William Jolly Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Aus.

Sunday, February 10, 2019


The CEO of our village, Chiou See, is a Singaporean Chinese, who loves cooking. She cooks her staff lunch everyday. She also organises a fabulous Chinese New Year celebration for residents and their families. This year we had 250 guests.
 My good friends live in our village too. Dot and I met in hospital when we were giving birth to our first daughters. The girls are 47 this year.

 Brian is getting eaten. (This will give him good luck). Brian's wife and I walk together every morning (when I don't have a broken ankle)

 Our Maintenance Man and children enjoy the night .

Feeding the Lions money in red envelopes for good luck. Later the eldest person in the room gives all the children a red envelope with money. All part of the tradition.

 There is also a Buddha Monk dancing and clearing the way for the lions and a drum band beating out the rhythm.

 The lion spots the lettuce.

 It usually takes some acrobatic moves of the two dancers inside the lion to reach the lettuce.

 The lion eats it and then spits it out some goes over the audience and it is all to do with getting good luck and wealth.

 Chiou See and the chef cooked up huge amounts of delicious Chinese food for 250 people.

We were asked to wear red in keeping with the tradition. (First outing without crutches.)

Finally, after a wonderful evening our residents' committee chairperson, Ian, thanked Chiou See for the great night of food, fun, friends and entertainment.

Bill made a super 2 minute video-enjoy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. In the late 1800's people realised that water was more valuable than gold. Leaders discussed the idea of harnessing the melting snow from the Snowy River which flows into the sea and redirect it into the the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers to increase agriculture and protect against drought seasons.
It wasn't until 1949 that the states and Commonwealth governments agreed on a mammoth scheme to not only to redirect water for irrigation but also to produce hydro electric power.
The Scheme consists of sixteen major dams; seven power stations; one pumping station; and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts that were constructed between 1949 and 1974. How the engineers worked out how and where to build the dams and the tunnels is amazing.
In 1967 the American Society of Civil Engineering designated the Snowy Scheme as one of the civil engineering wonders of the world.

The two main tunnel systems. Water is diverted through the mountains and held in dams some is used for irrigation and some is used for hydro electricity.Sometimes the water is pumped back and forth and used more than once to make power.
It was a very difficult task in heavily forested mountains with vertical ravines. Extreme climatic conditions added to the difficult working conditions. Freezing winters  and hot summers. To get enough workers to build the scheme a huge recruitment and immigration plan was implemented.
Besides Australians many migrants from war torn Europe escaped the horrors and started a new life in Australia. They became part of the Snowy family former enemies and allies working together. They were also instrumental in introducing new ideas other than British in construction, machinery and food. The beginnings of multi cultural Australia.
The men worked hard and for long hours. The scheme was finished before the deadline. The men were paid well for their dangerous work.

To house the workers seven regional towns and over 100 camps were established throughout the Snowy Mountains. Life in camps was extremely hard especially in the early years where men endured harsh winters under canvas with only basic amenities. During the construction time there were over 100,000 men and women from over 30 countries came to work on the scheme. Over 100 workers lost their lives due to accidents.
 Once the area was sparsely inhabited by pastoralists. Two town ships were submerged by water when the dams were built. The residents were rehoused in new towns one of them was Jindabyne where we recently went on holiday. Now the area is a tourist attraction. Skiing in winter and hiking and biking in summer in the huge Kosiuszko National park,
Lake Jindabyne
The Norwegian workers introduced skiing to Australians but a Czech worker, who was a champion skier was the first to build a ski lodge and chairlift at Thredbo.

Monday, January 28, 2019


It was Australia Day on 26th January and I didn't do a post. TUT TUT!! Anyway we had a celebration party in the village hall. The residents organised Australian Food, Australian Games and an Australian Trivia session. There were also Competitions. where residents showcased their amazing talents.

So some of the Aussie food included meat pies and tomato sauce, Lamingtons (sponge squares coated in chocolate and coconut,) Pavlova and I can see some cup cakes coloured yellow and green our country's sports colours.

Our friends Eric and Gwen, who lent me the motorised scooter. Eric enjoying a Lamington.

 There were many games. This one is horse racing and there was throwing the thong (rubber sandal) into a bucket.

 There were also competitions. We organised a Photography competition and Gay won the "Peoples Choice".
Bill won the T-Shirt competition.

Julie won the overall photo competition. We made a power point presentation of all the entries and showed it on the TV.
There were many other competitions too including, Art, Craft, and Cooking.

It was a fun event. I cannot carry my camera while I'm on crutches so Julie above took these photos for me.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Continued from last post:

I spent the last evening in our holiday house learning how to use crutches and navigate stairs and the bathroom. Wasn't easy. 
Lake Jindabyne outside our window.

Lunch with the family (Sonya took the photo). It was very hot so the boys wore very little.

Saying goodbye to the boys. They were travelling south back to Melbourne and we were going north to Canberra with Carol and David.

