Thursday, May 28, 2020

Take a Weekend Family Road Trip from Brisbane Through the Scenic Rim

Known for its breathtaking scenery, soaring peaks, local produce, vibrant arts and crafts plus expansive bushwalking and rainforest tracks, the Scenic Rim is only 90 minutes from Brisbane and all of it falls within 150km of Brisbane's city centre.

With plenty of family-friendly destinations and opportunities to experience some of Australia's most gorgeous views, it's an ideal spot to escape to with the kids.

Use this Google Map we've created to help guide you.

Before you put the pedal to the metal, stock up your road trip bag with sweet and savoury treats from Jocelyn's Provisions, or grab a weekend picnic hamper from Wild Canary to devour on your journey.

Day 1 First stop - Brunch with a fluffy friend at Mountview Alpaca Farm

A road trip where you get to have lunch with alpacas? Alpaca my bag! Conveniently located within the grounds of O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards, Mountview Alpaca Farm lets you feed alpacas and walk them around the vineyard grounds. While you share time with your new fluffy friends, indulge with a fine bottle of wine, a stone-baked pizza or a picnic basket while enjoying the relaxed country setting next to the scenic Canungra Creek.

Noon - Pick up sweet treats from Lemon Lovers Gelato

Time to head up to Tamborine Mountain and treat the kids (and yourselves) to a little sweetness from Lemon Lovers Gelato. Keep an eye out as you drive around town. Park the car and wander down Long Road to explore the art, craft, gift and knick-knack stores along Gallery Walk.

Afternoon - Look at the stars … inside a cave

Take a tour through the rainforest and into the caves with Glowworms Cave Tours, which will resume on 13th June. The presentation cave features realistic stalagmites and stalactites, designed to mimic the natural environment of these rare glow worms. Learn about their fascinating biology as the kids delve into a dark and mysterious experience, lit up by thousands of tiny creatures glowing on the tunnel walls like a starlit night sky.

Evening - Watch a glorious sunset

Before you finish up the day, this stunning view is essential. Take a blanket, camera, anything you need and set the family up at Hang Gliders Lookout or Rotary Lookout on Tamborine Mountain for a breathtaking sunset. Watch the hang gliders launch off the side of the mountain and see them floating above you as the sky burns from orange to black.

Night - Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay

Nestled in some of the Scenic Rim Region's most beautiful countryside, these beautiful self-containing cottages provide the ultimate farm stay experience. Get involved in farm activities, hand feed and cuddle friendly animals and toast marshmallows around the campfire at the end of the day. Relax, listen to the bird calls, and enjoy the tranquillity of the surroundings (accommodation can be booked from 12 June).

Day 2 Rise and shine – Venture into Thunderbird Park

Rejoice parents, the beloved Thunderbird Park is set to open on 13 June. Here, kids can fossick in the world's largest thunderegg mine and unearth these amazing structures left over from 200-million-year-old lava flows. Dig deep with the kids and see how many you can find – whatever you discover is yours to keep as long as it fits in your bucket. This one's fun for parents as well. Unleash your inner child as you slice open that thunderegg to see what treasure may await inside.

Scared of heights? How does relying on just a harness across more than 100 challenges in the Treetop Challenge sound? Hang from trees, climb the ladders, balance on bridges, navigate through suspended tunnels. The challenge is open to kids over the age of 7, so if you have a little adrenaline junkie at home, it's time to get their hearts racing.

Lunch – The Overflow Estate

Time to put an end to a whole morning's worth of adventure and find a lunch place. The scenery alone from Beaudesert to Boonah is breathtaking enough, and the Overflow Estate's divine drops are well worth the drive (just for mum and dad, of course). Set on a peninsula on the edge of Lake Wyaralong, enjoy the expansive view while grazing from the simple menu (Towri sheep cheese and Summer Land Camel ice cream included) and ponder why you don't own a winery in the Scenic Rim.

Afternoon - Pick up baked goodies from Arthur Clive's Family Bakehouse

Owners the Pennell family have been baking in the Scenic Rim and surrounds since the 1930s, with current baker Aidan Pennell's grandfather starting the original business in Boonah. Grab some of these delicious old-styled baked goods with a modern twist. We recommend the wild fermented sourdoughs of Instagram fame for mum and dad, and the kids might want to try the Cherry Ripe Slice.

