JOURNAL : Nov. 2004
1 November 2004 :
A new month, and a new page in my journal.
Another day up on the side of Lake Macquarie. Went to Robyn's house for lunch. Afterwards, Robyn gave me a large box of unsorted photos to look through as she knew I was very interested in the Family Tree.
Well, I was amazed to unearth the following picture :
I had found a picture of my great-great-great grandparents George & Elizabeth Warry. Even more amazing was that the label on the back of the photo was written by my grandma (Winifred Cousins, nee Wills). I recognised her handwriting straight away. A real special moment for me. She never left England during her lifetime, so am assuming that the picture found its way out to Australia after one of the Rousell family visited the UK.
For anyone who is interested, George and Elizabeth are sitting outside the pub they ran in the village of West Chinnock in Somerset.
Later that day, back at Carol's house, I was able to look through many of her photo albums and folders, and was delighted when I saw a picture of my grandma in 1923, together with her sister Ivy, and her mum and dad (my great-grandparents) Edward and Fanny Wills. It was another photo that I had never seen before.
It was great-grandmother Fanny Wills' (nee Rousell) brother, George Henry Rousell, who emigrated to Australia with his wife Edith in 1911 - and it's his descendants that I'm spending time with in NSW.
There you are ... a bit more of my family tree for you.
If you haven't twigged, it's a hobby of mine !
2 November 2004 :
50th day of my holiday.
It was also 'Melbourne Cup' day - when most of Australia seems to go mad for a 3-minute horse race.
I spent a further full day up at Toronto, looking through albums of family pictures, reviewing certificates, and scanning items onto the laptop.
It was a good opportunity for me to relax for a bit.
Weather Report : A massive thunderstorm took hold in the afternoon, but only lasted about 45 minutes. Otherwise, a fine day.
3 November 2004 :
Having said goodbye to Carol and Daryl, I took the 2-hour train ride back to the centre of Sydney. An unexpected "all change - this train terminates here" at Gosford, but otherwise an uncomplicated journey.
Walked from Central Station along George Street - until I reached my objective.
250 metres tall, the Sydney Tower provides the best view of the city ... and I had chosen a perfect day for the visit. Hardly a cloud in the sky. The introductory "sky tour" combined 3D imagery with the largest simulated ride in the Southern Hemisphere (well that's what the brochure calls it).
The Sydney Tower was opened to the public in August 1981 - glad to know that the design (56 cables strapped to the tower) makes it one of the safest buildings in the world, able to withstand earthquakes and extreme wind conditions. There are 1504 stairs, but I found the 40-second lift ride from bottom to top the easier route !
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Sydney Tower and Skytour
One of the high points of my trip.
After lunch, I decided to go down to the harbour, and catch one of the ferries sailing out of Circular Quay. I chose a return ticket to Manly, and this gave me stunning views of the harbour, and (as any good tourist would do) plenty of scope to photograph both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
A ride home to Gladesville later that day on the 'river cat' gave me an extra perspective :
4 November 2004 :
Phonecall made to England this morning (well two, after my first attempt proved that I couldn't yet get used to the time zone difference!) - to wish cousin Gary a happy 19th birthday (3rd Nov) and his dad (my uncle) Rodney a happy Big 6-0 (4th Nov).
News filtered through that someone called George W Bush was re-elected President.
Met Roy's twin brother Harold this morning, together with his wife Isabella (known as Isa).
And then Harold's sons (Ian and Ken) took me on a tour of the Sydney coastline and beaches - including Darling Point, Double Bay, Point Piper, Rose Bay, and then across to The Gap (where the ship 'Dunbar' was shipwrecked during fog, with the loss of many lives).
Along to Watsons Bay, and then to Bondi Junction - a large shopping centre.
Not yet at the beach, as Ian had an appointment with an Osteopath.
And I took the opportunity to find an optician, as my sunglasses had broken on the Manly Ferry yesterday, and they needed fixing.
The opticians were very helpful (well, they could see me straight away), so here is some free advertising for them : Katzeyes, 3 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022; Telephone 02 9389 2350; Email email@example.com
Back to the car, and a short drive later we parked up at Marks Park, at the edge of the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk - where we were able to see the annual Modern Art exhibition 'Sculpture by the Sea' - all the items on display were in the park and along the coastal path. We didn't do the whole walk, but we saw a good selection.
