Archive for category Australia

Clarendon House still presides

IMG_3257The well-known Michelin food guide tells you if a restaurant is worth a stop or whether more seriously it is considered to be in the category of ‘deserving of a detour’ and if you appreciate Australia’s history then Clarendon House in northern Tasmania is definitely worth a detour.  This is a fine example of Georgian Italianate design from Australian architect, artist and author William Hardy Wilson who was considered one of the best 20th century architects.  Wilson – born 1881 and died December 1955. The mansion is set in 7 hectares on the banks of the South Esk River. Clarendon was the centre of a large enterprise developed by James Cox. The Australian Dictionary of Biographies can be visited here for more information about Cox’s holdings and influence in Tasmania’s pastoral history.

The wonderful three legged round table in the impressive wide hall of Australian fauna was painted by Tasmanian based artist Michael McWilliams a former Glover Art Prize winner and People’s Choice for Glover in 2014. Not only did I love this table but another favourite was the metal sculpture of a dog sitting on the sofa in the study, it  frightened the daylights out of me as I walked in to the room.IMG_3229 IMG_3230 IMG_3231 IMG_3233 IMG_3234 IMG_3235 IMG_3236 IMG_3238 IMG_3239 IMG_3240 IMG_3242 IMG_3244 IMG_3245 IMG_3247 IMG_3248 IMG_3249 IMG_3253 IMG_3254 IMG_3255

We were introduced to the house with a brief talk and then left to our own devices which suited us so we could take in the details of each room without being rushed.  I have added a photo of the rear of the house, it is the view minus the ionic columns with trees obscuring the entrance. It was originally intended to be the front of the house. The gardens are being well maintained and as always the house and its outbuildings are in constant state of repair. Based on this beautiful example we decided to join the National Trust so expect more posts as we work our way around Tasmania’s historic properties.

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Our major life change is a sea change

IMG_3043I may appear to have dropped off the planet with the huge time gap since my last post, but I have literally dropped to almost the bottom of the planet by moving to Tasmania.IMG_9569 IMG_9573

There has been so much to organise to move a large houseful of belongings and a collection of art and books amassed over many years. The worry of whether it would all arrive and intact with a long journey including a sea crossing has kept me away from the blog.  And to spare you I did not want to record the tedium of such matters.

At least we were moving to a house we have owned for some time and know that we are already welcome, as we have had four years visiting Tasmania on holiday and have made some very good friends.

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So the move and trade is from living in an inland large city to a life at a small coastal hamlet; a big change in weather patterns from Queensland’s tropical heat to the temperate climate of North Eastern Tasmania and then there is the rather sad fact that our new adopted state is the poor relation of all the mainland states.

For our future life here in Binalong Bay, we are engrossed in making ourselves comfortable for a life that for the most be spent in a small radius with interstate or overseas travel for the occasional change of scenery. And so we have embarked on a plan to add a sun room and deck onto our house and the design details have consumed us along with trying to work out where to put all our belongings. I have joined a local Buy Swap Sell group on Facebook and gradually some of our excess is finding its way into other houses in the area. In fact it is becoming quite cathartic and helps in the process of feeling we are making an unencumbered new beginning. I thought I had a good go at selling off or giving away things in Brisbane before I left but it seems on unpacking crates that it was a piffling attempt. Along with the additions we are adding bookshelves for the hundreds of boxes of book we have in a storage shed. Some days when walking on the beach, a wave of guilt passes over me as a reminder that I haven’t opened a box lately and tried to find it a home. But back to the Buy Sell Swap group – what a good idea that is, and now I am discovering there are many more groups set up on the Facebook community around Australia.

This year was the first time that our multi-graft of greengage plum and apricot (Purple Gage and Apricot Moorpark) beared any fruit. Oddly the plums were prolific but just two apricots was hard to understand. I am learning to be patient as I wait for our Burre Bosc pears to mature along with the handful of quinces that I hope survive the birds. The cherry tree yielded two cherries, next year will be a bumper!

Here are some photos taken since I arrived in early December just to show you how much I love our new environment. I have also been around the neighbourhood photographing wood stacks, I love this oh so neat one.Wood stacks so orderly

My neighbours gift of homemade beetroot

My neighbours gift of their home grown and preserved beetroot

Binalong Boat Ramp

Binalong Bay’s boat ramp activity

Gummy shark for dinner

John meets periwinkle & sea urchin guys

John meets Periwinkle & Sea Urchin guys (Tim on boat)

My first batch of blueberry jam

My first batch of Blueberry jam with a dash of Cointreau on locally made wood fired oven bread

John picks blueberries

John went blueberry picking

Skeleton Bay walk

Brisbane couple who also own another house in Tasmania the Heath Enright Trust join us for a walk to Skeleton Bay

Barbara cavorting with RonE

Barbara Heath doing the throw the ball thing with RonE

John is proud

A proud man

Sea urchins

Cannot believe I opened one of these sea urchins

Periwinkles line up

Found a source of Periwinkles 

I have a new venture to announce soon so please be patient and watch this space. I will create a new website and blog so it is likely this blog will be incorporated into the new one. Roz

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Old houses in need of repair

IMG_0087Old houses require constant maintenance and you have to love them to put up with the cost and then there are further issues to find the right tradespeople and craftspeople to give you quality restoration work.

