Koalas on Stradbroke Island

Sleepy Koala in the Gum Tree

At Dunwich, where the ferry arrives at Dunwich jetty, is the bus stop where you take the bus to travel the Stradbroke Island. Travelers stand and wait for the bus but few actually look up into the tree that is right above the Bus Stop. It is this tree that often has a koala usually sleeping in a fork up high

Koala hidden in the fork of the gum tree

To travel to Dunwich and Stradbroke Island you take the Train or Bus 250 from Brisbane to Cleveland Station, and then the free Yellow Bus that goes to Cleveland Jetty which is where the ferries to the island leave from. The ferry will always wait for the bus, so don’t worry about being late for the ferry. A fare is $5 each way and you can buy a ticket at the office or simply purchase one from the ticket collector on board.

Enjoying the table on the ferry and the ride to Stradbroke Island

There are two ferries that go to Dunwich. Both start at the same location, and one goes to Dunwich Jetty, Stradbroke Ferries, and the other, the Stradbroke Gold Flyer, goes to Stradbroke Island Bus Stop which is next to the Oval.


Manly Queensland

Manly Harbor Marina is home to many luxury craft

Manly is a beach, boating and residential suburb fifteen km East of Brisbane, regularly serviced by buses, Bus 226 from Carindale, trains on the Cleveland Line, and taxis.

Amazing Sunrises at Manly Harbor

Land sales first occurred at Manly in the 1860s, and one of the purchasers established a sugar plantation and built Wyvernleigh House overlooking Waterloo Bay. The house site in Oceana Terrace is now occupied by the Catholic church and the St John Vianneys primary school (1941).

In 1882 the Manly Beach estate was put up for sale, the name probably inspired by Manly in Sydney. All this occurred before the opening of the Cleveland railway line (1889), and the local station was named Manly rather than the better known Wyvernleigh.

Bus 226 pulling up at the shopping Centre opposite the Pub and IGA Supermarket.

Manly boat harbour was begun in 1962, receiving the distinction of the Royal Yacht Club moving there in 1964 from Kangaroo Point. Edgell had a vegetable cannery at Manly West, and the Wynnum-Manly sewerage scheme was completed in 1970.

The shopping centre avoided both redevelopment and destructive competition from a drive-in facility: that was put at Wynnum West in 1980. As a result Brisbane’s Lord Mayor could persuasively enthuse in 1992 about preserving the Manly Harbour Village. The boating facilities were modern and extensive but out on the water, and the maritime inhabitants could stroll among the shops and cafes.

Not only did the better-heeled patronise the harbour and shops, but they chose to reside in Manly. Local real estate went from a median $200,000 in 1999 for houses to over $420,000 in 2004. The boat clubs residing at the harbour included Royal Queensland, East Coast Boat Club, Wynnum Yacht Club and Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club.

The story of Manly Resort

Russell Island

The Jetty at Russell Island where the water Ferries arrive and leave…

Russell Island is one of the five small Islands of Moreton Bay. It is located between North Stradbroke Island on one side, and the Brisbane coast at Redland Bay and the beautiful Southern Moreton Bay Marine Park.

The vehicle ferry arriving next to the Russell Island Jetty

You can bring your vehicle to the Island for a cost of $106 return if you are an islander, and $116 if you are a visitor. The fast jet passenger ferry is $6 with a Go-card. Ferries arrive every 30 minutes during the week and every hour on the weekends. You can bring your caravan or camper-van and stay at Sandy Beach in the Lions Park .

Flowstate…A Musical Light experience

Flowstate is a revitalised location in the heart of South Bank. We offer it up to our community as an inspiring place of beauty and respite; a well-spring of fresh experiences and sweet diversions

Changing colors of the Flowstate

Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term ‘flow’ to define the state of absorption he identified in painters in the process of art-making. This same deep meditative focus has long been documented in eastern religions and recognised by athletes as being ‘in the zone’. 


Color moves spherically around

Historic Homes…Teneriffe Queensland

With its proximity to salty waters, air of faded grandeur and sense of infinite optimism, there is something almost Venetian about the Brisbane suburb of Teneriffe which celebrates its history with the Teneriffe Festival each year.

