Atherton Tableland

Voting, windows and exquisite art work

Atherton is the commercial hub for the southern Tablelands. Unlike our small village of Malanda, Atherton has Woolworth’s, Big W, Target, all the banks, many other shops along its main street, 3 pubs, and of course MacDonald’s.

Saturday was election day here in Australia and because this is not our home electorate we went earlier, last Thursday, to register a postal vote at the courthouse. As we went in to vote I just had to take a photo of the courthouse windows. The challenge from Dawn of “the day after”  to show windows we have seen keeps me always on the look out for different or unusual windows. So just one this week.

Windows of Atherton courthouse

Windows of Atherton courthouse

On the way home we stopped at the Art Gallery to look at the latest exhibition. It was amazing. It is only a small gallery next to the library but we were astounded by the quality of the art on display. “Portraits of birds by William T Cooper”. They were world-class. So perfect in every detail, I almost expected them to fly away as we approached for a closer look at the exquisite detail, the colours, the feathers even the bark, moss and lichen on the trees vibrant and flawless.

“Sir David Attenborough believes Bill Cooper is “Australia’s greatest living scientific painter of birds, he is possibly the best in the world.” Sir David made a film about Bill in 1993 called, “Portrait Painter to the Birds” and it showed around the world. In Australia it was released as a Video after its TV debut. His bird paintings are scientifically exact, no wonder they end up in so many publications in collaboration with leading ornithologists such as Joseph M Forshaw.

Bill now lives and paints from his studio in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland. His resume is the stuff of dreams. He has worked with Sir David Attenborough. The Australian National Library and Papua New Guinea Government have purchased entire collections of his work. He has designed two sets of postage stamps for the PNG Government.

William T Coopers Originals and Limited Edition Prints of beach scenes, eagles, cockatoos, riflebirds, cassowary and kangaroos have to be seen to be believed. They are simply awe-inspiring.”

This reproduction cannot come any were near to the beauty you see when standing in front of the actual work of art. Bill Cooper is self-taught and has painted for over 50 years. I consider it a real privilege to have seen these paintings. Click here to see more images of his art.

The cats, of course had a very busy day while we were out…

Mungo

Mungo

 

Good friends

Good friends

 

 

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, birds, Lingering look at windows, photos, Ragdoll cats | Tags: , , , , | 17 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

Travel Theme : Play the multicultural way.

Mareeba is a neighbouring village and it has a rich and diverse community with 60 different nationalities calling it home. The most commonly spoken languages, apart from English, are Italian (3.9% compared to 1.0% in Australia), Albanian, German, Croatian, Dutch, Papuan New Guinean and Spanish.

Every year the community celebrates with a Multicultural Festival. Since 1998, the annual Mareeba Multicultural Festival has grown in popularity. The first few festivals concentrated on singing, dancing and poetry. As the years have gone by, performances organised by particular ancestry groups have many members from other cultural backgrounds. This has had flow on effects in terms of friendships and networks established.

Mareeba is a showcase for the rest of Australia, particularly rural Australia for harmony, goodwill and the celebration of unity in diversity.

We made an early start to see to the cats and chooks before we left to spend a day enjoying watching the cultures showcasing their dance and music. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere friendly, groups chatting, children running around, playing and joining in with the dancing.

Bella Capella singers

Bella Capella singers

This group sang a selection of 6 songs each one in a different language, finishing with the emotional rendition of “We are Australian”

The audience

A small part of the appreciative audience

What a colourful collection of national costumes. Great pride was shown in the different groups showcasing their traditional dance routines and music. A large crowd appreciated the entertainment.

Not only music and dance was celebrated but also the food of the different cultures was available at stalls around the grounds.

After sitting watching the audience was invited to join in with a group performance of Zumba. The children joined in with exuberance and quite a number of adults had a go.

Audience participation in Zumba

Audience participation in Zumba

Enthusiastic zumba dancer

Enthusiastic zumba dancer

Finally an energetic group of Aborigine dancers took to the stage to show us their cultural dances that they have been performing for thousands of years.

Aboriginal Dance Group

Aboriginal Dance Group (this photo taken by Jack)

It was a great day and it was free. It made me think of Ailsa’s theme for this week “play” The atmosphere of the day was people enjoying the sound and site of all the different cultures. The playing of the different music from around the world.

