I love colourful things and although I’ve come to appreciate black & white photography I love to take photos in colour most of all.
I love the colours in nature, golden daffodils and red roses, green grass and blue sky. I love the way a body of water can be deep blue, or turquoise or even black depending on the conditions and I feel happy when I see a rainbow on a dull day. I look forward to blossoms and spring flowers but also to the golden colours of autumn.
I remember how at one time when my work was making me feel very stressed and I was getting headaches I would go to a fabric store in the city after work. Half an hour or so looking at colourful fabrics and yarns always made me feel better even if I didn’t buy anything. The headache would just go away.
Lack of colour has the opposite effect on me. A modern decorating trend I have noticed when looking at houses on real estate websites is to have grey walls, flooring, curtains and accessories. Whenever I see this I feel that all the personality has been washed out of the house. I don’t feel that I want to even enter houses like this. If I had to live in one I am sure I would become seriously depressed if I were not allowed to redecorate.
Both Naomi and I are both collectors and we love our “stuff”. Some of my collections of things are inherited. Mum had a collection of brass ornaments that her mum bought in India and Egypt when they lived there plus a few things that Naomi and I had given her since. Those things live with me now as does her collection of china monkeys. I have other glass and china ornaments that I have inherited, been given or collected myself.
I also have a small collection of Star Trek and Doctor Who collectibles, some were given to David and some to both of us by people who knew we loved those TV shows.
My biggest collection, the one that I mention most often, is my doll collection. I wasn’t always a collector though. I had a lot of dolls as a child and I played with them for rather longer than children do now. I was given my last doll at age fourteen although, to be honest, I didn’t play with her a lot because by that age I preferred fashion dolls. In my teens like most kids I felt pressured to stop playing with them and for several years that was that. I didn’t keep all my dolls, I wished I had later on, however, I did keep some of my childhood favourites. As far as I was concerned they were not a collection, just part of my childhood that I wanted to keep.
When David and I bought our first home we had a spare bedroom and I had the dolls sitting around in there. I thought it would be nice to get replacements for some of the ones I had given away. At some point in my thirties, I bought a couple of dolls that I liked. Naomi and I would go to markets, antique shows and second-hand shops looking for interesting things and more dolls started coming home with me. I realised that I had become a collector when I added my third Sindy doll. I was no longer just replacing dolls I used to have I was actively looking to get ones I’d never owned. At around the same time, I also started to buy Barbie dolls both new and secondhand. At first, I liked to think that people thought I was buying them for a child or grandchild but eventually I didn’t care what they thought. I am proud to tell people I collect dolls now.
Now my spare bedroom is full of dolls and there are more packed away until the day we move to a new house. There are dolls in the other spare room too that I bring home from the Op Shop where I volunteer twice a week. I clean them, remove ink marks from their skin and tidy their hair before they go back. Occasionally I weaken and buy one for myself. Naomi and I have a doll blog too where we share photos and stories about our collections. We have a lot of fun with it. Collecting is a great hobby. Never mind people who complain about dust gatherers.
A group of dolls donated to the Op Shop.
Two new celluloid dolls. John who is made in Japan and Princess Elizabeth by Palitoy UK. Both from the 1930s.
We have a lot of rivers in Tasmania, so many that much of our power comes from hydro-electric power plants.
It was the proposed damming of a river, the Franklin, in the southwest of the state that led to the blockade of the river in the summer of 1982-83. It is quite an involved story starting further back when the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) built a dam which caused the flooding of Lake Pedder, a renowned beauty spot, in 1972.
When the state government of the day proposed to dam the Franklin River the newly formed Tasmanian Wilderness Society began their campaign to save it. It’s a long story that has more to do with politics than with rivers but it is interesting reading so I’ll include a link to an article by Professor Clive Hamilton who tells the story much better than I can.
Below is Peter Dombrovskis famous photo taken on the Franklin and used by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society to publicise the issue.
By National Library of Australia nla.pic-an6631500-v, Fair use, Link
I do remember the blockade. We were still living in South Australia and every night the news would have stories sent from this tiny place, Strahan, that we had never heard of before then. Many celebrities, Australian and international including Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Barry Humphries, Eartha Kitt, Dick Smith, and David Bellamy took part in the blockade beside ordinary people from every state in Australia. David and I watched the news and cheered for the blockaders many of whom were arrested and when they refused to keep away from the river as part of their bail conditions were removed to jail in Hobart.
