Norfolk Island

Norfolk is a short two-hour flight from Sydney. As you land you will see tall Norfolk pines and green nature all around the island.

Norfolk is known for its history and the Bounty.

Its part of Australia so you only need a drivers license to visit. Its set up as International so you normally fly Qantas from the International Airport.

The people are some of the friendliest on this earth. Their smiles, friendly nature, and keen to please is beyond your expectations.

The Bauti shuttle picked us up from the airport and only ten minutes and we were pulling into the Paradise Resort. Most accommodation on Norfolk is comfortable, friendly, and close to town.

The Paradise offers large comfy rooms with on-suites. A large pool in the middle of the resort with sun lounges to sit on with a drink or magazine in hand.

The resorts offer a bar near reception, la le carte meals at night, light or large meals at lunchtime and a huge buffet for breakfast.

Next door the is the gardens, cyclorama, gallery, and Hillis café/restaurant.

I had the best pork belly at Hillis and the Devonshire tea. I would highly recommend.

Up the road is the Bounty Museum worth visiting. They offer free Wi-Fi as well as the island communications are limited due to the remote area as you go back in time.

The town is only ten minutes’ walk from the Paradise. The walk is past beautiful gardens, cows, and friendly people. The town offers many bouquet shops, cafes, clubs, etc. Enjoy a few hours to support the locals and pick up a unique purchase for yourself or a friend.

We went on many tours, picked up and returned by Bauti from the Paradise.

The tours I recommend are the progressive dinner, fish fry, Colleen McCullough tour, Discover Norfolk/Kingston, 1856 The untold story, Glass bottom boat, who killed the Surveyor mystery and so many more to choose. These tours really give you the Norfolk experience. Many included dinners a great way to eat Norfolk style.

I would recommend Norfolk Island as a place to visit many times as it’s the place to destress and find your happy place.

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Longreach and Winton

Long reach and Winton

I was sitting on the fence re this trip to Long reach and Winton. Still deciding whether to go. Family wanted to go, and I guess I did not want to miss out. Great excitement as the day arrived. We drove to Brisbane Airport to fly to Long reach. A few hours later and we were there. We travelled with #Trade Travel.
A bus to meet us at the airport, just a short drive to our accommodation. The Saddlery was a converted barn and industrial sheik design. Beautiful and clever layout. Wagons to view out the front of the accommodation.

Today was a Cobb and Co Stagecoach experience, I could not believe it, I was chosen to sit up the front behind the five horses. We rode through the town and down a track to a property. Wow the speed of the horses, wind in my face, power of nature only horses can give.
Next a Harry Redford Time Tent Show, all great fun, and antics in the bush.

At sunset is time for the Starlight Cruise experience, all board a historic paddle-wheeler. Wine and snacks for all to share. Views of nature along the river, beautiful sunset to glimpse. We arrive back just on dark. Up the ramp and I thought this was the end, but no, more fun to follow. A huge bonfire to greet us, large black pots with amazing smells, dinner stockman’s stew, and mash. The taste is scrumptious, as we sit around the bonfire together. We are so full. Bush ballads and stories to entertain us, as our dinner makes room for dessert. We look up at the sky and all the stars are there to greet us. City folk never experience this sheer delight. Next apple pie and cream. Wow so tasty. Now we make our way to the outdoor cinema. After billy tea and damper to finish the night.

Another day, No-go Station is part of the Kinnons family. Six generation of cattle and sheep grazing. Merino wool at its finest, sheep shearing experience and now it’s all aboard the double decker bus. Around the property we go. We see camels in the distance. Cattle grazing, as we make our way to the billabong. A picnic lunch is served as we sit and take in the views.

Qantas Founders Museum we experience the joy of a 747 and the super constellation, plenty of time for photos. Now we see all the exhibits and pioneers of flight. Take a break and enjoy a coffee.

Huge buffet breakfasts each morning and dinners at night at the Staging Post, eat as much as you like. Tonight, is the Stone grill experience, wow the best steak and chicken.

Up bright and early as we are off to Winton to see the dinosaurs. We visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, just specular. Now it’s the Winton opals many shops to view and buy. Lunch is at the North Gregory a landmark; Banjo Pattison wrote Waltzing Matilda here.

Today its Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. We explore the five galleries, retrace the journey, and experience the outdoor cinema. A delicious lunch and break.
Next, it’s the one man show, fun and laughs from the audience. Amazing what a horse can do in the outback, all the skills they have.
A dog that rides a horse, and an experience man they can train them all for the show. Really worth attending this excellent show.

The day has arrived from as to meet the train from Long reach to Brisbane. All aboard, as we load our bags. The cabin is small, so do not take too much for the over night stay. The train chugs along the track as we watch the specular landscape. Lunch, dinner, and breakfast is served in the dining car as fine dining. Later its drinks in the bar and a cheery good night. We sleep as the train hurries along. Late morning, we arrive at Brisbane all relaxed and ready to drive to our home destination.

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Kings Beach QLD

Kings Beach is in Queensland at Caloundra, about two hundred kilometres past the border of New South Wales.
As you arrive you will see the Glass House Mountains from the top of the hill, the deep blue sea, and ships passing by in the distance.
As you enter the main street green ovals, large playgrounds, water play areas in the day and at night they turn into coloured lights.
A beautiful board walks along the ocean.
Waves to surf in with your board. Ocean baths to swim in. Great taverns, cafes, and restaurants.
Children can play cricket or football near the beach. Play on the swings and slippery dip.
Run and jump through the water play area. Fish in the ocean, swim in the ocean pool, and walk over the rocks. Make sandcastles with the family. Talk, laugh, listen to music, and read a book. Go to the cinema. A little retail therapy shopping, and markets at times.
Spend a week or two as you relax from the pressure of life.
Pelican Waters Tavern is close by and is great to have a drink or two, a meal of natural seafood, gourmet burgers, and juicy tender steaks. Next door enjoy a boat cruise, travel around the canals and out past Bribie Island.
A great day trip to the magical Glass House Mountains, views from every part of the area. Enjoy the amazing lookouts, scenic cafes, and local drive into nature.
Australia Zoo an excellent day out for all families. Watch the shows, see the animals. Be careful, as some small animals like to help you eat your fruit, as you walk around the Zoo. Enjoy an ice cream or gelato.
Embrace the unknown, leave the technology, and relax in sunny Queensland.

