Thursday, 14 November 2019

Highs and Lows

14 November

I'm sure most of my followers are well aware of the havoc and devastation the bushfires are causing over too much of Australia.

Everywhere is tinder dry and the weather conditions are such that just a spark from mowing the lawn could set off a racing inferno within seconds, aided by dry air and persistant strong winds. Fires can appear contained but the wind is carrying embers over 20 kms away and a new fire is lit.

The situation for too many is horrific but thankfully, we are not in an area of concern. Having said that, a parkland area of downtown Beenleigh was on alert yesterday. 

We just have smokey skies, heat and winds. A change in the weather occurred late yesterday so there should be some relief for the fire fighters for the present, but it is going to be a long summer with no good rainfalls predicted.

I thought I would share just a few images that show the extent of the dramas unfolding.

Meanwhile in western NSW, in the town of Bourke, they are rejoicing as rainfall has finally found them. And in Tasmania and the highlands of Victoria, snow has fallen quite heavily - most unusual for this time of year.

The sun had been up about and hour on Monday morning, when I set off at 5.45am for my morning walk with good friend Mary. These are the smokey scenes that greeted us. The smoke had been blown north from fires several hundred kilometres away.

Wednesday the temperature was expected to rise to 35C with an extreme fire danger rating. My Hungry Hiker group opted to follow city laneway trails, before meeting at the State Library for a guided tour of their latest exhibit, "Meet Me at the Paragon", the history of Greek Cafes in Queensland from the early 1900's.

'Women's Work' was the theme for the laneways. The artists were a team of independent, innovative,
resilient women, representing and promoting excellence and equality in art throughout the city. It has been written that "the artworks capture the heart of Brisbane and respond to its landscape from modern and historial perspective" - Exhibition Curator.

The blue pieces are by artist BluArt Xinja, who installs them under the cover of dark, in out of the way spots - under bridges, in trees, on top of security cameras and parapets of buildings. He is trying to bridge the gap between graffiti and authorised public sculpture / art.

To beat the heat, we met in the city at 8am. It was strange to be a part of the rushing commuter traffic.

These two unusual company names made me laugh.

Koalas in the city, but only concrete.

This is the foyer of a Government building we passed. Its amazing slide show, feature wall, drew us in. I intend to return and sit and enjoy the Australian bush scenery shown.

A very typical Aussie bush scene, as we left to find another laneway.

We passed through the weekly Wednesday markets of Brisbane Square.

Nearing the state libary - a wonderful city view. An hour later, after our guided tour, this skyline was again in a haze of smoke.

To quote Hungry Hiker Laurel, "Meet me at the Paragon uncovers the stories of Greek migrants who established cafes and milk bars in the early 20th century, carving out a new life for their families in Queensland. These establishments, like Dalby’s famous Paragon CafĂ©, became the social hubs of their communities. We joined the Curator's tour, which was very informative. The free exhibition is on until Sun 15 Mar 2020 in the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4 of the State Library and well worth a visit, especially if you can remember having a milkshake in one of these cafes."

There was just time for a quick visit to Goma, our modern Art Gallery. They are at present constructing a new exhibition, titled "Water". This glimpse of what is to come, made sure that we will return in December, when it opens. 

Lunch partaken, there was just enough time to visit the QUT Art Museum hosting the Anne Wallace exhibition, "Strange Ways", before catching our train home. We needed more time to fully enjoy her canvases. 
"Her painting style is figurative, the subjects usually are everyday incidents, somehow rendered strange, unheimlich, the familiar made foreign at the same time, uncanny. Is there something sinister about the painting? or are we seeing something that is not really there? Is it something we can define? The work hints at human experience and the lights and darks and the unknown in between." - Marianne Tudor.

The Little Big House is wedged between two modern tower blocks beside Southbank Station.

All new buildings in Brisbane have to include some piece of art work. This one, beside the Little Big House, has loose metal squares that gently wave in the breeze. Today's wind created an angry sound.

Finally, a 5am viewing of the pelicans, who have returned to the golf ponds, in front of our home.

My thanks to Laurel and Jocelyn for many of the art photographs.

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Sunday, 3 November 2019

A Country Ramble

Wednesday 30 October

This week we were only four again, but we were the original members of our group, which started in 2013. At that time, Margot, Laurel and I had known one another for many, many years. Jenny had been invited by me. A chance conversation between Jenny and Laurel led to the discovery that they had both attended Kilcoy State School in 1968 and although Jenny was a year ahead of Laurel, they had been in the school musical together. They had mutual friends. The seed was sown to visit Kilcoy but it has taken until this week for it to actually occur.

An early start to beat the traffic, saw us driving through the pretty town of Woodford at 8am. It was so charming that we quickly decided to park and explore.

As with so many country towns, her main street was wide with an inviting, shady, green nature strip. This green was sadly, the only 'green' we saw all day. Hopefully the rain we have had here over the past two days, also fell in that area. The 'autumn' leaves are totally out of season, but that is not unusual.

Jacarandas and art work transformed the water tower and the sale yards. I doubt that the sale yards are still in use.

Our meanderings took us passed an excercise park so a work out ensued.
Opposite was this lovely old 'Queenslander' style home.
A cute garden

The local pub had been modernised. One of its staff was married to a Canadian. We were commenting about the Halloween decorations when she joined us and invited us in to see more. We were impressed with all her plans to make Halloween a happy, and community time for the locals.

A twenty minute drive had us entering the wide, main street of Kilcoy. Little had changed 'downtown' but the growth of the local meatworks has seen a major spread of housing.

Jenny sitting on the steps of the old ANZ Bank, her first workplace. She told us the story of how in her first week, she had to stand here and ring the bell at 9.30am and shout that the bank was now open for business. She was also asked to walk to the Commonwealth Bank and ask for the scales to balance the ledger.

Jenny's parents owned a beef cattle property well out of town. She stayed in this home with her Grandmother, during the week, to attend school.

Morning Tea was in Yowie Park beside Fred Greensil Lake. Note the fascinators bought in the Woodford, St Vincent De Paul Shop for $6. We are now all set for our Melbourne Cup Luncheon at Parliament House on Tuesday.

Kilcoy State School

We discovered a 5km walk around the perimeter of the town. A local advised us to be on the alert for snakes. An uneventful passage was made.

The Yowie
"Kilcoy is very proud of its yowie statue and it is a great tourist draw card. A yowie is a strange, mythical creature, believed by many to inhabit the rugged mountain ranges surrounding Kilcoy. 

The Somerset website lists the following Yowie facts:
Yowies are large humanoid mammals ranging from 2.1 to 3.6 metres tall
Fur colour ranges from rusty red to dark brown and black
They are reported to have a strong odour similar to rotten eggs
They are nocturnal
Their manner varies from shy to overly aggressive
They are thought to be very intelligent creatures
Yowie is believed to be an adaptation of the Aboriginal names ‘Yuuri’ and ‘Yown’
There have been thousands of Yowie sightings reported
The last reported Yowie sighting in Kilcoy was in 2007."

It was now lunchtime. A short drive took us to Woongooroo Estate Vineyard and Cellar Door.

Along the way, we happened upon these amazing log sculptures.


Somerset Dam

A little wine tasting while we waited for our lunch to arrive.

Today wasn't about walking, but we did a few more k's than expected. It was a day of friendship, rekindling of old memories, laughter and surprise at the beauty of these two lovely towns, even in drought.

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