Posts Tagged With: New South Wales

Bench Series : December…

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Outside the Armidale art gallery we found this fun bench/installation/sculpture. What would you call it?

Of course Jack had to try it out…

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For the final month of Jude’s challenge we can choose any bench we like.

I will be telling you more about Armidale in future posts. (as time permits…)

Categories: Armidale, Australia, bench series, New South Wales, photos, travel, video | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

The magic of a dream come true

 This story starts in 1985. Naren King was invited to a New Years Eve party at the home of Mal Cooper who had employed  Edwin Kingsbury an eccentric architect to design a unique and magnificent building. The building was positioned right on the point where the earths energy lines, or ley lines intersect. It was a magical place, radiating harmony and peace and Naren fell in love with it.  When the Mal Cooper went broke due to only demanding the very best materials for his “harmonious architecture” it became a dream and an obsession for Naren to own it.

After a number of set backs the property became his and he and his wife began a life long project of creating a place of magic. Naren was Australia’s first direct importer of quality natural crystals from around the world and this was to be the ideal place for him to showcase their beauty.

In 1986 the land had been cleared for grazing and banana growing so now the work began to transform it into a garden, a tropical wonderland.

Jump forward to 2015 and we are house sitting only a 30 minute car ride from this extraordinary place so of course we had to visit it.

But where do I start to show you the captivating, overwhelming beauty of the gardens with magnificent statues of the deities at every corner. The tranquil Buddha and the magnificent stupor that was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

I will start as we walk in and follow the track to the Stupor…

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A rustic path meanders through the beds densely planted with tropical vegetation. Prayer flags are waving in a slight breeze as we round the corner.

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The first of the many serene statues  we are to see, stands guard over the large koi fish.

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Passing the Tibetan prayer wheels the path leads down to the Stupor.

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Beautiful eastern music floats through the air surrounding me as I recorded this short video as I sit and watch all ages walk reverently around this symbol of peace.

Crystals were Naren’s passion and they are to be found all round the gardens. A short way past the Stupor “Rosie”, a 4 tonne mini-mountain of rose quartz is one of the largest ever found in the world with such a large “crystalized face”.

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I spent quite a while in this area absorbing the feeling of calm and beauty that pervaded the atmosphere.

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Going back past the other side of the pond the track now winds through the tropical gardens back to the house that Narin fell in love with.

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After wandering through the Botanical Shambhala Gardens admiring the variety of sub-tropical and tropical plants we spotted the café through a screen of red kangaroo paws. But first we looked around the courtyard outside the café. This is where we saw this amazing trompe l’oeil.

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This extraordinary water feature dominates the courtyard. Using rose quartz it was crafted by highly skilled fountain makers from Germany. The base is granite from Switzerland. The 310 kilogram sphere rotates on a mere 0.3 millimetres of water. It glows as it catches the sun and according to mystic lore, rose quartz emanates the qualities of love and compassion and this is the spinning heart of the Crystal Castle.

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There is so much to see in this courtyard. The ground is embedded with 20,000 pieces of rose quartz

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This seat is made from Sodalite’ this is what I found about it on the internet.

“Sodalite is the stone of athletics, as it stimulates endurance. It is said sodalite will harmonize the inner being or the conscious and subconscious mind. Sodalite promotes peace and harmony. Sodalite is extra lucky for writers.” (I sat there for a while!)

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Magnificent clusters of crystals were everywhere, sparkling and glistening giving off so much energy. Almost overwhelming.

Time for lunch.

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We were there during school holiday time so it was busy. But the service was friendly and quick and the food delicious. Most of the salads and vegetables are grown in their own organic vegie garden.

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This was an Indian Plate and delicious. But look what we followed it with…

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As we waited for lunch we had a lovely view down into the gardens, and across to the distant Border Ranges.

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There is still more to see but for now I will leave you as we eat our lunch and take you on the Buddha walk in the next episode.

Going through to the Buddha Walk...

Going through to the Buddha Walk…

(To be continued)

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I’m joining with Restless Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Bloggers sharing walks all over the world.

