Thursday, April 30, 2009

Traffic Stopping Art (number 17)

Who's a pretty boy, then?

It's been a while since I've shown you a traffic signal box so here's one for you. It's on the junction of William and Alice streets at the entrance to the Riverside Expressway. For more of Brisbane's fantastic painted boxes, click on the TSBs lable below.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

As Promised, A More Uplifting Post


I've been milking my balloon trip over Brizzy which happened back in February for a while now (click the balloons label for more).
Here's a couple of streets in an outer suburb of Brisbane. It could be The Gap or maybe Keperra... round there anyway. A couple of the houses still had tarpaulins on the rooftops from that same November storm I mentioned yesterday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sawdust to sawdust....

The days of this gigantic Moreton Bay Fig in Orleigh Park are numbered. There is a sign up from the council saying so. A storm blew through Brisbane last November and in the space of about an hour did a surprising amount of damage. This fig tree was among the casualties. You can see the mulchy remains of another in the foreground. It's so sad! They have been fenced off for a while now as the remaining limbs just aren't strong enough any more.

One of the most strikingly beautiful features of these trees is the visible gnarled roots which twist and turn like veins on an old man's hands. The trunks form knobbles and holes and all sorts of interesting bits - fantastic to touch. I wish I could get in there and take a few pictures of that trunk before it goes. The tiny little fruits (from the fig family) are loved by fruit bats and every evening in summer you can hear them squabbling for position.

Hmmm. War and destruction 4 days running. A more uplifting post tomorrow, definitely!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pride and Glory

They told us this war would never end
so we signed up for the duration;
after all, job security.

There was some surplus left over from the War on Drugs,
and we helped ourselves.
At least, this would provide armor
against the tedium
of waiting forever to be terrorized.

The reading matter we had to pass the time
included pamphlets about the earlier wars,
all worthwhile, all still inconclusive:
on cancer, heart disease, cerebral palsy,
lupus, and hirsutism.

And then, there were the inspirational books:
Coping with Nameless Dread,
How to Fear Practically Everything,
How to Win Enemies & Alienate People,
and other trenchant works.

Finally, we got the full message:
insecurity was our only security.
Shaking in our boots,
and glad to be doing so,
we waited for the other shoe to fall.

By Duane Ackerson

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Forward March

What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstruos anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

By Wilfred Owen

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack, and I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback, well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said son, It's time you stopped rambling, there's work to be done.
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun, and they marched me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda, as the ship pulled away from the quay
And amidst all the cheers, the flag-waving and tears, we sailed off for Gallipoli
And how well I remember that terrible day, how our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay, we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he'd primed himself well. He shower'd us with bullets,
And he rained us with shell. And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, when we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs, then we started all over again.
And those that were left, well we tried to survive, in that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive, though around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head, and when I woke up in my hospital bed,
And saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead. Never knew there was worse things than dyin'.

For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda, all around the green bush far and free
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs-no more waltzing Matilda for me.
So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed, and they shipped us back home to Australia.
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane, those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay, I looked at the place where me legs used to be.
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me, to grieve, to mourn, and to pity.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared, then they turned all their faces away
And so now every April, I sit on me porch, and I watch the parades pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore. They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear. Someday no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong, who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

By Eric Bogle

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bridge To Somewhere

Here's a check on the Kurilpa footbridge - as you can see, it's nearly done! You don't really get a sense of the colour of the bridge I had to sacrifice that in favour of the beautiful morning sky. The nighttime clouds were gradually swept away on a gentle breeze to reveal another sparkling day.

See the bridge's true colour here, courtesy of another Brisbane blogger, The Foto Fanatic.

Check here to see what it looked like back in December.

To see what other skywatchers see, visit the fabulous Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pit Stop

Two things that really struck me about Brisbane when I first moved here was the amount of cyclists and the amount of coffee shops. Supplying one with the other is Aberto's Shot, an Italian espresso bar in West End on one of Brisbane's well-worn bike routes.
Motorists in the area should be wary of edgy, caffeine-fuelled pelotons steaming down Montague Road at about 50kph.

