Tag Archives: BRISBANE

Brisbane Days. 2007.

kate-at-casinoI am a Sydney girl and knew very little of Brisbane till 2007.  I grew to love it. I can do cities on foot and on  public transport which is my preference. Kati B came to visit and we did the city centre and a cruelly long citycat ride on which she was sunburned and trapped. 

lynne-ship-inn1I had a particular fondness for the Inner City and Southbank and for the River. We moved to a wee flat in Auchenflower which meant my taking the train to CENTRAL STATION to get to lunchtime meetings – here at the Church on Ann Street. My favourite place was the basement of that church. We are usually put in basements and this one was a good one. 




One enormous project that has been underway at UQ and several other Halls of Academia is one by the name of AUSTLIT. The site tells us this:

AustLit is a non-profit collaboration between twelve Australian Universities and the National Library of Australia providing authoritative information on hundreds of thousands of creative and critical Australian literature works relating to more than 100,000 Australian authors and literary organisations. Its coverage spans 1780 to the present day.

I am not actually writing about AUSTLIT. I am writing about 2 of the researchers involved in the Project.  Peter Knox and Dr Clay Djubal.

I am not actually writing about them either. Not in any Intellectual manner. I am inclined to honour them instead for their baking abilities.  Dr Djubal arrived at The Cottage on The Hill one fine day all the way from Brisbane and supposedly for a hard day’s work with Peter.  He was, in fact, bringing SCONES. With cream and jam. The lads did appear to deal with some degree of business activity but the highlight was MORNING TEA. Peter is a BAGEL baker but failed to produce any on this occasion. BRAINY, BEAUTIFUL and gifted BAKERS. 



About HGWT

Originally founded in Armidale (NSW) as S.T.D. Music, Hire and Promotion (1983) by Clay Djubal, Have Gravity Will Threaten (HGWT) is an independent specialist publisher of music, plays, poetry and images from writers, musicians, composers, bands and photographers who emerged out of the New England region of New South Wales during the ‘pub rock’ era of the 1970s and 1980s. After being based in Sydney during the mid- late 1980s HGWT was re-established in Stafford Heights (Brisbane) in 1993.






P8220002 Last year, in August, Izzy had a cardiac incident which put him in the BRISBANE WOMENS AND CHILDRENS HOSPITAL. Was once called the GENERAL – so the taxi cab driver told me. He told me also of living in Europe in a room with a landlady and having access to city lanes and cafes and cobblestoned life. That appeals to me.

august 2006 009 In August of 2006, I took a drive up to POINT DANGER to watch the dredge PORT FREDERICK coming in at the mouth of the TWEED RIVER. I am done with this area so I am and wish myself gone to the next good place. But for the moment , I am here so I RE-COLLECT.

Re-collect and gather my thoughts and memories as Izzy and I come to decision-making about our next moves. Izzy had a brutal SMS during the week – it left me once the wild winds had settled with one message : THIS IS A SMALL TOWN AND WE WERE HERE FIRST.

Ah now there’s a loving thought.

Not a very small town. i am used to very small towns or the heart of very large cities.

august 2006 022 My Old GentleMan was bringing me lunch on the lawn of the Gallery in August of 2006. Neither of us knowing what was behind my being given those days of Art Gallery work. He has taken very good care of me and I am very fond of him as I am of my wee daughter in law.

Now what happened in August 2005 ?

kate woth boys in park armi

We all went West and up the mountains for the 50th Birthday of Kate and Mad O’Brians father. That was cold. Armidale IS cold. Jolene said snow was predicted yesterday for her birthday. Here in Bilambil we were in singlets and jeans and only one sleeping bag for bedding. Mind you it is one fine sleeping bag purchased for Izzy’s wintermoon experience. I am staying here for 16 days to watch the Olympics and read old newspapers and then I plan the next ARMIDALE experience. it could be the $2.50 train ride or it could be a CHARADE ride. I would prefer the STAR WAGON but finances might prevent that. I am waiting for September and signs of SPRINGTIME unless one of the job applications comes in first.