We have lived in this post Federation ‘Queenslander’ house for 18 years, we only intended to live in it for around 8 years but we liked it so much we stayed. We had tried to sell it two years ago and as real estate is still in the doldrums we took it off the open market.

But in the meantime when there is a problem we get right onto it, like the window that nearly fell out recently after the wind slammed the front door one too many times.

I rang an old friend who used to have a glass business and he had retired so I started searching for someone to fix it. One craftsman I found in the phone book told me he was up north fixing up a church, to send him an email and he would get back to me, well I sent the email but he did not reply. So it was on to the next option of finding someone. John went into a restoration hardware store and was given the number of a fellow also named John. He turned out to be the answer. He came out, assessed it, gave us a quote and once we appointed him he returned with a glass disc he inserted as a temporary measure. I was so happy as it still let the light in the hallway whilst our panel was being restored. The phone book glass craftsman told me he would be inserting a panel of ply so I was much happier with John’s temporary alternative.IMG_0086

Here is John the glass artist with the panel all renewed, the glass is now cleaned and put it back in as though it had never left its home.

The design in our ‘high waisted’ front door, he tells me is a ‘Dog Rose’ but I cannot find any other examples of Dog Roses. The style is a really a combination of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. All the original glass is still there but with one more slam all that glass would have landed on the floor.

IMG_0089The white version door the view from inside hallway. The Black version is the front door entry from the verandah.

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The Survey Co.

IMG_1504The Survey Co. is the name of a restaurant that honours the explorer and surveyor James Burnett.

Before I go on, remember I do not review, I just tell it as it is and if I go anywhere where I feel the restaurant falls short of my expectations I just don’t blog it.

The restaurant and bar is in the narrow lane behind Brisbane’s Queen Street, for those who do not live in Queensland, it is the main street of the city, most of which is a Mall.  Burnett Lane was just an access lane for deliveries but now it has become a cool address. It is directly behind the back entrance of the Chifley hotel so should not be hard to find now that I have told you that. I was only armed with the number and caught it on a square of brown metal angled on the side of the building as I walked up from the Albert Street end.

IMG_1503The lane has been gentrified with various art works, the patterns on the road are a nice touch to liven up a boring lane.IMG_1508

The materials used for the patterning must make it impervious to car tyres.

IMG_1483Now to the restaurant. We loved the design, rustic finishes where the walls are stripped bare. We liked the bespoke crafted tables, chairs are classic Bentwoods and the banquette although a little hard when I first plopped down was covered in whole dark leather hides.

We shared everything and for two people the servings were ideal. The generous serve of two soft shell crabs plated up San Choy Bau style so we made our own crispy parcels. That mayo with quince and jalapeno was masterful simplicity.

IMG_1486Ready to fold and devour.

IMG_1491The Three Little Pig Taco was also arranged so we just had to garnish with fried shallots and pickled cucumber.

IMG_1493Spinach Brik Pie served on chevre and topped with fresh-cut salsa. Brik is so much nicer and crisper than Filo pastry.

pork shoulder

Just when we thought we have stopped and left room for dessert we were served the orange braised pork shoulder surprise.

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I know it looks mushy but what a wonderfully weird concoction. We did not mind that we skipped dessert but chef be warned, we will be back for dessert another time.

Something that we noticed was that the kitchen ran very smoothly and although we could see straight into the kitchen, there was no fuss, no hysterics or orders being barked. Owner Simon Livingstone of restaurant Piaf fame at Southbank should be pleased. It has been open for over a year now and not being a full-time resident of Brisbane anymore, it has taken me some time to get there, now I want to go back very soon.

As we departed we noticed a coat, bag and umbrella rack, something Brisbane restaurants overlook.

