Margaret River

The Awesome Might of Nature

 Gracetown is a hillside, coastal town with panoramic ocean views. The town is located on Cowaramup Bay which faces north, bringing shelter from the strong winds of summer, and making it popular with holidaymakers and surfers.

The day Carroll and Jack took us for a drive through the area the weather god was shining down on us.

The surf was pumping.

Surf's up

Surf’s up

Will he catch it?

Can you see him as he frantically paddles. Will he catch it?

YES....

YES….

It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

But Gracetown has a tragic story in its past. On a day like today, fine and sunny, in September 1996. It was the last day of the school term and Cowaramup and Margaret River Primary schools were enjoying a day of friendly surfing rivalry. Watching the final heat children, parents and teachers were sitting on the beach under the cliff overlooking the Huzzas surf break.

drive with jack  carroll pc 015

Without any warning at around 6pm more than 2000 tonnes of rock and earth collapsed on them. The horror of that moment will be forever remembered at this spot.

Onlookers dug desperately to save those buried. As news of the tragedy spread they were soon joined by rescue workers, friends and relatives.

Two excavator drivers came to assist the frantic rescue efforts. One risked his life manoeuvring his machine over then down the cliff.  

One 10-year-old girl  was freed from the rubble 2 hours later and survived.

Sadly 5 adults and 4 children were killed.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

drive with jack  carroll pc 009

 

drive with jack  carroll pc 008

For my friend Carroll this place is deep in memories as she was working at the Margaret River Primary as secretary and receptionist and was in the front line of the out pouring of grief.

Life can be so unpredictable, so my friends out in the blogosphere, count your blessings, give your loved ones a hug, and appreciate every moment.

Categories: Australia, Gracetown, Margaret River, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Friends Past and Present

Where do I start?

It has been almost 5 weeks since we hired a camper van and set out into the Great Southern area of Western Australia.

The whole purpose of this part of the trip was to reconnect with dear friends we made 4 years ago. No time to blog, and not very good internet connections, so for that time I was in cyber limbo.

I’m finding it hard to get back into the discipline of confronting the computer and sorting all the photos, and I must admit, remembering the details is not easy, I didn’t keep very many notes either…

But what I do remember is the times spent with our friends, sharing stories, telling jokes and eating meals together, very precious memories and a time I will cherish. The weather was not the best, after all it is winter down here. But the fires burnt bright and warmed our bodies and souls, and we wrapped up in thermals and winter jackets.

The last 2 days in Western Australia we spent in “Airbnb” accommodation. This is the second time we have used this type of accommodation and I am now a big fan. It is very affordable, at least half the price of a motel or hotel, and it is world-wide. Maureen, our host in Perth, gave us a warm welcome and we immediately felt at home. We came as strangers but when we left, after 2 days, we felt we were saying goodbye to a friend. Maureen was a Yorkshire Lass too, so Jack had 2 of us to keep him under control. (Actually an impossible job!!!)

  

Now we are in Canberra for another house sit.

What a sad start it was as the day we left to fly to Canberra Nicola emailed us with the sad news that her Mother, Christine, had died so suddenly and unexpectedly. I was devastated. Christine had become a close blogging friend, ( Dadirridreaming) and it was through her we had contacted her son Mitchell and daughter in law Nicola to do this house sit, and I had hoped we would also meet Christine while we were here.

Wednesday was the day of the funeral and the family have included her many blogging friends in the community by sharing a moving post of the service and photos.

Now we are settled in to this beautiful house with gas ducted heating and a cosy log fire in the lounge and Millie, the dog, to keep us company and take us for walks AND a very good internet connection. The next 3 months will fly by.

So welcome to Canberra the capital city of Australia.

But first I will sort through the photos and over the next few days show you some of the highlights of the Great Southern area of Western Australia.

Categories: Airbnb, Australia, Margaret River, Perth, photos, travel, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

A Word a Week : Round

This week Sue’s dictionary has given us the word “round“.(Click here to go to “A word in your ear”) So many things are round in shape, but I thought about a circle of friends. When travelling to meet new friends and catch up with old ones is one of the delights and memorable occasions that stay in your mind for ever.

Dinner with friends at Margaret River

Dinner with friends at Margaret River

I first met Carroll and Jack five years ago when I stayed with them in their beautiful cottage in Margaret River. They took me around and introduced me to the many attractions. This was the start of my love affair with Margaret River, it is now acknowledged as Australia’s  best town to live in.

I couldn’t wait to return and this time I had “my Jack” with me.  This delicious meal we shared around a round table, a circle of friendship and warmth renewed.

======================

Picnic with new friends

Picnic with new friends

On another occasion Jack and I sat with our thermos of coffee and sandwiches after walking around the beautiful Araluen Botanic Gardens in the Perth hills. We were delighted when this group of people from Afghanistan invited us to join them at their picnic. They assured us they had plenty to share. Just look at the spread, it was delicious. The women were sitting at a separate area. I became a surrogate man and joined this group. But later joined the women.

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These are just a few more round things…

 

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, Margaret River, photos, round | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Travel Theme : Glass

Margaret River is now the top place to live in Australia. I forget which travel magazine or survey confirmed this, but I would agree. It is a mecca for artists, wine buffs, surfers, lovers of the good life. It has top quality restaurants and small cafes by the dozen. It is near the ocean but also surrounded by bush. Another unique feature are the caves, deep under ground, dripping with stalactites and mighty up thrusting stalagmites, you are taken down by a guide and when you are deep within the lights are turned off. I have never experienced such intense blackness. It weighs on you and is like a living thing enfolding around you.

We stayed  in Margaret River for 2 weeks during our 2010 journey around Australia and did not want to leave.

Glass is Ailsas theme this week and that brought back the memories. There are artists of every medium here and they are all world-class. Painters, metal workers, potters, wood carvers, and also glass artists. That brings me back to Ailsas theme.

Melting Pot Glass Studio

Melting Pot Glass Studio

We wandered into “Melting pot glass studio”  (click here to see some of the glass creations and more information about Gerry) Not only did it have an Alladins cave of beautiful glass on display it also had Gerry Reilly’s glass blowing workshop at the back of the studio. We were fascinated with the process. What a great opportunity when Gerry offered Jack the chance to have a go. Of course I had to capture it on video. Now Ailsas theme has given me the opportunity to show it to you…

Some of Gerry Reillies creations

Some of Gerry Reilly’s creations

 Jack has just reminded me of the famous Chocolate factory that you simply must visit if you are in Margaret River.

Categories: Australia, australian travel, glass, Margaret River, travel, travel theme, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

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