A marble up my nose…

Clairview, Queensland

As much as we like being Out and About exploring this great country of ours, every so often we get that curved ball that lays us up for a short period of time…

Our curve ball over the past couple of weeks has been some minor surgery to remove a marble from my nose.

Uh…?

It’s a long story, but let me explain…

Since I was a small kid I’ve suffered from a blocked nose and minor sinus infections on a regular basis.

As a three year old my mother, Fay, famously asked…

“Baz, did you stick a marble up your nose…?”

Now, as a kid not long out of nappies, it was a bewildering question.

You know how little kids get when a proposition like that is put to them, maybe I had, how would I know, there is a lot happening in the life of a three-year old as life leaps from one minute to the next?

I’m sure if my mother actually thought I had a marble up my nose I would have been marched off to hospital at that time, but the joke was set and the question became legendary and a good laugh has been had with family and friends over the years…

As it turns out it has only taken a few decades (lost count how many) for the medical profession to work out that my nose is badly aligned and in fact one side is almost completely blocked.

The ENT Doctor said there’s you’re problem.

Seemingly I just grew up thinking it was normal, not there is anything too normal about me, hey!

Anyway, I elected to have the surgery done a couple of weeks back and it all went well. So we will be Out and About exploring this great country of ours very soon…

Footnote:

As I was wheeled into the operating theatre I asked my surgeon did he bring a bag of marbles so we could shoot a game or two later. He looked as bewildered as a three-year old toddler, but perhaps he just put my rambling down to the “sleeping juice” that was just starting to flow into my veinsif only he knew…

Cheers, Baz…

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

Sparkling like a Jewel, the Sapphire Coast…

Twofold Bay, Sapphire Coast, South-Eastern Australia…

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

Blooming, in the Australian Outback…

The colours of the Australian Outback are spectacular, red ochre earth bordered by a deep blue sky.

And just add water and the country truly comes alive in a wash of colour.  Far Western New South Wales has been fortunate to receive much needed rain recently and the country is now showcasing its true beauty…

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

A Carpet of Wildflowers, in the Australian Outback

The Australian Outback is a dry and parched land, but add water and it puts on a brilliant display of colour…

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

Sunset, in the Australian Outback…

Lake Pamamaroo, Outback Australia…

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

Deadman’s Point…

Lake Cargelligo, located in the Central West of New South Wales, is a picturesque town located on the shores of a lake with the same name. 

It is just the perfect place to wile away a couple of days basking under the canopy of a blue and cloudless sky.

A pleasant way to take in the lake and surrounds is along a walking track beside the waters edge, and curious, we headed to investigate why one of the points of land on the lake was called “Deadman’s Point”.

The story is told of two men arriving in the town during the depression years, with no money, food or swags, just the clothes on their backs.

Hungry, the men tried to catch some fish to eat and found some string to make a fishing line.  With no luck fishing from the banks of the lake they decided their chances would improve if they were able to drop a line in the deeper water.

Making a raft from some empty kerosene tins and timber saplings the men paddled into deeper water, but were set upon by a strong wind blowing across the lake. They lost their grip on the raft and it floated away.

One of the men could not swim and whilst his mate tried to keep him afloat he slipped beneath the water and drowned.

The survivor headed to town where he informed the police of the mishap and told them there was a dead man “around there”. The police asked “where” and the reply was “there is a man lying dead on the point” And thereafter it has been known as Deadman’s Point.

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

A Birthing Suite, in the Australian Bush…

One of the most enjoyable things about travelling is the opportunity it provides to learn something new, to visit faraway places, and to even make discoveries in your own backyard.

We came across a new discovery for us as we head towards the dog fence in far western New South Wales. Well actually, it is as far west as you can travel in New South Wales as it marks the border with South Australia.

Now don’t go thinking we’ve made some amazing discovery that hasn’t previously been recorded, however we came across Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, situated just west of Orange. We’ve passed the Reserve many times in our travels but have never stopped there, but a chance lunch stop provided an opportunity to visit and to view the limestone cave located there.

Arch Cave and Boree Creek, which runs through the cave, is in Wiradyuri Country and has been used by our First Nations People for thousand’s of years.

The name Borenore is thought to be derived from the indigenous language of the Wiradyuri people; Bora, meaning ceremony, and Nora, meaning shelf or overhanging rock.

There are approximately 400 Karst Caves located in New South Wales and they are amongst the oldest and most complex in the world.

Caves similar to Arch Cave have been used by aboriginal women as birthing sites in days gone by and without doubt it would be a wonderful place to enter the world.

So if you’re out that way, be sure to stop by and take a look, have a picnic and enjoy one of the walks, it’s a magical spot that will delight any visitor…

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

The Dog Fence…

The Dog Fence is a remarkable structure that stretches across Australia’s Southern Region.

Built in the 1880s, the fence is designed to keep the dingo, Australia’s native dog, out of the South-Eastern part of Australia.