Now, I don't normally 'get' modern art ... but there were one or two pieces worth a pic - especially the elephant made out of televisions and computers.
The art finished, but the path didn't, so we carried on and walked all round the edge of Bondi Beach - lots of people around, and many out in the sea trying to catch the best waves.
The only wave I've been perfecting on this holiday is the 'Aussie Wave' (where you're trying to get rid of flies).
We finished up at the North Bondi RSL Club, where I was signed in as a temporary member. (The Returned Service League is along the lines of the Royal British Legion clubs, but a younger and more 'hip' crowd). There was a superb view across the bay from the balcony.
CLICK HERE for more info about Bondi (www.thebondiview.com.au)
5 November 2004 :
Another overcast day, this time with quite a bit of rain ... meaning that the umbrella which has sat unopened in the bottom of my luggage got used for the first time.
Took the Woolwich ferry into Circular Quay, in order to spend some of the day in the city.
Decided to try out the monorail, a 7-stop loop around the main centre. Loopy.
CLICK HERE for more info about the Sydney monorail
Got off the monorail at Darling Harbour, so that I could visit the National Maritime Museum. I spent a good couple of hours there, and it was a welcome break from the rain outside.
CLICK HERE for more info about the Australian National Maritime Museum
Later on, I met up with Roy, and we returned to The Trots at Harold Park Paceway for the evening. Another eight races ... one win, but seven losses !
6 November 2004 :
Ian, Roy and I were off to the Blue Mountains today. Fortunately, the weather had improved a great deal since yesterday.
First stop though was the Olympic Park - venue for most of the games in 2000. A huge amount of investment had obviously taken place in order to stage the Games. The main stadium (originally called 'Stadium Australia', but now re-named to the 'Telstra Stadium') has had its seating capacity reduced from 120,000 to 80,000, but it's still an impressive sight.
We journeyed on for about an hour, and reached the town of Katoomba for lunch.
It was then a short trip out to Echo Point, where we had a fine view of the rock formation called 'The Three Sisters'.
Rock on ....
The Blue Mountains cover a huge area, and there were numerous lookout points to visit. Amongst those we went to were Eagle Hawk Lookout, Govetts Leap and Hargraves Lookout.
7 November 2004 :
A quiet morning.
In the afternoon, Ken drove Roy and me up to Gosford, where we were meeting up with Carol and Daryl at the house of Jack and Pat Goodchild.
The purpose of the gathering was a musical afternoon, primarily for Carol to practise in time for the forthcoming Remembrance Service at Roy's masonic lodge.
Ken and I are both musical - between us, we played various duets etc with Jack and Pat - and it was a good chance for me to play a piano again.
And the best bit .... Carol singing.
8 November 2004 :
Early start this morning, to help Roy with his Welcome Address at Thursday's remembrance night. He then took me on a tour of Gladesville, where I was able to see many of the houses that he, Harold, and their father had built.
The afternoon was spent collecting a car-load of fruit (peaches and nectarines) which various friends and members of the family turn into stewed fruit and marmalade etc. I enjoyed my role as delivery boy !
I drove, so it was good that the roads were fairly clear of traffic ... no jam encountered.
9 November 2004 :
Up bright and early, in order to get to the airport. (Thanks Roy and Ken for the lifts).
What do Flowerpot, Cygnet, Blowhole, Electrona, Snug, Eggs & Bacon Bay, Waterloo, Cuckoo, Meander, Christmas Hills, Bracknell, Swansea, Cornwall, Somerset, Devonport, Ross, Gordon, Crabtree, Runnymede, Brighton, Flintstone, Southport, Catamaran, Bagdad and Jeremy all have in common ?
They can all be found today in Tasmania (all of the above are towns/villages/hamlets, apart from Jeremy!)
I'm now officially 'Under Down Under'.
10 November 2004 :
Quite a good night's sleep at the Youth Hostel in Hobart, although I was kept awake for quite a few hours by a noisy party of 50 school children in various adjoining rooms. Tasmania is definitely full of little devils.
