Monday, December 26, 2022

Saving Victoria's Little Desert: Walkabout Magazine Oct 1969


It is more progressive, go ahead, and vote catching to start something new than to rejuvenate the old.

Man has given the mallee fowl two efficient predators in the fox and the feral cat. Now it has added a third and more deadly one-the State Government. 

Two quotations from the stream of protest letters that have poured into the letter columns of Melbourne's daily newspapers about the Victorian Government's plan to develop part of the Little Desert in Western Victoria.

The letters were sometimes inflammatory ramblings, often considered opinions by experts, such as agricultural economists, farm consultants and conservationists. They condemned almost without exception, the plan proposed by the State Minister for Lands, Sir William McDonald, to open up 200,000 acres and build $600,000 worth of access roads, and the Cabinet-approved modified plan for a pilot scheme of 48,000 acres of farms.

The full scheme or the stage one version are equally unacceptable, even allowing for Sir William McDonald's decision to set aside 80,000 acres of the most arid area of the desert. The Minister has emphasised that this will ensure the protection of the mallee fowl, but the habitats and environment of the Little Desert vary and many of the 140 species of birds, nineteen native mammals, twenty-four reptiles and about 600 native species of flora cannot be found within the 80,000 acres.

He has spoken further of demand for the land and of the benefits of decentralisation, farm employment and progress. How much better if the money of the Government and affluent farmers was used to improve existing agricultural land which is farmed below its potential efficiency and capacity, rather than put into land which experts regard, at best, as marginal.

This might be considered a local issue. But it has national significance. People need natural landscapes they need a balance of peace and refreshment and to preserve the richness and dignity of the human environment as much as they need affluence, industrial strength and the amenities of civilisation.

The loss of the character of the Australian environment must cause a decline in the richness of community life. The Governments which have watched over and fostered an era of un- precedented industrial and urban expansion must also be prepared to strike a realistic balance -to cater for less tangible, but just as real, needs of the people with an expanded and enlightened approach to preservation of the Australian environment.

The stir over the Little Desert is a warning to governments that the goals of national progress can not be disassociated from the needs of the people for whom the progress is sought.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Top Tips for a Happy (Hassle-Free) Holiday with Kids this Christmas

From not over-scheduling to letting the little things go, psychologist Dr Happy, Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites’ Resident Happiness Expert, shares his advice

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Enchanting Winter Solstice Scenes in the Yukon, Canada

Winter solstice in the Yukon heralds a night when the north turns nocturnal. With show-stopping northern lights, glittering snow-drenched forests, and unique northern wildlife, locals and visitors alike welcome the snowy season with open arms (covered in layers of flannel).

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Elder House


The Currie street building, begun in 1937, replaced a much smaller Elder Smith and Co. Ltd office built in 1888. The architect for the new building was Walter Hervey Bagot and its façade echoed that of a Renaissance palazzo. [more]

Silversea returns to ocean sailing in Australia after more than 1,000 days

Silversea’s Silver Muse arrived in Fremantle on Saturday 10 December, marking Silversea’s return to ocean sailing in Australian waters.  

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Urrbrae House - Adelaide

Figures prominent in the business and pastoral life of South Australia are linked with Urrbrae situated at the base of the foothills overlooking Adelaide. Nowadays, its associations are with education and research. As the Waite Agricultural Research Institute, it is an integral part of the Faculty of Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide. On adjoining land is the Urrbrae Agricultural High School.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Quilpie carpeted by vibrant desert flowers

L to R: James Hoch (9 yo) with Meg the kelpie puppy and Abbie Hoch (11 yo)


A colourful spectacle of yellow, pink, purple and white desert flowers are blanketing the red earth of Outback Quilpie Shire with a display that is as beautiful as it is rare.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Destination Japan: here’s what to look forward to in 2023

Recently reopened JR Tadami Line. Credit Kenko Hoshi


Travel to Japan is open again for Australians – resuming just in time for the autumn and winter seasons. Japan remains a firm favourite amongst Australian travellers with the country one of the fastest-growing overseas destinations for Australians before the pandemic.

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Philippines’ Best Travel Experiences in 2023


Dryft Camp, El Nido


Referred to as the 'Pearl of the Orient', this archipelago in Southeast Asia has so much to offer to those looking to find a slice of tropical escapism. Sometimes overlooked for its neighbouring counterparts, the 7000+ island nation of the Philippines, nestled beautifully between the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, offers intrepid travellers a bbevvyof experiences.

As 2022 draws to a close and travellers look ahead to 2023 (and what will probably be the freest year of travel since the start of the pandemic) here's a guide to the latest happenings in the Philippines.

