Tomato Update and Weekend Plans

Spring in South East Queensland lasted for all of a fortnight and then we pounced straight into Summer, evening storms and all.

The tomato plants have revelled in the heat and humidity and I have no doubt that the bandicoots that frolic in the vege bed at night will also be prone to acidic disorders from over indulging. The freezer is full of pasta sauce, a little heavy on the chilli and garlic apparently, and I’m now moving on to tomato chutney production. Not that I eat chutney but I can’t handle food waste. Blame the Depression parents who wouldn’t let us kids leave the table until the plates were clean.

The good news is that I will pull the remaining plants out on the weekend (before sunrise). The bad news is that means no tomatoes for summer salads and I’ll probably have to sell a kidney to afford them for Christmas Lunch.

Talking of waste, Australia has collectively moved away from single use plastics recently. Well done! So please explain somebody, anybody, why the shops are all full of plastic pumpkins. Crappy, cheap plastic pumpkins from China.
1. Why is Halloween becoming such a big deal in Australia?
2. Why is it that freight from China has been delayed since Covid but plastic pumpkins arrive in time for the end of October?
3. If children under 12 are not allowed to walk to school without parental supervision why are they allowed to go trick or treating? I’m not even going to mention the legalities of nazi teachers checking the contents of lunchboxes. I’m too old to open that Pandora’s Box.
4. If we really must instigate this Halloween business, how about next year we all plant some pumpkin seeds and harness our own food source?

So, you’ve figured that I don’t give a rats. Instead, and weather permitting, I plan on a much more appropriate celebration. Yep, a reenactment of the charge at Beersheba at the Laidley Pioneer Village. Entry is by donation.

Never heard of Beersheba?

On 31 October 1917, during World War 1, Australia’s Desert Mounted Corps led the famous charge of Beersheba by the 4th Light Horse Brigade, probably one of the most stunning victories in any battle or war in Australian history. This charge saw 800 Australian horsemen gallop their horses across three miles of open desert, through the Turkish defences, to win the precious wells of Beersheba.
 
The victory by the Australian horsemen, under the command of Lieutenant General Harry Chauvel against the Turks, was the beginning of a successful Australian campaign that led to the collapse of the Turkish Ottoman empire and turned the tide of war in the Middle East.

And I wont be watching anything starring Jamie Lee Curtis either. It’s the 1980’s Australian flick, The Lighthorsemen, or nothing. Forget the insipid romance between a young Sigrid Thornton and Peter Phelps before he got paunchy, it is a beaut little story and a reminder of old fashioned Aussie larrikins.

It would be totally hypocritical of me to wish you all Happy Halloween though I do hope you all play safely and that there are no chipped teeth from all those boiled lollies. I’ll be at Laidley – yee haa.

ADD TO 2022 TO DO LIST :
Instigate a community pumpkin growing plan and eradicate all plastic pumpkins.

Coochiemudlo Island

Or a reminder about “why we live where we live”.

Beautiful Spring weather and our fourth Donut Day (without any new Covid cases) propelled a visit to nearby Coochiemudlo Island for the first time in nearly thirty years. Such a long time ago neither Pocahontas nor Cat Balou remember having visited the island during their childhood despite it being less than ten minutes drive away from our front door, and another ten minutes by ferry to cross southern Moreton Bay. Isn’t it sad that we sometimes need a reminder of “why we live where we live”. A case of Life getting in the way, I guess….

Catching the ferry from Victoria Point is a breeze. $5.60 one way travel or $2.40 for concession and pension card holders.

The name Coochiemudlo is the English language version of the Yuggera  (First Nation) words kutchi (meaning red) and mudlo (meaning stone). You can easily spot the evidence with a natural cliff composed of iron-rich rock exposed on the south western side of the island. 

Coochie, as she is affectionately known by locals, is only 4 square kilometres in size with a permanent population of less than 800. To be honest, this is Coochie’s biggest attraction : there are no high rise, no tourist parks, no shopping centres. For entertainment there are beaches, reserves for bushwalking and a 9 hole golf course manned by volunteers. Next visit, we are packing the fishing rods and sun screen.

We lunched at the Curlew Cafe ( yes, there were curlews everywhere) followed by a visit to the Art Gallery.

The biggest social event on the Island takes place annually in July : Flinders Day, the re-enactment of the landing of explorer and navigator, Matthews Flinders, celebrated with markets, navy cadets and pirates.

