An offence too far!


There comes a time when all this gender neutral rubbish has to be laughed out of sight.

We now have ‘neutral’ Mother’s Day cards, so that a very small minority are not ‘offended’. How about the rest of who might be offended?


What happened to the child celebrating their own mother’s special day? In the UK when I was a child it was called Mothering Sunday, which like many other traditional days, has been ‘changed’ thanks to our trans-Atlantic advertisers.

Halloween used to be Duck Apple night, and we didn’t go from house to house in costumes. Come to think of it, asking for sweets would have been a waste of time because they were still rationed in the late 40’s early 50’s in the UK.

Apparently there is a move to change the name of Mothering Sunday to Guardian’s Day or some other such daft name.

Guardian’s Day sounds like a new Brian Rix, Whitehall farce, no one would believe that the proponent was serious.

Mothering Sunday was good for two bob or even half a crown from Dad so that I could visit the local allotments near our local park, and buy some fresh flowers for Mum. The card was hand made, and the thought of using ‘You’ instead of ‘Mum’ makes me shudder.

Of course there are quite a few other things that will have to change if the offended ones have their own way –

To what do we change man-slaughter?

Or should you move because you are offending someone by living in or near Man-chester.

You will have to make sure you don’t man-oeuvre in to an awkward position, and if you are a politician what are you going to do about you man-ifesto?

But on to a more serious area, I want to know what the Germans are going to do about their national anthem.

They mention women and they sing of the German Fatherland – tut tut!

They even mention German women and wine in the same paragraph, that must give someone offence somewhere.

German National anthem

Of course, not to be outdone, we have the Russians, who also sing of the Fatherland, and they glorify God – how very un PC can a communist country get? On the other hand what would you expect of the Russians?

Russian anthem

The Dutch get worse – they sing of Princes, God, Kings and wait for it, Fatherland!
and even ‘honour’ – all this un-neutrality gender, is double Dutch to me.

Dutch National anthem

The Belgium people sing of their fathers – they are very confused because they don’t mention their mothers in some versions, and do so in others . . . I suppose being the HQ of the EEC makes them very confused.

Belgium National anthem

Poland – the latest version speaks of fathers in tears and boys, no mention of the other gender(s). The original version written in 1797 spoke of fathers, fatherland, boys, & would you believe GOD! No wonder they changed things . . .

Polish National anthem

The Americans sing of their land and the people and of course GOD. They did slip up once when they mentioned freemen . . .

American National anthem

The French sing of their sons and the fatherland . . .

French national anthem

Now the British have managed to get it half right – they sing of a queen, which should please many of the those who are alphabetically challenged , but then they sing of GOD . . .
The British National anthem

The Australians have managed a national anthem that doesn’t mention, male, female, fatherland, motherland or God.

We don’t mention God in Australia, because He is no longer welcome. He offends so many that He is no longer allowed in to our schools, parliaments (we have quite a few, hence the ‘s’), acknowledging God has become the 21st century’s Love that dares to speak his name  (a corruption of James Kirkup poem). Try 1 Corinthians, 16: 13. 

Australian National anthem

Finally, considering our species, how will the gender neutralisers fix the word hu-MAN.

This is what I think we should do to all those who wish to be neutralisers



The Good the Bad and the Danger, of flying with over 40 different airlines.



Over fifty-five years of flying as a passenger, with comments on various airlines that I have used. In alphabetical order, not in historical order.

I flew part way across the Pacific Ocean in the above aircraft, and years later I found her at a small aerodrome near where I live – no longer in service.

My flying experiences began in the early 60’s when I flew to / from the Far East from the UK to either join a ship or to fly home on leave.

Aer Lingus

Aer LingusFlew trans Atlantic with them from Manchester via Dublin and Shannon to New York in the early 70’s. The next time I used them was in 2009 from London to Dublin. They were pleasant flights.
I did find it a little odd in Dublin on the way to the US that after using the toilets I opened the wrong exit door and ended up in the street. Fortunately I was able to get back in to the building as I was ‘in transit’. This was well before the high security system that we have today.

Air Asia

Air asia

Flown with them around Asia and found them to be very good, particularly as their fares are so low.

Air France


I worked for BOAC at Manchester Airport when Air France offered £7.00 (return) tickets to Paris to advertise their new service. Maureen & I took advantage of a weekend in Paris.

Air Nauru

Air Nauru 737-200 C2-RN6 (70)(Grd) SYD (RFY)(46)-L

In another life I had to visit a number of the Pacific island, and Nauru was one of them, and Air Nauru was the only direct flight from Sydney. Sometimes they left on time and at other times they waited for the Nauru President.
The one thing I remember about flying with this airline was that they insisted on putting the red wine in the fridge, and they would leave the white wine out in the tropical heat. They parked their aircraft in lay-by in Nauru, and the main road passed between the aircraft and the taxi way. A little odd, but it was a Pacific solution.

Air New Zealand


I’ve flown with them in the 80’s & 90’s from Sydney & Auckland to Fiji & Western Samoa – never had a complaint.

Air Pacific

Air Pacic 1990

Not a bad airline, flown with them for short journeys between the Pacific Islands, such as W. Samoa to Fiji, or Fiji to Tonga in the late 1980’s.

Air Vanuatu

Air VanuatuOnly used them once between Sydney and Port Vila.



London to Venice to join a passenger ship in 1965 – haven’t used them since. I sat next to a very attractive lady and we spent the flight discussing perfumes – she was only in transit in Venice, never saw her again.



Flew Sydney to Melbourne for the first time in the early 70’s – Ansett always seemed to be a happy airline. Flew with them many times later after we emigrated in 1980.



