Geoffs Life After Work !

Life is just beginning

Burrum Heads a 20 minute Drive from Home

I am currently learning how to get good use from my Camera, so we took it to the beautiful Burrum Heads a very pristine,clean and friendly spot for a BBQ.The scenery is breath taking and lots of leisurely laid back things to do  Everything moves at a different pace in the picturesque fishing village of Burrum Heads, a short drive from Hervey Bay on Queensland’s beautiful Fraser Coast. Burrum Heads offers the ultimate in beachfront tranquillity while its calm blue waters provide excellent opportunities for fishing, canoeing, boating and safe swimming. Burrum Heads is nestled in the southern entrance of the mouth of the Burrum River with views across to Hervey Bay and the top end of Fraser Island. Hopefully the photos of the area and surrounding area will give this wonderful spot  the publicity it deserves.People from around Australia gather here in great numbers to escape the colder Northern parts of Australia!yet the place looks  fairly quiet.Do visit if given a chance

Very,very relaxing place Well worth a visit !!


July 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hervey Bay Whale Festival July 2014

The annual Hervey Bay Whale Festival bookends the start and end of our famous whale-watching season which runs from mid July to end of October. We love celebrating the humpback whales here on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. The launch of the Whale Season incorporates ‘Paddle out for Whales’ on 19 July, where the crowds paddle out into the ocean on all manner of flotation devices to celebrate the whales and raise conservation awareness issues to protect these amazing marine mammals. The Blessing of the Fleet brings the Hervey Bay marina precinct alive with activity. This tradition of a blessing for the vessels on the water and the safety of whale and human alike is followed by a spectacular fireworks display in a setting that is second to none. The Illumination parade is a local favourite as a family atmosphere to be remembered along the Hervey Bay Esplanade and in 2014 we’re finishing things off with the rocking Whale Aid concert to finish things off in style for our giant yet gentle friends.

  Pictures taken on the Hervey Bay Esplanade and as the day goes on activities will escalate Fireworks will finish the day and the Goodbye Whale festivities will be sometime in October

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Didgeridoo,s and how they are made



Authentic Aboriginal didgeridoos are produced in traditionally oriented communities in Northern Australia or by makers who travel to Central and Northern Australia to collect the raw materials. They are usually made from hardwoods, especially the various eucalyptus species that are endemic to the region. Generally the main trunk of the tree is harvested, though a substantial branch may be used instead. Aboriginal didgeridoo craftsmen hunt for suitably hollow live trees in areas with obvious termite activity. Termites attack these living eucalyptus trees, removing only the dead heartwood of the tree, as the living sapwood contains a chemical that repels the insects.Various techniques are employed to find trees with a suitable hollow, including knowledge of landscape and termite activity patterns, and a kind of tap or knock test, in which the bark of the tree is peeled back, and a fingernail or the blunt end of a tool, such as an axe is knocked against the wood to determine if the hollow produces the wood to determine if the hollow produces the right resonance Once a suitably hollow tree is found, it is cut down and cleaned out, the bark is taken off, the ends trimmed, and the exterior is shaped; this results in a finished instrument. This instrument may be painted or left undecorated. A rim of beeswax may be applied to the mouthpiece end. Traditional instruments made by Aboriginal craftsmen in Arnhem Land are sometimes fitted with a ‘sugarbag’ mouthpiece. This black beeswax comes from wild bees and has a distinctive aroma.

N on-traditional didgeridoos can also be made from PVC piping, non-native hard woods (typically split, hollowed and rejoined), glass, fiberglass, metal, agave, clay, hemp (in the form of a bio-plastic named zelfo), and even carbon fibre. These didges typically have an upper inside diameter of around 1.25″ down to a bell end of anywhere between two to eight inches and have a length corresponding to the desired key. The mouthpiece can be constructed of beeswax, hardwood or simply sanded and sized by the craftsman. In PVC, an appropriately sized rubber stopper with a hole cut into it is equally acceptable, or to finely sand and buff the end of the pipe to create a comfortable mouthpiece.

Modern Didgeridoo signs are distinct from the traditional Australian Aboriginal  didgeridoo, and are innovations recognized by musicologists Didgeridoo design innovation started in the late 20th Century using non-traditional materials and non-traditional shapes.

We met and befriended an Aboriginal Artist by the name of Tommy who is also a brilliant player of the Didgeridoo and you can watch him playing with me doing a bit of Jaming for fun on my Blog cover page  so Click and watch .Above pics are devoted to him.Tommy also decorated my Didgeridoo with a magnificent Goanna and he presented me n Annie with a painting of his own style and a Hunting Boomerang (yet to be tried !!)

