Riverbend Cottage **  Bougainville Copper Project **  Trip to Samoa **  Kingdom of Tonga
The Road Less Travelled ** Early morning at Nelligen **  It all began in 1965 ** Property for sale
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Waterfront property near Batemans Bay for sale

You have to live somewhere - it may as well be Paradise!

Our 7-acre-plus property "Riverbend" with almost 400 metres of absolute waterfront near Batemans Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales is for sale. For more information go to www.nelligennet.com.

It's the sort of property that is usually passed down the family as there are fewer than a handful on the Clyde River. I have been here for 18 years and for me it's time to move on - regrettably! - as we plan to live for part of the year in Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia which makes it impossible to also maintain such a large property this far south.

The price - for those who can afford it - is very realistic as nearby unimproved waterfront blocks just 1500 square metres in size and with as little as 19 metres of waterfront have recently sold for $750,000. A renovated fishing shack on 1700 square metres of land just a few metres up the lane sold six months ago for $950,000.

By contrast, "Riverbend" which consists of eight separate titles and comprises approx. 29,200 square metres - or more than 7 acres - (see map), is on sale for $2 million, lock, stock and barrel! For those who feel a little financially challenged, I can even offer very substantial vendor's finance on below-bank finance terms.

If you're interested, contact me by email to

riverbend[AT]batemansbay.com

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sanitas Per Aquam


Just came back from the Catalina Country Club after a beautiful dinner followed by a glass of red - or three.

Now it's time to soak my weary bones in the warm spa before hitting the pillow for the night.


Life is not a race
but a journey to be savoured
each step of the way
Yesterday is history
tomorrow is a mystery
and today is a gift.


A foxy buy?


A Canberra couple who inspected "Riverbend" in late March but then decided that $2 million for a substantial two-storey brick home on 7 acres of totally private waterfront was too much, will now become our closest neighbours (well, as close as one's neighbours can get when one lives on an acreage hidden away at the bottom of a quiet cul-de-sac).

After they had told me of their decision not to buy "Riverbend" and when the neighbour's property came on the market only a few days later, I emailed them on the 24th of May:

"Riverbend" may have been a little too ambitious for you! Here's # 33 Sproxton Lane which has only been listed yesterday: click here. Having us as neighbours across the lane adds thousands of dollars to the property!!! :-)

Almost as soon as I had emailed them, the SOLD sign went up! Yes, they bought this (nicely) converted fishing shack on 1900 square metres of land for $950,000. A foxy buy? You decide!

Anyway, it was a lucky escape for me as I want to stay at "Riverbend".

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For Sale no more!

After my first week back in wintry "Riverbend", I have decided to pull the FOR SALE-sign.

Following my rather suddenly truncated trip to Far North Queensland where I again looked at a few properties on sale, I have come to the concusion that nothing - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - comes even close to the comfort, the privacy, and the lifestyle that "Riverbend" offers. "Riverbend" will remain my home, come what may! (including frosty winter nights)

I have also booked both of us on a four-week trip to Indonesia to stay with the in-laws in Surabaya for a while and then visit Borobudur in Central Java as well as revisit my old stamping-grounds in Kalimantan, including Banjarmasin, where Padma was born. A week at the gracious Rattan Inn is just what the doctor ordered!

One night at Ibis in Sydney before flying out to Bali where we'll spent two nights at the Bali Prani Hotel near the airport after which we'll catch the Airbus to Surabaya and points beyond.

NOVOTEL Surabaya

While in Surabaya, we'll stay at the beautiful NOVOTEL for a week which makes Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, almost bearable.

Our good friends Val and Terry will housesit "Riverbend" and look after Malty and Rover while we're away.



P.S. Some photos from my last Bali trip.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thanks to a good friend ...

Klaus Herbert in Cairns


... I was not alone in Cairns as I frantically tried to get onto the next flight south ahead of a long weekend and volcanic ash-clouds from Chile bringing the domestic airlines to a halt.

Klaus Herbert and his charming wife Peta were very kind to put me up in their 11th-floor CENTREPOINT penthouse overlooking Cairns and the Coral Sea.