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Mareeba, photos, Play, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Lingering look at windows : Another visit to Yungaburra

Yungaburra is not a large village but there is so much to see (click here to see my previous post about this charming village) So it certainly needed another visit.

This time we followed the art trail.

This church has been reborn as an art studio.

This church has been reborn as an art studio.

Art trail

Lead lighting at its best

Lead lighting at its best

I could not resist buying. What a great space to create in.

I could not resist buying. What a great space to create in.

This original church made an ideal studio, it was light and airy and the designs reflected the happy atmosphere. I could not resist buying a cushion cover with the design of a sunflower on it, one of my favourite flowers. When we moved to the next door gallery look what we walked past.

Could not resist showing off this happy sunflower

Could not resist showing off this happy sunflower

Now that is one huge sunflower. It towered above smiling down on me.

The next gallery specialised in wooden furniture. Solid, lovingly carved using all Australian woods, Red Cedar, Silky Oak and many others. The pieces gleamed with many hours of precision work to create that deep shine and lustre.

Studio and gallery of hand crafted wooden furniture

Studio and gallery of hand crafted wooden furniture

pottery trail

Looking out along the road into Yungaburra

Looking out along the road into Yungaburra

Taking a short cut back to the village we came across this old building tucked away behind the pub.

This studio and craft shop was originally the laundry of the Yungaburra hotel built 1920's

This studio and craft shop was originally the laundry of the Yungaburra hotel built 1920’s

Inside this looks like the original glass

Inside this looks like the original glass

Finally on our way home we called into the “Full Circle Studio and Gallery”. After finding galleries and studios in old churches, heritage laundries and imposing two-story buildings this was a purpose-built studio, intimate and full of an amazing diverse range of art work. We spent quite awhile talking to Sue, the multi-talented artist. Of course we could not photograph her art but go to her website www.fullcirclestudio.com.au and see what she has created, it is unique and original.

Built especially for a studio to display the art work

Built especially for a studio to display the art work

Look what I can see through this window

Look what I can see through this window

A relic from farming days

A relic from farming days

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: art, Atherton Tableland, Australia, Lingering look at windows, photos, Yungaburra | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

Smells from the sixties

On the way to Atherton to buy the weeks groceries I noticed a sign for Gallo Dairyland. An enterprising dairy farmer has expanded his operation to allow the public to see where the milk they buy from the grocery store, hygienically presented in attractive cartons, has originally come from.

I turned into the farm-yard and as I opened the car door the overwhelming smell of silage, cows and milk wafted me back to the 1960’s. Silage is lush grass heaped up and heated to oven like temperatures. It rots into a compost like consistency and develops a rich, pungent aroma that catches the back of your throat, once smelt never forgotten, it is fed to the cows during winter when the grass growth slows down. Mix that with the earthy smell of cow manure and overtones of warm milk and that is dairy-farming.

I lived with that pervasive smell during the 1960’s when I milked cows in New Zealand. (See my “about me” page)

I wonder what city folks think as they are greeted by that smell for the first time and then see just where the sterile carton of milk on the super market shelves originated from…

Turning grass into milk

Turning grass into milk

Friesen dairy cow

Friesian dairy cow

Waiting to be milked

Waiting to be milked

Rotary milking shed, milks 42 cows at the same time

Rotary milking shed, milks 42 cows at the same time

Here are the girls, they are milked twice a day

Here are the girls, they are milked twice a day

Atherton Tablelands is the premium dairy-farming area in Australia. Sadly the industry is in decline due to the falling price the farmers are receiving for the milk.

An industry in crisis

  • The Tableland has about 64 dairy farmers supplying either National Foods or boutique processor, Mungalli Creek .
  •  There were more than 200 dairy farms before deregulation.
Old milking shed, no longer in use but it makes a good photo oportunity

Old milking shed, no longer in use but it makes a good photo opportunity

This is fertile volcanic loam and with an average annual rainfall is 1,379.8 mm (54.3 in) spread through the year it is a good climate for grass growth and agriculture.

August and September are the dryer, cooler months and some dairy farms are converting into maize or mixed crops.

Irrigating the land in preparation for a maize crop. Just look at the colour of the soil.

