Monday, December 31, 2007


It would have been a different story in the past in this little street at this time of the year. David Street, Georgetown, was very famous in Newcastle for its display of Christmas decorations.
At the dawn of time, before Christmas lights were made in bulk in Asia, the folk of David Street made their own outdoor lights and almost every home in this short street was decorated and admired by quite large crowds.
An older resident said all that was 20-30 years ago when, as their children grew older and some residents became less able, the tradition came to an end after 10 - 20 years of displays.
KMart, nearby, is carrying on the show, probably unbeknowns.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Saturday morning tasks.
Every virtuous householder takes on the task of composting kitchen scraps and organic waste or has a small worm farm that turns these materials into amazing fertilizer.
The city council has filled us in with tips and help with these projects and promotes a clean and green image for the city.
As well, bottles, plastics and papers are collected by contractors for recycling and for a reduction in landfill.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Administration building and space for education and talking and consulting as well as the weighbridge at Summerhill Tip, further to yesterday's post.
As a nation we are one of the top producers of garbage in the world according to the city council but efforts are made to reduce the waste going to landfill.
As elsewhere, recovery and reuse extends to such as garden, tree and timber items; to construction and demolition wastes, to asphalt, concrete and shredded tyres. For instance, hugh amounts of compost and mulch products are processed from the green waste.

The remainder goes to landfill on site which is contained in a lining system but still, some argue that landfill will nevertheless become a problem. Landfill produces gases and a methane extraction system has been installed to use the gas for the generation of electricity in the future while in the meantime it is converted to 'less harmful' CO2. Organic household waste may in turn be extracted in the future to further reduce landfill.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Pre and post-Christmas clean-up. Select the correct drop-off according to the class of goods, then reverse the trailer into the 'bay', fun for those of us who cannot reverse a trailer very well, then, 'get into it' and unload the rubbish over the side into the bins below.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The third anniversary of the Asian tsunami is not forgotten.
Recovery continues on and warning equipment is developed and installed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the dishes for Christmas Dinner was one big favourite, namely
Prawn and Mango Salad.
(Firstly, do battle with the Christmas eve crowds spilling out of the doors of the Fish Market)

Ingredients for 6 people: 24 Cooked good sized king prawns peeled and deveined or any other prawns really.
2 ripe but firm mangoes peeled with flesh cut up in slivers
A cup thinly sliced Spanish or red onions or spring onions including green tops
Dressing: 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Thai Fish sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 generous pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon chopped ginger, or grated
Chopped coriander - almost a bunch or so
1 teaspoon finely chopped chilli
Combine the dressing ingredients, virtually at the last moment pour the dressing over the mangos and prawns, toss lightly and serve garnished with sprigs of coriander.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Christmas Bush. It's all natural and organic. Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007


From Australia Post. Fifty years of Christmas Stamps.
And imagine the wonderful strains of Bach's Christmas Cantata and hear the perfection of the chorales. ({Played on AustBCFM)

Friday, December 21, 2007


Lately, Cruise ships are seen here more often. Mercury is the largest so far and 2000 passengers are here for the day. Next port might be Nouvelle-Caledonie or Fiji, Vanuatu or just closer to home.
Mercury, the planet, was named by the Romans after the fleet footed messenger of the gods, Mercury.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Nobbys Lighthouse, one of our special sites, could be developed as a tourist venue with restaurant and all the rest. Some argue against such developments as unnecessary and just seek access for the lovely views.
The MV Cape Don once sailed far and wide to service manned lighthouses and navigational aids.
The Cape Don was one of a trio, purpose built as lighthouse tenders in 1963 by our Newcastle dockyards.
By 1980 Australian lighthouses had been automated and the ship was retired. In the photo she is moored in the Clarence River following a series of misadventures. After several colourful attempts, she finally sailed for Sydney with a crew of hopefuls. She remains in Sydney and a group has formed to save this example of our maritime heritage by undertaking a great deal of restoration.
MV Cape Don was built as a mini liner, round 70 metes long, with good accommodation for technicians, relief crews and families and officials for quite prolonged periods. It was equipped with a Larc amphibious vehicle and has cargo space and a workshop (ref MV Cape Don Society).
It sailed mainly around the West Australian Coast and is named after the cape on a penisular in the far north near Darwin. The sister ships, MVs Cape Moreton and Cape Pillar and are no longer around.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Southern Surveyor here recently for work in the dry docks. It is a CSIRO ship that sails the southern seas on research.
It could turn attention to whaling in the southern seas where the defiance of international norms occurs where scientific whale 'research' is a pretext for illicit commercial use of whale products. Hunting is driving the whale species to extinction.
The government is now sending a customs ship to monitor the whaling fleet. Diplomacy will be employed.
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has also gone to the whale killing zone and the Sea Shepherd organization has a ship Steve Irwin which will take more direct action in that enormous zone and who criticise the govenment's weak attempts to merely photograph and talk about the slaughter.
Whaling has a long history world-wide, whether it is the northwest coast of America or the South seas or elsewhere. Moby Dick is one classic tale.
Whaling was done in Western Australia for years until 1963. And when busy Byron Bay was just a glimmer in the developer's eye, a whaling station worked there from 1954 to 1962 and along with other stations at Norfolk Island, the Brisbane area and Eden, ended up with the species near extinction. Now, Whale watching is a popular venture.
Fundamentally, one aim is to prevent a devastating impact on the ecosystem. For example, when Killer whales had no Great whales to prey on, they turned to the seal, sea lion and sea otter and created a domino effect on the sea life. Overall the aim is to enfore the international regulations surrounding these issues and to end whaling altogether.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