It took us a little over an hour to walk around Coochie to get a feel for the place.

Back soon, Coochie, armed with cossies, buckets and fish bait.

The Storytellers Exhibition

“Storytelling is a tradition as old as time. From oral histories passed down through generations to children’s books, epic novels and poetry, it is the most versatile form of knowledge-sharing”.

The Museum of Brisbane, located on the third floor of City Hall, is currently presenting an exhibition about Brisbane storytellers. Focussing on storytellers such as Hugh Lunn, Benjamin Law, Nick Earls, Trent Dalton, Kate Moreton and more, you are taken back to Brisbane’s past when these nine writers look at both the people and places.

It’s an interactive experience which will have you sitting in the stadium at Lang Park, at a tram stop, or at Chinese restaurant down in the Valley.

Suitable for all ages, with activities for the Little People, this no cost exhibition will delight.

Go Brissie! Stick it to those southern states who – – – – – – – – – – – – – – ( fill in the gaps)

Tip : Make the effort BEFORE school holidays start.

Exploring Brisbane During WW2 : A Walking Tour

The 2 hour tour begins at the Museum of Brisbane on the the third floor of City Hall, King George Square.

King George Monument in King George Square with City Hall in background.

City Hall was built in 1930 and at that time was the tallest building in Brisbane. It was an important building during WW2 as it housed a recruitment area, was a distribution point where the Red Cross handed parcels to troops heading overseas, and has a ballroom suitable for 1500 guests. It was standing room only for 3000 when Eleanor Roosevelt arrived in Brisbane.

City Hall

During the early 2000’s City Hall underwent a massive restoration. What do you think they found? In the men’s bathroom in the basement Australian soldiers had signed their names on the wall along with their service numbers, as did many American servicemen who included their regimental details. This has been preserved and a reproduction is located within the museum.

Signature Wall Reproduction

Diagonally across the road from City Hall sits a church, a familiar landmark within the CBD, which was the site of 16,000 marriages between American men and Australian women during WW2.

Proceeding to ANZAC Square and The Shrine of Remembrance we then visited the Memorial Galleries underneath this structure. Most locals are unaware of the Galleries : for twenty years I too was totally ignorant and walked past on my way to the railway station. It is well worth a visit with its interactive displays and the staff are an invaluable source of information.

Self indulgence

Moving on we heard all about the Battle of Brisbane, the “ riot between United States military personnel on one side and Australian servicemen and civilians on the other on 26 and 27 November 1942.”

This was the American PX during WW2 and site of the riots

This concluded our walking tour though not the insights gained about Brisbane and her involvement during WW2. Brisbane had the name of Jazz Capital of Australia thanks to the influence of American soldiers. Who knew? We learnt about the HMAS Centaur, a submarine base in nearby New Farm and the SS Growler, and I was so excited to see my very first Air Raid Shelter, one of only three remaining in the vicinity. I repeat : who knew?

This walking tour is suitable for all fitness levels and we totally enjoyed seeing the city in a totally different light.

For further information go here : https://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/walking-in-wartime/

We paid an additional $10 each to also visit the MacArthur Museum.

Absolutely fascinating and I learnt more in a 1 hour talk by a passionate volunteer named John, standing in front of a map of the Pacific, than I did during six years of high school. Toss out the text books. This was easily digestible, understandable, and logical and the personal tidbits made it interesting to boot.

Here’s ol’ Doug’s office :

I worked in the Brisbane CBD for twenty years and knew little of this history. Once again I put it down to COVID making us more familiar with our own backyards. Now that’s a positive from a negative, wouldn’t you say?

Doe Ri Me

Whoever knew there were feral deer in Brisbane?

Honestly, I had no i-deer.

I’ve never seen any in my 25 odd years living in South East Queensland, though there are three main species, originally introduced in the early 1870’s, found around the western suburbs of Brisbane. They are considered pests for a variety of reasons and Brisbane Council undertakes an integrated approach to deer management which includes “monitoring, education, trapping, and shooting”. I repeat: shooting.

Just like dogs and cats that have been injured and need to recuperate, need to be re-homed, have been orphaned, or generally need to be rescued, Brisbane has a Rescue Deer Sanctuary.

Lyall Deer Sanctuary, nestled in the foothills of Mt Samson, has been taking in deer in need for over thirty years.

On site are also cows, goats, chickens and peacocks, all friendly and demanding pats (and pellets at $1 a bag). This is a nice place to introduce the Really Little People to animals.

