Tag Archives: Festivals

Missing in Action

Dear readers, it has been some time since we have posted a blog.

Although we have been missing in action online we have still been having some adventures. For example, Tracey was in Norway for three months doing some creative research into her ancestry. Her project Waters of the Past has resulted in some wonderful collaborations and connections. The project was also presented in a number of exhibitions and symposium, such as Balance UnBalance 2017 and RIXC Open Fields 2017.

Tracey’s project was also featured in the Drammen newspaper. Please don’t ask for a translation ūüôā

We had an amazing time in Norway, the highlight of this was our fjord journey up the west coast to Troms√ł – more on that later ūüėČ Here is some teasers:

This year we don’t plan to go too far from home ground. We have lots of short trips planned and we look forward to sharing with you some of the great places we enjoy here in the Australian Alpine region – better known by Aussies as ‘the high country’.

We will publish a new article from us each month as well as feature some guest writers. Contact us if you would like to submit something for publication.

Ps – we are now also in Instagram – follow us at geokult_travel

An article about Tracey
An article about Tracey

365 Places: Tulip Top Gardens

Day 90: Tulip Top Gardens, Old Federal Highway, Sutton NSW

Today we went to Tulip Top Gardens to see the beautiful display of spring flowers. The gardens are not as big or as busy as Floriade, which makes it a relaxing time in the gardens. As part of the entry fee we got a sausage sizzle and some Dutch Pancakes – yum!! Apparently it was a ‘special’ day as the pancakes are not always available. As you walk through the gardens, piped music makes for a lovely ambience and a feeling of being lost in time, to another, more genteel time and place.

Spring in the Capital region is a stunning time of year, when the Wattles are in bloom alongside the Apple, Peach, Cherry and Plum trees. To make this colourful display even more brilliant are the many Daffodils, Jonquils,Tulips, Pansy and Sweet Peas.

365 Places: Karangahape Road

Day 88: Karangahape Road, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

In an earlier post, I spoke about a forthcoming augmented reality project that I will be presenting as part of the ADA Mesh Cities Symposium in Auckland. The project titled Finding the Ghosts of K Road will explore Auckland’s oldest street, hopefully uncovering some of the ghosts of the past though the imagery of the old photographs of the streetscape.

Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606
Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606

Something that has been really wonderful about developing this project is the help and support I have received from some of my artist friends, who have generously shared stories about K Road. For example, Trudy Lane shared some very interesting information about some of her ancestors who lived in the area. The story below is very sad about the loss of a number of her ancestors. Trudy writes:

My Great Great Grandfather ‚ÄĒ Captain William Solloway Lane ‚ÄĒ died at sea in 1893, failing to return from a voyage to Tasmania. With him on board was his wife Lucy‚Äôs sister-in-law and her youngest sister. She was pregnant with twins at the time. 3 days after giving birth to them, Lucy died. One of the twins also died two days later.
Captain William Solloway Lane, died April 1893
Christina, born 11 April, 1893
Lucy Lane, died 12 April, 1893

In the material she sent me was a story of how this tragedy impacted the then small community of Auckland. I have transcribed this text from the images below:

This sad chronicle so moved everyone in the then small town of Auckland that people lined the streets from Ponsonby to Symonds Streets as the funeral cortege for Lucy Chiffinch Lane and her baby passed by.

Here are the images from Trudy.

Trudy also informed me about the work of historian Edward Bennett, who has done extensive research on K Road. I have subsequently been in touch with Edward and he has been a great source of guidance for the walk, and hopefully will be our tour guide on the day!

The walk is scheduled for the 12th September and will start at Artspace in Karangahape Road at 15:15.

Here is the map – in progress:

I am really grateful for being guided by the experts for this project, people who have an intimate knowledge of K Road. It really helps me to get a better sense of the place I am exploring, which I hope will result in a richer experience for people doing the walk.

It is not long until we will be in Auckland for the Symposium – can’t wait!


365 Places: Pushkar

Day 87: Pushkar, India

I am still continuing my daydreaming about India and today will have a look at Pushkar – a town famous for its annual two-week camel fair.

Image Credit: http://www.pushkarcamelfair.com
Image Credit: http://www.pushkarcamelfair.com

A website promoting the event says:

Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days.

For visitors it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.

What is really interesting is that during the camel fair, the town’s population swells from 15,000¬†to 200,000 during the two weeks. Visitors are accommodated in tents, though from what I understand, this is glamping at its best. For those initiated to glamping, it is camping with style – a lot more effort to set up but usually with all the comforts of home, just under canvas.

