These are a few of the odd things that set Australia apart from the mother country (i.e. the UK!) Similar, yet different, eh?
The Spider Mailbox
Most suburban houses follow the USA mailbox style, with some sort of box on the edge of the property. But watch out for spiders when fetching the post!
Yet funnel web spiders, some of which can kill you in hours, aren’t the only strange, odd, things.
Merry Christmas in Rye, Victoria
Because just across the road, Santa awaits… inflated to gigantic proportions in an expensive house, built on sand dunes, made in the style of a 19th century colonial house, filled with all the gadgetry and labour-saving devices of the modern world.
A walk in the country can provide a host of oddities, from the deadly to the silly.
These are a few I came across. Places include Melbourne, Port Douglas in tropical Queensland and various sites across the Mornington Peninsular. I’m fascinated by the signs that are put up for public information. A real clue into everything, I think.
Japanese Bomb Sculpture – note the guy mowing the grass in the background. That was a noisy machine I can tell you!
Japanese Bomb Sign – little girl was the only casualty of WW2 on the East Australian mainland. (This contrasts sharply with the tens of thousands killed NOT on the mainland)
Crocodiles and Stinger Signs Next to Each Other! Just off the Captain Cook Highway.
Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery – contrasts to the large sculptures…
Tourism is Big – this is the Puffing Billy train in the Dandenongs
Big, forward control lorries are common in Australia even in urban areas. They hammer along everywhere, apparently in all lanes.
Graffiti All Over Melbourne – despite the sun and wealth, many of man’s creations are amended with random ink. Cops go on trains in fives.
Even Cats Get Banned from a Vineyard
Man-made Floating Island – this is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is The Coral Sea
View from a Yacht – Queensland and it’s hills round Port Douglas. You just point and click, there are views everywhere.
More Views – from near Cpt Cook Hwy. Banana fields just out of sight.
Fascination with Olden Days – signs all over, this is Daintree
Daintree River Crocodile Sign – no paddling and keep your eyes open – they’ve had crocs in excess of 5m long here.
Humourous Daintree Crocodile Signs on the WC Publics
My own image of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Cape Tribulation – here the tropical jungle hits the Great Barrier Reef via the mangrove swamps and beach. It’s where Cook’s ship “Endeavour” was dragged ashore to be fixed after crashing into a coral reef (now named after the ship).
Cassowary v Range Rover; not so fair.
Dangerous Pedestrians! They can injure and kill people when provoked.
Views! Along Captain Cook Highway. Australia is full of views. Loads. All over the place.
Tropical Rain Forest, Hot. This is Mossman Gorge, Queensland.
Garbage Recycling, Queensland Style. In Packers Creek, upstream from Port Douglas, they just dump their boats and leave them to the crocodiles when they’re finished with them.
Sign Overload, some graphically scary – Stingers are not nice
View at Port Douglas, Queensland
Melbourne Memorial to a war on the opposite side of the world – beautiful quotes from Wilfred Own in there.
Random Public Art – McClelland Gallery, Frankston.
Odd Signs with Humour
Serious Melbourne Tram System
Ancient “cold” Tropical Rainforest in the South (Dandenongs)
Odd Signs and characteristic Oz Humour
Blue-ringed octopus in a pool at Cape Schanck – there is no known anti-venom!!! It is there in a crack. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus
Sudden Waves don’t reach the odd sign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_black_snake Red-bellied black snake taken walking down to Cape Schanck
Australia is a strange, deadly place, filled with amazing natural resources.
The quirky humour of the people is to be treasured.
They try to be uppity with their restaurants, vineyards, big boys toys and gadgets, yet underneath, the wild west existence is evident all around.
It’s all in the nature of the place.
We are a mixture of the land we live in and the land we came from.
..should be the title of this post. Having lived in the South-West for nearly quarter of a century, it’s come as a complete shock to me to discover that my favourite vacuum cleaner (if there is such a thing, I’m now defining it here!) is little old Henry, and it’s made about 20 miles from here in Bridgwater!
Henry Mk 1 (or 2 possibly)
I first bought one in 1986 when the babies started arriving. It lasted, and lasted and lasted. It had a 1kW motor, little dinky wheels and a smile. It could suck the carpet off the floor. Below, is a really daft video of someone vacuuming with one from that era.. ?? (youtube never ceases to amaze me)
John Stringfellow's Flying Machines
When the motor & fan finally packed in by wearing so much that there was hardly any suck, we got a Dyson Animal. What a mistake that was. No suck and yes, there was a filter that needed cleaning perpetually under a running tap and then took ages to dry… When it worked, it didn’t lose suction, just like the advert said – but there again, it never had much in the first place!
The Henry lasted over 15 years – the Dyson we left out on the pavement after 18 months in the hope that someone would swipe it – which they did. I expect they thought they were getting a bargain.
In 2003 I got a little yellow Miele which worked very well for me but was chucked out by Jillian as she didn’t like it, after a year or so. However, the benefit was that she walked in with a…
This has worked fine for 3 years but now needs a replacement head. Fortunately, this is no problem as the factory, I’ve just found out, is down the road in Chard.
Chard – the Birthplace of Powered Flight
You see, all I thought Chard was famous for was it’s lace and for being the site of the world’s first powered, man-carrying aeroplane flight…
It was steam powered(!!) and launched inside a disused lace mill down a guide wire. This was remarkably similar to the Wright’s Flyer which was launched down a guide rail to get up speed in a similar way.
The museum’s article has different information to mine which I’ve got from various sources. My take is that it wasn’t Stringfellow who did the flight, but his manservant!
Upon landing, his manservant refused to go in the machine again, even when offered a five pound note – a lot of money in 1848!
Vacuum Cleaner beyond Excellence!
Well now I’ve found that Chard is famous for something much more practical than a history lesson, and it’s a real innovative success story (see company history here) employing 700 local people.
And now, I’ve had a bizarre request from my daughter to get her a Henry for her birthday present. Women are weird. But I’m considering it because of her asthma. ;-)
Bad Joke Alert
Back in 1987, the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded in the North Sea, killing many men, mostly in horrible ways. In the office where I worked, the black humour started up immediately. There are two endings to the question;
Q. Where do oil rig workers go on holiday?
A. Burnham on Sea
Sorry about that. Fortunately, my mind has forgotten the even worse jokes surrounding the Lockerbie bombing only six months later. That was one bad office.
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