Armistice Centenary 1918-2018


On Sunday 11 November 2018, we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. At 11am, stop for one minute and give thanks to all those who sacrificed their today’s for our tomorrows.

Despite High Temperatures and no seating facilities,  Ann Street was closed in by Police and Rescue teams,  and  crowds of people crammed into the small area for the service that begun at 10.30 am. he shrine was closed because of ongoing renovation, and guests and dignitaries sat under 2 tents on chairs, with the band on the left. Projection of what was going on was what most of the visitors viewed.

Guests were introduced, short speeches were made and the Military band entertained the entire time. During the laying of the wreaths by military, international and local groups, everybody stood quietly in the heat,

After the service, and after the dignitaries left, the public were permitted to enter the enclosed area to view the wreaths, see the burning flame and pay their respects .

There were some old soldiers wearing all their medals with pride and dignity. One gentleman said that there were not many of them now left.

The band packed up and left, and the crowd quietly walked inside the monument and the medals were put away for the next ceremony. Many went to the RSL’s for the customary game of Two-up and it was the end of another day.

Slipping Sands and Jumpinpin Bar Stradbroke Island


Slipping Sands on Stradbroke Island is a stretch of golden sands that fall down to the waters edge.  Its at the top of South Stradbroke near Jumpin’pin Bar. This area is known as Millionaire’s Row as every weekend very expensive craft can be found anchored here. This area is great for fishing, crabbing, swimming and beach walks and has easy access to the wide deserted ocean beach and sand dunes.

GPS:  27° 45′ 14.2″ S / 153° 26′ 15.9″ E


An interesting fact about Jumpinpin is that it was formed by the shipwreck of the Cambus Wallace with its dynamite cargo that was piled up and deliberately detonated on the beach between North and Stradbroke Islands. Northern tip of South Stradbroke Island and entrance to Tipplers Passage.

On the September 3, 1894, the 75m, 1534 tonnes steel barque Cambus Wallace hit big seas and ran aground at what was then the narrowest stretch of the Island known as Tuleen.

The majority of the crew on board managed to swim to shore, except for six men that drowned.
The ship never left that spot, she broke up over the next few months, her cargo, which included dynamite, was washed up on the beach.
The explosives were piled up and deliberately detonated, leaving large craters on the ocean side of the island.
The explosions weakened the sand dunes, further narrowing the fragile strip of sand and while not breaking through to create Jumpinpin Bar, there was reportedly a large basin on the ocean beach.
A few years later in 1896 a severe cyclone drove big seas onto the beach and sand dunes, eventually making a small passage into Swan Bay.
Initially the narrow opening was reported as 20 feet wide, however strong tides and further big seas continued to erode the sand increasing the newly created channel, within a few years it was more than a mile across.

After low tide the lagoon  slowly  fills with water, attracting Pelicans into the bay and sea gulls and is a safe place for swimming and walking the beach searching shells and coral washed ashore.

Jumpinpin channel is an area of swift moving water that is constantly changing with the spit sometimes extending a vast distance out to sea. During a treacherous storm 121 years and a couple of days before our visit, a ship named the Cambus Wallace was wrecked just off the coast of where the channel now lies. Much of the ship’s cargo was washed ashore and while the locals salvaged what they could, mainly whiskey, a large quantity of dynamite that had also washed ashore was left behind. The wet and unstable dynamite was eventually gathered up in a pile and detonated. It is believed that the explosion on the narrow isthmus of sand contributed to the destabilisation of this area. A few years later a storm, which generated big waves that lashed the already narrow band of unstable land turned the 6000-year-old sand island into two sand island that we now call North and South Stradbroke Islands.

Its a great place to visit as you anchor in a safe cove, and then there are stretches of sandy edges to explore, or, walk across to the Surf Beach for a swim in the surf. The cove is excellent for children and safe relaxing. Make sure you are aware of the tides as the change happens quickly and your boat can be stranded in soft sand if you are not careful. Your stay is limited to the tides. Many small boats and jet skis come to the cove for a swim and a picnic, and also to walk their dogs, and then move on.

Any sign of food and a host of seagulls appear, to leave just as quickly when the food disappears. Its a beautiful spot with no shelter, so make sure you are wearing a hat and sunscreen. I was to get painfully sunburnt from the reflecting glare of the sands as I walked the sands, as well as the water reflections from the boat.