We drove from Jindabyne to Cooma where we stopped at the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. It showcases the history of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. It is the story of people who persevered through harsh conditions to build one of the greatest engineering projects ever undertaken in the world. It is a hydro power and irrigation scheme. It was constructed between 1949 and 1974. I'll do a post on it one day.
After Cooma we continued onto Canberra where we stayed overnight in a hotel. We were to drive on the next day to Sydney and stay with Carol for a few days before flying home to Brisbane. However, Carol's apartment is on the third floor without a lift/elevator this would be difficult on crutches. So we changed plans and went to Canberra airport and organised a flight change and flew home from there. QANTAS was very good at providing a wheelchair and a pusher to get me on and off the plane. (Bill says we are going to keep the boot and wear it every time we go to the airport to get on the plane first.)  I was happy to be going home to put my foot up.

When I got back to the village one of the residents lent me a motorised scooter. I found crutches difficult to use so we hired a knee walker. I had to keep off the foot for two weeks and now I can put a little weight on it and the pain has eased. I have to keep the boot on for six and a half weeks (three and a half to go). It wasn't a good start to the new year but it was still fun to be with the all the family for a week in a very scenic place.

Friday, January 18, 2019


Continued from last post:

The weather was fine the next day, so the families left early (without Bill and me) to hike to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko. It is the highest point in Australia named after a national hero of Poland by the polish explorer Strzelecki, who climbed the mountain in 1840. 
The following photos were taken by Bernie and Sonya.

Today you can drive to Thredbo and ride the chairlift then walk 6k to the summit.

Off they go. As they set off Bernie had a $5 wager with Carol that there wouldn't be any snow because it was a hot day down at Jindabyne. However, it was cooler on the mountain and he lost his $5.

 The boys could make a tiny snowball.

 Finally they reached the summit. Sonya was proud of the boys 6 and 8 years old for walking all the way there and back in the wind without complaining or needing help.

 Banjo and Fox and the Hoary Sunray Daisy. (Leucochrysum albicans) is a pretty but endangered native alpine daisy.

 Our wonderful family on the top of Australia. Its great to have them all back 'down under' after Carol and David lived in the UK for 9 years and Sonya, Bernie and the boys lived in US for 5 years. Australia Rules.

Our lovely daughters who looked after me so well.

While they were having fun in the wind on the mountain I was resting my ankle with ice and red medicine. I was worried about the swelling and bruising getting worse. When the family returned from the hike I asked Carol to take me to the Snowy Mountain Medical Centre in Jindabyne. I felt bad because I knew she was tired, hungry and had a headache from the high altitude hike. The doctor guessed the ankle was broken and checked with his x-ray machine and then sold me a moonboot. He told me to buy crutches next door at the Pharmacy and don't walk on it for ten days, and I was on my way within half an hour. Better service than in the city.
Now how to get back to Brisbane? To be continued:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Continued from previous posts:

After twisting my ankle on a hike the previous day, I lay with it elevated and iced for the rest of the day except for hobbling up two flights of stairs to the dining room for dinner and socialising with the family. The next day Sonya and their family went out on the lake in their boat, which they had towed from Melbourne. Carol and David offered to take us sight seeing in the car since I couldn't walk very well.
First stop was Crackenback Ski resort. It was like a big park with a lake and buildings scattered around the lake like a village. In summer it is full of guests who like hiking and mountain bike riding. There was a new little family of ducks on the lake.

 Then we drove onto Thredbo, one of the oldest and biggest Ski Resorts in NSW. As we were driving I could see pockets of snow still dotted on the mountain tops. The temperature was 30° C/86°F.

It was New Year's Day and we were lucky to find a coffee shop open in Thredbo Village. The last time I was here it was covered in snow.

The gap in the trees is where the chair lift takes you to the top, from there you walk 6k to the top of Mt Kosciuszko or in winter ski down the many runs that are available. But no hiking for me anymore on this trip.

 We drove around the range to Perisher Valley and Charlotte's Pass. We were lucky to get a park close to the lookout at Charlotte's Pass so that I could hobble 30 metres to take some photos with my phone. Here we could see Mt Kosciusko, the biggest hump in the distance. It is our highest mountain at 2,228mm/7,310ft. As you can see we don't have towering alps in our country, which is the oldest geological country on earth. Our alps have been worn down from millions of years of weathering. However, in winter the area covered in snow is greater than the size of Switzerland.

 Carol looking after her hobbling mum.

 Charlottes Pass Ski Resort the lifts are behind me.

 Looking back from where we came

 David soaking up the beautiful scenery on the way back to Jindabyne.

Unfortunately in this beautiful National Park the Ribbon Gum trees are dying in their thousands. The National University researchers believe it is due to a weevil infestation and the climate becoming hotter and drier.
It is sad to see.

The next day the family walked to the summit of Kosciuszko while I nursed my painful, swollen multicoloured, foot. Continued on next post: