# H is for Hahndorf
Hahndorf makes the cut for this blog because every time I visit my Adelaide family it is a must to walk the main street and soak up the unique vibe and beauty which is Hahndorf. The village is approximately a 25 minute drive into the undulating Adelaide Hills from South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide. The area was settled in 1838 by German Lutherans who were escaping religious persecution. Today Hahndorf is a popular tourist destination noted for its arts and crafts, candles, fudge, ice creams, chocolates, cheeses, lovely rose gardens, tree lined streets, wineries, antique shops, lively cafes, restaurants and pubs serving hearty German food. It’s a really cool place to visit for a day, a weekend or for and extended vacation.
The early German settlers worked the land, grazing sheep and cattle and growing fruits and vegetables to supply the Adelaide area. A modern day example of this is the Beerenberg Family Farm, established in 1839. Every time you purchase the Beerenberg label, you purchase a little of the history of the Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf!
Hahndorf is named for Dirk Hahn,the Captain of the “Zebra”, the ship which brought the 38 migrant families safely to Port Adelaide. Hahn was also instrumental in negotiating an area of land in the Adelaide Hills where they were able to settle. During the 1st World War the South Australian government changed the names of many of its German settlements and to this end, Hahndorf was changed to Ambleside after a nearby railway station. In December 1935 the town’s name was changed back to Hahndorf.
Just on a side note, South Australia is the only Australian colony that was free settled, a fact of which South Australians are quite proud. Consequently, South Australia has a very German influence in its early settlement both through the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley which are popular wine growing regions.
Hahndorf is proudly Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, and the German influence is still strongly felt in the town. What is there not to love! Amazingly beautiful country side, interesting history, good German food and good Aussie wines!
Beautiful Hahndorf; give it a google and put this little gem on your list of places to visit. I am sure it will not disappoint.
# G is for Gracemere.
Once upon a time, in a hospital beside a river which was full of big rocks, a baby girl was born. It was on a Wednesday night and in the middle of a wild, summer thunder and lightning storm. This little baby was taken home to the farm at Gracemere and lived there happily for the next 23years.
Gracemere, I cannot write about it without being full of emotion. My childhood, teenage and young adult years were spent there. Gracemere is about 10 kms west of Rockhampton, situated right on the Tropic of Capricorn, it is now a satellite of Rockhampton City but when I grew up there it was just a little country township with a tightly knit local community, full of the old names and lots of closely connected family and relationship ties.
Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia and situated at Gracemere are the sale yards, now known as Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX), which are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Below are images of the exterior and interior of the modern sale yards. A lot of $s pass through this facility which boasts a 1000 seat sales ring and facilities for stud cattle displays and hosts the National Quarter Horse Sale.
First European settlement at Gracemere was made by the Archer Brothers in 1855. Their homestead was built beside a lagoon and the little settlement was named Gracemere after the wife of Thomas Archer, Grace, and mere the English/Scottish word for a lake. The now city of Rockhampton was named for the large rocks in the river which hampered any further upstream passage by boat and hampton the English word for home town. The Archer property at Gracemere was noted for sheep and cattle production.
The Ellida was the first boat up the Fitzroy River and it was used by the Archer family to bring supplies and to transport their wool from the Fitzroy River to Gladstone for shipment. The bell from the Ellida was gifted to the Gracemere State School by the Archer Brothers and for all of my primary school days it was the bell which summoned us to parade every day. It was a great honour to be bell ringer!
The Gracemere State school was established in 1871 and this year celebrates 150 years in education. I recall the centenary in 1971 when, as a teenager, I was on the planning committee for the centenary celebrations. My father was chairman of the committee and one of his brothers was secretary and I went along with my dad to all the meetings. One of the centenary projects was to mount the Ellida bell on a tower, as seen in this grainy picture, and to place a large granite monolith with a brass plaque to explain the history of the bell. BTW; Gracemere is also well known for its Gracemere Granite!
