A Semi -Regular Photo Blog about Life in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Monday, April 30, 2012

We Fade to Grey

Another weekend: more rain, more cloud, more mist, more showers!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Country Life

Life in the country can be harsh, confronting even barbaric. At Clouds Creek on the Grafton to Armidale Rd someone has strung up a shot or poisoned wild dog/dingo.
Thanks to my correspondent, 'The Man from Saigon', for this image.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yamba's Story House - The Big Bite

Yesterday I showed you the WW1 exhibit at the Port of Yamba's Historical Museum, the Story House.
Another exhibit that caught my eye was the Cal Liddle surfboard that Steve King was riding when he was attacked by a shark on Angourie's Back Beach late last year, he luckily survived, shaken and with a few puncture marks to his leg. To read the story as told in the local paper click here. It is generous of King to loan the board to the museum.
Shark attacks in the local area are quite rare but they do happen to mainly surfers or divers. On the entire North Coast, with a thousand beaches and tens of thousands surfing, there is one or two attacks per year.

Contributing to Lesley's Thursday Signs meme.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Ghosts of World War One: 101 Local Heroes is an excellent exhibition currently on show at the Port of Yamba Historical Museum. There some amazing stories and records of service-men from the Lower Clarence River. Of particular interest is the section devoted to Indigenous Australians.

The curators of the Exhibition identified at least five local Aboriginal Men, John McKenzie Laurie,  Edward Kapeen (miss-spelt Capeen in military papers), George Kapeen, Arthur Blakeney and Thomas James Walker. It would be very interesting to know alot more about these men and their experiences.

It is important that on ANZAC Day that we recognise all men and women who have, or are, serving in our Defense Forces.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V C Corner Cemetery, Fromelles, France.

In 1916 the Australian Imperial Force arrived on the Western Front after the disaster of the Gallipoli Campaign. They saw their first action on a quiet part of the front, French Flanders, on 19th and 20th of July 1916 . It was an unmitigated disaster, the worst 24hrs that any Australian Army has ever known. 5553 soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Very few Australians know about this terrible military disaster.

VC Corner Cemetery was constructed in 1920-21 from over 400 bodies recovered after the Armistice from the battlefield. It is not a mass grave like the recently discovered nearby Pheasant Wood site. The unknown men were buried in separate graves but with no headstones. Two white concrete crosses inlaid into the grass and beds of roses mark the locations of the interred. The wall in the distance is a memorial that inscribes the names of nearly 2000 men with no known grave on the battlefield.

Historians are unsure how the cemetery got it's name, it certainly does not refer to Victoria Crosses won at this battle but it probably is a nickname from the battle to an unknown act of bravery that occurred here.

It is supposedly a unique cemetery on the Western Front. It is the only one with no headstones and contains only Australian Servicemen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bright Wet Seat

It has been a wet few days to end the Easter Holidays. The view over Lover's Point and Convent Beach was grey with rain. The only bright spot was the seat!

This post is for Leif Hagen @ the always amusing and honest  Eagan Daily Photo in Minnesota. He loves his local Rotary Club.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whiting Beach: Yamba

Whiting Beach is inside the mouth of the Clarence River. It is a small beach loved by families with small children, dog walkers and fisherman. This is the view to the west.

The eastern end of Whiting Beach.

Friday, April 20, 2012

NERAM: Tim Barnsley - Chụp ảnh

Chụp ảnh is a Vietnamese verb meaning both to photograph and to be photographed: it is the title of professional photographer Tim Barnsley's NERAM exhibition. Barnsley spent 2 years living in Saigon documenting the lives of ordinary people, his portraits are simply outstanding.

The opening of Chụp ảnh was celebrated by speeches by Richard Torbay, State Member for Northern Tablelands, Tim Barnsley, Vietnam Consul General Mai Phuoc Dzung and NERAM Director Caroline Downer.

I hope you have enjoyed our few days at NERAM, if you are passing through Armidale it is always worth a visit to see their outstanding collection of Australian Art and temporary exhibitions.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NERAM Armidale: Subak

'Subak' by Margaret Brooks and Christine McMillan is an exhibit that draws attention to irrigation and water rights in Bali, it mainly comprises of monochrome drawings but I was interested in the central table of bowls that were created by Balinese children.

I hope you like my vivid interpretation of the coconut bowls.

Linking to the Photo Art Friday meme.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NERAM Armidale: Norman Lindsay Exhibition

Norman Lindsay (1879-1969) was an enfant terrible of the Australian art scene. He was a prodigious author, illustrator, painter, cartoonist and sculptor and was well known for his battles with the censors and other arbiters of public decency. He is best remembered for his classic children's book The Magic Pudding and the overtly sensual/sexual subject matter of  his art.
NERAM has dipped into the Hinton Collection and is currently displaying a fantastic selection of his watercolours which the catalogue describes as, "(His) masterful watercolour technique is displayed in beautifully vibrant images of nude nymphs and satyrs, pirates and peacocks."