No crowds of Christmas shoppers here.
Looking for an authentic old door? Or a really scarce extra wide replacment floor board?
Weird and wonderful items from demolished homes are recycled by this business in Carrington.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Decorations seen in Newcastle include a representation of the small constellation, Crux Australis, or Crux or Southern Cross as it is known, indigenous people use other names.

When camping, way out of town, the night sky is even more amazing and the Southern Cross shines in the canopy of stars and is an indication of where south lies. It is found on many flags in the Southern Hemisphere.
Oh! Is the name politically correct?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The Advent Wreath began as a German tradition and it has variations. Usually a candle is lit each week of Advent. (This wreath is suspended from the ceiling.)
In this case the blue or purple fabric echoes the floral emblems found hereabouts at this time.


Drink Driving Targeted. Extra Police Patrols.
A message for the motorist. 35 years ago mobile random breath testing was introduced and has reduced the accident rate. Update: I made a mistake, it was 25 years ago.
Seen at roadside at Broadmeadow and outside where trains are built.

Friday, December 14, 2007


How's this for a laundry? Now that the torrent, from the fierce storm the night before, has eased up, the work is begun, first clearing away the rocks so as to make a sandy patch in which to stand and start pounding the clothes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


This does not do justice to the sheer fabrics and the delicate beading. How does one learn to tolerate synthetic fabrics and long sleeves in hot weather?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I have learned about two lone males. Into the Wild is a film with all the right ingredients and says all the right things and is reasonably good about a young wanderer. Then, Iceman, the story of Otzi, is an exhibition on the archaeological sensation frozen for 5000 years. Otzi, from an arrow's blade, also died alone in the wilds.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Despite the very bad name that palm oil is getting I like this snap of these men with their harvest from the palm trees of an established plantation near their village. Trucks, with high wooden sides, seem to collect the crop from the roadside to take it for processing which involves heating and steamy, noisy, pungent work.
Palm oil is an ingredient in many items on all our supermarket shelves. Demand for it has increased.
Tropical jungle is cleared so that more plantations can be established. The jungle is an essential and unique yet diminishing habitat.
The UN Climate Change Conference is underway in Bali where 180 countries seek agreements on enhanced global action to fight climate change with focus on the post-2012 period. All land clearing and illegal logging should be high on the agenda. Information is on

Friday, December 07, 2007


Lawn mower resting beside the Lemon Grass (both with long blades). Grass gets out of hand at this time of the year and it thrives in humid stormy weather but this very basic model Victa mower is easy to use and is powered by a Briggs and Stratton engine which is such a well-known 'work horse' and is possibly one of the few well know products that we have originally from the USA.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Try before you buy! Guitar players know how sound vibrations are transfered by the bridge, and as I understand, sound resonates and becomes amplified in the traditional acoustic guitar. Bridges come in many designs and are moveable in electric guitars. A Third Bridge Guitar (electronic) is capable of even more special effects.

The People's Music Store Musoscorner in Newcastle is filled with fine instruments and everything musical and has 'good old fashioned' service.

As December the First dawns, around the globe, see these blogs, on theme day, for more about bridges. I tried to add the last on the list.

