacrificed their lives in World War 1.

The end of the War came suddenly. The Armistice that had brought the end of the fighting was signed in a railway carriage in a forest clearing in Compiegne, France, on 11November.

Six hours later, at 11am, the guns fell silent.

I have walked the battlefields of France. I have seen the fields where the action took place, where bodies fell and sadly where the bodies Rest In Peace.

It sends shivers right through you. The words on the headstones restricted to 60 characters tell about those who would not be returning home. Their age, something about them.

Remember them with pride on this special day. ‘They shall not grow old …..’

Attending today’s ceremony in Canberra was a privilege. The silence and respect shown is moving.

The crowds were quiet and respectful.

At the conclusion of the ceremony we walked to the National Carillon. We were fortunate to hear the bells accompanying the Canberra City band perched high up in the tower than makes the Carillon.

Canberra has beautiful spaces to be able enjoy concerts, parades, ceremonies.

We finished the day at the National Portrait Gallery, a beautiful space filled with wonderful portraits. A cross section of Australians including a familiar Queenslander.

There was a Concert at 4pm. Evensong. The four voices echoed through the gallery. It was quite beautiful. A lovely way to end the afternoon.

Tonight we had dinner in Hughes with John & Judy, Brett & Jenny. Steve went to school with John, Brett & Jenny at Telopea Park High School and since their reunion 7 years ago we have kept in touch. They are great fun and we had a a lively night with them reminiscing- they even got the school albums out!

That’s the nice things about old school friends. You just pick up where you left off! They are now planning their next reunion. Sounds promising.

South Coast NSW. Tripping along

Breakfast with a view is always a good idea. It sets you up for the day.

We picked up a car and headed off – south past the airport.

Down towards Cronulla , an area referred to as ‘The Shire’. It’s a beach area with comfortable bungalow style houses and access to the beach via a long Boulevard.

Onto the road through the National Park and then we wound down towards the Sea Bridge Cliff drive. This road is an engineering feat. It’s about 700mt long and goes out over the water. It’s not attached at the bottom of the steep rock cliffs as there are the dangerous boulders will break loose and roll onto the road.

It’s a cameramans delight! The clouds in the sky made it more dramatic.

We had to stop at the Scarborough Hotel for a reviving coffee and were tempted to share the gorgeous home baked carrot cake. Definitely no lunch needed.

Then the trip took us past little seaside places of our childhood. My parents had their honeymoon at Kiama and our family had holidays at Gerringong, Steve’s family at Austinmer, Erowal Bay and Huskinson. So we had a little trip down memory lane.

We continued south past Berry, Molleymook, Batemans Bay. Then into Moruya, took a left turn and onto Bingi. There’s no town there. It’s a National Park with some acreage land with home. Built in secluded spots. Jan & Stuart live there in a house designed by Stuart.

The floor of the outdoor terrace is actually the top of an enormous water tank. The mosaic floor has been designed as a map of the area with their house shown as the white pebble circle in the photo above. Quite stunning.

There are big kangaroos grazing just outside and if you ignore them they’ll ignore you. You don’t want them coming over and boxing you!

We walked through the trees to the beach. It’s secluded and very special.

Home to many birds, you have to respect their habitat. We climbed up the hill to the side and spotted The Pinnacles sitting in isolation on a small beach.

Dinner was prepared by Stuart a man of many talents. He’s an architect but paints wonderful scenes of the area and designed built and ran The Rivers at Moruya, a great restaurant- the first to get one hat on the South Coast.

The night was dark, the frogs croaked the kangaroos stood on hind legs boxing and we slept in peace.

Sydney, Canberra Adelaide. A short break.

We love the idea of a mini holiday. Especially when our house has been under siege from builders, painters and floor sanders. Combined with November heat we were only too pleased to plan an escape.

First stop, Sydney. We usually stay at Coogee but my sister has her daughter’s family staying while their apartment is being renovated. So we are staying in the city just near Circular Quay.

We arrived Wednesday evening to light rain and cooler conditions. Perfect after the heat of Brisbane. We walked to the Opera Bar for dinner and decided to see a late movie on the way back.

We went to Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury movie at 9pm! So late for us. The music 🎶 was great. Loved it.

We walked back to our club in the cool and enjoyed sleeping under a blanket!