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Great Kidman Aussie Way

Great Kidman Aussie Way

‘Let’s go on a trip!’ said John.
‘Where will we go?’ said Robert.
‘I know a great trip we can go on, let’s travel the Kidman Way,’ said Allan.

The three brothers were sitting in a pub dressed in shorts, singlets and thongs planning a trip to the outback. They had never been past Yass and wanted to continue to the Great Kidman Aussie Way and travel the Golden highway back home again.

The Kidman Way is a highway in the western region of New South Wales. It services the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and outback communities.

Their current home was a small weatherboard house with a Hills Hoist clothesline out the back. John liked to swing on it. The house had cow horns on the wall. Many books on gold, crystal, and opals to read.

John had a precious gem collection of rose quartz, smoky quartz, and a few other precious gemstones. Allan liked gold and everything about it. He had shares in many of the mines, everything fascinated him about the precious metal. Robert loved opals and collected many types, but the black opal was his great desire to see.

They all worked in the coal mines and were tough Aussie men.
They wore boots and cowboy hats. Loved riding horses and chopping wood.

Allan had golden hair that changed in the shining sun. He was tall and thin. He was as sharp as a tack and never missed a beat. Loud nature and everyone knew he was in the room. He loved country and western music and reading.

Robert was tall, dark, and handsome, medium build and always disagreeing with his brothers. He loved drinking, smoking, and having a great old time.

John was blonde, short, and cute. Slightly plump and very quiet. He loved to please everyone and always thought of others first.

The day had arrived. The three brothers left in the Holden black Ute. They were all going to take turns to drive the many kilometres along the way. First stop Gundagai just before the Kidman Way.

Let the fun begin. All the men stayed at the local pub. Shared a few beers at the Royal pub and a snitty for dinner. A few laughs and plans along the way. Met a few local girls to enjoy the night. Learnt about the local history and planned a short trip to Tumut.

Tumut is in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. As they pull to the pub they could see a big red coach, then a sign no beer on Tuesdays and opening hours 10am maybe, 12 noon bistros sometimes, 5pm late. I see a cider shop that’s open, let try it. Be careful it has a kick. Allan said did you know Tumut make straw brooms, horse whips and sheep skin mats. Now let’s check out the All-Saints church, courthouse, bank, Montreal Theatre, and lookout. I hear the lookout has specular views.

After the morning sight-seeing John said, ‘Let’s go back to Gundagai for happy hour?’
‘Sounds great to me,’ said Allan and Robert. A steak and early night ready for the long drive tomorrow they all agreed.

The start of the Great Kidman Aussie Way is Jerilderie on the Newell Highway. Famous for the bushranger Ned Kelly and the robbery that took place in Powell Street. There is a museum called Willows Homestead, a blacksmith shop, Post Office, a printing office and a beautiful lake and park nearby. A cemetery where many associated with the Kelly Gang are buried.

The three men walked and talked about the famous Kelly Gang. They imagined what times were like back then. There is a huge tank at the Luke Park they were looking at when a local passed by. He was riding a three-wheel bike he designed. Garry told the men that this was specially made for his retired Kelpie named Blacky. His job for sixteen years was rounding up sheep. Garry was a shearer now retired as well. His was the only way Blacky could go for a long walk, as age had caught up with him.

Next Allan, Robert and John stopped off at Griffith. In the main street there is a memorial to Pioneer Woman. A beautiful park across the road from the best Italian food. The pasta is out of this world. Those Italians sure can cook. Next the men tried the tasty cannoli vanilla and chocolate. ‘Let’s go for a wine tasting,’ Robert said. ‘Sure, we are in wine country,’ said the others. They also went to see the remarkable cemetery, museum, cave, and lookout. Now off to taste some great whites and red wines.

Off to Merriwagga, with incredible silo art. Let’s have a beer at the Black Stump Hotel. The staff told the men about a woman in 1886 who was cooking dinner and her dress caught fire and she was burnt to death. When her husband found her, she looked like a black stump. This is how the hotel was named or what most believed.

Hillston is next stop on the Lachlan River. Lots of red soil, we need to be careful as this is the stuff your car will get bogged in when it’s wet. The black soil is worst, your car will sink and never to be seen again. Stay on the tar to be safe guys. Hillston has some steel emus, out back art and a great motel. It’s close to clear quartz country.

John was so excited we are off to Mount Hope for clear quartz crystals. There is a pub that packs a mean burger, we can eat after the digging. Quartz crystals are famous for this area. Crystal means clear ice. It has healing attributes and brings the body into balance.

It was not long before the men had arrived. They took out their gear and started digging. Wow! Robert found the first piece and next Allan. They were small pieces of quartz crystal but still worthy of their efforts. The three men dug for an hour or so and mentioned they wanted to go to the pub. John was determined to find something special and wanted to be there all day. They all agreed another hour then they were off. John, Robert, and Allan found many small pieces in the next hour but nothing special. It’s time to move on to the pub for a burger and beer.

They were all in the ute and about to leave when John said, ‘WAIT! We have not checked under the Ute for crystals.’ Both brothers broke out in a yell, ‘no! we want to go to the pub.’ Allan and Robert could see the frustration and anger on John’s face. ‘Ok just look under the Ute but John, only you go, and we will wait in the Ute for you.’