Once a bustling centre of commerce and now the stamping ground of trendy new urban dwellers, fragments of Teneriffe’s history continue to burst through the contemporary surface.  https://www.weekendnotes.com/teneriffe-walking-tour/

Teneriffe House

This tucked away hilltop rendered brick homestead was designed by Melbourne architect William Ellerker and built in 1865 for Hon James Gibbon MLC. In 1882 he sold it to importer Robert Wilson who subdivided the land and glammed up and extended the house substantially with a billiards wing, extra bathrooms with plunge baths, a butler’s pantry and extra servants’ rooms.

Like so many restless renovators, not long after it was finshed Wilson sold up and moved on, leaving the house to a further succession of high profile owners including bank managers and eventually, in 1905 a grazier Reginald Hillcoat and his family moved in after World War I in 1919. http://www.mustdobrisbane.com/visitor-info-arts-culture-history/teneriffe-house-teneriffe


Situated in the historic woolstore buildings, close to cafes, restaurants, theatres and shopping in Teneriffe, New Farm and the city, these trendy apartment buildings offers all the benefits of inner city living.

In 2003, Meridien refurbished the old iconic wool stores into unique contemporary 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. http://www.saratogaapartments.com.au/

Teneriffe was born in 1854, when a property speculator named James Gibbon purchased a parcel of land between Newstead and New Farm and named it Teneriffe.
Following the dredging of the Brisbane river, the area became largely industrial as new depths allowed large ships to travel further upstream. By 1907, the size and number of vessels travelling to Brisbane’s South and City ports had increased to the point where new wharves were built in Teneriffe to accommodate them https://www.eplace.com.au/lifestyle/a-timeline-of-the-teneriffe-woolstores-history

Woolstore Teneriffe

During World War II, the navy requisitioned the Woolstores and their wharves to form Australia’s largest submarine base, housing around 60 submarines based at Teneriffe. The facilities were home to both American and British officers, referred to as ‘Capricorn Wharf’.  

When Brisbane’s major port opened further upstream, the Woolstores, wharves and railway all closed, left in an unused state of decay. In the late 1980s, this once booming industrial centre had transformed into a state of economic stagnation, urban decay and crime. Slipping into a ghost town of degeneration, something had to be done to bring life back to Teneriffe. 


Dunwich Cemetery Stradbroke

Old Tombs at Dunwich


The Dunwich Cemetery has graves from the early days of Queensland’s European settlement, dating back to 1847. There are over 8,500 unmarked graves of inmates from the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Three cemeteries have operated on North Stradbroke Island. The Myora/Moongalba cemetery just north of Dunwich is the burial place of people from the Mission, the Lazaret or Leper’s Cemetery south of Dunwich was set up in the late 19th century, and the Dunwich Cemetery still operates in the township itself.The first of the Dunwich Cemetery’s estimated 10,000 burials is believed to date from 1847 when a victim of the shipwrecked Sovereign was interred, which makes it one of the earliest surviving cemeteries in Queensland.Also among the early burials were the victims of one of Queensland’s immigration tragedies: a typhus epidemic in 1850 on the ship Emigrant, which claimed about 27 lives. Dunwich had just been proclaimed the quarantine station for Moreton Bay and the Emigrant was the first ship to arrive at the new station.

Tombstone with list of buried

Dunwich Cemetery dates back to 1850 and is stepped in history including being the second oldest European type cemetery in Queensland. The exact number of graves is not known, but records say that there is between 800 to 900 plots with many of the ‘graves unmarked’. There is also an information board at the entrance to the cemetery erected by the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum which reads inter alia, “Final resting place of 8426 Dunwich Benevolent Asylum inmates.” http://www.interment.net/data/aus/qld/redland/dunwich/index.htm

The first burials at Dunwich cemetery are believed to date from 1847 and it is one of the earliest surviving cemeteries in Queensland.[1]

The European settlement of Stradbroke Island began in 1827 when a convict out-station was established at Dunwich to serve the Moreton Bay convict settlement based at Brisbane town. During 1827-28 a warehouse and accommodation for convict labourers, boatmen and soldiers were constructed. However, this settlement at Dunwich was short lived as problems with unloading goods in poor weather, smuggling, and hostile Aborigines, resulted in the closure of the out-station in 1831.[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunwich_Cemetery

