Sunday, 20 November 2011

North Stradbroke Island

Good News, Everyone: I finally remembered this blog when I was at home with time to spare!

A few months ago some friends and I went on a trip to North Stradbroke Island, as I'd been reading about the history of the island and wanted to check out a few things there. I took a plethora of photos and had intended to narrate the trip on this blog afterwards. Time has a habit of getting away from me however, and so here we find ourselves.

Our Trip Mascot, Sidney Dugong pines for the open sea.

Sidney getting in touch with his feminine side.
It's Dugongs all the way down!
After arriving, we walked through town and visited a few of the shops, where we found some giant, mutant strawberries, which were delicious despite their odd appearance. With apologies to Stephen Hawking, we then saw an opportunity for a photo opportunity. On the way there, the youngest of our group decided she wasn't quite ready to pass up an opportunity to use the playground facilities:

We passed a few museums and similar that are unfortunately closed on weekends, so I believe I will need to have a return trip sometime during the week when holidays allow, in order to visit these. Gratuitous photo time!

The old Docks.

The water is amazingly clear.

There were still a few attractions open on the weekend however, one of which is the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum - Open 10am - 2pm Tuesday to Sunday. If you're ever able to make it to North Stradbroke Island, I can't recommend it enough. It's a wonderful snapshot of the history of the island - from the history of the aborigines on the island through white settlement. There is also a pretty excellent section on Shipwrecks, of which there were many around the island in the early days.

For obvious reasons cameras are frowned upon inside the museum proper, but I did sneak a photo of this marvel outside the entrance:

Sperm Whale skeletons are a rare thing to wash up on Queensland beaches, and this specimen was found in the early 1990s by Queensland Museum, who have since loaned it permanently to this Historical Museum. The thing is awesome, and the photo simply doesn't give you any appreciation of how big it is.

Across the road from this museum is the war memorial to those poor devils from Stradbroke Island who went to all of the conflicts Australia has been involved in, and never came home again. Unfortunately none of the photos of this I took turned out well enough. Next to this memorial however is this behemoth of a tree:

Friends shown for scale.

Following this museum adventure, we proceeded south out of Dunwich, towards the beach, passing a few things on the way. One is the oldest Church on the island, built in 1907, from the time when the island served the colony of Moreton Bay (later Brisbane) as an Asylum and hospital for sufferers of Leprosy, and later a disease quarantine station for inbound ships. Unfortunately the photo of the church itself did not turn out. Bonus photo of the cutest little pony in somebodies front yard.


We were rather lucky on the day that we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves, despite there being a number of local houses bordering onto it. There exist also a number of cabins there which I imagine are used for school groups as a camping facility, and a small research station operated by the University of Queensland.
The track to the beach.

The snorkelling is pretty excellent.

Following a good few hours spend relaxing at this beach, we headed back into town to grab a late lunch at one of the local restaurants, before getting the Ferry back to the mainland.

All in all, a good day was had. There was another part of the trip that I want to go into more detail for, so I will do that up as a separate blog entry in the future. Until then!

Friday, 16 September 2011

An Apology, and "A day in the life - Friday!"

Oh, hello there. I promise that I haven't forgotten about this little blog of mine - I've merely been busy, both at work and otherwise. Regardless, we're all here now, so let us move on with the show proper!

Today began as many other days have of late: my alarm went off at 6am to remind me that I had committed to being at work for 7am. Forcing myself from the warm siren-song of my bed, I departed for work. I will not go into any detail of my work day, as I rather suspect you would all find it quite boring, and very few of the topics would make any sense out of context. However, on the way to work I did have the opportunity to capture the following via Instagram: 

Reluctant Sun: Taken at the intersection of Queen and Adelaide Streets.
I call it "Reluctant Sun" - For it appeared to me that the poor devil seemed as reluctant as I was myself to stir himself and commence with the duties of the day ahead. I'll place the original, unfiltered version at the end of this article, should anyone be interested.

Fast forward a few hours, and I find myself leaving work in the afternoon, on the way to catch up with (as the plan was at the time) three friends for dinner at Vapiano in Queen Street; Two from out of town, and my most recent partner-in-crime Yen-Rong. Unfortunately for all involved, the two flying in from out of town were delayed sufficiently as to not be able to make it for dinner as planned, due to some form of unexplained airline difficulty, after touchdown at Brisbane Airport. At any rate, photos!