 

Categories: Crystal Castle, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Bangalow, a country gem.

Bangalow is one of those country gems: a picturesque, heritage listed village, largely nineteenth-century streetscape of tall verandahed buildings, shady trees and quiet parks.

The Pacific Highway is the major transport route along the central east coast of Australia, with the majority of it being part of Australia’s national route 1, and it used to run right through the centre of town bringing hustle and bustle 24 hours a day. But in the 1990’s in a major upgrade, the road bypassed Bangalow and the town, with a population of just under 2000, regained its peace and quiet. But it didn’t slowly die, as many towns do in those circumstances, instead it became a hub for artists and talented craft people. These artistic people found the tranquillity and beauty of an area where they could settle and create works of art and things of beauty. They displayed their crafts in the old style buildings along the one main street, and word spread. And the visitors came to look and to buy.

It is now a vibrant, bustling community. No empty shops and no big multi-nationals have moved in.

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Bangalow is only 20 kilometres from our housesit, so we drove over to look around and have lunch. It was Monday and I thought it would be a quiet day to visit. Wrong, it is school holidays and the weather was fine. It was crowded and the first challenge was finding a place to park the car. 15 minutes later we are parked and ready to wander around.

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This looked interesting with the Jolly Roger flying and a name like that it invited us in.

It was an Aladdin’s cave of colour and goodies. Then I spotted this sign and to me it says what this town is about.

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I have never, ever seen a shop saying they will pay for breakages. I walked out with a smile on my face.

Then a door, narrow passage way and a sign saying creative glass pointed up some stairs. So up we went and I stopped at the entrance and gazed in awe at the display.

This is how these stunning works of art are described in the web page of Zakay Glass Creations.

“Unique and timeless, these stunning three dimensional art works are resplendent of sparkling gemstones: facets and symmetries shimmer as colours of the rainbow bounce off their bevelled edges when they are touched by natural and artificial light. Adding majesty to any space in which they are displayed, a Zakay keepsake regularly decorates homes, balconies, corporate foyers and hotels around the world. Founding artist Asaf Zakay’s pursuit of creative and aesthetic excellence has resulted in three dimensional glass designs that capture the essence of nature. Using the stained glass technique (a process Asaf studied whilst in his native Israel) each magnificent creation is a sacred symbol, evolving from natural geometric patterns. “

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As well as the glass sculptures these Escher like wood sculptures adorned the walls and other stunning glass vase sculptures were displayed.

Asaf Zakay this talented artisan was in the studio and Jack took his photo. (To see more of his work follow the link.)

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Back on the street I spotted this door. How intriguing, what is behind it?

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Entering the shop, or I should call it a boutique, it had very expensive Italian fashion wear. Leather jackets and boots, fine cotton shirts and very exclusive hats. But the draw card for me was to go out through a side door and find this court-yard.

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Like stepping into a Spanish hacienda.

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Mmm, very tempting Jack. But time to find some lunch. So many to choose from Trip Advisor lists 17.

I chose Town Café. It was awarded a Chef’s Hat for 2012.

I chose a chicken, bacon, mushroom and leek pie. The filling was tasty, but unfortunately the pastry was like leather…

No worries, the salad was fresh and the coffee was good…

Time to browse around a few more shops. An art gallery ticked all the boxes for me. Local artists and world-class paintings. “Windhorse Gallery”

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A book shop called “Poet” with a large choice of philosophical and new age books. A news agent who stocked a large display of art materials and art books. An antique shop full of memorabilia and a junk shop tucked away down the back, behind the pub. What a load of junk it stocked and I couldn’t believe he was serious about the prices. For example an ancient old paint brush, stiff with dried paint $10. This business was for sale and closing down in a weeks time. (I should’ve taken a photo)

Time to go home along the back roads.

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Across a rather rickety old bridge

Across a rather rickety old bridge

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Parking the car we wander around taking photos.

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Passing through the small village of Federal (712 population) with a store and café that seemed to be popular we decided to stop for a coffee.

