Another Must Do

With half of this country’s population in Lockdown and the rest of us either in masks or walking on egg shells it’s a little galling to admit that there have been some really good things that have come about due to COVID.

One of those is Theatre Redlands, formed last year during the worst of lockdown, by a group of experienced and passionate individuals who have formed an alliance with Redland Museum to share stories from our past.

Early in the year I attended the performance Women Of Their Word, a “celebration of Australian women poets who captured their times and experiences in verse – insights into what inspired them, the challenges they faced and the contribution they made to Australia’s emerging cultural identity”. Some of the women included Judith Wright, Dame Mary Gilmore, and my personal favourite, Maybanke Anderson. ( Never heard of her? Either had I! Fascinating – look her up.)

Last month Theatre Redlands had a new program on offer with a distinctive Queensland flavour to coincide with June 6th – being Queensland Day, when Queensland officially separated from New South Wales to become its own colony. ( I was taught at school that June 6th was D Day but I digress).

Down Came a Jumbuck is a whimsical theory about how Banjo Paterson might have come to write Australia’s unofficial national anthem ‘Waltzing Matilda’. I particularly enjoyed this given my recent trip to outback Queensland where I visited the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton.

Following intermission The Droving Days took the audience to “Pub Redlands”, the area in which I live, to join a group of retired drovers and their mates, reminiscing about horses they’ve known and ridden and tall tales of unlikely characters, all woven through with Banjo Paterson’s timeless ballads.

The recitation of Paterson’s Man From Snowy River was breathtaking. You could have heard a pin drop – the audience was enthralled.

So two things :
1. I am so looking forward to the next production from Theatre Redlands

2. There is an annual Man From Snowy River Bush Festival next April. Who knew??? Added to Must Do List.


Wombats are short legged, muscular marsupials that look like little bears. Marsupials native to Australia they live in burrows. They spend daylight hours underground in their burrows and emerge in the night to forage for grasses, herbs, seeds, roots and bark. They have a very slow metabolism and it takes about 14 days to complete digestion. This aids wombats’ survival in arid landscapes. Interestingly – well, to me – wombat droppings are square in shape. How that works is beyond me but fascinating……( Keep that one in mind for your next trivia night!)

Wombats have been well represented over the years in Australian Children’s Literature, with the most popular including:

The Muddleheaded Wombat   –  Ruth Park

Wombat Stew  –  Marcia K Vaughan

One Woolly Wombat   –  Kerrie Argent

Diary Of A Wombat  –  Jackie French

Sebastian Lives In A Hat  – Thelma Catterwell

Wombat Goes Walkabout  – Michael Morpurgo

Did you know that we even have an annual Wombat Day ? The official day in set in Australia for October 22, but since the first celebration of the day in 2005, the rest of the world has seen fit to jump on board. As such, October 23 is World Wombat Day.  Add that to your diary now!

In Australia to be called a wombat is almost a term of endearment. A wombat often refers to an overweight, lazy, or slow idiot. He’s probably your best friend and eating Doritos on the couch right now. Or more bluntly, a Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

Why are we even talking about Wombats today? Because I’m adding a Wombat experience to my Bucket List.

The Wombat Awareness Organisation in South Australia is the only free range, cage free wombat sanctuary in the World. It is also the only place where you can see two out of the three species of wombats living harmoniously together.

I’ve just scrubbed Disney’s Magic Kingdom off the list. I want to sit on a sofa with a wombat instead. See

Add To Bucket List : Jamala

My childhood was full of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Saturday movie matinees featuring Johnny Weissmuller in a loin cloth. Nothing quite beat a tussle between Tarzan and an anaconda.

Unfortunately, that 90’s Prime Minister with the viperish tongue who called Australia“the arse end of the world” was quite correct in that we are located a very long way from Africa. I never had an adventure of my own with a giant snake, though anything under 2 metres in my own garden is fair game with a garden hoe.

I did enjoy my safari moment recently at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra. Only five minutes out of the CBD and attached to the National Zoo and Aquarium Jamala offers accomodation in Jungle Bungalows which allow you to get up close and personal to bears, lions and giraffes.

