Tag Archives: Brisbane

The Big Smoke

I find a tiny write up about an exhibition at the QUT. Wood: Art Design Architecture. In our price range too – free. All we have to do is find the location.

Brisbane River
The QUT end of town, note bridges and gardens

What’s different in Brisbane city? So long ago 1977-78 I worked on Eagle Street, adjacent the river, but back then I had no idea about the surroundings. Even though I know back then I used to alternate which train station to alight, and walked various roads to the office, all those years which have passed, all those different cities in which I have lived make me more aware to take a good look around.

From Kari Gislason’s The Promise of Iceland…the ‘left bank’ of Brisbane, and it was actually rather lovely. The Story Bridge was lit up on our right, right, and the sky rises of the city stood close to heater on the other side. It was warm and hazy, as it always was in this town, even in winter. Only later would we really appreciate gaining warmth would be. I enjoy the turn of phrase about the sky rises, and take on board the description of this city, refreshingly brazen in the sun.

Still more – Brisbane is all about liquid aroma- the heady comforts of the Pacific…I welcomed the heavy fragrances of the coming summer…I asked if we could stop by the river and take in the air…recall just how enveloping the atmosphere was. It picked you up ad carried you away with the pollen. There is no doubting Gislason captures the aroma, would we pay as much attention to the details?

Brisbane: Our first impressions included – crowded, traffic, lights on intersections and more expensive petrol. The latter we put down to a new Cosco supermarket and garage close-ish to Bribie with some extreme cost cutting. Locals might have reason to be nearby and can fill up, or take advantage of reasonable prices on Bribie Island Road – the one road from the Bruce Highway to the Island.

Back to Brisbane: They are opinionated, especially about Rugby League and the State of Origin tests.

Wood exhbits QUT
Lavish works in wood, worth the city trip

Finding QUT confirms my thoughts that no matter where they are universities have a particular insular ambience. There are always people milling about with purpose, non-threatening, personal space intact, totally engrossed in their own tasks. Universities always have interesting books shops and cheap cafes.

I see Bay of Fires in the QUT bookshop, with a label ‘brilliant Australian Debut” – takes me back to our Tassie adventure.thXA0LMQHQ

But a challenge to being a visitor on a university campus is to find a particular building, thank heavens for signs to point out the directions to our target exhibition.

The exhibition title was about art and architecture, very apt as some pieced are whole buildings, even an entire concert hall. The Tree of Knowledge (featured image) which is a memorial to the beginnings of the Australian Labour movement, in a place called Barcaldine. Apparently this is also the site of a shearers strike, the original tree was poisoned so they build an Architectural tree. These pieces are wonderfully detailed, thinnest plywood cut into lace, great recycling efforts to minimalize wastage.

Outside the surrounding botanical gardens have random deck chairs under giant fig tree.

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Problems back home

We discovered, thanks to throw away comment from my, previously worked in insurance, sister, that the empty house back in Sydney may not be insured. Turns out that if left unoccupied for longer than often 40 days, many home insurance policies become null and void. We concede that insurance assessors would have their ways to confirm a house was occupied. So our attention may be needed back home.

Bribie Island library
More than just books at this library

But there is the distraction of Bribie Island library with shelves full of history, travel and even a section for westerns plus free tea and coffee for my ‘I don’t do books’ husband. Interesting in this realm of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease books have an insert pack to initial when you have read, meaning users can always avoid taking something home to discover they’ve read it before.

Last Christmas we were constantly frustrated with the blustery winds, wanting to swim but being forced off the beach by stinging sand and choppy swell. Here mid-year it is much less tempest. And we have a dog to give us an excuse to walk down the beach. Note: As 4 wheel drive cars are another reason to be on Bribie Island, watch out for vehicles on the beach, and deep gullies formed by wheel tracks.

Bribie Island storms
Typical damage, lucky Banksia Beach missed out.

In the week before we arrived Bribie was struck by very bad storms. It’s a wonder damage wasn’t more extensive with vegetation right up to the windows of many houses, ‘to keep the home cooler’, we are told. Now the streets are alive with landscapers spreading piles of mulch made from broken trees. Being that Bribie is a sand island the soil needs all the help it can get. Aside from the necessity to add organic material to the soil, this is all part of the beautification of the habituated end of the island.

We tour some of the canal developments, marveling at the spread of mansions and what can be purchased for the real estate dollar. ‘Make sure you don’t tell them you are from Sydney,’ was a shared secret. Apparently house prices are automatically jacked up if it’s suspected you have a larger purse because you come from ‘down south’.

Caboolture train
Get on that train!

To check on our insurance issue, we head to the city on the Caboolture train. First problem; purchase of a go-card train ticket. ‘It’s just a new system you aren’t used to’, I tell Rod. ‘Embrace the change.’ There were several attempts made to explain the deposit which does not add value. This is the same system being used in Victoria, West Australia and now in place in Sydney, so why does he have so many problems? ‘But what if you don’t tap on…’ he begins to make suggestions about routing the system.

Why on earth can they have the air-conditioning turned down to such a freezing temperature?

We get plenty of samples at the Queen Street Mall grower’s markets, note the buses moving in and out of an underground terminal. The whole city seems to be a forest of cranes, building everywhere. Preparation for the 2016 Commonwealth Games, or as a tart-up for the G20, or just a city with a purpose?

Our answer is yes, our home will be uninsured if vacant for more than 60 days, someone must occupy the premises. Could be a family member, or friend, but Rod is uncomfortable with that.