My own family of origin settled in the area in 1887 and by all accounts since then have been prolific breeders who have left their mark on the community and who still are well represented there. I have a great love for Gracemere, the place of my youth, and a visit there to catch up with family is a great joy for me.
In August this year, God willing and covid permitting, I will go back for the 150 years celebration and take a walk down memory lane. Maybe, I’ll even ring the bell!
Established in 1871, Gracemere State School is the oldest school in Central Queensland.
So; our old school song!
“Here’s to the years of schooldays,
To the friends who are tried and true,
Sing the old school song,
With the old school throng,
And be true to the brown and blue.
Make it a song we shall all remember,
Make it the best of all our joys.
So year by year we’ll sing,
and we’ll make the rafters ring,
We’re the Gracemere girls and boys!”
#F is for Fremantle.
It’s a long way from the East coast of Australia to the West. It takes 5 hours and 15 minutes to fly directly from Brisbane to Perth and 4 hours 55 minutes to fly directly from Sydney to Perth. We flew from Brisbane and on arrival in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, drove about 30 minutes to stay in the city of Fremantle. Population approx 30,000.
We chose Fremantle, located at the mouth of the Swan river, for its history, its laid back vibe and its quirky, bohemian flair. Fremantle area was settled in 1829 and began as a military and civilian settlement; a free settlement, but in 1850 when penal transportation to the West Australian colony began, Fremantle became a convict destination. The Fremantle Prison and the Government store houses, which now house the Western Australian Museum Shipwreck Galleries, were convict built.
A trip through these galleries with my son, who was at the time in the Navy and based in WA, was most interesting for both of us. The galleries feature the history of the many ships, often Dutch, which have been shipwrecked along the WA coast, the perils of the early days of diving for pearls and the WA pearl trade and amongst it all the Australia II racing yacht which won the America’s Cup in September 1983 in the oceans off Fremantle! This was a BIG deal for Australia as the America’s Cup had been held by the American Newport Yacht Club for 132 years. I was truly excited to come across this! I had just finished saying to my son,”You’d think there would be some Australia 11 displays here”. And there is was with life sized models of the crew on deck!
We took a tour through the convict built Fremantle Gaol, now a World Heritage site,
On a lighter note we strolled along the harbour front and came across the statue of Bon Scott of AC/DC fame who is buried in the Fremantle cemetery. And ate fantastic pizza at the Little Creatures Brewery.
And we took the Rottnest Express down the Swan River and over to Rottnest Island to see the Quokkas and learn about the Aboriginal and military history of the island which is now a popular tourist destination. Follow the link below for information on the Rottnest Island tours.
Fremantle; there is lots more to tell. I can recommend it is a great place to visit.
#L is for Longreach.
Australia is a vast, sunburnt country and most of us live around the green fringes of the continent yet the folklore of the great Australian Bushman and Stockman is still alive. And so today we are going to Longreach; situated on the Tropic of Capricorn and approximately 700 kms due west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
The Thompson River, which forms part of the Channel Country and runs into the Lake Eyre Basin, is close to Longreach and it is for the long reach of this river that the town is named. The river lagoons are an important habitat for native bird life while Sunset River Cruises on the Thompson, complete with dinner and bush entertainment, are a popular tourist attraction.
Longreach is the home of The QANTAS Founders Museum. Australia’s Queensland and Northern Territory Airline Service, one of the oldest airlines in the world, was formed in Winton in November 1920. Because the railway serviced Longreach, one year later the headquarters were moved from Winton to Longreach. Later, in June of 1930, QANTAS headquarters were relocated to Brisbane. Today the head office of QANTAS is in Mascot, Sydney. At the QANTAS Founders Museum in Longreach the history of one of our great Australian success stories is traced from its early beginnings in outback Queensland to (pre covid) a major global airline.
Standing as the Gateway to the Outback, Longreach is the home of The Stockman’s Hall of Fame which was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth 11 in April of 1988. The Stockman’s Hall of Fame is a step back in time to early 19th Century. The museum is dedicated to the courage of the men and women who pioneered the Australian Bush and at the same time acknowledges aboriginal history, culture and continuing connection to the land.
