July 2014: Watson’s Bay to Circular Quay

It turns out that if you go looking for stuff to do in Sydney, there is actually stuff to do and people to do stuff with! One beautiful winter day in July I met up with a bunch of complete strangers and walked along the coastline from Watson’s Bay to Circular Quay. There were cliffs and bays and delightful gardens and places to swim. There was also coffee and pie. Damn fine way to spend a weekend.

 

Canberra, Arthur Boyd, Gratitude

Oh NaBloPoMo, could you be any other month than November? January, February, July, August all excellent choices. No?

We take a brief break from Murray / Murrumbidgee / Lachlan River fun times and flash forward to the first weekend in November. After 160 hours of work in two weeks and a pretty hectic month before that I took a well deserved weekend off and drove to Canberra to, as a good friend of mine would say, “Appreciate the f$&@ out of some art.”

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On the road – Lake George.

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Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art

My quarry for appreciation was an Arthur Boyd exhibition “Agony and Ecstasy.”

I very much enjoyed the exhibition, particularly seeing the development of Boyd’s style and the scale, brushwork, light and colour choices of the Nebuchadnezzar series. I failed to feel any sympathy for the artist in his caged painter series. A whole room of enormous, technically brilliant works dedicated to expressing his struggle as an artist to paint and create what he liked, to create for others, to earn money to live and meet other people’s expectations. Poor diminutive tormented artist.

It seems to me that everyone makes these choices and struggles with them. Painter, writer, construction worker, teacher. Follow passion, earn a crust. What to keep and what to forgo. Time spent, time sacrificed. Perhaps it was Boyd’s intention to show how universal these sentiments are and to demonstrate gratitude for every marvellous, heartfelt brushstroke. In tribute, I offer these archaeologists in a cage.

 

 

 

Woodshed Brewery

The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery. Micro brewery, refit of a historical woolshed, historical homestead and Ye olde cottages and paraphenalia, water recycling, cheese, river views, local produce. My inner inner westie /wanker from Williamsburg soul just shed (hah!) happy little tears. Ploughman’s lunch, ale and a bottle of wattleseed balsamic vinegar so I could reproduce Calpernum Station’s toffee.

The only thing that could make it better would be tiny vintage irons. Oh wait, there were tiny vintage irons.

 

 

 

 

Headings Cliff, South Australia

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The Mildura Arts Centre and the Rio Vista House

The roads (and planes) in my life often lead to Mildura on the banks of the Murray River. Population of around 30,000. Award winning vanilla slices, an excellent Thai restaurant, one of the many stomping grounds of Big Lizzie, riverboats, wine and all the amenities one needs to set out on an adventure to the Murray/Murrumbidgee/Darling Rivers wonderland. In a July visit this year, I visited the Rio Vista Homestead, once the home of the Chaffey Brothers and now a regional art gallery and museum. I learnt interesting things about irrigation, took in some art and then nursed a cup of tea as I read Mildura Living and eavesdropped on other people’s conversations.

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Wilabalangaloo Reserve, South Australia

River walk, viewing platform over the Murray. 3-6 million year old cliffs of oxidising sands.

Read more at the National Trust of South Australia website

Overland Corner

The Overland Corner is a nature reserve managed by the National Trust of South Australia and is situated on the Murray River at the Heron Bend Cliffs. The limestones that make up the cliffs are full of fossil oysters, lace corals, sea urchins, lamp shells, snails, cones and cowries. The layering of the cliffs indicate the presence of a warm shallow sea some 15 million years ago and then the retreat of that sea around 5 million years ago, leaving a river and creek system in its place. There are three short self guided walks which take you to quarries where you can see the changing geology and fossils, with bonus Aboriginal sites like canoe trees and an ochre quarry and 19th century hotels, police stations and cemeteries.

Source: The Geological History of Overland Corner, National Trust of South Australia.