Finally home by 3-30pm and Mitch was patiently waiting for his 4-30pm walk.

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 Another walk Jo, this is almost the last one. I have one other but it was so overwhelming that I am struggling to sort through the almost 300 photos.

Restless Jo leads a diverse of group of walkers from all over the world. To join them click here.

 

Categories: Bangalow, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

Market Day at Mullumbimby.

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The third Saturday of each month is market day in Mullumbimby. Called Mullum by the locals. It has been the centre for alternative or counter-culture since the 1970’s and to wander around town and visit the markets it is like stepping back into that era, the time of the flower children, communal living and the hippies still survives in this vibrant and colourful “biggest, little town in Australia”.

 

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These 2 had come down in their camper van, from Brisbane, the big smoke, to spend the weekend here. Picking a handful of flowers from the hedgerow to put in her hair she is a new age flower child.

It was interesting to look at the houses and gardens as we walked along to the markets.

Definitely my style of place. Small, rustic, lots of picket fences, some overgrown and wild, others neat and cottagey. Loved to see the swing hanging from the tree in the middle of the street for all children to play on.

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Before we even arrived at the markets we passed locals that had spread their wares out behind their vehicles. Is there anything there you would like Jack?

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As we entered the market we could feel the love, so many greeting each other with hugs, the atmosphere was happy and care-free, and a great place for people watching.

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Grey flowing locks and bare feet, long skirts, caftans and happy pants were the predominant fashion. The young woman in the modern “jeggings” looks to be from another world.

The market is in the Historical Park and an old cedar shed looks its age next to the 50+ market stalls.

Weaving being demonstrated

Weaving being demonstrated

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Do you remember macramé? A craft from the 70’s. Well this stall was full of it and I thought this is an example of a “grid” created with string, (the weekly photo challenge)

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Look how tall this bloke is!!!

There were plenty of food and coffee  stalls all under the large shady trees, but it was an overcast sort of day with showers threatening, so we decided to walk back to the main street for lunch.

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One last channelling of the 70’s as we passed this old truck devoted to shiatsu massage. But he is all modern age with his phone in hand.  Incidentally I did not see too many people on their phones…

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As we passed these two friendly characters Jack had to stop for a chat. Bushy and the Pirate were very laid back and a distinct aroma of the 70’s floated on the air around them. Back in the day, this town grew weed so potent it was known as Mullum Madness!

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This was originally the Bank of New South Wales but now houses a very comprehensive collection of organic produce and supplies. Mullum is the service town for the area and has a good range of shops and services. Lots of craft shops to wander around. But we were looking for lunch. I had checked on “Trip Advisor” before I left home and from 21 choices they named “Rock & Roll Coffee Company” as number one. It is tucked away down a little lane in the heart of town, just round the corner from the organic emporium.

But just a minute, we could hear music, a jazz  blues band. This we had to check out.

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This group of local musicians were belting out “Mustang Sally”. Lunch forgotten we stayed, along with quite a crowd, to listen. Finally we dropped a donation in the guitar case and left with a smile on our faces to find lunch.

So down the lane we went. Most of the diners looked like locals and it was a small, sort of hole in the wall type of place. But the food was delicious, (I forgot to take a photo!).

Did you notice the entrance to the left of the café?

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Must have a look in here…

Lots of good quality arts and crafts and a relaxing courtyard with that amazing mural on the back wall.

Feeling refreshed, fuelled and caffeinated we went for a walk around the streets. But time to head back home…

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I don’t think the cats even missed us… 

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I will join in with Restless Jo’s intrepid walkers this week. Come over and join them.

Categories: Australia, grid, Jo's Monday walks, markets, Mullumbimby, New South Wales, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

The Natural Wonderland of the Scenic Rim

Do you like shopping, casinos the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast? If so I will leave you with the Icons of the Gold Coast.  https://pommepal.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/gold-coast-icons/

But if you love the beauty of nature, rainforests, rivers and stunning scenery, come with me today. I am going south, over the border into New South Wales.