Out John went again with all this gear and started digging furiously. A few minutes went buy the two men were saying what a waste of our time to each other, when there was a almighty roar. YES, ok my goodness I found it. It’s big, I need your help. Out the men jump to look. Wow you have found it, let’s get our gear. They dug, pulled, and chipped. Sweat poring off all of them. Lucky, we have a ute. Finally, out it came. It was huge. They all lifted it out and put it into the ute. Let’s tie it down and cover it up. Now off to the pub, do not mention our find. Next, they all enjoy a cold beer and burger and wondered what the crystal was worth.

Allan piped up and said, ‘Cobar for gold.’ Off they went on their travels. First, let’s look at gold mine. After a hundred kilometres they see the turn off in the road and pulled up. Look at that rock, a fine example. Let’s go to the viewing platform, wow they are operating, and you can see the men at work. The workers are mining for gold.

There is an open cut mine near Cobar we can see. Yes, Fort Bourke Hill Lookout. Let’s go. It’s not far away. As they pull up the ute an incredible masterpiece awaits them. Allan cannot hold himself back. The sheer size, craft, picture of this mine. Wow this has made my day, I could look at this forever. Look at that tiny truck down there. See the masterpiece the miner has carved into the rock.

Time to go to the town. It’s full of pubs, cafes, and the unusual sights. As they arrive a
B-double full of hay pulls up. Cobar is the outback, full of sheep, cattle, and goat country.

All board to the end of the Kidman Way at Bourke. We are staying in a Ranch, yippee! There is a gallery to see, and we can cruise up the Darling River on the old boat. As they arrived, they could see how high the floods were. The cruise took an hour and there were many beautiful sights to see. Its time to book into our ranch for the night. The men arrived and discovered a camp kitchen, pool, and barbie. I will go to town and pick up some meat, supplies, and beer of course for you all,’ said Robert.

Now we are in the real out back and off to Brewarrina and Walgett. Let’s leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow. We will end up at Lightning Ridge by night. There is a great club where all the miners eat. They have a great roast I hear.

On the way to Brewarrina there were many letter boxes in a row. Kangaroos are everywhere, both dead and alive. The grass is so high you can hardly see them. Now emus, sheep, and goats. ‘Oh no,’ called John, ‘a huge wild pig on the road up ahead’. Brewarrina and Walgett have many of our First Nation people living there. Some working on farms and very friendly. Beautiful windmills, green pastures, full dams, and isolated paddocks are in the distance. Plenty of red dirt for the Ute to get stuck in. It’s the black dirt we can really sink in so be careful. So many semis, B-doubles, and triples on the road.

Let’s travel to Lightning Ridge now, look up ahead at those amazing volcanic mountains.
It’s raining very heavy, and I hope the river has not cut the road. We were told it never rains in the Ridge. Off to Lightning Ridge they go, for the rare black opals. So many Road Trains travelling full of cars along the road. The rain is creating a mirage effect up ahead.

They find a cabin for a few nights. ‘Let’s go to the club for dinner and a beer,’ said Robert. All agree and on the way a storm hits. We were told it never rains here,’ said Allan. They arrive at the club and it’s raining so hard the roads in a blink of an eye are flooding. The thunder is so loud it sounds like the mines are being blown up. No, it is lightning. Now at the club carpark. The road beside it is flooding and our Ute could be filled with water when we get back. ‘Let’s eat fast, have a quick beer, and get back to the cabin.’

The storm is getting worst, it’s time to go. As they drive out of the town many roads are flooded. They cannot see what is in front from all the torrential rain. There is deep water up ahead and plenty of red clay road. The Ute swerves to miss another car and is now stuck in the mud. Out they hop, two pushing and one driving. Red clay and mud everywhere. No luck. We will have to leave it until tomorrow. I see the entrance to the tourist park. The bridge is ok, so they made it back to the cabin all soaking wet. Rain, thunder, lightning is getting worst, water is rising to the cabin. Oh no, we could be floating in the night.

Morning breaks and the sun comes out, the water level drops, and all is ok again. The others wake up, let’s try and get the Ute now. After many attempts the Ute moves onto the tar. Now its dirty. It’s time for the Car Door Tour so let’s have some fun. I have checked and the Green Door Tour is closed as its flooded. Red, Yellow, and Blue Car Door Tours are ok. It will be a rip-roaring mud bath today. Tomorrow let’s see the black opal and the carvings.

Next Coonabarabran. Let’s go via Gunnedah.
Many stone churches, beautiful parks, museums, and the Pensioner Lookout. Bridges to cross, goat farms, and mountains and hills to see along the way.
Coonabarabran for the observatory and crystal museum. They have seventeen telescopes, and we can see inside one. The crystal museum is enormous one of the biggest in Australia. The Warrumbungle’s is another amazing sight to see beautiful rock formations.

Time to head home. What’s that up ahead?’ said Robert. ‘Road works!’ said John, a D9 travelling to the mines. It’s going to be a slow trip.’ Oh no they are stopping the cars for an hour to build the road. Wow just what we need guys. I guess we cannot do very much, just wait in line.

OMG look up ahead, a streaker with a mullet. He’s running stark naked along the road. Oh no. He jumped on the D9. Loud sounds, Police chasing him. Now he’s running at the side of the road. Where is he now? He’s run in the black soil. I cannot see him, he disappeared. He must be under the soil. I see his mullet. Let’s help him.

All guys are now out of the car chasing the streaker. The Police spot him, now they are chasing him as well. Oh no, we are all sinking in the black soil. Now the Police are in the black soil. HELP US. Road workers have come to rescue us all. Quick get a rope, throw it to them. Tie it around their waists. We cannot pull them out as the black soil is stuck to them and they are too heavy.

Get the D9, it will pull them out. The road workers tied the ropes to the machine and now pulling and pulling out they come. The streaker keeps running, and the three guys think it a great yarn to tell their mates. The Police are not impressed, the report they need to file no inspector will believe and they will be the talk of the town.