Final stop - A picnic at Lake Moogerah

Before you head back to the city, a picnic at Lake Moogerah with picture-postcard views from the lookout is essential. It's a popular spot for boating, bushwalking and fishing enthusiasts (licence required). Lay down the picnic blanket, cover it with your recently purchased baked goodies, and take some time to chill before hitting the road. If you're early enough, maybe the kids can take a dip in the swimming area.

An hour or so later, you'll be back in the Brisbane CBD after traveling along the M1. Time to end the adventure and get back to reality, refreshed and ready for another week.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Australia: The vanishing swimsuit #throwback

Bathing was uncomfortable for both adults and children before World War I. Modesty demanded that as much as possible of the body was well covered. Women often wore stockings as well as the all-enveloping costume. Most women adopted the one-piece woollen costume as swimming became more popular, but it was not until the 1920s that costumes started to become smaller and more sensible.

Australian Cities and Towns: Prime Minister's warning #throwback

Sydney Opera House under construction c.1971 (DL Eime)

Ever-growing capitals of an urban nation

"I am not a believer in dumping people into any of the great cities," declared Billy Hughes, then Prime Minister, in 1920. "That will not help us. What has enabled France to bear a burden many many times greater than that which we have had to bear? It is the fact that 70 or 80 per cent of her population are on the land. Until we are able to so adjust matters that we can say that at least 60 per cent of the people of Australia are on the land we are living in a paradise of fools."

He hoped people would listen.

But the Prime Minister's warning was not heeded. In the seven years from 1947 to 1954, the populations of Australia's six capital cities increased by 24 to 28 per cent. Their combined population in 1954 was about 4815000 out of a total Australian population of about 9 million

More than 53 out of every 100 Australians lived in one or other of these six cities, all of them on or near the sea. Darwin, with a population increase of 217 per cent, was easily the fastest-growing city in the Commonwealth, Canberra came next, with 68 per cent.

In the year ended 30 June 1976, Sydney was Australia's biggest city, with a population of 3094400 an increase of 381,790 since June 1969. Melbourne, with a population of 2672000 had increased by 299,560, while Brisbane's population rose by 152,500 to 985,000.

Adelaide in the 1960s. King William St facing south from Victoria Square.

Populations of other capital cities were: Adelaide, 912,200; Perth, 820,100; Hobart, 164,500, and Canberra, 201,800. Darwin, to, in spite of Cyclone Tracy, could number its citizens at 50,000. Newcastle and Wollongong in New South Wales were the biggest cities outside the capitals, with populations of 370.500 and 218,900 respectively. Next came Geelong in Victoria, with 135,600. The Gold Coast, though lacking some features of a normal city, could certainly claim to be an intensive centre of a growing population, with no less than 122,200 as permanent residents. There were also projected areas for population growth: Albury-Wodonga on the Victorian-New South Wales border, and Bathurst-Orange in central New South Wales for example.

Albury street scene in the 1960s. From a postcard.

Satellite towns also widened the horizons of Australia's cities, with some as long-established as Adelaide's Elizabeth, or as recent as Melbourne's Sunbury. What had once been country hamlets, found themselves transformed into places of importance, their former rustic peace shattered by the advance of trucks and earthmoving equipment.

Originally published in
'Australia's Yesterdays'.
Readers Digest. 1979.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Visiting Fighter World Aircraft Museum at Williamtown, #NewSouthWales


FIGHTER WORLD aims to raise awareness of the past and present role played by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Tactical Fighter Force through a unique "hands on experience. Unlike other static aircraft displays you may touch the exhibits and experience the fighter pilot's complex work environment by sitting in the cockpit of a. Macchi Jet Trainer and a Mirage Fighter. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER ANY OTHER COCKPIT ON DISPLAY.

SAFETY is important at Fighter World. Please supervise children at all times. NO RUNNING IS PERMITTED

DON'T FORGET TO VISIT FIGHTER WORLD CAFE for sandwiches, snacks, hot meals and drinks.

No food or drinks, other than water, are permitted in the display hangar to avoid attracting vermin.


Vampire A79-1 is a 'first generation' single seat fighter built in Australia by the De Havilland Company. Vampire tail number A79-1 was the Royal Australian Air Force's first jet fighter, entering service in 1949. A two seat trainer version is located between the hangars undergoing restoration by Fighter World's volunteers.

