High above the town of Whitby a Benedictine abbey stands in ruins, another victim of King Henry VIII’s 16th century dissolution of the monasteries. Perched on East Cliff, Whitby Abbey overlooks the North Sea and the hills and dales of North Yorkshire.
A church has stood on the site since 657 AD; these ruins date from the 13th century. After the dissolution, the monastic buildings and the surrounding land became the property of the Cholmley family. The Abbot’s house was extended in the 17th and 18th centuries and is now the visitor centre and museum.
Where monks once lived a life of devotion and prayer today’s visitors stand in awe, gazing upwards at what remains of the ornate stonework. A light breeze whispering through the cloisters echoes songs of worship from the past.
Fondly known as the River City, Brisbane is defined by the broad stretches and tight bends of the Brisbane River. The 76 year old Story Bridge is one of 15 crossings connecting both sides of the city. Many watercraft use the river each day, including the paddle boat Kookaburra Queen: the view from her deck is perfect.
On 19th November 1941, the Australian Navy cruiser HMAS Sydney II engaged in a sea battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia. Both vessels sank and while most of the crew of the Kormoran were rescued, the 645 personnel on board Sydney all perished. The loss of HMAS Sydney II and her crew is still Australia’s worst naval disaster.
A memorial commemorating HMAS Sydney II and her crew stands on a hill overlooking the city of Geraldton, on the mid-north coast of Western Australia.
From a ship’s propeller to the flock of silver gulls and the dramatic sculpture of the Waiting Woman, the symbolism incorporated in the memorial is full of emotion, and is best explained by the plaques on the granite wall surrounding the site.
Despite many intensive searches, the location of both shipwrecks was unknown for more than 60 years. They were finally discovered on 16 March 2008, lying of the floor of the Indian Ocean at a depth of more than 2 km.
Even though she was placed here long before they were found, the Waiting Woman looks towards the exact site where the ship and her crew lie. Was it an eerie coincidence or the hand of fate guiding the sculptors?
Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, in the part of Australia more fondly known as the Top End. It’s a laid back kind of place with a tropical climate and a relaxed lifestyle. We lived in Darwin for more than two years in the 1980s and it was still in rebuilding mode after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. This was my first time back in the city and after 30 years I expected to see some changes.
In some ways, Darwin is very different. There are many new buildings, roadways and many more shops and businesses. In other ways it seemed as though very little had changed – the people still have the same easy going attitude to life and they are as friendly as ever.
The biggest change is the trees. In 1984, the landscape was dominated by new homes with new gardens. Now, there are trees – big trees – in every garden, on the footpaths and lining the highways. It’s green and lush, with tall palms, banana trees and spreading poincianas filling the skyline.
From Victoria Avenue, the view of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more simply known as St Mary’s Cathedral, is similar to most other churches of its kind anywhere in the world. The imposing stone structure is complete with beautiful stained glass windows and a spired bell tower.
Come around the corner into Perth’s Victoria Square and a different view reveals the cathedral’s true character. It was built in three phases over the last 150 years and instead of blending each new part in with the original, the designers have created a building which showcases the old side by side with the new.
The first part of the cathedral was completed in 1865 in the Gothic style. Plans were made and funds raised to expand the cathedral in the Academic Gothic style in the 1920s but the Great Depression meant that the building program was never completed. After a bequest in 1999, the completion of the cathedral began and the new church was officially opened on 8 December, 2009.
Both inside and out St Mary’s Cathedral seamlessly blends the past and the present with its unique and distinctive style.
Brussels is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a rich history. The streets are always bustling with people heading in every direction. Come for one last walk with me and enjoy the sights of this wonderful place. Just make sure you look up and down as well as straight ahead, because there are surprises everywhere.
There’s more to Brussels than chocolate!
Relaxing in the park outside the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula
Night time in the Grand Place
On Rue Antione Dansaert
Outside Central Station
On Rue de l’Ecuyer
On Museum Square
Mannekin Pis is everywhere
Maison des Brasseurs, Grand Place
The view from our little balcony, across to the Bourse
Market day in the Grand Place
A gilded lady in the Grand Place
Belgium is beer
Follow the Circuit de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle
Parc de Bruxelles
In the grounds of the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart