Love at first sight when I saw Will Hazzard’s adorable cockatoo with plumage which goes against nature to dramatic effect!
My photograph was taken in Maryborough and this 81.3cm x 81.3cm painting was exhibited at the 38th Hervey Bay Annual Competitive Art Exhibition by Gallery 5 – Hervey Bay Art Society in July 2022.
Established in 1983, this annual art exhibition hosts seven award categories with styles ranging from traditional to contemporary.Will Hazzard’s striking work won Second Prize in the Australian Flora & Fauna Section.
Will is 21 years old and autistic. Art became a form of therapy with his autism diagnosis at age 9. His paintings aim for a connection with animals, the environment and the land on which he lives.
A cold, misty night on an Aussie Rules AFL football field.
The grass of the oval is damp with dew.
A junior league game is about to start and already the families and friends of the young players have donned beanies and shoved frozen fingers into jacket pockets.
The siren sounds and puffs of steam escape from cold lipsaswild encouragement is directed at the players jogging into position, each one wearing a sleeveless guernsey(different colour for each team)with large numbers on the back.
At half-time the siren sounds, sending supporters and spectators rushing to the canteen to buy hot meat pies, salty chips and coffee to fortify themselves for the rest of the game. The teams gather around their respective coach, drinking hydrating fluids and eating protein snacks.
I know goals are kicked through the white posts but AFL rules of the game are beyond me, click here if interested 😀
These keen teams have boundless energy; the youthful players are hyped up, jostling and joking, hand-passing the ball back and forth while their coaches issue last minute instructions.
The siren blares again. The teams sprint back onto the oval after a quick glance at the scoreboard which shows an incredibly close game.
They are looking for inspiring, vivid and bold short stories by Queensland writers aged 18-25. Whether you’re just starting out or already making your mark as a writer, your creative work could win $2,000 and be published in the Griffith Review.
Have the chance to see your story published and win cash.
Enter your best work by Monday 15 August 2022, 5 pm.
The Young Writers Award is free to enter! To apply, submit a short story of up to 2,500 words.
First prize is $2000 and up to three runners-up will receive $500.
* * * * * * * * *
TIP: Always read the submission guidelines.
NOTE: I am no longer affiliated with either organisation although years ago I entered their competitions. I didn’t hear back but really enjoyed the experience and I encourage all writers to stretch their emotions and imaginations and start writing – now!
The Laughing Kookaburra can be identified immediately by both plumage and call. The cackling laugh is often used in scary jungle movies.
Laughing Kookaburras are found throughout eastern Australia. They feed mostly on insects, worms and crustaceans (like the yabby crayfish above) although small snakes, mammals, frogs and birds may also be eaten. Prey is seized by pouncing from a convenient perch. The meal is eaten whole, but larger prey is killed by bashing it against the ground or tree branch.
The kookaburra photograph (above) was taken at Crows Nest, located 44km north-east of Toowoomba on the Great Dividing Range, Queensland. It is one of the larger members of the kingfisher family with a wingspan 64cm-66cm (25in-26in).
I have always loved keen-eyed, stocky little kookaburras. Suburban kookaburras living in parkland sometimes loiter around barbecue cooking areas. They are not dangerous birds and rather stand-offish but I would not encourage them with human food. That powerful beak is better suited to nature’s diet.
Laughing Kookaburra feathers are generally off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is more rufous, broadly barred with black. There is a conspicuous dark brown eye-stripe through the face, like an old-fashioned burglar mask.
My grandfather was an artist, woodcarver and bespoke furniture maker, and he designed and cast this laughing kookaburra (above) in a plaster mould. After hand-painting the kookaburra, he framed it in the minimalist style of 1960s. Both he and my grandmother (a needleworker extraordinaire) created Australian designs when many things were influenced by British and European artisans.
The kookaburra’s scientific name is Dacelo novaeguineae but the name ‘kookaburra’ is generally believed to be derived from the original term ‘grab a stick’ or ‘gougou garrdga’ in Kamilaroi/Euhlayi language.
Group kookaburra calls are best heard in early morning and at dusk, and are crazy loud if you are standing under their tree.
