Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice…

Kokoda Track This morning, just prior to the rising of the sun, Australian’s for all walks of life gathered in the parks of our cities and our small country towns to honour the men and women of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy the life we do today.

 A life in Australia that is governed by a democratic process and free from many of the troubles that we see around the world today.

As I stood silently by the Memorial in our local park the sun was piercing the eastern horizon on a glorious morning, the Kookaburras’ were heralding the arrival of a new day and I thought how lucky am I to have grown up in this great Nation of ours.

Our outback travels take us through many small towns and communities in this vast country of ours and it was from these places that the young men of a new Nation enlisted to serve the Empire…

Bluey and the Boys, people just like you and me, men, just boys, that didn’t think twice about serving King and Country.

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915, a place where the term ANZAC was forged on that small wind swept peninsular, stained forever with the blood of our brave and courageous…

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.”

Lest We Forget

Australian Military

Everything has changed – really?

Scarborough, Australia

Do you ever get that sense that wherever you look these days something has changed, perhaps for the better, often for the worse?

Seemingly, technology has made life easier for us, if you know how to use it!

Crikey, I have just worked my way through that whopping big manual that came with the VCR recorder and now they tell me they’re finished, kaput, and useless.

TomO, the crown prince, said it belonged in a museum anyway, adding that in fact that most of the contents of our house were starting to resemble a museum collection.

Strewth, isn’t that something else that has changed, the cheek of the young people these days…

And how about fast food?

Hell, I remember when fast food was a Chiko Roll and a can of coke from the local fish and chip shop. These days we’ve got so many choices that a bloke would starve before he got around to making up his mind.

Hey, what about GPS on smart phones?

Talk about change, I never had any problem finding the corner store, but seemingly the young and not so young need one to navigate around the local mall these days.   And besides what was wrong with the old paper maps that you could spread across the bonnet of the car and then spend an hour chasing across a paddock after that big gush of wind turned it into a sail?

But they call this progress, change…

On a recent road trip, dubbed “Ocean to the Outback” we visited my mother’s hometown of Bundaberg situated on the east coast to the north of Brisbane. Fay reveled in the visit and we spent time visiting the property that her Grandfather owned and ran cattle on when she was a young girl. “The Springs” as it was known due to a spring fed creek on the property is now a scout camp.

As a young adult she worked in the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Bourbong Street, the epicenter of the town. Mum insisted we stop, have a beer and a good old-fashioned counter-lunch.

I remember as a kid having a can-of-lunch there. At least that is what I thought they called it. It was a few years later when a cute barmaid in a small country pub fell into stitches of laughter when I ordered a can-of-lunch that I made the discovery; it was a counter-lunch.

But I’m digressing and Janet is peering over my shoulder asking about the cute barmaid…

The Metropole Hotel

There was much reminiscing as Fay walked through “The Met” and we were fortunate to spend some time with the owner who loved to hear about how the pub was in the days gone by.

As we sat down to our can-of-lunch and a few beers, Mum looked around and said that it had all changed, it wasn’t the same anymore, she said. You couldn’t see the old stairs that took you up to the accommodation rooms and the old kitchen had gone.

Sometimes things have the appearance of having changed, but maybe when you delve just below the surface you see that nothing really has changed after all – maybe it is just a matter of perspective!

As I sipped my beer I looked around and thought…

“Surely nothing has changed”

After all the main bar was full of people chatting, laughing, enjoying a meal…

And of course, drinking an ice-cold beer!

I’m betting nothing has changed at “The Met” in the last hundred years…

Do places or life generally really change or just our perspective?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Love, in the Outback

Trilby Station

One of the great things about travelling in Australia, apart from the wonderful colours of a never ending blue sky and the parched red-earth of the Outback, are the characters you meet.

And of course there is no better place to meet them than at the local pub.

On our travels we enjoy dropping into the “local” as you’ll most likely find a warm welcome and usually the publican will be a wealth of knowledge on the area…

Shindy’s Inn, situated in the small township of Louth, is one place you are sure to get a warm welcome!  Centrally located on the banks of the Darling River it is the focal point of this small community, and it is little wonder why. The owners, Dave and Cath Marett, make all visitors feel at home just like they would a local.

Louth, New South Wales

Founded around 1859 by Thomas Andrew Matthews, Louth was a stopping off point for the river boat crews plying their trade along the Darling River.

Thomas, or “TA” as he was known, was married to Mary who passed away at a relatively early age in 1886, and to mark her passing he commissioned a monument be made from granite and with a large cross at the top.

What makes this monument quite special is that on the anniversary of her death, the cross, when viewed from the home they lived in, shines brightly from the reflection of the setting sun. And at other times of the year this extra-ordinary phenomenon can be viewed from varying positions around the town.

Apart from being quite an engineering achievement and not to mention it had to be made in Adelaide, well over a thousand kilometres away and transported by paddle-steamer on the Darling River back in the 1880’s, it has an ethereal feel to it.

Recently we camped alongside the river just a short walk over the bridge to Shindy’s Pub.

Just ahead of sunset Dave took us to the place where we could view the glowing cross do what it has done every other day for long over a century –  it shone brightly, so bright that it was almost difficult to look at it.

To see is to believe, as they say, and we stood quietly during those few minutes before sunset, seduced by the hypnotic flicker of light radiating from the cross…

Louth, New South Wales

Sometimes you just need to “scratch” the surface a little in these out of the way places just like a prospector would searching for those little glints of gold. And the rewards can often be far greater than a finding a nugget at the bottom of the pan!

So be sure to drop by “The Shindy” if you are in the area and say hello to Dave and Cath.

And perhaps in the golden hue of a setting sun you can drink a toast to a remarkable man, Thomas “TA” Matthews as the love of his life casts her eternal glow over an ancient land…

Photos: Baz – The Landy

(updates a previous story)

Australian Wildlife – The Dingo…

The Australian Dingo

The Australian Dingo, at home in the Australian Outback

Photographed in the Channel Country, far Western Queensland.

You’ve just got to love the landscape, the flora and fauna, that makes the Australian Outback what it is!

photo: Baz – The Landy