Posts Tagged With: Geraldton

Looking forward, looking back…A photo essay of 2014…

This song by Slim Dusty touches the nerves of my gypsy soul. It brings back memories of the past year and starts me thinking of the year ahead.

It was this time last year when we sold Matilda our faithful camper van that carried us around Australia for 4 years.

Goodbye Matilda

Matilda takes off with her new owners to new adventures. Goodbye Matilda.

Now it is pedal power.

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I never thought I would be able to survive life, as I know it, without a vehicle. But we made the decision, in December 2013, to be carless for the time being, as during 2014 we would be travelling and having the use of other people’s vehicles.

 Our 2014 adventures took a new direction.

During February and March 2014 we were in New Zealand.

April and May we house sat in Geraldton, Western Australia, and had the use of Hector a grunty, rusty, old, diesel, 4WD Toyota land cruiser that I bonded with and loved driving. Made me feel macho…

June is winter in Australia and we had 4 weeks before the next house sit, so we hired a camper van and toured the south of Western Australia. Visiting friends made during previous travels.

Canberra was the next house sit, July, August, September, October. It is winter and Canberra has a reputation for very cold weather. But the house was warm and Canberra is an interesting place. This time we had the use of an almost brand new Mazda 6, and we had the company of an adorable “Labradoodle” called Molly.

2014 is flying by, we have been away from home almost 9 months but decide on one more 2 week house sit for the year. This time it is on the New South Wales coast. A delightful place called Valla Beach. We have the company of  Rufus, an affectionate blue-heeler, and 3 rather haughty alpacas. This time we are driving a Honda Jazz, a very zippy little car.

Finally we arrive home end of October.

Home

Home

So here I am back home for Christmas and taking time out to catch up with family and friends.

What is in store for us in 2015? Well I am already starting to plan our next adventure and it will be the slow way to New Zealand, something I have never done before and I’m wondering if cruising is going to be my style. Our friends tell us it is so relaxing. Am I ready for relaxing? In the past it has always been the road less travelled, roughing it and minimalist style travel, taking time to go where ever looked interesting.

I’d love to hear from my cyber friends if they have been on a cruise and what they thought of it…

 

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Categories: Australia, Canberra, Geraldton, house sitting, New Zealand, photos, Valla Beach, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Garden Update and Goodbye.

We have been here 8 weeks that only seem like 2, the time has slipped by so quickly. Tomorrow Naomi arrives home from her adventures in Indonesia, and it will be time for us to move on.

But before we leave I would like to show you how the garden has grown. Do you remember the post 6 weeks ago? It hadn’t rained for a long time, the 3 rainwater tanks were almost empty and I had to nurse the tiny seedlings along with regular watering. Then it rained. Since then we have had showers on a couple of days every week, and the plants have thrived.

 This was 6 weeks ago, look at them now.

The beans are flowering

The beans are flowering

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These are the last 2 tomatoes from this plant.

These are the last 2 tomatoes from this plant.

No worries here are the next ones.

No worries here are the next ones.

Cucumbers flowering well and if you look closely you will see a tiny cucumber.

Cucumbers flowering well and if you look closely you will see a tiny cucumber.

I will maybe get a meal from the kale before we leave

I will maybe get a meal from the kale before we leave

A couple of dragon fruit have just ripened in time for Naomi to enjoy them

A couple of dragon fruit have just ripened in time for Naomi to enjoy them

We have enjoyed our stay but next week it will be back on the road again. So it is “Goodbye” for a while. We will not have a constant internet connection, in fact maybe none. I will miss my daily fix of meandering through cyberspace visiting my lovely community. But I will no doubt have hundreds of photographs to sort and show and tell in a months time when we settle in to our next house sit at Canberra. 

Categories: Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 37 Comments

Lingering Look at More Heritage Windows

Hampton Arms Bar

Hampton Arms Bar

 

The Hampton Arms Hotel was built in 1863 and we had a delicious lunch there after we went back in time last Sunday, as we followed the Greenough heritage trail. These are a few more windows from that drive.

