Posts Tagged With: Western Australia

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. 

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

A to Z Challenge : U for Ukulele

Jack's prized possession.

Jack’s prized possession.

 

In the past year we have discovered an amazing sub-culture of musicians, the ukulele lovers.

Ukulele, I thought, are the poor relations of the string instruments. Has there ever been a concerto for ukulele, do you see rock bands having a jam session with a ukulele in the group? The image of the ukulele is an Hawaiian island,  sand, sun and palm trees and graceful locals dressed in  grass skirts swaying to the sound of a ukulele.

But for me that image has changed dramatically. Jack’s son gave him a ukulele as a present a year ago and it has opened up a whole new set of friends. Ukulele groups can be found everywhere.

Geraldton Ukulele Gropp

Geraldton Ukulele Group preparing for a sing-along.

Once a week they welcome in to the fold any one who would like to strum along. Suddenly we have found owning a ukulele opens a whole new world. Check on YouTube and you will find lessons and tutorials and very talented musicians using the ukulele to play every thing from classical to jazz.

Alan is the leader and organizer of the group and a very talented musician

Alan is the leader and organizer of the group and a very talented musician

Jack just keeps practising.

Jack just keeps practising.

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 Frizztext organizes the A to Z  challenge each week and this week it has arrived at “U”. 21 weeks have whizzed by since the start of this challenge. I’m constantly amazed at the variety of subjects that appear each week. Click here to find what they are all up to.

Categories: A to Z Challenge, Australia, Geraldton, photos, Ukulele, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Mullewa Meander : Walking with Jo

Another drive, inland this time, to Mullewa. This is the centre of the wildflower country, but being the start of winter the flowers are still all tucked up and waiting for the warmth of spring, then they will burst out in glorious, riotous colour.

Now the fields are sown, the rain has fallen, and the crops are also waiting for warmer weather

Now the fields are sown, the rain has fallen, and the crops are also waiting for warmer weather

It is an hours drive along a good road, that is if we don’t spot some thing of interest.

Now this looks interesting. Let's take a look...

Now this looks interesting. Let’s take a look…

Kojarena Chapel

Kojarena Chapel

Round a bend and tucked in among the gum trees is this delightful small chapel. Another house of God designed and built by the architect priest John Hawes.

In 1934 the devout Catholic O’Brien family donated a block of land on their farm so this “little sanctuary of God” could be built. Locals helped with fund-raising. This simple but pleasing structure truly fitted into the surrounds.

Sadly the chapel was closed in 1982, due to lack of priests and the ease of getting to Geraldton for mass. It started to deteriorate. Again the O’Brien family came to the rescue, some of the 58 grand children of Maggie O’Brien, raising money for the restoration and organising working bees from the extended clan.

Lovely metal sculpture of Monsignor Hawes visiting his parishioners.

Lovely metal sculpture of Monsignor Hawes visiting his parishioners.

The information boards give a picture into a gentle world long gone.

The information boards give a picture into a gentle world long gone.

The road was long and straight and ran beside the rail track. Numerous trains with an uncountable number of wagons rolled past heading to the port at Geraldton to deposit their cargo. Then back the other way empty. Not sure what the cargo was, maybe iron ore, maybe the wheat from the last harvest that is stored around the countryside in huge silos.

Jack snapped this photo of a train as it came toward us

Jack snapped this photo of a train as it came toward us

It is Sunday but still they are working 24/7 to keep the economy rolling along.

Another eye catching metal sculpture.

Another eye-catching metal sculpture.

What a harsh life it would be for these pioneer women.

What a harsh life it would be for these pioneer women.

Finally we arrived at Mullewa. The town was deserted, it was Sunday, a couple of campervans drove around the streets looking for some thing to do. I had brought along a picnic and we sat in a small park watching the antics of a family of crows.

Filled and fortified it was now time for a walk. The Hawes Heritage Trail beckoned.

The start of the trail

The start of the trail

The trail started at the heritage Town Hall building

The trail started at the heritage Town Hall building. Notice the metal dog?

