It’s Seniors Week. We both qualify. A local parliamentary member put on a week of activities.
Today was a free breakfast in the courtyard outside the Helensvale Library. The queue for bacon n egg rolls was longer than I was willing to wait. Then again with my low carbs diet perhaps it was a good thing I missed out. However the long life milk in my cup of tea was not pleasant. The rock and roll band was playing in an area surrounded on three sides by concrete and based on a concrete courtyard. The sound just echoed and bounced back into the street where cars and trucks and people were making noise. Any sound I could hear from the band was unrecognisable. The folks putting on a line dancing and rock and roll demonstrations had to dance on that unforgiving concrete courtyard and unless you came with a group, people seated at the tables wwere not interested in chatting. Then again it could be the noise was too loud for comfortable chatting.
There was a piece of artwork in the library foyer which has been entered in this years SWELL festival to be held at Currumbin Beach in September. This piece of sculpture captured my imagination and at least justified going to day one of Seniors week. Look at the eyesa. It seems they are watching you although the entire piece is made from chicken wire.
Apart from the wonderful piece of artwork I found the event… Boring.
We left after half an hour.
Tuesday 20th August
We decided to skip the rest of the Seniors Week activities.
Today I visited James Overell Park in Southport. It is situated on the Nerang River, just near the Sundale Bridge after which the river becomes The Broadwater which itself becomes The Coral Sea. I had some difficulty finding naming information about this park but finally found the following information on the ABC Local, Facebook page.
James Overell Park is a sports park in Southport.
It is fittingly named after James Overell who wasn’t only involved in local council, but was a keen sportsman.
James’ son, Peter Overell, says that in his younger years his father attended TSS (The Southport School) and was one of very few students who represented every sport that was played at the school, and did so at first level.
“He still actually holds the three-foot-six hurdles record, because they moved to three-foot-three hurdles, so they can never take that record away from him,” Peter says.
But the story of the Overell family and how they became a Southport household name goes back to 1883 in Brisbane.
Peter’s great, great grandfather owned a department store in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley called ‘Overells’.
He says Overells was one the dominating department stores in the retail scene of Brisbane at the time.
In 1955 the Overell family sold the Brisbane store, and Peter’s father (James) moved to the Gold Coast in 1956 to start a store here in Southport.
“It was an old burnt-out restaurant and he commenced a drapery and menswear, ladies wear, general store business, again called ‘Overells’.”
Peter says the store plays a big role in Southport’s retail history, staying open until 2002, when the retail game changed.
“Shopping centres were much more then… the whole nature of things had changed, Southport as a business centre changed a lot.”
Overells used to supply most of the school uniforms to schools including TSS and St Hildas.
“And then the schools decided to do it all themselves which in turn changed the whole nature of the town because the kids didn’t come down from the schools on a Friday afternoon the way they used to, they used to come and support all the other business in town – when there was no need for them to come down anymore a lot of those businesses just didn’t keep going,” Peter says.
He says in its heyday Southport was very vibrant and “was really a busy, busy town – back in the 60s/70s/early 80s in particular.”
Typically this park is ideally situated to see the waterway, the large exclusive houses, boats and high rise tourist buildings.
Saturday 24th August.
We supported our village bowls group by taking part in a Triples team afternoon. It is a bit amazing that considering Donnis may only play once or twice a year she still manages to put in a creditable performance. After the bowls we had almost 40 people attend a Pie, Peas, Potato and Gravy dinner. It was a nice social evening. We tried a new beer, Strumans Organic Lager. Usually I steer away from Organic because it is just an excuse to sell poor produce at twice the price. In this case the beer costs about the same as non- organic and has a pleasing taste as well. Well chosen, even if I do say so myself.
Today we drove from Mackay to Boronen a journey of 504 Klms. Along the way we travelled through Clairview roughly halfway between Mackay and Rockhampton. It is here the highway passes by the coast. This is the only place along the entire voyage where you can see the ocean. In fact it is only about 200 Mtrs from the highway and you get a view for almost 1 Klm. I reflected on this and thought how many other places where you can see the ocean on what is supposedly the The Coastal Way route. From Sydney to Cairns a trip of around 2,500 Klms, there are only three locations where you can get a glimpse of the ocean. One is near Sapphire Beach north of Coffs Harbour in NSW where I can confirm the view is just a glimpse. Apart from Clairview the only other view of the ocean as you drive along the highway is further north in Queensland at Cardwell.