My mother JOYCE BELL SANDERS passed away in August. August 28th 2001. 74 years old. Suddenly in Coffs harbour hospital. I got clean in August . August 12th 1987.


My sister Susan Sanders married MARK POMROY a long time ago at the end of August. At Bellingen Courthouse.

I,myself, was married in August at the Church near the Roundabout and then had a reception at BELLINGEN BOWLING  CLUB – there are some low points in one’s life. AUGUST seems the wrong word for this month to me.  Usually Dis-Gust-ing.




IZZY IN SURFERS PARADISE. surfers and pyt 001

Life here in Bilambil borders on the insane. Borders on Queensland as well.  This week we have been to a cafe in SURFERS PARADISE where Phil E Berg was playing. To a wake at BILAMBIL SPORTS CLUB and then up to a farewell for AUSTLIT members at UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND and back to the Cottage to recover and look at 19th century Australia and the FAMILY TREE. I still do not like living at a distance from my children and grandchildren but am doing so for now.  So be it. I read a year or two back when I was doing the one year Ignatian online retreat about a deep willingness for things to be as they are. A passionate surrender. So I stay with that.

The winter days here in the North of NSW and South of Qld are sweet. Singlet and jeans weather with the occasional wearing of the Brogan. A heater at the feet of a night and a couple of doonahs and all is well.


Went to UQ yesterday for Cathy, Jim and Stephanie’s farewell to AUSTLIT. PIzza at the PIZZA CAFE and Life Water from Rosalie on the way home. More on the PETER KNOX website. Peter being Izzy’s alter ego.

For me – Home for the day. Once I lived very much more eremite than I do now that I live with Izzy and am drawn out into the world amongst personalities and philosophies with disquiet and confound me at times. A day out here with birds at the window and the deep silence of the Valley suits me very well before I engage again with the world into which I am not greatly inclined to indulge. I re-located my HERMITARY website and am deeply reassured by that. Izzy is a good man to live with for peacefulness and ease. Behind me is the Dell and the Forest with the winter birds – subtle they are. It is at this time of the year that the owl is in the pines on the drive when we come home at night. The wee wren is in the tree behind the Cottage and the two willie wagtails rouse and babble while we eat bagels on the porch. I think its a porch. It could be a patio or a verandah. Izzy will be out there today. Down at Stokers Siding rehearsing with Phil E Berg. Me I ain’t leaving home. I have had it again. I would rather be riding in a STARWAGON with 2 little girls or talking to my son and his lilttle lady. I would rather be eating good food in a Kalang living room with my daughter and her IMM and watching Izzy at open mike night at the FEDERAL HOTEL in BELLINGEN but I am not.

So I shall stay home. Its been 3 years since my father died and it would have been his birthday this last week had he lived. So I put as much of his family tree as I was able on the heritage website and now I stay home all day and consider things As they are now. Standing before the situation and waiting for an internal response to emerge. AUSTLIT PIZZA 007 Joan Keating, Peter Knox and me with Roger in the background. PIZZA CAFE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND. The very same cafe that Kati B and I retreated to after our marathon CITY CAT ride . On that occasion Kati B required a fortifying ale to recover from the hours in the sun with  fumes , tourists and sunstroke. On this occasion AUSTLIT provided the pizza and sparkling water. Hi Joan !

IZZYS MAY 2008 003IZZYS MAY 2008 006 ARMIDALE MIGHT BE COLDER BUT HEARTS ARE WARM. We took the little girls to breakfast at Maccas and then on to ice cream in the new ARMIDALE Centro. That means little to other people – but to me its as meaningful as Ralph Waldo Emerson. As meaningful as a gigantic pumpkin on a Scottish beach at Findhorn. Which did turn out to be meaningful for me – because its from Sutherland Shire that The Mackays and the McLeods came to marry James Bell in the 1800s preparing the way for my own entrance into this world.  I do not know what is being prepared now in these years away from my loved ones but something is.