Look at the thickness of the walls.

Look at the thickness of the walls.

This added a touch of whimsy

This added a touch of whimsy

 

This heritage store is waiting for renovation and the corrugated sheets keep prowlers out.

This heritage store is waiting for renovation and the corrugated sheets keep prowlers out.

 

You have already seen "Home Cottage " in another post but I had to add just one more window from that lovely old house/museum

You have already seen “Home Cottage ” in another post but I had to add just one more window from that lovely old house/museum

 

Another interesting building is the old goal in Geraldton. It has been well-preserved and is now used as a craft shop with each small cell used as a display of hand-made crafts.

Door into the cell with a well barred window

Door into the cell with a well barred window

This small patch of sky is all you can see from inside the cell

This small patch of sky is all you can see from inside the cell

 

This small window is high up on the wall

This small window is high up on the wall

 

Even the skylights are barred. No getting out of this goal.

Even the skylights are barred. No getting out of this goal.

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Dawn from her blog “The Day After”  encourages us to look for interesting windows and link them to her challenge “Lingering Look at Windows”. So this week I am showing you a few more windows I found as we followed the heritage trail.

Categories: Geraldton, Greenough, Lingering look at windows, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

Sunset

Come and join me on the beach as the sun sets tonight in a blaze of glory.

Time to take the dog for a walk and see if the fish are biting.

Time to take the dog for a walk and see if the fish are biting.

This young osprey keeps an eye on what is happening

This young osprey keeps an eye on what is happening

The sun slowly sinks toward the horizon

The sun slowly sinks toward the horizon

Almost gone

Almost gone

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The final glorious moment as the reflected glow from below the horizon turns the world blood red.

The final glorious moment as the reflected glow from below the horizon turns the world blood-red.

At sunset/ Nature is painting for us… day after day… pictures of infinite beauty. 

John Ruskiin

 

Categories: Australia, Geraldton, Ocean, photos, sunsets, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Work of Art

The word and world of “Art” is huge. It can be interpreted in so many ways. Just the recognized meaning of art, as in paintings, has many different styles.

 When travelling and staying in new places for short periods of time one of the challenges is to fit in and find new friends. That is why this theme is so appropriate for me this week as I have just found a new group of friends.

New friends

New friends, notice the intense concentration.

I haven’t done any painting for a long time, I’ve occasionally sketched and been inspired to pick up the pencil again by Lisa over at “Zeebra Designs and Destinations” who challenges us to take time out for art. (Take a look at her art it is truly amazing.) But the last time I attempted painting was back in the 1990’s.

So back to the present. I love art both created and the wonderful art of nature. I try to capture nature’s art with the camera and could post many photos I have taken. But this time art has a very different meaning for me. It is connection, it is sharing, it is attempting to recreate what you are looking at and it is a new bunch of people who were strangers, but now we share a common interest and slowly get to know each other.

Jim and Jack

Jim and Jack. Jim is giving a helping hand to another new comer to the group.

Jim is our teacher and inspiration, he gives freely of his time to encourage and help. Art is his life and he has so much knowledge and patience as we all struggle to create our own works of art.

Take a look at his art here <www://facebook.com/jimcentsart>

So every Friday we will join this group to enjoy the company and the immersion into the world of our art.

From 9am to 1pm there is plenty of time to chat.

From 9am to 1pm there is plenty of time to chat.

Geraldton has a special place for the senior citizens. The Queen Elizabeth II Seniors & Community Centre provides seniors activities that promote healthy ageing including a lounge, free cuppa, library, free internet access. The centre is also available to the community for hire. Citizens groups also use the centre for indoor recreation eg bowls, exercises, dances and their meetings.

In all our travels this facility would be the best we have ever come across. Every day there is a diverse number of activities to join in. Not only have we joined the art group, but Jack strums along on his ukulele with another enthusiastic group, while I attempt to keep up with a lively bunch of line dancers.