In another life (different from the first ‘other’ life) I was involved with AOM as their GSA (General Sales Agent) and I flew with them from Sydney to Noumea in New Caledonia. Nice leather seats in business class.
The DC 10 was not a particularly profitable aircraft for the Paris, Colombo, Sydney, Noumea run.

Australian Airlines (also known as TAA – Trans Australian Airlines)



An Australian domestic carrier – (early 80’s), I used either this airline or Ansett.

Austrian Airlines (when I flew with them they were called Lauda Air)


Sydney to Manchester via Vienna, it was a very pleasant trip.
Due to the long transit in Vienna all transit passengers were offered a tour of the city. We were not allowed off the bus, but it was a pleasant way to use two to three hours before the Vienna to Manchester flight.
On the return flight they had engine trouble in Manchester and we were delayed for some hours. Eventually we left Manchester and I realised that we had missed the connection in Vienna to Australia.
There were a number of passengers in the same situation. The cabin crew told us over the public address system not to worry because they had booked us all on the Lufthansa flight from Vienna to Frankfurt, to connect with the Lufthansa Frankfurt to Sydney service. Being in the airline industry I called the stewardess and whispered that Lufthansa didn’t fly to Australia, did she mean the Qantas flight QF 05 ?
She insisted that it was Lufthansa. So I left it at that. In Frankfurt I boarded the QF 5 for Sydney. It did carry a code share LH number so I suppose we were both correct.

BMI – used to be called just British Midland.


They were code share with Malaysian Airlines between Edinburgh and London, so technically I was flying Malaysian Airlines, not British Midland, because I had a Malaysian ticket. The flight was OK, I’d use the again.

British European Airways (BEA)


Flew with them domestically UK.

British Overseas Airways Corporation – BOAC


In the early 70’s flew Manchester to New York on the VC 10 – at that time nobody had TV or overhead films. We spoke to our neighbour or read, because we didn’t have an iPad, IPhone, laptop, computer and an old fashioned Kindle was called a book.

BOAC 707I also flew London to Singapore via Rome, Beirut, Bahrain, Bombay, Rangoon, Kuala Lumpur and eventually Singapore. This type of routing was normal in the 1960’s.
Later the airline changed to British Airways, when it merged with BEA.

During the late 1980’s I was fortunate to fly Concorde, London to New York on my way back to Australia, via the US west coast. When flying Concorde you do see the curvature of the Earth and the deep blue of space. You can feel yourself pressed in to your seat as you go through the sound barrier – but you don’t hear anything, because you have left the sound behind.


Of course I mustn’t forget the workhorse of most airlines – flew Sydney – London, return quite a few times.


Boeing 747

Cathay Pacific


Flew Melbourne to Hong Kong & return. It was very pleasant, and plenty of room in economy.



Flew with them last year from Sydney to Rome – very disappointed with the on board service, particularly after all the hype, and we were flying business class as a treat.




Business class from Bangkok to Helsinki. Very pleasant flight, excellent cabin service, good food and wines, but the AVOD was very poor with limited entertainment value.
On the return between Helsinki & Bangkok, we were offered reindeer steaks, so told the grandchildren that Rudolph was very tasty – not one of my better ideas.


Airbus A319

We flew from Helsinki to Venice, packed tight because the configuration was all economy.


IberiaVery cramped from Madrid to Lisbon – we renamed this airline Air Sardinia due to the lack of room. My legs were in the aisle most of the flight, because I was bothered that the seat in front if angled back would damage my knees. To be fair, the return flight was quite good with plenty of legroom.

Iran Air

Iran airNot one of my favourite airlines.

I paid off a ship in Khorramshahr, which is in Iran, and drove to Abadan (nearest airport) to fly Iran Air to Tehran, and then BOAC to the UK.
This trip from Abadan sticks in my mind due to the huge amount of hand baggage that the passengers were allowed to carry on board. Including one guy who had a small primus stove.
After we had taken off, and the seat belt sign had been switched off, the passenger with the primus squatted in the aisle and lit the stove to make himself some tea.
The surrounding passengers didn’t react. I could see him in the aisle a few seats ahead of me, and as I unfastened my safety belt so as to go and tell him to put the stove out, there was a blared movement of a stewardess moving from the for’d part of the aircraft to the tea maker.
I’ve never seen a cabin crewmember move so fast before or since. We landed safely and the primus passenger didn’t get his tea.

Japan Airlines


Flew business class Sydney / Tokyo in the late 80’s and found that the Japanese Airlines business class seat to be as large as Qantas’ economy seats. Being 188 cm (6ft 2 in) I was disappointed in the space available in business class on this airline. I am sure things have changed in the last thirty years.


JetstarSydney to the Sunshine Coast for a holiday in 2007 – the trip was ninety minutes, and that was about as much as I could take due to the cramped seats. I suppose one gets what one pays for, and as the ticket was cheap it was an experience.

Jetstar fined

Flew business class, Bali to Sydney a year or so ago, it was a night flight so slept most of the way, but I doubt that we will use this airline again.

KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM F70 - CopyF70

We flew Cityhopper from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, and then on to Norwich in the UK. Couldn’t fault the service or the aircraft, which was a Fokker 70.

Laos Air


Flew Chiang Mai (Thailand) to Luang Prabang (Laos) and couldn’t fault the trip. Laos Air flies French built aircraft, which were well maintained.
Later I flew from Luang Prabang to Vientiane (capital of Laos), again a good flight, but had the feeling that the pilot might have just left the air force, and that he was used to fighter planes. It was the way he landed a steep dive and  – BANG we were down!