SO- a day at home making family trees – sorting out affairs. Hanging washing on the line stretched along the back porch. Looking over the 2nd chapter of izzy’s thesis. Wondering how close Durham actually is to York and whether or not that was a Catholic Chapel Carol discovered under the Institute Hall in York. Same as Dempsey’s in Sydney. A day reading more about Henry Kendall who is a classic progressing alcoholic and a right  dick and dodgy as well.  The whiskey grass is red along the front drive here and the lawn is getting a wee bit long because the DOS has been away with family in Newport.

That’s winter in Bilambil. Singlet and shorts. Barefooted winter days.

IZZYS MAY 2008 005



Late it is. Nearing dusk and the Star wagon is packed and ready to go for the last time. Izzy is sleeping in preparation for a night drive back down the M1. Beryl Mortimer has been farewelled. Very fond of her we are. The Shuggle has been swept and mopped and everything is in there and ready to go.  We are going to Rosalie on the way out to get Life Energy water if theyre open and to eat dinner if we can find a seat where we can keep an eye on the StarWagon and our possessions.889.jpg

Goodbye Brisbane.


Rain falls again today in Drought City. I am not even going to try it not even for the last day. Not even for one last 7 am train from Ipswich to Central Station. Not even to take the Central lift with the large lady from the West and exchange one small greeting and one lift hop of companionship. I was tempted to go in. I was tempted to experience once more the shove of a guard sardining us into the carriage so the doors could do their automatic close. But – I am not. I was out most of the day yesterday. Izzy wanted to get mandolin strings for the Bloke for his birthday. 8 string mandolin. Bullamakanka is playing Club Banora on Saturday night and the Bloke has broken another string so I set off in the rain for Allen’s Music in Queen Street Mall. Sentimental as the time in Brisbane comes to an end. Took the Auchenflower train. Rode the escalators at Central. Smiled at the busker and assessed the food in the food courts. Then I hunted up and down Queen Street Mall and located Allen’s music Store. Level 1. Up another escalator – confident. Crumpler bag over my shoulder and lynx sandals on as well as the black shorts I had found in St Vinnies in Woody Point on our dugong following tour of Northern Moreton Bay. I had 3 graphic downloads of the 3 required sets of strings and instruction on locating the store. Nothing to worry about.
A young man on training leads greeted me and rather than check the shelves took to the computer only to discover that they had NONE. He referred the matter upwards to another smartly clad Cool Customer Service Assistant who also checked the computer to discover that they had none. And if I had only read the internet correctly I would also have known that they HAD NO FENDER MANDOLIN STRINGS let alone for an 8 string mandolin. They ORDER THEM IN with a 10 DAY WAITING PERIOD. Not humanly possible to do it any faster than that says Brisbane’s largest music store. So I stood there in my lynx sandals and crumpler bag slung over my shoulder and chest in case of a random mugging. Holding the 3 downloads – one in full colour – attempting to find any message which said WE DO NOT HAVE THEM IN STOCK. THERE IS A 10 DAY DELIVERY TIME. I couldn’t find any such message but undoubtedly it will be there.
The result was – NO MANDOLIN STRINGS FOR THE BLOKE and no repeat business from me or mine either.
I took off to the food court lower down Queen Street Mall. I LOVE BRISBANE’S FOOD COURTS and straight to the CREPE CAFE. A Florentine crepe seemed the best idea for soothing down. And I added one bottle of PEPSI to drink right at the Allens Cool Lads.
Then across the ways and by-ways to St Andrews Church, Presbyterian which is a comfort when Izzy and I are encountering Presbyterians all over the place as we research Melinda Kendall. And again as I trace the Scottish Bells ( my own family ) right back to JAMES BELL – tried for housebreaking and transported for 7 years in 1831. he lived at Gallow Gate Glasgow.