In the end, a Federal Labor government was elected in early 1983 and one of their first acts was to stop the dam from being built.
When we first visited Strahan many years later I learned at the visitor centre how the whole issue had divided families. To this day there are still people who believe that dam should have been built but the Franklin is still a wild river. I’ve never seen it but I’m happy knowing it is there. I have cruised on the Gordon River which flows into it. The point where the two rivers join was one of the proposed sites for the dam.
Who remembers penfriend clubs? When I was young, children and many adults enjoyed communicating with penfriends in other countries.
Sometimes you found your penfriend through a school project. When I was in Primary School our city of Elizabeth, South Australia, became a sister city to Fremont, California and our school exchanged letters with students in schools over there. I don’t recall if I had a long-standing penfriend from that time but later on in my teens and twenties I had a lot.
Of course, there was no internet then but there was often a penfriend column in comics, women’s magazines and the Sunday papers. Through these sources, I also found out that there were clubs you could join for a small fee who would send you lists of potential new friends.
How exciting it was when the postman arrived and there was a fat letter, maybe with photos inside or perhaps a flimsy “Aerogramme” or a postcard. At Christmas, the cards would cover every surface in the living room.
I wrote to girls, and a few guys, in New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the UK mostly. I was interested in learning what it was like to live in their countries and I enjoyed writing about everyday life in Australia. My letters were nearly always long ones. I generally stopped when I had written as many pages as I could without having to buy an extra stamp, generally about five but I had large untidy handwriting. I always found it easier to communicate in writing than face to face as I was rather shy.
Mum also had penfriends and sometimes she and I would record a cassette tape to send to her Canadian penfriend who lived in Ontario near Niagara Falls. I would occasionally exchange cassettes with an American friend too. She took one of mine to the school where she was working as I think, a teacher’s aide, and told me that the teenagers in the class were most surprised to learn that Australians spoke English!
Eventually, we all lost touch. Letters became fewer as jobs, marriage and families took up more time. Perhaps the amount of time it took for the letters to travel across the world didn’t help either. Often by the time I got a reply to my letter I could not remember what I had said in it.
I did enjoy writing and receiving those letters though and perhaps that is why I enjoy blogging today.
Hobart’s eastern and western shores are spanned by the Tasman Bridge which was completed in 1964. This bridge replaced an earlier floating bridge that had been built in 1943.
I was not living in Tasmania in 1975 when the bridge collapsed but of course, I saw it on the news. It was only much later when I moved here that I began to understand how it affected people’s lives.
The disaster occurred on the night of the 5th of January 1975. Lake Illawarra, a bulk ore carrier was making its way up the Derwent, as it was a Sunday night there was no pilot on board. The reports of the accident say that human error and tidal currents in the river were the main factors that caused the ship to smash into one of the bridge pylons. A section of the bridge came down sinking the ship and carrying with it four cars that had been unable to stop in time. The five occupants and seven crew members from the Lake Illawarra died that night. Two other cars were left teetering over the edge of the bridge but miraculously those people survived.
What I was unaware of until I moved to Tasmania was the social impact the loss of the bridge would have on Hobart. At that time there was only one other river crossing and it was several kilometres away at Bridgewater so getting to and from the CBD became a major problem for people on both sides of the river. Initially, ferries were brought in to deal with the commuters but later a temporary “Bailey Bridge” was constructed to replace the Tasman Bridge while repairs took place. It was nearly three years before the bridge was re-opened.
Apart from the delays that this caused for people trying to get to work or appointments it changed people’s lives in other ways. I spoke with workmates who were old enough to remember the disaster and one who was just a teenager at the time told me that she had to move because her job was on the opposite side of the river to her home. Her parents thought it was easier to set her and a friend up in a flat than for them to commute to their jobs. I am sure that she was not the only one who made the move because of work.
Probably as a result of the disaster services on the eastern shore were developed faster than they might have been otherwise. The population had been growing for some years but most people worked and shopped in the Hobart CBD. Eastlands shopping centre was enlarged and new shops, offices, medical facilities and entertainment venues started to appear.
Of course what I can never know is how people felt when they heard the news. In a small place like Tasmania. when something bad happens it’s personal because it’s very likely that someone you know has been affected in some way. When people saw the first pictures of the bridge it must have felt as if nothing would ever be the same.