Millions of years ago this was an area of volcanic activity. The ground shook and volcanoes spewed forth the molten lava from the bowels of the earth. Mountains were formed and rivers of lava flowed through the valleys leaving behind a layer of rich volcanic ash. The earth cooled and rivers flowed were once the lava created the valleys. Mighty rainforest trees thrived in this rich soil and vines and creepers twisted and tangled into every spare gap. It was a land of abundance. For thousands of years the Aborigine Bundjalung people cherished this land, it gave them all they needed for survival. Their name for the mountain is “Wollumbin”; meaning, “cloud-catcher”. 

 Captain Cook passed by in 1770 and called this mighty mountain “Mt Warning”. A mere 200 years ago pioneers (and convicts) arrived looking for a better place. In awe they looked at this land of abundance and settled here. The mighty Red Cedar trees were cut down and used to build their houses, make furniture and send overseas to an insatiable market. The land was cleared to plant crops and create farms. Slowly the mighty rainforests were raped and plundered and the Aborigines were denied access to their ancestral home land.

Fortunately the park was reserved for public recreation in 1928 and dedicated as a national park in 1966. The Park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.

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Now the mighty “Wollumbin” slumbers on the horizon. Its work has been done. At times shrouded in mist.

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At the foot of the range the Tweed River winds through the fertile farm land.

Today I will take you to Tumbulgum, a small historic village nestled on the banks of the Tweed River.

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Looking across to Wollumbin/Mt Warning from the junction of the Tweed and Rous Rivers, Tumbulgum was one of the first villages established in northern NSW in around 1840. For many years, it was the Tweed Valley’s main hub of activity, with shops and services springing up to cater to the timber trade and cedar cutters. At one stage it vied with nearby Murwillumbah for commercial supremacy – until Murwillumbah scored the railway in 1897 and a bridge in 1901, guaranteeing its status as the Tweed Valley’s economic centre. In Tumbulgum today it is the tourists who generate the buzz, coming to enjoy the picturesque setting and admire the historic buildings which now house a range of art galleries, gift shops and cafés. murwillumbah-4 One of the most popular reminders of the past is undoubtedly the old Tumbulgum Tavern. Established in 1887, it was the region’s first unlicensed pub (otherwise known as a ‘grog shanty’) and over 120 years later, it is still going strong. The food here is excellent – as are the sunsets that illuminate the river and Wollumbin/Mt Warning. It is too early for lunch. I think I will make a note to come here for dinner one evening. A boat cruises from nearby Tweed along the river and after dinner will take you back again.

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As we drive away this interesting old tree calls to my camera. As we reach Murwillumbah another old tree “talks” to me.

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Jack has an interesting post about the museum and art gallery in Murwillumbah. Go to this link.  https://jacksjottings.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/tranquil-trip/

To see more artists impressions of this beautiful area this is the link to the art gallery http://calderaart.org.au/

Now it is lunchtime and we drive out-of-town and toward the Mt Warning Road. To the Rainforest Café that has been recommended by the lady in the tourist information centre.

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We are not disappointed it is set in an idyllic setting on the banks of a small meandering creek. The tables are well spread out and you can choose to sit in the sun or the shade from the large, mature trees and palms. We choose to sit on the veranda. Can you see Jack?

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The food is delicious.

There is so much to see in this area. Next time I will take you for a walk in the rainforest.

Categories: aboriginal history, Australia, New South Wales, Tumbulgum, Wollumbin/Mt Warning | Tags: , , , , | 50 Comments

A walk to the Giants Causeway…

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Well I am not in Ireland but walking in the delightful small village and area of Fingal Heads.

When it comes to odd facts, they don’t come much odder than the fact that this charming Tweed village was named after the mythical Celtic giant Fingal who reportedly built the famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

The connection is that Tweed’s Fingal Head has its own Giant’s Causeway – a crescent-shaped mass of hexagonal columns formed when the lava flows from the ancient Tweed Volcano rapidly cooled in the ocean currents. This unique rock formation sits just below Fingal Lighthouse on the headland, reaching towards Cook Island.

