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 🙂
We had an amazing time in Norway, the highlight of this was our fjord journey up the west coast to Tromsø – more on that later 😉 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.
You don’t have to be in Dragør to experience this work. You can also use the app with the landmark building images in this blog post.
There will also be a printable version of the map for Walking Backwards into the Future.
Please note that this article and map is a work in progress!
Technical specifications Walking Backwards into the Future uses augmented reality, and to view it you must have an internet enabled mobile device running iOS or Android (tablet or smartphone). You must also have the “Aurasma” app installed.
Yesterday we went to the National Arboretum which was a great way to spend a bit of time on a Saturday afternoon.
The Visitor’s Centre is a beautiful building, with some stunning design features which I hope I have captured below. The use of local timbers and stone has been used to great effect and it is a lovely building to enjoy both from the inside and the outside.
What is the Arboretum?
An arboretum (pronounced ar-bo-re-tum) is a collection of living trees, cultivated for conservation, scientific, research and educational purposes.
The National Arboretum Canberra first opened in February 2013, and has attracted many visitors from Canberra, Australia and around the world. The Arboretum website says that:
It is already contributing to the protection of tree species and tree diversity world-wide, as well as generating new research and understanding about how trees grow, survive and adapt.
The aim of the Canberra Arboretum is to become one of the great arboreta in the world; a place of outstanding natural beauty, community amenity and scientific value.
The Arboretum is home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. More than 48,000 trees grow on the 250 hectare (618 acres or 2.5 million square metres) site, with species from over 100 countries. Map of the Arboretum (PDF). You can also take a number of walks around the Arboretum. At the Village Centre you can get a free map of the self-guided walking trails or downloaded the guide here (PDF).
So far I have posted about 70 different places, about places I have visited and places where I long to go. I have not done so great with my commitment to post every day, and now I feel the need to catch up. But perhaps my posts don’t always need to be about a geographical site, maybe taking a moment to write about the journeys of heart and mind is also worth documenting – after all this is the stuff that makes our lives rich and rewarding.
That said, I have thought a lot about the places of experience and the sites of desire. On one level both are the same. Both tell a story about a connection to a person and therefore a connection to many people and ultimately many places. We don’t live our lives in isolation, in fragmented ways, which is one of the challenges of this project.The more I try to separate one place from another, the more these places want to connect in my mind, perhaps as waymarks or perhaps as strange and beautiful designs composed of Venn diagrams, overlapping nodes or line drawings layered over and over, as one traverses geophysical space through the lenses of memory and imagination.
So what are some of these connection points? There are so many – a love of art, culture and history, food, adventure, nature, sustainability and not least the people connections – friendships and sharing special times.
In some future posts, I hope to share some ideas around the interconnected nature of our experience to our environment and sense of place.
Day 60: Mermaid Pool, Manly, New South Wales, Australia
Mermaid Pool is a place, I have never visited but would love to check out. Situated close to the famous beach of Manly, Mermaid Pools has had a chequered history.
Indigenous people occupied the Northern Beaches area for many thousands of years and there are many rock carvings and engravings in this area. Local Aboriginal believed creator spirits resided in deep bodies of water such as Mermaid Pool and no one would dare swim there, though there is evidence of blade sharpening grooves in the rocks.
History has it that in 1788 Governor Arthur Phillip traversed this creek-line when it was surrounded by dense forest and swamps. In the 1930s Depression years there was a camp at Allambie for people who had lost their homes. Girls used to slip away to the pool to swim naked, hence the name, Mermaid Pool. In those days the water was crystal clear, the bird-life rich and varied and the bushland vibrant and colourful.
There is still a rare pocket of coastal rainforest beneath the rocky overhangs of Mermaid Pool which echoes a long distant era. A mere seventy years ago much of Manly Vale was unspoilt bushland, platypus still occupied some waterways and even quolls and koalas were ‘in residence’.
Once the area became part of suburbia Mermaid Pool sadly became a dumpsite but recently it has been lovingly restored thanks to the “Return of the Mermaids” project, which started when 4 tonnes of rubbish were removed by 71 volunteers on ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ in 2002.
Today I write this post from the the very beautiful village of Nyuh Kuning, where we are staying as guests of my uncle, Garry Benson, who also writes for Geokult Travel. His most recent post is also about this lovely little village, whose name means Yellow Coconuts. The village is located close to Ubud, in the heart of Bali.
Our rooms are amazing, with views of the rice paddies, little shrines everywhere and an indoor/outdoor bathroom (something I am obsessed with in Bali). The only challenge is the very slow wifi – I have been trying to upload images since last night and they are still loading.Only one image uploaded while we were there – this beautiful lotus from the garden pictured above.
When we return to Sanur, I will write another post with some images from this beautiful, peaceful place.
One thing worth mentioning in passing is that Ubud and the surrounding villages are very conscious of the environment and are focused on being sustainable – you can check out this great website Ubud: Now and Then for more information.
Day 47: Handmade Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Today I am cheating a bit as I am talking about an event, not a place – but don’t hang me on a technicality.
The Canberra Handmade Market is held four times a year at the Canberra Convention Centre and brings together some of Australia’s most innovative designers and craftspeople. It started in 2008, the brainchild of Julie and Rachel who saw a need for such an event. Since then it has become a massive affair, and the girls now have a shop in Civic – which I wrote about in an earlier post – No, Canberra doesn’t suck!.
Just as a quick aside: Emma Pearse recently reported in the New York Times that Canberra was in fact a cool place to be – and that is not just literally! If you are interested, check out Emma’s article 36 hours in Canberra, Australia for more information.
Back to the market. This time around there were around 150 stalls with a broad range of products including skin care, lighting, jewellery, clothing, and craft. For me there were a few standouts. We loved the fragrant soaps from bodybar and had a lovely time chatting to Steve and Viv, who incidentally come from the Coff’s region. The soaps use lovely natural ingredients like goat’s milk, coconut oil and essential oils. One of the soaps smelt so good I wanted to eat it, which is sort of funny considering I was often threatened to have my mouth washed out with soap, when I was a naughty kid and caught swearing. Anyway, what I really love about this product is the care taken in all stages of the product lifecycle to be sustainable and care for the environment. Their website says:
We take the greatest care in sourcing the finest fresh and natural ingredients and make them with a strong ethical commitment to our environment. We do all the regular stuff, recycling our waste etc, however we also put a lot of work into other aspects of our production cycle. Our bars are made locally from local goats milk, our bags are made by us out of newspapers that we buy and read, and we minimise package and waste wherever possible.
Above is a pic of Steve and Viv and their lovely products. Needless to say, we walked away with some goodies from their stall 🙂
The other stall that had some stand-out work for me was a jewellery stall – John Hablitschek Gems. Most of the pieces on this stall were one-off works of art, featuring very rare gemstones, like Australian Turquoise. Check out some of these beautiful pieces below.
We had a lovely morning checking out the market and look forward to the next time it is on – October 4 and 5. Here are some random images from our travels around the many stalls.
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.
To make it easier to find articles and photos of some of our favourite locations, we have created a new section of the site: Destinations. Under the tab, located on the main menu, you can find information grouped under the place-name.
We hope this new feature will be useful and help you navigate our site.