Under different circumstances, I would have loved to enjoy their wonderful hospitality for longer (and I hope they will allow me to reciprocate by coming to stay at "Riverbend") but this was an emergency and I was booked on the next-morning's flight back to Sydney and the gruelling 5-hour bus trip from Sydney airport to "Riverbend".

As another friend said, "Peter, at our age we need friends". We do indeed! Thanks again, Klaus and Peta, and I hope we will meet again soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memento mori

Tony with his memento mori


My newly-made friends Tony and Helmut gave me much-needed moral support when the proverbial hit the fan: a phone call from home that the missus was going to leave me!

Too late to immediately rush back to Cairns to cancel my bookings and rebook myself onto the next flight home which I did next day - if only to make sure she had turned off the lights in the house!

I spent another sleepless night in Yungaburra and packed up my few belongings to hit the road a few hours after midnight to get to Cairns and the nearest airline booking office as soon as it opened its doors.

Spencer & Murphy Bookshop Yungaburra


Walked into the Spencer & Murphy Bookshop where Helmut Brix, an ex-German from Görmar in Thuringia, was minding the shop for its owner, the Welshman Tony. We talked and talked and talked ... about all sorts of things, including the first jet-powered flying wing, the Horten Ho 229 - designed by a German, of course! - of which Helmut was something of an expert. Here is Helmut's story

Helmut in his former career as Camera repairman

Helmut is looking to relocate permanently to Yungaburra from Melbourne where he's spent the last 50 years. He's well into his retirement but still minding other people's businesses, such as Tony's bookshop as well as the Vienna Inn.

Helmut 'holding the fort' at Tony's bookshop

Helmut and I raise our glasses at the Lake Eacham Hotel,
Yungaburra's only Husbands' Daycare Centre




Helmut is interested in buying into the Savannah Lifestyle Resort at Mareeba. I don't know, Helmut! You'd be buying yourself a very expensive house built on land which isn't yours! So who really owns your house - you or the people on whose land it is built? Page 3 in their March 2011 newsletter addressed such well-founded fears - rather unconvincingly, I thought! What, indeed, happens if the development goes broke? What will that high-sounding 'Certificate of Ownership' guarantee you then? In any case, Helmut, why don't you wait until those plasticine people in the very slick promotional video are replaced by real people?

Before leaving this friendly bookshop, I bought a book on "Schadenfreude", John Portmann's When Bad Things Happen to Other People, which should keep me occupied for the next two evenings.

The Kookaburra at Yungaburra



Arrived at Yungaburra, the tourist-hub of the Atherton Tablelands.

I am stopping for two night at the Kookaburra Lodge which is for sale at $850,000 but I just want a bed, possibly a dinner tonight, and the all-inclusive breakfast in the morning.

Yungaburra is very much the tourist hub of the Atherton Tablelands with everything priced accordingly.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Historic Herberton



I am stopping over at historic Herberton and checked into the Royal Hotel.





Visited the local Spy & Camera Museum and donate to the surprisingly unpleasant owner Michael Petersen my tiny YASHICA Atoron camera which I had bought in the early 70s for big money. Only used it a few times as the negatives were so tiny that enlargements from them did not turn out too well. It comes with several separate gadgets and attachments and should make a wonderful addition to their collection.

Acting on the old advice that it is dangerous to drink on an empty stomach, I had something to eat at the Coffee Shop where I met the locals Frank, Peter, and Kim. Then I crossed the road again for another beer at the Royal Hotel. Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

It GETZ me there!


Well, I was going to pick up my little GETZ hire car from East Coast Car Rentals at 146 Sheridan Street in Cairns but when I got there, the advertised $24 turned out to be $24 PLUS $20 insurance waiver PLUS 9% administration charges PLUS ... so I went next door to Mini Car Rentals who turned out to be just another bunch of gougers. Had to pay top-money for a clapped-out and very second-hand GETZ with a chipped windscreen, an air-conditioning that existed in name only, a static radio and no CD-player! My advice if you want to hire a car: stick with the BIG BOYS, the likes of HERTZ, AVIS, or BUDGET!

Drove up to Kuranda Kuranda with the idea of staying for a night or two at the Kuranda Resort but the place looked so seedy and down-at-heel that I went straight to Atherton.