Anyhow, having picked up a hire car at the airport yesterday, it was all systems go ... key in the ignition, and I headed off early down the A3.
Destination : Port Arthur
This historic site is home to over 30 buildings, ruins and gardens, created with convict labour. I spent a good couple of hours walking round, exploring where the prisoners lived and worked, as well as the homes and buildings of those who 'supervised' them.
The entrance ticket also included a 40-minute harbour cruise - this took us close to the Isle of the Dead, a small island in the middle of the harbour where both convicts and 'the free' (i.e. those who helped run Port Arthur and their families) were buried. There are reputedly over 1,400 bodies buried on the island - most in unmarked graves. 'The free' were buried on the high ground, marked with gravestones or tombs, so that even in death they were physically positioned above those who were deemed socially inferior.
CLICK HERE for more info on Port Arthur (www.portarthur.org.au)
Within the grounds, there is also a memorial garden, dedicated to the 35 tourists and workers who so needlessly died at the Port Arthur site on Sunday 28 April 1996, when a man ran amok with a gun.
Driving back towards Hobart, I then stopped at the 'Tasmanian Devil Park'. Not another youth hostel, but a wildlife and conservation centre.
With an entrance fee of $20, I thought it was a bit steep (criminal in fact, compared to Port Arthur) - however, I was delighted to see all the various animals, and came away satisfied that it was money extremely well spent.
Apart from seeing a Tasmanian devil (a feisty, carnivorous marsupial), the best bit for me was walking amongst the wallabies and kangaroos. I even got close enough to see the little Joeys in their mums' pouches. Let me hear you all say "Aahhh"!
CLICK HERE for more info on the Tasmanian Devil Park
One further stop today, at a little place called Eaglehawk Neck. A brown tourist sign directed me to an unusual venue, which I can only best describe as a natural phenomenon along the lines (no pun intended) of the Giant's Causeway.
It's called the Tesselated Pavement - the grid pattern is caused by a certain type of salt erosion and movement of the earth's crust.
11 November 2004 :
An early drive south, to check out the coast towards Dover and Southport, then back to Huonville, before returning to Hobart.
At the 11th hour (on this 11th day of the 11th month) - a minute's silence.
Lest we forget ...
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
WORLD WAR 1
CHARMAN, William Alfred (1898-1917) - died 29/12/1917 - Ypres, Belgium
NORSWORTHY, Frank Christopher (1899-1916) - died 13/11/1916 - France
PULLEN, John William Creese (1870-1916) - died 31/05/1916 - Atlantic Ocean
ROUSELL, Robert Christopher (1886-1916) - died 31/05/1916 - Battle of Jutland
WISHART, Henry Gray (1890-1915) - died 09/05/1915 - France
WORLD WAR 2
COUSINS, Cecil Lawrence (1911-1943) - died 17/01/1943 - North Africa
DYER, Thomas (1916-1942) - died 26/08/1942 - Far East
ISBISTER, Archie (1914-1944) - died 06/06/1944 - D-Day Landings, Normandy
SADLER, Hubert Hayward (1915-1944) - died 29/10/1944 - Nyjmegen, Holland
VOSS, Frederick (1920-1942) - died 04/03/1942 - Atlantic Ocean
VOSS, William George (1917-1942) - died 12/06/1942 - India
WISHART, Henry George Crease (1917-1940) - died 21/01/1940 - Scapa Flow
12 November 2004 :
Before I arrived in Tasmania, many people said to me that it would remind me very much of England. Whilst I partly agree with that thought, today Tasmania very much reminded me of my adopted country of Scotland.
During the 4-hour drive across the middle of the State to Queenstown, I encountered many forests, mountains, valleys and lakes ... I even went through the towns of Hamilton and Gretna. The only thing that I haven't seen in Scotland that I saw plenty of today were wombats (unfortunately, squashed on the roads).
The drive down into Queenstown was very dramatic - plenty of hairpin bends, with the road gradually winding down the side of hills that were scarred with the effects of mining.
Queenstown itself was a mining town (there is still some copper mining done in the area, but nothing on the scale of earlier days) ... and the buildings gave it a very "pioneer" atmosophere. It was another one of what I call film-set towns.
