Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Tin Can Bay Esplanade in Forefront
Acrylic painting by me...Tin Can Bay
Top Photo of Graham with a friend...taken the 1998 May long weekend he visited me...and the lower photos were taken on his birthday, 28th February, 1996


Prawns, in an abundant supply, were discovered in the waters surrounding Tin Can Bay in 1954/55...thereabouts.  Along with the discovery of the prawns, sea scallops were also part of the bounty.


Once the prawn trawlers were alerted to the fact, prawns and sea scallops became welcome accompaniments to our seafood feasts.  Until then, I’d not had sea scallops...and, very soon, I couldn’t get enough of them! 


As a child, I loved to paint and draw.  The scallop shells became my “canvases”.  Using poster paints, I’d paint scenes on the shells.


Not only did Tin Can Bay have the best fresh seafood in the world in those days, but it also boasted the best meat pies in the world!


Hind's Bakery...a little bakery on the Esplanade made the best pies. If I set my mind to it, I can still savour the flavour of those luscious, juicy meat pies!


Pies with golden, flaky-pastry tops that burned the roof of your mouth, but you didn't care, because the hot gravy from the meat running down your chin burned even hotter...and, you still didn't care...because the pies were so delicious.


One of our primary school teachers, Mr. Doug Enright, owned a holiday home on the Esplanade at Tin Can. He and his wife, who was the Matron at a Gympie’s Lister Hospital, were often in residence at their home during our many visits to the "Bay".


Mr. Enright, a tall, striking gentleman with a shock of silver-grey hair, was a favourite teacher of both my brother and me. In fact, I can confidently state 99.9%, if not100% of his students at that time... present, and past...respected him, holding him in high regard.  


He would have been around the age of 60 years, give or take, when he taught me.

As a teacher he was firm, but objective, and even-handed.  In a courteous, solicitous manner, Mr. Enright commanded his students’ attention


Way back when in the "olden days" as we called the days of our grandmother's younger years, Doug Enright was a member of our Nana’s circle of friends.  I think at one stage, when in their teens, they were sweet on each other. 


I remember clearly the day he was wandering up and down the aisles between our school desks, making a point about a lesson he was teaching...something he did regularly.  Impressing upon the class the importance, the intrinsic value of the lesson, as he walked by, Mr. Enright whacked his ruler on my desk.  Unfortunately, the ruler missed the desk, and accidently struck my left thumb! 


Boy! It hurt! 


Tears filled my eyes, but I hung my head, to hide my throbbing discomfort, not wanting to make a fuss.  I knew he’d not purposely struck me.  It was not the kind of person...the kind of teacher...Doug Enright was.


Immediately, Mr. Enright’s genuine distress was evident for the rest of the class to see. 


Almost in tears himself, he couldn’t apologise enough.  Even though my thumb was hurting, I felt sorry for him. 


The moment wasn’t forgotten by him.  The next time he met Nana, he apologised to her, as well, explaining what had occurred had been an unfortunate accident.  Nana understood.  I had told her about the innocent incident when I arrived home from school the day it happened.  I had no bad feelings towards my teacher.


I’d never been struck by a teacher before, or after that particular day.  Once was enough, even if accidental!



A fine, pure white clay...the palest shade of the palest grey, actually... was found along the beach, at low time, across from Mr. Enright’s Tin Can Bay holiday home.


My brother, Graham and I collected the clay to form different and fun objets d'art.   Our imagination went wild, as our hands followed its lead.


Mr. Enright allowed us to 'bake' what we created in his ovens, both at the 'Bay' and in Gympie.


He and his wife’s lovely Gympie home on the corner of Nash and Lawrence Streets, was the large, lovely home of Mr. and Mrs. Enright, only a short stroll from where we lived in Fern Street.


When I was living back in Gympie between the years 1998-2002, I was very pleased to see that their home had been purchased by a builder who was lovingly restoring the home to its former glory.  Some things...some buildings must be preserved.


The day of Mr. Doug Enright's funeral remains in my memory.


School children from the Gympie State Primary School, of which my brother and I were two, formed sombre honour lines down each side of Mary Street, the main street of Gympie, as his gasket passed by.  


Mr. Enright was loved and respected by all who were fortunate enough to have known him.


Throughout our childhood, along with our mother and grandmother, we continued visiting Tin Can Bay...and we continued enjoying feasts of fresh seafood.  Mum’s favourite fish to catch, and eat, was flathead


Graham, my brother spent the long weekend in May...the Labour Day weekend, May, 1998...with me in Gympie.  I had arrived back in Gympie, on ANZAC Day....25th April, 1998.


Graham left my home in the very early hours of the Monday morning...he preferred to drive long distances during the night hours.  (as do I...or as did I).  Having been transferred from Townsville Hospital here he had been receiving treatment for cancer, he was staying with his daughter and her husband.  They lived here on the mountain, at that time. 


On the Tuesday, following his couple of days spent with me, Graham entered Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.  Six weeks later he passed away.


The last thing Graham as he was about to climb into his car to leave that night was...


“When all of this rot is over...when I get through this thing, I think I will find myself a little place at Tin Can Bay...and spend my time fishing and crabbing.”