Malaysian Airlines



I think I have flown with Malaysian Airlines more times than with any other airline. Over the years I have noticed a falling off of their standard of economy service – I fly mostly economy, but have flown twice in business class (to Europe) and on both occasions I couldn’t fault the service.
The problem is that I have the impression that accountants are now running this airline instead of airline people – which is a shame because most of the staff that I have met have, (all but one), been very helpful and keen to help.
Malaysian Airlines was classed, not so long ago, as a five star airline, but they have slipped and are no longer rated by Skytrax, (under review). Unfortunately, since about 2011, they have slipped down and down.
For old times sake, and to see what has happened, we will be flying Malaysian Airlines from Tokyo to Sydney in April 2018, because I am keen to see if  the fall from grace has stopped – and the ticket cost was attractive..

Northwest Airlines

NowestIn 1970 my wife & I were on our way home from Australia after our delayed honeymoon, and we had tickets with Northwest from Honolulu to New York, where we would catch the B.O.A.C flight to Manchester.
Northwest was kind enough to upgrade us to business class (no idea why), but it was very nice. Sat down and the stewardess came up and offered us drinks, which I accepted and tasted, it contained gin, which I hate. I returned the glass and mentioned that the drink contained gin and I didn’t like gin.
The glass was removed and a rum based drink was placed in front of me – layers of different coloured rum, topped up with ice & Coke in a very tall glass.
I took off before the aircraft.
Our first stop was Chicago – I didn’t realise that the DC 8 had the range, but we arrived several hours later – at that time the airlines didn’t have TV or overhead films, and definitely no AVOD!
Arrival in Chicago was a shock after the heat of Honolulu – heavy snow. An hour or so transit and it was off to New York (economy) again more snow, before boarding the BOAC flight for Manchester.



What a fall from grace for this airline, now rated as a four star airline. When I worked for BOAC / BA, Qantas were considered to be the standard of service to which we should aim. They were held in very high esteem, but sadly have fallen a long way due to the ‘you have to fly with us’ attitude – they forgot about the Asian carriers who offered better service, at cheaper rates.
Only recently have Qantas started to come back and offer customer service. I stopped flying with QF in the mid 1990’s because of their attitude, but they are now offering good ticket prices and I hear that the service is a lot better. Generational change perhaps.

May I suggest that the current crop of senior Qantas managers stay out of making political statements and concentrate on running the airline for the benefit of their employees, shareholders and passengers.

Qatar Airways


I first flew Qatar Airways in 2012. I researched business class tickets from nearly every origin around Australia, New Zealand & Asia. Being retired allows me time to do this type of research.
By combining an economy ticket to Asia and business class ticket from Asia to Europe (the long haul bit) we managed to get a through fare for around $2800, mainly business class.
We used Malaysian Airlines, in economy, to Kuala Lumpur, stayed overnight, and then flew with Sri Lanka Air to Colombo. The business class experience of flying with Qatar Airways was the best experience on an aircraft that I have had for years.

Year after year this airline is consistently in the top three or four airlines for overall service and it listed as a five star airline.
In 2016 Maureen and I had enough frequent flyer points to ‘buy’ a business class ticket from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur. A quick phone call to Qatar Airlines in Doha and all was fixed, without any comment of ‘blackout’ dates, and the lady I spoke to apologised that they could not give me business class between Dubai and Doha, but they would upgrade us to first class without charge. The flight was just over an hour, but the focus on customer service left certain other airlines well behind.



QR787B 787

It’s a toss up whether I prefer the new B 787 or the B 777 for space and comfort – both are very good.

Samoan Airlines

Samoa AirSome of the passengers were weighed and some of us were not. The aircraft was small so every kilo was counted and the Western Samoans are known for their size.
The flight from Apia to Pago Pago in American Samoa was not long, about fifteen minutes, but it was still an international flight.
The baggage was stowed behind the last passenger.

Singapore Airlines

SQSingapore Airlines has become the benchmark for a number of competitors and they are only one of the ten – five star airlines (March 2018).

ANA All Nippon

Asiana Airlines

Cathay Pacific

Etihad Airlines

EVA Airlines

Garuda Indonesia – what a leap this airline has made from being banned in European skies to being one of the best airlines in the world.

Hainan Airlines


Qatar Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Only one airline is not from the Middles East or Asia. There’s a message there for those airline CEOs who can read the future for western airlines.

The flying public judge each airline, and through airline customer feedback, via neutral Skytrax, they are rated.
I’d flown with SQ (code for Singapore Airlines) during their B707 period in the 1960’s when I was at sea.
In 2007 eight of us planned a trip to Vietnam, so I checked the various discount airlines for a ‘good’ price. The actual discounted tickets were cheaper than the standard airlines, but after you added in various charges for meals, baggage handling, entertainment and a few drinks, I found that SQ basic economy fare was cheaper than the discount airlines with all their add-on bits, so we flew SQ to Vietnam.
Because we flew SQ, we decided to stay three nights on our way home in Singapore. This stopover entitled us to a discount off our hotel, plus we had a free bus tour of the island and discounts to various places of interest, just by showing our boarding pass from Vietnam to Singapore.

Sri Lankan Airlines (used to be called Air Lanka)

SriLankan-Airlines-Airbus-A330-200Flew a number time between Malaysia & Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Plenty of room in economy seating, and I did enjoy the food – always had a choice of fish or vegetables curry. I used to alternate between them because I love Sri Lanka curries.

Sun Flower Airlines – a mix of airlines.


In the 1980’s I used to visit a number of Pacific Islands (someone had to do it), and I flew from Sydney to Nauru, with Air Nauru, (B737) then on to Tarawa in Kiribati (again on Air Nauru’s B737, they only had one aircraft).

Kiribati used to be called Gilbert Islands, and then on to Funafuti the capital of Tuvalu (which used to be called Ellis Islands) via Air Marshall HS 748.
Each aircraft was getting smaller and smaller –
The picture below shows the Air Marshall HS 748, in which I flew from Tarawa to Funafuti. The green bit is the runway . . .