I drove across to Strahan (pronounced Strawn), where I needed to pick up my ticket for tomorrow's river cruise. Took the opportunity to try out the local nachos ! 6kms on from Strahan is the west coast I decided that I would like to see the sea, so drove my hire car towards Ocean Beach - the last 3kms on a dirt track (don't tell the hire car company !) Great view, but very windy.
Back at Queenstown, I looked around the Galley Museum, which contained artefacts and over 1000 photographs detailing the life, the industry, and the individual people of the town. Very interesting to read about the town's past.
I was the only one in there - it was all mine.
13 November 2004 :
I was beginning to think it was a bad idea to book the boat trip in advance - I encountered heavy rain and hail on my drive to Strahan from Queenstown. However, the sky cleared just as the 8.30 departure time arrived, and it was to be a mainly dry day. Good job too, as we had over 65 nautical miles to cover.
While we were boarding, it was somewhat funny to watch the German tourists being asked to move to their allocated seats from the prime window seats which they had already commandeered. Perhaps they should've remembered their beach towels?
Fortunately, I had reserved a window seat as part of my booking, so I was guaranteed a good view throughout the cruise.
The cruise would explore parts of the Macquarie Harbour (six times bigger than the harbour at Sydney), together with exploring part of the Gordon River, which forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area.
Our first destination was "Hell's Gate" - the entrance to the harbour from the Southern Ocean. It was named Hell's Gate by the convicts, who arrived in Tasmania to serve their sentences, sometimes for the most trivial of crimes.
We sailed out through the entrance, turned round, and came back into the harbour. I had therefore been to hell and back, and it was only 9 o'clock in the morning.
We then progressed to one of the seven fish farms on the harbour ... not the most interesting part of the trip, although I was to learn that the production of rainbow trout was more economically viable that the salmon, as they only needed 8 months to grow, rather than 12 to 15 months required by the salmon. One man's fish is another man's poisson.
As we approached the Gordon River, the windows of the boat were automatically washed - the Lady Jane Franklin II was certainly fitted out with hi-tech equipment.
The river goes right through the gorge, between 20 and 30 metres deep. All around were Huon trees, which grow for up to 3,000 years - making them the second oldest trees on the planet. It was also nice to see the eagles flying above. We were certainly in an unspoilt environment.
We reached a jetty literally in the middle of nowhere and had the chance to get off the boat for half an hour, to walk through a part of the rainforest - about 400 metres on an elevated pathway. Interpretation boards were placed at various stages, to help us identify all the trees and plants. All very educational.
Our final stop took us to Sarah Island - a tiny island in the middle of the harbour, which housed up to 385 male convicts. It was founded in 1822 - conditions could not have been good, as within a few months, nine prisoners tried to escape. Eight of them probably wished they hadn't, as their other escapee was Alexander Pearce - subsequently known as the 'cannibal' convict !
There are only ruins left on the island these days, but you do get some great views from various places around the shore.
The cruise took six hours in total, and the ticket included a buffet lunch on board. Good value, and was a great way to see some of the undeveloped parts of Tasmania.
Later on, I drove north to Burnie - a much easier drive than the one I did cross-country yesterday. Much straighter roads, but the scenery still reminded me very much of Scotland, with lots of lakes, mountains and valleys.
14 November 2004 :
Happy 93rd birthday to my grandma, Elsie Charman.
Burnie is located on the north coast of Tasmania, and therefore is situated on the edge of the Bass Strait, the body of water which separates Tassie from mainland Australia.
I headed west, as I wanted to visit Stanley. Not another member of my family, albeit relatively distant - but a town perched near the north-west corner of the island. The town grew up underneath 'The Nut' - a flat-topped hill, which dominates the bay.
I took the chance to visit Highfield House, which was the original headquarters of the Van Diemen's Land Company - which hoped to develop the whole area (about 300,000 acres) for quality wool production. Unfortunately, the terrain was not suited to the sheep one bit, and the whole operation subsequently failed. The house was built from 1832-35, and apart from some minor alterations in the early years, the structure of the building has remained largely unchanged.
It had unfortunately fell into complete disrepair, until about 10 years ago, when it was taken over by the State, and is still undergoing restoration today.