Howard Hinton was a close friend of Lindsay and he purchased a great deal of work directly from him. As discussed yesterday, Hinton's small boarding house room only ever allowed him to have around 10 paintings on his walls, he always had a few Lindsay's including 'Balthazar'(centre), a vivid portrayal of the infamous sacrilegious and orgiastic feast in Babylon.
Norman Lindsay's home and studio in the Blue Mountains is maintained by the National Trust. Click here to visit this excellent site.
Linking to the ABC Wednesday meme.          N is for Norman and NERAM.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NERAM: Armidale 2350

The New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale is home to a number of extraordinary collections and a fascinating history of how it all came together.
The collection began with the enigmatic Howard Hinton who lived in a Cremorne(Sydney) boarding house and amassed an incredible private art collection. He only ever had a dozen paintings in this small room; as he would buy them he sent them to C B Newling, the Principal of the Armidale Teachers College. Why he chose Armidale is still somewhat a mystery. To read more about this fascinating man click here.
Howard Hinton by George Lambert - http://m.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/work/968/
Over the years over a 1200 pieces were sent north from Sydney. The Tom Roberts, Han Heysens, William Dobells, Lloyd Rees, Margaret Prestons etc hung on the corridors and offices of the College for many years as generations of trainee teachers learnt their craft, ( and apparently sometimes played practical jokes with the valuable paintings).

Chandler Coventry by Judy Cassab - http://www.judycassab.com/a-old/160-Chandler_Coventry-1987.jpg
The other core collection of NERAM belonged to Chandler Coventry. He was born into a famous New England pastoral family but eschewed the grazing industry and moved to Sydney were he eventually ran the Coventry Gallery in Paddington. It is mainly due to Coventry that NERAM was built.
In the late 1970's he offered his personal collection of Modern Art to the City of Armidale on the understanding that a purpose built Gallery would be constructed to display his and Howard Hinton's great benefactions. NERAM opened in 1983 and is one of Australia's great public Art Galleries.

Outdoor sculpture at the entrance to NERAM (wish I knew who it is by)
NERAM is one of the largest Art Galleries in Regional Australia. There are always art works on display from the Hinton and Coventry collections but the spaces also allow for many other exhibitions to occur.
Over the next few days I will show you what is on at present as well as the buzz of an Opening Night at the Gallery.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Caringa Enterprises Mural

Caringa Enterprises has been providing disability support programs in Grafton since 1954, they are a wonderful organisation that has provided real opportunties for thousands of people over the years.
This colourful mural is at their main office in South Grafton. For many years the building was the headquarters of the Nymbodia Shire Council.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Free Kirk: Maclean

A severe and austere version of Presbyterianism is preached at the Free Kirk in Maclean. It is claimed to be the oldest church in the Clarence Valley still in use in it's original building.
The Kirk features prominently in Shirley Walker's novel Ghost at the Wedding: a true story. The following extracts are very evocative of the buildings and it's Calvinist worshippers.

"There are still one or two Free Kirks standing, alone and almost deserted, in the northern valleys. One, built in 1864, sits on a rise above the meeting of two arms of the Clarence, the tide still drawing worshippers to its doors. The building has been washed clean as a bone by the storms of more than a century, scoured by the winds of heaven. Dappled reflections from the river play upon its bare walls, its only decoration a carved timber bargeboard and the filigree of hornets' and swallows' nests beneath the eaves."

"These people were all Free Kirkers, who had broken away from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland because of what they consid­ered the lax and worldly ways of Edinburgh. They were the new Pharisees, the true inheritors of Calvin and John Knox. Anything that might have brought beauty to the eye or joy to the heart was for­bidden. Music was especially distrusted, even the singing of hymns and the playing of the organ, for that could lead to levity and sin. Only the Psalms of David, led by the Precentor, usually known as the Chanter, were allowed."
To read more extracts of this true story click here. 
To read about the very interesting author click here.

This is my contribution to Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White. Click here for the meme.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On The Beach

The weather in Northern NSW over Easter was the best in living memory. Normally the holiday is characterised by wind and rain but 2012 will be long rememered for it's sparkling warm days.

This is my contribution to the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hollywood Theatre: Maclean

Maclean's Hollywood Theatre closed in 1967, like many picture palaces a victim of the TV revolution that swept the nation. The Art Deco facade is unique in the town's street-scape and is heritage listed. It was converted to an arcade in 1969.

Also on the State Heritage list is the concrete sign 'Picture Palace' embedded in the footpath.