This is my first outing in “The Car”. Though Fingal Head is only a 25 minute drive from home this is the first time I have been to explore it.

A sign pointing along a sandy track to the intriguingly named “Dreamtime Beach” entices me to follow it.

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I can hear squeals and shrieks as I approach the end of the track.

4 bikini clad girls are frolicking in the surf. Now I must remind you that it is winter but the temperature is approximately 22C and obviously these girls do not think it is winter.

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These two are exploring around the base of the rocks as I pass by and find another sandy track taking me round to the headland.

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A bench is conveniently placed to rest awhile before following the steps up to the top of the headland.

The lighthouse is having a renovation. But look at how bright that blue sky is in contrast to the fresh white coat of paint.

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From this headland there are glorious views of the ocean and along the beach. Being Saturday and such a perfect day I pass many other people also enjoying a day out.

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Perfect picnic weather. I follow along the path. Gulls are swooping and gliding in the air currents. I stand for a while trying to catch a gull in flight. But it is impossible every photo is blurred.

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As I round the corner I am amazed to peer over the edge and see this man fishing. The ocean is swelling and breaking in a frenzy of foam, threatening to sweep him off the precarious rock he is balanced on.

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This is the Giants Causeway. The might of the ocean is crashing onto the rocks then sweeping through the narrow causeway. The sound and fury of the waves is awesome and this is a fine day, I wonder how it would be in a storm.

Fingal Head boasts some of the most spectacular examples of columnar jointing to be found in the whole of NSW. The local indigenous Goodjingburra clan’s name for Fingal Head is Booninybah – Home of the Giant Echidna: “Booniny” means Giant Echidna. The spectacular columns of Fingal Head resemble the spines of an echidna, and so the Goodjingburra believe that the spirit of the echidna inhabits the headland.

I sit on a rock for quite a while watching the ebb and flow of the waves and waiting to see if the fisher man will get swept off his rock. I have heard that rock fishing is classed as one of the most dangerous sports and a number of people are swept to their death every year. (While overall coastal drowning figures for NSW are significantly down from last year, for the first time rock fishing deaths have topped the list at 26.7%, making it the leading cause of all coastal drownings.)

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This is looking north along Fingal Beach and I follow the track back through the bush.

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From this beach I look back and see the fisher man is still on his rock.

It is lunch time and after seeing a number of families enjoying picnic lunches it was time to go back to the car for my lunch.

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I smile as I follow along behind this couple walking hand in hand. They soon disappear as I stop to listen to the birds. Then I spot a couple of bush turkeys and stalk them trying to get a photo, but I’m having no luck with the bird photos today. So I take photos of some native flowers I see.

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I have no idea what these flowers are. They look like red bluebells!

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A park is on the other side of the red flowers BUT it is not the park I left “The Car” at. There are so many tracks going in all directions through the bush and I have not been taking any notice of the direction I was heading.

I am lost…

Fortunately it is not a large bush area. So I backtrack along the beach and eventually find where I came in. Phew, there is “The car”…

I decide to go back, in “The car” to the park of the red flowers as I had noticed picnic tables.

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I packed a picnic lunch as I was not sure if I would find any where to eat in Fingal. It was pleasant, an ibis joined me.

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And I was entertained by a mother and her 2 children as they examined an interesting wooden sculpture. Then played hide and seek. The little girl “hid” under a picnic table in full view, but Mum searched around for her and there was shrieks of laughter when she was “found”.

 The Tweed River flowed along the other side of the park so after lunch I wandered over.

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At last I caught some seagulls as they scattered before me.

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This looks a much safer way to fish.

Almost time to head home, it has been a great day. Then I hear singing and a guitar playing.

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I had to investigate. What an interesting place and live music too. The Sheoak Shack, this groovy café is located on the banks of the river, under the shade of a Sheoak Tree.

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It was so laid back and a small table in the sun called to me. So I ordered cappuccino and carrot cake and listened to Guy Kachel serenading us.