Later on, I drove back along the coast, eastwards towards Ulverstone where I would be staying for the night.
On the way, I stopped off at the brilliantly-named town of Penguin. I took the chance to take a couple of photos, and p-p-pick up some postcards.
15 November 2004 :
I continued eastwards today, over the Forth River and past Leith ... onto the town of Devonport. I stopped for a couple of hours, so I could have time to get the latest batch of photos printed. (I had tried to do this yesterday at Ulverstone, but the photos produced had lines down the side, and I refused to pay. I walked out of the shop with a negative feeling.)
Onwards to Exeter and the Tamar Valley, stopping off at 'Brady's Lookout' - Matthew Brady was an infamous criminal in the area back in the early pioneer days.
Finished up in the city of Launceston - my base for the next two days.
16 November 2004 :
Visited the Cataract Gorge Reserve in Launceston this morning - a good place to see. Inside the park was the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, together with its notice of 'Do not swing the bridge' ... I tried not to, but it was probably worse than the new Millennium bridge in London before they fixed it.
I continued north up the Tamar Valley towards George Town, making a quick detour on the way to see the Batman Bridge. No sign of the Penguin.
A shame, as there were no signs of penguins when I reached 'Low Head' north of George Town either. Just below the lighthouse at Low Head is the starting point for penguin-watching tours ... unfortunately these take place after sundown, so I was approximately 9 hours too early.
Returned later to Launceston, to have a look round the city centre. Funny to see the Christmas decorations up in the streets and the displays in the shops. Although Tasmania isn't particularly hot at the moment, I don't feel Christmassy at all ... bearing in mind that we're now in Summer here.
.tnorf ot kacb tib a lla s'ti - gnileef egnartS
17 November 2004 :
Happy 8th birthday to my niece Hannah.
South today, through the midlands, driving down the Heritage Highway. This was and still is the major link between the two original cities of Hobart and Launceston.
Passed through Perth (yep, another one - you'd think there were plenty of other names to choose from), Epping Forest, Campbell Town and Ross, site of a wool centre and a female factory (no cloning here - 'twas just the name given to the domestic service school for ladies at the time of colonisation). Clearly the area had a lot of Scottish influence ...
Onwards to Hobart, and the relative sophistication of Salamanca Place - where you can find all the trendy bars and cafes. It's also where I found the 'Mouse on Mars' internet cafe - enabling me to catch up on updating the website, as well as booking my accommodation for the evening. (Try out www.wotif.com if you're looking for cut-price accommodation in Australia or New Zealand - it's great).
I then drove onto Historic Richmond (lots of places seem to pre-fixed with the word 'Historic').
Having not worked for many months, I thought it was time to get some employment.
Should I return to Marketing ?
Technical Advice ?
Not a huge selection at the Job Centre ...
One thing led to another ...
I decided instead to become
a Bushranger !
As many of you will know, I used to work in a bank.
Well, it may have been my quaint English accent (aye, with perhaps a wee twang of Scottish creeping in), but "working in a bank" obviously got translated as "bank job".
Before I knew it ...
I had to make a fast exit
out of town ...
on my trusty steed,
I sought refuge at the town of New Norfolk, where I could hide out for the next two days.
Maybe it was the historical (or hysterical) context of the afternoon, but I ended up sleeping in a stable.
Good job it had been tastefully converted, with a lounge and bathroom downstairs, and a comfortable bedroom upstairs.
No room for Mitsubishi though, so I left him tethered up in the car park.
Later on, I sneaked into town to the Old Colony Inn, and had a great time with James, Lydia and Peter who run the place, built in 1835, and full of old photographs and antiques.
Peter is an expert on the local history, so we got chatting about the early residents of New Norfolk, and he knew of the 'Rousell' family connection. Further investigation required tomorrow.
18 November 2004 :
An interesting day, tracking back the "rellies" to 1804. A trip to Back River cemetery, followed by a visit to the library in New Norfolk, and then a couple of hours in the State Archives at Hobart provided me with the information I was after for the family tree.
Another evening at the Old Colony Inn, and then a bit of relaxation before tomorrow's flight back to the mainland.