A group of kookaburras is called ‘a riot of kookaburras’ because of the raucous noise.
Studies have shown that kookaburras pair for life. The nest is usually a bare chamber in a naturally occurring tree hollow. The breeding season is August to January and every bird in the family group shares parenting duties. The ideal set-up really.
Many people read more than one book at a time and I have been doing this for several years. If one book is slow or doesn’t capture my immediate interest, I switch to another one. Plots and characters never seem to get confused because I usually read different genres.
And I always like to finish a book!
Watch out for a special blog post for my 100th Book Review. This milestone took me by surprise. I have many more reviews on Goodreads but I personalise my blog post reviews.
Have a quick look at Fantastic Fiction, my favourite go-to resource:
“Water Dragons are one of our most frequently encountered lizard species here in South East Queensland. They thrive just about anywhere, particularly around water sources of varied descriptions where they usually can be found in good numbers and they don’t mind the presence of people.”
“They feed primarily on small spiders and insects but will take other small vertebrates on occasion.”
Heads up… Brisbane’s longest-running Book Fair is coming soon! The UQ Alumni Book Fair will be spread over four glorious days in April/May 2022 with heaps more than text books.
This annual fundraiser is a much awaited event for Brisbane booklovers. Based at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, there is something for every reader and collector.
I’ll be going with a BIG carry bag!
The Book Fair is organised by volunteers who harness their love of books and generously donate their time to help raise funds to support researchers, educators and residential scholarships for UQ students.
Come along to the Book Fair for a huge range of—-
Pre-loved books of every genre for every age group
Occasional photographs, print or piece of memorabilia
Special Family Day for young readers
The Rare Book auction is biennial and next event is 2023
Register now White Gloves talk on rare Australian books at UQ Fryer Library.
This alluring information comes from The Black Stump, a Stringybark Stories newsletter, with reference to their Stringybark flagship open-themed short story award which commenced 15 November 2021 and closes 13 February 2022. Plenty of time? Maybe polish that special draft…
StringybarkShort Stories are open to Australian and international authors of all skill levels.
While the Stringybark Short Story Award2022 is open-themed, your submission does require some reference to Australia.
The size of this reference doesn’t matter says Stringybark Stories. It could be a mention of a Vegemite sandwich, or the fact that Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter. The story could be set in Australia or have an Australian in it. Stringybark doesn’t mind. Even a discussion on the habits of ‘drop bears’ is okay with them.
Head over to the StringybarkBookshop and get inspired by some great short stories from their past anthologies. Please note Stringybark Short Story Award isnot accepting poetry or illustrated tales.
Stringybark Stories have over AU$1000 in cash and books to award the winners, as well as publication in a paperback and ebook. The entry fee is the same as last year — AU$14 with discounts for multiple entries.
INFORMATIONBELOWplease check Stringybark Stories website thoroughly for details:
Subscribe to The Black StumpStringybark Stories newsletterhere.
Stringybark Stories Hints and Tips on Entering their Awards…
“Don’t let potential problems affected the likely success of your entry. The comments provided here are relevant for all short story competitions — not just Stringybark ones.”
1. Never put your name on your story. Put it on the entry form (a Stringybark requirement) or on a separate page. 2. Follow the formatting requirements. All competitions describe how they want your entry to look. We explain our requirements here. 3. Try and ensure that your entry and your payment are made as close together as possible. That is, don’t pay your entry and then submit your story a month later. It makes administration very tricky. It’s always best to do both together. 4. Related to number 3 above, if you are paying by Direct Deposit (and we love entrants who do) please remember to put your surname in the reference field so we can marry your entry and your payment. 5. Ensure that your story meets the theme of the competition!
Tempting isn’t it?! I’ve a story in mind and this is just the incentive I need.
LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY at Yeppoon situated 38 kilometres north east of Rockhampton, Queensland, the gateway to Great Keppel Island and the wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
From Yeppoon, across beautiful blue water, you can see Great Keppel Island. It has been years since I visited this coastal region and much has changed but the beaches and islands are far more accessible.
