Saturday, 30 June 2012


This desolate duty road is the route out of Winton as you head towards Lark Quarry (coming soon). Here you have left civilisation and to some degree you are on your own with the elements. It can get hot. Very hot! Take water, ensure the car is well fuelled, and respect the road! Enjoy it's rugged, raw beauty.

The Australian Outback is just about everywhere else that isn't the cities....about 6.5million square kms of it (or 2.5million square miles), inhabited by less than 60,000 people. The term Outback is used to describe the emptiness, remoteness and huge distances of inland Australia, and the fact that most people still don't know much about it! People who live here respect it and love it. They love the fact that nature reigns supreme here, they love the unspoiled beauty, the space and the freedom.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The Flying Kangaroo Is Born

I'd like you imagine it is November 16, 1920 and  the birth of a new airline has been announced; Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd better known to the world as QANTAS. The first board meeting was held here in Winton at the Winton Club and in 1921, the Winton Shire Council became the first local authority in Australia to support commercial aviation after subsidising by half the cost of establishing a landing field in Winton, to the sum of twenty pounds. 

This sun-baked paddock is the original landing strip, and I suspect that it wasn't in much better condition than we see it now. The first commercial flight took place on 2 November 1922

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Understanding Matilda

After yesterday's post, I thought I'd give those of you who don't know some explanation of several words in "Waltzing Matilda". This is taken from the National Library of Australia.

When Allan and Co. published the Marie Cowan version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ in 1936, they felt it necessary to print a Glossary Of Australian Terms to explain the ‘dialect’ used by Paterson.
WALTZING MATILDA The act of carrying the ‘swag’ (an alternate colloquial term is ‘humping the bluey’). First reference to the term in historic newspapers:Â THE EIGHT-HOURS SYSTEM AND SHODDY ARISTOCRATS. (1891, November 16). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839-1900), p. 7. -
"...many times I have had to go on the "wallaby" and 'waltz Matilda' in this colony..."
Matilda is an old Teutonic female name meaning ‘mighty battle maid’. This may have informed the use of ‘Matilda’ as a slang term to mean a de facto wife who accompanied a wanderer. In the Australian bush a man's swag was regarded as a sleeping partner, hence his ‘Matilda’. (Letter to Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, KG from Harry Hastings Pearce, 19 February 1958. Harry Pearce Papers, NLA Manuscript Collection, MS2765)
BILLABONG A small ox-bow waterhole on the outside channel of a river. Perhaps Aboriginal ‘billa” – water; “bong” – dead.
COOLIBAH Sometimes spelled coolabah: a species of gum or eucalyptus tree.
SWAGMAN An Australian itinerant worker, so called on account of the ‘swag’, usually a chaff bag, containing his ‘billy’, provisions and blankets.
BILLY An open topped tin can, with a wire carrying handle, used for boiling water into which tea was thrown.
TUCKER BAG A bag for ‘tucker’ or food.
JUMBUCK A sheep. The term may be a corruption of ‘jump up’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd rev. ed. Sydney: Macquarie, 2001)
SQUATTER A grazier, pastoralist or station (ranch) owner. Note that the meaning of the word changed later in the twentieth century to mean a person who occupied or resided at a property illegally.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Waltzing Matilda

I'm guessing that there would be very few people who ever visit my blog who would have any idea who this is, but he wrote the words of what is affectionately referred to as Australia's second National Anthem; "Waltzing Matilda". It was written in January 1895 by Andrew 'Banjo' Paterson, it was first performed at the North Gregory Hotel, Winton. They say that there are four versions of the song and it seems that there are no 'official' lyrics, but it never stops a group of proud Aussies from singing it, and we always seem to get the words right somehow!

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?"
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
"You'll never catch me alive", said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
"Oh, You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Colour in the Outback.

I have no idea what you find in the pot at the end of the rainbow if there is only half of it...must be part of the Global Financial Crisis and government cut-backs! If you look carefully there is the start of a double rainbow, seen here over Winton. I love the way that the rain looks as if it was dripping from the peak of the rainbow.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Pelican Waterhole

The last part of the title of my blog is "and a little bit of Queensland". So, I thought I'd take you further afield than Brisbane this time; in fact about 1400kms north-west to Winton and into Central Queensland. With a population of approx 1000, this small, unsuspecting town can claim to be the birthplace of QANTAS, our National Airline. As you can see, rush-hour is the time to avoid the centre of town! 

The town was named by the postmaster, Robert Allen in 1876 after his place of birth, Winton in Dorset, England. Before that, it was called Pelican Waterhole. Apparently he got tired of constantly writing Pelican Waterhole on letters, so he renamed the town.

Friday, 22 June 2012


I wonder if this couple had a special arrangement with this city bar because just to the left of them it was crowded and yet in this section they were seemingly left alone for their moment of intimacy. An innocent drink? A special date? A proposal? What do you think?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

High Wire

A left-over from Expo '88 is this unicyclist who spends his days sitting in the air looking over South Bank. This was one of the many artworks that was part of the 'Human Factor' and 'Streetscape' sculptures. Few now remain. Another one can be seen here Drovers

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Crossing The Line

Oh, how different it was in days gone by when it was permissible to smoke on public transport. This sign is on one of the trams at the Brisbane Tramway Museum. With such small compartments inside the trams I would imagine that everyone on the 'other' side of the line would also be exposed. Some things from the past weren't so good after all!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Off The Rails

Two more gems for you from the Brisbane Tramway Museum. I can't help but think how wonderful it would be to see these old girls rumbling along the streets of the city, albeit totally impractical! 