19 November 2004 :
Drove across to the airport, and dropped off the hire car (2324 kilometres completed during the past 10 days).
There are times in life when paths are destined not to cross. Today was one of those times. As I was flying from Hobart to Melbourne, Michael Palin was flying from Melbourne to Hobart on his Himalayas TV and book promotion. Bad timing on my part.
Bad timing also for my check-in ... well, for my case, which ended up being sent straight through to the earlier Melbourne flight which was just closing as I checked in for my own flight. So, when I arrived at Melbourne, there was my bag, sat all on its own on the non-moving carousel - good job no-one nicked it - and bad job on JetStar who breached the normal "Bag plus passenger on same-plane" security requirement.
The only other difficulty I had was when I was collecting my fresh hire car in Melbourne, when the AVIS rep started to rattle off all sorts of information about tolls and CityLinks and LinkUps - he wasn't happy when I told him that he was talking jibberish and needed to slow down, as I had no idea what he was going on about. Anyway, it turns out that you need a pass or an 'e-Tag' device to use some of the freeways in Melbourne. AVIS would happily arrange one for me, but their process was to charge $8 a day for the duration of my hire ... irrespective of the fact that they knew I would be leaving Melbourne in a few days to head west towards Adelaide.
I discovered afterwards that it was ok to book a pass over the phone, and I could get a weekend pass costing just $9.85 and valid from midday Friday to midnight Sunday. So, beware if you ever visit Melbourne - and be prepared to talk to a telephone 'robot' to organise your toll pass. The robot (voice recognition) requested me to read out the registration number of the car - unfortunately it couldn't distinguish between 't' for tango, 'p' for papa, and 'k' for kilo (except it wanted 'k' for kangaroo !) The robot gave up after three attempts so I still ended up speaking to a human.
Thanks to the freeway (and the not-so-free-way) I got down to the south-east suburb of Cranbourne North where I was staying with further Rousell rellies, Len and Jean.
20 November 2004 :
Len, Jean and I explored the coast today, driving south past Arthurs Seat and ending up in Sorrento. The coastline looked great, and there were many boats out on the water.
After stopping for lunch at Dromana, we drove back up the coast road, with a further stop a couple of hours later for coffee at the Kananook Creek Boathouse. The building also housed an art gallery, but the only pictures I would be sending home were on my camera.
The rest of the afternoon and the evening was spent at Linda and Ian's house, Linda being one of Len and Jean's daughters, and another one of my 3rd cousins. Linda's sister Kay also joined us for a while, although I had already met Kay the previous evening. It was great to meet them all, and it was a real shame that I would have to be back on the road tomorrow.
21 November 2004 :
Set off at 8.30 after saying goodbye to Len and Jean ... headed north up the freeway towards and round Melbourne, and then westwards towards Geelong.
And then it wasn't too long before I arrived at Torquay, being the start of the Great Ocean Road.
The wooden gateway was the 3rd to be built, the 1st being erected in 1939. It was replaced in 1973, but this 2nd gateway was destroyed by fire in 1983, on (obviously) Ash Wednesday.
The Great Ocean Road was built by returning servicemen from the 1st World War (the so-called 'diggers'). It hugs the southern coastline, and provides awesome views at many locations. Needless to say, I stopped at a lot of these viewpoints along the way.
The first long stop was at Gibson's Steps - a mixture of wooden and concrete steps right down the edge of the cliff and down onto the sand below.
After a further stop (at Crofts Bay), I then moved onto the most famous and most pictured rocks south of Uluru and the Olgas.
The Twelve Apostles.
They are spread out over a large area, so it's not possible to see all twelve in one go. But the scene was impressive nevertheless.
I'm rocking all over the world.
Bumped into a few people I had already seen at Gibson's Steps - clearly I was on the tourist route. I then saw the same people again 15kms later at The Arch. I don't need to explain what sort of rock formation this one is, but here's a picture anyway !
Other scenic points I stopped at on the Great Ocean Road were the Loch Ard Gorge, The Blowhole and the Thunder Cave.
The coast road lives up to its reputation as being one of the most scenic routes in the world.
My journey ended at the town of Warrnambool where I would stay for the night.