Friday afternoon Flora - Retro Style.

Delicious Dinner!

So after a lovely dinner with the aforementioned partner-in-crime, we revisited of a shop we had investigated earlier in the week, within which was a shirt I was convinced to buy. Thus armored with my new purchase in hand and full belly, I departed for my next adventure: That being a quick drink with another friend whose Birthday was last week while she was out of town. Upon arriving at the Bar forming part of the Brisbane Festival setup at Southbank, the four of us in attendence noticed somethng rather odd within our circle of friends in the last few years: That I was the only one at the table with a smartphone of any kind. The other three all had some variation on the solid, wont-fail-even-if-you-throw-them-at-a-wall Nokia handsets of yesteryear. Surrounded by holdouts against this so called Smartphone Revolution, we reminisced over conquests and failures of that greatest of all Nokia phone games: Snake.

A relic of a nobler, departed decade: The 1990s.
My duties being discharged in this regard, I made my way to yet another friends house to acquire something for my trip tomorrow: Stay tuned for a future update to find out what, and to where I am going! Following this slight detour, I returned home. No sooner was I through the door however, than another friend from out of town - down from Cairns, in this case - issued the call to arms that they were in town, and that a catchup session was being instituted with immediate effect.

So as ordered, I reembarked again to a recently refurbished and renamed bar in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley - The Brunswick Social. This delightful place is rather likely to become my new favourite Friday afternoon spot. Being underground and able to see through windows to street level added a certain something excellent to the feel of the place. After locating the growing group of friends also answering the earlier call to arms, we acquired beverages of the Gin variety:

Gin: Best served with Palm Trees.

The bartender who served us these beverages also equipped us with the most adorable Palm Tree drink stirrers and cucumber slices. After spending an hour or so here with these friends, I excused myself and retreated home, where I then commenced with the composition of the very article you are now reading.

There you have it, folks - A morning and evening in the life of myself. If you'll excuse me, I am now going to embark on my final journey of the day: to sleep. Goodnight!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

In the News: Edition One

Of late there has been an issue that has received a considerable amount of press time here in Australia: That being impending legislation in the state of Victoria, which would grant Police Officers the power to issue on the spot fines for offensive language in public.

The media has of course jumped all over this issue, in the main portraying the State Police force as the executors of the "Nanny State", running hither and thither issuing fines to the masses for swearing. A not insignificant number of the articles I have read have used all the standard buzzwords that are dredged up the moment the Police are mentioned: Revenue Raising, Bullies, etc.

This entire story is the single biggest media blow up I can remember in recent years. The reality of the situation is that every state of Australia has laws concerning the use of "Offensive Language" in public. Victoria has had such laws in place since 1966. (Summary Offences Act 1966 s 17) The new laws being posed are also, in point of fact, nothing new: They are in essence merely making permanent existing powers that were granted to the Victorian police during a trial period between 2009 and 2010.

These new laws are not about fining you for an ejaculation of annoyance when you hit your thumb with a hammer, but rather about keeping some semblance of a standard of civil conduct in and around public places, as the above link explains in more detail. I'm sure that each and every one of you reading this has been in a situation like this before: You're out in the City - perhaps a major shopping mall - when someone is rambling by, quite possibly under the influence, howling profanities at all and sundry.

Some of my favourite comments that I've read on this issue are along the lines of "so much for a free country", and other variations on that same theme to do with free speech. It is worth noting at this point that Australia has absolutely no explicit guarantee of free speech - save only for political speech which is protected under common law.

While I personally do not reside in Victoria, I applaud the addition of these powers into proper law. I would also have no objections if Queensland, or indeed any other state of Australia were to table similar powers for adoption.

I think as a society we are far too free with profanity in general - that it is tolerated far too easily. If you are worried that you cannot express yourself in public without running afoul of the Police service, perhaps you should do yourself a favour and attempt to expand your vocabulary.


It is today the official first day of Winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, a time I look forward to greatly every year. I've always been more at home in the cold, which I'm told makes me quite odd, having been raised entirely within the confines of sunny Queensland. I suppose that fact makes me something of an odd one out in that regard, but I don't mind in the slightest. It's been getting swiftly colder for the last few weeks now.

