moorhen at Centennial Park

Walking home from work

I admit it: that heading is misleading. Walking all the way home from work would take hours. On nice summer days, though, (assuming I’ve remembered to bring shorts, etc) I do like to get off the train one stop early and walk from there. Click here for a map of the route.

Leaving Edgecliff station, I head along Ocean Street in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra. Much of what is now Woollahra was once part of the 1130-acre estate of the Cooper family. The name Woollahra is believed to be based on the Aboriginal word for ‘lookout’ and was chosen by Daniel Cooper for his proposed house in 1856. There are many lovely old houses along this tree-lined street.

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Now I leave the suburbs of the rich behind, and head into Centennial Park through Woollahra Gate.

Woollahra Gate Centennial Park

Woollahra Gate

The area where Centennial Park was built was originally swamps. In 1827, using convict labour, construction began on an underground tunnel to bring the fresh water to Sydney. Lachlan Swamps served as Sydney’s main water supply from 1837 to 1859. The Centennial Celebrations Act of 1887 set in motion the construction of Centennial Park. (By the way, the centenary being celebrated was that of the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788.) Centennial Parklands, as it is known today, has an area of 220 hectares. (Refer to the walk map for an idea of its size.)

Now we come to my favourite part of the walk. Behind one of the ponds is a small planting of pine trees, which are rare in Sydney. At this time of the day, with the early evening light slanting low and golden, it’s a beautiful, glowing spot. The wind in the pine trees creates a sound quite unlike that of rattling palm fronds or rustling gum leaves.

What would a park be without birds and flowers?

If you’ve enjoyed this walk through parts of Sydney that tourists rarely discover, be sure to check out Jo’s Monday Walks.




Barking mad

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Like a snake sloughing its skin, the gum tree in front of my balcony sheds its bark in spring. Never before having lived 10 feet from a gum tree, let alone one that towers above even the six stories of my apartment building, I am fascinated when this tree’s smooth bark begins to wrinkle and crack. After a few weeks, the fresh new bark appears.

This post is my entry for two challenges: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bark or Leaves and Sunday Stills Shallow Depth of Field.

(post edited on 11 November to include link to Sunday Stills challenge)

Kuranda station signals

Travel Album: A train ride into the past

Bench Kuranda railway tracks wheels

The Kuranda Scenic Railway

This bench made from old railway tracks and wheels is a reminder of the important role played by the railway in the existence of Kuranda, a village northwest of Cairns, in Queensland, Australia.

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The site of the village was first surveyed by Europeans in 1888. Completion of a railway from Cairns on the coast led to trade and people moving over the Macalister Range. Coffee was grown until severe frosts in the early 1900s wiped out the harvest. After a significant military presence in the area during World War II, tourism became the primary money earner.

A popular way to visit Kuranda from Cairns on a day trip is to take the skyrail one way and the train the other.
Construction of the railway began in 1882 and was completed to Kuranda in 1891. Fifteen tunnels were dug by hand through stone and 37 bridges were erected over ravines to allow the railway to climb from sea level to Kuranda’s elevation of 328 metres (1,076 feet). Passenger services began on 25 June 1891. The first dedicated tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda ran in 1936.

Known now as The Kuranda Scenic Railway, today’s train takes 90 minutes to cover the 34 km (21 miles), passing spectacular waterfalls and providing stunning views of the lush rainforest. The KSR uses carriages that hearken back to an earlier era of train travel, with wooden panelling and windows you can open. It is indeed a relic of an almost forgotten time.

And finally, this photo has nothing to do with history or relics — it’s one of those spectacular waterfalls I mentioned. I shot this from the train as we passed.

waterfall Kuranda Scenic Railway

Information about Kuranda and the Scenic Railway taken from:


man surf bodysurf Bronte beach

Suspended – between earth and sky

Just for a moment, these people hang between earth and sky, touching nothing. Gravity being what it is, though, you know they’ll come crashing down!

(I thought it was time for more colour and fun, after my last two rather sombre black-and-white posts.)

Here is another photo of the acrobats – she is standing on one foot on his hands!

Gold anklets and ornaments, burial, Tillye Tepe ('Hill of Gold’).

Hidden treasures

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The objects in this gallery span 2,000 years of history in what is present-day Afghanistan. Until the middle of the 20th century, they were among the most prized pieces on display at the National Museum, Kabul.

In the mid-1970s, the museum’s collection numbered 100,000; by the mid-1990s, after years of war and violence, only 4,000 remained. Another 2,500 were destroyed following the Taliban’s edict against idolatrous objects. The museum building itself was bombed and over-run.

However, at high personal risk, a handful of museum staff spirited away some of the most precious objects. Until 2003, they lay undisturbed in vaults below the presidential palace. Following verification of their authenticity, and restoration in France, the artefacts have been touring the world as an exhibition since 2008.

How are we to regard these objects? Archaeological artefacts, cultural history, museum displays, precious jewellery, works of art? If you get the chance, see the exhibition and decide for yourself.

The exhibition contains objects from the late Bronze Age settlement of Tepe Fullol; a city founded by Alexander the Great, Ai Khanum; a merchant’s storeroom from the Silk Road depot of Begram; and a burial ground called Tillye Tepe, which means ‘Hill of Gold’, so named for the astonishing volume and array of gold objects.

A Celebration of Chocolate by Elizabeth Krall

Sometimes, you need chocolate.

A Celebration of Chocolate by Elizabeth Krall You know how it is. You’re writing something – a thesis, an article, an essay, a short story, a novel – and you need a little pick-me-up, a little burst of inspiration.
Sometimes, you need chocolate.
My third novel is proving to be much more of a challenge to write than the first two. So, from time to time, for light relief, I turn to my other work-in-progress. “A Celebration of Chocolate” will be a light mix of fun, facts and photos (fotos?).
All of the photographs will be my own, which means setting up the light, arranging the props, charging the camera. And then there is the thorny question of what to do with the props when the shoot is done.
In a post called So I ate it, on my writing blog, I described what I did with the props from the shoot for the cover of ‘Toast to Go’. Yeah, you know what I’m doing with the props!

There’s no doubt that chocolate is more palatable to dispose of than cold toast. 😉


Travel Album: Brisbane Breakaway

I went up to Brisbane last Friday for a work event, and stayed on for the weekend. That’s not a lot of time to see a city, but I had an enjoyable break nonetheless. Seems like a good candidate for Travel Photo Mondays.

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A night at the opera

Opera on the Harbour, that is! The weather last night was perfect for an outdoor opera, with clear skies and warm temperatures. The only challenge is the harbour itself: Sydney Harbour glitters at night and competes for your attention.

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In search of an angel

I spent last evening in a cemetery. An odd way to fill two hours after work on a Wednesday, I grant you. But it was a lovely summer evening, and I wanted to find a particular angel memorial. I thought I knew where it was. I was wrong, as it turned out! I didn’t find the memorial, and I ran out of daylight because I kept stopping to take photos. The dramatic sunset was an unexpected photographic bonus.

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