Monday, November 24

Who nominated us?

I work as a volunteer with a team of folk at the Caboolture Historical Village - a rather large complex with over 70 historic buildings on 12 acres just north of Caboolture, in Queensland Australia.  If you are headed over that way, why not pop in and see just how the early settlers of this area lived way back in the 1800's.  Sadly there is no indigenous display - something that is being discussed and has been on the plan for several years, but you can learn how the Europeans lived in the area when it was settled.

Someone nominated the Caboolture Historical Village for Kochie's Website Makeover - a competition that David Koch who is a presenter on Channel 7 Australia's breakfast show Sunrise.  We don't know who did it - we are curious - but in the spirit of all good things we have decided to participate.

We've hardly started promoting the competition and seeking votes, as one apparently does in these sort of competitions, and already we have 55 votes.   Not bad for doing nearly nothing!

Anyway, I thought I could ask my readers to go and visit and vote for the site.  Click here - and it will take you the the page with information.

The top of one of the windmills in the Village

Not easy to see as they aare a little crowded - but some of the great coaches that have been restored.
With a not-for-profit organisation with a huge property to maintain and daily visitors, our website is very important to it, and we have received a detailed report which is very enlightening and refreshing at the same time.

We need all the help we can get.

Saturday, November 22

Bordello, Prostitution and Bamboo

I do laugh sometimes when my posts on my Bordello tour, my comments on Prostitution get high numbers of readers, and the other things that are more important to me don't rate so highly.  That's life!

During the week I visited a number of bamboo properties in Queensland, and I made a number of purchases at Bamboo Land at Torbanlea.  One was a little note book - make of bamboo paper.  I'd like to quote from the inforamtion that came with the tiny notebook.

"Bamboo is a fast growing, recyclable material which thrives in harsh conditions returning much needed nutrients to depleted soil.  Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than timber.  Paper has been made in China for over 1500 years and as demand for paper increases bamboo is seen as an excellent renewable alternative to timber."

It is a tiny notebook, but will find a home in a small pocket in my handbag.  I usually carry a much larger note book, but I can see that this one will be handy.

I also bought a few other things including a Bamboo Mouse - pictured below.   I ust say I am impressed with the comfort.  It is a little larger than the mini one I have been using and very comfortable and it works well.  These items and others are available on the Bamboo Land website.

Why are we so reluctant to use more bamboo?  It is so much better for the environment - quicker to grow than timber and more versatile.

Thursday, November 20

Bamboo Everywhere

It is along time since I have been north to Bundaberg, but I went there this week to do some research.  I had intended to check the Bamboo Society of Australia website to check details of any members/nurseries between here and Bundaberg.  As it turned out I forgot to check but almost as soon as I realised I had forgotten I found a large nursery around Bauple.  I drove off the main road and up and around taking the following photos.

I drove further north taking note of many stands of bamboo along the way.  Driving around Howard there were some signs for Bamboo Land - so happily I visited.  Wow.  I was so impressed.

First of all I had to visit the Bamboo Loo!!!

Their shop had plenty of wonderful bamboo items.  Amazing collection and I purchased some - some tooth brushes, a bamboo mouse for my computer and some more bamboo undies.  Whoo Hoo!

It poured with rain, but when it slowed down I wandered around the gardens - below are some of my photos of the wonderful gardens.

Saturday, November 15

All the Way with LBJ - Melbourne October 1966

With all the excitement in Brisbane for the G20 this weekend I remembered when another US President came to Australia - and how I ended up in the midst of protests.  I was working at a hospital on St Kilda Road, Melbourne -  Prince Henry Hospital.  I had become disillusioned with nursing so tried my other (clerical)  skills and worked for a short time in the Medical Superintendent's Office, before decided to return to Mt Gambier to do my Midwifery (which was cancelled not long after I arrived.)