Gloster Meteor A77-385 is painted to represent a combat veteran of the Korean War. RAAF No 77 Squadron whic operates the F/A-18 Hornet at Willimtown today, flew the Meteor in Korea from June 1950 until October 1954. The Meteor was no match in aerial combat for Chinese MIG 15s with 44 Meteors being lost. You are invited to view the Honour Board on the rear wall behind the Meteor with names of the No 77 Squadron members killed in Korea.

CAC Avon Sabre A94-951 was built in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and was the RAAF's mainstay fighter of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Australian CAC Sabre was an American design re-engineerec to fit a more powerful British Rolls-Royce Avon engine and twin 30 mm Aden Canons. Australian Sabres were later modified to carry sidewinder heat seeking air-to-air missiles as fitted to the Sabre on display.

Mirage A3-3 is a 1960s generation interceptor capable of twice the speed of sound (Mach 2). Mirage tail number A3-3 on display was the first of 98 single seat Mirages built in Australia by the Government Aircraft Factory at Avalon in Victoria. The Mirage was replaced by the Royal Australian Air Forces current front line fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet in 1984.

Mirage A3-102 is the second of ten dual control Mirage trainers built in Australia by the Government Aircraft Factory and used to train pilots to fly the high speed Mirage which had a landing speed of 165 knots.

The Bloodhound Missile and Launcher displayed is a large surface to air missile was used to defend RAAF airfields from aerial attack during the 1950s and early 1960s. Modern, greatly more accurate surface to air missiles may be fired by one man ‘off the shoulder'.

The Macchi MB 326H displayed is a tandem two seat jet trainer that served with No 76 Squadron at RAAF Williamtown untit replaced by the current lead-in fighter trainer, the British Aerospace Hawk. The Hawk has been used since 2000 to train pilots in basic fighter combat maneuvers and for initial weapons training before moving on 1 the much more complex F/A-18 Hornet. You will notice that the Macchi is loaded with eight practice bombs which is a typical configuration for a bombing training mission on the nearby Salt Ash Air Weapons Range.

The Hawker Hunter displayed first entered service with Britain's Royal Air Force in 1956 before being transferred to the Royal Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in 1973. This Hunter was imported into Australia in 1995 and kindly donated to Fighter World by Sydney businessman Mr Greg Ackman of Mobile One Communications. Der Service in the RSAF it flew at WILLIAMTOWN on joint exercises and training attachments with the RAAF. Dedicated Fighter World volunteers assembled and restored the aircraft for display.

The Mikoyan Gurevich (MIG) 21 on display was built in Russia in 1969 and is painted in the colours of the Indian Air Force Aerobatic Team. It performed at air shows in Australia during the late 1990s. The MIG-21 was the main fighter of Warsaw Pact countries during the cold war period and became the most extensively used fighter aircraft in the world with over 6, 000 being built up to 1981. Many are still in service.

Aircraft Model Collections Along the left-hand wall of the display hangar are 350 1/72 scale model aircraft donate by Mr Norman Forrester of Nelson Bay. This collection took Norm over 40 years to create and is entirely hand carved from wood, plastic and resin. Each model is hand-painted. Further along are diorama models of wartime German and British fighter airfields. Still further along is a collection of model aircraft from the Second World War, Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict built from plastic kits and donated by Mr Ian Sprent. Hanging above you on the opposite wall are outstanding painted metal outline models of famous aircraft donated by the wife of the late Bert O'Hara of Newcastle.

Boeing Stearman Replica ‘Flying' overhead in the main hangar is a half scale model of Boeing Stearman open cockpit trainer used to train Australian pilots in Canada during World War Two

DVDs Showing Continuously Take a seat, have a rest and view DVD documentaries of RAAF Operations and fainous fighter aircraft in the right hand corner of the display hangar.

The Observation Deck The stairs in the far left hand corner of the display hangar lead to the Observation Deck froi which aircraft movements may be viewed on Williamtowns Runway 30/12 and taxiways. Newcastle Airport Termin: Buildings and airliner tarmacs may be observed to the left of the runway. Air traffic is controlled by Air Force Air Traffic Controllers who you can hear on speakers throughout the display hangar and on the observation deck.