The oldest part of Dunwich Cemetery

In 1867 the quarantine station was transferred to Peel Island, and the Queensland government officially established the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum in the former quarantine buildings, although Asylum inmates were housed at Dunwich from as early as 1864. The Asylum accommodated the elderly, disabled or infirm who had no other means of support. At the time, institutionalisation was considered to be the appropriate treatment of those who were unable to fulfil a useful role in society. Accommodation on an island close to Brisbane, yet separated from it, effectively removed Asylum inmates from society and made administrative control easier. The isolation of the island also made it a useful place to treat conditions believed to be infectious and a lazaret was established at nearby Adam’s Beach in 1892, where it remained until moved to Peel Island in 1907. From 1896 the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum housed inebriates. Consumptive patients were also taken until 1935, but were accommodated in isolation “camp”.[1]

In 1946-7 the Dunwich lands were subdivided and the remaining Asylum inmates, mainly aged people, were removed to the Eventide Home at Sandgate, occupying the site of the former RAAF Station Sandgate. All the Dunwich ward buildings were sold, dismantled and either moved to different sites within a newly surveyed Dunwich township, or removed to the mainland for government purposes. In June 1947 the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum was officially closed and the area was redeveloped for residential and other private purposes. In the 80 years spanning 1867-1947, 8,426 former inmates of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum were buried in the Dunwich Cemetery. Those buried are believed to include many who were descended from the traditional owners of Stradbroke Island.[1]

The Laughing Kookaburra

Every Morning the Kookaburra comes to be fed

The Laughing Kookaburra is instantly recognizable in both plumage and voice. It is generally off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is more Rufus, broadly barred with black. There is a conspicuous dark brown eye-stripe through the face. It is one of the larger members of the kingfisher family.

Laughing Kookaburras feed mostly on insects, worms and crustaceans, although small snakes, mammals, frogs and birds may also be eaten. Prey is seized by pouncing from a suitable perch. Small prey is eaten whole, but larger prey is killed by bashing it against the ground or tree branch.

Laughing Kookaburras are believed to pair for life. The nest is a bare chamber in a naturally occurring tree hollow or in a burrow excavated in an arboreal (tree-dwelling) termite mound. Both sexes share the incubation duties and both care for the young.

The Kookaburras live in the gum trees around the property. I hear them laugh every morning at Dawn. One of the Kookaburras cannot laugh. He tries but only a croaky cough comes out of his throat. Sometimes he gurgles .
The Laughing Kookaburra is not really laughing when it makes its familiar call. The cackle of the Laughing Kookaburra is actually a territorial call to warn other birds to stay away.
The chuckling voice that gives this species its name is a common and familiar sound throughout the bird’s range. The loud ‘koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa’ is often sung in a chorus with other individuals. The Laughing Kookaburra also has a shorter ‘koooa


Feeding Birds in my Garden

Every Day in the morning the Kookaburras come to be fed.

I used to feed about a dozen Butcher Birds and two magpies. Then the magpies started nesting and became unfriendly towards the other birds. They chased away the butcher birds by diving at them and not letting them come to the verandah where they were all being fed. Then they chased away the timid curlews who were also coming down below on the grass.

Soon all I had was three magpies. Junior joined the party.

Junior Magpie demanding he be fed.

I started feeding them all by hand, to mainly stop one bird taking control and eating all the food. This was great fun, the magpies would sit on the verandah and wait their turn while I chatted to them and watched their interaction with each other.


One day, a Kookaburra came. I was so excited. I fed him slivers of rump steak and he was very happy. Soon other Kookaburras started to come too and I was feeding six birds. They became every aggressive with the other birds and chased them all away, including the magpies. I now only had the Kookaburras. I started feeding them…

My Christmas Dinners

The Story of My Christmas

Christmas to me is whole family around table with Christmas dinner, gift for everyone under the tree, sing carols after beside the tree sparkling with lights and tinsel, and everybody happy to be together. My last Christmas like this was in the 70’s in Doncaster. Then I started a florist shop in the 80’s and for 12 years Christmas was working in the shop with the biggest takings for the year on that day. Then there were no more Christmases for me..except the last one when I was told to ‘go away, because Dad wants to come now….” and I never even saw the gifts I had bought everyone. So every year I go somewhere so I won’t feel lonely… This year I will be at The Mantra in Brisbane …For me, Christmas is ‘In my Dreams”….

