Tag Archives: Australia

VISITING ASIA – without leaving home

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It could be a street scene in any south-east Asian country. Except it’s not.

‘Mr Tulloch, my students love your book and it would be great if you could come to meet them.’

It was 1988, and I’d just written my first children’s picture book, a collection of very simple stories for young children entitled, unimaginatively but honestly, Stories from our House. It had the advantage of wonderful illustrations by Julie Vivas, famous for her work in Possum Magic,  Australia’s best selling picture book of all time.

I was flattered by the teacher’s invitation and arranged the visit, a little nervous about what would happen when I got there. Reading the stories would take five minutes. What could I offer after that?

‘Where is your school, exactly?’

‘Cabramatta.’

I’d heard of Cabramatta, and what I’d heard was not good.

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8 AUSSIE THINGS WE’LL MISS WHILE OVERSEAS

No, not the free beer, it's the sense of humour. Yes, every culture has its humour, but I'm Australian and I like our one best!

No, not the free beer, it’s the sense of humour. Yes, every culture has its jokes, but I’m Australian and I like ours the best!

We’re off on our travels again tomorrow, to places that I’m sure will be exotic, fascinating and beautiful.

But there are things we’re going to miss about Australia of course. Certain joys and simple pleasures are unique to our wide brown land. Continue reading

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WALKING BY TASMANIA’S LAKE ST CLAIR

It's called Platypus Bay, though we're unlikely to spot any in the middle of a clear day, Dusk and dawn are platypus times.

It’s called Platypus Bay, though we’re unlikely to spot any in the middle of a clear day, Dusk and dawn are platypus times.


The weather is changeable and we’re not well equipped for a serious hike.

Fortunately there are short walks from the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre that suit us perfectly.

As more intrepid adventurers stride in, drop their packs and order pizzas, having completed their 7-day trek along the famous Overland Track, we set out for a stroll along the lakeside to Watersmeet, carrying nothing but a camera. Continue reading

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PUTTING THE ART INTO HOBART

Our favourite was the first thing we saw.

Our favourite piece was the first work we saw.

My Scottish Presbyterian forefathers were sure no good could ever come of money not earned by hard work combined with thrift. David Walsh has proved them wrong.

His professional gambling earned him a fortune. He somehow managed to avoid paying the $37million the Australian Tax Office claimed he owed them and used it to buy art instead.

In 2011 he generously opened his collection to the public in MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, an extraordinary new gallery which has rapidly become Tasmania’s premier tourist attraction. Continue reading

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NEW CAMERA, NEW SHOTS, SAME OLD MOUNTAINS

Rodriguez Pass, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Rodriguez Pass, Blue Mountains, New South Wales


We’ve come to the end of summer holiday time in Australia. No more excuses for the recent slackness in my blogging. Normal service has resumed.

In my time away from desk and computer I spent a few days in the lovely Blue Mountains, just outside Sydney, armed with my new camera (a Canon 70D, for those interested in such things.)

The weather was fine, clear and warm, not ideal for taking atmospheric shots. To my mind the mountains are most appealing when mist fills the valleys and clings to the cliffs.

Nevertheless, I did happen across wildlife that obligingly stayed close enough to shoot – with the camera only of course. Continue reading

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ONE WORLD CUP AUSTRALIA CAN WIN – and so can Holland

The flag flies after an Aussie win.

The flag flies after an Aussie win.

No, not THAT World Cup. We Aussies know our place in the football world. A blow or two punching above our weight would be a satisfactory result.

But in the Hockey World Cup, Australia and Nederland have made it to the finals in both Mens’ and Womens’ tournaments, so it’s worth a trip down to Den Haag to share the fun. Continue reading

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BLUE MOUNTAINS PHOTO CONTEST – No, I didn’t win, but…

Wentworth Falls - Gary Moloney.

Wentworth Falls – Gary Moloney.

I think it’s surprisingly difficult to make good photos in the mountains. It’s surprising because so many views are spectacular. It’s difficult because any shot you can think of seems to be a clicheed image, just the same scene that hundreds of others have captured before you.

So it was an interesting challenge when the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service ran a photo competition for the best shot of the Blue Mountains. Thanks, Antonina, for bringing it to my attention.

What the best of the shortlist of 17 entries have in common is that they had some luck with the weather. The sun breaking through the clouds at exactly the right moment, Narrow Neck in fog, an isolated shower approaching the Three Sisters…these are the sights that you wish you’d been there to see.

I say they had ‘luck’, though who knows? Maybe getting the perfect light was the result of months of patience and planning.

Whatever their merits, the chosen shots show some of the variety of landscapes and activities that make the Blue Mountains one of my favourite places in the world.

I’ve posted some of my picks of the pics here. Continue reading

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