Next the local newspaper is here to interview and tell the story.

Let’s stay another day, it will be a great night at the local pub. Sure let’s all stay, then is off home along the Golden Highway.

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A Moment In Time That Changed Everything Anthology 2022

A Moment In Time That Changed Everything

It was time to move. We lived on the south coast and had just sold our beach house. There were so many great memories there, but a new chapter was beginning. First, we planned to move to Sydney. Lockdown was in full swing, so the plan changed many times. Covid cases were highest in Sydney, with many hot spots in the city.

“Let’s look at the Peninsular” I suggested. Many times, I had holidayed there in the past. Many friends and family were here. So, in a small moment that changed everything. We made the long trip to beautiful Woy Woy to take a look. Everything was starting to open here although some strictions were still in place. There are many special places to visit.

First, the Spike Milligan bridge is a great walk along the water. The views are incredible. Many large white pelicans, colourful kayaks, jet skis and small boats appear along the way to Tascott, which has a great picnic spot beside the lake.

The is a ferry that travels to many local towns like Empire Bay, a beautiful town with a few shops, great walks, and peaceful place to think, write and read with a great pastry and coffee. Davistown is also on the ferry run, with restaurants, cafes, and

a club for lunch. You could also bring a picnic with you and enjoy a spot beside the lake for lunch.

Another great walk in along the waterfront from the Leisure centre to Woy Woy Fishman’s Wharf seafoods. The seafood is specular. I love sharing the seafood basket with a friend. The fresh taste and sweet smell are amazing. Here on the water there are wild ducks, large pelicans sitting on an island, specular boats, long timber wharves, and beautiful homes to see, as well as many timber seats to rest on along the way.  You can ride you bike long this route, push a pram with your kids, or take your dog for a walk and enjoy the happy people that Woy Woy has to offer.

After six months living here, I knew we make the right choice.


by Liz Shaw

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Baby Hope Anthology 2020

Baby Hope

It was November in the year 1939 in Millburn, a northern regional town of New South Wales. Milburn was a delightful town with many beautiful trees, wide open spaces to run, jump, skip and play with the local children.

Baby Hope was due to be born in March 1940 to a family who lived in Milburn. It was freezing cold there in winter and boiling hot in summer. The town had amazing 1940 houses they were small, basic two-bedroom miner’s huts. If you were a manager, you lived in a large three-bedroom timber house and a worker with a basic job lived in a cute one- or two-bedroom home. The houses had granite open fireplaces to keep you warm in winter but in the hot summer there was no air conditioning to keep you cool, only a fan on the table.

Baby Hope was to be born into a family with one son, Benny. Her Dad Manny had served in the army and was now working for the Army Department in an office job. Manny was tall, quiet and slim build. He had blonde hair and dark skin with blue eyes a real diplomat. Manny worked really hard and was really funny. He was always joking around with everyone.

Mummy Betty had dark brown hair, fair skin and green eyes. She was short and very overcompensating. Betty, was very kind and caring and cooked, cleaned, washed and looked after her husband and son. Betty was so talkative she never stopped, always welcome you with a cuppa tea and biscuit.

Benny was four years old with brown hair, dark skin and brown eyes. He was a high achiever, serious puts himself first and sporty. He liked to play outdoors. He had good ball skills and was always kicking balls. He was looking forward to having a brother and starting big school in 1940.

Christmas 1939 was the family’s last Christmas together, just the three of them. Only a few more months before number four arrived. Betty was one of the many people who migrated to Australia from the UK and she liked to celebrate Christmas in her traditional way. That usually ate roast chicken and vegetables, dessert was plum pudding and custard, and Christmas cake for afternoon tea. In England, though, it was snowing and in Australia it was extremely hot, so it was not the best meal to have in Australia at Christmas time.

Soon, Christmas was over, and it was the holiday season.

Mother Betty, father Manny and son Benny were looking forward to the summer holidays. Nanny Maggie had a holiday house on the Sunshine Coast. Straight after Christmas they packed the car to meet up with their family on the coast for a week. It was a very long drive and took most of the day travelling.

The family arrived at dinnertime and were treated to a special meal of ham, turkey and salad; an Aussie favourite. Special pie and custard for dessert. The family enjoyed the week together – swimming, prawning and fishing in the beautiful cool lake. Unfortunately, they had no luck catching any fish or prawns.

Benny loved surfing, making sandcastles and relaxing at the beach. The week passed very quickly, and it wasn’t long before they were back at home in Millburn. A few weeks later it was Australia Day. Benny loved Australia Day. Time for fireworks, bonfires, barbecues and fun times with the neighbours.

Benny started school in February; he was so excited to go. He met many new friends and had fun playing with them. He was an only child and loved the fact that there were so many boys in his class. The boys played handball at recess and soccer at lunch. In class they learnt many new activities. Benny learned his ABCs and liked to read and sing new songs.

In March Benny enjoyed colouring eggs and decorating his Easter hat for the last day of school. Benny’s hat was bright blue with different coloured easter eggs on it. The Easter Parade was on and the parents came to watch. Soon it was Easter holidays and Benny was so excited waiting for a new baby brother to be born.

Betty told Benny there was going to be a surprise visit from Nanny Maggie. She was going to stay for a few weeks. Benny was excited, as he loved these visits. Benny helped clean and cook for Nanny’s arrival, and this time she was going to stay in his room.

The spare room was decorated for the new baby in lemon yellow. It had a wooden white cradle and a big green chair. A pretty picture of trees and the river. Betty let Benny know that she was going to hospital for a few days to collect the baby. The day after Nanny arrived, Betty already packed her bag and went to the hospital to collect the baby.