Steve left early the next morning for work and I wandered down to Customs House at the Quay for coffee in the morning sun.

A walk around the city streets feels so strange when almost everyone is walking to work with the one hand salute! That is the take away coffee cup. It takes me back to a few years ago in Italy. I was telling a young man about the coffee culture in Australia where so many people walk around the city holds take away coffee. ‘Why would they do that?’ He asked , ‘when they could stand at the bar for a quick espresso or sit and enjoy a cappuccino , crazy!’

I went into David Jones and I was so disappointed. They are renovating! Everyone is renovating! And most floors were closed. So I gave up and headed to Paddington where I was meeting up with the family. My sister Catherine, nieces Clare, Helen and Pip and littles ones Zali 4 years and Max 4 months.

It was so lovely to sit and chat and enjoy the salads at Jackie’s in Paddington.

After lunch we did a little retail therapy. There are some lovely boutiques in Paddington and we had fun trying a few things on.

I walked back into the city and decided to call into the Museum of Sydney.

It has an excellent exhibition on at the moment called the Artists of Lavender Bay. The highlights included Brett Whitley and the Wendy Whitley Secret Garden which his wife Wendy started when he died. It’s beautiful and peaceful and I must go there next time I’m down.

Back to the RAC to freshen up for dinner at Chop House. It’s a restaurant for meat lovers. I had a steak which is rare for me and it was delicious.

It’s good being a tourist in your home city.

Tomorrow another adventure as we head down the South Coast road towards Moruya.

Opals: Fossicking in Lightening Ridge.

A little nightcap last night gave us s reason to have a sleep in so we wandered to breakfast around 8.30.

The town was waking and the sun was shining. Breakfast was at the Green Gecko 🦎. Another success! Delicious and served with a country smile.

We made our plans for the day and started with the Art Gallery across the road. The John Murray Gallery is a popular stop on the tourist trail. And with good reason.

The building itself screams outback. The paintings on the shed wall capture the outback in a humorous way.

Inside was just as interesting. We watched a movie with John Murray talking about his arrival in the Ridge and starting an art gallery. We saw his home with its natural materials. His art is colourful and fun and I couldn’t resist buying one or two small pieces.

No photo inside. 😫

We crossed the road walked past the emus on the wall and went into the opal cave. A renowned shop selling the famous black opal.

The shop is done out like a cave full of treasures. I spotted a beautiful black opal reflecting the most gorgeous colours. Not in any setting. A single opal for $12,000. Wow.

The sales people patiently explained how to spot a good quality opal let us look, examine and try various pieces of jewellery and good naturally farewelled us after we didn’t buy anything.

We tossed up over the next stop and decided on the underground mine. It was a few km out of town.

We hatted up and down we went. It was cool and a little claustrophobic. But fun. Another little movie explaining how to fossick. I think you’d have to be determined!

And you’d have to like being underground!

The owner of the mine was from Shorncliffe Qld. He told us if you worked hard mining you would make a good living. There are opals to be found. Perhaps a career change?

Above ground we decided it was beer o’clock. Michael promised us a tour of the 3 pubs in the scrub via the underground sculptures.

Today we could see the yellow car doors so followed them to the sculpture underground. Sadly closed for lunch. For 3 hours! So we continued heading out of town. Past the big emu.

A quick stop at the great church and then we spotted a sign. Yes it was the pub. Well one of them.

We drove across dusty, unpaved stony roads until finally The Club in the Scrub.

Such a great place complete with its own library!

We ordered food in the nick of time from the rather unsmiling waitress.

Helen ordered a large chips to share and boy …….. was it large!

What a place.

We loved it.

After lunch we decided to ‘blow this fox hole ‘. A rather fun saying meaning ‘that we got to go’

Back along some more tough roads past miners houses of varying quality.

Past a memorial to those who had died

And past Nashy’s thong tree whoever Nashy is!

And then a few dusty kilometres later the next Pub.

Disabled parking is provided with a smile.

Even bus parking!

We loved it all. Especially the friendly blokes , the miners enjoying a Friday afternoon beer. We joined them and had fun.

Before the dusty road back.

Back to Ridge and dinner at the Bowling Club. . Or as it’s known. The Bowlo!

Another great day in the big dusty outback!