Atherton has grown enormously since my last visit. Went to look up the old shop where Bruce Dowling Real Estate was on my last visit.



I met Bruce Dowling on a trip in 2003. It was a remarkable meeting in that he was related to John Dowling, the "Uncrowned King" of Rabaul. The Chartered Firm of Accountants in Rabaul I worked for in 1970 had done all of John Dowling's accounting work. And the meeting was also remarkable in that Bruce had just marketed the disused mining camp - see picture above - of a tungsten mine at Mt Carbine which I had very nearly joined in 1976.

Bruce had shown me around Atherton and Lake Tinaroo and we had talked about all sorts of things and topped it off with a drink at the local. I wanted to meet up with him again this time but it seems Bruce Dowling Real Estate is no more nor is Bruce Dowling. Real estate agents seem to be a dying breed: first Ray Mullins at Kuranda and now Bruce Dowling at Atherton.

Bruce Dowling Real Estate is now a hairdressing salon

Atherton had grown far too big and busy for my liking so I went the extra 18 km to Herberton where I booked into the Royal Hotel and already met some of the locals. Hi there, Frank, Peter and Kim, if you happen to read this!

Nice room upstairs with a big verandah overlooking the "main street". Across the road is the Spy & Camera Museum where I will donate my tiny YASHICA Atoron camera which I had bought in the early 70s for big money. Only used it a few times as the negatives were so tiny that enlargements from them did not turn out too well. It comes with several separate gadgets and attachments and should make a wonderful addition to their collection.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Aboard TEKANI II



I arrived in Cairns. Brian Darcey met me at the railway station and gave me a berth aboard his yacht TEKANI II. Shades of The Riddle of the Sands.


Brian is a real sailor who until recently skippered the Ocean Spirit.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dave Richardson at Babinda

Dave and I on the railway platform at Babinda

The Sunlander only makes a 5-minute whistle stop at Babinda where an old mate from my Thursday Island days now lives. I had phoned Dave Richardson half an hour before the train's arrival at Babinda and he was kind enough to meet me on the platform.

This was our first meeting since my departure from Thursday Island in 1977!

Rolling along ...



For a real rail experience, book yourself onto The Sunlander's premium all-inclusive Queenslander Class, enjoying first class Twin Sleeper accommodation, fine dining in the Restaurant Car, a Lounge and Bar, exceptional service and a host of other extra special touches.

It's a great place to meet some interesting people. I always make a point of talking to strangers. And I always seem to remember them and their words linger longer after they have gone. So much of life’s noisy detail fades so quickly, but the unforgettable strangers travel with us for the rest of our lives. It is the poetry of the road, from voices we have never heard before and perhaps will never hear again. Courage, kindness, humour and sometimes wisdom con flow from these chance meetings. The simple joys of life are shared along the way.


This beautiful, classic train meanders its way along Australia's incredible north-eastern coastline of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in the south via tropical lowlands, mountain ranges, parklands and pure white sands to where the Great Barrier Reef meets the timeless Daintree Wilderness in the north.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Manfred Richter in Brisbane



Arrived in Brisbane and met up with my old friend Manfred. He picked me up early this morning from Roma Street railway station in his old TOYOTA and kindly offered me a range of conveyances - see picture - to get me around Brisbane.

I've checked in for the night at the Acacia Ridge Hotel which is close to Manfred's home.

Manfred is batching as his wife Tisna is in hospital

Ian, the retired schoolteacherThe train trip from Sydney to Brisbane was a treat. At first it looked like I would have my twinette sleeper compartment to myself but at Strathfield a companion joined me: Ian, a retired school teacher from St. Ives, who had spent half a lifetime in tiny schools out west, including Walgett. He was good company and we talked until late into the night about the woes of the world. I wanted to ask him if he had seen a certain Aussie movie which starred a young schoolteacher who had been posted to the fictious town of Tiboonda way, way out west. He knew it but neither of us could remember its name until Ian came back from the 'loo at three in the morning and said, Wake in Fright. Yes, of course!

Ian, you weren't the busty blonde I had been hoping for but you were good company!

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's just ONE bag for me and the good old-fashioned train ...



... and Paul and Mary will stay behind!