Splendid, in pink…

Australia’s Major Mitchell Cockatoo, commonly known as the pink cockatoo, is one of our most beautiful birds.

A delicate splash of pink creating a wonderful contrast in its usual habitat, Australia’s semi-arid regions.

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the red earth touching the blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a warm turquoise blue sea…

A few years ago we graduated from work and re-entered the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Smile, just smile…

Crazy times we live in at the moment, hey…!

Perhaps our world is always crazy, one-way or another, sometimes good crazy, and at other times, bad crazy.

One remedy to help through the “bad crazy” that has survived the test of time is to simply live in the moment and smile.

Surely we can all find something to smile at…hey?

And talk about smiling, the clock has just ticked into the cocktail hour, well it has in our part of the world…

So in our mind’s eye” and with a smile on our face we’re jumping back into this beautiful Ratua Island sunset where we’ll drink a toast to the health and well-being of all our friends.

Photos: Janet & Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the red earth touching a blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a warm turquoise blue sea…

A few years ago we graduated from work and re-entered the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Tumbling from the Jetty

Hey, how good is this wonderful Silo Art.

Located in the small coastal town of Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia, the artwork depicts two boys jumping into the cool waters of the Spencer Gulf from the local jetty on a hot summers day…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Australian Birds – The Gang-Gang Cockatoo

Have you ever heard a ‘creaky door’ whilst Out and About in the Australian Bush…? If you have chances are this magnificent cockatoo may have been the culprit.

Their screech is unmistakable – the sound of a creaky door.

We photographed this wonderful pair at Shallow Inlet Conservation Reserve on Wilsons Promontory.

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Tibooburra and the Corner Country…

Tibooburra, nestled in the far north west of New South Wales, speaks loudly of Australia’s Corner Country and will be a town familiar to many outback travellers.

An area rich in aboriginal culture and a place of early European settlement, Tibooburra’s remoteness is matched by the tenacity of the characters that live and work in this arid outback environment.

Numerous explorers’ have visited the region over the years, most notably Charles Sturt as he went in search of an inland sea.

And it has had its fair share of modern day visitors, including Clifton Pugh, the famous Australian artist who painted a mural on one of the walls of the Family Hotel. In fact he even owned the pub at one time.

And for a very short period in its early history the area experienced a gold rush of sorts. But as was normally the case on many of the goldfields, it was the storekeepers supplying provisions to hopeful prospectors and the pubs serving grog to thirsty miners that struck the most gold…

Although, they do say patient prospectors may still be able to find a nugget or two. And if you manage to find one, or even if you don’t, there is always a cold beer to be found in one of the town’s two pubs.

Whilst we are advocates for responsible drinking, a cold beer in hand is a pleasant way to spend days end as the sun slides gently below the western horizon.

australian pubs

And be sure to visit the information centre which has a wealth of information on Australia’s First Nation People as well as other topical information that will assist visitors get the most out of a trip into Sturt National Park.

And, if travelling to Innamincka don’t overlook taking a route often less trodden that takes you through the spectacularly beautiful jump-up country before passing through the iconic dog-fence at Toona Gate.

Heading north from Tibooburra you will traverse sand dune country, passing Omnicron Lake, which will most likely be dry, and Epsilon Station, before joining the northern section of the Bore Track.

The track exits just east of Cullyamurra waterhole and is clearly marked on most maps.

The northern section of the Bore Track is well worth the effort and be sure to drop by and visit the place that Robert O’Hara Burke was reported to have died, a peaceful resting spot beside the waterhole not far from the Innamincka township.

The region is a destination in its own right, so don’t just pass through, add a few days to your trip and immerse yourself in all it has to offer…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Australian Birds – The King Parrot

We photographed this wonderful pair at Jingellic, a town that sits on the border of Victoria and New South Wales where the Murray River flows by.

Whenever in the bush we are always on the lookout for an opportunity to identify and photograph our wonderful native birds.  And we are certainly not experts on either of those two counts, so sometimes we just take the time to sit down and observe.

A pretty good way to pass the time, don’t you reckon, hey…?

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Silo Art, pollinating our countryside…

The painting of murals on the many stark looking grain silos that dot Australia’s rural landscape has been a relatively new and welcome trend.

They have given a much-needed economic boost to many country towns as tourists’ criss-cross the roads often less travelled in search of this art form…

And it is not hard to be impressed by these murals, some that pay homage to an individual, others a town or region, and in some cases, the fabric of our nation.

In the Central West township of Dunedoo, artist Peter Mortimore was well advanced in painting a tribute on the town’s silo to Winks, Australia’s much loved super-racehorse, when we passed through recently.

Hugh Bowman, Wink’s regular jockey, was born in Dunedoo and provides the connection for the mural, one that he features in.

Silo Art is limited only by imagination and it is hard not too marvel at the precision and perspective that many of the murals provide, especially given the size of the ‘canvas’ that the artists’ are working with.

In a park next to the rail-siding in the small Victorian town of Goorambat we sat in the shadow of the silos proudly displaying beautiful artwork. And truly, these are masterpieces of the highest order.

Whilst we photographed the murals from every possible angle, ensuring that we didn’t miss a perspective, Keith, a long-term resident sat quietly with an array of tea-towels and postcards for sale showcasing this beautiful art work. The proceeds from these sales go towards the upgrade of visitor facilities in this small town.

We clicked away before taking a walk up the main street, towards the pub and past the town’s community hall where we made what we thought was an amazing discovery, well for us at least.

Set in stone at the front of the hall was a plaque commemorating the Royal visit of Queen Elizabeth to Goorambat in 1954.

Now there is no reason why the Queen shouldn’t choose to visit Goorambat, but we were intrigued to learn more about the visit. 