Airline of the Marshall Islands



On reaching Funafuti we buzzed the airfield because it was only a grass strip and the local boys were using it for a game of football. It was quite funny to see them run to the side as we bounced along their pitch.
The aircraft came to a halt in front of a small concrete structure.


The customs ‘hall’ was a concrete open sided small building, not much larger than the average garage, where our passports were inspected. The inspection table was concrete and the seat bench behind, for the inspector, was also concrete.
On leaving the ‘garage hall’ I noticed a young lady in a half airline uniform (native skirt, but an airline blouse). I spoke to her about my onward flight to Fiji on Monday (my arrival day was Friday). She asked if my name was Woodland and when I acknowledged this, she told me that they were not bringing a plane in just for me, because I was the only one who wanted to leave on Monday, and I was to return to the airport on Wednesday!
Try ringing head office, in Sydney, to tell the CEO that I was stuck on a Pacific island and was forced to stay another couple of days. . . . .
BTW – The highest point in Tuvalu is about eighteen feet. I just hoped we would not be hit by a tsunami.


On the Wednesday I boarded Sunflower Airlines aircraft for the four-hour trip to Suva in Fiji.
The route used to be flown by Fiji Air, but they had aircraft problems and Sunflower was helping them out. The distance is not great, only about 1100 kms, perhaps an hour and a half in a B737. The aircraft in the picture had a cruising speed of about 295 knts – hence the four-hour trip.
It was a memorable flight; the door between the cockpit and the passengers would not shut, so we were able to watch the pilot fly the plane. The co-pilot was also the steward, so after take off from the grass strip of Funafuti the ‘steward’ drags a cardboard box from under the first passenger seat and starts to issued plastic wrapped sandwiches for lunch.
The aircraft-seating configuration was seven seats down each side. So as not to walk the short length of the aircraft the ‘steward’ skimmed the sandwiches through the air and the passengers caught their lunch.
For drinks it was another carton under the seat and this time the steward handed various cans of drink to the passengers, Coke a Cola, orangeade or lemonade. I was given lemonade and was about open it when it was removed from my hand and exchanged for a Coke.
Apparently the passenger across the small aisle didn’t like Coke, so the steward exchanges it for my lemonade, curtesy was not their forte’.
The noise of the engines did not allow for much conversation with the passenger in front, behind or even across the aisle. At least we all had a window seat. The view was interesting until we left the small group of islands of Tuvalu behind, and we had the vast ocean to keep us company.
I am not sure how high we flew, but I could see the tops of waves breaking and the fine spray blown by the wind. From memory we did not have access to a toilet, because the space where it should have been had been used for cargo & our baggage.
I sipped my can of Coke very slowly. . . . On arrival in Suva (not Nadi Int’l), I think we were all very pleased – I know that I was!!

Thai International

TGI like this airline – they are not mean with their drinks – but they do have an odd system of shutting the blinds on leaving Sydney. When I asked why, I was told so that passengers could sleep – this was at 9.00 am and most passengers were origin boarding passengers, so they would have been in bed a few hours earlier.
I’d flown with Thai in the early 80’s when I worked for an Australian company, so it was interesting to note the changes twenty years later. This time I was paying for my own ticket, so of course I was very interested in keeping cost down.
It was an interesting exercise to cost eight tickets from Sydney to Bangkok, paying for them in Sydney, as against buying the same tickets over the internet from Bangkok and saving $60 to $70 a ticket – guess which set of tickets we bought? I love the internet!

United Airlines

800px-United_Boeing_747SP_MaiwaldI’ve only flown once with this airline from Los Angeles to Sydney. This time I was business class and the company was paying for the ticket.
On check-in I asked if the aircraft was non- stop to Sydney, and I was told that it would be non-stop. I then asked for an upstairs seat in business class, which I was given.
After take off I asked the cabin crew where would I find the in-seat video screen (at that time they were normally in the seat arm) and was told that they didn’t offer in seat video upstairs, and all business class seats downstairs were full.
It was going to be a very long flight and I was half way through my last book. The aircraft was ‘tired’ and I had the feeling that United Airlines was a domestic airline trying to fly international routes with domestic cabin staff. They failed to reach the minimum passenger standard for international service levels.
About three hours from Sydney we were told that we would have to divert to Fiji for fuel . . .so much for none stop. I’ve not flown with this airline since.

Vietnam Airline


Only flown domestic Vietnam with this airline from Ho Cha Min (Saigon) to Hoi An (Da Nang is the airport for Hoi An,) and then on to Hanoi. Both aircrafts were clean and they looked new, and we arrived safely, so I can’t complain.

Virgin Atlantic


Flown a couple of times with this airline from Sydney to Hong Kong. Both fights (economy) were fine.
The only comment I can make is that the use of UK staff with their regional accents was a nice touch. I have a Merseyside accent, so it wasn’t long before I met a cabin crew Scouser.
Virgin Atlantic no longer fly in or out of Australia.

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia

First time I used this airline was to fly Sydney to Melbourne. A day I remember well, because as we waited in the departure area for the flight to be called, all the passengers stood and watched similar planes crashing in to the Twin Towers of New York.

Vueling Airlines of Spain


A pleasant flight between Seville and Madrid, with friendly crew.


I never expected to see the above aircraft again – never say never again – it’s in Sydney, or it was some time ago, at Bankstown aerodrome.



Diamonds of Japan

Three guesses for our next destination. I was eighteen when I first visited Japan and have always wanted to take Maureen, so when a positioning cruise came up, at the right price, – I booked Diamond Princess. 

