Weekly Photo Challenge : Jubilant…

Go girl

Go girl

The reward

The reward

Her face shows the jubilant feeling of winning.


Camel racing is a tradition in the small outback town of Winton. It was an amazing experience and I was there in 2012 to join the crowds and cheer these ships of the desert on. Would you like to see more? Click here to come back with me to dusty outback Australia…

Categories: camel races, jubilant, outback, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : (Extra)ordinary…

The winner

The winner

Racing is ordinary, camels are ordinary (well sort of!) but put them together and you get the extraordinary sight of camel racing.

Not only is that extraordinary but look carefully at the photo and you will see the jockey has no reins to steer with AND the camel has all 4 feet off the ground. A very fluky and extraordinary capture.

Click here and come back in time with me to the camel races in Winton. It is dusty and hot but a great tradition in the Australian outback.


The weekly photo challenge from Cheri asks “this week, surprise us with something or someone (extra)ordinary.”

Categories: Australia, camel races, extraordinary, outback, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Thursday’s Special : Traces of the Past 03

Paula is asking us to look into the past for today’s “Thursday Special”

Farming was an important part of the settlement of Australia. The early pioneers saw a vast and empty land that they believed belonged to no one and was ripe for farming. But the land and climate was vastly different to their European farms and a new type of farming was required. So in the outback large acreage were needed to support livestock and so grew the empires of outback cattle stations, thousands of square kilometres in area, with the nearest neighbour being hundreds of kilometres away. Anna Creek station in South Australia is the world’s largest working cattle station.[3] It is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (5,900,000 acres)

These cattle had to be taken to market, which was also thousands of miles away and in the 1800’s the only way to get there was to walk. So evolved a tough breed of man, the drover.


This double life-size statue pays tribute to the a drover as he moves from job to job with only his saddle bags, containing all his possessions. It is in Newcastle Waters in the heart of the outback, it has a rich, vibrant history as a gathering place for drovers on their gruelling overland cattle drives. It is at the junction of three major overland stock routes, and was an important source of provisions and a place to rest before drovers continued on their way as they took huge mobs of cattle along the droving trails.

It also had a reliable source of water and many birds pass through on their migrations.


It grew as a major township with a pub and store.

Now it is a ghost town.



The basic corrugated iron shacks that a family once called home are now deserted, the few meagre possessions left. Rough hewn wooden shelves draped with gingham to bring a scrap of colour. The large kettle on the wood burner stove. How hot it must’ve been in summer cooking on that stove with the sun beating down relentlessly. In winter the wind would howl and find every gap and crack to bring the bitter cold inside.

 Aborigines had long played a big part in the cattle industry where they were competent stockmen on the cattle stations of the north. In 1950 it was legislated that the Aboriginal workers were now to be paid cash wages. Previously they had worked for their keep and their mob/family had been allowed to live on the station and provided with food. With the advent of railway and roads crossing the outback the cattle were moved by road trains and droving became a dying occupation.

In 1988 the bicentennial of Australia a grand plan was made to recreate the droving years with “The Last Great Cattle Drive”


On the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory is a small township called Camooweal. It was there that we found the Drover’s Shed. A large corrugated barn that has been dedicated as a museum to the drover and his life style.  Here the droving era of Australia is being preserved for future generations and recognizes the contribution of drovers to the development of the nation’s cattle industry.


We had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Pic Willetts. Then took a tour around the shed with a retired drover who explained how tough the life was and had many stories of his time with the mobs of cattle.



A project is also underway to create portraits of the remaining drovers and collect their stories.

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What is more iconic of the past than this sweat stained and battered Akubra hat.

Categories: Australia, outback, photography, Thursdays special, traces of the past | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

Bench Series : August, coloured benches

This month Jude wants to see photos of a bench that is painted or stained or otherwise coloured in some way. Not the plain wooden variety unless there is some colour detail

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Here’s Jack, sitting on a purple bench, with 2 friends, a mother and her son, he made in the outback of Australia at Normanton. We were at the famous “Purple Pub” an iconic watering hole.


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This humorous saying was pinned on the notice board inside the pub…

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I couldn’t resist taking a copy of it…

Categories: Australia, bench series, outback | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Travel Theme : Grey



This is Western Australia, the climate is brutal. Summer is hot, sometimes reaching temperatures in the 40’s. The wind would blow the fine red dust into every thing and winters are cold. Can you imagine living in this grey corrugated hut, no electricity, no running water, no insulation on the corrugated iron. The nearest shops approx. 20 kilometres away. Life would be very hard. But then imagine spring with the carpets of wild flowers all around you, the stars sparkling in the vast sky, the only sounds those of birds and the wind rustling in the trees. Yes it is hard but I think it would also have it’s good side.


Another part of life in the pioneer days was the use of camels for transport in this dry and arid land. This was a monument to these beasts of burden created, appropriately, in grey corrugated iron, another material that the pioneers used extensively in the treeless outback.




When I came to these camels, as I dug through my files of memories, it brought to mind Rajah, a magnificent ship of the desert, that I rode for 4 days across the Thar Desert in India. He is not grey but I fell in love with him and his feisty temperament.

It was way back in 1986 and the photo has been scanned from old film. The day pack hanging on the saddle horn is a dark grey so I guess it can just qualify…



Thanks Ailsa for this weeks theme of “grey“. It has brought back many memories for me.

Categories: Australia, grey, outback, photography, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Broken Dreams

With the development of the pastoral industry, a small township, Newcastle Waters,  sprang up at the junction of the two major overland stock routes, one going north to south and the other east to west. Newcastle Waters thrived as a supply point it has a rich, vibrant history as a gathering place for drovers on their gruelling overland cattle drives with a pub and store it was an important source of provisions and a place to rest before drovers continued on their way.