Throw in a trip to Barcaldine, just an hour down the road to visit the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party and the Tree of Knowledge, and visit The Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum in Winton, just a couple of hours up the highway from Longreach.
And don’t forget to look up and see the stars.
Longreach is accessible by sealed road, air and the Spirit of the Outback train which departs from Brisbane via Rockhampton to Longreach twice weekly.
#E is for Emu Park.
There are a lot of places named Emu something in Australia. For example, Emu Bay, Emu Creek, Emu Downs, Emu Flat, Emu Heights, Emu Park, Emu Plains, Emu Point, Emu Swamp, Emu Vale and a town called just plain Emu all have postcodes in Australia. The emu is Australia’s flightless bird, native only to us; it forms part of our Coat of Arms with the kangaroo and is an Australian icon.
We are going to Emu Park on the Capricorn Coast; population around 2500, except in holiday times. Emu Park makes the cut for this blog because it holds happy childhood memories. It is just a over the headland from Zilzie where we spent our summer holidays, and I can tell you, there is no place better than Zilzie! But we will get to that when we get to Z!
Each year our mother would walk with my brother, closest to me in age, and myself over that headland and into Emu Park; it was one of our summer adventures. We would buy hot pies with peas from the bakery and sit in Bell Park to eat them. We would walk along Fisherman’s Beach, over the rocks and swim at Main Beach which was lifesaver patrolled and in the late afternoon set off again over the headland and back to Zilzie.
This was an annual event for us but I am reminded of a man, now long since departed who did that walk, over the headland and back, twice a a day. A Mr Freddie Thwaite who traversed the headland on each low tide to fish his traps at Zilzie.
Emu Park is probably best known now for its Singing Ship, perched on the headland between Fisherman and Main Beaches, whose pipes are designed to sing when played upon by the wind. I was a teenager when the Singing Ship was built. We went to its opening; a family affair! The ship’s designer was the mother of a girl in my high school and actually it was a pretty big deal.
The link below is definitely worth a read to understand the story behind its design, its designer and construction.
The Singing Ship was built as a Bicentenary Project to mark Captain James Cook’s visit to Keppel Bay in May 1770. ( Supplied: Capricorn Coast Historical Association)
Emu Park. A wonderful spot to holiday.
#D is for Derwent Bridge and Dove Lake situated in picturesque Tasmania, Australia’s island state. Tasmania cannot really be described as a sunburnt country; it is a heart shaped island sitting between 40 and 43 degrees south latitude, the most southern of the Australian states where the climate is cooler and can be wet and windy. This little island is so beautiful that driving around it is a WOW! experience at the turn of every corner.
The word Derwent frequently features in Tasmanian geography. There is the Derwent River, its source rising in Lake St Clair and flowing southeast through Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart and the Derwent Valley with its rich farmlands and hop fields.
But we are going to Derwent Bridge, a tiny little town in the Tasmanian Central Highlands named for its crossing at the source of the Derwent River and an access point to some of Tasmania’s most stunning wilderness. In the 2016 census Derwent Bridge had a population of 23(Wikipedia). Derwent Bridge sits just 5 kilometres from Lake St Clair which is at the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair wilderness and wildlife National Park.
The Overland Track is an 80 kilometre, 6 day bush walk through the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness area, between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park. In pre covid times it was trekked by over nine thousand people each year. And this brings us to Dove Lake.
Dove Lake literally sits in the cradle of Cradle Mountain. It is a glacially carved lake filled with pristine snow fed waters. There is a 6 kilometre walking track around the lake from which the lake, the mountain, the changing vegetation and unique Australian wildlife can be experienced. The Dove Lake walk is a most iconic Australian bushwalk and one can barely say they have been to Tasmania without a trip to Cradle Mountain and a walk around Dove Lake.