The trail winds past 11 way stations each one detailing the life of a remarkable man.  Hawes was an astonishing character, a man of dramatic contradictions and fascinating passions, and the life he lived could be truly said to be unique. (click here to read more)

The trail is marked by these arches featuring the colours and design used in the Geraldton Cathedral

The trail is marked by these arches featuring the colours and design used in the Geraldton Cathedral

It took a while to reach the church the information at the way stations made interesting reading.

Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church

Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church

 

Round the side, it is beautifully proportioned

Round the side, it is beautifully proportioned

 

Even though it was Sunday the doors were locked. It had been open at 9am for mass. I would love to look inside.

Even though it was Sunday the doors were locked. It had been open at 9am for mass. I would love to look inside.

Look at the meticulous detail

Look at the meticulous detail

 

It had been an enjoyable Sunday drive. (Remember the days back in the 1960’s, when petrol was cheap and plentiful, cars were big and spacious and every Sunday the family would pack a picnic and go for a Sunday drive?) The walk had been informative. We have now seen the 3 major churches John Hawes had designed and built in this area, plus the Kojarina chapel. Here is the post about the other churches.

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The walk had only been a short one. To see longer and varied walks wander over to Jo’s blog. This week she takes you for a fascinating stroll along the river in Poland. You may like to put on your walking shoes and join in.

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, Jo's Monday walks, Mullewa, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 28 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

Lingering Look Through a Window into the Past

looking through to a by-gone era.

looking through to a by-gone era.

 

Museums are marvellous places, they take us back to times gone-by and show us how it used to be. The big city museums are usually rooms with different collections of all things. But I love discovering the small country museums lovingly put together and researched by the local community. Quite often they are in a heritage building that has been thoughtfully restored.

When we turned into the drive to “Home Cottage” it was like going back to the 19th century. The home  built  by John Maley in 1860 for his new bride Elizabeth Waldeck as a small 4 room cottage, soon had to be extended as the family grew to 14 children. As the most impressive building in the area and John being a successful business man, known by all as “King of Greenough Flats”,  it soon became the social centre for the community of Greenough.

Home Cottage built 1862 with the help of convict labour.

Home Cottage built 1862 with the help of convict labour.

For me the true heroine of this story is Elizabeth, his wife.

An amazing woman

An amazing woman

Cast your mind back to this era, no modern conveniences, no supermarket, Perth, the nearest city almost 500 kilometres away and transport to get there was horse and cart.

Can you imagine how Elizabeth coped? 14 children, constant visitors calling in, a huge house to maintain and a garden to look after. She did have one maid servant, but reading Elizabeth’s diary (on display in the museum), the maid was quite lazy and uncooperative. No doubt the children had to do their share of the chores. Often John had to be away to look after other business concerns and Elizabeth would be left for days on her own and in those times, as well as usual chores, there was the added burden of running the flour mill that was on the property.

A botanist friend would visit regularly and he planted the beautiful pepper trees dotted around the property and giving much-needed shade. So come with me into the world of Elizabeth and John circa 1800’s.

The large, mature pepper trees provide much needed shade for the back of the house.

The large, mature pepper trees provide much needed shade for the back of the house.

Enter through the small door and suddenly you are in a world were every thing you do is hard work. To provide a meal means first of all growing the vegetables, killing and curing the sheep, beast or chicken, baking the bread, which is an all day task, chopping the wood for the wood-burner stove. Hopefully there has been enough rain to fill the tanks, but it will need heating for washing duties.

Wood-burner stove with the bread oven alongside

Wood-burner stove with the bread oven alongside

A table with a history

A table with a history

Information about the table

Interesting information about the table

What resourceful people the pioneers were, and what a beautifully crafted table this is. A table this large would be needed for the family. I can imagine the happy times shared around this table, the laughter and chatter at meal times.

Times were hard but in a small tight-knit community they would make their own entertainment. There would always be a friend or neighbour to help.

Old style irons

Old style irons

Ironing was another essential chore, non-iron fabrics were not invented and cottons, calico and wool needed washing and then ironing.