Car 47 on the left is a 1901 California combination car and this type was used in the first electric fleet. Car 65 was built in 1921 in Brisbane. They were commonly known as Jumping Jacks or Toast Rack cars because of their pitching action at speed and their seating arrangement.

As with all things from the past, and in a constant effort to solve traffic and public transport woes in large cities, there has been cries for the re-introduction of trams in Brisbane. With the current financial constraints I can't see it happening. Such a shame, in my opinion, as they function very well in European cities, and seem to offer efficient cheap transport.

Monday, 18 June 2012

On Track

There was a time when Brisbane, like many other cities around the world, had an extensive network of trams. A massive fire destroyed much of the fleet of city trams in 1962, and this was seen as the beginning of the end, with the tram network being closed down completely in 1969. 

Fortunately the Brisbane Tramway Museum has managed to preserve some of the rolling stock, and  with the hard work of volunteers we can experience a jump back in time and ride some of the restored trams over a short track. Tram 99 seen here was used between 1936 and 1945.

Friday, 15 June 2012

One For The Ladies!

Not being a shopper, and not one to be impressed by 'labels', I actually missed the fact that there was a classic Louis Vuitton bag in this window! The thing that drew me to the window was the clever design of the display using arrows. I guess that men are from Mars and women from Venus!

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Windmills like these were once a common sight as you travelled around the countryside. These days a lot are being replaced by submersible pumps when they need repairing. Much of inland Australia has virtually no permanent surface water, hence living in these remote places would be impossible. There is water...but it is underground in the Great Artesian Basin. The Great Artesian Basin is the largest artesian basin in the world and covers 22% of Australia. The water lies anything between 100m to more than 3kms underground. Southern Cross and Comet (names on the windmills) are two of the best known manufacturers of windmills in Australia. Southern Cross started in 1876. Anyone who has heard the sails squeaking relentlessly as they spin from a warm outback wind, with red dust filling the air won't easily forget these great Australian icons.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Don't Do It!

I suppose if you're going to be told not to do something, at least it can be made fun. Looking at the marks on it, I have an inkling that there has been some defiance of the sign.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Shiny Lights

You might recall a post I made showing you the giant butterflies in the side of the newly renovated Wintergarden, in the Queen Street Mall Wintergarden. I was in the city recently and whilst walking past I noticed that it has an amazing lighting sequence that constantly changes, bringing something magical to the building. Anything with lights is a winner with me!

Monday, 11 June 2012


Almost unseen, the ubiquitous rainbow lorikeet  blends perfectly into the trees and flowers. As this week starts out with cool winds and wet weather it's a cheering sight to see them.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Kurilpa Bridge #2

Like it or loath it, the Kurilpa Bridge is a vital link between the city and the cultural area South Brisbane, leading directly to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), the Art Gallery, State Library and Museum. A public competition was held to decide on a name for the bridge, and Kurilpa was chosen as it reflects the Australian Aboriginal word for the South Brisbane and West End area, and means "place for water rats". Thankfully I've never seen any water rats in the area! 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Kurilpa Bridge #1

Of all of the bridges that span the Brisbane River, this is possibly the most controversial. The Kurilpa Bridge is a pedestrian and cycle bridge which cost A$63 million and it seems that either you like it or you don't. Personally I think it is a hideous jumble of metal and cables, and a ridiculous waste of money. It is the world's largest tensegrity bridge. This means that it produces a synergy between balanced tension and compression components to create a light structure that is incredibly strong. 

Come back again for a closer look.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Long And Winding Road

It's early winter and here in the Sunshine Coast hinterland there is nothing nicer than taking a country drive along some deserted road, finding a nice cafe or restaurant and enjoying some hearty local cooking. This is near Montville.

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wash Day Blues (TSB #2)

I've mentioned before that there is a scheme here in Brisbane where artists of any calibre are allowed to apply to decorate the traffic signal boxes that are dotted all over the face anywhere  you see traffic lights. They are a wonderful source of 'street art' and certainly cheer up otherwise dull metal boxes. This box sits at the end of my road and with the current strong winds captures the essence of the day.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hanging By A Thread

You might want to take a look back at yesterday's post, and see if you can notice the two dots at the top of the 'Soul' tower. Here they are in close up! I'm not sure if they were inspecting the exterior or just abseiling for fun, but what I do know is that you wouldn't get me up there for quids!

Monday, 4 June 2012

New Heights

To start the week we're going to have a dizzying visit back to the Gold Coast to look at 'Soul', the newest apartment tower that opened this year. It is the second tallest building on the Gold Coast (after Q1 which I've shown you before) and stands at 243 m (797 ft). The penthouse spans four levels and is dubbed as Australia's highest-selling apartment  at A$16.75 million. Below the four-level penthouse there are three sub-penthouses each occupying a whole floor. How many are you going to buy? 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Weekend On The Rocks

It's a cold, wild and wet Sunday.... perfect to stay home and curl up with a book or a good movie. The idea is great, but I have to work. This was taken a while ago along the coast when it was an equally wild day.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Choc' Fix!

I think this will strike a chord with some of you who love chocolate and can't always get it when you need it! I rather like the 'ish' opening hours. Have a  great weekend.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves both literally and photographically because today is the first day of winter here in the southern hemisphere. Already people are bemoaning the passing of summer and the hot humid days. I'm enjoying the seasonal change and the freshness that winter brings, and we can't really complain about winter here in the sub-tropics.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

C’est une chanson qui nous resemble
Toi qui m’aimais et je t’aimais
Nous vivions tous les deux ensemble
Toi qui m’aimais, moi qui t’aimais
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement sans faire du bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall…