Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Outback Adventure, Part 3

Monday 6 September

 All of our group have a background of a country childhood. When researching for our trip, Jocelyn tried to book a tour with the 'Texan Longhorn Wagon and Safaris'. We were disappointed that on the day we were to be in Charters Towers, the tour was fully booked, but we were put on a cancellation list. We hadn't heard anything when we were only a few days away from Charters Towers. A phone call was made and we were delighted that we were able to juggle our itinerary and visit on the morning, of the day of our Charters Towers departure. 

The tour was offically from 8.30 to 11 pm. We, along with most of the visitors, arrived at 8am. We were made so very welcome that it was after 12 pm when everyone departed. An absolutely wonderful morning! So glad we didn't miss seeing these amazing beasts.

Michael and Lynda Bethel had spent all their lives in the bush, breeding cattle. In 1996 they established the HORSESHOE B LONGHORNS, Texas Longhorn herd on 1100 acres. These cattle are among the 'most famous and iconic breeds of cattle in history. The cattle on this property are direct descendants of the millions of Texas Longhorns that walked in the great trail herds from Texas in the late 1800's."

Many of the steers have horns spanning 250 cm or 100 inches, tip to tip. JR was a Guiness World Record Holder with his horns exceeding 3.15 m, [10 feet 4 inches.

Michael and Lynda  were perfect hosts and it was obvious that they have a great love for the land and these animals.

Their motto - "Do what you love and love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life!"

Arrival at Leahton Park.

The home yard, an oasis in a land of brown.

First view of the Longhorns.


The tour commenced with an excellent  20 min video of the Longhorn's  Texan history and that of Leahton Park.

Our transport for the tour, Safari Rangers.

Lynda led the convoy to the yards where the calves were being held.
Seven months old and thankfully very docile.

These are the beautiful mares who pulled the wagons, prior to the Safari Rangers.

Now it was time rejoin the Safari Rangers and head off into the paddocks.

Michael was very accomplished at sharing his love of these very placid animals.

Leahton Park predominently has Texas Longhorns, but 6 other breeds are also being farmed.

African Watusi breed.

Indian Gyr breed.

Indian Gyr in background. Texan Longhorn foreground. There was mention of the Mexican Sardo breed, but I don't believe I have an image of one, unless I have it confused with the Indian Gyr. 

It seemed very unusual to see Scottish Highland cattle surviving in our summer temperatures of 30C plus!

American Bison.

Back scratchers were in evidence in several places.

Water Buffalo

Smoko was homemade biscuits and tea or coffee with time to chat with Michael and Lynda, wander the grounds and visit the JR Gallery of Horns.

JR is their famous bull, whose horns, over 13 years, grew so long that he was entered in the Guiness Book of Records.

A pole the length of JR's horns.

T-Bone also had impressive horns.

At Leahton Park, these beautiful creatures are farmed purely for their breeding and as a loving farm companion. 

I would love to read your coment.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Michaelangelo and Van Gogh Visit Brisbane

 October 18, 2021

We are very fortunate here in Brisbane with the depth of entertainment and culture available to us. 

In October, a unique exhibition of the greatest masterpieces of Michelangelo arrived. The Sistine Chapel pieces were displayed lifesize, in an old, renovated icecream factory. The exhibition was produced using state-of-the-art technology. Audio headsets were available to describe the pieces and the process of how Michelangelo created these masterpieces in the high Sistine Chapel.

November 9, 2021

Whilst I really enjoyed the Michelangelo Exhibition, the Van Gogh exhibition a month later, at a different venue, had me not wanting to leave and had it been possible, returning to once again immerse myself in his timeless pieces.

This exhibition was not a still display of his artwork, but a multi-sensory experience. From entering the building, to exiting, we were surrounded by a vibrant symphony of light, colour, sound and animation.

 [Grande Experince's Sensory 4TM system combined multi-channel motion graphics beamed via up to 40 high definition projectors with cinema-quality surround sound.]

 Over 3000  inspirational images of Van Gogh's paintings were projected onto the walls `transforming every surface. The projections took us through the journey of Van Gogh's life - Netherlands, Arles, St Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise. Being surrounded totally by these masterpieces was the most amazing experience. Interspersed photographs of quotes by Van Gogh, heightened this feeling. 

How true is this quote?

My short video may give you a small indication of what we enjoyed!    

We entered gallery through a mirrored room lit by strings of dangling fairy lights . The floor and ceiling were filled with brushstroke swirls, mirroring Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'.

Wonderful, but stepping into the vast Grand Pavilion was truly mesmerising! 

The pavilion was a purpose-built, 25,000 square foot venue, built in Germany. The huge screens and sections of the floor, projected images, excerpts from his letters and writing, his musings on life and art, and brief snippets of information introducing each location and their place in Van Gogh's life. We came away knowing more about his life, his illness and his death, and with an even greater respect for his painting.

The images were timed to the evocative classical score, and the animation added not only to the transitions, but to the paintings themselves. Petals fell across 'Almond Blossoms. Stars shot across the swirls of 'Starry Night' and a trains moved through the countryside.

The auditorium was broken into sections via seemingly floating walls, set at different angles. We were free to wander or sit as we wanted. The presentation took 45 mins but we were free to stay as long as we wished. It was difficult to tear ourselves away after the 2nd viewing, but alas we had made a booking for dinner.

The following photos are in the order in which I took them.

On leaving the main auditorium we entered a field of projected sunflowers, before making our final exit. Night had settled over Brisbane on the horizon. Pots of sunflowers waved in the evening breeze.

A truely special evening.

I would love to read your comment.