The hottest accommodation offerings

Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery is ready to welcome guests to the Filipino capital. The country's first MGallery property, the hotel features a beautiful blend of modern Filipino-Spanish and Art Deco design, honouring the building's former legacy as an iconic and historical pre-war hotel and social hub. Set along Roxas Boulevard, the hotel is a perfect boutique option located on the city's famous waterfront promenade near various iconic landmarks including the historic Intramuros precinct.

Dryft Camp is a one-of-a-kind glamping island adventure in the north of El Nido. This eco-friendly glamping camp is located on a remote island only a 45-minute shuttle ride from El Nido town and a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland of Teneguiban. Truly a private paradise, all-inclusive meals consist of healthy local island cuisine served in a 4-story treehouse.

All glamping huts are built and designed by local artists entirely from native and recycled materials. With long private white beaches, clear blue waters, and vibrant coral reefs, this secluded part of the Palawan archipelago is home to pristine islands, blonde beaches, sea caves, deserted coves, and soaring limestone cliffs – and there's barely another tourist in sight.

Amanpulo has a new guest adventure, The Golden South Sea Pearl Journey. Guests can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the Palawan waters guests on a 45-minute flight to the Jewelmer pearl farm at Malotamban Island in Taytay, Palawan. Here, guests will see rare gold-lipped oysters that produce golden pearls, as well as witness local divers on their daily trip to the underwater farm. After the comprehensive tour, a speedboat takes guests to a nearby secluded beach for a Filipino-style picnic lunch and snorkelling adventure.

Fun and frivolous events and festivals

The Sinulog Festival returns to Cebu in full force after a pandemic hiatus. Held the third weekend in January, the festival sees up to 2 million visitors flood the streets for nine days of revelry, the event culminating with the Grand Parade which is celebrated with dancing, music, and beauty pageants. Sinulog is well-known for its Mardi Gras-like street parties which draw in partygoers from all over the country and the world.


The Sinulog Festival returns to Cebu


The Philippines' Wanderland Festival has confirmed the dates for its 2023 comeback. March 4 and 5 will see the music festival return to the Filinvest City Event Grounds in Alabang, Manila for its first edition since 2019. A line-up for Wanderland 2023 has yet to be announced, but it was headlined in 2019 by Two Door Cinema Club and The Kooks and featured a diverse range of regional and international acts including Honne, SG Lewis, Clairo, Adoy, Mac Ayres, Charlie Lim and Clara Benin.

Cultural and foodie adventures

Star Filipino chef Charles Montañez has revamped the slick Alegria Manila. Still sticking to its signature 16-course tasting menu, the restaurant, which specialises in Filipino and Latin American dishes cooked in South American techniques, has been reimagined in a cool new uptown BGC spot. Meanwhile, sister venue, Alegria Cantina, which just opened in June, is the chef's new brash two-story restaurant that dishes up a more casual take on Montañez's signature cuisine.


Elote (grilled corn, chipotle mayo, and furikake) at Alegria Manila


Local lifestyle website Best of Bicol has launched a 4-day food tour of the region. Aside from being home to the perfectly shaped Mayon Volcano and other stunning tourist spots, Bicol, located in the southern section of the Philippines' Luzon Island, has earned culinary fame across the country thanks to the distinct use of coconut and chillies. This foodie tour gives a taste of some of the region's most popular dishes including the Bicol Express, a coconut-based stew made of pork chunks, chilli, and shrimp paste.

Museo de Intramuros has opened at Intramuros. Also known as the Walled City,  Intramuros is one of the most historic sites in Manila. The seat of power during the Spanish Period, the area was heavily devastated during the infamous Battle of Manila. To share more about this past, the Intramuros Administration has opened Museo de Intramuros at the reconstructed San Ignacio Church. It houses over 500 religious artefacts found in old churches near and around Intramuros.


Museo de Intramuros has opened at Intramuros, Manila


Tours of boutique tea plantation and farm Yamang Bukid in Puerto Princesa have launched. Yamang Bukid started as a small tea business just outside the Palawan city of Puerto Princesa, gradually expanding to occupy 20 hectares of land and employing over 300 farmers. The plantation's recently launched tours showcase the farm's most famous product, turmeric tea, as well as papaya, strawberries, sunflowers, and other medicinal plants.

Source: Philippine Department of Tourism Australia & New Zealand


Preserving the Churning of the Sea of Milk gallery at Angkor Wat

World Monuments Fund has focused on preserving the Churning of the Sea of Milk gallery by reinstating the roof's ancient drainage system using appropriate materials and methods. 

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