Page 149: More in Brisbane
  A workmates reunion  

On Sunday, 17th July, there was a very enjoyable re-union of some workmates of long standing. The hosts were Peter and his lovely wife (and wonderful cook), Chris. Peter not only gave me invaluable advice when I first met him in 1982, advice which was to shape the rest of our lives. He also employed me as soon as a position became vacant in Tektronix, the American-owned company which had employed me in England. Peter was the National Service Manager here in Australia. I was to remain with the Company until retirement in 2004.

Also present were Paul and his delightful wife, Helen. Paul was my equivalent in Brisbane when I looked after our customers in Perth. As with Peter, Paul and I go back a long way though we seldom met due to the tyranny of distance. However we always got on well together.

There was a surprise in store when Reg rocked up later in the evening - unfortunately without Sandie, his most charming wife, who had other commitments. Reg and I worked together, albeit in different departments, in Perth in the early days when the office boasted six employees. How long is it since we last met, Reg? Must be twenty seven years; no wonder I didn't recognise you!

  Tweed Heads  
  I introduced you to Ken and Fay on the previous page when we met up with them again on Tamborine Mountain. They are 'house sitting' about 100 kms south of Brisbane in a most beautiful setting, surrounded by trees, bush and wildlife and they invited us to visit and stay overnight. We gladly accepted and spent a wonderful day with them.

There is a wild koala which lives in the treetops adjacent to the house. Since koalas are fussy eaters and there's only three of their chosen eucalypts close by, he's relatively easy to find. Unfortunately he was obscured by foliage and my photographs were not worth reproducing.

Neither was I able to photograph a very tame kangaroo called Skippy which frequently visits the house. He decided to give it a wide berth while we were there.

In Tweed Heads. Pam is standing in Queensland and I am in New South Wales - see the line between our feet? In summer, due to daylight saving in New South Wales, we would be in different time zones. Pam would be one hour behind me.

The next morning we visited Tweed Heads, a most beautiful town with one of the world's best surfing beaches. The town straddles the Queensland/New South Wales state border.

  The beach at Tweed Heads. Can't see any surfers? They're there. Check the zoomed-in image below. The water between the two stone walls is the estuary of the Tweed River and beyond is Aboriginal land. From the jetty beyond the estuary, clean beach
sand is piped to an outlet just below the headland on which the photo was taken. From there the sea distributes it.
  Not easy to see on the picture above, these surfers were just this side of the estuary wall. There were others elsewhere.  
  Caught one!  
  Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast seen from Tweed Heads. It's not my kind of beach environment though I suspect I would have viewed it differently fifty years ago. What about you? Do you prefer noise, crowds, high rise buildings and plenty of nightlife?  
  The Aboriginal artist in the picture on the left was a very clever man and initially had us enthralled with his knowledge.

He told us that the Aboriginal meaning of the word 'kangaroo' is, "I don't understand".

According to our artist, one of Captain* Cook's men asked an Aborigine the name of the animal. The Aborigine told the sailor that he didn't understand him. The sailor imitated his response and from then on, the kangaroo became so named. The Aborigines have several words meaning kangaroo . . . but 'kangaroo' isn't one of them. Well . . . maybe.


The artist also told us that the origin of the word 'didgeridoo' is Irish, not Aborigine.

I have to add that both the Oxford and Macquarie Dictionaries are of the opinion that didgeridoo is from an Aborigine dialect and, according to the Macquarie Dictionary, kangaroo is derived from the word 'gangurru' in Guugu Yimidhirr language and refers to a large grey or black kangaroo. Hmmm.

Our artist made some pertinent points about how we claim that Muslims (and others) coming to Australia should adopt our dress and our culture. He notes that when the first Europeans came to Australia, they certainly didn't change in any way to assimilate with the Aborigines who had been here for forty thousand years. Give or take a day or two.

He also pointed out that Captain James Cook didn't arrive in Australia in 1770. At that time he was still Lieutenant Cook. And in that he is perfectly correct.

*I referred to Cook as 'Captain' to the RHS of the photo (above) in the sense that he was the captain of H.M. Bark Endeavour.

The artist told us that Queensland had a bounty on Aborigines until the 1960s and anybody shooting either a wild dingo or an Aborigine was paid by the government; $5 for a dog, $10 for an Aborigine. Round about this time I began to think that he was 'having a lend of us'. A small crowd had gathered and he was in his element, holding court. First he'd ask us an obscure question and if nobody knew the answer he was free to say whatever he liked, revelling in the gasps of amazement, shock or horror that his stories provoked from his audience.

Fay, Ken, Pam and I went and found a café for lunch, then set off for our respective homes.

A few days later we hitched up the caravan and departed from Newmarket Gardens and Brisbane for the Sunshine Coast.

  the sunshine coast - Maroochydore  

The name Maroochydore comes from the Yuggera language word, 'Muru-kutchi', meaning red-bill, the name of the black swan commonly seen in the area - see right. Maroochydore had a population of 13,710 at the 2006 Census. Would that inlcude visitors here on Census Night? Being a very popular coastal resort the population must fluctuate a lot over the year.

If you want sunny beaches, white breakers, a river estuary and offshore islands then Maroochydore might be for you.

  Is this how you see retirement? (I haven't a clue who the couple are.)  
  Or is this more your style?  
  Maroochydore seems well serviced by Jetstar Airways. Here, an Airbus A320-232, registered VH-JQL, flies low over the
town, its wheels and flaps deployed in preparation for landing. Superimposed is an abbreviated history of this aircraft.
  Mr Pelican is very used to people and was totally unphased by having a lens pointed at him. Or her?  
  The Maroochy River estuary with Maroochydore in the background.
  Nev and Liz  

While travelling from Brisbane to Maroochydore we passed within about ten kilometres of Caloundra where our good friends Nev and Liz live. They used to be caravanners, gave it up, regretted their decision and have bought another caravan, so soon we'll be bumping into them around the continent again. Good decision, Guys.

They drove up to see us in Maroochydore one evening. We all strolled across the road for a very nice meal in the local bowling club, and - as you can see - we continued our support for the Australian wine industry. If, like I was, you are wondering why Liz's thumb is on the wrong side of her hand, the one on the table, it isn't her hand. It's Nev's. Looks most uncomfortabe, Liz. And big.

  Would you buy a second hand car from any of this lot?  
  a marble Sculpture on the Maroochy foreshore  
This 2007 sculpture, "landscapes of my mind, sense of place", resembles giant pieces of a jigsaw cut from Chillagoe black and white marble. The sculptor is Hew Chee Fong. The plaque says, "This work celebrates the unique natural beauty of the Glasshouse Mountains, rivers and coastline of the Sunshine Coast, the environment in which I have chosen to live and work. The three interlocking zones symbolically refer to the symbiotic relationship between the three shires of Maroochy, Noosa and Caloundra". C'mon, Mr. Fong, we knew that, no need to spell it out. But why is the black marble segregated from the white?