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But change was on the way in the 1940’s to 50’s when roads and railways started spreading through the outback.

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With no drovers the pub closed, the store no longer had customers and the wives and families moved on. It had been a tough life but by 1970’s Newcastle Waters became a ghost town.

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The broken dreams and heart ache of a shattered life style can be felt as we wandered around the dilapidated buildings in 2010. The tattered remains of a net curtain flapping forlornly in a slight breeze. The brave attempt at creating a splash of colour with a strip of gingham material on shelves. The rusting sewing machine and kettle on the old wood-burner stove indications of a family once building dreams here. How hot it must’ve been as the summer sun relentlessly heated up the corrugated walls and roof. Then the chill winds of winter forcing into every gap. Where did they go? Did they find a better more comfortable life?


 Cheri asks us for this challenge, capture something broken: an old window, a vintage sign, a toy never fixed, a contemplative friend. Or go deeper: find beauty in something broken.

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, broken, outback, photography, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Travel Theme : Hats


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These would be the most colourful hats I have ever seen. They were at the “Stanthorpe apple and grape festival”. The festival was a riot of colour and happy vibes. It was the start of our round Australia trip March 2010. (take a look)


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A hat is a necessity in Queensland and the weekly beach markets are a good place to find just the right one. (go here and share the experience of a sunny day at the beach markets)


At the beginning of our year around Australia Jack had this rather dapper Panama hat. As the days turned to weeks, then months. That hat became rained on, sat on, lost then found again. It became Jack’s favourite. In the second photo he is with his mate Rob. Rob has his favourite Akubra hat on, well-worn, sweat stained and very dilapidated. Rob owns a farm in the beautiful Southern corner of Western Australia and every year he organised a poets weekend. Bush poets and people came from far and wide.  We were lucky enough to be in his area and help with the organisation. It was a lot of fun. (if you would like to come along click here)


Finally here is that iconic Akubra

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This stained, stitched and patched Akubra belonged to a drover. That tough breed of Aussie that drove cattle hundreds of miles through scrub, desert and open Mitchel grass plains in all weather conditions. The heat and drought of summer and the bone chilling rain and winds of winter. They are a breed of man to be admired. I took this photo at the “Drovers Shed” in Camooweal. ( I spent hours looking round this fascinating place. Click here and come with me for a look at Australia’s droving history)

Akubra Hats are an Australian Icon.

(Click here to discover the rich history of this iconic hat)

For 130 years Akubra has been making its famous rabbit fur, felt hats. The Akubra name is synonymous with the landscape of outback Australia, and our unique hats form an important part of the Australian national uniform. In the modern era Akubra Hats still form an important part of the national culture, being worn by the hard working men and women on the land as well as being presented as national gifts to those visiting dignitaries who want to take a piece of Australia home


Hats are every where this week. Go to Ailsa’s “Where’s my backpack” to see hundreds more…

Categories: Australia, hats, outback, photography, poetry, travel theme | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Reward

The winner

The winner

The reward

The reward

In the dusty, red outback of Australia camel racing is a unique and exciting part of the culture. We were in Winton the day of the races, click here to come back with me and share that day.

This young woman certainly deserved her reward. (this weeks word from Krista at WP)

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, camel races, outback, photography, reward, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Photography 101 : Swarm 2

This is the most amazing swarm of budgerigars. We were camping in the Australian Outback and were woken by the noise of birds. Thousands of small green budgerigars turning and wheeling in tight formation. Dipping down briefly to snatch a beakful of water from a small puddle before swooping off again with a hawk darting in and out of the swarm. I stood entranced before grabbing the camera.

It is a once in a life time sight that I would like to share with you for this “photography 101” theme of swarm. 

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Just a small number of the thousands as they flashed by.

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Then they would, briefly, dip down into this shallow puddle before wheeling off again.

What an amazing sight.

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, budgeriagars, outback, photography, Photography 101, swarm | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Letters

Curtain fig tree

Curtain fig tree

Walking through National Parks all over Australia I am awed at the beauty and diversity of nature, but what really enhances the experience are the information boards that explain how and why the tree grew this way, or the history of the pioneers.

So it is words that educate me about the beauty I am looking at.

Detailed information board

Detailed information board

This amazing tree grows in the tropical rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands.


Pioneers having a picnic in the outback of Australia

Pioneers having a picnic in the outback of Australia

Now to take you to another part of Australia. This is a very old photo that is on an information board.

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We were in the Australian Outback, miles from civilisation and when we saw a small sign pointing along a rough track to Combo Waterhole. What a delight the information boards were. Old photos of pioneers enjoying a picnic and vividly portraying how life was in the bush.

Read this and then close your eyes and visualise how it was.

Read this and then close your eyes and visualise how it was.

That song is the well known “Waltzing Matilda”

Maybe Banjo Patterson also sat here when he composed some of his poetry.

Maybe Banjo Patterson also sat here when he composed some of his poetry.

Matilda hyw pc sx40 019_4000x3000 cropped


I had more photos of the track and surrounding bush to show you, but then disaster struck and ALL my old photos on the external hard drive suddenly disappeared.


I’ve tried to recover them but so far no luck. I guess I will have to now leave it till Monday and call in a computer wizard to, hopefully, perform some sort of miracle.

I do have all the photos backed up on another hard drive back on the Goldcoast, thousands of kilometres away. So all is not lost, but I will not be able to search for photos for the challenges that I so enjoy. Looked at from another angle I will now have to go out on photo sorties to collect another batch of photos.


I’m sure most people have heard “Waltzing Matilda” but in case you have missed it here it is…


In response to WP photo challenge this week I have been forced to use lots of “words”…

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, letters, Malanda, outback, photography, Tablelands, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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