Meander down Yeppoon’s main street or stroll along the esplanade to browse beach-chic boutiques and surf stores and keep an eye out for one of the many new street art murals adorning local walls.
The Capricorn Coast (on the Tropic of Capricorn, the circle of latitude around the world which contains the subsolar point at the December solstice) also delivers when it comes to sourcing fine food with specialty produce like premium, export quality beef (nearby Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia) seafood, and tropical produce. There is a wide range of restaurants, cafés and clubs catering to all tastes and budgets.
Families are well catered for in Yeppoon, with the foreshore also boasting the fantastic ‘Keppel Kraken’ zero-depth water park, open daily with fun and free activities for the kids on hot sunny days. The new lagoon pool at the southern end of Yeppoon Main Beach also has a children’s play area and dining areas.
I’d say Yeppoon is unspoiled, a relaxed and friendly little coastal town.
The whole plant was covered in these fast-moving jewel-like bugs! It was fascinating to see them sparkling in the sunlight in a suburban garden.
I am reading “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce, wherein Miss Benson and her assistant Enid search for a golden beetle in the wilds of New Caledonia, far removed from the comforts and safety of home, and this book has heightened my interest in insects.
The little Cotton Harlequin bugs (above) were enjoying lunch.
Scientific name: Tectocoris diophthalmus
Size: 2 centimetres
The Australian Cotton Harlequin Bug is a member of the Jewel Bug family named for their bright metallic colouration.
The males and females of the Cotton Harlequin Bug are different colours, with the females mostly orange and the males mostly blue-red.
The Cotton Harlequin Bug lives in urban, agricultural and coastal areas of eastern Australia. It eats sap from many species belonging to the hibiscus plant family (Malvaceae) including ornamental hibiscus species and cotton.
I am a member of U3A, University of the Third Age, an organisation designed for retired or semi-retired people over 50. My focus has been creative writing but U3A provides an opportunity for members to try something different, meet new people, and share and enhance their knowledge and skills in a friendly environment.
University of the Third Age promotes learning for personal enjoyment and well-being for seniors. Keeping the brain active, doing interesting things and making new friends are essential for helping older Australians maximise their chances of independence.
U3A Brisbane is one of many similar U3A branches throughout Australia. Formed in Brisbane in 1986, they are a volunteer organisation. Brisbane locations provide leisure, arts and educational courses to local members at low cost each term.
Classes are conducted on Zoom and in person at a number of venues subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
CLICK A LINK! ENHANCE YOUR SKILLS OR DISCOVER A NEW ONE:
CROCHET is a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a textured fabric by means of a hooked needle. These public art works cover concrete blocks along the entrance driveway to Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rocks, Brisbane, a combined project from Crochet Clubs around the city.
COME ON, admit it. The majority of us have a container, a bowl or tray, on a side table where we toss things. Car keys, door keys, hats, toys, cards, pens, books, name tag, USB, junk mail, countless small items like Lego, and possibly your dog’s lead. They all get thrown, tossed, dropped into this repository, usually near an entry door. Next time you watch a domestic drama series, check how many times the house keys are tossed aside while the actor says ‘I’m home.’
THIS CASUAL receptacle is handy for coming home tired, but hopeless when you are in a hurry in the morning. I have discovered that annoyed pitching never works and requires the effort of fishing the item up off the floor and trying again.
OF COURSE, we are cautioned by Neighbourhood Watch not to use this careless form of storage because thieves can take your car keys on their way out with your Edwardian silverware.
DIFFICULT to disguise a set of car keys—good on you if you have keyless entry—but I hang unmarked keys in separate locations. At least that way the burglar has to scurry around trying to find the right set of hooks holding the right key to your vault or whatever. Naturally a door key may not be necessary if the entry point is used to exit.
THANKFULLY on the night my domestic dwelling was genuinely plundered, I was out, so my car was not there to ‘borrow’. I went to live theatre for the first time in years; you can read my anguish on a past blog post Stolen Jewellery Anger and Sorrow.