To everyone’s surprise, baby Hope was born soon after Betty arrived. The hospital called to let Nanny, Daddy and Benny know about baby Hope. She was only small for those days: five pounds, three ounces and 17 inches long. She had brown hair like Benny. So tidy, cute and cuddly.

Benny was expecting a baby brother. At first, he was sad, but Nanny explained that sisters could be great fun as well. It was Benny’s job to help look after the tiny baby when Nanny went home.

A few days later Betty and baby Hope arrived home. Baby Hope was placed in her bassinet in her room so she could sleep. She was so happy to meet daddy Manny, lovely Nanny and brother Benny. Benny had a cuddle with her, then Manny and Nanny. They could not get enough cuddles.

Benny was given a wooden train set to play with by baby Hope. It was not Benny’s birthday or Christmas and yet he was given a special gift! Benny thought he was so lucky.

Over time Benny and baby Hope grew closer and developed a special bond. Benny helped with the baby bathing and walks in the pram. Many birthdays, Easters and Christmases passed by and it was now 1942.

Baby Hope was sick. Betty took her to the local doctor. She had headaches, and she was irritable, lethargic and drowsy. The doctor thought it was teething at first. A week later baby Hope had a seizure and began vomiting.

Another trip to the doctor and then the hospital. It was clearly more serious and Millburn hospital advised that St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney was the best place

for more tests. Before the appointment there were headaches, seizures, nausea, vomiting, irritability, lethargic and drowsiness. There was also a personality change.

St Vincent’s Hospital knew this was serious and marked the case extremely urgent. Tests revealed changes in her mental activities.

The paediatrician proved macrocephaly (enlarged head) in an infant. Baby Hope’s skull bones had not completely fused over and could cause death if not treated.

Next, a neurosurgeon and paediatric ophthalmologist was brought in to work with the family to develop the best plan. Then a paediatric and tumour specialist was contacted to work with the team. Baby Hope’s tumour was affecting her eyes and they discovered that she was blind. A radiation oncologist joined the team of advanced practitioners and still more tests were performed on Baby Hope to study her brain tumour.

All of the specialists needed to work together for an appropriate treatment plan for Baby Hope. There were no CT or MRI scans back then so the specialists did what they could to save her. The tumour was the most malignant (cancerous) type, called a glioblastoma multiforme grade 4. The tumour was growing rapidly and was causing pressure on her brain. After some research, the specialists learnt that only five people in the world had this tumour and only one had survived.

All of the specialists were keen to get involved to save Baby Hope and knew she needed a combination of treatments. The doctors decided to reduce the tumour by radiation therapy. Unfortunately, they did not have modern medical scanning equipment and she was given too much radiation. Even though it saved her life, she was still blind and sensitive to some fabrics. Her head remained oversized for a while and her deformity was obvious.

After Baby Hope’s ordeal and travelling back and forth to Sydney for check-ups, life settled down. She played with her brother Benny in Millburn and had lots of attention.

Now it was January 1945.

It was time for Hope go to school. Betty decided to hold Hope back a year so she could catch up with the other children her age. She sent her to preschool, but the other children could see, and Hope was all alone in her blindness. Betty needed to find a better plan going forward for Hope and looked at many options for blind children.

Unfortunately, there were not many choices back in the forties. Betty realised there was no school available in Queensland or in the northern suburbs of New South Wales. Only a school in Sydney. It was a boarding school for the blind. Hope could go to there during the week, spend the weekends with Nanny and come home for the school holidays.

Now it was January 1946.

Time to go to school. At first Hope was scared to leave her family and Millburn. She was only five years old, but they really had no choice.

Betty, Benny and Hope travelled to Sydney to meet Nanny. They all arrived at the blind school and were comforted by the fact that it was near Nanny’s house.

Hope was greeted by the teacher and then introduced her to other girls her age. One girl was called River and the other Summer. They were starting school that day as well.

Summer originally lived in Queensland and was blind. She was very confident and seemed older than her six years. Summer was shy, quiet and serious at first. She had blue eyes and blonde hair. An avid reader loved music and playing board games. She was the eldest in her family and had two brothers who could see.

River was an indigenous girl originally from Taree. She had brown curly hair and big brown beautiful eyes. River was always happy, grateful and loved lollies. Talkative with a great imagination and always in the moment. River was one of twelve children initially raised by her grandmother, mother and aunties and was handed over to officials by her mother as part of the stolen generation. River would be cared and educated by the officials as she was blind and very smart.

Hope made friends with the girls easily. Summer acted as the big sister, River the middle sister and Hope the baby sister. All were academic, confident and enjoyed being together. They sat together and slept in the same dormitory. They played together, learnt Braille together and read as a team. Summer, River and Hope all enjoyed scrabble, music and singing. The three girls spent many years together.

They shared all their problems and worked together as a team to solve them. All left the school on weekends to visit parents and grandparents except River. She had to stay back at school on weekends and school holidays. When River was twelve, Hope asked if she could come home with her one holiday. Benny had grown up and always seemed so busy and Hope missed River when they were apart.

The blind school gave permission for River to go to Nanny’s on weekends at first and later to go home with Hope on school holidays. They spent much of their teenage years together.

After school, it was time to go to work. Summer worked as a secretary/PA for Walton’s department store. River decided to study further. She later worked for the blind school as a teacher and afterwards at TAFE, teaching creative writing.

Hope worked for the Department of Health.

Thanks to the blind school in Sydney, all girls were great achievers. As the years passed the young women kept in touch by phone and occasionally visited each other.

Summer, River and Hope used a blind white walking stick to assist them to get around. They heard about guide dogs and all wanted one. It was hard be given a guide dog as it took years of training and there was no government funding. Ever hopeful, they put their name on the list. Guide dogs was their answer to freedom.

Many years passed. If only they could get a guide dog! River was the first one to receive one. The guide dog was black, and River chose it because she believed it was there just waiting for River to arrive. Most guide dogs are golden in colour only a few were black and so they were extra special just like River.

