Monthly Archives: January 2015

Elvis Festival at Parkes and more of the Central West, NSW.

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I’m not passing through Canowindra without a stop at long-time friend Tommy Jeffs’ superb café ‘Deli Lama’ for a quick coffee fix and chat, and of course it’s highly recommended.

Couldn’t believe Tommy had a resurgence of memorabilia dedicated to Grace Kelly – just across the street from his café. Classic and definitely worthy of a look at this gorgeous collection.

If there’s two trees I revere the fragrance from; it’s the Pepper (shown here) and various Australian Eucalyptus trees.

Art work at Eugowra township showing a time when rail was the main transport system for country people.

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And now at the Parkes Elvis Festival where he is simply everywhere!

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Besides celebrating Elvis Presley’s 80th Birthday in 2015, it’s the biggest festival held outside of the United States to adoring fans who keep his memory alive and well.

What’s a festival without a pink Cadillac?

Will the real Elvis please come forward?

You can always take the Elvis XPT Express to Parkes from Sydney. Make sure you book this Elvis runaway train with its booty of singing, guitar-playing passengers dressed for the occasion well in advance.

Within the paddocks of local farmers there’s a series of very unusual animal sculptures from Molong to Cumnock, or better known as Animals on Bikes.

Another long-time friend Vicki putting her smart and very nimble horse Silvy through his paces at Cumnock over the weekend.

Hi Ho Silvy! Just another day at the office.

The neighbouring town of Molong you will find the resting place of Yaranigh, explorer Thomas Mitchell’s long-time guide. Yaranigh was buried on the outskirts of town in 1850 in full accordance with the rites of his Aboriginal tribe. Four trees mark the four corners of the burial plot and the epitaph on the headstone pays to his courage and fidelity.

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Passing the Noonbinna Siding.

Heading home through Mandurama.

Mandurama is situated 259 kilometres west of Sydney and a way to go yet before returning there.

Now at Kelso on the outskirts of Bathurst and then my return over the Blue Mountains to Sydney.

Sydney, Australia. My home city …

I know I’m being bias, but really I live in one of the best cities in the world. Although travelling is my passion, it’s always a pleasure to return to the sight and sounds of home – Sydney.

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01/01/11 On top of the Harbour Bridge thanks to my family’s birthday gift.

No doubt, Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the world’s most well known and photographed landmarks. It is the world’s largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. It is fondly known by the locals as the ‘Coathanger’ because of its arch-based design.

The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England is a much smaller version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, its length measuring 397 metres and the main span 161 metres. There is much controversy surrounding the two bridges and which one may have been a model for the other. Although the Tyne Bridge was opened in 1928 – four years before the Harbour Bridge was opened – the tender was submitted and contract signed for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1924.

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Driving over the Harbour Bridge.

On January 26th, the inevitable question arises: Just what does it mean to be Australian?
The environment many of us enjoy today – the open wide spaces, the pristine waterways – all should stand as a reminder of just how lucky we are with a multi-cultural influence of fabulous cuisines, language and values. As for our blue skies, I call it blue on blue. I don’t know anywhere else in the world where it’s so divine to look at anytime of the year (except when it’s cloudy).

So, too, the freedoms we enjoy – to speak our minds, choose our governments and travel. These are just some of the things about being Australian.

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Enjoying a day on the Harbour with the Queen Mary 2 coming to dock sent enthusiasts into a frenzy.

A day in the life of a travel agent. Ship inspections and luncheons are part of the job …

Take a ride back into history aboard an historic Steam Train. A 50 minute experience from historic Thirlmere station to Buxton station and return is just south of Sydney.

One of my favourite buildings, although contemporary in design is Australia Square. And yes I know, it’s round …

At the domestic airport stands a restored AVRO by volunteers which shows the humble beginnings of Qantas Airways Ltd – Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.

Fergus McMaster was a wealthy grazier who took little convincing about the benefits of aviation. He was crossing the sandy bed of Queensland’s Cloncurry River when his car broke an axle. Paul McGinness helped repair the vehicle and the two struck up a friendship. Back in Brisbane, McGinness and Fysh outlined to McMaster their plans for an air service, beginning with joy rides and air taxi trips. McMaster, fired with enthusiasm, convinced business acquaintances to invest with them. (

In 1921 the Qantas fleet consisted of two biplanes – an Avro 504K and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E

Australia’s Qantas Airlines named by air carrier in the world after going more than 60 years without a fatal crash.

