Friday, 23 December 2011

Oh dear

For reasons which I do not understand my computer is refusing to download photo's to this blog.

So, until I have found the source of this hitch there will be no more photo's here from my Australian odyssey. 

I'll try to resume "normal blogging" next week, with more photo's from Australia.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Out and about in Melbourne and Sydney

The Queen Victoria Market (dating from 1878) in Melbourne.

Antique Cars in Parkville area of Melbourne.  There for the filming of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation T.V. "period" mystery series.
Chevrolet  (note right hand drive)


Hispano Suiza

Vauxhall Badge

Antique working tram in Melbourne. (I rode on it) This type of tram was made between 1923 and 1956

In Sydney near my hotel  "How far are we from home?"

Batttle of El Alamein Memorial Fountain, Sydney

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Of course one visits Australia to see the animals.  I never did see a Ducked-Billed Platypus, and I was far from the Crocodile regions.

But I immensely enjoyed a visit to the 35 hectare Cleland Wildlife Reserve, near Adelaide. I “happened” upon it when I was driving in the Adelaide Hills. Most of the animals roam free here, and the scent from Eucalyptus trees is ever in the air.

The first twelve pictures here are from Cleland.

I can't remember what these are!

Adelaide from Cleland

Less enjoyable was the Featherdale Wildlife Park near Sydney.  It is on a mere five acres and is commercially owned.  I was there as part of a day tour I took to the lovely Blue Mountains.  I did not care for this park, it was more like a zoo.  But I did get to see some Ibises, which are much larger than their American cousins, and have black, not red beaks.  I also saw the unusual Albino Kangaroo, and some Wombats which were (unusually) out from their burrows during day time.  What “did it in” for me was the sight of a sad Tasmanian Devil who did nothing more than run round and round his small pen.  At that point I left the place.  

I do not like to see wild animals in cages.


Tasmanian Devil

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Canines in Australia

Even *whilst I was enjoying my holiday in Australia I was missing my fabulous dog Penne.  It turns out that she settled down well with her sitter, so I am not at all certain that she missed me.  

(‘Though she did put on an “Oscar-worthy” performance when we hooked up again last Friday at Tampa’s International Airport, and she has scarcely let me out of her sight since then).

Of course the good news is that Penne was (quote) “an angel” in my absence.

I met some dogs that are house pets in Australia.

When I was in Melbourne I was more than happy to meet Andrew and Felicity’s 16 year old Golden Retriever named Goldie.  Goldie is a total love, and like Penne, she was very happy when I rubbed her ears or scratched her haunches.

Calvin also lives with Andrew and Felicity.  He is a 10lb bundle of energy – part Maltese, part Shiatsu, and part something else.

Calvin barked at me for about 30 seconds when I arrived at his home.  Then he ignored me.

Next day he licked my hand – all uninvited. 

I took him for a walk, and thence became his hero.  When I got anywhere near the front door, Calvin would “dance” on his hind legs in the hope that we were about to walk.

In the event he and I took more than eight walks over five days - ‘twas good for each of us.

Next I hoved down to Sydney from Melbourne.   

There, on a trip to Manly Beach, I met “Hoover” - a muscular, strong, and totally gentle Rhodesian ridgeback. Hoover’s owner is older Australian (read “old codger”) who span many a yarn even as Hoover and I “made out".

At the wonderful “Cleland Wildlife Reserve” near Adelaide I saw a couple of dingoes in a semi-humane pit.  

I also saw a caged dingo in a rather less than wonderful Wildlife Park, (more like a puny zoo), at Featherdale near Sydney.

More tomorrow, or the next day.

*  I was “tickled pink” to see that “whilst” is still in use in Australia, as in: “Do not speak to the Driver whilst the tram is running”


Calvin likes me

With Goldie and Calvin

"Hoover", Rhodesian Ridge back (at Manly Beach)

Caged Dingo at Featherstone Wildlife Park

Dingo in "pit" at Cleland Wildlife Preserve (1)

Dingo in "pit" at Cleland Wildlife Preserve (2)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Friends old and new in Australia

Much of the joy of my trip to Australia involved meeting friends old and new.