I sat a while in the meeting in the church and then in came a young woman – the one with chiselled features and True Cool , not Allen’s Cool. She’s the one from whom I learned how to wear my Crumpler bag with a certain casual nonchalance. She pulled her chair beside me and I leaned across and asked whether she knew of any music stores in Brisbane where I might be able to buy mandolin strings. The Valley said she . Billy Hydes. Now I had heard of Billy Hyde’s. Mad O’Brian had asked me to go there once and Izzy knew them in Sydney. Off I took on an Ann Street walk to the Valley. Stopped at some lights and asked a young gentleman who sent me left and right and there they were. 3 large blue stores and much more appealing than the slick and hip inner city. There was Billy Hyde Orchestral Billy Hyde Drums and Billy Hyde everything else. They didn’t have Fenders either but they did have another brand whic Izzy checked via my mobile and gave the appro to. So out I came with 2 sets of strings and one red kazoo and the lads in Billy Hydes WERE cool as well as smart, astute helpful. Bravo Billy Hydes in the Valley.
So I took the last chances to see more of the Valley than I have previously done . Bounced into a Chinese Store looking for suitcases. I am on a quest for perfect travelling bags and shoes and clothes after my last purple suitcase experience and a year of coming and going. Hither and thithering . Didn’t see the perfect suitcase but did find watchbands. $3. $4 – fitted and sure enough the gentleman had his jewellers tools out and the band fitted in no time for $4. Thats better than $47 for the band alone in Tweed City. Did some looking about in Fortitude Valley and was checking the bus times when another mega cool young man took hold of me and said – Here’s your city bus coming now.
Well I didn’t actually want to go back to the City for a hour or so – but I do not like to discourage cool young people who are helping my generation out so I took the 370 back to the City with him. Mebbe some other time I shall see more of The Valley. Took the chance in the City to look for a Trekking shop in the ongoing hunt for the shoes and bag. Found one too and the BEST shoes. Almost took a caribbee bag but it wasn’t quite right. The shoes were quite right. However they were also quite expensive and need some more thinking about. Nevertheless I know now that they do exist.
Carol W from Austlit wore the perfect boot to the Brekkie for Peter Knox. Thats what set me off. I usually wear Blundstones when I am not in Lynx sandals but Blundstones are heavy and no longer made in Australia.
Being out and about after a week of being unwell – I decided I had best keep right on going whilst I was able. West End remained one place I hadn’t even seen after one year. So I went searching for West End buses. Looked down in the underground bus station first. Down in the bowels under the Queen Street Mall. No West Enders there. Then tried Elizabeth Street. None there. Ended up back at the Information Booth in the mall and was directed to Stop 47 at the top of Adelaide Street. The 199 Bus. Took a seat up the back and down sat another 2 young cool ones. Brisbane breeds a most polite and generous young person so it does. I asked them where I should get off to see West End and they filled me in on the best spots , stops and ways to the City Cat wharf.
866.jpgSo now I have been to West End and am again impressed. Cafes and op shops and more magical tropical buildings. The Young Man had been very clear about my not being able to walk as far as the City Cat wharf and that lit the walking fire in me. So I walked the length of Vulture Street and took the few twists at the end and arrived at the wharf intact despite a phone call from Tanya Tauszky on the way which left me a little hard of breathing and a sense of urgency about getting to UQ by 4.50 pm to get a lift with Izzy. Turned out just fine and I still had my $3.20 all day concession. I wanted to take some fotos of his last days at UQ so I did.
Then we Took ourselves to Bardon for dinner at the Nepalese . All in all – a very fine second last day in Brisbane except for tidying up.