Hiding my heartache, I smiled, and replied...”That sounds like a bloody good idea!”   


I knew his dream would not come true.....


 Like our mother, Graham loved to go fishing.




Wednesday, September 23, 2020



Tin Can Bay Yacht Club



Originally called “Wallu”, in 1937 the small fishing village’s name was changed to "Tin Can Bay". The name are said to be derived from "tinchin" meaning “mangrove, in the Yugarabul dialect of the Yuggera language of the local indigenous people.

Others say that "Tin Can" is a word derived from the word "tinken", a vine with a large ribbed leaf, which grew on the beaches. The area was also known as "Tuncunba" - "ba" meaning "Place of "; "Tuncun" meaning "Dugong" or "Plenty of tucker".   Are you confused, yet?

A white lad, "Zachariah Daniel Sparkes Skyring" was one of the first permanent residents in the area. He later called the town "Tin Can Bay". Zachariah was born on 13th. July, 1861 and died on the 4th.June, 1957.  

27 kilometres south of Gympie is Skyring's Creek.  "Skyring" is a well-known name in the Gympie/Cooloola area.

 In the early Eighties, for a brief period, I worked with a lass who was a member of the Skyring family. (We’re still in contact to this day).  Aged 16 years at the time, it was her first job.  She went on to marry a lad from another well-known local family.  They’ve lived in the Gympie area since marrying.  Their talented daughter, a singer, appeared on “The X-Factor” a few years ago, and is doing well in the world of Australian country music.

Tin Can Bay is about 30-40 minutes drive east from Gympie, depending on how heavy one's foot is on the accelerator! The drive through Goomboorian, a farming area betwixt Gympie and Tin Can Bay is quite stunning, in my opinion.

Quite often, when living back in Gympie during the years 1998 to 2002, and when time allowed, I would drive down to the 'Bay' on a Sunday morning for breakfast at the area’s small yacht club.  

Tin Can Bay’s current population is around 2,500.  Yes...that is correct...2,500, give or take...

The club is built on the water's edge.  Sitting out on the deck, lost in my thoughts as I enjoyed both the view and my breakfast was a very pleasant way to while away a couple of hours on a Sunday morning.

 Equally as nice as breakfasting on the deck of the yacht club...sometimes, instead, I would buy delicious, freshly-cooked fish (in crisp, golden batter, of course!) and chips.  Armed with my hot feast, I’d sit on the foreshore, surrounded by ravenous seagulls.

 I never mind seagulls hovering around me.  They are beautiful creatures, and, when in their presence, or they in mine, I'm always on the look-out for 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull'.  I’ve conversed with Jonathan a few times! He and I are old mates.  We always have much to discuss


When my now late ex-husband Randall and I married...in a very relaxed setting and ceremony on a Sunday afternoon at Randall’s parents’ home... conducted by a Marriage Celebrant...Neil Diamond’s soundtrack LP...”Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” played in the background throughout the making of our vows...vows using quotes from Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet".  Randall and I also saw Neil Diamond live in concert at Brisbane’s Festival Hall in 1976...the same year we married.  The "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" album and story are both still inspirational...and both still bring tears to my eyes.


Fishing and mud-crabbing were two of our mother’s pet pastimes when my brother and I were kids. Often, Nana, Mum, Graham and I boarded a bus en route to Tin Can Bay.  We never had the luxury of a car.  

In those days of the 1950s Tin Can Bay was a sleepy little fishing village, boasting a population of 240, thereabouts.

The township consisted of corrugated iron, timber, or fibro shacks. Most were without electricity.

At night, hurricane lamps and candles shed light inside the beach shacks in which our small family unit, as well as holidayed.  Most permanent residents lived in similar conditions.

 Late afternoon and evening the air would be dense with a heavy cloak of smoke from the smouldering cow manure packed in forty-four gallon drums in the backyards. The burning of cow manure was an endeavour to keep the mosquitoes and sand-flies at bay at The Bay.

The sand-flies were the bane of my existence. They loved me. They still do, for that matter!   The feeling wasn’t and still isn’t mutual! I hated them then and I still do now!

 However, these days, if I have need to go to areas where sandflies fly, for the couple of weeks leading up to my pending visit I over-dose on Vitamin B supplements to repel the nasty, nipping, little critters.  Even though, some “experts” denounce the practice, it certainly worked for me when Randall and I used to visit Fraser Island, or when sandflies decided, in their hordes, it was time to pay a visit Hastings Street, Noosa Heads...during the time I operated my greengrocery-health food shop in the street.

When we were kids, Tin Can Bay had an open-air picture ‘theatre’...not a drive-in.  There was just a large screen plonked in a wide, open piece of vacant land.

Many a night after dinner, my brother and I sat in the backyard of where we were staying to watch the screen from afar,  We could barely hearing or understanding the dialogue, but that didn’t hinder us. Mostly, we invented our own scripts, much to our delight.

Every day, and most nights during our visits to Tin Can Bay, Mum went fishing and mud-crabbing.  

Meanwhile, in the daylight hours, Nana, Graham and I collected oysters off the rocks to the right of the esplanade.