Boston (MA), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - New York City (NY), USA - Portland (OR), USA - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Inverness (IL), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Stockholm, Sweden - Setúbal, Portugal - Brussels, Belgium - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Hyde, UK - Manila, Philippines - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - London, England - Austin (TX), USA - Toulouse, France - Weston (FL), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Selma (AL), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Cleveland (OH), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - North Bay (ON), Canada - Arradon, France - Paderborn, Germany - Durban, South Africa - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Portland (OR), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wichita (Ks), USA - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Grenoble, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Arlington (VA), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Miami (FL), USA - Cheltenham, UK - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Saratoga Spgs. (NY), USA - Glasgow, Scotland - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Nashville (TN), USA - Toruń, Poland - New Orleans (LA), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Melbourne, Australia - Moscow, Russia - Trujillo, Peru - Château-Gontier, France - Quincy (MA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Joplin (MO), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Chateaubriant, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Baziège, France - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Detroit (MI), USA - Riga, Latvia - Nelson, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Cape Town, South Africa - Sydney, Australia - Dunedin (FL), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Radonvilliers, France - Turin, Italy - Montpellier, France - Kansas City (MO), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Wailea (HI), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Terrell (TX), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Budapest, Hungary - Montréal (QC), Canada - Sharon (CT), USA - Le Guilvinec, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - London, UK - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Orlando (FL), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Paris, France - Mainz, Germany - Newcastle (NSW),href="" target="_new">Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Darmstadt, Germany - Naples (FL), USA - Torino, Italy - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Bogor, Indonesia - The Hague, Netherlands - Minneapolis (MN), USA Australia

Friday, November 30, 2007


Returning to music, Civic Park heard the beat of the drums, several months ago.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


St Dominic's Centre for Hearing Impaired Children is a far cry from the first institution pictured in yesterdays post. It offers an auditory-oral education through specialist teaching and promotes gradual integration into a regular school. Therapy is collaborative with professional staff. Does sign language have any role there?
The purpose-built school was designed to keep out noise and has excellent listening conditions and is advantageous for children who are using amplified residual hearing or cochlear implants to develop listening and spoken language. Intervention starts early from birth onwards. The fees, for one child are around a thousand dollars per year. (Information booklet)

The Cochlear or bionic ear is a highly innovative and excellent means of assisting the profoundly deaf from birth onwards. The device is surgically implanted.
The cochlear is successful all around the globe and the production company is doing very well and had its origins in Melbourne.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This nursing home was originally a school for the deaf.
It began when a Dominican nun took up the challenge when a school for the hearing impaired opened at Star of The Sea on The Hill. In time a move was made to this new school established at Waratah in 1888 for children far and wide. I know a family who moved to Newcastle so their daughter could enrole. ( I read that thirty five young nuns volunteered to come here as teachers from Ireland knowing they would never return home ....'a foreign land neath an alien sky among an unknown people...' The first arrived in 1867 and recorded a fascinating and free spirited description of a horrendous journey of 81 days on the high seas in a sailing ship. A good read? (ref Dominican archives web site)

Another move. The 'quake in 1989 took its toll on the building and because of great changes in teaching methods and advances in technology this school closed in 1993 to relocate to Mayfield.

Sign languages grow and develope like any other language and have dialects.

The local Auslan sign language has been called a dialect of British Sign Language and is influenced by Irish SL (Auslan Org).
The Dominican schools could be said to have used the Irish based signs (one handed alphabet) and true to form, the rest used the British based two handed form which has become dominant.
Two major north and south sign language dialects mark a person's state of origin. Nowdays efforts are made to standardise usage, add new signs for new needs and there are those for and against borrowings from other sign languages such as, from American S L.
The posts earlier this week show the front door and the fence around this property.
School for the Deaf, Waratah, before
additions made around 1912.

Image from

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The Palais Royale dance hall, 'the Pallay'', is slipping away and is drawing out fading memories from the townsfolk about the hey days (or nights) of dancing.
As well as dancing, large swinging screenlike fans hung from the ceiling and were kept in motion to 'cool it' in punkah wallah style.
Palais Royale in Paris can be seen on GMG's Blogtrotter: Monday 19 November 2007.


Even the powerful eventually become memorabilia

Friday, November 23, 2007


Budawang Building, Canberra, ACT, for 'high' entertainment whether its Federal election night or the National Folk Festival.

Budawang is the National Tally room, (the name is in the second image), and in 24 hours time, it will be filled to overflowing with journalists, political figures and analysists when the election polls close. Who will win our cliff-hanger federal election?

During the National Folk Festival the hall is one of a round of entertainment venues, not only that, it is sponsored by a union! (CFMEU) The Union Concert is very popular. It is said the union is with the ethics that drive the folk tradition: sharing, a sense of community and social equality, honouring good traditions and mentoring and nurturing the younger generation. Sounds OK.

The election night tradition may soon give way to a virtual tally room and internet version according to the AEC.


After this, a construction site, nearby, will be shielded from instant immolation. Are his workmates on smoko - as it was called?

Thursday, November 22, 2007