Image Credit: http://blackandwhiteflowerspictures.weebly.com
Image Credit: http://blackandwhiteflowerspictures.weebly.com

I also love the etymology of the word Pushkar. Wikipedia says:

Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower. Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.

Pushkar is also one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Brahma with its creation. It is also one of the few places in the world where they are temples to Brahma and the Brahma Temple in Pushkar is very famous, being built during the 14th century CE . Although Pushkar has many temples, most of them are not very old because many were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the region, causing many to be rebuilt. Pushkar is also considered one of the five sacred dhams or pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus.

Image Credit: Redtigerxyz  http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasantv/291184069/
Image Credit: Redtigerxyz http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasantv/291184069/

We are very much looking forward to visiting Pushkar, it sounds like a paradise for photographers and the thought of the camel fair with its colour, movement and dust is really enticing.


Al-Hind: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th-13th centuries, p.326

Where would you like to go today: Pushkar Camel Fair http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/where-would-you-like-to-go-today-the-pushkar-camel-fair (accessed 27 August 2014)

365 Places: Agra

Day 84: Agra, India

No journey to India would be complete without visiting Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.

But the Taj is not the only thing worth visiting in Agra as it has three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort in the city and Fatehpur Sikri nearby. There are also many other buildings and tombs from Agra’s days of glory as the capital of the Mughal Empire.

The Taj Mahal, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Agra
The Taj Mahal, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Agra

The Taj Mahal is world-famous as a monument to love. It is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. The translation of Taj Mahal means Crown Palace. The Taj is well-preserved and considered one of the masterpieces of Indian Muslim architecture.

Wiki Travel says:

The Taj Mahal has a life of its own that leaps out of marble, provided you understand that it is a monument of love. The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called it¬†a teardrop on the cheek of eternity, while the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, said it was¬†Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.¬†It is a celebration of woman built in marble, and that is the way to appreciate it.

From what I understand the best way to get to Agra from Delhi is by train, though I understand that the fastest way is via a new freeway which opened recently.¬†Agra is about 200 km southeast from Delhi and is one of the points of the tourist’s Golden Triangle of Agra-Delhi-Jaipur. Agra is also very well connected via rail and road to¬†other nearby cities and tourist destinations.

The antechamber to Akbar's tomb at Sikandra, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/
The antechamber to Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/

The Taj Majal and Fort Agra are two key sites to see in Agra, but as I mentioned earlier, there are many, many more. For example,¬†Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb¬†(sometimes called the¬†Baby Taj),¬†Mariam’s Tomb and the¬†Jama Masjid all sound like very interesting places to visit.

Agra is one of those places that you have to see when you visit India – we will certainly make sure it is on our list of destinations.

365 Places: Lorne

Day 77: Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Today, I am continuing the journey along the Great Ocean Road, to the very pretty beach town of Lorne.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx

Lorne is famous for a couple of things aside from its natural beauty, popularity as a seaside resort, proximity to GOR and Great Otway National Park. It is also home to the Falls Music & Arts Festival which occurs over the New Years long weekend every year, and the Lorne Sculpture Biennial, most recently held in March 2014.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx


The Falls Festival is best known for contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, as well as other art forms. Because the event runs over three days, people bring a tent and camp out at the event. The festival started in 1993, with a small one day concert called the Rock Above The Falls. This initial event attracted nearly 11,000 people, far exceeding the organisers expectations, and the organisers quickly negotiated the use of neighbouring land to accommodate the crowd. Since this humble start, the Falls Festival is now in three locations – Lorne, Byron Bay NSW and Marion Bay in Tasmania.

© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria
© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria

Lorne has long been a place that attracts creative people as well as beach lovers. For example, In 1891, the area was visited by Rudyard Kipling who was inspired to write the poem Flowers, which included the line:

Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond of fern,
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne.

Mr Wikipedia says about the area prior to European settlement:

Lorne was part of the traditional lands of the Gadubanud or King Parrot people of the Cape Otway coast according to Ian Clark, although many popular websites report that the area was occupied by the Kolakngat Aborigines.

Given that there is some conflicting information about the pre-European occupation, I am interested to find out more on this subject. The text referred to is listed below as a reference.

We loved seeing Lorne and it is a town definitely worth visiting and exploring as part of the Great Ocean Road journey.