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NAIDOC Week in Hervey bay

This week saw the culmination of NAIDOC Week ( National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observanc e Committee) with a fun day on the Hervey Bay Esplanade Oval it coincides with school holidays Lots of different stall holders were selling off their wares (we have friends who sell paintings/clock paintings ) Juttah is the seller and her husband Martin is the artist (such skill) She is also an announcer on Frasercoast Radio and I occasionally cover for her on her show “Travel the World on a Song”  Mondays 6 to 9 pm Queensland time. The NAIDOC  Fair started with an aboriginal playing a Didgeridoo and walking around the extensive Oval followed by children as in Pied Piper Fashion,and  the next attraction was spoken by an Aboriginal ex Army who originally enlisted for 3 years but managed to do THIRTY THREE ! His Army medals must have been fairly weighty on this extremely proud indigenous man who  is simply known as Uncle Bob.He finished his rousing speech by reciting a poem he had written specially for his daughter.Music was played throughout the day  and various entertainers graced the purpose built outdoor stage.All rides within the fairgrounds on this day were FREE and of course the kids loved it !! The Maryboro Animal Sanctuary were also in attendance and allowed the quickly gathering audience to hold a few of the native “creatures” Food outlets were ample and there was plenty to see for all visitors.This is an annual event and not to be missed  The NAIDOC festivals are held at the same time  throughout Australia and is a great way of understanding and learning about Aboriginal Culture….Do give a look in next year,you won,t be disappointed !!

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Little Buggers ! aka White Ants interest from me

I have lived over 30 yrs in Australia and have witnessed first hand the damage White Ants can do to property if NOT looked after !! I have taken “bits” from the Internet via Google Travelling around Australia we have seen 1000,s of Ant Hills that at times tower  above me !! Having just visited our local Botanic Garden and observing what these little “buggers” can do I am  interested on what these Ants are about so with a little Plagiarism here is the result of my research

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                                                                                     Termites are the only members of the insect order Isoptera. They are commonly known as “White Ants”.
However termites are not even closely related to ants.   Ants have eyes, a constricted waist and dark bodies, whereas most worker and solder termites are blind, have no constriction and are creamy in colour. There are more than 300 species found in Australia but only about 30 could be considered to be pests of timber in service.  Of these, the subterranean termites are the most significant, with about 12 species being serious pests.  The termite diet is centred around cellulose-based materials.  These can include the timber used in constructing buildings but could also include furniture, paper materials and fabrics.  These termites can also damage non-cellulose materials such as polystyrene and plasterboard or the plastic coatings on electrical wiring.

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What to do to kill of the “Little Buggars” 

The home owner can discourage termites by remembering these facts:

  • termites are attracted to wood, so remove potential termite food away from buildings – their food can include timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse, garden decoration such as sleepers and logs
  • waste timber from construction activities is often left in place or stored under the house – remove all timber formwork
  • timber can be treated to prevent termite attack, and some timbers are naturally resistant – use treated or naturally resistant timber when it is in contact with, or close to, soil
  • termites are attracted to water, so fix leaking water pipes, drains, showers, sinks etc, plus capture water from air conditioning units
  • termites prefer humid conditions, so keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access
  • termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured
  • termite colonies can sometimes be located – it is possible to eliminate colonies by killing the reproductives (the queen and the king).

Regular inspections are the most important part of controlling termites before they do any damage.  Therefore:

  • arrange regular inspections – at least once a year in cooler areas and twice a year in warmer areas
  • inspect during periods of high termite activity – early spring to late summer is generally the best
  • keep the edges of the house (slabs, foundation, piers and stumps) clear of clutter, including garden beds and vegetation
  • professional pest controllers are trained in inspecting houses for termite activity – use their services
  • home owners can inspect houses themselves more frequently than a professional, if they can identify termite activity.

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These pics show HUGE Ant hills  that are bigger than both me and Annie (depicted) they live underground in Suburbia with NO sign od Ant Hills


July 9, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens and our First visit after 3 yrs !!

Lived here for 3 yrs and still discovering places !! 3 mins drive from us is the Hervey Bay Botanical Garden and we have never ventured into this park before SO this morning we did !! and we were very pleasantly surprised at this wild and well kept garden over 26 hectares of bushland ( I have NO idea how big that is ! but we seemed to walk for miles !!)  BBQs are strategically placed around Altho tis mid winter here the undergrowth is spectacular and I will do another review when in full bloom during Summer months (probably Febuary) PLUS its a freebie !! Pathways have been introduced so the visitor will get a good idea of what life before humans was like ( Sorry NO Dinosaurs etc) There are lots of photograph opportunities and ample parking PLUS a cafeteria within the grounds that over looks a lake and good bird life…Well worth a visit .

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The tired old log with red soil on it is residue left by white ants who have eaten most of it away ( Didgeridoos are made from tree branches hollowed out by white ants )

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disability Services Commission (DSC) and my humble opinions


The 1973 plaque unveiling (above). Plaque headed “Pyrton Training Centre” presumably prepared ready to be unveiled at the opening of a new section of Pyrton, which was first established in 1966.

