I’m staying with friends in a cottage next to the vast Somerset Dam in the Village of Villaneuve. Villeneuve is a very small village in the Somerset Region, Queensland, Australia, The town is named after the railway station, which in turn took its name from Frank Villeneuve Nicholson, owner of the property Villeneuve.
I arrived on Sunday night from Brisbane and went for a Photowalk last night and again at dawn this morning. Here are some of my images, unedited (apart from my watermark) and not in any order. I often find that sunset and dawn give the best opportunities for great photos. The light changes quickly but subtly and if you take lots of shots you’ll always end up with some interesting images.
Day 56: The Valley Markets, fortitude Vally, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Today, I am posting about a favourite market that was a regular haunt when I was living in my home town of Brisbane.
The Fortitude Valley Markets, affectionately known as The Valley Markets, is a great place to look around, check out some great art and craft by local artists and designers and then head to one of the Valley’s many coffee shops to escape the midday heat. It is also a market which always surprises, as the market stalls vary from week to week.
Also, the market has the added benefit of being on both Saturday or Sunday (9am – 4pm), which is great as you can still get to weekend sports, work and other weekend commitments.
What I also love is that you can get to the market very easily via public transport, with regular buses and trains stopping in the Valley precinct.
Now Toowoomba is a place that admittedly I don’t love, perhaps because I don’t know it well enough to have a strong feeling either way about the place. However, there are ancestral connections for me with Toowoomba, mainly through the paternal side of the family.
The Benson family started in Australia in the late 1880s when Norwegian merchant sailor Anton Benson arrived in Australia via the USA. He settled in the Toowoomba area, marrying Carolina Wurst of German heritage in 1888, proceeding to have 13 children. Some say that there was also a Spanish or Catalan connection on the Wurst side of the family, but we do not know for sure. He was employed as a warder at the Willowburn mental asylum which is now called Baillie Henderson Hospital.
One of the things that struck me as odd when I moved to Canberra, was the strange comparisons people made with Toowoomba, saying there were linkages. Yes, both places have flower festivals in September – Toowoomba has the Carnival of Flowers and Canberra has Floriade. Both cities have four seasons (as opposed to hot and really hot), both places are inland cities and both have similar elevation – with Canberra about 600m and Toowoomba about 690m. But for me that is where the similarities end…
Mr Wikipedia says about the colonial history:
Toowoomba’s colonial history traces back to 1816 when English botanist and explorer Allan Cunningham arrived in Australia from Brazil and in June 1827 discovered 4 million acres (16,000 km²) of rich farming and grazing land, which became known as the Darling Downs, bordered on the east by the Great Dividing Range and situated 100 miles (160 km) west of the settlement of Moreton Bay.
The Indigenous tribes of the Jagera, Giabal and Jarowair people inhabited the Darling Downs for at least 40,000 years before European settlement. Estimations place the indigenous population pre-settlement from 1500 to 2500 people. The Jagara people were of the foothills and escarpment, Giabal were of the Toowoomba area and the Jarowair were of the northern areas towards and including the Bunya Mountains.
The conflict between European settlers and Indigenous people was well documented from the 1840s until the 1890s after initial good relationships turned sour because of a lack of understanding and respect for sacred lands by the Europeans. In 1843 about 25 years before Anton arrived in the region, violence escalated:
The most famous and serious of conflicts on the Downs was the Battle of One-Tree Hill which took place on what is now known as Table Top Mountain. In September 1843, an elder of the Jagera tribe called Multuggera (also known as ‘King Moppy’) sent warning to his friend – John Campbell of Westbrook Station – that an uprising was imminent. Campbell ignored the warning and on September 12, 1843, Multuggera led around 100 Aborigines in an ambush of three drays heading up the range crossing. This was an attempt to stop the drays from travelling and so starve the settlers. They were determined to first rid the Downs of the settlers and then blockade the road to prevent more invaders from coming. From Toowoomba Regional Council
My interest is learning more about this region is motivated by my need to learn and understand more about my family history on my Father’s site, which in many ways is a mystery to me except for a couple of little clues.
