Brisvegas

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Sometimes people can be a teensy bit unkind about Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, especially when the discussion is about great places to visit. Take, for example, Robert Dessaix at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2014:

Why did Horace hate leaving home? What does the ‘it all’ bit in ‘getting away from it all’ mean? Why should you never stay with friends? What is leisure, and how can you get some? Why would anyone go to Brisbane?

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Bribie Island

Bribie Island, Queensland

Bribie Island, Queensland

There’s a tourist advertising phrase that many Australians remember — it was coined to attract visitors to Queensland: “Beautiful one day, perfect the next.” It was appropriate for a recent weekend visit. On the first day, an afternoon drive through the hinterland north of the capital city of Brisbane, the weather and scenery — well, “beautiful”, as promised. And the next day, to the QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) for a performance of the Philip Glass opera, ‘The Perfect American.’ Continue reading

Namatjira Country

Grave of Albert Namatjira, Alice Springs

Grave of Albert Namatjira, Alice Springs

Australian Aboriginal artists produce unique abstract works, usually “dot” paintings, illustrating their secret legends coyly, beautifully and mysteriously. But the first Aboriginal painter to come to the notice of Western art lovers was one who painted in the Western style – Albert Namatjira (1902 – 1959). He’s buried in the Alice Springs Memorial Cemetery, under the white trunk of a ghost gum, trees which so often framed his views of the Central Desert.

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The Desert in Bloom

 

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It takes very little rain to bring the Central Australian desert into bloom. Just a few millimetres per month over the last 18 months has brought all the wildflowers open to the sun. It’s an extraordinary sight, best appreciated while walking. I’ve found that many of my photos from hiking the Larapinta Trail and visiting Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon in July are photos of brilliant blooms. Here’s a photo journal of those gorgeous wildflowers. Enjoy. Continue reading

Who was Standley? Naming the desert.

A Chasm by any other name...

A Chasm by any other name…

In Central Australia many of the places and geographical features bear the names conferred upon them by 19th century explorers. Since exploring was (and is) an expensive activity, the early explorers repaid their financial backers by naming bits and pieces of the countryside after them. Thus, Central Australia is littered with the names of otherwise long-forgotten businessmen and politicians. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t spare a grateful thought for these chaps, who after all did stump up the necessary funds, but nevertheless it does seem more apt when the traditional Aboriginal names are resumed. Continue reading