THE AVERAGE household uses only one or two different keys and bowl storage works out pretty well until someone wants an unused key necessary to unlock a side window in the spare bedroom. The relevant key is finally located from a neglected bundle at the bottom of a woven tray on the kitchen sideboard. It has been transferred to another storage facility, i.e. drawer. We humans know how to waste time searching for small things.
KEYS offer something primitive and satisfying about locking a door. It is real, it makes a solid locking noise and creates a tangible barrier between you and the world. For me, a beep doesn’t cut it. Do you hear an electronic click when you issue a ‘lock door’ command? Do you hear a thunk like a garage door closing when you tap a screen? I guess the modern manufacturer is well versed in consumer psychology and pre-programs various locking noises. Kind of like phone ring tones but different.
A LOT can be said about smart key entry, finger print identity, voice commands, internet-based security, eye recognition, tomographic motion detection, etc, but since I don’t know how most of that technology works, I am sticking with my metal keys. Of course, the family has keys so I check to see they have ‘properly’ locked the door at night—blame scary movies.
DOMESTICsecurity is important… millions of people don’t have a door to lock… or a home…
When Alice finds that she can’t fit through the little door to get into the beautiful garden because she is too big, she notices a glass bottle with a paper label which reads Drink Me.
A Drink Mepotion is a magical liquid in Wonderland – it has the effect of making the drinker shrink in size
This potion bottle has magically appeared on the table. Alice wonders if it is safe to drink, and she thinks to herself ‘If one drinks much from a bottle marked Poison it is certain to disagree with one, sooner or later’. However, the bottle did not have the word Poisonwritten on it, so Alice drinks every last drop of the bottle’s liquid and finds that it tastes delicious. It had a flavour of cherry tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffee and hot buttered toast, all mixed up. She then shrinks down to only ten inches tall (approx 25cm) after drinking from this bottle.
Personally I did not like this part of Alice in Wonderland as a child and it has haunted me ever since. What writer puts that into a children’s story? Believing labels, swigging from bottles, shrinking in size. The stuff of horrors akin to storing cleaning fluid in soft drink bottles. Okay, I realise it is a fantasy story which has stood the test of time and been reproduced in many formats, still… I guess for me, reading this tale in childhood, there was the thought of ‘No, Alice, don’t drink it!’ without knowing she has to propel the story forward in the most unlikely way. Yes, it is a unique and radical plotline but I still see it as experimental drug-taking.
Apologies to staunch fans with no hang-ups, and those who embrace Lewis Carroll’s Todd’s syndrome or Dysmetropsia, a neuropsychological condition which causes strange hallucinations and affects the size of visual objects. It can make the sufferer feel bigger or smaller than they are – a theme of the book – write what you know. Then, and now, I have never seen Alice’s adventures in Wonderland as entertaining. I view this book as akin to a fitful, nightmarish fever dream. The characters are irredeemably scary, even Johnny Depp couldn’t save it for me.
Before the sun gained intensity, it was a misty morning walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Along the way, I enjoyed coastal views from the Cape Byron walking track which took me on a hike past beaches, through rainforest, grassland and along clifftops to the lighthouse.
The walk is shared by joggers and walkers and is rough in patches but passes through the shade of bangalow palms, ancient burrawangs, and across kangaroo grassland. I had tantalising glimpses of the white lighthouse ahead and views of picturesque beaches alongside before rising to the summit of Australia’s most easterly point.
From the historic town of Byron Bay, the 3.7km walk loops through rainforest and along clifftops with views of the foreshore, eastern coastline and vast hinterland behind the township.
The Bush Stone-curlew or Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius) is a large ground-dwelling bird with a life span of up to 20 years. The bush curlew is endemic to Australia and found in Brisbane, usually in parkland. The curlew will adopt a rigid posture when it becomes aware of an observer, as this one did, poised amongst the roses in New Farm Park.
Curlews are terrestrial predators adapted to stalking slowly at night. Their preferred habitat is open landscapes which give them good visibility at ground level where they search for invertebrates such as insects. The grey-brown coloration is distinguished by dark streaks, its eyes are large and legs are long. Both male and female care for two eggs laid on the bare ground, usually sited in a shaded position near a bush, stone wall or fallen branch.
