Big guitar, Bairnsdale, and a Stick Insect

It’s a long drive between Brisbane and Bairnsdale, our next performance.  We planned to stop with our SCQuilter friend, Jennifer, in Tamworth.  They have just left the big city of Sydney for this country town of her youth, which also happens to be the centre of country music in Australia.  They have a lovely house backing on a nature reserve, and the birdsong in the morning was amazing.  Jennifer collects anything wombat, and doesn’t like getting her picture taken, so here is the result.

The famous bronze wombat with Jennifer's feet!

Before we left town, we had to pay homage to the enormous Golden Guitar, which celebrates country music in Australia.

Me with the Golden Guitar in Tamworth

Our drive down to Canberra became cooler and cooler.  We’re well into autumn here now, and Canberra, being inland, is getting pretty chilly at night (5C sometimes!).  It’s probably about that cool at home now.  But it is harvest season, and we found some wonderful new crop apples along the way.  We also saw lots of fall colour in the few deciduous trees as we drove through – poplar and aspen, especially.

Bairnsdale is on the south coast of Victoria. We have been there before and had a great time with everyone.  Since then, there have been devastating bush fires through there, and we were interested to see what toll they had done on the landscape.  Gum trees are made for bushfires.  They regenerate very quickly, and it takes a very bad one to kill the tree entirely.  We drove through an area that had had bushfires this last January, and were amazed to see feathery, green, mossy new growth coming out from every tree trunk along the road!!!   Sorry, we didn’t stop for pictures.  When we drive through again, we’ll make sure we stop.

The Riviera Quilters were very welcoming, just like last time, especially our friends Ula and Ken.  They have a large grove of fruit trees on their property, and we were able to sample some of the produce from their land.  I love this time of year!

Ula & Ken's garden

They had me stay on after the show to teach a class in hexagons – more hexaholics!  We went out to dinner with a few of them that evening, and got caught up on the news from Bairnsdale.

Hexaholics unite!

I think all the pelicans in Australia are currently feasting on Lake Eyre (miraculously full of water for a second year in a row).  I didn’t see very many on the south coast at all.  I keep my eyes open for them – they are wonderfully prehistoric looking.  The light these days is crystalline, and the blues are very blue.  We had a visit to one of the many lakes in the Bairnsdale area before we left, and took this picture with Ula and Ken.

At the end of the beach, we found a beautiful piece of sailboat art, with a surprise guest on it.  In this picture is a “stick insect” – can you spot him?

Spot the Stick Insect!

It’s amazing – they stay perfectly still.  I think they’d be invisible on a tree or in a field of grass.

From Bairnsdale we drove to Melbourne yesterday, and we sang at the Australian Quilters’ Association meeting this morning.  Lovely to return to this group again after 5 years for a visit.  They requested that I sing the Rajah Quilt song, and filled me in on some more information about it – when funds were being raised to purchase the quilt and return it to Australia, AQA contributed, as they also did to have a case built to house it. Thanks to their work, and the contributions of many quilters around Australia, the Rajah quilt was able to come home.

There’s an award presented here to acknowledge the outstanding contribution by an individual to quilting in Australia called The Rajah Award. Quilters like Margaret Rolfe and Gloria Loughman have been previous recipients.  After the show this morning, we met the newest recipient, as of this last weekend: Mary Hitchens. Mary was absolutely gobsmacked that she had won the award this year.  I’m so glad she brought it with her – I hadn’t seen one of the awards before.  A very great honour for her.

2011 Rajah Award winner Mary Hitchens

My little hexagon quilt (1/4″ hexes, 3000 pieces, 3 1/2 years in the making) has been getting lots of attention on this tour.  I will leave you with this picture John took this morning.

Insanity!

We’re off back to South Australia tomorrow, to sing in Victor Harbour. We’ll be following one of the most beautiful and amazing roads in the world: the Great Ocean Road.  We should have a good day for it.  Can’t wait to see it again.

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4 Responses to “Big guitar, Bairnsdale, and a Stick Insect”

  1. Peggi Says:

    It looks as though you’re having a lovely time.

    That is one huge guitar! I thought perhaps you were talking about a normal dreadnaught. LOL

  2. Jan Rhoades Says:

    and you are certainly doing that. Love the blog and pics. More hexagons! Yikes.

    Since you left Brisbane the days have been getting cooler by degrees and more rain yesterday and today. I also got a burst of energy and weeded the self-sown tomato garden. I might even be able to pick some for Easter.

    Much love to both of you – enjoy the Great Ocean Road.
    Jan

  3. Pam Pemberton Says:

    It’s great reading about your travels and seeing some of the places we know well, through your eyes. We lived in Tamworth for some 16 years until coming to Darwin in 1997 – which pre-dated the Big Guitar!

    The Dry Season has started – last Tuesday (I kid you not) and the weather is absolutely gorgeous; wonderful quilting weather. It was a real bonus being able to catch up with you at the DP&Q meeting. Travel well and stay safe.

    Pam

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