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This was the most delicious, moist carrot cake to end my day out with…

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I would like you to come along with me on Jo’s Monday walks. She has a dedicated group of cyber walkers who share their wanderings with us each week. Go here to join them.

Categories: Australia, Fingal Head, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, Ocean, photos | Tags: , , , , | 50 Comments

Bench Series : March #1 and a walk through Tyalgum

March is here.

I love March, the weather is not so humid, still hot, but bearable. Also in 2 weeks time we will be travelling again. I’m excited at the thought. AND it is my birthday month, actually Jack and I have our birthday on the same day so double the reason to celebrate.

Not having a car we have not been on many trips lately, but this weekend friends took us for a trip over the border to a small rural village with the strange name of Tyalgum. It is situated close to the rim of Mount Warning, the world’s largest extinct shield volcano.

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Mount Warning

There I found an old style village and benches every where, and they were all wooden. Excellent, as wooden benches is the theme for March.

Next door is a second-hand book shop.

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 I spy another bench…

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Interesting windows too. I love the colour. I’m sure Dawn of “Lingering Look at Windows” will like this one.

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Further along the street is “Flutterbies” I am gong to have a quick peek in here, it looks interesting.

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Did you notice the couple sitting outside having lunch? She had a very distinctive fashion style, very 1950’s.

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This village is famous for its Community Hall as the acoustics are excellent and every year a “Classical Music Festival” is held here in September.

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I enjoyed the day out in the country. Come for a stroll around with me. Here is a gallery of some of the other places around this village.

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Jude of “Travel Words” loves benches and she would like us to share any benches we find on our travels in her “Bench Series”, I hope you don’t mind Jude but this week I have combined the benches with Jo’s “Monday Walks“, and even slipped in a window for Dawn at “Lingering Look at Widows.”

Categories: bench series, Jo's Monday walks, Lingering look at windows, New South Wales, photos, Tyalgum | Tags: , , , , , , | 66 Comments

A Memorial to a Remarkable Woman

 

Margaret Olley

Margaret Olley

Margaret Olley was small and birdlike in stature but she was a giant in the art world. Her paintings of still life’s and interiors vibrated and glowed with warmth. Standing in front of them I could feel the atmosphere of a well-loved room.

The Yellow Room

The Yellow Room

In July 2011 she died at the age of 88 in her home in Sydney surrounded by her beloved art work and all her belongings. Painting to the very end she had just finished the last painting for another exhibition.

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(To see the photos click here)

Australia lost a treasured artist.

In her will she left her house and ALL her possessions to the Tweed Valley Art Gallery. Margaret loved this beautiful area where she was born and grew up.

The Tweed Valley

The Tweed Valley, dominated by Mount Warning, an extinct volcano, today covered in a smoke haze.

Overlooking the Tweed River

Overlooking the Tweed River

The Gallery decided to recreate the house inside the gallery, it has been a mammoth project. Firstly a new wing had to be built and rooms the exact shape and size of the Sydney house constructed inside the new wing.

The new Margaret Olley Art Centre added onto the existing Art Gallery

The new Margaret Olley Art Centre added onto the existing Art Gallery

But that was straight forward compared with the next task. Recreating the inside of the house and studio that Margaret called home. She was a collector, a hoarder and never threw anything away. Everywhere, on shelves, tables, the floor, she left the remains of the objects that had been subjects for her still life paintings. Dead flowers wilted in vases, colourful artificial flowers clustered among baskets of rotting fruit, ornaments picked up from op shops, tubes of paint, old paint brushes in recycled tins, canvasses and books stacked on the floor. It was cluttered splendour of a life’s dedication to art.

Every single item had to be catalogued, then a photo record taken of the position of ALL these “things” right down to the cigarette in the ashtray. Next the packing and transporting to the Tweed Gallery. That was just the start, now the challenge was to recreate the inside of the house exactly, lovingly and carefully.

3 years later in February 2014 the task was completed.

Now I am back home we drove,  with anticipation and two friends, to see this memorial wing to the art and times of Margaret Olley.