Queensland Bush Stone-curlews are capable of flight but rely on the camouflage of their plumage to evade detection during the day. Domestic animals are their biggest threat. At night their call is an evocative and unforgettable sound, a sort of wailing cry which echoes across open ground.
The Rolling Stones performed ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ live on Australian TV in 1966 on Brian Henderson’s Bandstand. The Stones are so young, so pretty. Check out the boys wearing ties and the girls sitting on seats tapping their toes, and the politely orchestrated screams. So much to love ♥Gretchen Bernet-Ward
The beautifully illustrated book ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy is intended for children not cynical adults.
The content has been reproduced in countless book reviews on Goodreads to the extent that a large portion of the book has been copied.
We should all know our own country’s copyright laws. Where possible I acknowledge the source of material I use and only quote a sentence or two for emphasis in my book reviews. Copyright is adhered to in many areas including business, education, libraries, publicity, government, even blogs and hand-out leaflets.
So why do certain Goodreads reviewers think they can profusely post someone’s artwork?
Would they like their creative endeavours photographed and reproduced, and in this case vilified, and used for a different purpose other than originally intended?
I believe that by reviewing Mackesy’s work on Goodreads, a reviewer is not justified in reproducing the words and illustrations constituting a chunk of the author’s work.
“Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects the original expression of ideas. It enables creators to manage how their content is used.”
There may be Goodreads rules and regulations in the fine print which I could not locate but I am waiting on a reply from the Librarians.
My WordPress followers know that I do not activate Comments but I suggest if you think the copying is unfair or unjustified, check the book ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ on Goodreads and perhaps submit a message to the gatekeepers.
“I have noticed on Goodreads that generally there does not appear to be any control over spoilers or plot reveals so what hope does copyright offer Goodreads authors. Copyright is mentioned under https://www.goodreads.com/about/terms and it would appear action has to be taken by the author.” GBW.
POSTSCRIPT—Below is my contact post to Goodreads Librarians on Monday 29th March 2021—no reply has been received:
“What are the copyright limitations on posting author illustrations on Goodreads? The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy has had pages copied by reviewers to such an extent that they almost represent the complete book. The book contains original work by the author and has significant meaning to him while naturally being a source of income which could be impacted due to continued copying by book reviewers. I know it is hard to control copyright (particularly on social media) but I would expect a certain level of copyright control on a book-dedicated website. I have no vested interest in this book other than enjoying it, and wanting to see Goodreads and reviewers being more circumspect regarding the posting of images from inside this book, or indeed any illustrated book.” GBW.
A bit of background on this stunning Grey Gum eucalypt I photographed during an afternoon walk.
Eucalyptus propinqua Grey Gum MYRTACEAE
Known as Grey Gum but there are many eucalypt trees given this name on the east coast of Australia, because there are rather a lot of grey gums. About half a dozen are members of the Grey Gum Group – rather obviously named for their grey bark. All members of the group are prized for the strength and durability of their timber, and in the early days of European settlement were heavily logged for use in construction.
The tree can appear to be a small mallee in tougher sites where the soil doesn’t quite suit, but on the Central Coast of New South Wales it is generally a beautiful tall, elegant tree, 35 metres or so high, with a tall, straight cylindrical trunk.
The name, Grey Gum, is a giveaway in what to look out for in the tree, but in February each year they can surprise. Most of the time the trunks are a rather uniform, granular surfaced, mottled grey, but once a year the bark is shed in slabs and displays new colours, ranging from pale cream to light orange.
Then, more occasionally, when the rainfall has been heavy over spring and summer, the same process is carried out – but this time displaying a most vivid orange trunk.
This gumtree seems to like being perched on the side of a hill in the suburbs of Brisbane.
The nerd in me just loves these ten crazy true facts about mirrors! I was actually searching for a fiction story based on a mirror but discovered Dr Ruth Searle’s website and decided her information was far more interesting.
Read on . . .