The Spitfire MK V111 Replica on display is a fibre glass, timber and metal full size replica of a RAAF No 79 Squadron Spitfire which operated in defence of Darwin and New Guinea during World War Two. The replica has been constructed using some authentic Spitfire components in its structure. Can you identify them?

The Messerschmitt BF 109F Replica displayed is a full size fibre glass and timber replica of Germany's most famous fighter of World War Two. The Spitfire and Messerschmitt BF 109 were arch enemies in the famous Battle of Britain. Fighter World's replica is painted to represent the regular aircraft of Oberleutnant Carl Hans Roders who was killed when his Messerschmitt was shot down by a Spitfire over the English Channel on 23 June 1941.

Fokker DR-1 Triplane Replica displayed is a 2/3rds scale replica of one of the most famous German fighters of World War One. Fighter World's black aircraft depicts the personal aircraft of teenage fighter ace Leutnant Josef Jacobs who claimed 48 victories when in command of Jagdstaffel 7 during 1918 at the age of only 19 years.

Commonwalth Aircraft Corporation Winjeel The Winjeel is a piston radial engined side by side two seat traine designed and built in Australia for the RAAF. Winjeels flew at Williamtown as Forward Air Controllers on Army Support missions guiding artillery and other weapons onto targets.

Jindavik The Jindavik was a Australian designed and built jet powered aircraft remotely piloted from the ground by radio control. It was used as a target aircraft and for aerial weapons research.

Thank you for visiting Fighter World. Please tell your friends about us. Perhaps your club or school may wish to organize a bus tour. A tour of RAAF WILLIAMTOWN with a Fighter World guide by groups of 10 persons or more using your own bus may be arranged at no cost with a prior booking.

DONATIONS Fighter World is funded entirely by admission fees and souvenier shop sales. There are currently Do government grants or sponsors to enable Fighter World to acquire or restore new exhibits. Any financial donations by individuals or organizations would be used to further develop our display of Australia's fighter aircraft heritage.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Western Australia: The beauty of Bell Gorge

In the scorched heart of Australia’s vast Kimberley region, the refreshing waters of Bell Gorge have soothed the parched bones of many a weary traveller.

Bell Gorge, Kimberley.

You’ve been following the rough, dust-filled corrugations of the Kimberley’s infamous Gibb River Road for days and the jarring bumps, insane heat and relentless flies are taking their toll. Relax, paradise is at hand! Deep in the Wilinggin Country of the Ngarinyin people, the natural
amphitheatre and swimming hole of Bell Gorge is the perfect spot to cool off and break up that epic road trip.

A pleasant, partially shaded walk leads from the car park along a pandanus- and paperbark-fringed creek alive with birdsong. Breathtaking views from the top of the waterfall only hasten your pace to reach the cool, crystal waters below. Before long you’re floating on your back (possibly still fully clothed) as you soak away the kilometres, staring up at the blue, cloudless sky and the sheer orange walls of the gorge. Yep, flat out, like that goanna on the rock to your right.

What’s best about swimming here?

Getting up under the bottom of the falls and letting them pummel your back, best massage ever!

What’s that stripey lizard over there?

Mertens Water monitor (Roderick Eime)

That fella’s a Mertens’ water monitor, a type of goanna. Don’t worry, they’re harmless, as long as you leave them alone.

Near the cliffs above the falls, what was that pigeon that made a funny sound as it flew?

Big brown one? Yeah, that’s the white-quilled rock pigeon, they look just like the sandstone cliffs where they hide.

And that cute little purple-headed bird in the pandanus by the creek?

Oh, you’re lucky to see him. Purple-crowned fairy wren. Only the males get that purple colour when they’re ready to breed; they’re normally hiding in that pandanus.

Wow, I thought I just saw something jump along that cliff ledge?

Ha, you just saw a rock wallaby (like a little kangaroo), they hang out in the gorges and aren’t afraid of heights!

Country Australia • Region Western Australia • Type • natural pool • Cost A$13 per car national park entry fee • Activities swimming, bushwalking • Family-friendly: yes

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet's Joy of Water

The Joy of Water
May 2020 |$29.99 AUD
200mm x 200mm | 272 pages Hardback | ISBN: 9781838690465

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