Friday, 22 September 2017

Toowoomba - a city of colour, but so brown.

Wednesday 20 September 

This week is the annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. The Hungry Hikers made a visit on Wednesday. Whilst the gardens, given our drought conditions, were a spectacular blaze of colour, it was alarming to see the depth and extent of the brown, from this lack of rain. The farms across the Lockyer Valley were brown and desolate. In Toowoomba the images were repeated unless we were visiting a display garden or park.

Showers and thunderstorms were forecast for this afternoon. It appears only one or two areas were fortunate enough to have any rain fall. Tomorrow the temperatures are set to rise well into the 30's C.
It is worrying that this scenario covers most of Queensland and New South Wales. In March inches and inches fell, causing devastating flooding. There has been nothing since.

Congratulations to the owners of the carnival gardens. They were magnificent. Their water bills will be high.

I didn't think to take a pic of a brown suburban street, but these 2 images tell the brown story. These fields were beside winning gardens.

Our first port of call for the day was a return visit to Spring Bluff Railway Station, halfway up the range to Toowoomba. It was wonderful, but not quite as colourful as on our visit last year. Many trees and plants were still coming into bloom.

We were excited to see not only one, but two trains come through. The first a long coal train.

The second was a carnival train with 350 passengers descending to enjoy the beauty. These three  men were volunteer railway workers for the week. 

Top L - the passenger train arriving.
Bottom pics - the engine re-positioning.

This garden inscription seemed very appropriate to start my photographic journey in Toowoomba. It was seen in the garden of an 86 year old entrant.

Cottage garden 1.

Cottage garden 2.

These flowers were created from beer bottle caps.

And hi back to you!

Sorry, no time to join you in a cuppa.

Cottage garden 2's neighbour.

 The garden of the lovely 86 year old woman.

Laurel Bank Gardens - one of few parks with green grass.

This beautiful peacock had been an entry in the carnival parade on Saturday.

The botanical gardens section of a very dry, brown Queens Park.

A lovely nook for a coffee and cake before our drive home.

 A wondrous day. Please let the rain the rain fall long and heavily very soon.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

'Swell' Currumbin

Wednesday 13 September

It was definitely a swell morning enjoying the 50 sculptures on the beach front at Currumbin, for the 15th Sculpture Festival. Sadly, I had only learnt of this festival after the event last year, but quickly added it to my calendar, so as not to miss it this year.

Swell's vision - to connect people, art and place through  thought-provoking public art in a stunning environment.
In the words of the committee, 'we were constantly amazed and enlightened by the artists works, as they combined the skills of engineer, architect, scientist, philosopher and poet, to reveal works of art that speak to the soul.'

A perfect blue sky and a slightly chilly breeze greeted us on arrival at 9am. School surfing lessons were just getting underway as we relaxed with our coffee and cake, looking across the mouth of Currumbin Creek. 

This was our view later, as we climbed Currumbin Rock, to view an amazing hand sculpture. Recently we had walked this stretch of coastline as far as Tweed Heads.

"Fabricated" - needlework matching the scene before it. The purple stitching is the high rise buildings across the bay, just seen, in my photo.

"Captain Goodvibes the Pig of Steel" - a cartoon character of a 1970's  surfing magazine.

"Littoral Zone" - explores the themes of life, water and adaptation in the face of environmental change. The languid humped form appears as a paradigm of the force of tidal cycles and ancient whale strandings, that continue to be a mystery.

"Intuitions" - This transparent guiding lighthouse is here, but not obvious. Our intuitions can guide us past life's dangers and wrong turns.

"The Crab" - an innovative blend of cutting edge technology and blacksmith techniques.

"Safe" -  a catalyst for change, conversation and awareness, highlighting the importance of emergency shelters for people escaping domestic abuse.

"Tidal Intersection" - symbolises our invisible connection with the moon, as the oceans rise and fall.

"Surrender" - a formal parade of white flags suggest an anthropomorphic crowd of waves, activated by wind rather than swell. I found this stunning as the sculpture changed dramatically when viewed from different angles.

"Bus Stop - Direction - La Serena Chile" - Have you ever stood on the beach and wondered what is far across the ocean. Here it would be La Serena in Chile.

"These Hands" - These Hands, they create, they discover, they touch, they love, they give..... they take, they hurt, they destroy...... they grow wary, they grow old.

Simply amazing, as each link was welded to the next!