The entry doors to the Gallery, depicting Margaret Olley's art

The entry doors to the Gallery, depicting Margaret Olley’s art

What an amazing experience to be transported into the world of this exceptional artist.

The curtains show their age as they hang dilapidated and disintegrating

The curtains show their age as they hang dilapidated and disintegrating

Dawn of “a lingering look at windows” inspires us each week to show interesting windows we have found.

The original windows and doors added authenticity as I peered into this cluttered space. Classical music flowed from an old transistor radio perched among the tubes of paint.

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Look around, note all the “things”, over 20000 of them, that had been taken, piece by piece, photographed in place, then returned to the same spot to recreate this home that is redolent with the essence of a great and eccentric person who lived, breathed and created superb art works in this space. She said “this is my home, but first and foremost it is my studio”

In the bottom photo look carefully and you will see the small round table with a light over it. That is where Margaret would sit with her Masonite canvas balanced on her knee, resting on the table and that is how she painted.

.

 The kitchen is small, almost a cubby hole, but many dinners were created here in the past, she was a good and creative cook, but in later years she lost interest in cooking and visitors would bring their own food.

Follow round to the next window and there is the yellow room that features in so many of the paintings

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This is the last picture Margaret painted of the yellow room

This is the last picture Margaret painted of the yellow room

 Being a triptych it is also the largest she painted. Notice how very closely it resembles the yellow room in the photo above, that is how it was when she died.

A 45 minute  free gallery tour, with a very knowledgeable guide, highlighted the many unique aspects of the items on show, including stories and anecdotes from Margaret Olley’s rich and passionate life.

Now it was time for lunch. The café/restaurant has been enlarged and the views are superb from all the decks. The food matched the overall excellent standard of this world-class art gallery. Prawns in tempura batter and a light noodle and cucumber salad for me and Samosa in a crisp, light filo pastry and green salad for Jack.

The view across the Caldera valley.

The view across the Caldera valley.

The gallery had a number of other exhibits showing, all so different, but all needing time to study the techniques from realistic paintings of flora and fauna of this Tweed Valley Caldera area

Caldera Art 2014

Dailan Pugh
oil on canvas

to fascinating lino cuts featuring almost full size portraits of Captain Cook. The detail was unbelievable. I have tried very basic lino cuts at school as a 12/13-year-old and could understand how many hours of careful dedicated work had been put into these art works.

The Prince the Tiger and a Toad

“Rew Hanks is a Sydney based printmaker whose intricate linocuts are a combination of dry wit, satire and hard hitting imagery which engage social, political and environmental issues. His narratives are amongst the most complex and challenging in contemporary Australian printmaking.”

A collection of art work from children aged 5 to 12 with the brief to depict how they saw life in 500 years time. Very interesting interpretations.

In complete contrast another room held a rather sombre and macabre selection of print works that were the collaboration between artist, writer and print maker.

Hearsay Euan Macleod, Lloyd Jones and Ron McBurnie

“The works were created collaboratively in response to a fascinating story that Jones heard at a writer’s festival. The historic narrative described mass suicides by the members of Balinese royal houses, prompted by the arrival of Dutch ships on the horizon. “Seeing the end of the world as they had known it had apparently driven hundreds of people to walk en masse into the seas, and drown”, Jones writes.”

Finally I will leave Jack to describe his favourite part of the gallery. It was another very unique display and Jack joined in with the hands on interactive fun. Go over and see what he got up to.

This is a one of the best art galleries, outside the main cities, that we have visited and I would urge any one coming to this Goldcoast area to seek it out. It is not easy to find being tucked away behind the charming small town of Murwillumbah, but the drive to find it is worth the trouble, and can be even more of an adventure if you get lost, as all the scenery and villages around this Tweed Valley area are delightful.

Categories: Australia, Margaret Olley Art Centre, New South Wales, photos, travel, Tweed Valley Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

On the way home : Lingering Look at Windows

Only 3 kilometres along the coast from Trial Bay gaol is the charming little seaside town of South West Rocks. Our friends put it as a “must see” and recommended we definitely should visit it.