During the past years, people have at times invited me to join them for Christmas, and sadly, every single invitation I accepted turned out to be an expensive for me, disaster. Every time I regretted accepting and now know, that the Christmas I remember and yearn for, is only in my mind, a dream.

The last Christmas Dinner I went to, I provided a turkey, a pudding, bon bons, some ham, nuts, a fancy sausage for my friend who invited me to join their table, and a gift for everyone who was at that dinner, even those I did not know. It was a family dinner, and everyone fought and bickered at the table. The vegetarians did not like my meat, some did not want gravy, the kids wanted pizza and they bickered and bickered. I quietly sat there eating a cold dinner plonked on my plate, and then gifts were given out and I was touched to find there was one for me.  When I opened it thrilled to get a gift, it was an old gardening apron, and the green edging on it had rotted and it fell apart in my hands dusting my clothes in green dust. I was appalled.

When the fighting got serious and loud, I quietly left claiming a head ache and not feeling well. I never went back there for Christmas again.

A few years earlier, I was living in a Caravan Park and one of the inmates there who I had started talking to invited me to join their festivities. Wearing the red dress again, I wear the same dress every year since the 90’s when I bought it at Brighton with Harry in happier times, and with my arms loaded with my contribution which was a cake, nuts, and bonbons and a beautifully wrapped gift for everyone. I bought all the men a handy tool and the ladies’ various toiletries. I only knew the couple who were having the Christmas Barbecue and I was the only one sober from the time I arrived. The lunch was whatever everyone brought cooked on a barbecue and my gifts were accepted hesitatingly as it was unexpected and laughed at. I would have been better off bringing everyone a beer, but I was not to know. I was the only one dressed up and I just did not fit in and wondered why I had been invited at all. I sat there feeling lost, then with the headache story, quietly returned to my caravan and swore I would never go to anybody’s Christmas ever again.

Burrum Heads

One of the best Christmases I have had as a single was at Vanuatu where the Resort set up a table for Singles and my companions were a gay couple, two aging lesbians, and an assortment of young happy people, and the Band Musicians. I immediately linked with the Piano player who then let me play the piano with the band while he played other instruments or dueted with me on the piano. I had an amazing time as a result and everyone danced with me and the whole table was one happy family and I stayed friends with the band for the rest of my vacation and was very happy.

Another truly memorable Christmas was two years ago. I had booked in at The Mercure Hotel in Brisbane, and because I could not find a Christmas Dinner anywhere, I booked a Christmas dinner Cruise on the River Boat at Eagle Pier, after asking the company if they had a table for singles, which they assured me they did. Wearing the red dress, I went along quite happily. I was early so tried to talk with those queued up, but the feeling was not too friendly, so I waited quietly to get on board.

 When I was taken to my table to my horror, I saw that it was placed in the centre of the dance floor, a sad table for one. I said to the girl that I did not want to sit there and asked if it could be moved to the edge with the other tables or by a window. She said, “No”. I asked if I could sit with others at a table, and she said, “No” I looked at her and said I would go home and forget the dinner. She came after me saying there was no refund…I was not asking a refund, I was just going home, so I continued going out.

Then I got to the gangway where they were meeting people, and the Captain asked where I was going. I told him I could not sit alone in the middle of the Dancefloor and was going home.  He asked me to wait a moment, came back to ask if I would like to join him the at the Wheel of the Riverboat. I was thrilled to accept and had the best Christmas sitting there at the wheel chatting with him while the Riverboat cruised the Brisbane River. He walked me in to get the dinner, and dessert and after the evening, drove me back to The Mercure which was on his way back to the freeway.

Last year I nearly got to Christmas dinner. I stayed at Rydges in Southbank, and because I could not find a Christmas dinner anywhere, discovered there was a Christmas Dinner for the Homeless at the Uniting Church. I called the Minister asking if I could help and attend too, and she very kindly said I was welcome to come and join the homeless for Christmas dinner. On Christmas Day, I started walking across Victoria Bridge to go to the dinner, but it started raining and half way down I was soaking wet, so sadly, I turned around and went back to the Hotel and had lunch there.

Who knows what this year will bring…Yes, its Christmas again and I have plans to join the Homeless at the Botanical gardens this year…if there is nothing happening at The Mantra.

Marguerite Carstairs