The real positive about this outing, other than our picnic lunch and the fawns with wet noses who wanted cuddles, was that unlike with dogs and cats that need a home I had no interest in putting a deer in the back seat of the car.

Two Stories

Read The Codebreakers by Australian author, Alli Sinclair.

“1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O’Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of Central Bureau – an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason”.

This book became far too “girlie” for me with an overdose of romantic interludes. What did interest me was the property in Ascot, inner Brisbane, from which the Central Bureau actually did work during the war.

In July 1942, General MacArthur moved his Headquarters to Brisbane. Central Bureau immediately relocated to Brisbane, establishing its headquarters in “Nyrambla” at Henry Street, Ascot. The residence was built in 1885–86. In September 1942, the US 837th Signal Service Detachment relocated to Brisbane. The Detachment’s officers and enlisted men moved into “Nyrambla”. The machines to decode intercepted Japanese ciphers that concealed message were placed in the rear garage of “Nyrambla” and this is where the women Codebreakers worked.

Nyrambla

Over the years Nyrambla has been lovingly restored and recently went on the market.

Women working in the garage……..*still shacking my head.

****************************************************************************************************

Terrigal, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, is a seaside township popular with both locals and tourists. Back in the 1940’s it was a sleepy fishing village with a population of less than 500. 

During World War 2 the Surf Lifesaving Association of Australia (SLSA) was stretched to provide rescue services along the beaches on the East Coast. Of the 76 original male members of the Surf Club at Terrigal only four were available to patrol beaches whilst the others went off to war.

This led the female members of the club – mostly wives, sweethearts and sisters – to ask permission to become lifesavers. Their application to the controlling body failed though this did not deter them.

After training by the chief instructor they were assessed by Central Coast Life Saving’s inaugural president Dr E.A. Martin.  In two exams, some 30 women qualified for the equivalent of the bronze medallion, receiving certificates on Terrigal beach and going on to patrol the area over the summer.

These young women undertook their duties with enthusiasm and passion even making their own swimming costumes and uniforms out of sheets, curtains and the odd parachute­, despite not having been awarded their bronze medallions.

At wars end 70 men returned and resumed lifesaving duties with the women then relegated to previous duties.

It wasn’t until 75 years later in 2017 that the women who patrolled the beaches of Terrigal during World War 2 were finally recognised. They were awarded their Bronze Medallions, most posthumously to their families, as well as a special Terrigal Parliamentary Award to acknowledge their contribution to the community.

75 years. *still shaking head.

1,000 Places To See Before You Die

This 531 page pictorial is not one that you would take to bed to enjoy. Far too cumbersome, and from experience you would be paranoid about spilling a cuppa tea all over it.

No, this is definitely a coffee table book – without the coffee!

Autumn brings with it a welcome break from the humidity. We are able to take walks in the middle of the day again, the ceiling fans have at last been switched off, and make up doesn’t slide off ones face whilst dining alfresco. The old saying that Brisbane only has two seasons – humid and dry – is pretty much on the money.

Which makes it the perfect time to get those legs on the move again. Lots happening in the South East corner over the coming months. It’s as if we’re all making up for lost time.

At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling. – Shanti

Off to a Rescue Deer Farm this week. Yep, like Rescue Dogs but with cuter furry animals. Deer and picnic baskets – a winning combination. Also off to tour an island only 40 minutes away with a horrific history of cruelty. A penal colony in the 1800s, any escapees tended to get eaten by sharks. Gulp.

Neither destination features in the above mentioned book. And that’s okay.

There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it. – Charlotte Eriksson

Getting Out And About or More Positives From Covid

I recently read The Battle of Brisbane – Australians and the Yanks At War. See here: .https://wordpress.com/post/brizzymaysbooksandbruschettasite.wordpress.com/5664

One of the positives from Covid and its lingering presence is that in order to survive and remain relevant organisations of all shapes and sizes are having to change with the times. A case in point, the Museum of Brisbane, totally seperate to the Queensland Museum, has recently added some fascinating events to retain interest and to educate.

One of these is a Walking In Wartime tour that steps back through time to look at Brisbane during World War 2 and includes the sites of the infamous Battle of Brisbane.

Other venues include a Dance Hall, a Church which was instrumental in the supply of war brides, Aussie Code breaking secrets, and the Douglas MacArthur Museum.

Now just hold on : 25 years living in Brissi and I’ve never previously heard of this place. What’s going on????