Pyrton was a government-run Home for children diagnosed with profound intellectual disabilities. It opened in 1966 in Eden Hill (Lockridge) with children transferred from Claremont Hospital. Pyrton provided long-term accommodation and short-term respite ‘care’. From 1973, young people could be employed in an onsite Training Centre. No children were admitted to Pyrton after the 1980s. Pyrton residents were moved into community-based hostels or to Mount Henry Hospital by 1997 and Pyrton was closed by 1998.

Pyrton opened on 12 December 1966. It was established and run by Mental Health Services. Pyrton was built on land once owned by the Drake-Brockman family, and took its name from the village in England where Elizabeth Drake-Brockman had once lived.

The first building at Pyrton was the Primary Unit, later called ‘Myoora’. It had four dormitories. The Secondary Unit (‘Pindarra’) had a two metre high fence and no gardens. A Tertiary Unit (‘Carramar’) was built in 1975 to provide a more ‘homely environment’. Each unit had 64 beds.

Pryton was staffed by multidisciplinary professional teams, principally registered nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social trainers. The first intake of children was classified as ‘active’. They were followed in January 1967 by a group of ‘immobile’ children, who went into a special dormitory. These children were all under 12 years old and had lived all of their lives in Claremont Hospital. Stella’s (1996) history of Pyrton records that many children, due to the lack of individual attention, training and support at Claremont, had little idea how to behave or to how to acquire social skills. Self-harming, lack of self-worth and anti-social behaviours were common. In 1969, behaviour modification techniques were introduced at Pyrton to complement social training. At first, seclusion in padded cells was tried but found to have little positive impact on self-mutilation, so a ‘cattle prodder’ which was said to ‘deliver a very painful but safe shock, was used on several residents whose behaviour was considered a danger to themselves’

In 1975, searching for ways to develop the potential of each child, individual treatment plans were implemented. Even so, evaluations showed that the institutional environment of Pyrton was not delivering the hoped-for progression to higher skills. By the 1980s, there were no children in residence at Pyrton – though some people who had been children on admission were still there. But a decision had been made not to admit any more children to Pyrton.

Pyrton was part of the hostel system and was based on a ‘progression model’ whereby people would move towards greater independence.  Pyrton was closed by 1998.

Address – Pyrton was situated on a large parcel of land (Government Reserve 25363) at 60 Lord Street, Eden Hill. Location: Eden Hill ……source source

I had been in Australia  for a few months after migrating from England with wife and 2 children (more have been added since) and served my “apprenticeship” at the now demolished Pyrton in 1983 and was placed after one week intensive traning in Pindara ( De Grey dorm) To me Pyrton was a great safe environment,wherein the residents could live without fear of intimidation and harassment.Staff were mostly brilliant in doing their duties and the resident secured the very best of treatment.Pyrton was a “city” that had traffic lights installed ( not official ones) that were used in training some of the residents.Anything from clothes to furniture  could be obtained from the large stores.Buses were run to special schools,day trips and even holidays buses were “fixed in the garage at Pyrton and even boasted its own petrol station. Days schools and other activities were a plenty and within the grounds a swimming pool was added and the dorm I worked in even had its own Radio Station ( I can still hear those ABBA songs blasting out !!)

After on the job training (6 months) I was transferred to a Group home Fairholme that consisted 3 purpose built houses used by skilled residents who were trained up to be as independant as possible .These houses have now been demolished and bigger,better homes built. Within the grounds is a heritage listed ( sadly falling into disrepair) house,stables and buildings that were used for other purposes ie games.Forward 9 years and sfter a disagreement with management I was very quickly moved to Bennett Brook ( I was the Union rep , a job I had for around 25 yrs with the CSA) Bennett Brook was even better that had 7 duplex ,s and 3 houses again it was a safe,secure environment for residents of whom some were capable enough to travel and work in dependantly.This place was brilliant and most of my 15 yrs spent there was very happy ( I could take residents on National and International  Holidays) towards my retirement date in 2010 the times they were a changing !! Residents were moved into neighbourhood house and the purpose built houses of Bennett Brook were turned into offices (not all at this stage)  2014 has seen the start of houses within the complex being demolished (the residents of this area ,Lockridge are quite rightly up in arms about the future of lands that housed Bennett Brook and Pyrton (adjoining)

I STILL believe that residents who have an intellectual disability and need the services and skills of Social Trainers are at their happiest in a situation as described above.Having served in a community based home with 4 residents to my mind is not ideal (I had a certificate of excellence awarded to me for setting up a community based home) and would argue in great lengths to professionals ( who don,t actually work with these guys ) and policy makers .Take a private poll amongst Social Trainers and I think most of them would agree

Rant over  R.I.P Bennett Brook and Pyrton 

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The above photos are ALL Social Trainers I have had the pleasure of working with    1984   to   2010 Any STs out there who have more pics please send them on I will be very happy to Blog them

July 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Geoffs Life After Work !

Life is just beginning

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