I stayed with Andrew McGowan and his wife Felicity.  Andrew used to teach at the Divinity School in Cambridge, and was a Priest Associate at St. James’s when I was Rector there.  He is now the Warden of Trinity College, University of Melbourne.  Felicity is a Professor of Medieval Art in Melbourne.

Andrew’s daughter Maddie lives with him.  She is a splendid, bright and engaging young woman.  Maddie is also somewhat of a nocturnal person, so I didn’t get to photograph her.

Nicole Elischer, who is Maddie’s mother, also lives in Melbourne.  She did me proud by taking a day off work and driving me in to the bush near Melbourne.  It is lovely countryside  (pictures at a later date). As part of this jaunt Nicole took me to the Hanging Rock Winery, owned by her friends Anne and John Ellis.  Anne is a fourth generation vintner, and very proud of her English ancestry.  (And yes, think “Picnic at Hanging Rock” – ‘tis that place)

Nicole and her partner Christopher also hosted barbecue for me and their local friends.  The food was terrific (no shrimp, but delicious and sweet lamb chops!), and the company was interesting (in a good way).  The conversation was so lively, so much so that I failed to get around to taking photo’s – but one of the guests took the two of Nicole and me.

I spent half a day at the Cleland Wildlife Reserve near Adelaide.  (Pictures of this later).  There I fell in with a man from Papua-New Guinea who was with his friend and mentor, an Australian Lutheran Pastor. The Papua-New Guinean was in Adelaide for the graduation of his daughter at the University there.  His photo’ is here cos he’s the first and only person that I’ve ever met from P-Ng, and because he was a splendid and nice man.

I was also an intrepid explorer at Cleland.

In Melbourne on Sunday December 11th I met and had coffee with Christian Cox.  She is the daughter of a splendid St. Boniface parishioner, Susan Rife.  Christina is in Melbourne for the duration. She and I had a “blind date” (so to speak).  We hit it off immediately and had lots to chat about since she grew up and was educated in Sarasota (yeah for Booker High School!).

My favourite part of Sydney was an older area called “The Rocks” down by the Harbour (actually much of Sydney is “down by the Harbour").  I stopped there one day for a delicious and simple lunch.

Andrew and Felicity


With Nicole 1

With Nicole 2

With Vintner Anne Ellis, Hanging Rock in background

Proud father from Papua-New Guinea

Intrepid explorer at Cleland Wildlife Park

Sunday morning coffee with Christina Cox

Tourist at The Rocks in Sydney

Sunday, 18 December 2011

No drama in Australia

I found most of the Australians that I met to be cheerful folks, with a ready smile. That was nice.

But despite all the Anglo/American stereotypes about greetings, only once did I get a "G'day".

 And just once I overheard someone say "Good on you".

I encountered a nice bit of the Australian language in Melbourne.  I was in the University area and couldn’t figure out the location of the main entrance to Trinity College where I was to meet Andrew 

I was on a very narrow little street with the lovely name of “Tin Alley”,  where I paused to ask directions of three students.  The directions were readily given. After my profuse thanks one of the students said "no drama".

I like “no drama” as an alternative to “no sweat”, or “no problem”.

As well as the “Dog Wash” sign, there were others that amused me.  

Here they are (and at the end a sign which made me sad).

At a Railway Station

In a Sydney Market  - (a store for gays?)
A Fish and Chip Shop

Global warming?  or watch out for careless drivers?

Another Fish and Chip cafe.

This is the sign which made me sad.  I was in a Hotel on Victoria St, and it is the view from my Hotel Room, which overlooked Darlinghurst St.  On that street, within a quarter of a mile I counted at least 10 strip clubs and/or massage parlours.  I was especially sad for the exploited women who who work in these places, some of whom I saw "on the street" - looking more or less wasted.  I was sad for the woman, and mad at the men who pimp or use them.  And of course, this is not a uniquely  Australian phenomenon - it's a world-wide abomination.