Tonight was also the end of the journey for 'Australian Idol' - the format seems to be following me everywhere, as it was also being hyped everywhere when I was in Singapore.
Rock and Pop all in one day.
22 November 2004 :
Continued in a westerly direction towards the picturesque town of Portland, passing signs for Dunkeld on the way. (Ross - no sign of Lynx !)
The coastline route eventually turned inland, and before I knew it I was crossing the State border back into South Australia. (It wasn't until a couple of hours later when I was listening to the radio that I suddenly realised that I'd gained back half an hour due to the time zone).
Mount Gambier was the town where I stopped for a bite of lunch, and I visited the Blue Lake ... a popular attraction .... yep, it's a lake ... and VERY blue.
Forestry is certainly big business in these parts. For miles, I drove through countless forests of pine, each section with a dated notice showing when the trees were planted - some as far back as the 1940s, and some as recent as the mid 1990s.
Carrying on along Route 1 (the route that circles the whole of Australia) I reached Millicent, Beachport, and then eventually arrived at the small town of Robe. Not a huge amount of traffic around, but that's because most people travelling between Melbourne and Adelaide go across the shorter, more direct, cross-country route.
A little while ago in my journal, I hinted that I would be trying to find something specific in Robe ... well, I found the Tourist Information Office. They were very helpful, as the particular thing I was looking for turned out to be located 40kms up the coast at the town of Kingston. Oh well, I can wait until tomorrow ...
23 November 2004 :
Today is a BIG day for me ... and up early as I have a BIG drive ahead of me ...
I need to keep a lookout ...
You may know that there are many BIG things in Australia.
At the side of the road ...
For a BIG impact ...
Such as the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Orange ...
And an essential addition to my website ...
At the north end of Kingston ...
the BIG ...
I couldn't possibly have come to this part of Australia without seeing Larry. He's seen better days, and his shell is a bit cracked ... but worthy of a photo or two.
The drive from Kingston seemed to go on for ever - a lot of very straight roads, with heat haze playing tricks with my eyes. A few small townships where you could stop for a rest and a refuel, but very little else apart from a flat landscape.
I definitely thought my eyes were playing tricks on me at one stage, and decided to stop when I noticed that a few people had also stopped ... at another lake.
This time the colour was pink. Bizarre.
On and on the road went - the sun beating down, and the temperature hitting 35 degrees - thank goodness for the air conditioning.
Eventually, I got to the river ferry at Wellington (a nice quick 3 minute ride, and free of charge) - on to Strathalbyn - and ending up back with relatives Reg and KJ in Christies Beach, Adelaide.
Three days of driving were over - nearly 1300 kilometres along some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world.
It was great to return to Reg and KJ - and it was nice to see Reg's brother and sister-in-law David and Brenda, who were on hols in Australia all the way from West Sussex.
24 November 2004 :
A chance to relax again. We all went to the Black Kettle for lunch, and then I disappeared for a few hours ... to do some Christmas shopping. It gave me a chance to return to Glenelg.
I don't think I've ever been Christmas shopping before in a t-shirt and shorts !
Is it cold in the UK ? So sorry.
25 November 2004 :
Spent the morning with Reg, KJ, David and Brenda, as well as getting time to pop down to the town to post a few parcels.
Managed to get everything packed, including all the stuff that I had left in Adelaide when I visited earlier in the month. Definitely excess baggage though.
It was then time to say "goodbye".
Dropped the hire car off at the airport, checked-in (thankfully, the check-in staff didn't charge me for my excess baggage), and a good but confusing flight to the Gold Coast.
Confusing, as the Gold Coast is further east than Sydney - but Queensland doesn't have summer daylight saving, so I still ended up gaining an hour (after losing the half hour that I had gained just a few days ago). Hope that makes sense ! Anyhow, the flight from Adelaide took an hour longer than I was expecting.
Landed at Coolangatta (also known as Gold Coast airport), and then a short shuttle bus to my accommodation at Broadbeach, situated just a few kilometres short of Surfers Paradise.
26 November 2004 :
Had a great walk today, north up the beaches towards Surfers Paradise. But it got very hot. I'd forgotten to bring any water with me, so gave me an excuse to sign up as a temporary member of the Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club in order to use their bar facilities.
