Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brisbane Airport - Domestic Section (imagine flying that to Europe? I don't think so)

Friday, December 21, 2007


frangipani tree, Windsor, Brisbane

Thursday, December 20, 2007

They've got big balls in Brisbane Square.

Ordinarily, these metal implements serve as cutlery holders used to drain implements in the kitchen.

Simple in their design, they are triangular and horizontal holes to allow drainage. They're commonplace in homeware stores. However, they do have other uses and where else to display this ingenuity but in Brisbane?
Hexagonal plates welded at the points form a sphere as one would a soccerball. The little collanders arranged in starlike patterns are welded to these plates, deflecting the light underneath them in a myriad of ways. They are ethereal and space like.


Detail of yesterday's photo

Designed by a 2o year old graduating artist from the Queensland College of Art, you can find these metal baubles at the foot of Christmas trees.

All photos taken in Brisbane Square.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What time of year is it again?

I'm very over the retail rush but do like the lights at this time of year. Ho, ho, ho.

Christmas Tree at night, Brisbane Square

To the left is the old Bank building now used for offices. To the right the old Treasury building (held all the money in Queensland) now used as a Casino.

Both built by convict labour.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watching the storm sail in and blow over.

Brisbane River

This photo was taken from the top of a building in North Quay which is a road that sits on the riverfront as winds on the outer rim of the CBD.

The first bridge you see is the William Jolley Bridge. William Jolley was Brisbane's first Lord Mayor. When the bridge opened in 1932 it was known as Grey Street Bridge because it joins Grey Street in South Brisbane to Roma Street which is on the western end of the CBD. It is a dual carriageway and the cars are going into the city. (Brisbane CBD is to the right of the photo).

The bridge behind it is the Merivale Bridge. It joins South Brisbane to Brisbane and is solely used for train crossings.

To the left of the photo is Southbank and then West End. Further inland is Highgate Hill. To the severe right of the photo is Brisbane and then Spring Hill, Brisbane's oldest suburb. Further down is Milton, further down again is Auchenflower.

I will be covering these suburbs in future postings.

Just think. In 1824 all this was a penal colony.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Urban Scarecrow

I spotted this fellow stuck in a bush outside one of the very few acre plots left in suburban Brisbane and still growing produce. In fact, it's one of two I've seen in a Brisbane residential street. (Unfortunately, property developers are maniacally hungry here and have gobbled up a lot of land now blighted by stacked apartment buildings).

Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane

Is he a scarecrow or tree sprite, I wonder?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Don't worry, beeeeeee happy.

Oh the bee, very pretty and the little flower is sweet...

I missed Saturday's posting by half an hour (I do get out, you know) so I'm offering a second photo of the day for Sunday.

Much excitement in the garden this morning as a small fleet of native bees descended on my thistle bush. The former is a prize given that in the presence of European and feral Bumble bees it's very difficult for the smaller Australian variety to set up house, to see not one but ten of them all together was an event.

Naturally, I thought of you all and, leaving the washing on the line, rushed inside to get my camera and started taking pictures.

Divebombing for pollen - Blue Banded Bee (amegilla sp.)

This particular type of bee is usually solitary. Males have five bands on their back, females have four. Both shake or divebomb the flower in order to obtain pollen. The shaking is often call "buzzing" where the bee clutches the head and literally shakes it. There's another action which I cannot find reference to in any book which I call divebombing. It's where the bee spots its target, circles it, backs up, charges the flower then dips and skims the top of it. It then turns around and does the same thing again.

Thorny detail of the thistle

Hunting and gathering...

Larger species of native blue band - this one was so quick I could only manage this shot

The bees just adore my thistle bush (my type is the Spear Thistle - Cirsium vulgare). Although regarded as a weed in Queensland, to me it stands in my garden as a king, it's proud pink plumage worshipped by a lapis lazuli of insects. It cannot be grasped and pulled from the ground as one would a weed for the thorns are very sharp - you but touch them with your fingertip and the sharp sting of the barb is felt. It's true what they say, no one harms it without punishment.

