New Farm Park, Brisbane

Monday, November 20, 2017

THE AUSTRALIAN STANDING STONES

In the small country town of Glenn Innes in the highlands of northern NSW there is a collection of standing stones. Unlike the mysterious ancient ones found in England and elsewhere, we know when these were erected, who put them there, why they were put there and what they mean.
The Standing Stones began as an idea of a small group of people who wanted to mark Glen Innes' Celtic heritage, where the first settlers mainly Scots arrived in 1838. In our bi-centenial year 1988, the Celtic Council of Australia developed the idea of erecting a national monument to honour all Celtic peoples who helped pioneer Australia. The Standing Stones was inspired by the Ring of Brodgar in Scotland.
John Tregurtha, a pharmacist delegated to build the array. Lex Ritchie, a tourist officer and expert bushman spent three months scouring the bush for suitable stones. Each stone had to be 5.5 metres in length and they weighed approx 17 tonnes. Only three stones could be found in their natural state the others had to be split from larger rocks. Local alderman, George Rozynski, who worked on the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme used his knowledge of splitting rocks without using explosives. He and another alderman, Bill Tyson spent many months drilling rocks and inserting a special compound, which split the rocks over night. It took another six months for Bob Dwyer and businessman Ted Nowlan using a 12 ton fork lift and heavy moving equipment to transport the rocks to Centenary Park.

The Standing Stones are comprised of 40 monoliths. there is a circle of 24 representing 24 hours of the day. There are 3 central stones, 4 cardinal stones marking North, South East and West and seven stones marking the Summer and Winter solstices. They are probably the first of their kind built anywhere in the world for 3500 years.
From above  the five stars of the Southern Cross are formed by the 4 cardinal stones and stone number 17 inside the circle on the path of the summer solstice dawn. The 4 cardinal stones and the circle also form the Celtic Cross the symbol of the early Christian Church.
The three central stones. One is The Australia Stone, one is The Gaelic Stone and one is The Brythonic Stone

Looking down the avenue of 6 stones, which are aligned with the suns beams, marks the dawn of the winter solstice.

There is also an Excalibur that is stuck in the rock where visitors can try their luck at removing it.

There are many more special stones, The Gaelic Stone, The Cornish Stone, The Gorsedd Stone and the heaviest stone at 38 tonnes is The Irish Stone.

The stones have been sponsored by families, businesses and councils to help pay for the cost of construction. The Stones  are the home of the annual Australian Celtic Festival, where clans, groups and artists come from all over the country and the world to take part in a huge variety of celtic activities. I would love to see that but the accommodation is booked out a year ahead. It was nice being with very few visitors at sunset.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

BIRTHDAY BEAR GETS TIPSY

We celebrated Ann's birthday at the Digger's Servicemen's Club in Logan Central. Birthday Bear was already there with three cocktail glasses lined up ready to be filled. (If you are not familiar with our Birthday Bear tradition click here).
Ann recently had a trip to Fiji with George, Helen and Helen's DIL. While relaxing in the resort, they all enjoyed trying the array of different flavoured and coloured cocktails. Bear is keen to join Ann in enjoying one now and then but today Bear is going all out and having three. She is dressed in her Fijian dress, sandals and a beautiful flower coronet, the same like Ann was presented with while she was in Fiji.
 Ann is taste testing the cocktail before giving it to Bear.


 Helen helped Bear get dressed for the occasion.

We all enjoyed the meals while Bear got tipsy.
(L to R: Bear, Helen, Chris, Bob, George, Bill, me, Mary and Ann.) 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

OVER THE RANGES

After spending a few days in Grafton we followed the Gwydir Highway over the ranges to Glenn Innes. It took just over two hours driving through beautiful National Park scenery. 
We drove through the beautiful Jacaranda arbor of Ryan Street as we left Grafton. 

 The road was steep and wriggled through rainforest.

 We turned off the highway and drove a short distance to Raspberry Lookout. (Named after a spur used by aborigines and stockmen) in the Gibraltar Range National Park.
 We could see over the top of the Great Dividing Range, which runs all the way down the eastern side of Australia, dividing the coastal areas from the inland areas.