The Survey Co, 32 Burnett Lane, Brisbane

Phone 07 3012 8725

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Boathouse at The Regatta Hotel

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Photo by my friend Michael O’Shea

I drive along the very busy Coronation Drive almost every day and have wondered what the revamped hotel and restaurant must look like inside. It is one of Brisbane’s most interesting pub buildings and has managed to survive flooding and the ravages of time, not to mention the pollution since it is a main thoroughfare from the western suburbs into the city.  See the photo at the base of this post to see how rustic and quiet the road was back in the 1940’s.IMG_1450

The hotel exceeded my expectations. The current makeover is even better than the one that was completed before the flood two years ago.IMG_1456

The large grill is fronted by a horizontal gas flame that is both a decorative feature and warmer for the plated up dishes.

IMG_1454A retro Filet Mignon is on the menu. Add another classic of whole baked potato with sour cream and chives.

DSC00203The braised lamb that John decided to have as he had visited another ‘steak house’ for lunch the day before.

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I chose the Wagyu Rump and our friends went for a classic of Eye fillet and Fillet Mignon. Choices of baked potato or chips were hard for most of us to resist.  Wagyu is one of several breeds that are genetically predisposed to marbling with a high percentage of unsaturated fat.IMG_1452

Could not resist Bernaise sauce to go with my Wagyu and those chips were wonderful. All the steaks were cooked and served exactly the degree of ‘doneness’ we ordered.

IMG_1460 IMG_1461 IMG_1462It was the first time we visited The Regatta since its renovation. The history of the hotel is linked by photographs in a variety of white only frames.

IMG_1469The wide hallway at the entrance features floor tiles that are busy but as it is a generous hall they don’t clash with the wallpaper and lights.

IMG_1468 IMG_1466Finally someone has come up with overhead lights other than chandeliers.

IMG_1472The hotel has a cafe on its corner and some of the kitchen is visible for curbside patrons.

IMG_1471There is even a little peep-hole on the street for the cakes.

IMG_1473The back of the hotel from the car park makes a strong statement.

English: View of Coronation Drive, Toowong, Br...

English: View of Coronation Drive, Toowong, Brisbane, 1941 Scene along Coronation Drive, Toowong, to the Regatta Hotel in 1941. Wooden electricity poles line the edge of the road with a view of the suburb of St Lucia over the Brisbane River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to see more of the menu you can go to The Regatta Hotel’s website where you can download a copy.

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Linde Ivimey her pain and triumph

87069_Linde Ivimey - St Camilus - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

St Camillus 2005

I have just visited the major exhibition Louise Martin Chew curated of Linde Ivimey’s sculpture. It is an outstanding exhibition and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.  It follows in the steps of another excellent exhibition at the same venue – University of Queensland Art Museum, curated by Alison Kubler on Australian artist Polly Borland.  Both Kubler and Martin-Chew are freelance curators, friends, colleagues and are based in Queensland. They bring a world view to the exhibitions they create whilst based in Brisbane.

Linde Ivimey’s exhibition If Pain Persists is an autobiography, for a first time viewer of her work it is an ideal way to witness her evolution, as an artist and as person reacting and reflecting on the journey of life. She reveals everything, from her personal preoccupations, religion, past ill-health to her adventure to the Antarctic.

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Thumper (Self portrait) 2009

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Off with her head! 2012

Fabriano 2007

Ivimey through her work tells stories of a life many times lived on the edge – her precarious health, some impoverished times and to a life with some luxuries certain artists get to enjoy.

At first glance other artists do come to mind. Queensland artist Judith Wright’s recent body of work seen at GOMA and MCA is one. Wright’s sculptures used all manner of found objects and much of that work is spectacularly macabre yet unlike others I did not find Ivimey’s work grotesque or chilling. Instead I found her forms sympathetic and endearing.  Most were only as tall as small children aged around 6 to 10. The unselfconscious or guileless stance she gives to many invite us to not to recoil in horror that they are made or covered in bones but to instinctively warm to them.

The original use of the chicken neck bones to ‘crochet’ an armoury or create a pattern that looks like woven or knotted yarn could be most unsettling for some. But for me Ivimey creates an extremely elegant covering using this repetitive diamond pattern. Yet any lasting attempt at whimsy is undermined by inspection of the materials and technique.

87067_Linde Ivimey - Ebrius - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

Ebrius 2012

Whilst I agree with most of art critic John MacDonald’s recent review in the Sydney Morning Herald, I do not endorse his assertion that the figures are monstrous or that you can feel horror.

87066_Linde Ivimey - Douglas Mawson - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

Douglas Mawson 2012

A work here from the Antarctic series show how the explorers  faces were completely obscured by a thick halo of snow.

But the powerful works for me were the  sculptures that combine animal features with humans and quickly another artist comes to mind. Sometime back I bought a book by the English artist Charlotte Cory who created a series of altered photographs from her collection of the discarded photographic postcard portraits of  Victorians. Cory collaged the photographs by replacing the heads with those of various taxidermist animals. Whilst they do not have human faces they still convey a recognisable human personality. Think of people you know who have dogs that have features that resemble their own.

