Place of the magpie lark

Not far from the ruckus of Brisbane’s Carindale Shopping Centre, there was a hiking trail through Tillack Park lined with paper bark trees. The pathway mirrored Bulimba Creek—an Aboriginal word meaning place of the magpie lark. While this was a common bird with a musical call, I only spotted a pigeon.The trail entered tall gum trees and in spite of its beauty, there were few hikers taking advantage of this peaceful setting.

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Wynnum by the bay

This beachside suburb was a place from my childhood. My parents often drove my sister and I to Wynnum to cool off during Brisbane’s sweltering summers. Salt water from Moreton Bay filled the enclosure at high tide to about sixty centimetres, making it safe for children.

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Among the paper barks 

Indiscapes was located just out of Brisbane in the Redlands area, so named because of the red volcanic soil. The bushland setting housed a restaurant where I  walked through paper barks, trees sometimes used in artwork. I was there to catch up with a work colleague from earlier days and was glad she’d chosen this unique site. Surrounded by swamp and gum trees the setting was magical.

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Hiking above the city

It had been decades since I’d driven up to Mt Cootha for a view of Brisbane and the surrounding region spread out like a map below. Ahead was Brisbane city with its cluster of high rises, further west was a glimpse of the meandering Brisbane River and in the far distance the blue of Moreton Bay. Mt Cootha was also home to Brisbane’s four television towers hidden amongst the eucalyptus forest. That morning was a perfect twenty-five degree winter day and we’d arrived early before the tourist buses and selfie addicts.

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Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens

In the city’s botanic gardens, I wandered under an old banyan fig tree planted in the 1870s savouring the shade. It may have been a native of India, but its expansive foliage was perfect under Brisbane’s heat. The Brolgas by Lindsay Daen, was stationed in the middle of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. It stood before a bamboo grove. The inspiration for the work came from a shipwrecked sailor who once lived with Aborigines for seventeen years. Further into the gardens was a macadamia tree, a Queensland native renowned for its tasty nuts.

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By the Brisbane River

Trams once crossed the Brisbane River to enter the city. But with the old Grey Street Bridge torn down and replaced with a new one, tram lines were excluded, causing the clanking contraptions to fade from Brisbane’s landscape leaving Melbourne the only tram city in Australia.

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Brisbane’s ANZAC Square and nearby buildings

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Square included a park in the heart of Brisbane. Statues depicting the suffering soldiers endured, lined the path where workers strode during their lunch break. The memorial site where the eternal flame was housed was within the circle of columns at one end of the park. Below the flame endless rows of soldiers’ names who died during the first and second world wars lined the walls.

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Brisbane’s Art Galleries

In 1982 the present Southbank Gallery was launched. Prior to its opening the Queensland National Gallery had several other temporary locations. In 1894 thirty-eight paintings were housed in the Town Hall. Early in the 20th century, the government took over the collection and moved it to the third/top floor of the Executive Building. By 1930 the collection was moved once again to the former Exhibition Building Concert Hall in Bowen Hills. This site also proved unfavourable, but it took another fifty years before the present site next to the Brisbane River eventuated.

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Brisbane’s iconic buildings

The treasury building (featured photo) marked the entrance into Brisbane’s city centre. The building was constructed at the turn of the 20th century and once housed state government offices. In the early 1970s some of the government departments moved to the Executive building. Then in 1995, the Treasury was used as a casino.

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Silvermine Bay, Lantau Island

I left Hong Kong, but on my flight back home, I returned to the island to break up my long journey. This time I stayed on Lantau Island at Silvermine Bay, a quiet secluded beach with accommodation right near the waterfront. 

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My travel diary

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