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25 Made Out Of Trees

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Rainworth Station, Springsure

Three historic buildings stand on a corner block on Rainworth Station, not far from Springsure. While one is on its original site the others were relocated in 1987 from an adjoining family property. All three are time capsules, telling stories of the people who used them.

The largest is the stone storehouse, constructed in 1862 from hand quarried basalt blocks. The corrugated galvanised iron roof, extending beyond the building to create a wide shady veranda, is supported by posts made from solid tree trunks. With an internal temperature much lower than that outside, the storehouse was designed to keep food fresh in a time when everything had to be stored for long periods.

With its thick stone walls and sturdy timber door, the building gained a reputation as a place of safety in case of attack. Even though it was never used for that purpose, it became known as Old Rainworth Fort. It has also been used as a magistrate’s office and a post office.

The two relocated buildings are Cairdbeign Homestead and Cardbeign School.

Cairdbeign Homestead, built between 1878 and 1880, is an excellent example of a slab hut construction typical of this period. Large slabs of timber were hand split and pieced together to create the walls and floor. With its seven rooms, this sturdy homestead was larger than most pioneer homes.

Cairdbeign School is the newest of the buildings. Dating from 1897, it was built by the local community because the school in Springsure was too far away. It is also a slab construction, although the neatly cut planks are a little more refined.

After the school closed the building became a community centre, frequently used for parties, dances and as a polling booth.

Even the old outside “dunnies” are built with timber slabs. Surrounded by a traditional post and rail fence, they probably have stories of their own to tell.

15 Ghosts of the Past

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Copperfield

In 1862 a solid wall of copper ore more than three metres high was discovered at a site just south of Clermont. Within months Queensland’s first copper mine opened and the township of Copperfield was established. At its peak more than 2000 people lived in the town, which was serviced by many businesses including six hotels.

Copperfield’s rapid development was followed almost as quickly by decline. In the mid 1880s copper prices in London plunged, demand slumped and the population dwindled as opportunities elsewhere beckoned.

Three lonely sites are all that survive of this once thriving township. The General Store, long ago closed, sits right beside Rubyvale Road. At one time it housed a small museum dedicated to the story of Copperfield and its residents.

A few kilometres further south, a brick chimney stack is all that remains of the Peak Downs Copper Mine. At the height of the boom, 22 chimneys like this stood sentinel over the minefield. Built of bricks handmade in Clermont and finished with a layer of powdered glass, the chimney shimmers in the sunlight.

The most moving of the three sites is the Copperfield Cemetery, where dozens of inhabitants were laid to rest from the 1870s to the early 1900s. Many of the historic graves are no longer identifiable but the cemetery is still maintained by the local shire council.

Imagine the stories these people could tell about their lives in the once prosperous town of Copperfield.

6 A Stand Out

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Lamberts Lookout, Mackay

There’s a great view from Lamberts Lookout. In one direction you can see south over Lamberts Beach, out to the Cumberland Islands and down to the Port of Mackay.

Windblown pandanus trees cling precariously to the rocky headland.

In the other direction, a painted water tower stands tall among the trees on Slade Point.

Painted in 2019, the mural on the water tower depicts red-tailed black cockatoos and humpback whales, famous for their annual winter migration from the Antarctic Ocean to these warm waters.

3 Sweet Treats

I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B.  The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.

Sarina

From a high vantage point, the Pioneer Valley resembles a sea of green. Tree-lined fields full of lush crops are surrounded by the densely forested mountains of the Clarke Range.

Down at ground level, the reason for the greenery is evident. The fields are full of sky high sugar cane.

The Sugar Shed in Sarina is the place to learn all about the cane industry.

The Plane Creek Mill, next door to the Sugar Shed, is one of five sugar mills in the Mackay district. It processes around 1.2 million tonnes of sugar cane each year.

There’s a collection of vintage cane harvesters and a miniature working mill, where the tour guide shows how the sugar cane is processed.

The best part of the tour is the tasting session. The Sugar Shed has its own distillery and produces a range of liqueurs. They also make jams, chutneys and sauces and visitors have the opportunity to taste them all.

They also make fairy floss, a frosted pink concoction of spun sugar.

It’s even tree-shaped!

The Streets of San Francisco

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

One day we rugged up against the cold and spent a few hours exploring the streets of San Francisco.

We started on Steiner Street at the beautiful “Painted Ladies”

before making our way along avenues lined with winter trees.

We walked down the stairs beside the hairpin turns of Lombard Street.

At the bottom we made an exciting discovery. We weren’t far away from the warming treats at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. A second visit was very welcome after a chilly day of walking!