After the walk to the lighthouse and being immersed in gaol life all morning the time had flown round to 3-30pm, coffee time. First priority was to find some where open. A local bakery is always a good choice. We made it just as they were closing but they made a good coffee and we chose one of their home-made meat pies to sustain us.

I think we must’ve been all “photo’d” out. Do you ever get like that?  As walking around the small shopping area we just looked and didn’t take any photos. Then I spotted some windows and had to snap them. So here are a few window photos.

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I rather like this colour combination.

Then we walked round the corner and down to the beach. This apartment block was all windows.

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When we turned round it was just WOW what a view they have.

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With views like this my photography mojo was turned back on.

What a great place to sit and contemplate or meditate

What a great place to sit and contemplate or meditate

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I tried to catch that magical effect of the sun sparkling like diamonds on the ocean. I vaguely remember reading some where that there is a special expression used to describe this and it has a calming effect on the mind. Can any one out there tell me what it is?

It was a beautiful moment watching the swimmers enjoying the ocean.

So ends another interesting day, not many more days before we will be heading home to the Goldcoast.

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

G’day Dawn. I’m sneaking in a second post about windows this week.

Categories: Australia, Lingering look at windows, New South Wales, photos, South West Rocks, travel | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Another day, another outing. Let’s go to gaol

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There is so much beauty along this coast and it is also steeped in history.

“The cape was named Smoky Cape by Captain Cook when he passed it on 13 May 1770, writing of “a point or headland, on which were fires that Caused a great Quantity of smook, which occasioned my giving it the name of Smooky Cape”.[2] Smook was his usual spelling of smoke, the spelling for the cape now follows the modern spelling. The hills there were an important meeting place for aboriginal people from various surrounding areas, it’s possible Cook saw fires from such a gathering.[3]

A lighthouse was proposed for the cape in 1886 and completed in 1891. Known as the Smoky Cape Lighthouse it was built from concrete and local granite aggregate in an octagonal shape at the highest point on the cape.” (from Wikipedia)

Before walking up to the lighthouse we take a short stroll through the bush.

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A relaxing stroll

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“Smoky Cape Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Smoky Cape, a headland east of the town of South West Rocks, New South Wales, Australia, and within the Hat Head National Park. It directs boats towards the entrance to the Macleay River, which is located just to the north of the lighthouse.[2]

It is one of the last major lighthouse complexes designed by the New South Wales colonial architect of the time, James Barnet,[3] and was one of Australia’s last lighthouses to be designed for architectural excellence.[4] Standing on a granite headland 140 metres (460 ft) above the sea, its light is the highest in New South Wales.[5]“(From Wikipedia)

The path is steep but the views are spectacular.

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Looking North

Looking North

B&B cottages

B&B cottages

On the way up we pass these cottages. Staying here you would get fit walking up and down to your accommodation.

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From the top the view South is as stunning.

View South

View South

A short drive away is the Trial Bay Gaol.

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Step back in time and soak up the history and the amazing coastal views that surround it.

The gaol opened in 1886, after 13 years of construction. It must have been a strange feeling building a prison in such a beautiful setting. The prison labourers were there to construct a breakwater to make Trial Bay a safe harbour between Sydney and Brisbane. Unfortunately the scheme failed, however you’ll still be able to see the remains of the breakwater from the guard tower lookout. During World War I the gaol became an internment camp for people of German descent who were feared to be enemy sympathisers.

Today, this picturesque historic ruin stands as a testament to those who lived and died here, with a museum and memorial for visitors to get a better idea of life in those days.

That little dog is the back seat driver...

That little dog is the back seat driver…

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Very solid construction

Very solid construction

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These are the only inmates we saw and they seemed to have the run of the place.

Laying down on the job

Laying down on the job

I can imagine that back when this gaol was in operation it was one of the more liberal prisons, and what a million dollar location.

Time to head for home but we have one more stop on the way… to be continued

Categories: Australia, New South Wales, photos, Smoky Bay lighthouse, travel, Trial Bay goal | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

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