Today I will talk about a place that is somewhere I visit irregularly, when we travel to Queensland to catch up with family. Maleny, is a great place to visit if you are spending some time on the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane as it is not far from either.
Melany is tucked up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, on the Blackall Range. Because it is well above sea level and a little bit away from the coast, the weather on the hinterland is milder than that of the coast, which can get very hot and humid, especially in summer.
The unique rural community of Maleny is perched high above the Sunshine Coast beaches on the Blackall Range between Brisbane and Noosa and also overlooks South-East Queensland’s amazing Glasshouse Mountains.
It is an area of spectacular views and stands of lush rain forest. Maleny was initially a timber region with virtually all of the Cedar, Beech & Hoop Pine being felled to provide furniture and construction timber for SE Queensland and the UK. Once clearing had been achieved it quickly became a dairy farming area and supported the surrounding areas for many years with all their milk-based products.
The entire region, including the nearby townships of Montville and Mapleton are teeming with artists and craftspeople, as well as people working with holistic medicine and natural therapies, making the area attractive to tourists, especially eco-tourists.
There is also a rich Indigenous history connected to Maleny. The Hinterland Tourism website says:
Originally populated by the Nalbo and Dallambara peoples of the Gubbi gubbi nation, the area was known for its Bunya feasts which happened every third year when the giant Bunya trees of the area were in fruit. According to legend, Aboriginal peoples from far and wide would gather in the area to feast for several weeks on the nuts before journeying down to Brisbane where they would meet for a big Corroborree.
Maleny is also not far from the Glasshouse Mountains, a place I have already written about for 365 Places.
The last time we visited it was the day of our son’s 21st birthday. As his birthday is on Christmas Eve, we had the official party a couple of weeks earlier, so everyone could come before heading off during the Christmas break. For us it was a perfect way to spend a lovely family day, enjoying a leisurely lunch in one of the many cafes and then strolling around town checking out all the brilliant little shops full of craft, art and vintage wares.
Today, we return to my home state of Queensland to talk about a place that has some family history. This story is a about Rainbow Bay and the story has been contributed from my Mum – Kay Benson. In sections of this post I have quoted her directly – the rest is a combination of her words and my little edits.
Is its name suggests, Rainbow Bay is a beautiful little bay situated between Greenmount and Point Danger on the furthest point south on the coast of Queensland. It is within a stone’s throw of the New South Wales and Queensland border. My Mum and her extended family holidayed there for many decades, either camping at the camping grounds that used to exist on the foreshore, staying in a holiday flat, or at St George’s Holiday Home overlooking the Bay.
During the fifties and before the introduction of shark nets it was common to see grey nurse sharks swimming close to the shore. The lifesavers were vigilant in watching for these sharks and once the shark bell was rung we knew it was time to get out of the water quickly. St. George’s Holiday Home was specially set up by the Anglican Help Society in 1915 as a respite and recuperation centre for the soldiers returning from overseas active service. Today it remains a Holiday Home for ex-servicemen and women.
Over the past 70 years, four generations of our family have holidayed at Rainbow Bay – including my great grandparents, grandparents and parents – who all love that area.
In December 1978, our family came down from Darwin and we stayed around the corner from Rainbow Bay at 77 Sunset Strip Coolangatta, which I thought was a great name despite the motel being a bit run down.
Rainbow Bay is a great location, apart from the beautiful walking track that winds around the south coast beaches for kilometres, it is within a short walk to the well-known Twin Towns RSL and the townships of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.
If you happened to be standing at Woody Point on the Redcliffe Peninsula and looking back at Brisbane, chances are you would be looking at Sandgate.
