Saturday 25th March 2017

Australia. 2017.15.

Australia. 2017.15.

Yesterday was Australia Day. It is remembering that on 26 January 1788 a white settlement commenced within Sydney Harbour at Port Jackson. It is close to where Circular Quay is, the ferry terminals and just around from the Opera House to the east, and Sydney Harbour Bridge to the west.

However, it is not a day of celebration for many Australians, the original Australians, who regard this as a day of sorrow. My thoughts are that Australia needs to change to date to reconcile with all who are Australian. However, this is very much a contentious option at present.

I have therefore gone with a traditional (Anglo if you will) view of my country. Australia so very well captured in the essence of this poem by Dorothea Mackellar. The photos which follow are mine. Again I have tried to capture the essence of my country.


My Country
The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar


Fig tree in Sydney. Close to the harbour.

Manly Beach at sunrise. Manly was named after an Aboriginal person because of the ‘manly’ appearance. I grew up near here.

The Three Sisters. Aboriginal legends abound about these ‘ladies’ located in the heritage listed Blue Mountains beyond Sydney.

The Jamison Valley. Part of the Blue Mountains. In the early 1800s white explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson made their way across here.

Semi-rural Sydney scenes but more likely to be housing estates now and into the future.

Magical morning at the Central Coast.

Iconic Sydney. Ferries, Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. This is Port Jackson and where the first white settlement occurred.

Essence of the coast of Australia!

My now local area. Wyong River. Original land owners the Darkinjung people.

As Aussie as it comes..the bush and a track leading somewhere…

Walk by the Parramatta River in NSW and read these sculptures. All denote the original and then white settlement of the earliest founded place in NSW (other than Sydney)

Our wonderful coast…we are a country bound by oceans. This is the Pacific Ocean/Tasman Sea as it reaches east to New Zealand.

Thank you Australia for all you have given me in my life.


Joining photography friends who blog here:

Trish, Steph, Sue and Jen.






On the weekend I visit the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and 3 bloggers who also host the link up!


13 Years Of School. 366/316.

13 Years Of School. 366/316.

I usually write about education and schooling on Tuesdays and in preparing my post for yesterday on Exams I was reminded of the changes that took place in Australia’s schooling system over the decades.

I know that schools in Australia do not have common names for the starting year/grade of school. Still. I’ve written about that too. Sigh.

But, what each state and territory does have in common is that a child who begins school in Kindergarten, in NSW for example, will be at school for 13 years. It actually irks me when writers, media and so on talk about the ’12 years of schooling.’ Unless they have a reason to leave before the end of Year 12, they are in school for 13 years!

OK. I have that off my chest now.

So, here’s a little personal anecdote about me.

I was born in November 1949. My husband in February 1949.

He did 12 years at school. I did 13 years at school.


I could not start until I had turned 5, so even though I got to start in September 1954,  was in my first official year of school from 1955. My husband being an early in the year birthday guy, started in the beginning of 1954. Our families did not know we would take different paths because I guess back then the government didn’t know! Their change ideas emanated in the late 1950s following research from overseas.

It was determined in NSW that students commencing High School in 1962 would be the first cohort to complete 6 years of schooling. This was HUGE and that was me! It came about as part of a review by Dr Harold Wyndham and subsequently those of us affected were educated under the Wyndham Scheme. Let me tell you, some of it was policy on the run for us newbies.


Next year it is 50 years since I completed my Higher School Certificate! 50 years!!!

We had 4 years until the first external examination called The School Certificate. After passing that, students could choose to leave and get a job, go to tech or move on to the final 2 years and complete the Higher School Certificate. Usually those people were considering tertiary study of some kind.

My husband’s course through High School  was an external exam at the end of 3rd year called the Intermediate Certificate. Those who passed (he did) and who wanted to follow a tertiary or professional career went on to the end of 5th year to do the Leaving Certificate.

Look, there are always changes afoot. The HSC (NSW version) has changed quite a bit to ensure that it is inclusive of as many students’ needs as possible. There is no longer an external exam called the School Certificate. What has changed is that no student, thanks to a policy set in place by the Federal Government a few years ago, can leave school until age 17 without special permission, a transfer to a TAFE or another education place.

Have you been through the Higher School Certificate System?

If it was similar but called something different…because that is how Australia is…what did you do?

Would you be brave enough  to show your results?

I am too old to care these days!!


education 150

Joining the bloggers who blog on Tuesdays here with Kylie Purtell.



Census 2016. 366/217.

Census 2016. 366/217.

UPDATE: It’s Sunday evening and thanks to a very sore writing hand, I decided to complete the census on-line. After a quick read of the paper form, and checking my hub was OK with responses I’d be doing for him, it took around 10 minutes. Done.