We were hopeful Keith would still be at the park and that he would be able to share some knowledge of the Queen’s visit.

Keith’s story and personal account of that day evolved like a good novel by the fire on a cold night.

And not only about the Queen’s visit all those years ago, but also of his family, its connection to the town and region, of how his grandfather built the home he and his wife of over sixty-years live in today.

Keith spoke about the good times and the bad times, a familiar feast and famine story of our harsh land, and how Goorambat’s fortunes were affected by ‘progress’ over the years.

“What about the Royal visit?” we asked…

Keith paused, as though surveying a time long past in his mind.

Clearly, his memory of the event was as fresh as the day the Royal train pulled into the siding.

“The lead-up to the visit was a hive of activity,” he recounted.

“We were newly married and in our early twenties”, Keith recalled.  “There was a bustle like never seen before as the women baked and the men cleaned and painted every surface that could be found, and then more”.

He laughed…

After all, this would be the Queen’s first and last visit to Goorambat, of that he was certain, so everything had to be perfect…

“Simply perfect”, he said.

Seemingly, it was deemed that noise from passing trains along the main train line between Sydney and Melbourne would disturb Her Majesty’s sleep and that a siding off the main route would be selected for her overnight stay in country Victoria.

Keith surmised the bidding must have been intense for the right to host the Royal visit and with much pride and a wink, he said Goorambat was chosen and the rest is history.

That night, as the embers glowed in the campfire, we reflected on the possibility that Silo Art was to a town like colour is to a flower. Its artistic beauty drawing you towards something special, a story to be told and recounted, to be pollinated so it lives on…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Budgerigars, at home in the Australian Bush…

Photographed at Mutawintji National Park, Outback Australia…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Haunting Beauty, Sculptures shaped by the shifting sands of time…

Australia is a parched and dry continent surrounded by ocean and is notable for many things. Unique wildlife abounds, rainforest canopies reach out to coral reefs in our northern parts, deep blue skies touching red sand dunes in our deserts lands.

It is also a country that has had the footprint of time etched into its landscape over the Millennia by a proud people, Australia’s first Nation People and in more recent times by European settlement.

Heading north after a very pleasant stay at the Homebush Hotel in Penarie we continue our journey through the western parts of New South Wales to the World Heritage Willandra Lakes Region and our destination, Mungo National Park.

For many, this is a special place in our landscape, both physically and spiritually and is home to the oldest human remains in Australia.  Buried in the land are artefacts and evidence of a continuous record of aboriginal occupation for over 50,000 years.

On our travels we usually take a kayak to assist us in exploring our waterways, whether it be our spectacular coastline, an inland river or lake, or even a billabong or waterhole nestled in the landscape.  However, there is no water in this area of note, in fact Lake Mungo hasn’t had water flowing into it for thousand’s of years.

Consequently, the red dust accumulated from days of outback travel remains encrusted on the kayak…!

The park, which is run and managed by Aboriginal Rangers, only reopened in the days leading up to our visit. With the potential for the Covid-19 virus to weave its tentacles into our indigenous communities many national parks in the area have been closed over the past few weeks.

Our campsite at Mungo Lodge, a private facility situated just outside of the National Park, is a wonderful base to explore the area from. A highlight is the magnificent ‘Mungo Lunette’ that stands out on the horizon.

There is a large woolshed on display and a loop drive through the park where you can marvel at the tenacity of the Cob and Co Coach drivers’ who guided their horses and rigs over the soft sand dunes as they made their way to these remote settlements.

 It would have been no mean feat…

We have endeavoured to capture some of the beauty of this region in our photographs, taken at the Lunette on sunset, and there is much that can be written about Mungo and the Willandra Lakes Region.

However, we feel it is a story better told through the eyes of the people who have left their footprints in this sandy landscape over the Millennia – since their ‘Dreamtime’.

Be sure to visit to learn more…!

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life, where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

A watering hole in the bush…

Quenching your thirst is basic to human survival, no more so than whilst travelling our magnificent country. Mind you, quenching your thirst may take many different forms and how you quench it depend on the era you grew up in… 

For Australia’s First Nation People, living near a permanent waterhole on our parched continent has been key to their survival for over sixty thousand years. In seasons of good rains, which are infrequent, they were able stretch out their area of reach, travelling from rock hole to rock hole, in search of food and to trade.  Dreamtime stories providing the roadmap to those faraway rock holes.

With the coming of European settlement, watering holes morphed into hotels and inns, pubs where horses could be watered and where you could get a bed for the night.  And most importantly, where one could wash down the dust from their dry throat after a day ‘on the wallaby’. 

In some cases these watering holes were little more than a shanty with calico walls, where the company was rough and the liquor even rougher still…!

Distances between these establishments was nominal in modern day estimation, usually the distance a horse might be able to travel in a day, perhaps even less so.

These days our travel is usually in an air-conditioned vehicle with little consideration needed other than to fill it up with go-juice to keep it going, which might be petrol or diesel. And long distances are covered between resting times.

Yes, cars need to be serviced, but unless you’re driving a Landrover most vehicles don’t need to be regularly rested like a horse. 

And a note for Landrover owners, we consider ourselves entitled to make Landrover jokes having once owned two Landrover Defenders at the same time, although we have disposed of them and happy to report we are now fully recovered from the experience and leading happy lives once again (tongue firmly in cheek… 😉 )

Anyway…

As we make our way west across the Hay Plain we have been reflecting on some of the pubs we’ve visited in our travels, the characters we’ve met, the tales we’ve heard and the ales we’ve drunk. 

And hey, if you’re travelling out this way and looking for a good spot to camp take the time to check out Sandy Point along the Murrumbidgee River. 