Diamond Princess1

We sailed in the Diamond Princess from Sydney to Singapore in 2016 so hopefully it’ll be like coming home. If you like days at sea, which we do, look for a positioning cruise because they are nearly all cheaper than a standard cruise, as long as you don’t mind flying home.TYO VoyageWe sail from Sydney to Darwin, Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phu May (the port for large vessels visiting Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in Vietnam, Nha Trang (Vietnam), Hong Kong, Osaka (Japan), Shimizu (the main port to see Mount Fuji in Japan) and Yokohama (also listed as Tokyo) The transit time from Sydney to Tokyo will be twenty two days.

Once in Yokohama many of the passengers will leave the ship and be replaced by a large number of local Japanese for a coastal cruise, which will also call at Busan in S. Korea.

When I made the booking I offered to the cruise company that we would do a back to back i.e buying a further cruise, as long as we didn’t have to move cabins.  They agreed, so we have extended our time onboard by a further seven days for the coastal cruise.

JapanWe sail from Yokohama to Busan (S.Korea), Sakaiminato (Japan), Tsuruga, Akita and finally Yokohama where we leave the ship and fly home.

I’ve not been to S. Korea, nor the western side of Japan, so this trip will be new for both of us.

The passengers will be predominantly Japanese, so it should be an interesting trip. I’ve been dragging the old grey matter in an effort to remember a few polite Japanese greetings. When I was at sea, the company for which I worked, traded between the Persian Gulf, Japan & China so I made a point of learning some Japanese and Cantonese. The Cantonese didn’t help much on the China coast, because they didn’t speak Cantonese outside of Hong Kong!

We are hoping that we will be able to repeat the pleasant time that we had in 2016, when sailing from Sydney to Singapore. I doubt that the same piano player, Paul Burton  will be still around, he was very popular.

We sailed from Sydney in 2016 on the 23rd March, and this year (2018), we sail on the same ship on the 22nd March.

This will be our second Easter at sea, and on the same ship – 2016 Good Friday was 25th March, which was in Melbourne, and this year it is 30th March, when we will be at sea.

Easter Sunday 2016, was in Adelaide, and this year we will still be at sea. It’ll be interesting to see if Easter at sea is acknowledged as a Christian celebration, or just a choco-holiday.


The picture shows 2016 Easter on the Diamond Princess, but as the ship was in port, passengers had the choice of churches in Melbourne & Adelaide.




A day out for $2.50 in Sydney.

DSC00144rWho gets tired of visiting Sydney Harbour?

DSC00147rLeaving Circular Quay, Sydney.




Not a cloud in the sky



Full ahead!


Iconic scenery


The city at work and the Botanical Gardens – a link with the past.


An older ferry, which we are catching  . . .


Water views worth millions as we approach Rose Bay.


A closer look at the house on the point – no idea who owns it. Many of the waterfront homes also have their own swimming pool, as if the harbour wasn’t enough :-o)


Rose Bay – famous for being an airport at one time.


Four days to get to Singapore in 1938 – with only sixteen passengers.


A blast from the past

Flying boat

And today it is still a seaplane base . .
Above pictures off the internet



We stopped at Rose Bay to pick up some more passengers – the ferry only stops once between Circular Quay and Watsons Bay, which was our destination.


Not far for this home owner to get to the beach.


Entering Watsons Bay


Approaching the wharf in Watsons Bay.


The large tree on the left is a favourite of ours for sitting under with a fish & chip picnic.


I think the man on the wharf is breaking the law by waving at us as we approached.


We step ashore to be greeted with the above – wouldn’t be dead for quids.


When I took the photograph, I was standing near the entrance to Doyle’s Restaurant, is it any wonder that Doyle’s is so popular, besides the food? Location, location, location.


At the end of our time in Watsons Bay we decided to return to the city.
Only a politician would name a ferry as such, fortunately it is about to be changed to ‘May Gibbs‘, a well-known Australian author of children’s books, who died in 1969.


Leaving Watsons Bay


Clean water & clean sand, and just over the ridge, beyond the trees, is the Pacific Ocean.


To the left of this picture is the ‘gap’, which is the entrance to Sydney Harbour from the Pacific Ocean. It is an easy climb to the top of the ridge, and on a clear day some say they can see New Zealand . . . the rest of us were sober.
Maureen and I sat in the grounds of the red roofed large building with a cold drink and just enjoyed the view.


Small beaches are dotted all along the coast line of the harbour as we returned to the ferry terminus. The tall posts in the water hold the shark nets so that people can swim in safety.


A sister ferry with a proper name – Fred Hollows who founded an organisation to cure people of blindness. To date they have enabled over two million people in 25 countries to have their sight restored. Fred was a Kiwi by birth, he was born in Dunedin in 1929. He was only 63 when he died.


One of the older ferries that we ‘raced’ to the wharf.


The Park Hyatt Hotel
If you must ask the price of a room, you can’t afford to stay here, at $1230 / night.


Explorer of the Seas, alongside the cruise terminal.


As we come in to the wharf at Circular Quay, the end of a perfect day for $2.50,
which included a 40-minute train ride to get in to the city from home.

The only way you can pay $2.50 is to be over 60 and live in New South Wales
how fortunate are we.



HMT Dunera


HMT Dunera (B.1937)

She is shown as a troop ship when visiting Malta, I think the photo was taken in the 1950’s.

A couple of years ago Maureen and I completed a road trip around NSW, South Australia and Victoria.
During the trip I planned to drive from Beechworth to Mildura; both towns are in Victoria. The drive to Mildura would take over six hours, because the distance was over 600 kms.
As I’ve aged I don’t like long drives, so I looked for a half way stop for the night, and a small town called Hay (which is in NSW), looked about right.
On checking for motels, I found out that there was a museum called the ‘Dunera’ Museum,
I had sailed in the Dunera as a cadet in 1965 when she was operating as a school ship, so a visit to Hay was now a ‘definite’.
I was puzzled as to why Hay would have a museum for a deep-sea ship, when the town was 800 km (500 miles from Sydney harbour) and 400 km (250 miles) from Port Phillip Bay in Victoria? Very odd.