We arrived at Boronen and booked into the Boronen Hotel Motel which has operated continuously since 1895. Boronen is only a small town with garage, hotel/motel, motel, campground, diner and post office. It is a convenient rest stop with toilets, shaded picnic facilities and even a free BBQ. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bororen-Pub/123261097738816
It is difficult to find any information about the town, why it is here or what is nearby. Apparently it is well known for its meat pies and they can be bought at the Red Rocket Diner. https://www.facebook.com/redrocketdiner/ The hotel menu promises kitchen made meals (not the pre manufactured, frozen and packaged variety) including a Chicken Kiev. The meals are huge. The prices are reasonable. Meal sizes and prices are typical of once upon a time country pubs. Dinner did not disappoint.
Tuesday 11th September.
Today is the anniversary of the 911 tragedy but no mention in the media. I suppose because 911 is not until tomorrow in the USA.
The motel fee of $80 included a simple Continental breakfast. There is no bakery in town but the sourdough bread was terrific.
We were on the road by 8am and somewhere about 130 Klms to the south and a little beyond the town of Gin Gin we turned inland. We left the Bruce Highway and turned onto the Isis Highway which passes through the pleasant town of Biggenden
and also where we saw wonderful views of Mount Walsh.
This was going to be all new territory for us.
We followed the signs to Ban Ban Springs where we expected a town. I turned right to find the town and perhaps a coffee stop. After a Klm there was no town. Oh well, I turned around and headed in the direction we wanted go. After another Klm there was no town. Ban Ban Springs is a Junction of two highways where the Isis Highway and the Burnett Highway intersect. A service station and a rest area is all that make up Ban Ban Springs. Luckily the service station had a push button coffee machine where we were able to get a passable cup of coffee.
A primary school operated here from 1916 to 1965. The original corrugated iron school building and an outdoor toilet are now ruins slowly being overtaken by the bush. The timbers have been eaten out by termites and the corrugated iron roof and walls have collapsed.
Gradually the iron will rust while the concrete pad will last a long time but will be overtaken by weeds and shrubs.
In 2006, in an effort to beautify the springs, local council engaged a contractor to clean out and plant new trees. The bulldozing and planting actually resulted in the springs being drained. For the most part the springs are rarely umm err springs. The local indigenous community, the Wakka Wakka People took action against the Council for destroying a culturally significant area. The new council issued an apology and negotiations to restore the springs are, as far as I can discover, ongoing. Local farms with bores have also contributed to reducing the water table.
In the accompanying photo of the petrol station, if you look closely you will see a marker with the numbers 13384. Usually farms and businesses along country roads have a marker to show the distance from the nearest intersection or town. (Council will assign an address using a distance-based system. The numbers will be based on how far (in metres) your property’s entrance is from the road’s starting point (or datum), divided by 10. The starting point is usually an intersection or junction, but can also be the centre of a town. This is used by emergency services, Police, Ambulance, Rural Fire Brigade, to find a location quickly. In this case it is 13.384 Klms from the intersection of the Gayndah Mount Perry road and the Burnett Highway.
Somewhere between towns we saw a Galah ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah ) on the road ahead of us. As we neared we saw a dead Galah on the side of the road and the lone live bird was guarding its dead mate. Galahs are known to mate for life but if one dies the survivor will bond with another bird.
On our trip we passed through towns we have heard about, some vaguely heard about and some totally unheard of before. We saw new countryside and passed locations we would have liked to have spent more time exploring. Our diversion took about an hour longer than the direct route. We arrived home just after 4pm.
Friday 14th September
I have been busy since arriving home on Tuesday. A couple of months ago the social committee planned a Wine and Cheese Night for tonight. Bit by bit we have put together some activities to keep people occupied, interested and entertained. As well as the wine and cheese we planned on having some hot food. I have organised music, 60’s and 70’s rock music as a background. I needed to select the music and place it in a playlist in my ancient original iPad. Our dress theme is Black and Gold. I also have the Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke video hosted by James Corden, the UK Late Late Show host Most people in our village have not seen this emotional trip down Beatlemania memory lane. The idea was to get our guests warmed up while eating and ready for our next item on the agenda. We planned a Karaoke Night. The idea is to play a Karaoke CD-G through our DVD player and project onto a wall. I had to find the CD’s, check they work on the projection and prepare choices sheets. Getting reluctant people to stand up and sing in front of an audience is a bit daunting. Most have never had a karaoke experience. Most are a bit shy. A few wines seems to relax people but at first nobody wanted to sing. Gradually we got people up and joining in. We know we had a successful evening when the people who normally wander off home at 8.30 were still there at 10pm, singing clapping and smiling. Somehow we managed to toss in a few line dancing numbers and a dozen people joined us on the dance floor.
