2019 Aus Growing our short term Brisbane Lifestyles
Growing our Short Term Brisbane Lifestyle
In the Two Gardens
The first five photos are of the City Gardens that are a wonderfully peaceful alternative to the noisy, bustling street life of the city just a few paces away. The title is following the concept of the brochures ‘Growing your Brisbane lifestyle’ and Brisbane has plenty of open places where busy city-dwellers can relax and unwind. There are nine special areas in the gardens that can be booked for special events including the Lilypond lawn and Rainforest Hideaway, the photo opportunities would be wonderful.
The birdlife in the city garden was delightful with the blue winged kookaburras, bush herons chilling in the shade and an extensive ibis colony nesting in the tree tops. The city gardens border the Brisbane River which provides fine vistas towards the buildings on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and around towards the Maritime Museum and South Bank. More about those later.
To get to the extensive Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens we bounced up and down little hills through the suburbs of old wooden and new homes, around tight corners and across busy roads in the number 471 bus from Adelaide Street in the CBD. Quite an adventure in itself.
The temperature was 37’ and rising so we thought we’d explore the Lookout at the top of Mt Coot-tha first and we had an hour there before the same number bus would drop us at the gardens. The photos speak for themselves and we were lucky the haze wasn’t too bad on the day. A refreshing iced coffee later and we made our way to the bus stop where ‘a man in black’ decided to tell us about how he had found a unique niche in the money market so he buys and sells foreign currencies for people and makes an income himself.
I explained that this is a regular part of the financial market in the UK, but he didn’t accept that. He then went on to astound me by saying that in Canada euthanasia operates to ‘put down’ elderly people as a matter of course and the same is now legal in Victoria. When I mentioned that it is a matter for the person concerned to decide on whether they want to be euthanized, he wasn’t keen on that intervention either. I mention him because the same happened to us in Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens and I wonder if it is us, or me that attracts ‘em. What do you think?
At the Reception the lady told us the gardens are run by volunteers and the buses up to the top lake are not operating, but they do have a seed bank which is shared with Kew. This second botanic gardens came about in 1970-76 because several major floods washed through the city gardens damaging their plant collections. The new gardens cover 56 hectares and look beautiful in that the plants can look after themselves but are run down with many dead plants and uncared for areas and rotten wood. The drought conditions are abundantly clear with water levels down and water features turned off. We watched alarmed as two cormorants in the lake were swallowing a fish on each of their frequent surfacings after their dives. At that rate the enclosed lakes would soon be empty of fish, but I guess nothing could be done about that.
Deciding on a break from the heat we went into the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Namesake of the city Thomas came from Scotland and decided for understandable reasons of self-preservation, having come near to being shipwrecked on route to the West Indies, to take up astronomy, which being a member of the elite class of the British military he did in style by building three observatories, the first in Sydney at the start of his four year governorship of New South Wales in 1821 and two in Scotland.
He dedicated time and funds to childrens’ education in his later years, outliving his own children, as so often happened in the nineteenth century, and this ethos is ongoing in this planetarium which rightfully bears his name. When we enquired about the shows programmed at the planetarium the lady politely said that even for a couple of young at heart oldies as us the show was pitched at a much younger level, primary level!
So we had a rewarding time studying the history of astronomy and the aboriginal understanding and use of the stars in story-telling and for navigation and learning that indigenous folk have studied the stars for 65,000 years, makes the second century Ptolemy and sixteenth century, contradicting knowledge of Copernicus seem like last night’s late show doesn’t it.
We explored the gardens some more and decided that with Australia’s strong ties with Japan in the way of gardens we would love to see some real Japanese gardens one day. I need to learn how to bonsai properly or at least care for them as a pretty little bonsai tree will take one look at me and die. We pondered the idea of walking up to the lake at the top but there was a steep hill down and back up first and the day was at its hottest. What a shame the little buses are no longer running around the gardens and the lovely lake is ignored. I wondered if the cut backs were Federal or Central Government.