In Australia there is a compulsory census every 4 years.

This year we ‘count’ ourselves!

The census asks us: who we live with, how old we are, where we live and so much more on Tuesday evening 9 August.

It’s become quite a discussion point however.

In the four years since we were last ‘counted’ there are heightened fears of security of the information we provide. People are asking, rightly so, about who will have access to the information and for how long. The answers are not 100% convincing given that these days on-line hacking is prevalent.

There is an option now to do the census on-line and I am certain this is hoped to be the preferred method.

On Tuesday we got our census pack. In the mail and half sticking out of the letter box on a rainy afternoon! Here’s what the ‘wet’ envelope contained:


In it was the form. I did not expect that as media said we’d get a log-in. We did a log-in as well. On the form.  So, I am somewhat bemused and confused.

I don’t know whether I trust either of the processes right now.

So many people trying to log-in and enter their info on one night… come on, Canberra bureaucrats do you really believe this will be ‘hitch-free?’

Then again, I may complete the form and MAIL it back. There is no census collector returning to get it as in previous years. Do I trust Australia Post’s security? Ummm.


So, how are you completing the Census this year?


P.S. I like that the census helps us with information and I have been fascinated to find the census rolls in the years that my forebears where young and living in the U.K.

P.P.S. Today, Friday, my letter was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. It was one of 10 about the Census!


stories 150

Joining with Anne at Domesblissity for Thriving on Thursdays and Grace on Friday for Flog Your Blog over here at With Some Grace.


Meeting the P.M. 366/215.

Meeting the P.M. 366/215.

When I lived in Sydney, my local M.P. and I became friends. She lived in the same suburb as us, and later we realised her husband went to school where I was a D.P. back in the 1980s.

Michelle Rowland invited me to a small local get-together in 2012 with the  local government reps and the then Federal Minister for NBN as she wanted me to let them know how important this technology change would be for homes and schools in our area. It was (and remains a huge disappointment) that the NBN (for where we used to live and now where we live) is nothing like what was foreshadowed. Thanks NOT to current P.M. But I am getting off track!

In early 2013 Michelle contacted me and asked if I would like to meet the Prime Minister Julia Gillard on her visit to a local centre for employment for those with disabilities. I would, thank you!

It was a ‘quiet’ event apparently, even though every representative of the national media were there once I got inside, I would not have known anything or anyone special was inside the building other than a very small police presence and a C1 vehicle with a driver standing beside it. I wasn’t asked for id and I was able to enter the building where Michelle met me briefly and explained that Julia was meeting and greeting with the families inside and would soon sit with a local community group for morning tea. She then offered me the opportunity to have a very brief chat to Julia by myself. Sure! That would be wonderful.

I wanted to let Julia Gillard know the importance of how much education and its continuation of funding to serve the students and schools of our local area (Sydney’s west has a high percentage of families of lower socio-economic status) was needed. The Gonski report had yet to be finalised.

Instead, the meeting was incredibly personal because after Michelle introduced me, Julia proceeded to thank me for what I had done to contribute to education over my long career. She agree to pose for some pics and when I asked her for her autograph, she was generous enough to write this.


I had a wonderful experience meeting the P.M.

Have you met one or more of our Prime Ministers?

Tell me more!


education 150

Joining in with folks over at Kylie Purtell’s blog for I Blog On Tuesdays.




Winter Garden. 366/211.

Winter Garden. 366/211.

It’s easy to love a spring, summer and autumn garden.

Winter gets the prize for last.

However, this winter, spent in a new area and house means I am learning more about winter in the garden here.

I took some shots this week:-

IMG_2886 (1)

The backyard (garden). Frangipani has shed almost all its leaves. Makes a huge difference to what else I can see in the garden. I added the little hanging baskets with pansies.


It’s a house we are renting so to personalise parts of it, flowers in pots on the verandah help cheer me up and give me some garden chores like watering most days.

IMG_2896 (1)

The original owners lived here from new for around 24 years. They planted a LOT of greenery for shade and privacy from the street.

IMG_2903 (1)

The owners put these no giant palms in and to be honest, they are a nuisance with how much they shed their fronds and we spend a lot of time trying to keep the place free of them! Lucky we have a regular vegetation pick up.


It is a pretty look at the entry to the house but a wee bit too shady for most of the winter’s day. This was around 3pm.

IMG_2910 (1)

I don’t know its name (and that is part of the fun of a garden we did not start) but it sure is pretty!

What does your garden look like in Winter?

Maybe you are viewing this from a ‘summer’ country…how is your garden growing?


photos 150

Happy Weekend coming up to photography friends with linkys:

Trish My Little Drummer Boys

Sue Image-In-Ing

Jen Pierced Wonderings


Snapshots from #AusVotes. 366/185.