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There will hundreds of different interpretations of art this week, click here to check them out

Categories: art, Australia, Geraldton, photos, post-a-week, Weekly photo challenge, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

Travel Theme : Close-up

IT RAINED LAST WEEK

“So what” I can hear all my Northern hemisphere friends saying.

Well that is the best rain that has fallen in this area for about 2 years. There have been light showers during that 2 years, but on a sandy soil that has not helped the parched and struggling vegetation. Last week after 3 days of light showers the storm clouds gathered and it poured down. Approximately 50-70mm. The farmers were ecstatic, perfect timing for sowing the spring cereal crops.

It made me happy too as I had just planted more vegetable seedlings the day before the rain came. I’m sure it made the plants turn their faces to the heavens with a huge, happy sigh.

Raindrops are falling on my head

Raindrops are falling on my head

Then I looked around and look what I saw…

Dragon fruit flower

Dragon fruit flower

These beauties flower overnight and only stay open for 1 day. It then takes 3-4 months for them to produce the edible fruit. Fortunately there are some that flowered a while back and are now ready for picking and eating.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

After a day in the fridge it is ready to cut open, scoop out the inside and savour the delicious but indescribable taste.

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Have you ever tried a dragon fruit? Have you ever seen one but not known what to do with it? Next time you see one in the green grocer’s buy it and try it, I’m sure you will go back for seconds…

Footnote… The farmers are now praying for more follow up rain and the forecast is for another storm on Sunday…

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To closely follow more blogs in close-up go to Ailsa’s challenge on her blog “Where’s my backpack?”

 

 

Categories: Australia, close-up, garden, Geraldton, photos, travel theme, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Geraldton Foreshore Walk

 “Restless Jo” takes us for a ramble every Monday around the lovely English countryside she calls home and she invites other bloggers to show their part of the world in a walk around their “patch”. Visit her blog to join other walks.

So today I would like to join the cyber rambling club and as today is fine after 5 days of glorious rain it is time to explore more of Geraldton.

Geraldton has changed since I first visited in 2005. Back then it had railway tracks running along the foreshore cutting the beach from the main street. All the shops had their backs to the beach and the trains chugged along taking in the best views as they hauled loads of wheat, minerals and iron ore to the port to be transported all over the world. The town had a rather scruffy and down at heel look about it.

What a transformation has taken place since then. The line has been diverted round the back of the town and the original lines have been taken up and the foreshore rejuvenated with parks and walking paths. I’m sure this must’ve cost a huge sum of money but what a difference it has made to the town. So this is my first walk…

A big welcome. Can you see the cyclist?

A big welcome. Can you see the cyclist? But we will be walking.

This large welcome sign faces out into the harbour, greeting ships as they arrive.

The Mariner is home to many luxury yachts and sailing boats

The Mariner is home to many luxury yachts and sailing boats

 

A stiff wind is blowing the flags.

A stiff wind is blowing the flags.

Outside the museum the flags are fluttering, from left to right, the Aboriginal flag, the Australian flag, and the West Australian flag.

 

Looking across Champion Bay to the wheat silos at the port

Looking across Champion Bay to the wheat silos at the port.

As I round the corner I see 2 giant rubic cubes. Do you remember them?

These are toilets

These are toilets

It is school holiday time and for a while I watch the children enjoying the surf.

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Aboriginal created sculptures

Aboriginal created sculptures

The courthouse.

The courthouse.

Looking back across the park I see the imposing Courthouse, but of more interest now is the Dome Café.

Time for a cup of coffee.

Time for a cup of coffee.

That was a welcome break, now all revived I’ll wander on.

Coming to the end of the foreshore I turn into town. This is the West End and is the original part of Geraldton that was settled in the mid 1800’s.

“The first European to really explore the area was the hapless George Grey who, having failed to explore the North-West Cape was forced to walk from Shark Bay back to Fremantle in 1839.