A little bit of African cuisine in Newtown.

Or just brunch across the road on a Sunday morning is a tradition of mine.

I’ll admit this doesn’t look like the most enticing coffee, however I will say Australia generally does a great coffee and beats most other countries hands down. Except Turkish coffee in Turkey of course.

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The Esmeralda docked in the Harbour, just had to try out those Chilean wines and food.

My local area and being an Inner Westie, find it’s groovy and funky with lots of street art which is encouraged by the local Council. Although this mural ‘I Have a Dream’ wasn’t commissioned, it was created during a weekend in August 1991. Ms Pryor and Andrew Aiken, who later served a jail sentence in the UK for murder and now lives in Canada, had twice asked for permission to paint it but were refused. So they decided to do it anyway. Now it’s been heritage listed by the local Council.

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You would’ve been forgiven if you thought you woke on 23rd September, 2009 to ‘The Day of the Triffids’ arrival for a takeover.

However, a red dust storm enveloped Sydney and shrouded the eastern sea board after gale-force winds ripped into the drought-stricken hinterland.
Walking around Circular Quay 23/09/09 at 8:00 am

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Every child’s favourite playground in Sydney – Luna Park. Oh yeah for adults too.

G’day Australia. A Little Perspective …

Having now returned from Europe, I can only surmise the enormity of both continents and give a little perspective regarding the sheer scope of the country of which I live.

Superimposed within this map of Australia, Europe covers a hefty chunk of its area. I’ve no doubt Scandinavia would fit quite comfortably in the available open space of Western Australia (WA) with Tasmania still begging to be filled. I’m often asked why Australians are coastal dwellers, and the answer is really quite simple, being one country and for the most part it’s desert and only 6% being arable.

What truly intrigues me? The European countries shown here, embrace their own culture, language, cuisine and currency and have done so for centuries. Within an hour or so you can easily find yourself in the next country grappling with new schemas and ideals of which you need to adapt to and quickly at times.

The culture of Australia is essentially a Western culture influenced by the unique geography of the Australian continent, the diverse input of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, along with the British colonisation of Australia which began in 1788 and the various waves of multi-ethnic migration that followed. This includes my parents, who after WWII migrated as Displaced Persons and arrived in Melbourne 1949. Whilst Australia at the time needed to boost its economy, the slogan ‘Populate or Perish’, of which saw waves of war-torn and tired peoples from many of these European countries shown above; also including Russia, Ukraine and the Baltics – just to name a few. Because of this, as a nation we enjoy rich diverse multicultural influences and believe ‘each to its own’ provided you respect that of another’s belief system whilst practising your own ideals.

As a child growing up in a country town, often we would visit many families of which mine became friends or may have made the passage to Australia with. And to be honest, to me it was a small European community in itself, who with understanding and determination desperately wanted to make a better life and be accepted. Although at times, I did feel many were missing their ‘old life’ from abroad as the heat, animals including all creatures that creep and crawl, along with the flora and fauna being peculiar to them just wasn’t like home.

Although the official government policy was that migrants should assimilate into Australia’s Anglo Celtic culture, many celebrated their origins through membership of clubs, sporting and religious organisations. For some such community organisations made a huge difference in overcoming a sense of isolation. For others it came when they had their own homes and families could grow familiar fruits and vegetables and eat traditional foods once again.However, the avalanche of various cuisines has made Australia one of the most diverse when it comes to being spoilt for food choices including our Asian neighbour’s input.

How lucky are we to be blessed with a richness of worldliness making this a great country, living in an ancient land whereby the custodial indigenous people have respected it for centuries in their own traditional ways.

Excerpt from Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country’.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Happy New Year from Down Under

Flying over the ‘Outback’ – Broken Hill to Sydney.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Good Day and welcome to Flight 2015. We are prepared to take off into the New Year.

Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in, in the upright position.

All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time.

All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away.

Should we lose altitude under pressure, during the flight, reach up and pull down on Positive thinking!

Positive thoughts will automatically be activated. Once activated you can assist other passengers.

There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight.

The Captain has cleared us for takeoff — Destination – GREATNESS

To my clients, I wish you a wonderful, joyous new year filled with travel ideas and adventures beyond your dreams.

Greetings from Sydney to all the family, friends and acquaintances who I’ve met during my recent travels and made 2014 a fantastic year.

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