Sandgate is a suburb of Briabane, located about 16 kilometres from the CBD. It is a popular place for Brisbanites to go for a Sunday drive, perhaps to enjoy some fish and chips in the park overlooking Moreton Bay. Its beach is not very popular with swimmers as there are a lot of mangroves and the sand is quite silty. Also, I have always been a bit frightened to swim there anyway, due to a story my mother told me about her childhood; that there were many sharks prowling the shallow calm waters of the bay.
What is beautiful about Sandgate and the surrounding suburbs, is that they feature some very fine examples of Queenslander houses, defined by their beautiful wide verandahs and timber work. This distinct style of architecture is becoming increasingly rare in Brisbane, as these lovely old gems have been either demolished or removed, to make way for apartment blocks.
The Queenslander calls to another time, a time where life was lived more elegantly, more relaxed and in synch with the long humid summer.
Today, I had an interesting enquiry via my @bytetime account on Twitter. Someone asked me if they could quote my Masters of Arts (by Research) Thesis – Museum of the Personal: Souvenirs and Nostalgia from 2001. This request was quite a blast from the past, as my dissertation was completed 13 years ago and I had sort of forgotten about this work.
Suddenly I had a realisation – that my love of travel and journeying isn’t a recent phenonomen, it has been part of my identity since I was a small child. One of my earliest memories is of our road trip from Brisbane to Cairns where we saw many beautiful parts of the Great Barrier Reef along the way – I was six years old. I was fortunate in that my parents loved taking us on road trips and camping when we were young, embedding in me a love of travel and of nature.
My Masters thesis was the theoretical side of a project I had worked on through the mid to late 1990s – Big Banana Time Inc. To summarise, BBT Inc, explored tourism and souvenirs in terms of consumption, the creation of personal identity, place and cultural identity. It was a playful project, where I experimented with digital photographic collage to create souvenir objects, video/projections and installation works.
Day 24: Glasshouse mountains, Queensland, Australia
When, as children we used to travel to Caloundra for summer holidays, we would bypass the Glasshouse Mountains on the way up the Bruce Highway. In those days the highway used to be situated very close to these magnificent mountains, making them seem omnipresent and encouraging my childlike imagination to run wild.
The Glasshouse Mountains were named by Captain Cook as he sailed past this region. The geological forms reminded Cook of the glass furnaces of his home in Yorkshire. The mountains also had great significance for the traditional owners of this region – the Gubbi Gubbi people.
Each of the peaks is protected within the Glass House Mountains National Park. The names of the mountains in the range are Mount Beerburrum, Mount Beerwah, Mount Coochin, Mount Coonowrin (Crookneck), Mount Elimbah (The Saddleback), Mount Ngungun, Mount Tibberoowuccum, Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Tunbubudla (The Twins), Wild Horse Mountain (Round Mountain) and Mount Miketeebumulgrai. (http://www.australia.com/explore/states/qld/glass-house-mountains.aspx)
When I was a child there was a small tourist shop close to the mountains that had the story of the mountains on a small Gestetner printed brochure. The story tells of the mountains being a family, with the largest mountain, Mount Tibrogargan, being the father. My imaginary story was quite different as I saw Mount Tibrogargan as a King Kong gorilla figure, roaring across the forest and pineapple plantations.
Many years ago, I walked up Wild Horse Mountain and I remember it was a beautiful walk with lush bush land covering the mountain and some magnificent views at the top. A number of other mountains are also popular with bushwalkers, so one day we might spend some time walking up Mount Tibrogargan to sit on King Kong’s shoulder.
Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth, Image Credit: GOMA
Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth, Image Credit: Garry Benson
Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth, Image Credit: Garry Benson
Queensland and Brisbane has not only come of age with its art scene, it’s pi**ing all over the rest of Australia with its Art, Museum and Library complex on the banks of the big, brown Brisbane River. I last visited the site for Expo 88 with my lovely friend Val and what a transformation. Thanks to my dear friends Janna and Peter for this brilliant evening!