A decade later the explorer A. C. Gregory travelled through the area. He discovered lead on the Murchison River and the mine which was subsequently established was named Geraldine after the Governor Charles Fitzgerald.

The town of Geraldton was gazetted in 1850. In the years that followed the hinterland was settled by farmers and in 1857, after the closure of the unsuccessful Convict Depot at Port Gregory, Geraldton became a short lived convict settlement. In the 1860s, after the decline of Port Gregory, it became the major port north of Fremantle and in 1871 it was officially proclaimed a town.

It was during the time after 1850 that the local Aboriginal population, which was estimated at over 1000 between Dongara and Geraldton, was virtually wiped out. Massacres and diseases were the killers. It is known that nearly 300 Aborigines died at Tibradden Station in 1853 as the result of an outbreak of measles.

In 1879 the Western Australian government built a railway between Geraldton and Northampton.

The town’s major period of growth occurred in the 1890s when it became the major port for the Murchison gold rushes. Prospectors poured through the port on their way to the fields at Cue, Day Dawn, Mount Magnet, Meekatharra and Yalgoo.

By World War 1 Geraldton had become the major centre for the surrounding wheat belt. It still holds this position today and is an important centre for fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism.”

Information from http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-factsheet/geraldton–culture-and-history-20081120-6btr.html

There are still a few of the old style cottages around.

Old stone cottage being renovated

Old stone cottage being renovated

Busy pruning the roses

Busy pruning the roses

I have to photograph this beautiful old tree.

I have to photograph this beautiful old tree.

It was quite difficult to capture this hibiscus in the windy conditions

It was a challenge to capture this hibiscus in the windy conditions

One of the most remarkable buildings in Geraldton is  St Francis Xavier Cathedral it is a spectacular church in the centre of Geraldton that you will find as magnificent on the inside as it looks from the outside. Designed by the Monsignor John Hawes, it took 22 years to build.

St Francis Xavia Cathedral

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

The interesting Byzantine architecture of St Francis Xavier Cathedral

The interesting Byzantine architecture of St Francis Xavier Cathedral

Outside the Cathedral the trees are filled with hundreds of squawking Corellas. It is midday and they are settling in for their afternoon rest.

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foreshore walk Geraldton pc sx35 089_4000x3000

foreshore walk Geraldton pc sx35 088_4000x3000

It has been an interesting morning and I am now back into the main shopping area so time to buy some groceries and head home.

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Footnote… I have found out that we have been calling the vehicle the wrong name. He is not called Troopy, his name is Hector…

 

 

Categories: Australia, Geraldton, Jo's Monday walks, photos, travel, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Gardening in the Round.

I have mentioned that I love gardening and one of the pleasures I get from house sitting is to see and learn from other peoples gardens. Every one is different, every one is a joy to look after.

Now this garden is probably one of the most challenging. Being so close to the ocean the soil is pure sand. I’ve mentioned the strong winds (see my previous post here about the leaning trees) Great for wind surfers and sky divers, but plants hate the strong, sand ladened winds. To top it off it is a very dry climate. I don’t know when they last had a decent rain here, but of the 3 large rain water storage tanks only one has a small amount of water left in it.

Naomi also loves gardening, she likes to grow her own organic vegetables and being a very resourceful person she has installed old corrugated water tanks and created raised beds.

Come for a look round

, Come for a look round

Gardening in the round

Gardening in the round

This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and at the moment not many veggies have survived, with the exception of chilli bushes, lots of them, lemon grass and a few other herbs. Before Naomi left she scattered seeds around. The weather should be getting cooler and normally some rain arrives during the winter months. But so far it has just been clear blue skies, sun and relentless wind. I water the raised garden beds each evening and amazingly seeds are popping up every where. At this point I can’t identify them so treat them all with loving care.

Can you see the beans?