Those that call it useless are ignorant to its blessings. One can use the sap, leaf and floret for various needs and do so without danger.

So I leave it be - little flower of Scotland, tall and independent amid a small plot of other plants that would wish to overrun it.

The kettle whistles.
"Come and make yer cup of tea!" it cries.

I turn and walk inside.

When the flower withers, the stem bursts open and brings forth seed, known as thistledown
but also known as 'Daddy Long Legs' in childhood language.

Just another Sunday in Brisbane.
All Saints Church

Perched high on what appears to be a hill is actually a cliff made from rock cut through to make part of Adelaide Street in the heart of the city (which winds below it). Above, it faces Wickham Street otherwise known in local slang as the "Doctors' Mile" as it houses a string of specialist centres from dentists to psychs to plastic surgeons.

Quite frankly, I find both spooky.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brisbane City Council Public Library (Brisbane Square branch - 1 of 3 brightly coloured buildings)
George Street, Brisbane

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Japan Invades Australian Territorial Waters

Whales are a Brisbane thing. It's a common pastime to rush to the water between the months of July and November to watch the mass migration that careens down the coast (see map below) as the many pods make their way to Antarctic waters. Local newspapers often signal their arrival and offer souvenir liftouts from their centre pages, school groups flock to shoreline and when dolphins cruise the canals of the Gold Coast, the euphoria is tangible.

Young Great Southern Humpback Whale
Moreton Bay, (Brisbane) in August

Dots along the coastline offer popular launch spots for whalewatching enterprises where one can get close - but not too close - to these beautiful creatures. Distances between boat and mammal are regulated by Australian law. Less than 300m cops a hefty fine. For Migaloo, the white whale, the distance is 500m as he has been afforded special environmental protection.

Commonwealth Map - Queensland Coast

This legislation would tell you that the Australian government considers this precious animal an asset and something worth protecting.

And yet, inexplicably, it is allowing Japan to enter our waters and hunt these animals and to do so for the purposes of commercial fishing thinly disguised as research. Worse, this year, Japan now has the Humpback on its trafficking list and the total quota is set at 1,050. Traditionally, the Japanese have been known to take much more.

In their actions, Japan is violating the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, the Antarctic Treaty, the rules of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, International Maritime law and the moratorium of the International Whaling Commission.

New Zealand government is monitoring NZ waters with their Air Force.

Their Australian counterpart is...sitting on its hands.

It's so hard to remain apolitical on a blog such as this. After all, I bring you pictures of my corner of the world. But I will say this.

The Nisshin Maru isn't a little boat. It's not an impoverished fishing vessel or a heroin smuggler. It's a factory ship. Built to kill, this vessel holds whales underwater and electrocutes them. They are often cleaved while alive and it takes half and hour for death to arrive, often as a sweet release from the incredible carnage wreaked on their majestic bodies.

They are then chopped up and processed, their entrails thrown back into the sea.

With the new quota posted, Migaloo is now under direct threat and he is currently in Antarctic waters. There are a glut of feelings I have here but will allow the pictures to speak instead.

I offer you these pictures as a snapshot of the world I live in and hopefully not as an obituary.

One of many articles of excitment at Migaloo's sighting earlier this year off the Queensland coast. This one is from the Cairns Post.

Photos of Migaloo ('white fella') from ABC and The Courier Mail, Qld

* If you want to do something, please visit

Monday, December 10, 2007

The World's Most Glamorous Delivery Bay

Tucked away at the less visited end of Adelaide Street in the heart of the city is a very ornate delivery bay. I'd go so far as to say it's the most glamorous in the world. Yes, yes, I know - Rome has some beautifully crafted delivery bays, toilets and parking signs but this delivery bay was devoid of graffiti and wee stains - quite a feat I feel.