Today you won’t find too many pure bred dingoes in Australia, but there are still plenty of wild dogs.

The fence is the longest in the world stretching 5,600 kilometres from the Darling Downs in Queensland to the Great Australian Bight in South Australia…

We’ll be tracking sections of the fence over the next couple of weeks in Australia’s remote outback.

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

Whispers from the past…

Standing amongst the wooden and corrugated iron buildings in the old silver mining town of Yerranderie, my mind’s eye could hear the whispers, the laughter of people long gone drifting on the breeze…

Yerranderie is a small bush town not too far from the centre of the bustling metropolis of Australia’s capital city, Sydney – at least as the crow flies.

In reality it is about a six-hour drive, depending on the route you take.

The town is nestled beneath Bartlett’s Head, an impressive rock that stands proud and from its vantage point provides a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding bush and the Kanangra Boyd Wilderness Area.

The hike to the top is well worth the effort and takes little more than an hour.

And at day’s end there is a rich golden glow as the setting sun reflects off its cliff walls before it glides below the mountain peaks, beyond the horizon, heralding in nightfall as wombats awaken from their daytime burrows…

From Bartlett’s Head you can view the Burragorang Valley and backwaters of Warragamba Dam, which provides Sydney with its water supply.

Prior to the construction of the dam in the late 1950s the Burragorang Valley was home to a small farming community and it provided a more direct access route to Yerranderie from the township of Camden to Sydney’s south-west.

Yerranderie has a history closely linked to the people of Burragorang Valley…

On Easter Sunday a service is held in the local Catholic Church to commemorate the pioneering people of the valley and their association with the town.

An opportunity for old friends to “catch-up”…

Whilst it is a reasonable trek to get to this little gem in the Australian Bush, if you have an adventurous spirit, enjoy a freshness in the air that only the mountains can provide, and a day or two to spare, I encourage you to pack some camping gear and your favourite bottle of red wine to share with friends around the warmth of a glowing campfire – better still pack another bottle and stay one more night!

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

A Whilsting Kite, in the Australian Bush…

The Whistling Kite, a magnificent bird of prey that is found throughout Australia.

Its presence usually announced by a distinctive whistle

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

Majestic, in black…

Australia has many types of black cockatoos, this beautiful bird; the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is a familiar sight in the Australian Bush…

But we never grow tired of spotting and photographing them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A day in the Australian bush – Scottsdale Reserve

Bush Heritage Australia

Last week we spent a few days at a Bush Heritage Australia conservation property, Scottsdale Reserve, which is located approximately 70-kilometres south of Canberra on the Monaro Highway.

And the weather was much warmer than the last time Baz was there in August when temperatures plummeted to minus 10 degrees.  This time around the days were warm and the nights balmy…

Our assigned task was weed control, spraying fields of St John’s Wort that are now starting to flower. However, sporadic rain showers slowed this job down.

Mind you rain is most welcome on Scottsdale as it has been in drought for sometime.

Conservation

So while Baz was out in the Polaris spraying weeds, I got to have a Master-class in propagating two types of Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus Bridge Siana and forgot the other one…oops)!

The propagation process entails looking under a microscope to see how many seeds are mixed in with the chaff, which in turn determines how big a scoop of seeds/chaff go into the potting tray.

I had no idea the seeds would be that microscopic, so it was a very small scoop…!

The trees will be planted on the property sometime over the next couple of years…

Late in the day, just around dusk, we made our way to a beautiful spot on the Murrumbidgee River, which the property fronts, to see if we could spot a Platypus, or two, but to no avail on this occasion, they didn’t want to come out and play. But we saw turtles, water rats and some big Murray Cod!

A great and fun time to spend a few days helping out the environment!

And hey, you can read some more about the work Bush Heritage Australia does, here.

Photos: Janet-Planet & Baz – The Landy, in Australia’s Alpine Region…

Janet-Planet

 

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

Bark Art – in the Australian Outback

Anne Beadell Highway, Western Australia

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback

Janet-Planet

Burnt Bark – in the Australian Outback

Anne Beadell Highway, Western Australia




Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback

Janet-Planet

Sculptural flowers in the Australian Outback

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback

Janet-Planet

Vibrant red in the Outback

 

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush.

Janet-Planet

Paper daisies in the Australian Bush

 

 

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush

 

Janet-Planet

Natures sculptures – in the Australian Outback

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

Photo: Janet Planet – in the Australian bush!

 

Janet-Planet

Thumb prints in the Australian desert

Anne Beadle High, South Australia

 

This is actually a close up of the bark on a tree!

 

Photo:  Janet-Planet in the Australian Bush

Janet-Planet

Gold – in the Australian Outback

Gary Junction Road, Kintore, Northern Territory

 

Photo:  Janet-Planet, in the Australian bush

Janet-Planet

Vibrant colours of the Australian Outback

 

Anne Beadell Highway South Australia



Photo:  Janet-Planet, in the Australian bush.

Janet-Planet