An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weird & Wonderful - the extraordinary diversity of Australia's natural inhabitants

Unfortunately, as we migrate in greater numbers every year to the cities and leave the bush behind, we are steadily losing our awareness and appreciation of the magnificent legacy of globally unique flora and fauna that we Australians are so privileged to live alongside.

Due to Australia's geographical isolation and our ancient Gondwanan origins, we have some of the most startlingly unique wildlife inhabitants on the planet.

From the strangely hopping marsupials, the egg-laying duck-billed Platypus, the spiny Echidna, the outrageous Southern Cassowary, the elegant dancing Brolga and the flightless Emu to the bear-like Wombat, the big-headed laughing Kookaburra and the extravagantly coloured parrots and rainforest birds, it is truly a smorgasbord of animal delights for the many travellers who visit this extraordinary island.

Earlier this week, I joined my daughter and good friend for a day out with our cameras at Australia Zoo, a wildlife park situated on the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland.

We had an incredible day reconnecting with the animals we had seen as children on trips to the bush and discovering anew the beauty and diversity of our native fauna in a very personal way.

The images that follow represent just a few of the many species of fascinating creatures that inhabit this wonderful land.

Jabiru ~ Australia's only Stork

 Stange-looking flightless Emu bird

Southern Cassowary

 Chatty Koala

 Sleepy Koala

Grey Kangaroo

 Red Kangaroo

Red male Kangaroo



 Brolga - Australia's only native Crane

 Tasmanian Devil ~ carnivorous marsupial

Ferocious Devil

 North Western Red-faced Turtle

 Tightly coiled Carpet Python

 Venemous Brown Snake

 Green Tree Snake

Water Dragon

 Tawny Frogmouth

 Laughing Kookaburra

 Male Eclectus Parrot

Male Australian King Parrot

Male King up close

 White-headed Fruit Dove

White-headed Fruit Dove up close

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove

Emerald Dove

Emerald Dove

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Celebrating diversity & religious freedom

Yesterday my daughter and I spent an incredible Spring afternoon at Eidfest, a festival celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan and showcasing the diversity of the Muslim cultures in Brisbane. 

There were many people there from the many different cultures as reflected in the clothes, the food and the music at the festival. 

We wandered through the brightly coloured clothing and book stalls, inhaling the inviting aromas of the many different traditional foods being cooked ... trying to decide what to eat. 

In the end, we could not resist the Indian naan breads, the little Somalian meat pastries, Spanish Churros smothered in cinamon and ginger syrup, Turkish baklava, Malaysian satays, and the absolutely amazing Langos - Hungarian fried bread drowned in cinnamon sugar!

We also attended the Asylum Seeker and Refugee forum with the objective of gaining insight from the point of view of the refugees into the issue that has been dominating Australian politics for the past couple of years. 

It was an eye-opening and humbling experience, especially as I am myself an immigrant, having left an unstable country in the grip of the untenable politics of apartheid many years ago. 

The difference is, my father who was an industrial chemist and a respected businessman, was sought after for his qualifications in many countries. My father made the choice to leave the country of his birth and to take his family to Australia, with a job already secured.

The refugees and asylum seekers that we met yesterday had no such choice. Some were lucky and had managed to obtain visas through the right channels to resettle in Australia, but many had no option but to flee to save the lives of their children by putting their trust and all of their savings into the hands of the people smugglers who arranged a boat to give them the only chance they had of reaching a country where they would be safe. 

These people, now part of our community, have gone through hell to be here. They have endured the terrible conditions escaping from their birth land, the sea journey, and then the capture and enforced detention in Australia where the situation was so dire that any hope of freedom had all but faded. 

Yet, they are grateful to Australia for giving them this opportunity of bringing up their children in a land that is tolerant of diversity and free from persecution and are now working as a community to offer help to other refugees and asylum seekers in need.

The Eid festival yesterday, as well as celebrating the end of Ramadan with good food, gifts, entertainment and fun for families, also did much to raise money and awareness for the community work of the Muslim cultures in Brisbane amongst the refugees in war-torn countries such as Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.