 We pulled into the lovely country town of Glenn Innes, settled by the Celts in the 1800's. We found our very comfy B&B which I had booked before we left home.

 It had a dining/lounge room, a little kitchen and a big bedroom and lounge with big glass windows looking out to a beautiful garden.





 There was free champagne in the fridge.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

BRIDGING A FRIENDSHIP

When we were visiting Grafton, we were so lucky to meet a blogging friend, Karen from "Pieces of   Contentment". I have always admired her photographs, her quilts and the stories about her big family. She is so calm and "content" and yet she doesn't have an easy life. She is an inspiration. It was a convenient coincidence, that without knowing, I had booked a B&B in the same street as where she lives. One afternoon, Karen took us for a walk which took us over Grafton's iconic double decker bridge.
Photo taken from the WWW.
 The bridge was opened in 1932. It has a pedestrian walkway on both sides of the lower level.


 It has a rail track on the bottom level and a two way road on the upper level, with a very tight bend where the road accesses the city. It is very narrow and very tricky to navigate if a BW truck is coming the other way, as it needs both lanes to turn the corner.

 There is also the town's water pipeline on the lower level.

 From the bridge we could see the ever beautiful Jacaranda trees and ...

the usually peaceful Clarence River .

 But at the moment a new bridge is being constructed and not before time. There is a lot of congestion on the road trying to get onto the bridge.

We walked a short way along the bank of the river, where we saw two big yellow tailed black cockatoos high up in a tree. I like the yellow spots on its cheeks.

My lovely blogger friend and now a real life friend, Karen. She showed us the gorgeous Fig Tree avenue.



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

MORE THAN TREES

The country town of Grafton is situated in the northern part of NSW. It is famous for it tree lined streets and it's Jacaranda Festival. (see last post). However, there is more to see there than the trees.
When we were there we had dinner on a hotel deck overlooking the Clarence River. It had been a very hot day so I guess this dog was enjoying a cool off. Naturally, the river is used for a lot of recreation sports and activities.

The next day we decided to check out some of the historic buildings in the town.
The Northern Rivers County Council

But you can't get far without noticing the street trees. 
This is a White Fig Tree. (Ficus virens)

Besides old commercial buildings there were many gorgeous old residences. Country towns seem to have avoided the bulldozers knocking down old buildings to make way for new ones.

We didn't get much further because this is Shaeffer House Museum, where we mooched around and learnt more about the history of Grafton.

It was built by F.W.C. Shearer in 1900 for his family. He was the first city architect for Grafton. Later the house was turned into flats but in 1966, the Grafton Council bought the house and it is now the home of the Clarence River Historical Society. The house was restored to its early glory and houses many artefacts.


The original wall paper was found underneath many others.





I also learnt there who was responsible for planting all the beautiful trees in Grafton. It was Henry Volkers, 1835 - 1911. He was born in Germany and arrived in Sydney in 1856. He moved to Grafton and in 1871 opened a shop. He advertised himself as a seedsman, florist and practical gardener. He planted many of the trees which adorn the streets of Grafton including the Jacarandas.

Jacarandas line most streets but look at the end of the street on the left there are huge fig trees.

Ficus microcarpa line this street nicknamed Fig tree Avenue. It is an amazing sight.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

TICK OFF ONE MORE PLACE ON THE BUCKET LIST

I have always wanted to visit the country town of Grafton during its Jacaranda Festival to see the beautiful tree lined streets that I had seen in many photos. So I organised a short road trip taking in Grafton, Glen Innes and Warwick. Grafton is 340 km south of Brisbane in New South Wales. Grafton is the seat of Local, State and Federal Governments administration centre. It sits on the banks of the big Clarence River. It was established in 1851 and it still has many historic buildings.

Our Bed and Breakfast house was one of those. It is a heritage listed federation style old house.
 The evening we arrived we went exploring the streets and parks to photograph the beautiful Jacaranda Trees in the golden light.

 I had stuffed up my settings on the camera so they are not sharp. So the next morning we did it all again. There were so many streets lined with the beautiful trees.






The flowers were starting to fall to make a purple carpet throughout the town.