It is a free camp you’ll be sharing with other travellers, but there is plenty of room and it is only a short walking distance into the township of Hay where you’ll find a couple of watering holes in the main street.

And be sure to take the time to visit the Shearer’s Hall of Fame whilst you’re visiting. 

As we made our way further west towards Balranald and a rendezvous with our life-long friends and travelling partners we were giving some thought to where we might stay for the night as the camp area near the old woolshed in Yanga National Park was closed due to recent rains.

And as luck would have it, we discovered the Homebush Hotel at Penarie, which is located on the road towards Ivanhoe and about 30-kilometres north of Balranald.  

Now when we say ‘we discovered’ it is worth noting that the pub was built in 1878 and today it is the only roadside inn that has survived along the road to Ivanhoe. 

We put a phone call in to ‘Nugget’ the publican to check the pub was open.  

And in these Covid times it does pay to check.

“No worries”, Nugget said, and not long after leaving Balranald we had set-up ‘camp’ behind the pub and enjoying a beer beside the warmth of the fire, a central feature in the bar of the pub. 

And you’ve got to like Outback hospitality. Providing you spend a few dollars in the pub you can camp out back for free…! 

Hey, it is no resort, but that suits us fine and it is always nice to get a hot shower in when you can.

Now legend has it that Nugget, in his younger days, was a delivery boy and pizza maker for Eagleboy Pizza’s and even featured in one of its television ads.  

Of this we have no doubt. 

So if you ever stop by at the Homebush Hotel you can’t go wrong ordering one of Nugget’s pizzas, we did and we are still raving about it.

But here’s the thing, next time you’re in an old bush pub like the Homebush take the time to stop and listen ‘cause above the crackle of the fire, or the din of the chatter, you might just hear the voices and laughter of the characters that have long passed…if only the walls could talk, hey…?

Photos: Janet & Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise…

There is something very pleasing about having our touring vehicle pointed down the driveway towards the front gate, standing at the ready like a trusty friend and prepped for another adventure with our camper trailer in tow.

We enjoy the anticipation of a trip building in the lead-up to the day of departure, the chatter about places we will visit and in many cases revisit providing a wonderful mood and spring to our step.

Mind you our departure these days is usually marked with a hasty good-bye with our son, who, with bleary eyes, usually arises from his slumber just in the nick of time to wave us through the gate. 

Motoring along the freeway, the escape route from our urban confines, we reflect on past trips when TomO, once dubbed the walking hat, would happily be strapped into his car seat, colouring books and other travel distracting paraphernalia at hand. 

How things change, hey…?

TomO – The Walking Hat

The little bloke never knew if he was heading down the street to the local shop, or halfway around Australia on an Outback Adventure…

But that’s a story for another time, today we are heading to the small town of Jugiong, about 350 kilometres to the south west of Sydney, as we make our way into the Australian Outback for a few weeks of touring. 

Like many towns along the main road connecting Sydney and Melbourne, Jugiong is easily by-passed these days as one travels by at a hundred or so kilometres per hour.  But with time our own since graduating from work we detour frequently, investigating many of the places that were once a blur in the windscreen as we headed to a destination constrained by the bonds of school and work timetables.

And as we warmed ourselves with coffee from the thermos a couple of hours into our journey at Gunning, a historical town along today’s route, we joked that maybe TomO was still sound asleep in bed. 

We laughed, given the wind chill in the air could you blame him…?

We have struggled with the cold of a southern winter and console ourselves with thoughts of a warm campfire, vowing they would be a feature of this trip that would take us to far-western New South Wales. To be honest, they are a feature of most of our trips if conditions are suitable and the taking of firewood has minimal impact on the area.

In our defence we did grow up in the tropics and spent time living in Papua New Guinea, but you’d think that after 30 or more years we’d be growing more accustomed to the cold – not…!

And for those who haven’t travelled through the Australian Outback in winter, rest assured, it can be freezing cold as the sun’s rays withdraw their warmth from the wide-open plains. But the draw of deep blue skies touching a faraway horizon of parched red-earth has provided us with some immunity to the cold, but glorious starry nights. 

By mid afternoon we were pulling into the Jugiong showground that is situated alongside the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. The showground Trust asks for a small donation for the privilege of staying in this picturesque spot and we gladly oblige.  

As usual, there was a few other travellers’ set-up, some already preparing for the common place ritual of happy hour, where seemingly anonymous travellers’ share jokes and stories like old friends. 

Opposite are a couple of shops, one selling local produce and gelato, another selling local wines. 

The Long-Track Pantry café is a great place for a coffee, or lingering lunch, and the Sir George Hotel that has been renovated to its previous glory in recent years stands proudly on the street corner.  

After a day of driving, well not quite a day, we stretch our legs with a walk across to the other side of the river via a causeway and up a hill where you get a great view of the town and surrounding countryside.  

Being in the throes of winter the days are much shorter and with the sun fast sliding towards the western horizon the temperature was starting to drop. We took this as our cue to head back to “camp” for an easy pre-prepared meal, before heading to a warm fire and a glass of locally produced wine at the Sir George Hotel.

Over many years of travel we have learnt that plans usually never go to plan, so to speak, which sometimes adds to the experience.  In this case thoughts of a warm fire and that glass of red were going to be just that, thoughts, as to our dismay we discovered the Sir George was only open to dinner and drinks for resident guests on Monday nights…!

Perhaps this was due to the new order of life living with the Corona Virus, or maybe it is always the case, and as we walked back to our camper trailer, a Track Tvan, we quickly decided that a book, a queen bed covered in a dooner and warm blankets was very appealing even if the sun had only just disappeared.

