Saturday, 27 May 2023

Charming buildings in North Queensland

During the past two weeks, we enjoyed a driving vacation up north. We were once again delighted by the breathtaking views along the coast and through mountainous regions. There were many fascinating places to explore. Additionally, we were captivated by the old hotels in Queensland that were constructed many years ago. I captured some of these on my phone.

These hotels used to accommodate a wide range of people. They were once a home away from home for travelling salesmen. They catered to prospectors who were on their way to the prosperous mineral fields of central Queensland, and individuals who visited towns with the intention of spending their hard-earned money.

Some of these hotels have been lovingly preserved, with the ornamental iron railings restored and painted. Others have endured the effects of time and weather. As mining booms came and went, populations dwindled, and storms wreaked havoc, some hotels suffered the consequences.

Here's a selection from some towns of North Queensland.

Royal Private Hotel, Charters Towers
built by Ben Toll in 1888 for former miner William Romberg

Commercial Hotel, Clermont
This building was moved to its present location after a flood in 1916

Molly Malone’s, Townsville (est. 1863)
originally Tattersalls Hotel

Yungaburra Hotel, Yungaburra 
2nd largest timber hotel in the southern hemisphere opened in 1910

Exchange Hotel, Mossman
built for Irish publicans Dennis and Teresa O’Brien in 1896

Crown Hotel, Innisfail

Malpass Hotel, Home Hill
Opened October 1924, named after its owner Joseph Malpass

Grand View Hotel, Bowen (est. 1864)

The queen of them all in Rockhampton
Heritage Hotel, Rockhampton (originally Commercial Hotel)
Built 1898 - History

And a last one along the highway that amused us. Yes, that is a crocodile lurking above the entrance but thankfully not a live one!
Koumala Hotel, Koumala
1939 - Koumala: Where's that?

Monday, 10 April 2023

April an acrostic of books

A All About Ella by Meredith Appleyard

P Portrait of an unknown woman by Daniel Silva

R Revenge in Rubies by A.M. Stuart

I In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor

L Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Family relationships, ageing and new beginnings

At 70 Ella chooses to escape from her family. 

Her husband of 50 years has recently died and her family appear to be more interested in her money rather than her welfare. Ella drives away from Adelaide in desperation and finds herself in a small seaside town. Angie, a 40 year old drifter and Zach the local policeman rescue her from her car. 
This story is about trust, community and family stress. Resolution occurs through the restoration of an old building and the intervention of a grandson. A satisfying read.

Art restoration, crime, action 

Another title in the Gabriel Allon series. I have read and enjoyed at least 6 of these titles but each title stands alone as a complete story.
The renowned art restorer and former head of Israeli intelligence is leading a peaceful life in Vienna when he is called upon to investigate the appearance and sale of the work of an old master. 
Intrigue and and suspense as he decides the work is definitely that of an expert forger. What follows in the pursuit of the forger has a completely unexpected twist in the tail of this engaging novel.

Colonial life in Singapore with a dash of crime and detection

The second in a series set in the steamy tropics of Singapore. 
In 1910 Harriet Gordon is housed with her brother Julian head of the nearby school. Her employment as typist the Straits Settlements Police Force provides some independence, some much needed income and a sense of worth. A brutal murder in the community has her friend and employer Robert Curran investigating. His plea for her help in comforting the distressed, leads to some interesting revelations placing both of them in danger.
As soon as I had finished reading this, I knew I would have to read the third in the series too. 
I keenly await the fourth and final in the series to be released later this year The Harriet Gordon Mysteries.

Colonial Australia, opportunity and oppression

In 1851 fate throws Eve Richards a newly arrived convict and charismatic Irishman Kieran Clancy together. One has seen her misfortunes multiply after the death of her father and the other is escaping the poverty of County Clare with his brother Liam. 

Fortune favours the brave as Eve finds a secure position after surviving a shipwreck in southern seas. From the farmlands of New South Wales Kieran is lured to the goldfields of Ballarat.
The depiction of events on the goldfields and the aftemath of the Eureka stockade are well covered. I enjoyed this novel with its portrayal of life in difficult colonial times.

I have just read another title by Mary-Anne O'Connor Where Fortune Lies set in 1879 in colonial Australia. Combine history of the times with romance thrown in, some bushrangers, vineyards and varying fortunes, that combination makes for an enjoyable read.

The fourth title in this Cormoran Strike series has all the twists and turns expected of a private investigation novel. The relationship between the central characters, ever developing and fraught with danger lends a more personal note to this dark tale. Robyn and Cormoran negotiate their way through the back streets of London and rural England to uncover a tale of deeds untold. A fast paced read for those who enjoy a well written crime and detective adventure. Not recommended for the faint hearted.

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Monday, 6 February 2023

Storytime 2023

Books read to Jan 1 - Feb 5

The hot summer weather lends itself to lazy days and time to read.
Here's a selection I have enjoyed this year.

If you enjoy stories set in Australia I seem to have read quite a few of these in the last month.
  • The Orphans by Fiona McIntosh  - Port Adelaide, Farina, shearers, undertakers and morticians, struggle for female recognition
  • Exiles by Jane Harper - South Australian wine country, crime fiction, country towns
  • Outback by Patricia Wolf - Crime, Tourism, Drugs, detectives
  • Mackenzie Crossing by Kaye Dobbie - 2 eras in the Australian alps, 1939 Black Friday bushfires, 1997 search for lost family details and romance
  • The Cedar Tree by Nicole Alexander - station life, family feud
  • Keeping up appearances by Tricia Stringer - SA country life, small town setting, women and their interactions and relationships
  • Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman - Blue Mountains, bushfires, capitalism, media
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Sunday, 1 January 2023

Read and Listed in 2022

A year of books

Each year I read about 100 books and record them on LibraryThing. It appears that I recorded 104 books on that platform this year. When I read books that I think are not worth recording they don't make it to my list, so I probably read at least another 10 not added in. Then there are the times when I have returned books to the library and forgotten to record their titles

Having just seen Jill Ball's post about books she had read in 2022, I looked for the cover display of the most recent 100 books I have read. 

The covers below display some books from most recently read back to January 2022.

Lots of fiction, some favourites this year in no particular order but historical fiction dominates.
  • The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters 
  • Dawnlands by Phillipa Gregory
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson
  • The Brightest Star by Emma Harcourt
  • The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
Some crime and mystery fiction enjoyed
  • The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
  • The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
  • The Way it is Now by Garry Disher
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

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