10. Mirrors And Time Travel
We know that a mirror can do more than reflect your image. And I won’t even start to document the amount of films I’ve seen or books I’ve read where the doorway to another world is through a mirror. A mirrored portal can lead you into an enchanted world of the future or the past; a doorway into a fantasy, paranormal or parallel world; a dystopian dreamscape or endless deep space—supposedly—however, with scientific know-how, Dr Ruth Searle explains HOW wormholes CAN make it possible to travel into the past.
9. Mirrors, Phantom Limbs, And The Human Brain
Experiments using mirrors on patients with phantom limbs have allowed researchers to learn a lot about the workings of our brain. Using a “smoke and mirrors” style optical illusion, researchers placed mirrors vertically on a table and used them to reflected the patient’s intact limb… there’s details on creating new neural pathways due to the plasticity of the brain and the connection between vision and touch.
8. Mirrors Cause Hallucinations
“A strange illusion is conjured up when you stare at your reflection in a mirror” writes Ruth Searle. This one slightly freaked me out because I remember as a girl I was told to stare into a mirror in the evening and soon I would see the face of my one true love. Anyway I stared and stared, and the more I stared, the more frightened I became. I never saw anything but I never did try that again.
If you are up for it, the instructions read “At first, you will find that there are small distortions in your face in the mirror. Then, gradually, after several minutes, your face will begin to change more dramatically, and look more like a waxwork, like the face doesn’t belong to you.” Shiver, no thanks!
7. Can Everyone Recognise Themselves In A Mirror?
Apparently children develop mirror self-recognition by about two years old but cultural differences can sometimes influence recognition and is not a sign that they lack the ability to separate themselves psychologically from other humans. One for those parental “aaw, cute” moments when their kid kisses the mirror.
6. Animals That Have Mirror Self-Recognition
Some researchers think certain animals are able to pass a test for recognising their own reflection. Animals which pass the traditional mirror self-recognition test naturally include chimpanzees and orangutans but several others surprised me. Killer whales anyone..?
5. Mirrors On The Moon
This sentence sounds like sci-fi but if you don’t believe me, read it yourself: “The Laser Ranging Retroreflector was left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, and is used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It is essentially a series of corner-cube reflectors—a special type of mirror—which reflects a laser beam back in the direction it came from… Not only can the Laser Ranging Retroreflector measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon, but it has improved our knowledge of the Moon.” There’s more on the website.
4. Mirrors Can Also Reflect Sound
Before radars were invented, mirrors which reflect sound waves were known as “acoustic mirrors” and were used in Britain during World War II to detect certain sound waves coming from enemy aircraft. It is worth checking the photo to see this almost modern art installation.
3. Reflecting Matter With Mirrors
I absolutely love this Sheldon-like paragraph “Amazingly, mirrors can also reflect matter. Such mirrors are known in physics as atomic mirrors. An atomic mirror reflects atoms of matter just as a conventional mirror reflects light. They use electromagnetic fields to reflect neutral atoms, although some just use silicon water…” Put on your Big Bang t-shirt and read the rest of it, I dare you.
2. True Mirrors
Dr Ruth Searle writes “It’s actually a myth that a mirror reverses your image—your reflection is not flipped. What you see is the left-hand side of your face on the left of the mirror, and the right-hand side on the right, giving the illusion that your reflection is reversed. However, a non-reversing mirror, or true mirror, was developed… primarily for applying cosmetics.” On Zoom, there is a function which allows you to reverse your image and I find it very disorientating.
1. Splitting Light With A Mirror
I did not know that mirrors not only reflect light, sound, and matter, but they can also split light beams. A basic beam splitter is a cube, made from two glass prisms connected at their base. The illustration for this one makes it look amazingly simple but the explanation says beam splitters are used in many scientific instruments including telescopes so their function would have to be precise.
So there you have it, folks, a short ramble through the never-ending joys of the internet.
ListVerse:10 Crazy Facts About Mirrors | Ruth Searle | 30 December, 2013 | 80 Comments Profile: Dr Ruth Searle is a marine biologist with a PhD in humpback whale ecology and behaviour in tropical marine environments. She is also a freelance writer and science nut.