I can't see this building on the public heritage register but that arch is the same as those found in former Commonwealth Buildings so I will poke around a bit more and see what I can find out. Either way, it's a dispatching area for the Red Cross now.

PM and Deputy PM at Customs House, Eagle Street, Brisbane

And last, but certainly not least (for we all know that politics is very important), a little footnote today: the bloke on the left is a Brisbane boy and a former neighbour, Kevin Rudd. He is now the Prime Minister of Australia. He was in Brisbane on Thursday at my favourite bookstore. Suffice to say, I was shoved aside by a zealous media who, saints alive, wanted to prove to the rest of the country that our new leader could read.

The woman next to him is Julia Gillard, an Adelaide girl (another great city) and from today, Australia's first ever FEMALE PRIME MINISTER albeit acting as Mr Rudd heads overseas.

I've never bothered about female quotas before but having met this woman in a prior life, I quite like her and something within me is just thrilled today. For her. For women.

Or maybe it's because she's promised to abolish unfair workplace laws brought in by the previous government.

Maybe it's just called hope that we'll all get a fair go this term.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Out and About on Edward Street

Big building on Edward Street in the central business district.

General MacArthur stayed here during WW2 and set up a communications centre downstairs where a bookstore now trades from.

The remainder of the building now houses serviced apartments at ground level and a supermarket and various shops on basement and first levels. How posh.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I went on a little apiary expedition today. This is how a man made European beehive looks. (Australian native bees and both their natural and artificial hives are very, very different). The bees are swarming because they are panicking due to the ledge having been moved.

1 Queen Bee cell, Drone and food cells

Drones tending to worker bee cells (the blokes do all the work - love it!)

The different colours depict different pollens collected to be used to make food cells (honey!)

Wild hive spotted nearby. Mmmm white gum honey!

Fresh honeycomb. You can eat it all but the preferred method is heating the entire thing, allowing the wax to rise to the top so you can skim it and then eating what's left. For those who are concerned that the bees were robbed, please note that not even a quarter of the hive was accessed and barely a few pounds of honey taken. We respect the bees.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Coffee & Chocolate Cafe,
Level 1 Queens Plaza ~ Queen Street Mall

Mawning, all!

One of the pleasures of a morning is a well made coffee. The texture, the smell, the temperature, the aftertaste - all are imperative traits when one infuses their body with what is truly a delicacy but has been cheapened by the world of instant powder. And not everyone can make a decent coffee.

But what's so city centric about coffee, you ask? Well when the beans are roasted by Phillip Di Bella, you know you're getting Brisbane's own. Di Bella coffee is now a Brisbane stalwart, resident in its many coffee houses and quickly spreading to other cities (yes, even Melbourne!) Of the blends available, I enjoy the Modena Blend. It's listed as being full bodied with a fruity aftertaste. Hmm...maybe the fruit fell off my tree. For me, it's strong, robust and forceful. Rar.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

This is a parking meter. When you park on the side of the road in a busy place you put coins in the slot underneath the yellow label there, twist that silver knob you see there and you get up to an hour (depending on how much you pay) to do your business then get back to your car to either put more money in the slot or drive away.

Sometimes you'll see Council employees called Parking Patrol Officers strolling along the road, whistling a little tune then quickly marking certain car tyres with white chalk. They're waiting for that little red flag to pop up then - ping!- a little white piece of paper with "You owe us $55" appears on your windscreen of your vehicle.

No, it hasn't happened to me. I never drive into the city.

Believe it or not, if you do not pay your parking fine a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you still do not pay your fine, there's a good chance you will be placed in the general prison population. Yes, that's right, these days you don't have to rob a bank or attempt to overthrow the government in order to experience the facilities at Brisbane Correctional Centre ('prison' is so passe).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More on Jaca

The jackfruit is a fruit. The largest tree borne fruit in the world. When you chop it in half, at first glance it lies like a pineapple: yellow flesh that surrounds the seeds which look like brazil nuts. It's sticky work because the fruit has a sappy juice but you can eat the flesh which you can eat raw or puree or dry or crush and use in a number of ways and you can take the fibrous bits called "rag" and use them in jams and jellies. You can boil the seeds as you would rice then peel the skin off them, add salt and lime and wolf them down. Or you can throw them on the coals in a low fire, peel and eat. A little bit of tequila may assist, depending on the occasion. (Not for throwing on the fire, for taking a little sip after you've had a few seeds...the salt and the lime chime in quite nicely - am I giving away too many habits here?)