Tassie, the apple isle, the holiday isle, the isle of beauty, history, wilderness; what ever you want to call it, Tasmania is one of Australia’s gems. Absolutely worth a visit.
#2 C is for Corryong.
Corryong is situated at the top of the Mighty River Murray, just where the clear snow fed mountain streams from Mt Kosciuszko begin the border between New South Wales and Victoria. Corryong makes the cut for this blog because for a few years which spanned the late 70s and early 80s it was my home. My eldest daughter was born in the Corryong District Hospital.
For a sunny Queenslander the Corryong winter was a real culture shock. Not only was it bracingly cold, but due to the township’s location, right up the end of a valley, it was also very foggy. The winter fogs would not lift until about mid morning and by mid afternoon the evening fogs would be rolling in. Corryong often had the coldest Victorian temperatures in the winter and conversely the hottest in the summer. And as opposed to Queensland where we have summer rains, in Corryong, the rains came during the winter.
We lived in Pioneer Avenue. At that stage, the last house in the street before the Corryong cemetery. We took all our interstate visitors for a walk to the cemetery to see the grave of Jack Riley! Now Jack Riley was head stockman at Tom Groggin Station when the Australian poet A. B. “Banjo” Paterson visited there. Riley was the inspiration for Paterson to pen his Man from Snowy River poem. The poem is a piece of iconic Australian literature which I cannot read with out experiencing goosebumps. Later the poem inspired the blockbuster films of The Man from Snowy River
Corryong hosts The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival in April annually and the next festival is to be held from 7 Apr 2022 to 10 Apr 2022.
Although just a small Aussie township of about 1200 people, Corryong has a big story to tell. Definitely worth a visit.
This is the poem, The Man from Snowy River by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson.
It is in the public domain. Read it and see if you don’t get goosebumps.
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.
There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up —
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast;
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony — three parts thoroughbred at least —
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won’t say die —
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.
But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, “That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop – lad, you’d better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.”
So he waited sad and wistful — only Clancy stood his friend —
“I think we ought to let him come,” he said;
“I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.”
“He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.”
So he went; they found the horses by the big mimosa clump,
They raced away towards the mountain’s brow,
And the old man gave his orders, “Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.”
So Clancy rode to wheel them — he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.
Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where Mountain Ash and Kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, “We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side.”
When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull –
It well might make the boldest hold their breath;
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
He sent the flint-stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat —
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.
He was right among the horses as they climbed the farther hill
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely; he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges – but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.
And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.
And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reed -beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.
C is for Canberra– Australia’s National Capital.
Canberra, Australia’s purpose built National Capital was founded and named in 1913. After the federation of Australia on January 1st 1901 the cities of Melbourne, in Victoria and Sydney, in New South Wales both considered themselves suitable to be the national capital. The dispute over which city should be the capital was resolved by the decision to build a brand new city on Commonwealth land somewhere in New South Wales but over 100 miles away from Sydney.
In 1911, the then Australian Prime Minister launched an international competition to find a design for the new city. Out of 137 entries, a newly wed American architect from Chicago and his wife, Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin were the winners. The couple had never been to Australia but based their design on the geographical and climatical information available to them. The man made lake around which Canberra is situated bears their name.
Only in Australia! Out in the sticks, in an area populated by sheep and cattle rises our national capital built on a area of reclaimed Commonwealth land; The Australian Capital Territory.
The new name, Canberra, is said to come from the Aboriginal word Kambera or Canberry, which means “meeting place”. I do not know if this claim is exactly true but if it is, it is very appropriate since Canberra is the meeting place of government.
Aside from our Australian Parliament House, Canberra is home to The Australian War Memorial, the National Science Museum, the Museum of Australian Democracy, The National Library, The Australian Mint, The Australian Army College of Duntroon, The Australian Defence Academy, The Government House at Yarralumla, The Australian Police Memorial and the International Ambassadorial Residences.
I have visited Canberra several times but for hubby it has been home on two occasions; firstly in the military and then as a security guard at many of the locations listed above.