River and her guide dog Blacky completed all the training over the next few months. Then River took Blacky home and after years of being dependent on others, and not being able to go many places, River and Blacky could go together wherever she liked.

Hope was next to receive a call from the Guide Dog Association. Hope was introduced to Sunny, a golden Labrador. Hope loved the name Sunny, and he brought sunshine into Hope’s life. For the next two months she either trained at the Guide Dogs Association Centre to learn how to use buses and trains, and how to navigate shops and traffic. When they weren’t training, they stayed at Nanny’s house.

Hope was lucky because Puppy Pals NSW/ACT provided the funding for her to receive Sunny. Each guide dog cost $30,000 back then but now $50,000 and there’s never enough dogs for all the blind people in Australia to receive one.

After a few months Hope and Sunny went home. They caught the bus to work and back again. Hope continued to live with Betty and Manny for years, and they loved having her there. Benny was married with two children.

Hope and Sunny lived happily in Millburn with Betty and Manny, then they all moved further south to be closer to Nanny. Occasionally Sunny needed to go back for training without Hope, so Betty and Hope went overseas at those times. They loved warm destinations and went on a couple of trips. Life seemed to be normal for many years.

Hope worked, sang, read Braille books and lived a happy life. Later, Manny had a heart attack and passed away. Hope, Betty and Sunny lived together in their new home near Nanny. Then the following year, Nanny was rushed to hospital and passed away too.

As Betty was ageing, Hope helped to look after her. Eventually Betty become really sick and needed more care. So, she moved to a retirement home.

Sunny was due to retire as well, so he needed to go to the farm to live out his days.

Hope felt all alone. Betty asked if their retirement home would let her live there in another section. They agreed, so Hope moved in until Betty passed away.

When Betty passed, Hope found a little unit to buy in Millburn. She had her friends and family close to help her. She was nearly 60 years old.

Hope started having severe headaches. She went to a local doctor and he thought they would pass. But after a couple of weeks it was obvious it was more serious.

Hope was admitted into hospital for tests. It came back as polyps. They tried to remove them but soon realised that it was a tumour. The brain tumour from over 50 years prior, which had laid dormant, had returned.

Hope was admitted to RPA hospital this time for more tests. This was serious; it was an aggressive level four tumour. Her old records were referred to. At first, she was only given three months to live but thanks to the specialists and a new type of technology, they were able to operate. They were able to remove 90% of the tumour. It was a lot of back and forth to Sydney over the next six months and rounds of chemotherapy after surgery.

Hope made a full recovery again. Amazing! Hope and her doctors shared an incredible attitude not to give up, and she survived blindness, two brain tumours and a few other problems. Amazing is the human spirit.

After five years she became unwell again. After all the years of tests, operations and the ageing process, Hope was on borrowed time. She was 65 years old now. It was Hope’s time now to go to the retirement home to live out her days. She stayed with amazing nurses, doctors, and new friends until her passing.

Hope is like her name, the desire of a fulfillment to live a full life.

by Liz Shaw





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Cairns to Cape York Blog

At the Tip

A photo at the Tip

On Frangipani Beach

On Frangipani Beach

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

Novatel Pool

Novatel Pool

How do you travel from Sydney to Cairns, then Cape York and back to Cairns in 10 days, in reverse, without a 4WD of your own?

Day 1:
First arrive at Sydney airport early, for a full day of adventure. Jump, on a plane in Sydney fly to Cairns, and about 4 and half hours later you’ll arrive at a tropical paradise. We are picked up in a limo, and within 15 minutes were at the Novatel Oasis Resort. Wow pools, swim up bars, restaurants, and a short walk to the main town. Cairns has grown up since we were here about a couple of decades ago. St Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns Museum, and Botanic Tropical Garden to explore.

Day 2:
Day two, back to the Cairns Airport to fly to Horn Island in the Torres Strait. Many people from Horn Island are on our flight. We, travelled by boat to Thursday Island by the old Pearl Lugger. Arrive, tour around the magical Thursday Island, its beauty is majestic. Off to Green Hill Fort Look out, the beauty embraces you as you rise to the top of the hill. Next the underground Japanese Pearl Divers Memorial, located at the Thursday Island Cemetery. So many treasures to see.

Thursday island lunch? Well if you can afford it, a sandwich $20, five pieces of chicken $55. The freight to arrive here, on the island, would be enormous. We settled for a protein bar, drink, and walk around the town.

After we hopped on a cruise boat to Seisia Wharf, the beauty is specular. Crisp, aqua blue ocean, feel the sea air, warm sun on our faces. Torres Strait you have put on an unbelievable show for us. We arrive at Seisia Wharf and see our tour bus. Our tour guide is not there at first. He was helping unload the boat, as staff is short in Torres Strait.
Off to Seisia Holiday Park Villas. The weather is very hot, lucky we have air conditioning.

After a cool drink, we walk around the tourist park. Red soil everywhere. The aqua clear blue sea, palms, and sand. What more could you ask for? A local dip in the water? We are advised crocodiles are here, ready to greet you, especially at night. No strolls along the water edge at sunset, due to crocs waiting for you. Instead, we are greeted at the restaurant for a hearty welcome drink, and a banquet to follow. After dinner a sleep is needed, as we had an early start.

Day 3:
Let’s go to the Top, or as the locals call it the Tip of Australia. A short drive in our tour bus around the local streets, then it’s off to the Tip we go. We arrive and notice the peaceful nature that surrounds us. Its early, and the tide comes in super-fast here. We walk cross the mud flats and climb the mountain. It has a track, so easy to climb, and make our way to the Tip. The excitement we have travelled to parts of Australia many have never been. A few crocs are in the deep blue ocean. The breeze is strong, the magic of the Tip is special. A kiss, and photo and plenty of time to see our great land, the Tip of Australia the highlight for all.
It’s time to go, we make our way over the mountain as the tide is already rising fast, and back to our tour bus for morning tea.
Now it’s off to Somerset, home to the Jardine family, then a picnic lunch at Anchorage Beach overlooking Albany Passage. Back to Seisia Park for a rest and hearty banquet, and sleep. Morning, full breakfast, and early start to Bramwell Station.