I love this time of year since it allows me the chance to break out my fantastic warm jacket and other winter clothes. On that topic however, I have realised that having lost some weight over the intervening seasons, I will need to go shopping for new outfits. I fear that I shall need to impose on my more stylish friends (Jayne, et al) to ascertain where one may acquire suitable attire at a modest price.

Winter also gives me just the excuse I need to sit around at home of an evening with a good book in one hand, and a cup of Tea in the other. I have lately not been reading anywhere near as much as I usually would, probably due mostly to having to move to a new unit, and all the assorted tasks that go along with that most disruptive process - Not the least of which is packing everything you own into boxes, and then being unable to find things you need for weeks!

Bring on the Cold Weather!

Monday, 11 April 2011

If masonry could talk.

I’ve always had a soft spot for old things; be they traditions, language, heirlooms, artworks or otherwise. It was in point of fact these feelings, combined with my recent habit of listening to audiobook recordings of the literary works of bygone centuries (see a previous entry about Librivox), and love of the James Russell Lowell quotation above that first put me in the mind to start this blog.

On this topic, I'd like to share a thought I came up with a few months ago, after an afternoon walk through the streets of Brisbane:

“Old buildings marked established 1913 and the like still fill me with the same bright-eyed wonder today they did when I first beheld them as a child. You'd be surprised how often I wish to myself that masonry could talk.”

I have recently acquired a new camera on the advice of a friend - one Jayne Wong (of fame) - and have been latterly taking to the streets of Brisbane with it in hand to take photos of various things that strike me as impressive. I am however, still unfortunately a rank amateur in its usage, as I fear that the below photos will attest.


I often find myself daydreaming idly as I walk passed these buildings on a daily basis. They seem to me to have a grandeur and majesty that modern architectural constructions wholly lack. Take for example, Brisbane City Hall. City Hall has a number of magnificent features; an auditorium based on the design of the Pantheon in Rome, a 4600-pipe organ built in 1892, and bronze lion sculptures outside modelled after those in Trafalgar Square, London. There is also the wonderful clock tower surmounting the building, playing a rendition of the Westminster Quarters, able to be heard many blocks away on a good day. 

I bring up City Hall specifically as it has in recent times been in the news in Queensland for suffering from a number of structural problems, subsidence and the like. I received a phone call from a research company running a survey of various things in Brisbane City on Sunday, and one of the questions was to do with being aware of the Brisbane City Hall restoration project, currently under way. The next was to gauge my opinion on if I believed that City Hall deserved to be saved and restored - to which I replied yes in the strongest terms.

External Links:

Brisbane City Hall Restoration Project - -
Brisbane City Hall -
Westminster Quarters -

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Audiobooks, oh my!

I thought I would start this small corner of the internet off by mentioning an online community I've been visiting frequently of late - this being Librivox. (

I first encountered the Librivox site shortly after first discovering the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and looking for more information on the Cthulhu Mythos stories for which he is renowned. At the outset I was simply delighted to find a collection of multiple hours worth of his works recorded into mp3 format and ready to go. (Link) It just so happened that I was searching for something to occupy myself during the interminable twice-daily bus trips to which I was at the time accustomed, so this discovery on my part was welcome indeed.

So I proceeded to download this collection, and copied it to my iPhone to enjoy on my trips to and from work. Thoroughly enjoying the efforts of the volunteers, as I realised they were from the disclaimer inserted at the beginning of each recording, I resolved to visit the site myself and understand more about how this community.

The members of this community have taken upon themselves an ambitious goal. If I may quote their stated objective: "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet." I have always been passionate about reading, and so I read about exactly how they expected to undertake this task. I quickly found myself in concert with their stated mission of being an independent, not-for-profit volunteer group, whose members have recorded many works of fiction, poetry, etc. in a significant number of languages.

Since this first experience with Librivox, I personally have enjoyed a number of their recordings. As mentioned, I swiftly devoured the collected PD works of H. P. Lovecraft, and have latterly moved on to those singularly excellent works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The various stories featuring none other than Sherlock Holmes. I have also recently purchased a new pair of headphones, such that I might personally contribute in some small way to this community with which I find myself so enamoured.