It is only 6 o’clock and we are tucked up in bed. As we turned out the light we hoped there is some truth in the old adage – Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a person healthy and wise!

Photos: Janet & Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

The Murrumbidgee River, snaking its way across a Sunburnt Land…

Finally, we have again broken the boundaries of our urban existence, making our way into the great Australian Outback where deep blue skies touch a red ochre land on a faraway horizon.

The country is green after much needed rains and the mighty Murrumbidgee River is flowing, snaking its way across a sunburnt land.

The Murrumbidgee has been the lifeblood to both first nations people of Australia and in more recent times to European settlers.  And we are taking advantage of a beautiful campsite alongside the “Bidgee” at Sandy Point near the township of Hay in Western New South Wales.

Photos: Baz and Janet


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Outback Australia Beckons…

Like most people we have had plenty of time to reflect over these past few months of “lock-down” as the world has come to grips with a pandemic unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime.

And our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and friends to the dreadful virus and to the many affected by the economic consequences that the virus has drowned us in…

Often it takes an ‘out of the blue’ experience to jolt us into realising the things that are important to us, to value life, and above all else, to simply live in the moment.

And now that we are once again able to travel within this great country of ours, albeit with some restrictions still in place, we are going to skip down the driveway and out the front gate in the next few days to soak up some red dust and blue skies in the vast Australian Outback…

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Isolation, in the Australian Outback…

Canning Stock Route, Outback Australia…

Photo: Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Secluded…

Honeymoon Beach, Moreton Island, Australia…

Photo: Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Life, in the Australian Bush…

Australia’s unique wildlife…

Photo: Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Sunset, in the Australian Outback…

Milparinka, Outback Australia…

Photo: Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

A Bush Breakfast…

Australian Bush

And not a care in the world…

Photo: Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

The Desert meets the Bush – Outback Australia

Welford National Park, Far Western Queensland…

Photos: Baz and Janet-Planet

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.Thanks for joining us in the adventure…! 

Baz & Janet-Planet

Blue Skies…

Outback Australia


Hey, whilst we are in difficult times, there is way too much negativity around, especially if you listen to the 24-hour news cycle.

There is much to be hopeful about and this time will pass. 

Hopefully this photo helps lift your day which we captured on a trip to the spectacularly beautiful Australian Gulf Savannah on one of our many outback trips…

There is always a blue sky – sometimes you just have to look for it.

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

In 2017 we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

A Desert Dweller – in the Australian Outback…

Great Victoria Desert, Outback Australia…

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Uninhabitable – in the Australian Outback

Maralinga, Outback Australia

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Rolling Hills…in the Flinders Ranges

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

First Light…In the Australian Outback

Welford National Park

Welford National Park, Outback Australia…


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Last Light…In the Australian Outback

Milparinka, Outback Australia…

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Weight Restricted Roads – It doesn’t apply to me (does it?)

Increasingly, it appears these weight-restricting signs are appearing on our roads, especially in metropolitan areas where they are usually put in place by local government authorities.

In NSW the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) look after major roads and local government authorities lesser local roads within its area.

Many will be familiar with these signs restricting vehicles over 3,000kg (usually marked 3-ton) from travelling along a particular road or street. Usually the sign has a “truck” picture on it; similar to the one in the photograph possibly leading drivers to form an opinion it does not refer to standard SUV style vehicles.

And I must note that frequently these signs are not obvious, hidden behind foliage on a tree, which perhaps is another problem altogether when it comes to road signs…!

But what is the implication of these weight-restricted roads for today’s modern four-wheel drive vehicles?

A quick look at many of the popular four-wheel drive vehicles on the market today, including the Nissan Patrol and the popular Toyota 78 and 79 Series show that they all have a standard GVM in excess of 3,000kg.  Put a couple of adults and some luggage in any of these vehicles along with a full tank of fuel and they will most likely be weighing in excess of 3,000kg.

And it is worth noting many weight-restricted roads have a “GVM Limit” of 3 ton, so the popular range of four-wheel drive vehicles I’ve noted are impacted, regardless of what they weigh in at on the road.

We have a Toyota 79 Series with a GVM of 3,780kg (standard is 3,300kg) and it usually weighs in at around 3,500kg in its touring configuration.

Toyota 79 Series

But, 3-ton means 3-ton even if it doesn’t look like a truck and more like a passenger vehicle.

Possibly many may be of the view that the sign does not refer to their vehicle and be travelling on them unaware of the implications it might have, especially in the case of an accident.

Perhaps others simply ignore the directive.

If you have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, and who doesn’t these days, you will find that one of the first things it will say in the PDS is that you are “covered anywhere you are legally entitled to be”.

And it pays to reflect on that statement – anywhere you are legally entitled to be…

The implication for those with vehicles weighing over 3-ton or with a GVM in excess of 3-ton is that travelling on a weight restricted road might void your ability to make an insurance claim if it relates to an accident on that weight restricted road.

I am insured with the popular four-wheel drive specialist underwriter, Club 4×4, and I have confirmed with them that my interpretation is correct – if you are not legally entitled to travel on a road due to it being weight restricted you will be in breach of the terms and conditions of the policy.

Now maybe that interpretation is the default position from the insurer in the first instance, but the implication is clear, a claim might be denied…

And given underwriting standards and interpretations of terms and conditions are fairly standard across the automotive insurance companies you will find they’ll all mostly likely arrive at the same conclusion.

Now there might be a couple of caveats on that view depending on the specific circumstances, but it is usually with great certainty that whenever “grey area meets legal implications” it will cost you money to prosecute your case.

Local government authorities when restricting roads and streets to weight are required to provide an alternative for vehicles in excess of the weight restriction. I live in an area of Sydney that has numerous 3-ton weight-restricted roads and there are alternatives.