Day 4:
Today we are off to Fruit Bat Falls. A great natural place to see, waterfalls you can swim in, relax, and enjoy without the crocodiles. Natural beauty, the smell of the bush, the sound of the scarters, the sound of the falls. Feel the power of the water on your back, like a soothing cascade. Natures natural spa bath. Feel refreshed, and at peace as you greet the day. A welcome picnic awaits us, after a relaxing day.

On our way again by bus, cross the Jardine River, many before us waiting their turn for the car ferry, tour buses have priority, so we are next to travel to river.
We travel the Old Telegraph Track to Bramwell Station, a true-blue cattle station. Huts for us to stay in. A walk around the station, wildlife, birdlife, and a small museum to enjoy. A concert and comedy show at night for all to have a laugh. A drink or two at the bar, and a barbie Bramwell style, under the covered outdoor dining. Plenty to eat and drink and visit Australian history at Bramwell Station. Ozzie icons that make our country proud. A visit you will never forget, another memory, and story to tell back home to all friends and family. An Ozzie breakfast, then off to Weipa.

Day 5:
We travel along the Wenlock River to Weipa. A small town with homes, shops and built on the mining industry. Rio Tinto has a beautiful waterfront for the managers and huts for the men and woman to stay.

Scenery, beautiful wildlife, a harbour on Embley River with many crocodiles, history, and culture. Visit a Wildlife Eco Cruise and the Rio Tinto Working Mine Tour.
Finish the day off with a drink, and sunset dinner at Albatross Resort, magical as the sun hits the water and colours you never normally see.

Day 6:
A long tour bus drive today, lucky we can rest and enjoy. Today it’s off to historic gold town Coen, we travel along the beautiful landscape and Magnificat Archer River. A small town with lots of character. A life from long ago.

Now it’s off the Musgrave another magic moment as we travel our great land. We arrive, the sight is unbelievable, all the cattle are waiting to welcome us, outside the post and rail fence, in front of the Musgrave Roadhouse. The red soil, cowboys, cattle, and specular farmhouse. Land afar, and rooms for us waiting as we look forward to a rest.
Our room was built for a Prime Minister, the size was unbelievable compared to the city. Its country living, hospitably and fun. A crocodile show is next, followed by a clever bird performance.

Now is time for afternoon siesta. Happy hour before a hearty banquet. A huge room and bed to return to, complete with views of cattle and land wide and far. Termite nests in the distance, they’re like tall buildings, sculptured by nature, a very special sight.
A peaceful sleep, and a full breakfast, now off to Cooktown.

Day 7:
Discover famous Cooktown, where Captain Cook landed long ago.
Visit the famous museum, so may amazing treasures to see. A walk in the town, many arts, and crafts to buy, Captain Cook monument. Black Mountain (Kalkajaka meaning place of spear) in the distance.

Now we settle in the Sovereign Resort Hotel. A swim in the resort style pool. A drink at the bar overlooking the mountain. Sunset dining in the balmy breeze, overlooking the town and Black Mountain a magical sight for all. Another swim, and restful sleep in our resort room. We watch on the balcony the sunrise with fresh brewed coffee, overlooking the pool. A buffet breakfast with fresh tropical fruits awaits us.
Now it’s down the Bloomfield Track.

Day 8:
A trip to the famous Lions Den Hotel. Queensland’s oldest pub is built in 1878. A drink, souvenir, and many quirky sites the pub has to offer. A friendly smile, a warm welcome, a photographer’s moment for all to see.

Now it’s off down the famous Bloomfield track, a bumpy ride. It takes us to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, and Cape Tribulation. Daintree beauty and magic, natures famous site.

We travel along the scenic Captain Cook Highway, its beauty is unsurpassed.
Back in Cairns to the Novatel Resort, just in time for happy hour by the beach, happy hour by the pool, and make our way to a a tropical meal by the moonlit sky. Sparkly lights in the tropical garden overlooking the pool.

Day 9:
Cairns our last day. A short walk to the cruise boat. A cruise to Green Island, snorkelling in the deep blue ocean, followed by a seafood buffet. A small animal sanctuary to see. Back at the resort in time for happy hour by the pool. Pack our bags and be ready for our early pick up to Cairns airport. Fly to Sydney and home by late afternoon. Amazing we can travel this distance in Australia by plane, by boat and bus.

By Liz Shaw

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A long weekend at The Peninsula Blog

Woy Woy


Travel from Sydney to Woy Woy, just over an hour by train, two hours by car. Enjoy as a local, the sights, coffee at the Boulevard 19 cafe. Walk to Spike Milligan Bridge and along the water. Continue your walk past, the jetty to Brick Wharf Road and back again. Coffee at the Love Shack. A rest in Lions Park. Short walk to fish and chips at Fishermen’s Wharf. Drinks at the Bayview. Rest in your bed at the Bayview, and ready for another adventure.