Palace Romance

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

Fun fact #1: Mr ET and I first met at Caesars Palace!

I know what you’re thinking. What are the odds of two Australians from the same city meeting in a crowded casino in Las Vegas?

Don’t get too excited – it wasn’t that Caesars Palace.

In the early 1980s there was another Caesars Palace, a fancy downtown nightclub in our Queensland city. It was the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights – and that’s where we met.

More than 40 years after that very first meeting we found ourselves in the other Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and, with just a few days to go until our 38th wedding anniversary, it was the perfect venue for a celebratory dinner.

With the Emperor and his friends looking on we dined in style in the Forum on arancini balls, pasta carbonara and a delectable chocolate cake.

It was a once in a lifetime occasion.

Fun Fact #2: A few days later on our actual anniversary in San Francisco we celebrated again. At Golden Gate Park Mr ET promised me another memorable meal and he certainly delivered – hot dogs and cans of root beer from the hot dog van.

What a guy!

Telling Stories in Pictures

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

Many cities’ art galleries are full of works depicting the region’s history and culture and the city of Exeter in Tulare County, California is no exception. What makes Exeter’s gallery unique is the location – it’s outdoors!

More than 30 spectacular murals have been created on the walls of historic buildings in the city centre. Some are time capsules, showing street scenes from bygone days. Others portray the people of Exeter going about their daily work, both in the past and the present. The scenic Sierra Nevada mountains and their native flora and fauna are also featured.

Come with me for a walk along the streets of downtown Exeter to see some of these beautiful works of art.

Orange Harvest 1996: the first mural painted in Exeter

Exeter Road Race Circa 1916 2006: competitors prepare for a race through the streets of Exeter

Our Town, Circa 1925 1999: a sepia depiction of Pine Street

Yokuts Harvest 1997: Yokuts Indians harvest sour berries in spring

Timber Trail 2001: a mule train and wagons transport timber to Atwell Mill in the late 1800s

Golden Harvest 2000: farmers harvest a wheat crop circa 1915

Hometown News 2004: Staff busy at work in the Exeter Sun Newsroom circa 1920s

The People Behind the Label 2000: farmers harvest emperor grapes mid 20th Century

Packing Ladies 1997: Exeter Citrus Packing House circa 1950

Exeter Fruit Labels 1999: labels used by Exeter’s fruit packing houses

Mineral King “In Our Backyard” 2009: featuring the mountains of the historical Mineral King area

Poppies and Lupine 1998: California poppies and lupine grow beside the Kaweah River

Rocky Hill Guardina 2008: a mountain lion guards the entrance to a cave on Rocky Hill

One long mural honours those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Freedom Fighters 2010: dedicated to veterans in all branches of the armed forces

Freedom Fighters 2010

Another, taking up almost a whole city block, celebrates Exeter’s centenary.

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011 2011: Celebrating the city’s centennial with depictions of Pine Street circa 1911

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011

Every year since that first wall was painted in 1996 more murals are added to the collection. The tradition of visual story telling is alive and well in Exeter.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

In The Clouds

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

We knew there was a fabulous view out there – we just couldn’t see it.

At Hearst Castle, just 8 kilometres inland and 490 metres above sea level, we should have been able to see California’s central coast and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Not on this very foggy day – the view was hidden by thick cold cloud.

And while the mist may have obscured the view it enhanced the beautiful gardens surrounding the castle, giving them an ethereal feel.

The muted light of this overcast day accentuated the brilliant blue of the Neptune Pool and the swirling fog made the colonnades, winged figures and Roman temple seem almost mystical.

It was as if the sculpture by Charles Cassou depicting the birth of Venus was made for a day like this.

Inside, a second pool glowed even more than the Neptune Pool. Surrounded by spectacular mosaics, Murano glass tiles and gold leaf, the Roman Pool was also more lavish. The perfect reflections on the undisturbed water magnified its opulence.

The splendour of the pools was repeated in the gardens surrounding the house. Even in midwinter flowers bloomed in rich jewel colours.

We may have been denied the views from the top of the hill, but up close the scenery was spectacular.

30 Read the Signs!

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

We’ve come to our last day in USA! 

Our flight wasn’t leaving until just before midnight. We had one full day in LA so we booked a whistle-stop tour of the city’s highlights. From Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, the Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood, we saw it all. 

It was a thrill to see these famous places – many we’d read about or seen on TV. 

Even the street names were familiar.

We also had time for some last minute shopping – here…

and here, 

but not here!

29 Night Lights

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

When the sun went down the lights turned on at Santa Monica Pier.

And the best view of the night lights was from the top of the Pacific Wheel.