Irrigating the land in preparation for a maize crop. Just look at the colour of the soil. Can you spot the rainbow?

Rolling, fertile farmland

Rolling, fertile farmland

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Birds of a feather.

Jack feeding the chooks

Jack feeding the chooks

Meanwhile in the background behind Jack look what I saw…

Malanda 013 cropped_1525x1131

Thank you to Al Sweet for supplying the name of these birds.

Yellow bellied sunbird (Nectarinia jugulans)

Only found in tropical north Queensland

Malanda 014 cropped_1669x1197

dairy country 001_4000x3000

This is the Red-browed firetail finch

It is found all over. Thanks Al.

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, house sitting, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Winter in Queensland. Weekly photo challenge : One Shot, Two Ways

Winter??? Yes it is...

, Winter???
Yes it is…

 

We went for a drive along the Waterfall Way. It starts at the small village of Milla Milla only 24 kilometres from home. The scenery is lush and green, the continued dry weather has not, yet, taken effect. Unless rain comes soon the paddocks will start to dry out. It is a perfect time to see the waterfalls in all their glory. There are 7 waterfalls in this area but today we only visit 3, leaving the others for another days outing

The first waterfall on the circuit is the Milla Milla Falls. We have visited this area several times over the years but never have we seen so many people enjoying this splendid waterfall. It must be the beautiful weather that has drawn them all here. This is the reason we come north each year…

Milla Milla waterfalls 025 cropped 1_2856x1530

Note the date at the bottom of this cutting, it was prophetic…

*************************

As the Weekly photo challenge this week is to shoot 2 ways what better scene than this to try two ways..

Here is the Milla Milla Falls landscape style.

Here is the Milla Milla Falls landscape style.

Can you see the people under the falls?

Can you see the people under the falls?

Well I must admit that does not show the difference very well so I will try again with the next falls.

Zillie Falls are surrounded by the rainforest and the track in is steep and rugged. Very few people here.

Zillie falls

Zillie falls

 

Rainforest track to the falls

Rainforest track to the falls

 

 

Imposing buttress roots to climb over

Imposing buttress roots to climb over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final waterfall we visit today is my favourite. Again it is quiet only a couple of other people here. The way down is steep

but it is well-formed and made easy by a concrete track and steps.

Rounding the last bend we are confronted with this magical scene as water cascades over the rocks and forms a veil of delicate beauty.

Ellinjaa falls

Ellinjaa falls, landscape

Ellinjaa Falls

Ellinjaa Falls, portrait

What came down must now go back up again….

Going up

Going up

Rainforest, landscape

Rainforest, landscape

 

It has been a beautiful day but now time to head home, the cats will be waiting and the chooks will want their evening feed.

As we drive toward home it is that magic golden hour time and we stop to take photos of the way it lights up this glorious landscape.

Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Tablelands

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, photos, post-a-week, Queensland, waterfalls, Wild Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Magical misty morning

My early morning walk around the garden became a wander through a mystical paradise, shrouded in mist, a sure sign of a beautiful, clear winter day to follow.

misty morning

Misty morning

A place to sit and contemplate the beauty as the sun rises.

A place to sit and contemplate the beauty as the sun rises.

Winter on the Tablelands is a beautiful place to be. Most days are mild and sunny with a temperature around 25c-27c degrees. The evenings are 10c-12c cooler but we are lucky to have a wood burner fire-box to keep us and the cats warm and cosy.

Today the weather was perfect to visit one of the waterfalls the tablelands are renowned for and take a walk through the rainforest. Malanda Falls is only a short drive away.

malanda falls

Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls, autumn had been a very wet season so the falls are in full flow.

Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls

A swimming pool  at the base of the falls  it is a very popular place in the heat of summer. Today it is too chilly for a swim.

A large part of the Tablelands is fertile agricultural land and the main type of farming is dairy-farming. The original rain forest has been left around the falls area as the basalt rock made cultivation of this land impossible and it is now a national park area with well-defined walking tracks.

Come on let’s explore…

Track through the rain forest

Track through the rain forest

Buttress roots of a rain forest giant

Buttress roots of a rain forest giant

malanda falls rain forest

Fungus

Fungus

Bumpy satinash tree

Bumpy satinash tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Malanda Falls, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

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