Ian D. Clark, pp119-123, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5

365 Places: Gregynog

Day 65: Gregynog, Wales, UK

Images Credit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/midwales/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8689000/8689165.stm
Images Credit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/midwales/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8689000/8689165.stm

The main purpose of my first trip to the UK and Europe was to attend a conference and present a paper. The conference was titled Identities in action (University of Wales, Aberystwyth) and my topic was ‘Workshopping the museum of the future’. The event was located at Gregynog Hall, a gorgeous Tudor mansion in the middle of Wales. Mr Wikipedia says:

Gregynog is a large country mansion in the village of Tregynon, 6 km northwest of Newtown in the old county of Montgomeryshire, now Powys in mid Wales. There has been a settlement on the site since the twelfth century. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries it was the home of the Blayney and Hanbury-Tracy families. In 1960 it was transferred to the University of Wales as a conference and study centre by Margaret Davies, granddaughter of the nineteenth century industrial magnate and philanthropist, David Davies ‘Top Sawyer’ of Llandinam.

To stay at Gregynog was a fascinating experience as there is history everywhere you look, from the collections of art and books still remaining, to the beautiful gardens and grounds that surround Gregynog.

This linocut of Gregynog Hall was printed at Gwasg Gregynog (the private press).  It is from a linocut by Peter Allen, with a quote from William Morris around the edge. Image Credit: http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/gregynog-hall-mid-wales.html
This linocut of Gregynog Hall was printed at Gwasg Gregynog (the private press). It is from a linocut by Peter Allen, with a quote from William Morris around the edge. Image Credit: http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/gregynog-hall-mid-wales.html

Gregynog has a rich history as well as having links to art and music, which came about because of the development of a press by the Davies sisters. According to the Gregynog website it was the headquarters of their enterprise to bring art, music and creative skills to the people of Wales. The websites states that:

The Davies sisters together created one of the most important private collections of art in Britain and donated a total of 260 works to the National Museum Wales in the mid 20th century, where it has become one of the nation’s greatest treasures. However, some of the pictures, a great deal of the furniture, and many, many books still remain at Gregynog.

Here is an image from a publication printed by the Gregynog Press.

Images Credit: http://www.gregynog.org/art-history/art/
Images Credit: http://www.gregynog.org/art-history/art/

I would love to return to Wales and Gregynog one day, this time just as a visitor to soak up the history of the site and the surrounding townships more fully as I am sure there is much to be learnt from this beautiful green country.

365 Places: Museum of Natural History, Dublin

Day 63: Museum of Natural History, Dublin, Ireland

While we are on the topic of museums, today I would like to reminiscence about my 1999 trip¬†to Dublin, where I visited¬†many galleries and museums. One museum in particular stands out in my memory, the Museum of Natural History. This place¬†has a great nickname, “The Dead Zoo” reflecting the wonderful sense of humour of the Irish.

Image Credit: http://www.museum.ie/en/info/things-to-see-do-national-museum-ireland-natural-history.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.museum.ie/en/info/things-to-see-do-national-museum-ireland-natural-history.aspx

The Natural History Museum in Dublin is the oldest museum in Ireland having been opened by Doctor David Livingstone in 1857. This museum is very engaging if only for the immense variety of “stuffed” subjects. There are animals from all around the world in the collection, and I was stunned by the size some of the Australian marsupials, which many must have been caught in the early days of European occupation, as we do not have kangaroos or wombats at the size represented in this collection anymore.

Image Credit: http://www.irelands-hidden-gems.com/natural-history.html
Image Credit: http://www.irelands-hidden-gems.com/natural-history.html

The collection is expansive with over 10,000 items on display and over 2 million in storage. That is a lot of stuffed animals, birds, reptiles and preserved insects.

Image Credit: http://www.museum.ie/en/exhibition/irish-fauna.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.museum.ie/en/exhibition/irish-fauna.aspx

There is great attention to detail to the exhibits in the collection. In reference to the above image from the Irish mammals collection:

One of a series of very popular exhibits was made by the Dublin taxidermy firm of Williams & Son. They produced ‚Äėfamily groups‚Äô of badgers, otters and pine martens. These mammals are characteristic of the Irish landscape. Badgers are active at night, seeking out pastureland where they feed on earthworms, as well as many other ingredients in a highly varied diet.

One of the things I love about visiting museums and galleries is many of them are free to visit – not the ones in New York, but many in Australia and other countries have free admission, such as the Dead Zoo.

The Museum of Natural History is centrally located on Merrion Street, Dublin 2, next door to the National Gallery. Use this Google map to find your way.

Useful information:
Ireland’s Hidden Gems

300 Followers – Thank You!

This morning I woke up to see that we now have over 300 WordPress followers to our Geokult Travel blog – how exciting!

Over the 3.5 months since we started we have achieved:

  • 182 posts
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People from all over the world have checked out our blog, have a look at the map below.

Geokult Travel map of viewers
Geokult Travel map of viewers

Thank you all for your support and we look forward to bringing you more interesting articles about travel, arts and culture.