But it is a minefield of sorts, especially if travelling in areas you are less familiar with. And a review of a number of GPS mapping systems highlights that none appear to give the user an option to avoid weight-restricted roads, at least not in the systems usually associated with SUV type vehicles.

As with most things in life, it is never a problem, until it becomes a problem.

It is unlikely you will be booked by the local government authority enforcement officers or police for travelling along a weight-restricted road in your four-wheel drive vehicle if the tare weight is under 3-ton. After all, it would need to be weighed to determine if it is under or over. But if you are involved in an accident where there is an injury, or worse, the vehicle may be put over the scales and you may find you will face a charge of negligence if over 3-ton, depending on the circumstances, which is not a traffic violation but a criminal charge.

The question needs to be asked is why are there an increasing number of weight-restricted roads being introduced, maybe it is time for the four-wheel drive lobby groups to become active in this regard.

Perhaps many are blissfully unaware of the implications of weight-restricted roads, especially with regard to insurance and personal liability – but 3-ton, is 3-ton, regardless of the vehicle you are driving, it doesn’t apply to just trucks, so keep an eye out for those weight-restricted roads….

About us…

We have always loved the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided that after many years of paid and unpaid work that it was time for us to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Janet-Planet & Baz

Murphy’s Haystacks, golden and glowing…

Located on the picturesque Eyre Peninsular a short drive from the fishing community of Streaky Bay, Murphy’s Haystacks stand proudly in an ancient landscape framed by a deep blue sky.

Some might say that they look like “molars”, well perhaps a dentist might, in fact they are known as Isenberg’s, which are best described as a hill that looks like a rocky island rising from the sea.

So, how did they get to become known as Murphy’s Haystacks?

Folklore relates a story of a Scottish Agriculture expert who proclaimed that to grow good hay farmers needed to harrow their land for the best result. While travelling by coach he noticed the rock formation in the distance and advised his fellow passengers that this farmer harrowed his land to produce so much “hay”.

The rocks, being on Murphy’s property, became known as Murphy’s Haystacks and passing coachmen described them as haystacks to their passengers from that day onwards…

About us…

 We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

 A couple of years ago we decided it was time to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

 Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

 Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet

Janet-Planet & Baz

Diesel and Dust (An Australian Classic)

Diesel and Dust

If you travel the breadth of Australia, across its vast open plains and wide-open skies, you are bound to experience plenty of Diesel and Dust…

And doing it in summer you can experience some extremes of temperature and just recently we recorded an outside temperature of 50 degrees Celsius.

So with those types of temperatures we decided it best we lay up somewhere cool for a couple of days and there has been no better place to do that than Burra in South Australia

Burra, or Kooringa as it was originally named, was Australia’s first surveyed mining town.  And in the early 1850s it was Australia’s largest inland town and boasted the famous “Monster Mine” which was established after shepherds discovered copper in the rocky outcrops near Burra Burra Creek.

Monster Mine

History doesn’t record the shepherds as becoming rich from the discovery, but it certainly made its many shareholders wealthy over time.

Speaking of time, it has almost stood still in Burra, which is now on the Register of the National Estate and many of its buildings are listed on the Heritage Register.

And the fans of the Australian Rock Band Midnight Oil will recognise the “Old Burra Homestead” which proudly stands in a paddock on the outskirts of town.

Diesel and Dust, hey we’ll take that any day.

About us…

We have always loved the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

 A couple of years ago we decided that it was time for us to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

 Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

 Cheers, Baz & Janet-Planet (Barry & Janet O’Malley)

A giant wave that no surfer can ride (In the Australian Outback…)

Catching a wave is usually associated with a trip to the beach during our long, hot and lazy Australian summers.

But this is one Wave that no surfer can ride; in fact you won’t even find it rolling in off the ocean.

This “Wave” is situated in the wheat belt growing region of West Australia and is quite a remarkable rock formation in the Australian bush. It stands at 15 metres tall and 110 metres long and whilst you can’t “ride” it water still was a major contributor to its formation.

Tiny lichens, moss, and algae resulting in a marvelous contrast of orange and black produce the colour in the rock estimated to be thousand’s of millions of years old.

Wave Rock is part of the Hyden Rock formation and is well worth the visit, but hey, just a tip; leave your surfboard at home…!

Photos: Baz and Janet-Planet, Out & About in the Australian Outback…

About us…

We have always loved the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A couple of years ago we decided that after many years of paid and unpaid work that it was time for us to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Life on the edge – an encounter with a dragon (in the Australian Outback)

Australian Reptile

Oh, no need to worry…!

This wasn’t an encounter with the fire-breathing type of dragon ready to flash fry you you with a quick burst of flame.

No, this was an encounter with a rather cute reptile, aptly named the “Ornate Dragon”, that is barely bigger than the size of your foot and unlikely to do you any harm. We came across this wonderful reptile whilst visiting Wave Rock during our recent travel in West Australia.

Mind you, it took some skill and patience to capture them on camera as they scooted across the rock at a great pace, stopping only momentarily to bob their head up and down as well as doing some push-ups.

The head bobbing and push-ups are part of its mating ritual and from all the head bobbing and push-ups we observed there was little doubt the mating season was in full swing…

About us…

We have always loved the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter and the banter…

In 2017 we decided that after many years of paid and unpaid work that it was time for us to “graduate from work” and re-enter “the classroom of life” where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

 

Torgadirrup Dreaming (Mind The Gap…)

The traditional custodians of this very beautiful part of Australia, the Mirnang people, tell the following story about this place.

Two Mirnang brothers had their differences and were fighting over a young woman. The elders became tired of their squabbling and sent them to a place near The Gap.