"Speed of Sound" - Sound, music, beat, song -  through nature, captured, harnessed but free.

A shame about the wind, but you should get the gist of it.

"Caduceus" - This sculpture could belong to the vegetal, plant or animal worlds and endeavours to convey a sense of mystery.

"Post-Tree Museum 11" Post Tree 1 was a testament to the 'Big Scrub' forests of Northern NSW, being taken over by pastoralists. No 11 is 10 years later and the forests of the world are in a much more precarious position. The tree therefore, is made of glass.

"The Huntress" - based on the female Black Dragon Fish. She is a huntress in the depths of the sea. She produces light which attracts her prey. The title is from Greek mythology, Artemis, the Goddess of light. Made from street found industrial objects, she has LCD lighting.

"Beached Racer" - this work has evolved, changed and grown over the 15 years of Swell.

"2017-B" - the artists clay based structures of delicate lines and shapes is the artist challenging himself and expecting to transcend the confines of life and artistic creation.

"Philosopher, Artist, Poet" - The artist has had an obsession for perfection, over 40 years. This spiritual and divine search has led to the creation of many different visions. 

"First World Privilege" -  the future is already here - just not evenly distributed.

"Love Birds" - coincidently, as in my previous post, the male bowerbird builds a bower from sticks and decorates it elaborately with a variety of blue objects. This bower, approx 8 times larger, allowed viewers to write and attach messages of love to family members and friends.

"Books and Mortar" is re-purposing the recycled, creating new stories that can become someone else's story. 
I just happened to have my ladybirds with me.

A lover of books, this one received my people's choice award. Its theme of collections, is very cleverly portrayed, with the bookends displaying collections of teaspoons, lace, stamps, buttons....

"Pandanus Seed People" - The pandanus holds the promise of a fertile, welcoming land, symbolising hope and continuance.

"Meteor Morphis" - A meteor falls from space and lands at Swell. Strange ant like creatures spill out and slowly metamorphosise themselves into the landscape. Watch carefully as they change colour in the light.

"A Moving World [Redundant]" - made from recycled fluorescent bulbs and reimagined materials.

"Ritual Masks" - the materials were collected from Queensland beaches. The overall theme is to record contemporary human relations with nature, as if for a future museum.

"Conversations" - the artist has grouped two figures engaging in a conversation, where the natural gestures are not posed, but a reflection on reality.

"Migaloo's Song" - Each year a white whale named Migaloo, migrates up and down the Queensland coastline, and is the subject of this creation.
Humpback whales are described as 'inveterate composers of songs that are strikingly similar to human music traditions.

I was unable to take a photo of the whole sculpture, so tried to capture sound and size on this video.


"Currumbin Cruzin' " - Growing up in the 50's - no computers! Billy Carts ruled; cobbled together from whatever the artist could find. 55years later, this is a whimsical look at the Billy Cart era.

"Get a Haircut. Get a job."
Totally related to this one, as each catchphrase appeared.
Throughout life, we are hounded by catch phrases, which usually highlight the negative. They were often delivered to character build. The traffic control signs are also there for our well being. 

As I completed my writing of this post, the winners for Swell were announced.

"The Crab" won the Swell Sculpture award of $15 000.
"Intuitions" won the Swell Scupture award of $5 000.
"Migaloo's Song won the Environmental Awareness Award of $3 000.
"The Huntress" won the Emerging Artist Award of $1 500.
"These Hands" won the Artist Peer Award of $1 000.
The People's choice award, to my knowledge, hasn't yet been announced.

We had strolled for several hours admiring these sensational pieces of art, now it was time for lunch. A short drive took us to the opposite side of the creek. It was just over a kilometre, from where we parked the car, to a cafe set in open parkland, with views back across the creek. [We could have parked closer] From here the lighthouse sculpture "Intuitions" can be seen.

As we arrived we were greeted by numerous signs advising that dogs were not allowed in the park. We were totally surprised by their numbers patiently waiting for their owners to finish dining.

This is a sight we had never seen before. We were impressed with the behaviour of the dogs and the foresight to provide a covered hitching post for them. The dog sculpture is a monument dedicated to all animals, who served and died alongside soldiers of all wars.

We soon discovered why the cafe was so popular. Its delicious food was complemented by its open spaces, comfy seating and fine view. 
By the time we had returned to the car we had notched up over five kilometres. With the effort along the soft sand, we reckoned we could deem it eight! Yes, another wonderful morning, out and about, down under with friends.

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