The iron bark clothesline

The iron bark clothesline

 

Essential sewing machine, all clothes had to be hand made

Essential sewing machine, all clothes had to be hand made

Finally the days chores would be finished and time to go to bed.

Be careful these stairs are very narrow and steep.

Be careful these stairs are very narrow and steep.

The old wire mesh bed-stead

The old wire mesh bed-stead

I remember my Mother had one of these bed bases with an old horse hair mattress. It made a great trampoline for a 5 year old girl, but it was very saggy to sleep on.

The children's beds

The children’s beds, the quilts would be hand made too. When would they find the time?

Time to get up as the morning sun shines in the window

Time to get up as the morning sun shines in the window

Look out to see what the weather will be. No radio to tell you what to expect

Look out to see what the weather will be. No radio to tell you what to expect

In 1888 disaster struck this area. It was a Sunday in February, a normal mid-summer day, the sun beat down and the heat was oppressive. Unbeknown to this community a huge deluge of rain fell in the mountains a long way up north. Within hours the Greenough river was a roaring torrent With no communication systems to warn them, the first indication of danger was the roar of the river. Imagine the horror as the Greenough Flats became a huge lake 48 kilometres long and 5 metres deep in parts. 4 people drowned and houses, crops and stock were destroyed.

Home Cottage and the flour mill were not affected. Elizabeth provided shelter and food to many of the homeless families. The photos and accounts of this disaster were heart breaking to read about.

John Maley’s biggest losses came about by the many farmers that owed him money not being able to repay their debts after the flood had wiped them out. Many families moved away after the flood, some going to the gold fields, others starting up in other agricultural areas. John had to sell off many of his business ventures.

Finally a walk down the garden path took us to the “Dunny”, no plumbing and inside loos back then. But this is no ordinary Dunny.

Now would you want to share???

Now would you want to share???

Notice the newspaper hanging on the peg on the wall?

I can still remember in the 1940’s, as a child in England, using the newspaper for toilet paper. We did not have an outside dunny, but times were hard after the war. 

The museum was established in 1966 by the Geraldton Historical Society then purchased by the local council in 1971. It is now managed by the Community Group of Greenough. Part of the house is still occupied by a manager, and as we left he called out to us

“Take a walk down to the river, it’s not often we see it with water running in it”

Take care, we could hear the roaring as we approached.

Take care, we could hear the roaring as we approached.

You can see part of the road is washed away

You can see part of the road is washed away

 

This was only caused by quite a minor rainfall that we have had over the past 10 days. I can only imagine what it was like in 1888.

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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 windows I found at the museum.

 

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

A Walk in a Heritage Garden

The farmer’s prayers were answered. After a week of very welcome showers turning into heavy rain, waking up to grey skies each morning, it finally changed. Sunday and “Mother’s Day” dawned with clear blue skies.

Time to explore.

25 kilometres south of Geraldton is the heritage hamlet of Greenough. Situated on the fertile flood plains and near the mouth of the Greenough River, close to the ocean. During the 1860’s it became a thriving agricultural area. Initially farming was easy but primitive agricultural techniques, lack of fertilizing and the scourge of rust disease on the wheat crops, combined with droughts, fires and floods led to the area’s decline. Settlers moved out and the fine buildings fell into disrepair.

Fortunately the cultural and heritage value was recognized in the 1970’s and a dedicated group of people have made the enormous effort to save some of these beautiful buildings. Today it is a pleasure to wander around and admire a by-gone age.

First stop was the impressive “Home Cottage” now a museum.

Home Cottage built 1862 with the help of convict labour.

Home Cottage built 1862 with the help of convict labour.

In preparation for his wedding John Maley built this house for his new bride. Originally a 4 room cottage it was extended as the family fortune grew along with the number of children. Elizabeth had 14 children.

The house is now a museum. The exhibits, photos and stories take you back to an era when life was hard, no modern appliances. But family and friends shared a strong bond of helping and caring. I will take you through the house in the next post as this time I want to walk you through the garden.