P.S. Does the picture look familiar? It's a fair cop, guv.... I shamelessly stole this idea from Eric of Paris Daily Photo fame. See his "through the spokes" shot from April 15th here. Thanks Eric!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This 1960s block of flats, "Torbreck", is a bit of an icon in Brisbane. It sits on top of Highgate Hill and can be seen for miles. I'm told that every apartment has an amazing view so if you know someone that can get me in to get a picture....

For anyone who was wondering, those bluey-grey panels are sun blinds - a common feature in Queensland architecture. It can be very bright in this part of the world. And I think that bit at the top is a viewing room. (Unfortunately not open to the public) .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I was surprised this lovely damselfly stood still for me while I fussed around with my camera getting it into the right mode and then angling it and pointing it up close. It was as cool as a cucumber. Definitely not a damsel in distress hawhaw

I'm going to look a bit silly if someone points out that this is infact a dragonfly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Concrete Curves

This is the view looking south west from the William Jolly Bridge through the balustrades. I grew up looking at a David Hockney print on my parents' bedroom wall of a couple in a room that had a balcony with balustrades. It was called Mr and Mrs Clarke and Percy. I could never decide which was more significant: the shapes of the concrete or gaps in between.
That's the Merivale train bridge from Friday's post. I should have got my big head out of the shot but I was too busy admiring the view.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

William Jolly Bridge Shadow

This is the William Jolly bridge. It's a beautiful cream coloured Art Deco bridge that glows in the sunshine and is lit up with big lights from the riverbank at night. I have posted a view from it here and a view underneath it here but I really haven't given it the attention it deserves. Another view tomorrow!

I'm taking part in Shadow Shot Sunday today for the first time. Thanks to Hey Harriet for the inspiration.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

City Waterfall

It looks like a tranquil scene from a forest or something doesn't it? This photo was taken on Wednesday on the north bank of the river next to the Riverside Expressway with hundreds of cars hurtling above. The water is coming from a storm water drain emptying out into the river.

Right now, the sun has come back out but our dams are standing at about 59%. It's the fullest they've been for 5 years!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Blue Background

The sky in Brisbane at 7am, wednesday.

The blue sky was a welcome sight for those of us that have had nothing but grey for a couple of weeks. I like the variety of clouds here...

Travel the world sky by sky - visit the very excellent Skywatch Friday, which this post is part of.

By the way - this is the Merivale Train Bridge which spans the river at Milton and has viaducts over the streets either side. Time to kill? See the bridge construction in a kitsch 70s documentary here. See a much more flattering shot of it than I coud ever take here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ice Cream Cones

The top of Montague Road is home to the Parmalat factory (it gets called "The Ice Cream Factory"). If you stand on William Jolly Bridge you get a great view of all these pipes and cylinders and cones and stuff. It's on PRIME land with river frontage right in the middle of town. Perfect for a nice 10-storey block of unaffordable luxury apartments and maybe another coffee shop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Lies Beneath

Indulge me: it's the Story Bridge again.

Did I tell you that the road that runs along it, the Bradfield Highway, is the shortest highway in Australia? It only goes for about a kilometre. It was named for John Bradfield who designed the bridge... oh and that other one down in Sydney...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sacred Ibis

Ibises can be found all over Brisbane. They are supposed to be waders but here in Brizzy you often see them poking around public bins and bits of rubbish where their long bill comes in very handy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting From A to B

Method 1): get some pals together at the crack of dawn in a rowing boat and work up a sweat while being followed by an irate man in a tinnie with a megaphone.

Method 2): kick back and cruise to your destination on the City Ferry (background).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let Me Out, Jabba!

Brisbane was host to World Expo for 6 months in 1988 and there is evidence of that all over the city - especially artistically. It really was a huge deal when it was on.

This chair is from the sculpture exhibition which was held during the Expo and it is by UK artist Kenneth Armitage. Now it stands in the Fern House at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens.