They made one stand on one side of The Gap and one on the other side. One brother was good at throwing spears, while the other was good at throwing boomerangs. As the first brother threw a boomerang, the second threw his spear.

The first brother was struck by the spear. The other brother was struck in the back by the boomerang. Both warriors fell into the water.

The brother who was  struck in the back by a boomerang turned into a shark. The fin on the shark is the boomerang. The brother who was hit by the spear turned into a stingray.

Dreamtime stories told by the Traditional Custodians are a wonderful way of gaining a better appreciation and understanding of our land and Janet and I seek them out wherever we travel in this great country of ours…

This story is recounted on a story board at The Gap and was made available by the sons of Norngen…

Photo’s: Baz – The Landy & Janet-Planet, South West, West Australia…

PS: And yes, it is a long way from our usual travel in the Australian Outback…!

Swimming with Rays…

Hamlin Bay, nestled south of the Margaret River, beautifully showcases the dramatic and beautiful southern West Australian coastline.

Today, Hamlin Bay is a mecca for holidaymakers who come to fish and surf in this picturesque area, perhaps in between visiting many of the wineries of the Margaret River Region.

In days gone by Hamlin Bay was a port from which Karri trees, harvested from the forests close by, were exported to destinations all over the world, including England, India, and South Africa.  And it is worth mentioning that many streets of London are still paved with Karri from the forests in the area.

And the tall forests of Karri trees, standing proud, is a sight to behold as you tour the area.

One of the great things about Hamlin Bay are the stingray’s that abound.  These gracious creatures of the sea swim alongside the waters edge as you stroll along the beach – truly a sight to behold…!

If you are ever in the area, this is a place not to be missed.

Photo’s: Baz-The Landy & Janet-Planet, Hamlin Bay, West Australia

The Rabbit Proof Fence – Pioneering determination at its best…

western australia

Travelling around this great country we frequently come across great examples of the pioneering determination of our early European settlers.

The rabbit-proof fence, which was built in the early 1900s, showcases this pioneering spirit and determination and as we tour the wheat-belt region of West Australia we have seen a number of examples of the fence.

The fence was built in three-stages, commencing in 1901 and finished in 1907, and was once the longest fence in the world.

A farmer, in the State of Victoria, imported 24 rabbits from England in 1859 to breed on his property for hunting.  Perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time, but before long they had reached plague proportions – action was needed to stop the spread of the furry creatures.

Integral to the design of the fence were the “traps” that were erected approximately 5-miles apart along the fence line.  They were 12 feet long, 7 feet wide and 3 feet high and entirely enclosed in rabbit netting.

At each end and up against the main fence wire netting funnels lead into the trap. Leading out from the funnels at each end of the trap – and at an angle of 45 degrees to the main fence were two wing fences.

The stray rabbits running along the fence would get caught in between the wing and the yard trap, move through the funnel of wire into the trap and couldn’t escape…!

Needless to say I suspect many of the trapped rabbits made their way into some very delicious stews!

Photos: Baz – The Landy, and Janet-Planet, on tour in West Australia

Wide open spaces (In the Australian Outback…)

Australian Deserts

You’ve got to love the wide open spaces of Australia’s Outback, with its blue skies reaching out to a red ochre earth on the far off horizon…

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Outback Australia…

How’s that graduation from work going…(Baz)

Sydney's beaches
Narrabeen Lake, Sydney

Now let me repent for just a moment, we haven’t disappeared into the wilderness over these past couple of months, although you might be forgiven thinking so given our absence from these pages.

 

TomO, the Crown Prince, has been finishing his final year of High School and sitting his High School Certificate (HSC) and University entrance exams, (oh please, don’t start me on that topic) so that’s where our focus has been.  Mind you he has managed this intense period extremely well and hasn’t been too stressed about it.

Maybe he has been a little too relaxed, but hey, that’s not a bad way to live your life…!

 

Anyway, that is all behind us, and importantly, behind TomO as he sets his sights on a “gap year” before commencing his Undergraduate Degree at University; a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History, his favourite topic.

 

And rest assured, we haven’t wasted too much time getting (back) Out and About in this great country of ours, and last week we took the opportunity to spend some time on Sydney’s northern beaches, kayaking, hiking, and cycling…

Toyota 79 Series
Xplore – Our touring set-up

 

Whilst we are quite accustomed to travelling many thousand’s of kilometres exploring our fabulous country, this trip was about 40-kilometres each way – mind you, we’ve always said there is plenty to see in your own backyard if you just take the time to look, so we lived to that motto as we enjoyed a camp lakeside at Narrabeen Lagoon.

 

Next week we are off to Scottsdale Reserve, situated south of Canberra, to do some volunteer work on this conservation property owned and managed by Bush Heritage Australia…

But hey, about this graduation from work thing I embarked on early last year. Crikey, let me tell you, do it if you can, life’s too short to contemplate what could have been…

 

One of the things I have come to appreciate is time – you don’t need to do everything at a break-neck speed, no work deadlines to be met, sleep in, if that’s what is needed or get up for a walk or a row up in the “shed” in the pre-dawn magic.

The Shed

 

No rules, and strewth, you’re right, wouldn’t be “dead for quids”.

 

And Janet is itching to be Out and About, and she put the call out for me to “pack the TVAN Baz” and let’s head off down the driveway for some adventure in the Aussie Outback – yep, no encouragement needed on that one from me.

 

Speaking of which, we will cross the Australian Continent in December as we head to the West Coast for a couple of months…

Lake Cohen, Outback Australia
Lake Cohen, Outback Australia

We’ll have cameras at the ready to capture the landscapes of this great country of ours and we’ll be sure to share them..

