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Namesake

Girraween National Park, Queensland

Do you ever think about how or why places are named? At Girraween National Park in southern Queensland, the reason for some place names is more obvious than others.

The designation of Underground Creek is self-explanatory, as the tannin stained water disappears beneath an ancient rockfall. The creek might be hidden from view, but it can be heard trickling between the granite boulders before it emerges further downhill.

Girraween is an Aboriginal word meaning “place of flowers”. In late summer, drifts of golden paper daisies brighten the bush while delicate fringed lilies bloom close to water.

It’s logical to assume that Dr Roberts’ Waterhole was named for a local personality, but it’s only at the end of the track his story is revealed.

The wide sandy path leading to the waterhole winds through open eucalpyt forest. Huge slabs of granite, laid down as magma 240 million years ago, are revealed where the topsoil has been eroded by wind and rain.

At the end of the track a panel explains the conservation work of Dr Roberts, and the reason for honouring him becomes clear.

After good summer rainfall, the waterhole is full. A light breeze sends ripples across the surface, blurring the sky’s reflection.

I wonder how many times Dr Roberts visited this waterhole in his wanderings. I think he would be delighted that this beautiful place bears his name.

 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Brought Back To Life

Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre, Warwick, Queensland

On the drive towards Warwick along the New England Highway, the scenery is beautiful. On the eastern side, the forested mountains of Main Range National Park rise abruptly from the land. To the west, the fertile plains of the southern Darling Downs extend all the way to the horizon.

Not far from Warwick, this spectacular vista is interrupted as an elegant two storey house comes into view. Glengallan Homestead has stood here, surrounded by farmland, since 1867. Built by Scottish pastoralist John Deuchar and his wife Elizabeth, the house was once known as the most elegant in the colony. But in 1949, after passing through the hands of several owners, the homestead was left unoccupied. Exposure to the weather began to take its toll, with some sections of the veranda collapsing and water leaking inside. In 1993 a project to restore the homestead began; grants and donations allowed an army of volunteers to rebuild the home before it was opened to the public in 2002.

The exterior walls of the house are made of huge blocks of sandstone excavated locally. Deep verandas on the ground and first floors shelter the interior from both the high temperatures of summer and cold winter winds.

Inside, the building has been restored just enough for visitors to visualise its former glory. The house tells its own story though, with deterioration caused by decades of neglect not completely covered up. In some rooms, the original construction methods are visible.

The garden too is a mere remnant of what once existed. A wide curving drive originally led to a tennis court and extensive orchard. All that remains is the rose garden and, like the house, its faded beauty tells of a much grander past.

Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre are open 10am to 4 pm Wednesday to Sunday.

#27 Spending Time with Vincent

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border into New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

 Brisbane QLD, December 2021

After starting 2021 in Brisbane, we ended the year there as well. Again, we were there for a special exhibition. This time it was an exhibition with a difference at the Grand Pavilion in Northshore, Hamilton.

Van Gogh Alive, a multi-sensory extravaganza of light, sound and colour, featured the beautiful works of Vincent Van Gogh. After visiting 65 cities around the world, the exhibition came to Brisbane in October.

More than 3,000 images of Vincent’s paintings, drawings and writing were projected onto huge screens inside the pavilion in a 45 minute display, accompanied by music and animations. We stayed for almost two hours, enjoying the visual spectacle of Vincent’s art on this grand scale.

Did you spot the very peculiar image of us, looking short and squat, captured in a mirror?

#18 The Launch Pad

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

 Eungella QLD, May 2021

After driving up the long, winding road from the Pioneer Valley to the top of the Great Dividing Range, the first building we came to was the Eungella Chalet.

The chalet has long been famous for its spectacular views of the valley and its delicious Devonshire Teas.

We weren’t quite sure why these motorbikes were parked in this strange location at the edge of the escarpment. And the thought of leaping off this launch pad strapped into a hang glider was quite freaky.

It wasn’t enough to put me off my afternoon tea though!

#16 Meet Buffy

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

 Sarina QLD, May 2021

In 1935, 102 cane toads were introduced to Northern Australia by the sugar cane industry in an effort to control cane beetles. This attempt at biological control was a dismal failure, as the beetles live high in the leaves of the sugar cane and the toads live on the ground.

As an imported species with no natural enemies, the toads quickly multiplied and became invasive pests. Today, it’s estimated there are up to 200 million toads across northern Australia. Sadly, they secrete a substance called bufotoxin which is lethal to any native animals coming in contact with it.

With all its negative publicity, it was surprising to find this giant sculpture of “Buffy” the cane toad in the main street of Sarina. The town is the centre of a large cane growing district and Buffy was originally constructed as part of the Sarina Sugar Festival in 1983.

This depiction of a cane toad is quite flattering – the real ones are very ugly.

