Malanda

How does the garden grow?

Our own private rainforest

Our own private rainforest

We are custodian/house-sitters of a 2.5 acre tropical North Queensland property. It is lush and green and has a small stand of tropical rainforest surrounding it. So far I have not seen any snakes or tree kangaroos lurking in the bush or up in the canopy, but I love to wander through it. Though first of all I smother my skin with tick repellent to prevent those insidious little nasties latching on to me.

Come with me for a look at part of my backyard…

Does anyone know the name of this creeper?

Does anyone know the name of this creeper?

Just look at this gorgeous flower. It is a vine and twines its way through the trees. I do not know what it is called. Here is another unusual tropical climbing vine.

Thank you Deanna Tennant Masterson for identifying the plants for me.

The yellow flower is: Thunbergia mysorensis (Wight) T.Anderson Common name(s): clock vine, lady’s slipper vine, dolls’ shoes, brick and butter vine.

The red flower is: Scientific name: Passiflora racemosa Brot. Common name(s): red passion flower

I wonder if anyone can tell me the name of this unusual flower.

I wonder if anyone can tell me the name of this unusual flower.

Here is a closer look.

Here is a closer look.

Meanwhile over in the vegetable patch every thing is flourishing. despite the up hill battle against slugs and snails, caterpillars and a sneaky little bandicoot. He finds the smallest gaps in the fence to push his way in. He does not eat plants or seedlings but digs down to find a feed of worms and in the process up-roots any thing in his way. At the moment I am winning the battle against the bandicoot after Jack reinforced the bottom of the fence. Pyrethrum, derris dust and a dish of beer seems to be helping keep the numbers of slugs, bugs and insects down.

Gardening is a challenge, but a pleasure to see the plants growing. Nothing tastes better than home-grown produce straight from the garden to the plate.

Part of the vegetable patch

Part of the vegetable patch

Courgettes and sweet corn

Courgettes and sweet corn

The tomatoes will soon be ready, but who will get to them first the bugs, birds or me

The tomatoes will soon be ready, but who will get to them first the bugs, birds or me

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, house sitting, Malanda, photos, rain forest, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

In search of the elusive tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroo

 

A few years ago I caught a glimpse of this tree kangaroo at Fleays Wildlife Sanctuary on the Goldcoast. I only managed to catch a quick, rather blurred shot of him before he disappeared back into his pen.  They are elusive and secretive creatures and are on the endangered species list. One of the last remaining habitats for them is in the rainforest that surrounds Malanda, my house sitting home. So last weekend we went on a mission to see if we could spot one. They come out to feed in the late afternoon so we wandered slowly through the rainforest with necks craned searching the canopy for signs of a dangling tail.

They are strange creatures related to both the kangaroo and the possum. Their tail is only used for balance and unlike other tree dwellers it cannot wrap around branches. They are the closest Australia has to a monkey.

“The ancestor of the kangaroos and their kind was possum-like  and descended from the trees to spawn a large and diverse fauna of browsers and  grazers. Curiously one group the Tree-kangaroos ascended the trees again to  exploit the large foliovore (leaf-eating) niche in the tropics of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupied by primates like Proboscis Monkeys in nearby Indonesia. Thus the Tree-kangaroos are in many respects the closest animals we have to monkeys in the Australo-Papuan region. Unfortunately for Tree-kangaroos their meat is  tasty (hence the genus Dendrolagus or tree-hare given by the Dutch) and hunting along with habitat destruction and climate change are significant threats. Thus the majority of species are threatened or vulnerable under IUCN Red List classification” For more information click here.

Needless to say we did not see one but had a pleasant walk/stroll/wander through the rainforest.

Late afternoon searching for the tree kangaroo

Late afternoon searching for the tree kangaroo

Malanda rainforest gazing into the canopy

Malanda rainforest gazing into the canopy

 

Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

There are a couple of other places near here that these strange creatures hang out. So we will try again to spot them.

We have 5 more weeks left before the home owners come back. How quickly the time has passed

 

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Malanda, photos, tree kangaroo | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Lingering Look at Windows : Home Sweet Home

Our home stay Malanda

 

The rose in the previous post is the one in the centre of this photo. Can you see all the new buds just forming? As spring gently wakes the waiting flowers this will be a beautiful picture. I love the old-fashioned rustic look of the trellis shutter

This post is inspired by the challenge from Dawn of “the day after” to show off windows we have found on our travels. Visit her post to see more windows bloggers from round the world have found to show us

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Lingering look at windows, Malanda, photos | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

Lingering Look at Windows : More of Malanda

 

MalandaMalanda

We would once have qualified, but Jack did not have his “happy pants” on today so we went in the front door. (You can see in the top photo that this shop/hang-out for hippies is on the opposite side of the road from the Spar supermarket.) Once inside it was an Aladdin’s cave of colour and scents, candles and gem stones and once a week they hold meditation sessions that all are welcome to attend.

Malanda

Malanda

Another interesting small shop tucked away at the end of the pub. It is also a book exchange.

The butchers shop. Just look at those interesting reflections

The butcher’s shop. Just look at those interesting reflections

Every time I go into Malanda to do my shopping I find more to look at. How lucky we are to be sharing this part of Australia for a few months.

This post is inspired by the challenge from Dawn of “the day after” to show off windows we have found on our travels. Visit her post to see more windows bloggers from round the world have found to show us

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Lingering look at windows, Malanda, photos | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Back to the future 1950’s style

Our closest shopping centre, Malanda, has managed to keep its small village, laid-back country-style of life. With a population of approximately 2000. No Macdonald’s golden arches on the skyline, no Woolworth’s or Coles or any of the other large multinational companies have infiltrated the shopping area. Local businesses supply all your needs. It is existing in a time warp.