Travel Australia


Why is Travel in Australia so expensive?

I was so thrilled to get a return flight to Uluru from Brisbane for $189.00.

Then Jetstar called. They had to cancel the flight from Brisbane, and the only one they could give me in exchange was one leaving at 6am from Brisbane Airport. I explained that I live on Russell island and could not make that time, but they said no other, so I accepted it. This meant that I would have to overnight in Brisbane, so I could get a taxi to take me to the airport by 5am to get the flight to Uluru. I booked a hotel at the cost of $100.00, and a taxi would cost me another $25 or $30. Then there is travel to Brisbane bus, train and ferry approximately $12.50 for a senior with a Go-card.

I started searching accommodation at Uluru. The only resort is 20 kms from Uluru and to see the sunrise or sunset I need to take a tour at the cost of $80 a day.  (or a Hop on Bus $210 for  3-Day Pass to travel to Uluru). That is the cheapest option. There were others which were triple that price or more. Backpacker dorms of 28 people are $48 a night so a week’s dorm accommodation would cost me approximately $350.00. The cheapest single room was $184 and a week would cost $1,288.00. Other rooms were $280 plus a night…some prices bordered on ridiculous.

I would like to visit Kings Canyon while I am there. The cost of travel to there is $150.00 each way so $300 return. To go to Alice Springs was $180.00 each way, $360 return. In view of this I decided to book a car as a cheaper option with flexibility. As I am a senior I incurred extra charges making a 4-day booking $455.00. As the 7 days was too expensive, I decided I would have 4 days travel, take a 3-man tent and camp, as camping there was $20 a night at Kings Canyon, and $39 at Uluru and free at Curtin Springs 72 kms from Uluru.

So, I planned the trip differently based on camping. I would need to take a throw or blanket, a torch for light, and if the camping was too hard, I could sleep in the car, so I booked a larger vehicle. I discovered petrol was going to cost me $200.00 if I drove to Kings Canyon and back. I also needed an Uluru Park Pass, so paid $25 for a 5-day pass, which I decided would be enough for my stay.

I planned to collect the car from the Airport, drive and look at Uluru and the Resort, then drive to Curtin Springs for my first night of camping. Next Day drive to Kings Canyon, do the Rim walk and drive back. Because of Petrol cost, I was not going to Alice Springs, but overnight again at Curtin Springs and see Mt Connor and maybe the salt Lakes. To stay at Curtin Springs Cattle Station was $184 a night cheapest option. I wanted to do the Salt Lake walk but the cost for that is $1,335, with a full moon walk at $620…. all walks were sadly well out of my affordability.

All this was now sorted so day 3 and 4 I drive to Uluru using my 5-day pass to take photos and see the sunrise and sunset from the vantage points I could get to with no further charge because I had the car. Then Day 4 to 7 I hit major problems. I called to make the booking to be told that temperatures were 38 degrees and very hot day and night, and I would find the tent very hot. I could hire blankets from them for $20 deposit. So, I book dorm accommodation but only for 2 days as dorms booked out on the 6th, so I book camping. Then I worry about what I do there as now I have no car, and every trip costs money. The cheapest option was to book a 3 day Hop on Bus Pass which is $210.00.

I could have kept the car for 3 extra days for the same amount.

This is starting to get ridiculous. I still have not added costs of water and food…that would be at least $30 – $40 a day so another $250.00 for food. I start to rethink the trip. It will be hot, dusty, and I will be trying to sleep on the bare ground with one or two blankets in the heat. There will be flies, and I will be alone in a strange area with my bag and belongings traveling unknown roads in areas I have been before. I start to total what its going to cost me, adding on return travel with the sky train costing another $25 and then the bus, train and ferry back to the islands. I decide I would rather use the money to go to Bali or Singapore or Vietnam or China or just travel in my Campervan.

I call Thrifty and cancel my car, then Booking and cancel the hotel, then Uluru and cancel the dorm, I did not have to book to camp…and I will stay home instead and have a few nights at Surfers for my birthday. Jetstar was most unfriendly, offered me no alternatives and cancelled my flights. I have no refund because it was a special fare.

Why is it so expensive to travel in Australia?

Marguerite Carstairs©

Uluru-Ayers-Rock-Map-595Stuart Wells