#7 At the Station

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Wallangarra QLD, February 2021

At first glance the railway station at Wallangarra, with its 19th century architecture and its red and cream paintwork, looks like any other country train station in Australia.

A closer inspection reveals some unconventional characteristics which make this station unique. While it’s not unusual for a station to have a platform on either side, at Wallangarra they have different roof styles.

The reason for this peculiar design goes back to the days before Federation, when there were six separate British colonies. Each was self-governed, with its own laws and taxes. Each had its own railway gauge and even the postage stamps were different.

Located on the Queensland/New South Wales border, the station at Wallangarra catered for trains from both colonies. Plaques on the platform tell the story.

When the building was constructed, the standard design for Queensland train station platforms was a curved bull nose roof while in New South Wales all the platforms had skillion roofs. The border between the two colonies bisected the platform so Wallangarra Railway Station was given one of each.

On the New South Wales side the wider gauge track heads south towards Tenterfield,

while the narrow gauge on the Queensland side marks the start of the journey to Brisbane.

A  national standard gauge track was introduced in the 1920s and a new railway line linking Kyogle in New South Wales to Brisbane in Queensland was built. While the Wallangarra line was no longer needed for interstate travel, the station was a vital transport link in the defence of Australia during World War Two.

The railway to Wallangarra continued to be used for freight services until the New South Wales line closed in 1988 and the Queensland line closed in 2007.

Today the heritage listed station houses a small museum and a café in the Railway Refreshment Rooms, with tables on both platforms. A traditional morning tea of fruit scones with jam and cream is too good to resist. The only question is, where will we eat it – in Queensland or in New South Wales?

#2 Going Our Own Way

I’m joining Becky in her February 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 Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip just over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Brisbane, January 2021

It would be a reasonable expectation that a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary with a few days away would spend their special day together. But when the Queensland Cultural Centre at Southbank was hosting two exhibitions on completely different themes, it was an easy decision to go our own way for the morning.

For him, at The Gallery of Modern Art: The Motorcycle. Design, Art, Desire – an exhibition of 100 motorcycles, spanning 120 years of development and design. The exhibits came from Australian and international collections.

For her, at The Queensland Museum: I do! wedding stories from Queensland – a collection of 43 wedding ensembles spanning more than 100 years. The display included family memorabilia and personal items on loan from Queenslanders and garments and accessories from the State Collection.

While our decision to go our separate ways on our anniversary might seem strange, it shows how well we knew each other after 38 years.

And we did meet up afterwards for lunch!

Wildflowers and History #3

Gurulmundi State Forest

At the 42 km mark of our day trip we came across rusted relics of the past on the side of the road.

The Conloi No. 1 bore and the tank used for storing crude oil pumped from the Surat/Bowen Basin were long ago abandoned, left to decay by the side of the road.

At first glance it seemed there were no wildflowers growing in this parched landscape. But a closer inspection revealed more beautiful blooms growing in the stony soil.

Some were tiny – no bigger than a thumbnail.

The clear blue sky made the perfect backdrop for these scarlet grevilleas.

And way overhead, tufted white blossoms in the highest branches of the gum trees glittered in the glaring midday sun.

Wildflowers and History #1

Gurulmundi State Forest

The self drive trail through Gurulmundi State Forest was described as a wildflower tour but, according to the brochure, there were historic sites along the route as well. We added plans for a day trip through the forest to our Miles itinerary; after plentiful rainfall in spring the native flowering plants would surely be in bloom and a history lesson is always interesting.

We headed out of town on the bridge over Dogwood Creek and turned north onto the Leichhardt Highway. We passed the site of the old Dalwogan railway siding, now in the Miles Historical Village, and crossed, for the first of several times, the Dingo Barrier Fence.

The sign at the Gurulmundi turnoff pointed the way ahead.

After 30 kilometres we stopped at L Tree Creek, named after the trees marked by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844. We couldn’t find any of Leichhardt’s trees but we did spot some bright red flowers along the creek bank – our first wildflower sighting!

Up the hill away from the creek we found more. The crimson blooms of hundreds of kalanchoe plants dotted the landscape, from the edge of the road far off into the bush.

A little further on crimson was replaced by gold. Spiky shrubs, their branches crowned with clusters of tiny yellow flowers, flourished in the stony soil on both sides of the road.

We hadn’t yet entered the state forest and already we’d found some beauties and our first historic site. With 13,000 hectares of forest still to explore we were confident there would be more.

31 ln the Bush

I’m joining Becky in her October 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 Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Gurulmundi State Forest

We’re back where we started, joining the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition in 1844.

L-Tree Creek is named for the markings left on some of the trees by the expedition party when they camped here. We looked for marked trees without success. We didn’t put in too much effort – it was a hot day and we didn’t want to walk through the bush and risk coming across a snake.

The explorer’s life is not for me!