Friday, March 11, 2011

Wednesday to Friday, March 9-11, 2011 (Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra)

IF IT'S WEDNESDAY, THIS MUST BE BRISBANE: We began a three cities in three days stretch on Wednesday, when we flew to the warmer north today, landing in Brisbane. It's still reeling a bit from the massive flooding that struck this area of Queensland in January. The "mangrove boardwalk" remains (above) which allows strollers to wander out among those trees that thrive at waters edge and have their own desalination process inside. This allows them to flourish on the seaside and in tidal rivers, such as the Brisbane River.
The walk in the riverside botanic park is peppered with signs to allow step-counters to keep track of their exertions. Shockingly, obesity is a problem in Australia.
We took a neat trip along the river on a taxi-like "City Cat" boat. The outfit was able to keep its fleet downstream and lost no boats during the flooding. It did, however, lose some of its landing jetties. For much of the trip, Sandy and I were the only ones on the boat. Normally, one of the crew said, the boat would be about 75% full.

THURSDAY IN MELBOURNE: On the middle-day day trip, we flew to Melbourne, where Sandy made a presentation to the local CFA group. I hustled to the sobering Shrine of Remembrance on the south side of the river. The Flinders Street Station caught my eye. The photo doesn't quite capture the distinct yellow shade of the building.
In the afternoon, we caught up with Eileen Turpin, who's a junior at Boston College and studying this semester at the University of Melbourne. She's a neighbor in Winchester and has been a longtime babysitter for our nephew Levi. She's doing great, Tom and Susan.

FRIDAY IN CANBERRA: During our last day in Australia, we flew to Canberra, the capital city. This provided an opportunity to visit the spectacular Australian War Memorial. Much of the space is devoted to those who gave their lives. There are MANY. The photo above shows how people have tucked small poppies by the names of those who died during World War I.
I've been doing a lot of research on the U.S. soldiers who were blinded in battle during the Great War. I couldn't take my eyes off a small collection of fragments from various high-explosive shells. This is the type of whirling metal (right) that smashed into the faces of many of the men who were blinded.


  1. Frank, your Australian adventure sounds very sobering, from Brisbane flooding to the war museum. Nice that you can touch base with Levi's babysitter as well.
    Where are you now? We trust the tsunami did not impact Singapore, but what a tragedy for Japan. Keep us posted. Best to Sandy.
    Thinking of you.
    Tom and Joyce

  2. Tom and Joyce: We're back in Singapore. Stephen landed this morning. He initially was on a flight that would have taken him through Tokyo.
    About 25,000 Japanese ex-pats here. Lots of concern about Tokyo.