 

Yeah, this “graduation from work” thing is working out swimmingly.

 

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

Photos: Baz – The Landy and Janet-Planet

 

From Currency Trader to Counting Platypus…

Isn’t that the beauty of life, ever evolving as we weave our own tapestry; a mosaic of our lives taking turns that one could not even imagine just a few years ago…

This week I am heading down to Scottsdale Reserve, a property owned by the conservation group Bush Heritage Australia to assist in a scientific study. Situated about 80 kilometres south of Canberra, Scottsdale borders Australia’s Alpine region and the mighty Murrumbidgee River runs through the reserve.

Each year a count is undertaken of the platypus population on this stretch of the river and involves sitting on the riverbank at dawn and dusk to “spy” this shy and unique mammal. And yes, it will be cold with minimum temperatures forecast to be as low as -7 degrees next week so I’ll be sure to pack my Driz-a-bone to keep me warm and the frost at bay…

So what took me from currency trader to counting platypus?

Well a love of the bush, the outdoors has always been my thing so it is no surprise that like a vortex the bush sucked me in once I “graduated from work”.

And hey, you’ll hear no complaints from me on how my tapestry; my mosaic is working out.

Sitting on a river bank counting platypus is timeless and without a doubt better for the soul than sitting in a trading room where fortunes are won and lost in the blink of an eye as currencies flirt with each other on world markets.

That isn’t to say trading currencies wasn’t fun, after all I did it with some great people who have become lifelong friends, but counting platypus is more appealing and far less stressful than staring at a computer monitor with one eye on the clock, counting down the hours, minutes to the end of the trading session.

By the way, what day did you say it was…?

(Just kidding, of course I know what day it is – a great one!)

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

Baz – The Landy

Across Australia on a Postie Bike…

One of the great things about being “Out & About” in this great country of ours is you never know what you might see next…

Recently I came across a great bunch of blokes riding their “Postie Bikes” halfway across Australia in support of a number of charities.

And no, they weren’t delivering the mail, but riding the bikes on our dusty outback roads was clearly thirsty work that could only be quenched with a cold beer at the end of the day’s touring…

Photo’s: Baz – the Landy

Baz – The Landy

A hidden gem amongst the urban chaos…

Sydney Harbour

Whether you are a Sydneysider or visitor to our fine city, if you are looking for a hidden gem overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour then this is the place for you…

The picturesque Ball’s Head Reserve situated on the Waverton Peninsular.

Covered in native trees the reserve has a number of walking tracks that meander around the headland taking you past the “Ball’s Head Coal Loader” which is situated alongside the Naval Base HMAS Waterhen.

The “Loader” was built in the early 1900s to supply Steamships with coal to use as fuel…

Mind you, it wasn’t without controversy, and our famous poet, Henry Lawson, wrote about it in his poem “The Sacrifice of Ball’s Head” in 1916.

Lawson, who lived in the area at the time, lamented the loss of the bushland to the ugly looking loader, spewing out its ugly “brown rocks” in such a beautiful setting. These days’ picnickers and hikers, who can enjoy this magnificent vista a stone’s throw from the urban chaos that is Sydney, have reclaimed the area…

We often travel thousand’s of kilometres into our colourful outback looking for those little gems of places just off the “beaten track” – but sometimes you don’t need to look much further than your own backyard; just scratch the surface and you never know what you will find.

And hey, Janet and I are pleased to say, just like Henry suggests in his poem, Ball’s Head is a great place to spend a glorious day.

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Baz – The Landy

 

“The Sacrifice of Ball’s Head” by Henry Lawson

 

They’re taking it, the shipping push,
As all the rest must go —
The only spot of cliff and bush
That harbour people know.
The spirit of the past is dead
North Sydney has no soul —
The State is cutting down Ball’s Head.
To make a wharf for coal.

Where picnic parties used to go
To spend a glorious day,
With all the scenery of a coast
And not a cent to pay.
The deep cool tangle shall be cleared
To make the glaring roads
And motor lorries jolt and grind
And drag their sordid loads.

And strings of grimy trucks shall run
In everlasting trains
And on the cliffs where wild trees are
Shall stand the soulless cranes,
To dump their grimy loads below,
Where great brown rocks are grand;
And the deep grass and wild flowers grow —
And boating couples land.

No more shall poorer families
Give “Grandma” and “Grandad”
A glimpse of nature’s mysteries
To make their old hearts glad.
No more our eyes shall be relieved
In the city’s garish day —
A sordid crime has been achieved!
And none has aught to say.

A lick of paint, and back into the bush…

Now that Janet and I have finished the house painting I’m heading back into the “bush” next week for a few days to do some volunteering work with Bush Heritage Australia.

Oh, yeah sorry, that’s where we’ve been over the past few weeks, up and down ladders with tins of paint and a brush…

And for sure, whilst it was great to be giving our 100-year old California Bungalow, “Dinsmore”  a coat of paint, we would much rather have been Out & About in this great country of ours capturing those wonderful vista’s that the Australia Outback is renown for in photographs…

 

So it will be great to be “back in the bush”…

I’ll be at Scottsdale Reserve, which is situated about 80 kilometre’s south of Australia’s Capital, Canberra. The Reserve is home to a remnant of Australia’s last ice age, the Silver-leafed Mountain Gum. Adapted to a time when this part of the world was much drier and colder, just ten populations of this little Mallee tree are thought to exist in Australia, and it’s vulnerable to extinction.

Currently, the area is exposed to drought conditions, so I’ll be spending my time watering trees recently planted.

Um, and yes, freezing cold down that way, so I’m packing some thermals…!