Last 2 days officially in the Shuggle. Yesterday was the brisbane of Legend which I had not encountered this Summer. HOT with bugs crawling on me while i tried to sleep and the ceiling fan whirring. I have a lingering image of long fans made of cloth and pulled back and forth on white fellas by an Indian holding the rope in his toes. I saw it in a movie a long time ago. Last night I lay in the heat – window closed against the neighbours’ noises. Fan turning instead of being leisurely fanned back and forth by a toe pulled rope – listening to a squeaky dog and thinking to myself – ” one legendary Brisbane night before I leave. ” One is probably quite enough and a 1000 far to many. Today is however my accustomed Brisbane day. Cool and damp. Birds and tropical gardens. Iz works today and tomorrow at Aust Lit and then it is done and he comes to live with me in The Cottage on The Hill. As an AusStudent and me a Disabled Pensioner. I wonder what my disability really is.

Today I am commissioned to go into the City and find Allens Music Store in the Queen Adelaide Building in Queen Street Mall and buy 3 sets of strings for an 8 string mandolin. Thats Izzy present to the Bloke for his 61st birthday. I have the internet printout to show them. I shall add a meeting at St Andrews Church at noon. probably take the train from Auchenflower station 3 stops into the City. Then I am almost done with that as well




I listen to ClassicFM here in the Shuggle. When I am down South, I listen to Coast FM. The Shuggle is beautifully set up with Bookcases and wardrobes . Down South we are making our bookshelves from planks and bricks as we did way back in the 70s.

Izzy is accustomed to fulltime work and plenty of pay. As from March 31st hes AusStudy and full time PhD. Now this will be interesting.


And Me I am accustomed to living alone and running my own households for 20 years . This could be very interesting indeed. This could be very good.

Here in Auchenflower in this Thursday before we leave, the rain comes. I borrow a blue long sleeved shirt from his wardrobe and wiht my Lynx sandals on prepare for another rainy Brisbane outing.


A last few days spent looking through louvres. A last few days watching the ghekkos come out to hunt from behind the bookcases. And dreading the slope of the Rossmere Lane Hill. I am yearning for the big farmhouse in a valley near my children but life might not go that way. So I keep packing up the Shuggle ready for the next Student from UQ who will come to live here. And wondering how JB is doing in the Royal Brisbane Women and Childrens Hospital. Iz was in there with his cardiac incident but I don’t quite know where it is. I haven’t QUITE mastered Brisbane and for now I will not be doing so but :


Carol W from AustLit found this poem to read at Izzy’s Austlit Breakfast Farewell on Tuesday. The AustLitters gathered at Wordsmiths’ Cafe on the UQ campus and you can check out the poems on Peter Knox’s site.
This wee one from Carol seems just to match the day alone in the Shuggle farewelling all manner of things UNSEEN by anyone but Me and Him.
As Chesterton said –
And as Carol would have read at the AustLit Breakfast if she hadn’t left the printout on her dessk when she came down to brekkie –
Circa 1962.
The greatest events may leave hearts unimpressed
Whilst Peter of the variety Porter
Perhaps more appropriately orders:
Bring me forest salad , the topmost leaves which wait upon the sun.


Izzy comes today. Works the morning at UQ and then comes down the M1 to Bilambil. He is expecting mail which is held at the Post Office Village Store. It could be our Canadian data on the Chambly Court Martial. It could be Melinda and Basil’s marriage certificates. it could be anything.
Izzy comes home today and then within 3 weeks we will actually be living together. I am in Bilambil. In the Cottage. Kate rang last night and she has her car. Went on a mission to Armidale with Johan, Mel and Bell and Baby Jet with the penetrating eyes and fetched it from her father. Bell drove it back down. Kate has had her licence for almost one year . That means she can’t drive a manual car for 3 more weeks and needs to do some sort of spatial perception test in order to get the full licence. Then she will be out there in the red Magna station wagon doing the Kalang back roads.A big change from the inner City of Sydney where she learned to drive.
We have only a week or so left in Brisbane. I had great hopes of Brisbane. I fell in love with it when I went there for the first time last year. Rode on the City Cats and walked along SouthBank. Travelled all day on public transport for $2.70. I fell in love with the beautiful old houses and the lavish bushiness of this Northern Town. 3kms from the City Centre and kookaburras are in the trees , scrub turkeys scrimmage in the gardens and possums climb the wires. Izzy don’t like it. He has wanted to get out almost from the beginning BUT I LOVE IT. I don’t want to go there now – because it hasn’t become the place where we are to make our lives and so an aching regret is there for me like leaving a lover one doesn’t wish to leave.
Being in Bello for a week or two has helped. There are places where I could be at Home. I did love this area when I came here. Loved it for 7 years and now restlessness is upon me. Been like that all my life. 7 years or so is enough for me. Then a wandering call comes.
Bellingen was pretty fine this time. I think anywhere where the Kids are within easy range looks pretty good to me. Just as anywhere that Izzy is coming home to looks pretty good to me.