I had been aware that President Lindon Baines Johnson was due to arrive in Melbourne, and didn't plan to be where he was, but one day, I think as I was heading to the railway station to catch a train home to my lodging at St Yarra, I came face to face with all the drama.  I think LBJ had visited the Shrine of Rememberance - it was during the Vietnam War and there was much hostility about it. Harold Holt was the Prime Minister of Australia, at the time and there was a lot of political unrest.

As I walked along St Kilda Road, I became surrounded by protestors, and police on horseback.  I remember that clearly.  I don't recall I saw the President, and fought my way through the hostile crowd.  I remember being rather scared by it all.

I had no intention of visiting Brisbane City to day - I am not keen to have to watch the protesters today and get caught up in the traffic chaos.

It certainly is great that these world leaders have visited Brisbane - but I had no desire to see them.

On NaNoWriMo

I've tried and failed several times to complete NaNoWriMo - and mid way through the 30 days of frantic writing I don't know that I am going to succeed in completing the 50,000 words, but I am pleased to report I am doing much better than I thought I would this time.  Life seems to get in the way - not that I am short of writing time, and indeed have probably written more than 50,000 words already this month - on my blog or other writing I have done for two of the organisations for which I am a volunteer.

However, I am here to report that I am doing well.  Not halfway yet, but doing very well thank you very much.  And I am thrilled with what I have written as the first draught.  I have several days this week where I will have the time to write and as I can be a copious writer I look forward to adding thousands more words to the word count.

I'd love to have a "buddy" to write with - but have not though a friend is particpating, but so far we have not managed to connect.  She has completed the task on several occasions.

I purchased Chris Baty's book.  Chris is the guy that started this crazy month of novel writing in 1999 - and the book is full of wisdom on trying to complete this mammoth writing project and he has of course participated each year since he started the program.  I've rad about 10% of it - on my Kindle. I have had to put it down - so I can write, but will get back to it soon.

The style in which he has written it is rather chatty - and I think any would-be novelist will get some great advice from it.  I have been to copious writing workshops and classes and find his writing about completing a novel in a short space of time quite inspiring.

Recently the following Video was made - well worth a listen, though grab a coffee and perhaps a note pad and listen.  I am also a great fan of Blurb.

My story of total fiction - a wild ride for a young 18 year old girl who find herself living with a 70 year old woman in Queensland, a woman who has chosen to avoid the trappings of modern life and since around 1953 has survived living alone (with the help of her brother) on a county property that only recently was connected to the electricity grid.  My experience as a volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village has helped with with some fo the historical data, and a crazy sense of humour has assisted.

It is of course halfway through NaNoWriMo and I am just a little less than a third the way through my writing goal in terms of word count.  However, I am thrilled with my progress.

This coming week I am travelling to Bundaberg in Queensland, in an endeavour to add some reality to the story.  The story is based around that area so I am doing some research.  I did catch the Tilt Train to Rockhampton, in central Queensland recently and as the train passed quickly through the area concerned, but a little too quick and not easy to take a photo!

Driving through the area I can choose to stop whenever I want to.  Also I will be staying overnight - alone, so more writing time.  Perhaps by the end of the coming week I will be about 75% finished.  That's the plan.

I recommend that you read Chris Baty's book "No Plot, No Problem" - I am still reading it, on my Amazon Kindle.

I wonder why my writing friends do not participate.  

Thursday, November 13

On Prostitution

It is not a subject that I know much about - but I do have some stories to share.  I am not aware that I have ever met a prostitute - even though I have visited a brothel, which I will shortly explain.

It is something that in my experience women do not discuss. I would think from memory, any mention of prostitution would result in words of disdain about the men and women who "indulge" in this industry.  I know many women feel that prostitutes reduce rape - if a man is so desperate for sex he can go and pay for it rather than attack and rape a vulnerable woman.  Women certainly don't sanction their husbands using the services of a prostitute - though of course we can guess that many husbands do and the wife/partner would never know.

I think there is an unspoken almost support of those women who choose prostitution out of financial desperation, though wish there was some other way of gaining financial and other support.  I have read of women paying their way through university with  their income from prostitution, but in the end, for the most part it is illegal in Australia.