Linking to Lesley's Thursday Signs meme.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Elsie Randall - Yaegl Artist

The Yaegl Country Aboriginal Art Exhibition has been on in Maclean over Easter showcasing a number of local artists from ages 10 to 50.
The delightful Elsie Randall creates amazing paintings that you can actually touch.This work is about Elsie's girlfriends/sisters and the highs and lows that they support each other through. If you close your eyes and trace your finger from side to side there is a sensation of the rough and the smooth mirroring the realities of our lives.
Maclean in Easter is a huge celebration of Scottish culture with the annual Highland Gathering, it is a great idea to have this show on at the same time. As Elsie states, “It is a time when Aboriginal and Scottish can share in celebration of their cultures through dance, music and art.”
To visit Elsie's blog click here
Linking to the Midweek Blues meme.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tartan Poles

Since 2000 Maclean artist Linda El Mir has been decorating the power poles of Maclean with the traditional tartan patterns of the clans. There must be now hundreds of these plaid poles around the main street and on the roads that lead into town. There is a small cost involved.

The history of the Scots in Maclean is linked to the Highland Clearances of the 1860's when thousands were forced off the land as the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions gained pace. Most arrived in Australia on a free or assisted passage with nothing and were given land under the Free Selectors Act.
There is of course the irony of the poor and dispossessed of Caledonia building new lives on land that was stolen off the local Aboriginal clans.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Scottish Shop

The Scottish Shop is a hole in the wall emporium for all Scotophiles. I particularly like the taxidermied Aussie fauna now bedecked in tartan accessories.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Scottish Town in Australia

Maclean prides itself on being an outpost of all things Scottish in an antipodean setting. Easter means the Highland Gathering and the traditional pipe bands marching through the main street to the cheers of a large crowd

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coachwood & Cedar Hotel: Uralla

The Coachwood & Cedar Hotel in Uralla has been renamed and is now called the Top Pub! Sorry but that is a piss poor effort in rebadging! It is still a great hotel but please bring back the old name!

Linking to Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White meme.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Old Billiards Hall: Uralla

Uralla has a vibrant and eclectic main street that caters for locals and tourists. Many historic buildings have become galleries or cafes.

A particular favourite is the gun shop that also sells toys and giftware!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Elms of New England

Just at the moment the Elms and Poplars are putting on the best autumnal display on the New England Tablelands. The avenues of varying goldenness are spectacular.
It's ironic that the Elm Tree has become a minor pest on the Tablelands, in contrast with it's natural environment, Europe, where it was decimated in successive waves through Dutch-Elm disease during the 20th century.

Linking to Southern Daydreamer's Outdoor Wednesday meme

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Captain Thunderbolt: A Grave and an Industry

The Old Uralla Cemetery was established in the late 1850's and is very well maintained perhaps due to it being the resting place of the notorious bushranger Fred Ward AKA Captain Thunderbolt. His name has recently been in the news as many commentators compared this 19th century criminal to a recently captured 21st century criminal Malcolm Naden. If you want to read about either man click on their names for the Wikipedia link.

Fred Ward's inscription reads, "Erected by New England Residents To Mark Where Lies Thunderbolt (Fred Ward) Died May 25th 1870 Aged 36 Years". There is controversy if it is even Thunderbolt in the grave with one local resident claiming it is his brother Harry buried at Uralla.

The controversy doesn't stop there. A large bronze statue of the bushranger was unveiled in 1988 with some locals complaining that the money should've been spent on something else rather than a statue of a criminal.
Yes he does strike a 'heroic' pose but I don't think it glorifies bushrangers. Australians have always had a fascination with these lawbreakers from the 19th century. When Thunderbolt rode around Uralla it was gold mining that the town thrived on, today the gold is spent by tourists/travellers passing through on the busy New England Highway between Sydney and Brisbane.
Whenever you drive past there are usually tourists taking a snap, myself included, and after you have done that you can have a beer at the Thunderbolts Inn, have a pie at the Thunderbolt Pie Shop, buy a spring at the Thunderbolt Trailer Centre and in October attend the Thunderbolt Festival. Sadly you can't fill up your car at Thunderbolts Garage before driving out to Thunderbolts Rock anymore, it closed down!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Welcome to Uralla: 2358

This week I am in the beautiful New England Tablelands, first stop the bustling town of Uralla. It has a thriving main street with lots of surprises including this tremendous 3D mural. Unsure what the message is but the can the gent is sitting on sure looks well used. It is a hilarious and clever use of a narrow gap between buildings.

The funny and fabulous Red from Amazing Australian Adventures often features public toilets from famed Aussie locations: this one is for you Red!
P.S.  Red there are some great bakeries in Uralla as well, but I think you might already know that!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Theme Day: Cobblestones

There are no quaint cobblestone streets in the Clarence Valley. The closest approximation is the very rough stone walkways you find at the beach.

It is often easier to cast off your shoes and go barefoot.

On the 1st day of every month the City Daily Photo Community shoot to a common theme. A few weeks ago the server was hacked and the site is still down but thanks to Julie at Sydney Eye a linky will enable the community to have their monthly meet up in the blogosphere. Click here to view other participants

On the 3/4/12 CDP came back on line after 3 weeks down. Big thanks to Dionysus for getting back up after the hackers! Also thanks to all those others who kept us informed and also the community still functioning at the most basic level -theme day. The following link will take you there.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
This is my contribution to the Scenic Sunday meme.
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