Cheers, Baz

Baz – The Landy

The Sturt Desert Pea – A Dreamtime Story…

Sturt Desert Pea

The origin of the Sturt Desert Pea, a magnificent Australian wildflower, is told by Aboriginal people in the following way…

A wonderful story that comes to mind each time Janet and I see this beautiful flower in the Australian Outback.

“A young and beautiful maiden was promised in “The Dreamtime” to a warrior who made a cloak of red parrot feathers. From a distance she would follow her lover in the tribal wars, faithfully roaming the trackless wastes to be near him.

Drought years brought famine to the tribe and the young warrior was one who went far afield in search of food.

During his absence the maiden kept lonely vigil, refusing to leave the place of farewell after the tribe had moved on. Their last view of her was of a red cloak surrounding her black head as she knelt on the ground.

Neither she nor her lover were seen again…”

 

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Outback Australia…

Baz – The Landy

A golden experience, whispers from the past…

milparinka

Blue skies, the earthen coloured red soil of the Australian Outback, sunsets to dream of and three weeks in the Corner Country was an opportunity far too good to pass up.

So I didn’t..!

With my customised touring vehicle loaded with supplies and TVAN Firetail camper trailer in tow I headed to the far west corner of New South Wales – “The Corner Country”.

After two days and 1,300 kilometres of travel along bitumen and dirt roads I arrived at Milparinka, a ghost town just to the south of Tibooburra, the town that is often the hottest place in the state during our long summer months.

Now it would be easy to miss this gem of a town as you make your way north to Tibooburra, or south to Broken Hill along the Silver City Highway as it is off the main highway. But a detour to Milparinka, whose history is steeped in a gold discovery, is well worth the effort.

The Corner Country has been a favourite of Janet and mine for as long as we have been touring the Australian Outback. So when the opportunity came along to spend three weeks as resident Information Person and caretaker at the Milparinka Heritage and Tourism Association I jumped at it…

The area’s first recorded exposure to European’s was in 1845 when Captain Charles Sturt mounted his exploration of the interior expedition in search of an inland sea. He found anything but a vast ocean of water, but his journey into the region opened the way for pastoralists’ who began arriving from the 1860’s onwards.

The environment is harsh and unforgiving, even to this day, especially with an annual rainfall averaging less than 5 inches per year. The tenacity of Sturt, and perhaps those who have followed in his footsteps are best summed up by this note in his journal…

“I would rather that my bones had been left to bleach in the desert than have yielded an inch of ground I had gained at so much expense”…

 

Charles Sturt

It was near to the current township of Milparinka that a station hand, John Thompson, discovered a couple of nuggets of gold whilst herding sheep on Mt Poole Station in 1880.

This discovery led to a “gold rush” with hopeful miners and prospectors making an arduous journey over an unforgiving land. They had no idea of just how harsh this environment was, and that water and eventually provisions were in short supply. As was the case on Australia’s early goldfields, many perished from disease; some were successful, but most left with little more than the shirts on their back.

Often, those that were most successful were the business’s that thrived on supporting the miners, especially the “sly grog shops” and “pubs”. And it is worth noting, in 1882 water was in such scarce supply that a whiskey and water cost substantially more than a whiskey “straight-up” – such was the value of that most basic of precious commodities, water…!

The township of Milparinka was first surveyed in 1881 and finally chartered in 1883, but its population peaked around this time as the “gold rush” was short-lived. However, the town continued to support a core group of residents and there were many sand stone buildings constructed from stone quarried locally.

Amongst these was the Police Barracks built in 1884 and later; the James Barnett designed Courthouse in 1896. James Barnett, the Architect for the Colony of New South Wales, designed many buildings, including the magnificent Post Office that stands proudly in Sydney’s Martin Place today.

By the 1930’s the police administration and court functions had moved north to the township of Tibooburra, or “The Granites” as it was referred to at the time and many of the old buildings fell into disrepair, some crumbling back to the earth either through lack of maintenance or vandalism.

But a community initiative in the 1980’s halted the destruction of the Courthouse and surrounding buildings, but it wasn’t until 2003 that the Milparinka Heritage and Tourism Association brought them back to life and re-opened the Courthouse as the local Historical Centre.

The Association is actively looking to preserve the couple of remaining buildings that are in disrepair and in early 2018 purchased the old Post Office with a view to bringing it “back to life”.

milparinka post office

The one remaining business in town is the Albert Hotel, which has been closed at various times, but I’m pleased to say is once again serving cold beer and fine pub style meals to the passing tourists. Much the same as 130 years ago when George Blore built the pub…

Sitting on the verandah of the Albert Hotel, beer in hand, is a great way to spend time reflecting on the beauty of this ancient land, its landscape and people, as the sun casts a golden hue over the surrounding Grey Ranges making way for an inky black sky that promises to showcase the “Milky Way” in all its glory…

australian pubs

So next time you are heading along the Silver City Highway and see the signpost to Milparinka, be sure to take time out to visit this “glimpse of the past” if only to quench your thirst as early travellers did…

Who knows, you might even hear “whispers from the past” as you walk around the old buildings, the sounds of laughter from long ago drifting on the breeze…

I’m confident if you scratch the surface of this town that time forgot you’ll be rewarded with something more valuable than just a nugget of gold; an experience that is golden…

Photo’s: Baz – The Landy, Milparinka, Outback Australia…

Barry O'Malley
Baz – The Landy

 

Tranquility – In the Australian Bush

 

I’m camped by a favourite waterhole of ours along the Bogan River as I head towards Milparinka which is situated in the Corner Country in the far northwest of New South Wales…

Hey. three weeks in the outback, where a deep blue sky gently blends to the red earth on a faraway horizon, and the night sky is laden with stars – how good is that, hey…!

Photo: Baz – The Landy, on the Bogan River