Jai and Kate with Izzy at the Old Butter Factory in Bellingen.

I went to town. That means COOLANGATTA for me. 15 kms app. Did a meeting and then went to Tweed Centro. Bought some incense and some spiritual sky essential oil while I’m on the early 70s retro trip. Which with the Stars as they are for the next couple of decades ( inc EQUINOX and full moon this week) Might see the rest of my earth days fitting me rather well just as the forerunner did in the 1970s. So I chose NIGHT QUEEN for some ancient reason which I cannot recall and then I hit the Bagels , Goats Milk , lentil patties, greek yoghurt in memory of Tony Bahles, and other odds and ends. From the Woolworths in Centro. I do not like supermarkets but decided to do it anyway for the things Izzy likes. Doing things for my men has not been a major facet of my life. Thats why I did it. Cause he’s a good man and does many things for me. Now I’m home again. Home is for sale mind you. Over $1 million. Not my $1 million.

I have added this Armidale foto. Haven’t put many up from the Armidale section of the trip. will do so. It was a good week. I love My Kids’ homes. When I go to Armidale they have a big queen size bed for me same as Kalang does. In Armidale they give me 5 pillows and 5 doonahs because they know I love that. I sleep in Maddy’s playroom and am treated marvellously as I am at Kalang. We take walks in Armidale. This one is outside O’Connor Catholic college. Every single one of these vehicles has a P Plate on it. Draw your own conclusions.




In the Meantime I am in the Cottage. Cool Breezes blowing and windchimes chiming. Grass growing. Me watching the new Minister for Science etc at the Press Club and considering the new Government. Wondering when and how Dept of Housing disappeared and why it rarely is suggested. Life is a LOT easier when one has a HOUSE to live in. My rent has been more than 50% of my income for a very long time. These are the easiest financial days of my adult life – but I have years and years of what Margaret Jakob called GRINDING POVERTY and I have often been ground down. Still am eroded probably. Going shopping like I did today and spending about $50 still causes an allergic reaction in me. A surge of fear and trepidation.

I drive the Charade my father passed on to me when my mother died in 2001. I have their ashes in the wardrobe and am considering a plaque at Urunga Cemetery. I used to take Odin the Staffordshire Bull Terrier there to walk early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the roos came out. We got on well – Odin , the roos, the birds , the ghosts and me. I built a cairn there of rocks. Just out of the official boundary of the cemetery. The cemetery is near Urunga lagoon. The smell of the salt water and the waters meeting the sea. I taught school there and have 20 or so ex-pupils on facebook writing to me. I am glad of that. Sometimes its difficult to anchor onto worlds which are gone now.




IN THE Shuggle for 4 days, Only a few more weeks and then this is done. Then I am going to live with a fulltime PhD student and do research. Today it seems the rain is actually taking a break. Crisp and clear and fresh. All manner of birds come to the garden now. The wet summer has brought new life apparently.

Mornings I go down and kick the engine over wile Izzy hits the starter motor with a hammer and stick. To go off to UQ. We will be able to live together in 4-5 weeks. Next week we go south to Kate and IMM in Kalang and then I go over the mountains to TheKids in Armidale. 2 weeks away is not what I really like but I am malnourished in the area of family contact so off I go. Mebbe one of them will know how to fix the iBookG4 Mac which freezes midstream all the time.

Beryl Mortimer is up and about in her garden and one loud crw is dominating on the front wire. I have a Premier coach ticket on which to get a refund. Mebbe I will mail it in and get the cheque refund after all. Or go to Roma Street and get cash at the counter. Best do that today en route to UQ this afternoon.

Been researching MELINDA KENDALL all week till my mind is lost someplace in the 19th Century and muddled at that. Today I shall begin on My own long lost family which is now making more sense to me. I remain proud of the Grandmother Hannah Hitchens who was described as A LOOSE WOMAN – on a convict ship. One of only 6 to be so described on the ship -BROTHERS- 1823-24. Go for it grandma. Then she went to live with Thomas Benson – Grandfather – equally dodgy – in Sussex Street – right near where Melinda and Basil met in 1835.