What a pleasure it was, so much love and care has been put into this garden to show you how it used to be.

The large, mature pepper trees provide much needed shade for the back of the house.

The large, mature pepper trees provide much-needed shade for the back of the house, and a seat is handy to take a rest.

 

Along the side path towards the veg garden

Along the side path towards the veg garden

 

Another seat under another pepper tree.

Another seat under another pepper tree.

 

Welcome to Elizabeth's garden.

Welcome to Elizabeth’s garden.

 

Open the gate and in we go to the veggie patch.

Open the gate and in we go to the veggie patch.

 

What a good idea

What a good idea

 

Now this is an idea I am going to take home with me. Can you see how it works? The barrel is filled with compost and horse manure, holes cut in the sides and plastic pipes put in to plant the seedlings in. Great for herbs when stood in full sun, and very easy to water and care for.

The scarecrow

The scarecrow

Of course any serious veggie patch must have a scarecrow. Oops this fellow needs his pants pulling up.

Maybe Jack will pull them up...

Maybe Jack will pull them up…

That rosemary smelt divine and helps keep pests away. Notice the stakes used as supports for vines and the stones used to create raised garden beds.

Love the rustic look.

Love the rustic look.

Recycling at it's best

Recycling at it’s best

The hanging baskets of strawberries have a good place to hang and keep away from pests.

This is a community garden.

This is now a community garden.

The shade house in the background was used for seedlings and propagating cuttings. In another corner they had a compost heap. Nothing was wasted. It has been a very hot, dry summer but now the autumn rains have arrived the garden is starting to come back to life. Lots of new seedlings coming along.

The iron bark clothesline

The iron bark clothesline

Do you remember these old style clothes line? My Mother had one in the back garden in England in the days before rotary clothes-lines (Hill’s Hoists in Australia) and clothes drying machines.

Next post I will show you some of the interesting things I found inside the house.

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I have joined Jo’s cyber walk-about group. Each week Jo invites us to take a walk in our areas and show the group where we have been.

Jo has been in Poland and this week she has taken us for a walk in the country side of this interesting country. Click here to join her.

Categories: Australia, Greenough, Jo's Monday walks, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 25 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

Lingering look at windows and Architecture : 1 Church, a Cathedral and a Convent

It’s been a few weeks since I posted some windows but around this area of Western Australia in the 1800’s lived an architect turned Catholic priest. His love was designing and creating houses of God.  

St Francis Xavia Cathedral

St Francis Xavia Cathedral

What a magnificent building this is. Walk inside and it is quite a unique design. It is a byzantine style of architecture.

St Francis Xavia Cathedral

It has an Egyptian feel.

It has an Egyptian feel.

A closer look at the window

A closer look at the window

More stained glass windows

More stained glass windows

Another church designed by Father John Dawes is in the town of Northampton, 50 kilometres north of Geraldton and yesterday we drove there for a look around.

St Mary's in Ara Coeli

St Mary’s in Ara Coeli

 

This small window was round the back.

This small window was round the back.

The late afternoon sun highlights the beautiful colour and texture of the stones. Unfortunately the door was locked. I can only imagine the inside of this smaller church would be charming.

Chapman drive Northhampton pc sx35 075_2632x3672 

Next door to this church a convent had been built. Later it became a budget boarding house and now stands empty waiting for some one to decide what to do next with it.

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Convent of the Sacred Heart

 

Chapman drive Northhampton pc sx35 081_4000x3000

That door looks very interesting I think I will go for a closer look

The detail is beautiful

The detail is beautiful

 

I still have to see the church at Mullewa, but that will be another days outing.

I still have to see the church at Mullewa, but that will be another days outing.

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Dawn of “The Day After” hosts 2 challenges. “Lingering look at windows” is a weekly challenge and the “Lingering Look at Architecture” is a monthly challenge. (go to the links for more details)

Forgive me Dawn, I am cheating a bit this week as I am using the one post for both challenges.

Categories: Australia, Geraldton, Lingering look at windows, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

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