Dunera as she looked when I sailed in her in 1965. (She was 28 years old at the time)

When I booked the motel, I mentioned that I was particularly interested in the Dunera Museum, and the motel owner, Leanne, asked if I wanted her to contact someone to show us around the museum. I jumped at the offer.
On the day of our arrival Leanne asked me to phone David Houston, who was the Museum’s Chairman, because he was keen for us to meet.
David was kind enough to offer his services and to show us around the museum the following day. We planned to meet at the museum 9.00 am.
We were very fortunate to have David as our guide, because his knowledge of all things about Hay is unlimited.


We met at the Dunera Museum, which is located inside two railway carriages at the railway station.
The above station was built in 1882, to help with the export of wool. The last passenger train left this station in 1983, after 101 years of service, and in the following year the last goods train left. The station is now a museum piece, which is also used by the Dunera Museum.


The reason that the museum is located at this station is because this is the station where the trains from Sydney arrived to disembark Austrian and German internees from the UK, during WW2.
They’d sailed from Liverpool in the UK on the 10th July 1940 in the troop ship ‘Dunera’.
The photo above shows two of the original railway carriages that brought the internees to Hay. The two carriages now hold the artefacts of the museum.

DSC03488rA third carriage is waiting to be renovated and added to the museum, but like most things, it takes money.

1,984 Austrian and German, mainly Jewish, refugees from Nazi Europe arrived in four steam trains, with a total of forty-eight carriages, that travelled for nineteen hours non-stop, from Sydney.
The Australian army marched the internees to camp 7 & 8 on the Dunera Way. This road can still be seen today – it is still called Dunera Way, but today it will take you to the Hay racetrack. The camps no longer in exists.


I found this photograph on the internet of the internees marching to the camp.

The original camps were paid for by the British Government who had interred all ‘enemy aliens’ by 1940, after the fall of Belgium, Holland and France.

The ‘Dunera Boys’, as the first intake of internees were called on arriving in Hay, were moved to another camp in Victoria in 1941 to make way for 2000 Italian POWs.
By 1943/44 the Dunera Boys had been classified as friendly ‘aliens’ and many joined the Australian & British armies.
At the end of the war 800 remained in Australia and the remaining 1200 either returned to Europe, the UK, or emigrated to the US or Canada.

Between 1940 and 1946, 6,200 German, Italian, Japanese and Australian internees, as well as Italian and Japanese POWs were housed at the Hay camps.

Life for the Dunera internees in the camp was hard, and difficult at times. The camps were built at the showgrounds and the racetrack and consisted of three compounds each holding about one thousand men. The compounds had huts, roads, water supply, and electric lights.
The land on which the camp was built was semi arid, but the internees managed to build a farm and they created market gardens. This gave them fresh vegetables, poultry, milk, and fresh eggs for their own consumption. They ran their own schools, and even had their own money.


                 The coloured marking is due to reflection when I took the photograph.

The local newspaper printed the money, which the internees designed. The scroll around the outside is barbed wire, but hidden in the barbed wire is the comment ‘we are here because we are here, because we are here . . . . ‘
The names of a number of senior internees are incorporated in the wool of the sheep, and at the camp fence are the words ‘H.M.T. Dunera Liverpool to Hay’ all hidden unless you know where to look. The designer was an Austrian, George Telcher who had designed Austrian currency for the Austrian government.
At an auction in 1999 the printers proof of a two-shilling Hay camp note was estimated at $18,000. A well used ‘sixpence’ note recently sold for $2900.

Within three months of the ‘new’ money being released  the authorities put a stop to the printing as it was (still is) illegal to print ‘currency’ in Australia, other than the printing of money being authorised by the Federal Government.


As you enter the museum the sign above is attached to the railway carriage.


Unfortunately Menasche Bodner died in the camp in November 1940. He was the only Dunera Jewish boy to die in the Hay camp.


The plaque at the camp site marking the 50th anniversary of the internee’s arrival. There is nothing left of the camp today.

If you plan to visit the Hay area, try and plan your visit for when David is around, because he will make your visit memorable. Although he is in his eighties, he is as sharp as a tack and old enough to remember the first train arriving when he was five years old. David brought to life the misery of some of the internees, as well as the happy side for others.
The picture below is of the main information sign in the grounds of the railway station, at the end of the platform.


This painting below is of some of the internees who returned for the 70th anniversary ceremony.


If you wish to read some of the personal stories of the men who are now known as the Dunera Boys, may I suggest you open this link Dunera Association and sample the monthly news sheet – very impressive.

At the end of the war the Japanese internees were ‘returned’ to their ‘home land’, Japan. The problem was that many who were sent to Japan were born in Australia, and didn’t have any concept of living in Japan. Their first concern was that they couldn’t speak Japanese! Don’t you just love officialdom?

To end on a lighter note –  Lieutenant Edgardo Simoni (seen below in 1974),

the fox

aka The Fox (no connection with me) was an Italian POW who was captured in North Africa and sent to Muchinson POW camp near Shepparton in Victoria, Australia. It was a high security camp.
He escaped, but was captured a day later and placed in solitary confinement.

He managed to secure a small hacksaw and during a number of nights, while singing Waltzing Matilda over and over, cut through the bars of his cell. Later he apologised to the other prisoners for keeping them awake!

His cell had bars on all four sides and the whole area was painted white. As he cut the window bar he hid the cut by using white soap to fill the gap.

Once free, he stole a boat and rowed down the Murrumbidgee River towards Melbourne. (This event reminded me of the Great Escape movie).

He eventually made it to Melbourne (but not all the way by boat), and managed to get a job selling cosmetics (his English was very good).
He was very good at his job and became the top sales person for the company, and was awarded a prize and appeared in a local newspaper. He wasn’t recognised, even though he was top of the most wanted list across Australia.

