Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Postcard from Australia

Our last day in Australia was a beaut! The weather was one of those warm, dry, sunny days that make autumns in Victoria so memorable.

We started our morning saying good-bye to Geelong by having breakfast at the Sailor's Rest restaurant on the foreshore...a glorious farewell to our old home. Incidentally, we learned that the building was erected in 1913 and the electric lights atop were put up in 1926 and are now believed to be the oldest electric sign in Victoria, and, perhaps, Australia.

Next we drove to Port Melbourne to our new friend, and art quilter Geri Barr's home for a yummy lunch AND a preview of the Ozquilt Network exhibit, Australia Wide Two that will be on display at the Australasia Quilt Exhibit in Melbourne on April 14-17. Geri is the point person in Melbourne for the collection and will be responsible for hanging it. Pictured here are Geri's two contributions to the exhibit...along with the stack of others that I did not photograph, of course, but did view with great admiration. It's a wonderful collection!!

This last photo is a very generous (and greatly loved) gift from Dijanne Cevaal. After our return to Geelong she was able to meet us for dinner on Sunday AND she delighted me with a surprise package: four gorgeous pieces of fabric she had dyed along with an Artist Trading Card. Boy, life doesn't get better than this...especially for me.

We arrived home last night...the trip was very wearing but, thankfully, uneventful.

So, farewell to Victoria, Broome, Perth, Adelaide and all our friends...until next year. We have been offered two opportunities that may be hard to decline: a fortnight in a holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula and a fortnight of house-sitting (with a car) in a Melbourne suburb. Now, life REALLY doesn't get better than THAT!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Postcard from Geelong

Farewell, Geelong.

Yesterday was our last day here in Geelong where we lived many years ago. We've caught up with friends and seen the exhibits and venues we "needed" to.

The foreshore has been beautifully developed since we lived here: the swimming circle has been revamped, a boardwalk playground has been installed, many restaurants have popped up...several actually on the piers and public art installed. Our favorite artwork is the Bollards. These painted sculptures have become iconic for Geelong...there's even a pair at the Melbourne airport welcoming visitors to Geelong.

Yesterday we ate lunch in one of those foreshore restaurants, a very old building that had previously been a sailors rest. We then drove to nearby Serendip Wildlife where I snapped this photo of a group of school children...typical of school children here with uniforms and sun hats.

This last photo catches a lovely restaurant, Cunningham's, at the end of the pier, a set of Swimming Club Bollards and the You Yangs in the background (beyond the tall smokestacks from the Shell refinery). We drove to visit the You Yangs after we visited Serendip only to find out that the reserve had been closed due to the significant damage caused by recent rains. "You Yang" comes from the Aboriginal owners' description: Big mountain in the plain....very apt.

Our flight home leaves in 24 hours and we begin the horror that is our journey home. Watch out Heather et al, a very grumpy couple will be showing up Wed. evening.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Almost up to date

March 23 and 24 we took off to the North Central high lands of Victoria famous for gold, Ned Kelly, wheat and lamb until modern times when vineyards started sprouting up and truly wonderful reds were created.

Because I've had an anonymous request for more pics of Papa, I'm including this photo of our guides (Shelley and Graeme) and us at our last 2011 dinner together, celebrating with dinner and a wonderful bottle of shiraz.

Second photo is a life-sized wooden sculpting of local "hero" Ned Kelly: for what wikipedia says about him.

The towns we toured were charming...this photo fairly typical...although their names did not sound so very typical: Wangaratta, Benalla, Glenrowan, Wodonga, and Wahgunyah...fall trippingly from one's lip, no?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Adelaide, part 2

Every where we've been internet access has been iffy even in hotels. It's rare when I can upload three pics to blogger...which is too bad because the photos are what has been of the most interest to viewers. Too bad because I have literally thousands to share.

While we were in Adelaide (Mar 14-21) we were truly treated like family and were able to see all the major sites, except for the ongoing Clipsal Road Race which we tried to avoid by using buses and trams in the city center.

One day was devoted to the Barossa Valley...a deservedly famous wine center. This pic is a pretty typical shot of the beautiful green vineyards. Of course, we tasted our fair share of delicious wines.

Speaking of typical, this roadside sign was one of many we photographed to alert drivers of wandering wildlife. We have similar pics for wombats, kangaroos and echidna.

This particular sign was on the approach to a reserve where we took a hike on our last day. I was lucky enough to spot a koala in a tree....all the other hikers gathered and he treated us to his "holler"...sounded a bit like a chimp. Honestly. It's the male's method of calling females and warding off other males. A first for was great.

My posts are almost up to current time. The Government House post was in real time and not in sequence with the I will post about our wine tasting trip on Mar 23 and 24 with our Melbourne buddies to Rutherglen valley in Northeast Victoria, and places we've never been...very fine wines, gorgeous gums and the stomping grounds of Ned Kelly.

Adelaide, very briefly

We were hosted in Adelaide by a very lively, effervescent patchwork grandmother of nine. This magpie (one of my very favorite Aussie birds) is a detail of one of the many beautiful quilts that are hanging in her charming home. We were truly spoiled by her...driven to every point of interest: Parliament House, the zoo, South Australia Gallery/Museum, Mt Lofty and so many interesting and beautiful spots.