87064_Linde Ivimey - Jacob and the Angel II - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

Jacob and the Angel II

87068_Linde Ivimey - Twelve Apostles - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

Twelve Apostles Version 2 2006

The works in the religious series are powerful and her interpretation of the Twelve Apostles and the Four Horsemen are presented in an entirely original tableaux. However I am not a catholic therefore I cannot comment on its transformational significance.87063_Linde Ivimey - The Four Horsemen - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

The Four Horsemen 2006

The materials Ivimey uses for heads, other body parts or adornment include duck, pork, chicken, beef and lamb bones, many left over from meals she has prepared. Butchers have saved her carcasses and bones along with friends who have gifted her with various objects. Like the artist Fiona Hall she will find a use for anything even lint left over from washing and drying material.

Ivimey is at home with anything that can be used to make art. I was not surprised to read in Martin-Chew’s monograph that Ivimey once worked for Sweet Art, the specialists in sculpting cakes.

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Miriam 2009

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Eligius (Detail) 2006

I found Martin-Chew’s monograph an excellent aid to delve deeper into the genesis of Ivimey’s work. I just could not take it all in at the first viewing.  Whilst the exhibition flowed well, an installation that all involved should be proud of, I still needed the catalogue to assist me to further digest what I had seen. 87060_Linde Ivimey - Saint Claver - Low res for web_Single use_ request permission

St Claver 2006

The last words belong to Martin-Chew who says ‘Emotional intensity simmers in every one of Ivimey’s recent works’.

If Pain Persists, Linde Ivimey Sculpture

Curator and publication author: Louise Martin-Chew

http://www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au

Photos: Reproduced courtesy of the artist, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane and Gould Galleries, Melbourne

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Brisbane rain

photoThe constant rain in Queensland is driving everyone mad but since we have just returned to Brisbane we are just pleased it is not too hot. The Bougainvillea whilst not flowering has formed the thickest wreath we have ever seen over the house entrance.

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Mould has taken over in places and it is time to have a spring clean in autumn. Wasps have set up new homes and are clinging to the verandah rails so when they went to sleep I had to hit them with insect spray as John is seriously allergic to wasps and bees.IMG_0013

All the Liriopes are flowering purple including this striped Liriope.

IMG_0010Sage, chives and oregano plants were being attacked by possums before we left but have escaped their attention in the wet.

IMG_0018I planted  ‘Moses in the Cradle’  (botanical name Rhoeo spathacea) around the Kaffir Lime tree just before we left for Tasmania.

IMG_0022Another view of the Moses border.IMG_0020

Driveway border of Miniature Gardenia (Gardenia Radicans) are flowering well.

IMG_1425So we have perfume for the house.

IMG_0026The curry leaf shrub has become a tree and is totally out of control. It now obscures the three Bay leaf trees that were planted to form a hedge between the lime tree and the curry tree. The Frangipane we planted before we left is peeping up in the foreground, we thought we had lost it but it survived.

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Lemon thyme has taken off but to the right something died. I cannot even recall what I planted there.IMG_0008

Basil is ready for pesto or we better change our diet to Thai cuisine this week to make the most of it. I have just picked fifteen limes so a Thai menu wins.

IMG_0012The Teddy Bear Magnolia is almost buried by the hardy Canna Lillies. Where did they spring from, we certainly never planted them. They are a rhizome and full of starch and are used by the Vietnamese to make cellophane noodles. Just after I took the photo John got the work boots on and removed them. Canna is quite lovely but the Magnolia has superiority for light and water and I don’t ever need to labour over making cellophane noodles.

IMG_0024It is not all good news as the back lawn has suffered from the rain so we are onto a remedy. Just after taking the photo we mixed an anti grub powder with a recommended topsoil and filled in the gaps. At least the Murraya Paninculata (Orange Jessamine) hedging we planted in front of the brown fence are all alive and growing evenly. Our back neighbour’s trees shed leaves all year round including palm trees that drop nuts into our pond, swimming pool and garden and they refuse to maintain them regularly so the fountain behind the pool is a complete mess. We cleaned it out last October and now it needs another thorough clean up.

IMG_0011We do have wonderful neighbours either side of us and this is the glorious view we have over the fence.

photo 2The cycad was given to me many years ago by my friend Di and it is another reminder that we live in a sub tropical climate. You can look into the centre from the balcony above. The Gazanias on the ground near the cycad did not do so well. Considering they are hardy and the Brisbane City Council used them for median strip planting I was surprised to see some die. Well gardens are not static, there’s always a few more dollars to spend and some gaps to fill.

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