Booking in early afternoon the adventure starts with High Tea. Forget jam, cream and scones-this is the real deal-followed by an encounter with a cheetah and an introductory walk around the zoo with a Keeper.

Our bungalow meant that we had a giraffe at our balcony and we were able to feed him carrots by hand. OMG, aren’t they magnificent creatures with the most gorgeous eyelashes!

Meeting on a deck for Champagne and Canapés before dinner we were entertained by hyenas and lions enjoying their evening meal.

Dinner followed with more Moët and evening entertainment which included a pair of lions sleeping in an area separated from the table by thick glass. Did you know lions dream? It’s true.They wriggle around just like big pussycats.

An early Breakfast is necessary if you are interested in feeding the animals with the Keepers. Of course our hands went up though one couple begged off as they had been kept awake by the roar of lions since 1am. We slept through that, thank God, though didn’t need the alarm as we could hear the big cats calling to each other as the sun rose. Holy Guacamole, what a noise!

Our morning walk was brisk as one would expect on an almost winter morning in the ‘Berra though this seemed to make all the chimps, lemurs, and zebras frisky. We also fed the Elans, Llamas and Deers, and  patted the “dopey Labradors of Africa”. 

What’s that, you ask……

Rhinos. I patted a couple of Rhinos behind the ears. Just like you would pat a dog. How amazing is this?

The zoo is on 25 acres with enclosures which are kind to the animals and suitable for the breeding of critically endangered species. Much of the native vegetation is untouched which in itself encouraged indigenous bird life. Never before had I seen a flock of wild budgies – breath taking!

There is so much more to Jamala but you’ll have to see it for yourselves. It’s an awesome experience and you’ll require deep pockets. But you know what? Sure beats house maintenance and a long time dead.

The complimentary Moët went down quite well and if there is one thing I’ve taught the daughters it is to enjoy their Bubbles.

The Aquarium is tiny, only about 7 or 8 tanks. Can I tell you how spectacular it is to walk through this at night? Scary but spectacular.

No bloke in a loin cloth, but there was a truly massive snake that would have given Tarzan a run for his money.

Add to Bucket List.

Of all of the Gin Joints she walked into mine…..

Every time I visit Canberra, our Australian Bush Capitol, I discover something different to tease my senses. I was not disappointed on my latest trip with an afternoon sitting in the sun at Tipsy Bull, a Gin Joint in trendy Lonsdale Street.

With over 230 different Gins available for tasting, as well as a selection of other drinks, this is a great spot for a catch up with friends.

What is it that makes the Tipsy Bull different to other bars?

As well as the friendly and knowledgable staff the De-Constructed Gin Journey is an experience in its own right.

Every Gin on the menu has its own story. I selected the Australian Green Ant Gin produced by the Something Wild Beverage Company. Green Ants are renowned Bush Tucker and our Indigenous hand harvest these ants for their medicinal qualities, protein and citrus flavour from the Northern Territory.

The floaters are Green Ants

Your selected Gin is then delivered on a paddle where you are advised to slowly savour the flavours before adding a selection of botanicals. Mine included lime, lemon, rosemary and juniper berries which you add to enhance the flavour according to taste before adding tonic water and ice.

It’s rather like making an Aromatherapy Perfume: it’s a slow process which is all about finding the right balance of taste and fragrance to meet your own requirements.

One of my companions selected a Coffee/Chocolate flavoured Gin with a Graveyard connection. (Yes, you read that right.) The other went for a flowery Spanish flavoured Gin with a hint of Ginger which was much enjoyed.

As Humphrey Bogart said in the movie, Casablanca , “Of all of the Gin Joints in all of the Towns in all of the World and she walks into mine.” Folks, I certainly intend to walk into the Tipsy Bull more often.

Does this make me an old soak? Not on your life! The process of getting your Gin to meet the requirements of your palate is a slow one. I sat on the one drink for two hours – with a nibble and lots of laughs in between of course.

Tipsy Bull is located at 2/5 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.

Add to MUST DO LIST when next in the ‘Berra.