So “G’day Mate” come with me for a stroll along Main Street 1950.

One side of the main street is dominated by the Malanda Pub,  characteristically built from the timber of local trees and is reputed to be the largest timber hotel in Australia.

Next to the pub is the excellent Spar supermarket. No reason to drive 20 kilometres to Atherton for Woolworth’s supermarket as Spar has a wide range of groceries, the fruit and vegetables are fresh and the staff are friendly.

Malanda

Malanda’s Spar Supermarket has been named the top Spar outlet in the country.

Michael English, who runs the supermarket with his son Jeff, said the award was a recognition of customer service.

“It’s the staff who do it for you, they keep the standards going,” he said.

“Looking after the customers, that’s the main thing.”

He said there were about 150 Spar supermarkets in the country.

“We are only little people, battling,” he said.

The English St store, was originally opened on the other side of the road by his father, Tom, in 1960.

Including part-time employees, Mr English said there were about 80 staff on the books at the supermarket.

On the other side of English Street a row of old-fashioned buildings are very reminiscent of the 1950’s. Like the 1950’s the shops all close on Sunday.

English Street Malanda on a Sunday

English Street Malanda on a Sunday

Another unique building in Malanda is the heritage Majestic Theatre. (click here for the interesting story of the cinema’s history)

A Brief History

The Majestic Theatre is one of the oldest continually operating country picture theatres in Australia. It is an icon of national cinema heritage and Far North Queensland settler history and architecture.

In 1928, the township of Malanda thrived thanks to gold finds at nearby Boonjie. This, and the subsequent opening of the Gillies highway to the coast, prompted Patrick “Paddy” English, to take advantage of the tremendous potential promised by the latest sensation in public entertainment-the “Cinematographe”. Paddy was the son of dairy pioneer, farmer and entrepreneur James English, who built the Malanda Hotel, renowned today as the biggest all-timber building in the Southern Hemisphere. In December 1928 construction of the Tableland’s first and finest “moving picture Emporium”, the Majestic Theatre, was completed.

Majestic Theatre

Majestic Theatre

How appropriate does it look with the old school bus parked in front.

How appropriate does it look with the old school bus parked in front.

Walk across the beautifully landscaped park where the children’s playground is painted to match the flowering shrubs and you will come to the heritage building that houses the Post Office with its bank of private mail boxes. The locals gather here to collect mail and catch up with the latest news and gossip.

Post Office

Post Office

Streets and houses nestle into a rainforest back drop

Streets and houses nestle into a rainforest back drop

Let’s stop for a cuppa, the bakery is a popular place for locals to meet and the occasional tourist to find. No frills and fancy tables but the pies and pastries are baked on the premises and served with a smile.

The Bakery

The Bakery

Next door is “Wait a While”  the local art and craft shop, many of the articles are created by local artists. The standard is high, paintings, pottery, woodcarving also shoes and clothing and home decorations and artefacts. It is a large shop with plenty to browse around. So take your time. When I chatted to the owner she told me that the original shop had been demolished by cyclone Yassi in 2011 but in true Queensland spirit they just moved all the precious art work they could salvage to this present shop and carried on with business.

Another interesting feature of the town is the mosaics. They pop up on walls all round town and make very informative reading

The story of the mosaics

In 1998 the Eacham Shire Council successfully applied for funding from the Australian Federal Government as part of the Centenary of Federation Celebrations. A committee of interested local people was formed, and they decided to put the money towards an ‘Arts Trail’ linking the five towns of Eacham Shire. Malanda was able to utilize the talents of local mosaic artists Natalie Foster and Felicity Wallis. The artists held public meetings to hear stories and to work on a design plan. They proposed a series of nine mosaics, each being a window into different aspects of the past, present and future. The quiet country town revealed such a depth and richness that the artists were posed with a challenge how best to reflect its character in just nine images. They decided to hand-make ceramic border tiles, each one telling more about the theme of the central mosaic. All the designs were completed by January 2000 and the Mosaic work began in a dingy council shed in February. Later on the artists also applied for, and received, an extension grant from the Regional Arts Development Fund. The last mosaic was finished in June 2001. Many of the local businesses provided financial and in kind support. Five provided wall supports!

The completed works are sure to last many centuries thanks to the quality of their construction and installation.

 

Detailing the floods, cyclones and devastation that has hit the area

Detailing the floods, cyclones and devastation that has hit the area

This one was on the wall outside the local Mitre 10 hardware store

Malanda

Of course there had to be a record of the dairy industry. I had to stop to look closely at this farmer putting his milk cans out. It is so life-like, an amazing sculpture and a tribute to the hard-working dairy farmers.

Malanda

This sculpture is standing outside the library and you can see another mosaic on the wall.

This sculpture is standing outside the library and you can see another mosaic on the wall.

Malanda

Malanda may be small but it is large in spirit and friendliness. The locally owned and operated monthly magazine “What’s on where to go” is an indication of the amount of activities in the area. 3 pages are filled with clubs to join, places to visit and activities to see.

There is still more to show you, but now I have finished my shopping, Jack is waiting patiently and it is time to head “home”.

“See you later”

Always plenty of seats around to find a place in the sun to read.

Always plenty of seats around to find a place in the sun to read.

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Malanda, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

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