Of course I’ve booked.

The other innovative event I’ve only discovered with 24 hours notice is the Farmgate Trail in the Scenic Rim, only 90 minutes west of Brisbane. The idea being that you pack the esky and travel west to meet primary producers selling their wares : meet the farmer and buy from the paddock with fresh vegetables, cheeses, wines, and camel and beef meat on offer.

What a great little excursion, and a fun way to show the kiddies where their food comes from.

On a personal note Brisbane is back out of Lockdown. Just in the nick of time too as I attended my zoom book club in pjs with a glass of wine…..

Kultya At Last.

I was planning on sharing my pleasure having attended several live performances in the past fortnight. You can tell that everyone is as pleased as punch to be out and about when a capacity crowd sings along with an Irish pipe band…..

Margaret Fulton The Musical was great fun, probably more so because the young performers were obviously overjoyed to be back on stage, which rubbed off on the audience. Who was Margaret Fulton? She was the cook who taught a generation of women that meals did not have to consist of meat and three veg. She introduced Paprika and other spices to the palates of Australian women as well as the Pressure Cooker. ( Never used one as I remember as a young child a catastrophe in my mother’s kitchen).

The local Community Theatre put on a production, Women Of Their Word, featuring the writings of Australian women such as Judith Wright, Dorothy Hewitt, Mary Gilmore and others, who were not only poets but activists. Wonderful stuff and included Devonshire Tea.

And an Irish pub band had everyone in fine spirits with their songs of rebels and treason. Nothing warms the heart like the odd rebel or two.

Yes, I was going to tell you all about these events which reignited an old girls spirit. Unfortunately, South East Queensland has just gone back into a hard three day Lockdown. Hoo-bloody-ray.

Just as well I managed to pick up a few books and DVDs on the weekend……

PS. Stay courageous fellow Brisbanites. It was time to start on a new project anyway.

Darmongah Lookout Park At Mount Mee, Qld.

Mount Mee is approximately 90 minutes drive north west of Brisbane and is part of the beautiful D’Aguilar Range with spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains. 

View from Woodford

From the top of Mount Mee, expansive and picturesque views of seaside Caloundra and beautiful Moreton Bay can be enjoyed – except on rainy, misty days like when we visited. 

As well as the scenery there are numerous road stalls selling fresh eggs, pumpkins, and local honey. You know I just have to stop at these, don’t you?

The biggest win on this road trip was discovering the Darmongah Lookout Park on Mount Mee Road. After all the rain the rolling hills were green and littered with fat, fluffy lambs. No photos : it was too pea soupy.

Attached to the Lookout is the Mount Mee War Memorial which is just delightful.

The war memorial is in three parts; a memorial dedication, a growing pine tree and the Mount Mee Roll Of Honour. 

The pine tree was planted on Anzac Day in 2008 by local war veteran, Mount Mee resident Sapper Len Pedwell. The tree is a direct descendant of the last standing pine tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula that was destroyed by gunfire in the battle that later became known as the Battle of Lone Pine. 

Behind the tree a large iron bark log (Eucalyptus crebra), in honour of the township’s timber felling history, under an open gable-roofed shelter, which bears the Mt Mee Roll of Honour, for the First World War, Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and East Timor.

The boulder carries three plaques: one commemorating the dedication of the memorial; one describing the Battle of Lone Pine; and the centrepiece, stating:- “We remember with gratitude those who served without counting the cost, in times when people’s freedoms, beliefs and ways of life were under threat. Lest We Forget”.

And then there is this :

Sir – would it help if I shed a tear

I swear it’s the first time since this time last year

My spine is a tingle – my throat is all dry

As I stand to attention for all those who died

I watch the flag dancing half way down the pole

That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul

I feel the pride and the sorrow – there’s nothing the same

As standing to attention on ANZAC Day

So Sir – on behalf of the young and the free

Will you take a message when you finally do leave

To your mates that are lying from Tobruk to the Somme

The legend of your bravery will always live on

I’ve welcomed Olympians back to our shore

I’ve cheered baggy green caps and watched Wallabies score

But when I watch you marching (Sir) in that parade

I know these are the memories that never will fade

So Sir – on behalf of the young and the free

Will you take a message when you finally do leave

It’s the least we can do (Sir) to repay the debt

We’ll always remember you – Lest We Forget


Damian (Dib) Morgan 1998

It really is coming across the unexpected that makes these little road trips so extraordinary.