It sort of reminds me of that bit in The Empire Strikes Back with Han Solo in the carbonite.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sky On Fire

I've been in Brisbane for nearly 4 years now and it's really starting to show: I can actually tell it's autumn.. and I've caught a cold. Wednesday night (the night I caught a cold) I think it got down to about 17 degrees (c). The Londoner in me is laughing derisively for being such a wimp. And as the nights draw in, I am starting to leave work in the dark, missing out on those beautiful Queensland sunsets. Here's one from last month that made me run out in the street, snapping away like a woman possessed. Clouds really do make a sunset, don't they?

Check out some other skies from blogs across the globe. Visit Skywatch Friday.

I'm off camping in the rain for the long weekend. Hooray! Posting should hopefully continue in my absence.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Traffic Stopping Art (number 16)

Here we are on the corner of Adelaide and George Streets in the city. The signal box has been painted by Scott Moorhead and called "Prefection". Apparently, it's all about trying to appreciate the simple things in life in the midst of all this technology and data.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time Capsule

This is the last garden-frolick picture for the time-being. Yesterday we heard that the dams had reached the magic 50% mark and that the garden watering ban has been lifted. We can water our gardens 3 times a week which is a bit of a luxury.
This shiny metallic thing has been hanging off one of my plants for a few weeks now. I think it's some sort of a cocoon...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Look At My Mushrooms!

Aren't they lovely? This rain is just great.

(Sorry to anyone in South Australia for rubbing it in)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blooming Chilli Here

The rain we have received in Brisbane these past few days has been really welcome. I mentioned my chilli plants in Friday's post and Julie from Sydney Eye asked for a look - so here is one of them. This is the first delicate little flower... not a hint yet of the tiny edible firework that is going to grow there soon. I shall be making a celebratory indian curry with it (and hopefully a few others).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Full Of Hot Air

Another one from the balloon files, this one was taken during inflation in a little park in Coorparoo. If you ever get the chance to fly over a city in a hot air it!

Click on the "balloons" label to see some other shots from my aerial adventure over Brisbane.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cupcake Anyone?

When I was little, cakes that looked as perfect as this were made from coloured marzipan and kept in a clear plastic box so you could admire them like a little ornament. (was that just me?) Or they were made from plastic and were a toy. Personally, I prefer the home-made, rough-around-the-edges type of cake that you don't have time to admire because you are too busy scoffing your face with it.

Friday, April 3, 2009


It is currently lashing rain in Brizzy. It's great: the local dams have had a good soaking and are I think up to about 45% full. Last year they got down to 15% and we had to limit our showers to 4 minutes. There were a lot of brown gardens and dirty cars too it was awful. So the rain here is always welcome and on a personal note my chilli plants are getting their first flowers. I should mention that while it's all about nice long showers and blooming gardens here, the same low pressure trough has caused Coff's Harbour in New South Wales, south of us, to flood doing all sorts of damage to houses and cars.

From a Skywatch point of view, the thick blanket of cloud doesn't make for a very interesting photo so here's one from last week where the morning cloud was clearing for another sparkling day.

For other skies, far and wide, visit Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Brookfield Hairdressers

It's about 10kms from the centre of Brisbane but you feel like you're out in the middle of the country. Welcome to Brookfield! There's a wooden general store and a wooden church hall dating back to 1891 when this would have been a village that had nothing to do with Brisbane - now you can get a bus straight from the CBD. There are plenty of horses and riders around the place with a prominent pony club and showground. This funny little buiding is the hairdresser's.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April theme day: Yellow

There always seems to be road works going on here... and for each worksite there is a lollipop person with a sign that is red on one side (stop) and yellow on the other (slow). The first time I saw someone holding a "slow" sign it made me laugh out loud - like it was some sort of admission. I suppose I've gotten used to them now...

You've got to hand it to this lady. The sun was beating down and she had the full gear on but she seemed to be in great spirits. She was slightly bemused as to why I would roll down the window and ask permission for a snap (in the passenger seat unlike last Friday you will be pleased to know) but obliged anyway. I didn't have time to tell her about my blog so she doesn't know it's up here. I'm sure that's breaking some sort of blogger moral code...sorry!

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