It was legal and very much controlled in some mining towns in Kalgoorlie for many years and I had the privilege of visiting one of the famous brothels in 2013.  It is a  working brothel and a tourist attraction.  I know, sounds weird.  Anyway, when I discovered the advertisement for it in the tourist brochure when I was there, I visited.  The Madam was most interesting - she had certainly not been a prostitute, and ran a good clean safe operation for the girls, despite the fact that the strict laws that governed the industry were no longer.  It was fascinating.

Questa Casa in Kalgoorlie

Why am I posting this today?  In part because I read an article about how Sweden has changed its attitude and laws regarding prostitution.  It was this article - actually on Facebook that interested me.  Women are exploited in many countries - for sex, and much of it is legal e.g. procuring young girls for marriage (sex) in many countries of the world.  Men have a strange belief that they have a right to sex whenever they want it.  Having many wives helps to satisfy their sexual appetite but does nothing for the value of women. 

Wikipedia says "The laws on prostitution in Sweden make it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. Pimping, procuring and operating a brothel is also illegal.  The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique when first enacted in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009, and France began enacting a similar law in 2013"

Prostitution is governed by a number of state and federal laws in Australia - we have legal brothels and of course many illegal ones and there is a fair amount of traffic of young women being brought to Australia to do sex work.  Asian prostitutes are apparently very popular with the men.

The strict and somewhat draconian laws that governed prostitution in Kalgoorlie are no longer, and while some of the brothels, like the one I visited, are ruled by strict madams, much of the prostitution is carried out by young women from third world countries who are enticed here on promises of riches.

The issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections came to the fore a few years ago with the worldwide spread of HIV-AIDS which is still a problem, though much more manageable now with new medications and treatments.

For many women it is the fear of contracting HIV-AIDS from a husband or partner that has other partners.  The statistics in Australia are alarming to women.  It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2011 that 60,000 men used the services of prostitutes each week.  I don't know what the figures are for all of Australia, but those figures alone are alarming.  We can only guess that many of those 60,000 are probably married men. 

The most recent data for Australia is here.   "An estimated 26,800 people in Australia live with HIV, the majority of whom are men."

So why does not Australia adopt similar laws to Sweden and the other countries that have followed suit?  Perhaps women need to lobby politicians more.  Perhaps because the majority of our law makers are men, some of whom may use the services of brothels, we will not get change in a hurry.

Women need to be more vocal to protect those women who are lured into this industry.  


Tuesday, November 11

Swim with Crocodiles

Ok, we Aussies don't swim with crocodiles, however, in the north of Western Australia in 2013 at Lake Argyle I was on a sunset cruise in the lake and we saw freshwater crocodiles on the lake's edge, and some of the passengers did go swimming.  Not for me.  Not that I was particularly scared of the fairly harmless crocs watching on from the lakeside, I don't think I'd easily be able to get back into the boat if I jumped off.

Across the north of Australia there are crocodiles - huge ones - and most of us are smart enough to know that it is not very safe swimming in the areas where these huge monstors live.  Sure there are signs up in the tourist areas warning of the dangers, so why do people get taken?   Some folk have some strange sense of safety!  Or they are silly.

In the Northern Territory I did go on a tour on one of the rivers on the way to Kakadu where we went out on a boat to feed some of these monstors.

A Freshwater Croc 

Now you wouldn't want to swim with this Croc

Where I walked.....  (read the story)
I was extremely careful but I did stop my car and with great care walked along the edge of a waterway in crocodile territory to take some photos  - but I didn't take my eyes off the edge of the water.  I was looking for any sign of movement, any sign of a sneaking crocodile.  I was lucky I guess - I saw nothing.

Anyone doing any travel in the Australian outback needs to do some research - the heat, the snakes, the crocodiles are all waiting or unsuspecting travellers.  You need to carry plenty of water, wear a hat, and take a lot of care.

I drove around Australia and took great care - and I guess I had plenty of luck too - but had no problem.