Next day walk to the jetty only a few minutes away. Travel as a local from Woy Woy Wharf to Empire Bay by ferry. First coffee, then view the many homes on the water. Catch the ferry from Empire Bay to Davidson for lunch either, the RSL, Restaurant or tea house. Now ferry back to Woy Woy for a stroll along the river.
Umina Beach is next. Short drive by car, or taxi. A bus along Ocean Beach Road to Umina is easy. Spoilt for choice units, camping or caravans, motels up the road to stay. Eat and shop in small businesses, always with a smile. Surf, fish, relax and feel the sea breeze and enjoy the slow pace for a while.
Visit Ettalong, wow a beach walk to enjoy, many clubs, restaurants, and cafes. The famous secret Galleria and Paradiso. It’s full of restaurants, galleries, studios, music, and time like no other. It’s like a walk in Europe for all to enjoy. Catch the ferry to Palm Beach and back. Fish, and kayak The Peninsula. Enjoy the glorious sunshine and feel the air.
Pearl Beach the pearl of the sea. Family fun. Swim in the ocean, eat and drink at the cafes, relax and enjoy, the lifestyle. Picnic at Patonga, swim and enjoy a drink at the Boat House Hotel. Let’s stay the week, as there is so much more to see.  By Liz Shaw

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Kangaroo Island, SA

We have just completed a trip to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. With Covid having stopped most travel this was a cause of great excitement, and I had long wished to visit “KI” as the locals call it. The first time on a plane for two years meant being at Sydney Airport two hours before a 7.15am flight, but it was worth it.

We were met at Adelaide Airport by the tour leader and taken on a tour of Adelaide Oval, Glenelg and Hahndorf before heading down to Victor Harbor for the night. The next morning off to Cape Jervis for the Sealink ferry across to Kangaroo Island.

Excluding the mainland, Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island. It is about 155Km long and averages 55Km wide, but is pinched about a quarter of the way west by a strip only a kilometre wide.

You land at Penneshaw on the eastern end. We went to Clifford’s Honey Farm to see honey production and Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery, where they make Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Emu Oil. Surprisingly 90% of the world’s Eucalyptus oil comes from China, but the best stuff comes from the Mallee Eucalypt Bush. This is grown in small bushes in rows and harvested by a commercial harvesting machine. It is then boiled and distilled to make the oil.

Raptor Domain is a wildlife experience of mainly raptors, or birds that capture things in their claws but included other types of birds. That was pretty cool, and we got to hold wedge tailed eagles and owls.

At Kangaroo Island Brewery they make a number of beers and so was a pleasant place to stop. They offer a tasting paddle of 4 types of beers. I think everyone had been on early flights the previous day and an early start for the ferry crossing, so some time out was needed. We then went to our accommodation in Kingscote, which is the main town on the western portion.

The accommodation was basic, but I think Covid had really strained things for them. The catering was neither good nor timely. In all fairness all hospitality places are complaining about shortages of staff and getting people to come to an island to serve food would be a difficult thing. However, I think they must have started that morning.

I must admit that at this stage I was thinking that I would need to come back to Kangaroo Island to see Kangaroo Island, as most of the first day had been spent seeing commercial enterprises, which is not really my thing.

Fortunately, the second day was completely different. We travelled the length of the island to Remarkable Rocks, a spectacular rock formation on the southern coast. We then went a short distance to Admirals Arch, a giant archway in the rock which is inhabited by seals.

The highlight of the day though was Seal Park, where seals and sea lions are in abundance. Hair seals have shorter coats than fur seals, and so they need to stay warmer. They are lying on the tracks, on the beach and in the hills under bushes. There were lots of pups to see playing.

The breeding season for seals is very short. The females come into season for only a few days after they have their young and the gestation period is about 18 months. As a result, there are a lot of male seals hanging around females that are ready to deliver their young. The males are about 400Kg, so you don’t want to get in their way.

We then went to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Ideally here we would have seen the Visitors Centre and lots of koalas to see. Unfortunately, the 2019 bush fires decimated most of the island. The Visitors Centre was destroyed and of the 50,000 estimated koalas on Kangaroo Island only about 10,000 survived.

Raptor Domain

Eagles at Raptor Domain

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Seal Park

Seal Park

Baby Seals

Baby Seals

A few stumbles aside, I would recommend a visit to Kangaroo Island. In normal times it would be a great place if you are into nature or just want a relaxing time for a few days.

We returned to our accommodation in Kingscote and then next morning caught the ferry back to Cape Jervis and headed off for a cruise on the Murray Princess.

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So you want to be a professional photographer? (or run any other type of business)

The question is often asked, “How much should I charge for my work”?  The answer is that you charge as much as you need to charge.

The principles are the same in any business. Work out your overheads, and then work out how much work you need to do to cover them. Then the figures just fall out.

So let’s say your overheads look something like this:

Rent                            $1000 pm                              $12000 / yr

Advertising fixed       $200                                       $2400

Internet / Web          $100 pm                                $1200

Wages                         $4000                                     $48,000

Total                                                   $63,600

Note the wages are YOUR wages. If you have staff then you have extra overheads.

If you can’t pay yourself a basic wage (eventually) then you need to stop doing it and go and work on a checkout at Woolworths or something. Either that or you regard it as a hobby.

Then you look at what you need to sell to achieve the overheads. You may do portraits, landscapes or whatever. Let’s say that you do portraits.

So you could sell one portrait session for $63,600 and you would be right! For most of us that is not going to happen.

So say a portrait session is $500. Then you would need to do 127 or so portraits a year.  That’s roughly three portraits in a week. That’s a fairly relaxed number.

Say that you were charging $100 for a portrait session though. You would need to do 636 portraits or about 13 a week.

Unfortunately you don’t have all week to do portraits. In practice you can only work about two days and need to spend 3 days marketing yourself.

The next thing to consider is that sales aren’t free. For each sale there is a cost. This is called “Cost of Goods Sold” or COGS. So for each portrait session there is a cost to make the prints and frame them or whatever. These are you Variable costs, the ones that you incur the more you sell.

This is fairly basic. Anyone considering doing professional photography should consult with their industry body and perhaps do a mentoring program. In Australia, talk to the AIPP or ACMP. The AIPP I know has some excellent material and does a mentoring program. See

Better Photography also has a lot of good information and courses at

As they say, this is general and it is not advise and may not apply to your particular situation. You should seek independent professional advise before any decision.

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