This second...not very good photo, admittedly...was taken on a nocturnal walk at Warrawong Sanctuary, a wildlife conservancy begun by John Wamsly many years ago. We actually met John in 1989 and was treated to a dawn walk by him so he could show us the cat-proof fence he had erected on the old dairy farm he had purchased in the 1960's. On that morning we walked quietly along narrow pathways and were pleased to find potaroos hopping under grass trees and ferns. There were also two platypus that were the first to breed in captivity...outside a pair in the 1940's in Healesville. After our walk we were treated to tea by John's wife.

Fast forward to today and Warrawong is a non-profit conservancy with a wonder cafe, staffed with knowledgeable guides for dawn and evening walks, and eco-tents for overnight visits. During our visit we saw MANY platypus, wallabies, kangaroos, potaroos, brushy-tailed possums, ring-tailed possums and koala. This photo shows one that climbed down her tree and sat watching us for several minutes prior to returning to her tree top.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let me tell you about MY day...

Wendy Lugg, an amazing art quilter from Perth, told me I "had" to get to Kazari when I next went to Melbourne. Today was the day. Even though the traffic was stressful (left side driving on the vehicle filled streets) we made it to the warehouse that also includes ziguzagu....a huge space literally filled with vintage Japanese kimono, obi, yukata, books and household textiles. A real treasure! Thank you, Wendy!!

THEN...our friends the Wilson's arranged for us to get a private tour of Government the wife of the Governor, Jan de Kretser. Professor David de Kretser is the Governor of Victoria appointed by HRM Queen Elizabeth. He has served a five year term and will be leaving his post in April. It was a tremendous privilege....and we where also happy to be able to meet the Governor himself even though we were not on his schedule. Thanks to our friends, Shelley and Graeme and, of course, the Governor and Mrs. de Kretser.

This last pick Shelley took of's the seat Her Majesty would sit if she were her absence it's the Governor's place.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Fremantle, down the Swan River from Perth (by ferry for us...and a beautiful cruise it was), was put back on the map with its winning of the America's Cup several years ago.

The second photo is the gorgeous Art Center that our day host took us to. We were able to pop into on-going classes...sculpting, painting and, oh, yes...screenpainting on fiber.

After that we were off to a tour of the Fremantle Prison which was built in 1845...the oldest building in Western Australia...and the oldest building built by convict labor. The horror was that it was used as a prison continuously until 1991! Even after two horrific riots (1968 and 1989). It was a chilling tour...

I will be doubling up on my blog posts to TRY to catch up with what we are doing now. Check out the last couple for a taste of our Perth visit.

Perth Photos

We attended the 8th Annual Cottesloe Sculpture on the Beach. Here's just a few of the many photos we took.

This first on is a wonderful wood maze that wowed the school kids.

Perhaps the most photographed was the huge Red Man. We loved him...and the chance to get the shot of his being cleaned off

It was a warm, sunny day and throughly enjoyed by our group.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wendy Lugg, Perth and Fremantle!

Okay, this is not Wendy Lugg ;^)
We have been out of email/internet access for two weeks and SO much has happened. We visited Perth/Fremantle last week and were treated royally by our hosts, seeing SO much of the area which is BEAUTIFUL even if it is way too dry.

The first night we were in Perth our hosts took us to Kings Park, pictured here, to look at the city we would later inspect up close and personal during the week. It was a wonderful evening. And, Kings Park looked very different during our day time tour later in the week so we were glad that we had the opportunity to see both.

Later during the week I was able to connect with Wendy Lugg, well known to us SAQA types. She was able to rendezvous with me at Heathcote (a former asylum...interestingly enough) where my travel group was picnicking. It was so much fun chatting with her...heck, I didn't even notice that I'd missed lunch.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cable Beach Camels @ Sunset

One of the major "have to do"(s) while in Broome is a camel ride along gorgeous Cable Beach at sunset.

As you know, the Top End is currently in "The Wet" Aussie understated description of the weather Jan-Mar. We know the sun set...somewhere behind the vast, slightly circular swirling cloud clot...but it didn't dampen our enjoying the experience a bit. DRW and I are the riders on the second affable, apparently brainy, Alpha Camel want-to-be named Joe.
This is Joe. He was one of the few camels purchased after having been trained. Most are rounded up from the 1.5 million feral camels that have become too populous in the Northern Territories. These numbers have grown since being released at the end of the 19th century. They were brought here during the development of the railroad (mostly) and then released into the desert instead of returned. Apparently the Australian deserts were just the thing for their flourishing...without disease or interbreeding...yielding a very robust creature that is sometimes sought by other camel countries to strengthen their herds.

Joe was formerly worked at Uluru (Ayers Rock) and became available for sale a couple of years ago. He seems very happy...seeking head scratching from the riders in front...he also knows that the lead camel, Ashwan, carries the cache of carrots used for the reward of a successful journey down the beach.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Broome Western Australia

Thankfully our flight from Melbourne was uneventful...we were a bit worried about the low pressure and Cyclone Carlos and were not disappointed with a very nice flight.

The first photo is over WA and side by side pit mines....part of an idea I'm working on for a SAQA exhibit. I love being able to see the curvature of the earth too.

The second photo is a quick snap as we are landing in Broome. It's tropical and reminds us both of Ghana and So. Fla. We are also in the WET season so it is humid and rains periodically.

The last photo is a first for me: feet in the Indian Ocean. I also found a couple of interesting shells. This is a huge pearling area...tomorrow we are off on a town tour. Friday we have hopes of a camel ride at sunset.

Keep posted.