Although going during the week when there is parking and no crowds would be an obvious choice, we went today. We met our friend Glenda with whom we have been to this festival several times before.
Somehow the crowds of annoying people adds to the atmosphere of the project.
As always when I go to the festival I find the names of each piece of art makes no sense with what I am seeing.
Artists seem to live in their own cocooned world and see the world through another dimension.
Luckily the sun was shining but unluckily a strong cool wind was blowing so stepping into the shade was a bit chilly especially later in the afternoon as the sun started to set behind the Great Dividing Range.
We even had time for a cold drink and a toasted Turkish Bread with dips at Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club.
From the club balcony we saw several whales on their way south.
Although they blew vapour and breached, they were quite a distance offshore and difficult to photograph.
We were not the only people Oohing and Aahing.
Sunday 16th September
A strong wind warning had been issued for today but that did not deter us. We packed a picnic lunch, collected Glenda and drove across the border into NSW to Fingal Head in the hope of seeing more whales.
The wind was, as promised, STRONG.
Finding an almost sheltered place on the exposed headland was a bit of a challenge. Finding whales amongst the confused whitecap smothered ocean was even more of a challenge. Yes there were whales but far out to sea and their breaching was lost amongst the whitecaps. Lots of people made the trek to the headland looking for whale sightings, not expecting to be blown all over the clifftops.
We did enjoy our lunch but soon black clouds were shoving the sunlight ahead of it and bringing overcast plus cold to our exposed picnic location. We had to watch our steps very carefully when walking along the clifftop. The wind was capable of blowing us into a an unsteady step. Normally this is a delightful picnic, whale and dolphin watching spot. Maybe next week when the wind stops we can try this again.
Time to go.
Once we joined the M1 and headed home we noticed a flashing sign to tell us to expect delays and suddenly around a bend cares were lined up in three lanes bumper to bumper. It was reasonable to expect the next 40 Klms would be like this. It is Sunday afternoon, strong winds, storm clouds rolling in and people were leaving the beaches and heading home. We left the M1 and drove into the Currumbin Valley to join the Tallebudgera Valley, Mudgeeraba Valley and so on all the way to Nerang. It was a long way out of our way but at least we were moving and viewing some wonderful parts of the Gold Coast lower hinterland we have never seen before. Wow! Some of the homes out here in the hinterland had security gates and long tree studded driveways and a backdrop of mountains. Some were beside the upper reaches of Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek and surrounding valley’s.
Reflecting on our travels these last two weeks when we travelled inland along roads to new towns we have never visited before and finishing in Townsville. Then we drove to Mackay and once we left Mackay we travelled inland once more along roads and towns not previously visited. We ended this week by driving a little way inland from the coast and visited outlying suburbs and towns we have not seen before.
If we have learned one thing in our travels it is we must take a few back roads in our travels. Oh there is a second thing. We need to stop and experience those towns as well.
It is my birthday. Instead of going out to dinner I wanted to stay home and play table tennis at the clubhouse. Donnis made a Black Forest Cherry Cake and we shared it among the regular players.