He was free for ten months and doing well for himself until a guard from the camp spotted him in the street and greeted him with ‘Hello Eddie, how are you?’ and that was the end of his freedom.

I have heard a slightly different story that Lieutenant Edgardo Simoni was working in a tailor’s shop, rather than cosmetics.

At the end of the war the Lieutenant was repatriated to Italy where he remained in the army ending his career as a Colonel.

In 1974 Colonel Simoni returned to Australia on a ‘remember when’ trip to retrace his escape route, but the weather was against him and he was older.
The prison from where he escaped is now a museum and they have a plaque in his cell commemorating his escape.

The BBC made a film of his exploits.

As an aside – H.M.T Dunera, stands for ‘His (or Her) Majesty’s Troopship’ Dunera, not as I have seen on the internet ‘Hired Military Transport’ – I have also seen photographs of the Dunera showing her sailing in the 1920’s, which would have been awkward as she wasn’t launched until 1937.
The original Dunera was built in 1891, for the  British India Associated Steamers for the Queensland to Calcutta route, but was transferred to the Calcutta / London route in 1892. She was scrapped in 1922 so there is little chance of seeing any Dunera in the 1920’s.






The old and the new – Golden Princess can be seen with a sailing ship along side. We berthed close to the town, which allowed for a short walk to many places of interest.

DSC09823rA touch of yesteryear where ever we looked.

DSC09804rcMany of the streets and homes reminded me of New Zealand, quiet and civilised.

DSC09809rcWe did a hop on hop off bus tour to get a feel of the place – with a population of just under 250,000, most streets were quiet. To be fair it was a Sunday.


DSC09812r We were still in Hobart  . . . not bad for a capital city of a State.

DSC09829rcA blast from the past at the traffic lights.

DSC09820rYou couldn’t fault the locals – they began brewing beer in 1824 and the same brewery is still brewing beer – Cascade Brewery, a well known drop that I drink in Sydney.

DSC09797rBack to the waterfront area – Flying Angel – Mission to Seafarers. When I was at sea in the 60’s it was called Mission to Seamen, but even the Mission has to be correct in today’s PC world.

DSC09862r All our yesterday’s


Plenty of memorials around the harbour area.

DSC09876rcThis plaque was just a taste of what we would experience the following day at Port Arthur. (see my previous blog).


Statues near the ‘Footsteps’ plaque.

DSC09871rcStatue of Louis Charles Bernacchi 1876 – 1942.

Louis Charles Bernacchi taking a self portrait with one of his dogs before leaving for the Antarctic. I cropped the picture from a photograph that I took, because it had a young boy in the picture, and I didn’t know him, and I could tell that he wasn’t going to move.

Bernacchi-Statue The above is from a Hobart travel site, which is the full picture that I wanted.

Louis_CLouis Bernacchi with one of his dogs. I Found the picture on the internet.

He was Belgium by birth, and arrived in Australia when he was seven, and grew up in Australia.

Robert Scott was Bernacchi’s best man at his wedding, and Scott invited Bernacchi to join his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole – Bernacchi turned him down.

DSC09864rcA few feet away from a great explorer we had a steam crane, built in 1899. Notice the boiler at the rear, which supplied the steam to drive the crane.

DSC09825rcSir Douglas Mawson 

 Check him out via the above link, particularly if you come from Yorkshire . . .

We missed the markets in Salamanca because they are held on Saturday.

DSC09854rWhat we saw

ATDW_Extra_Large_Landscape__9116616_OP2013_Salamanca_May_2010_035_wwdayvlWhat we’d hoped to see, but we were a day late. Picture off Tasmanian tourist site.


The small bars and restaurants were doing a good trade.

DSC09858rcThe best time to go shopping – when most places are closed – think of the saving.

DSC09857rAt the rear of the area when Maureen is standing.

IMG_0139rClose up thanks to V.I

DSC09859rcAnother blast from the past.

IMG_0141rWrapping your trees in a woollen jacket must be a Tasmanian thing . . . thanks V.I


On a positive note the Tasmanians have not forgotten their roots – note the Dutch flag for Abel Tasman. Picture from V.I.

Abel-tasman1903Abel Tasman who started it all. (picture off the internet)








Port Arthur


Port Arthur taken from the ship.

Maureen and I attended a talk about Port Arthur and Hobart. At the end of the Port Arthur talk the speaker stated that we would be anchored off shore, because Port Arthur was not a port that could cope with a vessel of our size. In fact, all they could cope with would be small motor boats.
She also mentioned that it would be a 45-minute boat ride from the ship to the shore. At that distance, which I estimated to be about eight to ten miles off shore, I told Maureen that I didn’t think that we would bother going ashore because it could be quite rough for a tender craft (ship’s lifeboats), and as she hated small boats it would not be a particularly pleasant ride.
That evening in the ship’s newsletter the distance (in time) was confirmed and we made plans to remain on the ship.
I was awake early the following morning and I felt the movement of the ship change and looked out of our window. We’d entered sheltered area. I could see land on both sides of the ship so that we were protected from the ocean. As I looked out I could see Port Arthur.
The distance from the shore was nowhere near a forty five minute boat ride, more like fifteen minutes and in fact I timed it and it was twelve minutes from where the Golden Princess anchored.


At once our plans changed, and we dressed for going ashore.
It was a smooth ride in one of the ship’s tenders to the small pier where we stepped ashore.


Just a short walk to the ruins of Port Arthur.