It's very rare that Australia gets mentioned as a producer but trees can be found throughout Brisbane as the climate is quite conducive to them. You just have to know what to look for. This is when having an Indonesian neighbour comes in very handy ~ the only thing left after she takes it from the tree is the smell. You can eat jackfruit unripe and ripe. The former tends to end up in curries as a vegetable. The latter ends up as a sweet or chutney given that it's quite sweet when ripened. You can also freeze the pulp and make an icecream from it.

And given that the fruit is packed with protein, carbs, vitamins and fibre, it's an all round good-o meal. It features quite heavily in Indian cuisine. A friend of mine made a kind of fritter/fritata from it. Yummo.

To me, it tastes like banana.
Jackfruit, not yet ripe and straight off the tree +

Cassia leaves (which are good bush medicine when used to treat ulcers)
+ diced potatoes, ginger, whole spices such as brown cardamom, cinnamon, ground cumin and coriander
= one, nutritious, strengthening curry Bengali style.
Red Bull might give you wings but I eat this and it puts hairs on my chest.
(Which, of course, I promptly remove as we're all smooth chested down this way).
Eating this dish makes me want to fill out my tax return form.

For a sweet tooth, you can puree the flesh of the jackfruit, add a little sugar and roll out to dry on mats in the sun.
Moves extremely well with a dash of aguardiente.

Gotta love a multicultural city.

© Photo & Text Copyright The Brisbane Daily Photo.
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Take the Long Way Home

It's lashing this evening. Precious droplets dress the trees and little torrents carouse the gutters. I decide to walk home, skin soaked by warm summer rain, enveloped by the night.

© Photo & Text Copyright The Brisbane Daily Photo.
All rights reserved.

Tangents of Christmas

© Photo & Text Copyright The Brisbane Daily Photo.
All rights reserved.

Based at the foot of the tree, the sacred post box is emptied every evening. Ah Santa, you have so much reading to do.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I adore clouds.

© Photo & Text Copyright The Brisbane Daily Photo.
All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Land ahoy! Oh hang on, I just left there...

Hi there.

I've decided to start keeping a daily journal on the happenings in the city in which I live: sunny, sub tropical Brisbane in the State of Queensland down here in Australia. Also tagged Brisvegas this term is claimed by various parties. I first heard the tag in 1981 via a friend of my father's who was in the Army. He drove trucks often on long stints and used the term to make fun of the fact that it was a city situated in the middle of nowhere (as it pretty much was back then) and that hitting Brisbane after hours and hours on a lone stretch of highway "..was like ending up in Vegas."

While some find the term annoying, I like it. I find it actually suits the ever evolving presence Brisbane has had over the years and now that its population is booming, probably more apt now that it's ever been. I ended up in Brisbane ten years ago while travelling north to the Gulf of Carpentaria and the changes between then and now have simply been phenomenal. Sometimes I fear it's getting too big though. I miss that 'big town' feel it once had.

But aside from all that, Sundays are for sailing, which I regularly do on the ferry down the Brisbane River. I embark at North Quay and head whichever way the boat is going.

In Summer, the days do not fade until 7pm. The clouds are like cauliflower bulbs and the sky is flooded with the yellow gold of a lingering sun which leaves a pink stain as night strides in.

I love it here.

And I hope you do too.

The buoy on board the ferry - just in case you fall off. (Usually reserved for Friday nights after work...ahem).
Complete with peg bag for when the crew hang out their washing.