Today a few things have changed. The bridge is repaired but the pylons are in slightly different positions as the Lake Illawarra, now a dive site, still lies on the river bed. There is always a pilot on board any ship that passes under the bridge and when one does the traffic is stopped. A third bridge has been built between Hobart and Bridgewater. The City of Clarence is now one of the fastest growing areas in Tasmania.
I have included a few links for those who would like to learn more about what happened. There are some historic pictures as well.
Whether we have it or we don’t have it rain plays an enormous part in our daily lives. We can’t live without it but too much of it at one time can cause havoc and not enough of it is devastating.
One of the things that attracted me to the Huon Valley is how green it is. I’d spent most of my life in South Australia, the driest state and the rivers and lakes, green grass and flowers here appealed to me. It does seem to rain more here than some other parts of the state. Naomi says that it always rains when she comes to visit me. She was here Saturday and it was dry until about 5pm and then as she started to think about going home down came the rain.
Not enough rain at the right time of year can be bad for farmers crops but unseasonal rain and hail in summer can ruin the cherry crop and growers lose a lot of money because damaged cherries are no good for export.
At times there are areas that are very prone to flooding. Launceston often suffers from floods in winter but the city has put in levees that they hope will protect the city from the worst of them. We had bad flooding in the north a couple of winters ago when several rivers rose dangerously high.
The Huon River sometimes floods in winter, usually, it is not too bad in Huonville, just water over the road in a couple of places. Two or three times since I’ve been here I’ve seen water in the main street and a couple of businesses have been affected but a couple of years ago there was a situation created by high tides in the estuary, melting snow and a lot of rain and there was a much worse flood. Homes were evacuated, businesses were flooded and livestock lost.
Tasmania isn’t always wet though, people don’t realise it but Hobart is the driest state capital after Adelaide and we have had serious droughts in Tasmania, especially in the eastern part of the state. The area where Naomi lives in the centre of the state is farming country and she often told me how distressed the local farmers were when they had to destroy sheep or sell them for very little because the land would not support them. Lake Dulverton at Oatlands where she lives dried up completely during a particularly bad drought.
I am fortunate enough that my house is connected to the town water supply but I have friends who rely on rainwater tanks and when the rain doesn’t come they have to buy water.
Mostly I don’t mind when it rains. Of course, it is a nuisance at times, at the Op Shop for example when it is too wet for us to put anything outside the shop and the bad weather keeps customers away. Or when I go to the cricket and the match is rained out. On the other hand, rain is nice to cool everything down after a hot day and I like the sound of rain on a metal roof. Without rain, there would be no rainbows.
I probably started to listen to the radio a lot when I was a young teen. It was the beginning of the 1970’s and radios were getting smaller although the Sony Walkman had not yet been invented. Most people had a radio in the house and even kids might have a “tranny”, a transistor radio.
That’s how we discovered the music we grew to love, listening to it on the radio.
The first rock concerts that Naomi and I attended were free ones sponsored by a local radio station featuring local Adelaide bands. We had favourite DJ’s and shows that we liked to listen to. I always enjoyed “The Album Show”, I think that was the name, on 5KA Adelaide hosted by Barry Bissell
He would play several tracks from the latest albums and as this was in the days of the four-minute single it was great to hear the long versions of songs and those that you didn’t hear on repeat all day. A sort of try before you buy if you like.
I probably stopped listening so much sometime in the late nineties as the music of that time was less to my taste and now, I hardly listen to current music at all.
When we moved to Geeveston I discovered there was a community radio station and David and I eagerly tuned in but we were unlucky that every time we did they seemed to be playing country music which neither of us liked. Later though, I started to volunteer at the station and discovered that there were also presenters playing blues, jazz, folk, “oldies” music and various other genres as well as information programs. Community radio stations don’t have to play what the commercial stations play. The presenters are usually enthusiasts of a particular type of music and most put a lot of thought into their selection of songs each week.
I never had any desire to go on air myself but I did enjoy working in the office where I did a variety of jobs to support the manager and presenters. Sometimes if there was an outside broadcast I would go along to help set up, sell raffle tickets and so on.
I made some good friends too who I still see regularly even though most of us are no longer associated with the station. I still turn off the country music though.
I don’t listen to the radio all that much now though. When David was in the hospital and I was first at home by myself I started to listen to a classical music station at night and I found it helped me to sleep (unless it was opera). I still listen to it sometimes before I go to sleep and when I wake up. I like to hear the news and the weather first thing and then, unless something major is going on, I don’t listen to the news for the rest of the day. I like hearing the news without ads, without opinion and without a video clip attached to it.