Can you see the beans? look carefully and you will see the Indian Ocean…

A couple of the beds are still empty so on Sunday at the markets when we came across a delightful bloke called “Freddie Fresh” who specialises in seedlings of all sorts we bought some lettuce, basil and 2 tomato plants. That evening, when the heat had gone out of the day we carefully planted them. First digging a large hole, incorporating compost and soaking the area before tenderly bedding them in.

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Have you ever tried Dragon fruit? They are delicious and this plant is laden with them. I hope they ripen soon.

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

They are all going to need more help if they are to survive the 30c+ temperature of the sun. These beds are in the full sun. So to give them a helping hand until they have settled in we searched around and found some shade cloth that Jack put up.

 

Maybe doesn't look very attractive, but it should do the job

Maybe doesn’t look very attractive, but it should do the job

Follow me around the side of the house.

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web?

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web? Lets take a closer look…

 As I said before this house is built on sand and the back of the garden is a large sand-hill. Naomi has come up with a clever solution. Using old tractor tyres that she has sourced from a tyre firm in town, collecting them in a trailer, pulled by Troopy, then, one by one, rolling them into place. (Go here to read about Naomi’s hard labour in creating this monument.)

This is finally taking shape, “the great wall of Drummond’s”

First roll the tyres into place

First roll the tyres into place

Rendering comes next

Rendering comes next

Still a lot more to do...

Still a lot more to do. The hole in the sand is going to be a pond with a waterfall cascading into it.

I feel tired just thinking about all the work.

So let’s go back up to the deck to watch the sun set.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi's interests.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi’s interests.

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

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The inspiration for this post has come from Sue of “A word in your ear” this week her challenge has been the word “ROUND” that has popped up from her dictionary.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me around the garden.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, round, sunsets, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Meet Troopy, our transport.

Troopy

Troopy

Naomi, the owner of the house we will be looking after for the next 2 months, has kindly given us her vehicle to use while we are in Geraldton.

“It’s old” she warned us, “and the back door is rather tricky to open and shut”

Naomi picked us up from the airport when we arrived in Perth. We stood at the pickup point not quite knowing what make or colour of vehicle to expect. The only hint we had was its age.

15 minutes passed, every vehicle looked modern and shiny. Then round the corner came a Toyota Land Cruiser. It was unmistakably old, a 4WD, sun-faded fawn with patches of rust. We knew immediately it was the one… 

Later that evening we had a delicious Chinese meal together and shared stories. Then Naomi had a plane to catch, so it was back to the airport said our fond farewells and Naomi, with only 7kg carry on pack, left for Java.

Naomi is one very adventurous lady and an intrepid traveller. Read about her travels by clicking here http://www.whatsnextnaomi.com/

Now we were left with “Troopy” He is a diesel, large AND a manual, it is also dark and we are in a strange city not too sure of our way back to the place we are staying.

I have not driven a manual for a long time, but I soon find that it is like riding a bike, you do not forget how to. Of more concern is my night vision it is not good, so it was a tense half hour as we gazed into the darkness trying to remember land marks to find our way back.

PHEW what a relief to eventually turn into Victoria Park.

Troopy is definitely a “he”. He trundles along with a deep-throated rumble, strange shakes and rattles and a high-pitched whistle, but he never misses a beat, starts first time, every time with a roar, then never falters.

The road ahead

The road ahead

Geraldton is approximately 450 kilometres from Perth. There are 2 choices, the Brand Highway, the main north-south highway, or the Indian Ocean Drive a more scenic route. Of course we took the scenic route. It snaked along through miles of flat scrub, occasional sections wound along the coastline with the incredible azure blue of the Indian Ocean sparkling to the distant horizon. We passed through a few small villages, none of them memorable enough to stop for a photograph.

6 hours later we arrived at Geraldton and our home for the next 2 months. I have bonded with Troopy. Not many vehicles travel on this road and we chugged along at a steady 90 to 100 KPH.I’ve rediscovered my macho inner self as I change-up and down the gears surrounded by a large, solid 4WD.

So Welcome to Geraldton, “Sun City” as it is called.

Categories: Australia, Geraldton, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

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