Canberra has no humidity but can experience a very dry heat in the middle of summer; the winters are cold and the city is located only a few hours drive from the Kosciusko National Park, The Snowy Mountains and Australia’s Alpine regions.
Canberra has four distinct seasons and in Spring hosts Floriade which rivals our beautiful Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers which has been our Spring event for over 70 years.
Floriade is back! Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, Floriade, will celebrate its 34th year with a spectacular display of over 1,000,000 blooms in Commonwealth Park from 11 September – 10 October 2021.
Again only in Australia will one find kangaroos feeding on the lawns of Government House or the lawns of our Houses of Parliament. Hubby tells the story of driving home from a security shift in the early hours of a foggy morning and hearing an unusual sound ahead, which was all a bit curious until out of the fog he was able to discern a couple of kangaroos hoping down the suburban street.
Canberra is a wonderful place to visit and play tourist. The city, its lake and surrounds is a popular location for hot air balloon rides and Canberra hosts the hot air balloon festival annually. Quite apt really as a lot of hot air comes out of Canberra!
May God bless our leaders as we pray for their wisdom.
For the second B there were many places to choose from; Bundaberg, world famous for its Bundy Rum or Bundaberg Ginger Beer, or Bagara, the beautiful seaside location just down the road from Bundaberg, or the historic cities of Ballarat and Bendigo on the Victorian golfdields or Bright at the foot of the Victorian high country; there is nowhere more beautiful than Bright in Autumn. And there is Byron Bay, with its iconic lighthouse, the most eastern point in Australia. Byron has become a haven for the rich, famous and cool, an Aussie retreat for Hollywood celebs. https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-03-26/hollywood-stars-hunker-down-in-australias-byron-bay- And many other B’s in our beautiful Australia but for our second B we are going to the Bunya Mountians .
The Bunya’s make this cut because over Easter we took a little road trip to Kingaroy and Wondai and came home through the Bunya Mountains. So the Bunyas are fresh in my mind but also they are on my list of amazing places to visit.
The Bunya Mountains, which form a stand alone section of the Great Dividing Range are situated between the plains of the Darling Downs and the South Burnett Region. They can be approached from Kingaroy, Dalby, Oakey or Cooyar and this spectacular forest wilderness just pops up out of the surrounding fertile rural landscape. The Bunyas are about a 3 hour drive from Brisbane, 99 kilometers from Toowoomba and about 60 kms from Kingaroy but as you climb into the Bunyas you are literally transported into another world.
At approximately 1000 metres above sea level, the air is always clean, crisp and often a little misty. Walking through the forest is literally the experience of forest bathing. The forest is a symphony of bird call and wallabies and pademelons graze on the grassy picnic areas. As wonderful as this all is, the most majestic and mystical part of a visit to the Bunyas is the spiritual vibe the mountains emit.
Long before white settlement Aboriginal people used the Bunya Mountains as a meeting place for tribes from all over Queensland and New South Wales. Here they would feast on the roasted nuts from the Bunya pine and discuss important business; one can feel the ancient wisdom in the air.
For many thousands of years, Aboriginal people from across the region gathered together on the mountains to celebrate the bountiful harvest of the bunya pines on the mountain. The gathering, known as the Bonye Bonye festival, was held in alignment with the bumper bunya nut crop. This occurred roughly every three years and was a time of feasting, ceremony, marriage, dispute settlement and trade.Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers | National Indigenous Australians Agency QLD projects – Mainland region (niaa.gov.au)
For me a visit to the Bunyas is a beautiful, cleansing, spiritual experience. I quote from the Queensland Tourism page on the Bunya Mountains; Visitors find the mystical Bunya Mountains a deep spiritual experience. Some call it God’s country, some say it’s where peace abides; all feel the magic in their own way. About the Bunya Mountains | Bunya Mountains.
Oh, so true!
I encourage you to Google the Bunyas. Even looking at the images can induce a sense of peace.