Snapshots from #AusVotes. 366/185.

I’m writing at about 30 minutes after voting for  Australian Federal Election has closed  on the East Coast of Australia.

So, whatever the result, I have decided to post about aspects of being a voter on Saturday 2 July 2016.

What I wore. It was important to me to show my support for Gonski funding. Side Note: yes, red. I wore red. OK. Now you know who I voted for.IMG_5347


When we (hub came with me, but kept on walking!) of course I stopped to chat with the Labor party’s supporters and this young man told me he is a pre-service teacher who just finished his prac and loves being  teacher! Go, you! Side Note: when the liberals saw me coming they were quite abrupt “oh GONSKI” and then showed their disdain by ignoring me.



I am glad that iPhone cameras were not banned. However when  I finally got into the voting booth what a challenge it was to actually vote on the senate paper!! Side Note: I succeeded!



OK. This does look like I know what I am doing. However, it was challenging to manage a ballot paper for the senate that was well over a metre long in such a small space. I was there for a while trying to put the marks (1-6) that I selected ABOVE the line. Side Note: I asked the official if I could use my ‘gonski’ pen and she said “no, the regulations state: pencil or quill”. Yes. If I had brought my quill I could have used it.



If you have been following social media (and my SM posts have included reference to this) then you will know about the #sausagesizzle and #democracysausage . There was a great following on twitter including a map of where you could buy a sausage sizzle at the election site. I love Australia!! Side Note: school volunteers from the P&C and staff helped this happen and raising funds for schools is on-going. I am always appreciative of school community work. This sausage sizzle was lovely as was the parent from the local school who made it for me!



At around 11 a.m. in our local public school the queue was not too long at all.  Side Note: I did feel sorry for some of the older people queuing and wondered why they had not registered for postal voting. My 92 year old Dad votes that way and has done so for some years. No stress!IMG_5343


Once my civic and democratic duty was done, and I had dropped my hub home, I drove over the the coast – 15 minutes away – and reflected on the wonderful country in which we live and the democratic process. Side Note: We “are” the Lucky Country.IMG_5351

How was 2nd July for you?

Did you vote in this election?


more 150

Joining with Leanne at Deep Fried Fruit for her linky on Sundays.


Beach After Storms. 366/176.

Beach After Storms. 366/176.

We are almost at the end of our first month of Winter here in Australia.

June has been pretty cruel in terms of natural events and some places on the coast and inland were hit by the double whammy of high tides and heavy rain. The next few days we are in for very cold weather and snow at places above 700m sea level.

I had not been to my ‘walking beach’ for some weeks and this week I visited – because I needed a walk, and to see how it fared.

The sand had receded and a lot of small pebbles and black seaweed were on the beach.

What I did not see on the beach at all that day were seagulls.

In fact, there was ONE bird only, and it hopped and flew around near me as I walked along.

Here are my shots of that afternoon at Lakes Beach between Norah Head and  Budgewoi.





How is the weather where you are?

Do you see birds in nature where you are? 150

Visiting my photography friends here:

Sue at Image-In-Ing

Trish at My Little Drummer Boys

Jen at Pierced Wonderings.

Steph at Stephsjoy here


What’s New For The Next 54 Days? 366/130.

What’s New For The Next 54 Days? 366/130.

So, we have another double dissolution happening in our nation’s capital.

C A N B E R R A. (said in the baritone of the late and wonderful Peter Harvey)

Yes, it is time (sorry, that was yours wasn’t it Gough Whitlam back in 1972) for a

FERAL (oops) FEDERAL ELECTION in the fair land of ours Australia.

This is so NOT a political post.

Oh no..but isn’t it a ‘wonderful time to be an Australian (politician)’ says MT….aka Mr PM.

Then along comes BS…suited up, and new voice training completed to let us know ….’blah blah’

What’s New For The Next 54 Days?

Nothing new….other than:

Promises, promises, promises…(who sang that?)

and more baby-kissing, scone eating, tea drinking, beer swilling, kiddie head patting and hopping on and off planes from the west in WA to the North of NT, to the south of Tassie and to the east to Sydney.


So, off with the TV.

On with the on-line movies and series you’ve saved up.

Stay away from twitter if you can.

And maybe instagram because they do have IG accounts now.

Then after the 53 days, on the 54th, pop down to your local polling booth and do your constitutional duty (after buying school raffle tickets, cakes and a sausage in  bread) and

V O T E. Remember the system for the Senate has changed.


See you 55 days from now.

What fun that too will be!


Sorry to say Kirsty, I just couldn’t resist this one today for I Must Confess. See the linky here.