The Gold Coast itself has become very developed over the past two or three decades, and the coastline is almost wall to wall high-rise buildings. Any gaps will no doubt be ripe for development over the coming years.
Quite a few people on the beach, many just sunbathing, but some groups were out in the water trying to make the best of the surf available.
The safe areas are marked by flags, which indicate where the lifesaving teams are active.
27 November 2004 :
After a couple of nights on the Gold Coast, it was time to move on again, this time being a return trip down to Sydney.
Picked up at the airport by 1C2R Roy and 2C1R Ken as arranged, and then back to Roy's house in Gladesville, before moving across for the night to 2C1R Ian's not-quite-finished-being-renovated house about half a mile away.
To explain the above code :
1C2R - first cousin twice removed
2C1R - second cousin once removed
28 November 2004 :
Today was organised as a big family gathering, to bring Roy's six great-grandchildren - all my 3C1Rs - together for the first time (four of which were born in 2004).
Great fun, but I had to concentrate hard to try and remember everyone's names, especially being careful not to mix up the four new babies (Cameran, Caitlin, Callie and Sophie). The main group photos were done before I had even arrived, as it was going to be a rare chance to get them all together at the same time whilst synchronising feeds/sleeps/changes etc !
A lovely day, although very hot ... I won't forget the sight of 2C1R Jacqui with her feet in an ice bucket !
Later that evening (once Jacqui's feet had cooled down), we drove in Jacqui's Beetle over to Newtown, where I would be staying with Jacqui and partner Isis for the next six nights.
Met the four cats (McKenzie, Cocoa, Lily and Vlad) - although Jacqui and Isis joked that they only really had three and a half cats, as Vlad is also 'claimed' by a few other houses in the vicinity.
29 November 2004 :
Just a quick walk to the station at Newtown, and a simple six-stop ride into the City. Arriving at Circular Quay, it was a quick hop onto the Manly ferry.
Although I had been on the Manly ferry the last time I was in Sydney, I had stayed aboard, and hadn't been to see the beach etc. So today was my chance to put this right, especially as it was another lovely summer's day.
Managed to get on the quicker JetCat - as the actual ferry got pulled out of service five minutes earlier due to a technical problem. I just felt sorry for those who couldn't get onto the JetCat and were then going to be 'ferried' to Manly on buses. Not really a good option for those who were looking forward to a trip on the water.
What can I tell you about Manly ? Well, there's a beach, a promenade (which was good for people watching), a few cafes, a number of shops (fortunately leading away from the beach, rather than fronting it), and .... well, not much else. However, it was good to see as a contrast to Bondi and all the other beaches I had already seen. It certainly is a popular place, as demonstrated by the number of people to-ing and fro-ing between the beach and the ferry terminal.
Once aboard the return ferry, I was able to sit outside and take in the views around me, from the houses and boats at Manly (non-beach side, shown above), all the way back along the harbour, past Fort Denison, and again with the spectacular views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Circular Quay (not strictly circular) is another great place for people watching, thanks to the plethora of cafes around the walkway. It's also where you'll find free* performances by mime artists and even a group of aboriginal musicians, didgeridoo included (*donations gratefully received).
30 November 2004 :
Last day of November - with temperatures in Sydney up to 42 degrees. Phew, what a scorcher !
Lazy day today, trying to stay cool, and desperately trying to finish off all my christmas cards so that I catch the overseas post in time.
Joined Roy in the evening for my latest (and final) visit to the harness racing ... some great races, this time viewed from the grandstand restaurant, which provided an excellent three-course buffet for just A$10, which is about £4. Sad to say though that the different perspective the view gave me didn't alter my success rate on the betting !
Thinking back, November has gone by very quickly - I'd started the month up at Lake Macquarie, Toronto; explored Sydney; spent 10 days on Tasmania; had a couple of days in the Melbourne area; had an awesome drive along the Great Ocean Road; saw Larry the Lobster(!); had a return visit to Adelaide; spent a few days up on the Gold Coast; and came back to Sydney for a further visit. Wow.
FOR DECEMBER 2004 SECTION OF AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL - JUST CLICK ON 'PART 3'
© Jeremy Cousins, 2004-2014