Tuesday 6th September
After a slow start we hit the highway at midday. Noosa here we come. Along the M1 Motorway, Donnis spied a Costco store. Costco are big in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Basically they are a warehouse style, member only, giant general store. There are 8 stores throughout Australia, this is the only Queensland Store, at Northlakes, umm err north of Brisbane. For your $60 annual membership fee you can sometimes buy cheap fuel, ($1.06.7 per litre but a few Klms further along the M1 we saw fuel advertised at $1.05.9 available to everybody, no membership or rewards card required) uncertain discounts on electrical products, and cheap food products. Only of course if you buy food in bulk or the one size super dooper jar. For example I usually buy a small jar of peanut butter which lasts me for three months and does not have time to get stale. At Costco the smallest size is one pound and it would be a year before I could eat it all by which time it would be stale or rancid. Donnis insisted we look at how Costco looks in Australia. At the front door we were asked for our membership card to gain entry. Hmmm! We are only looking to decide if we will become members. (I lied) OK we were allowed in. There was nothing we really needed. The iPads and laptops and TV’s etc were all about the same price as elsewhere. The food all came in super size and most was made overseas. Some local Aussie products were on the shelves but were in the minority. We did not see fresh fruit or vegetables. Yes lots of frozen or dehydrated stuff. There was an area we could access, the canteen. Here is where the cheap prices stand out. For $1.99 you can get a hot dog accompanied by a 500ml drink of cola or lemonade. For the same price you can get a large cappuccino coffee, no other sizes, just large. Off to one side near the same fibreglass tables and chairs they have in all their overseas stores is the chutney, tomato sauce and mustard dispenser. There is also a dispenser of onions. Giant slices of pizza are another option for $1.99. No matter how you look at the price it is still $2.00. In Australia we do not have one or two cent coins. Only 5, 10, 20, 50 cent coins and $1 and $2 coins. Still, $2 for a hot dog, including a drink, is cheap. Looking around, most customers look like they need to go on a diet. Overweight is the new fashion it seems. Costco is not my type of shopping.
Ken arrived home via train from Gladstone on the Central Queensland Coast. Ken finished his last shift this morning before the accommodation camp for the Curtis Island workers closes tomorrow.
Wednesday 7th September
We joined Ken for a walk in the Noosa Headland National Park. There are many walks criss- crossing the park but we always choose the clifftop coastal track. This track is a mixture of a sealed section to what is known as the Boiling Pot and is suitable for wheelchairs and baby prams. The path then degenerates to a fine gravel for a distance and degenerates even further to a gravel track where some boulder and tree root hopping is required.
The track passes a number of beaches and headlands some with iconic names, including the Boiling Pot
some others are Dolphins Point,
Hells Gates, Lions Rock, Picnic Point
and Devils Kitchen. The track finishes at Sunshine Beach and all up is about 6 Klms. The final section from Devils Kitchen is quite high up in the cliffs and involves a rather challenging steep climb down to a timber staircase which then leads onto Sunrise Beach. Today we only walked to Hells Gates and return.
The track is always busy with runners, walkers, surfers, Mums and Dad’s with a young baby in a harness. There are lots of overseas visitors clutching maps in plastic pockets as they search for elusive slumbering Koala’s. The maps give an indication of the sightings in the last 24 hours. Koala’s can travel big distances at night searching for food and females so they will not be in the same place the next day. Sometimes they may spend a night or two in the same tree fork. We saw a group of excited backpackers and knew they found a Koala.
Late afternoon, Ken’s sister Kirsty arrived. Ken did a lovely marinated chicken on the barbecue while I stir fried vegetables in my own home made peanutty sauce. A bottle of champagne did not last long. Oops. Donnis tells me two bottles of champers was consumed.
Friday 9th September.
Every year at this time is the Annual SWELL Festival at Currumbin. This is the 15th year. – SWELL SCULPTURE FESTIVAL INSPIRES, AMUSES, UPLIFTS AND CAPTURES THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF ALL WHO VISIT.
This is a ‘must see’ festival in Currumbin each September. Every year, the beach comes alive with an amazing array of sculptured artworks. Local, national and international artists re-invent the style of this beach with their passionate, quirky, weird, sensible, technical, simple or detailed and intriguing artistic works.
Usually we go in the middle of the day and then enjoy lunch and a cold beer at the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club which is situated on the rocks overlooking the water.
This year we decided to do it differently. The idea was to arrive at sunset and get some wonderful photos. Hmmm! Not such a good idea. We arrived a tad after sunset and by the time started walking and looking at sculptures, night had crashed all around us.
I used the “Night Scenery Mode” on my Lumix FZ250. The camera takes multiple images and makes a composite photo using available light.
A good idea if the camera is mounted on a tripod.
Hand held is not so good as there is always some camera movement.
Given there was a stiff breeze blowing I can only show a few photos that were a bit less than OK but a bit better than useless.
We will plan another daytime visit. There are 48 pieces of sculpture on display along the beach. Thirty eight of those pieces are lit at night.