Port Arthur was a prison that was created in 1830 to supply timber for various government projects using convict labour.
In 1833 it changed to become a repeat offenders prison for criminals from all over Australia. The prison was modelled on the Pentonville prison in the UK, which was described as a ‘machine for grinding rogues in to honest men.’
Some of the prisoners left Port Arthur with the skills of a trade, blacksmith, carpenters and shipbuilders. Unfortunately others became broken men.
Around the prison was a community of military and free men with their families, who lived normal lives of parties, sailing for fun and literary evenings. Gardens were created, and children went to school within the settlement.
Port Arthur grew to be an industrial settlement, and by 1840 more than 2000 people, who were a mix of convicts, soldiers and free men lived, and worked. They produced bricks, furniture, clothing, boats and ships.
Transportation from the UK to Tasmania ceased in 1853 and the prison became an institution for the aged, mentally& physically ill convicts, and finally closed in 1877.
Many of the bricks from various buildings were sold off very cheaply to locals who used them to build or expand their own homes. The name of Port Arthur was changed to Carnarvon to erase the hated convict links.
Over the years convict stories drew tourists to the area, and by the early 1920’s some of the remaining buildings had become museums.

DSC09916rThe prison was a building of four levels – ground floor and first floor for ‘prisoners of bad character’, with individual cells for each prisoner. The top floor accommodated 480 better behaved prisoners and the third floor was used as a dining area, recreational area, and school for the prisoners.
The prisoners were told that if they behaved they would be rewarded, and moved from the bottom single cells (see single cell photos), to the floor above, still single cells, and so on, until they reached the top floor. If they maintained their reputation as ‘good’ prisoners, they would be allowed the use of the recreational floor.
The picture above, and the one below, is of single cells on the ground floor.

DSC09920cA plaque can be seen in the above photograph, which I have reproduced below.



Many Australian consider it a badge of honour to have a transported criminal in their family background. Often people will tell you, with pride, that their forefathers were transported for stealing just a loaf of bread or some other small item, but many where habitual criminals and the stealing of the loaf was the last straw for the magistrate. Many were sentenced to seven years and could have returned to the UK after serving their time, but chose to stay in Australia because they had been given ‘tickets of leave’ for good behaviour during their time as a prisoner, and had created a new life in Australia, and eventually became a free man or woman.
I researched my own family tree and found George Woodland, who was convicted in 1790 at the Old Bailey in London, for stealing a coat. He was sentenced to be transported because he had a string of offences. After spending two years on a prison hulk he sailed from Gravesend (which is on the south bank of the Thames) in 1792 as one of 300 males prisoners in Royal Admiral. The ship finally sailed from Torbay, which is on the southern coast of the England, on the 30th May 1792, and arrived in Sydney on the 02nd October of the same year. I found a picture of the Royal Admiral on the internet.

Royal AdmiralGeorge Woodland is listed on the ship’s manifest as John Woodland, but all other information points to George and John being the same person. (Court records etc).
One of the seamen on the ship was also named Woodland (coincidence?), but his Christian name was James.
Maybe the clerk who made out the manifest wrote ‘John’ instead of ‘George’, perhaps being influenced by his shipmate’s name i.e James.

The Royal Admiral was 914 gt, 120 feet (36 mtrs) in length, by 38 feet (11.5 mtrs) beam and had about 481 people onboard, which included several children, 49 female convicts, 20 soldiers, a number of free people, about 50 crew and 300 male prisoners.

DSC09927rFirst floor of the prison.

DSC09928rSecond floor – the metal supports that can be seen are to help keep the walls from collapsing during earthquakes.

DSC09933rGuard Tower – across the road from the prison.


Many old buildings are missing, but this shows the view down to the water.
The prison is on the left of the picture and the Guard Tower on the right-side of the picture.

DSC09936rA model of the early ‘town’. If it was real I would be standing at the prison looking inland to the town. The building on the bottom right is the Law Courts, the building on the left with the path is the Commandants House, the area in the middle is the Guard Tower and behind that are the officer’s accommodation.

DSC09943rOutside of the Commandant’s home today.

DSC09945rCommandant’s dining room

DSC09947rcViews of his study



DSC09958rI had to take a picture of the recipe.

On each of the Princess cruises that Maureen & I have sailed, the ship always has bread and butter pudding on the menu, which I have found to be very good. I have my grandmother’s hand written note book in which she wrote details of various recipes, and one is Bread and Butter pudding, so I must compare the two – the one above and my grandmother’s written in 1896.


A single bedroom in the Commandant’s house.



DSC09962rSitting room


All of the above is history, but below is the sad fact of today’s world.

On the 28th April in 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists and staff and murdered thirty-five people, wounding a further twenty-three.


At the Broad Arrow Café in Port Arthur, where the killings took place there is now a pool of remembrance, and a place of peace and reflection. The café is no longer there.

DSC09972rcDeath has taken its toll, some pain knows no release, but the knowledge of brave compassion shines like a pool of peace.

DSC09973rEach leaf (ceramic leaves I think) in the water represents a murdered victim.

There was such an outrage that within three months the Australian Federal Government and all Australian States changed the law as to the type guns allowed to be owned by citizens. The Federal Government bought back 640,000 guns and had them melted down. With the political will, and courage, gun control is possible.

The killer was sentenced to 35 life sentences without the opportunity of parole, plus 25 years for the remaining 36 charges on 5 other offences (20 attempted murders, 3 counts infliction of grievous bodily harm, the infliction of wounds upon a further 8 persons, 4 counts of aggravated assault and 1 count of unlawfully setting fire to property.


Twenty years after the event, the pool with the floral tributes near what was the Broad Arrow Café. For more information read this link.  

From the memorial we returned to the ship deep in thought. As we left the shore and started the steady chug back across the water I noticed a RAN (Royal Australian Navy) vessel had arrived.

DSC09975rc DSC09987c

The final tender boat arrives as we prepare to sail.


The gap in the land through which we will sail to the open sea.