Armed with an oyster knife each, we opened the shells bearing the delectable delicacies, eating many as we went along the oyster-bearing rocks. We each had a large glass jar to fill with oysters to take back to the shack. At the threat of death, we guarded those oyster knives as if they were made of gold. The prized oyster knives had belonged to our late grandfather, who passed away quite a few years before I entered the world.

Once back at the beach shack, we feasted on the fish and crabs Mum caught, and our bounty of fresh oysters.

Our fresh seafood was always served simply with fresh bread, butter, vinegar, salt and pepper. No further trimmings or additions were necessary.  Perfection cannot be perfected!

As a small child, I gave no thought to the health benefits but now, of course, I know how nutritional fresh seafood is. Rarely were we sick as children, so I guess all those sand fly-ridden days and nights eating fresh seafood accounted for our good health. Other than the normal childhood maladies such as the mumps, measles, chicken pox, the only other times I got sick was from motion sickness. To this day, I get car sick if relegated to the back seat or if in a boat, if I’m not the skipper. Yes, I do have a boat license but that, also, is another story for another day.

As this tale has grown longer than I initially thought it was going to be at the outset...

To be continued...is the only way to go.....



Saturday, September 19, 2020


As much as we’d prefer life to be otherwise, things aren’t always black and white...my male cat, Remy, being the exception, of course.  Shama, his sister, is grey, black and white...a tabby, just to mix it up a bit.

Shades of grey...perhaps not as many as 50...frequently lighten the black and, darken the white. 

Life would be much easier, I guess, if we could please others all of the time...but that is impossible.  Also a part of life...a part of living...is we don’t always have to agree with another, or others...on all topics.. all of the time.  We each have our own individual feelings and thoughts...or should have.  I’m sure life would be pretty damn boring if everyone agreed on everything. 

Keys on a piano are ebony and ivory...until the piano grows as old as I am, then the ivory keys turn a shade of mellow yellow, or extreme cream.  I’ll bellow and scream if I turn cream.  If I turn as sallow as a tallow candle, I’ll behave like a callow, uncouth youth!   

My hair has turned grey, though...but I don’t mind at all. It is what it is...it is what it is meant to be. 

I doubt there is one among us who hasn’t told a fib.  You know you have.  You will do so again when cornered in a situation that calls for one.  To be honest, like you, I’ve fibbed.  I’d be fibbing if I said I’ve never told a fib. 

For example...you’re feeling like “excreta” (you know what I mean without a further detailed explanation) and, someone asks; “How are you?” 

“I’m fine, thanks!”  Is the perky reply you give with a smile, even if you...or I...are/am...feeling like death warmed up!  (I wonder what “death warmed up” feels like. If anyone knows, please enlighten the rest of us.  Perhaps a séance is needed). 

Speaking on my own behalf I have no desire to reply in lengthy detail.  No doubt an extended, detailed report would bore the enquirer, making him/her feel sorry he/she asked the question.  So, a fib it is, if we're not feeling like the sharpest knife in the drawer at that particular moment.

Actually, by fibbing, one does the person who asked the question a favour!  Their relief is almost tangible!  Did you hear their sigh?  If the truth need be told, they really don’t want a long-winded, protracted account.

When I managed the resort on the tropical paradise, known as Hinchinbrook Island, I learned quickly not to ask a particular young staff member how she was. Without fail, never missing a beat, the 21 year old lass’ reply was always given in minute, maudlin detail, taking longer than a minute to relate. She had every ache and pain under the sun....and there were many sunny days on the island!  

Her woeful reply, always told in a whiny voice, was enough to bring tears to the eyes of the enquirer.  Dodging asking how she was, her workmates fibbed, and gave excuses to make their quick exits...rapid escapes...when in her presence.   

The young woman had no ailments. The only malady she had was she loved to whinge in an effort to receive sympathy, I imagine, as she’d shuffle into the staff room for breakfast still dressed in her flannel or chenille dressing gown, with fluffy slippers on her feet...on a tropical island, for goodness sake! 

That was taking “different strokes for different folks” to a whole different level!

There’s nothing new about a fib.  It’s much older than your years and mine combined. 

The word “fib”, and its meaning, originated in the mid-16th century when “fib” became the short-form for “fibble-fable” aka “nonsense”. 

And then, there is the “white lie”...a step-up from a fib.  A white lie is told out of politeness so as not to hurt the feelings of another, or others.

Again, I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t told a white lie when a situation begs for one.

However, in my opinion, blatant, deceitful lying is abhorrent.  If you’re thinking of telling a lie, take a Bex, and have a lie down before doing so. Hopefully, the urge will disappear.

Lying is offensive and demeaning behaviour.   

So is littering.  Seeing litter on the roadside...and elsewhere...makes my blood boil!

Both are blots on society...and that’s no fibble-fabble!

Laughter, kindness, generosity of spirit, consideration for, and goodwill towards others are not fibble-fabble.  That’s no fib, either....it’s as simple, and as clear as black and white....


Creamy Chicken with Spinach and Bacon: Heat 2tsp olive oil in pan over med-heat. Season 6 boneless, skinned chicken thighs/chicken breasts on both sides; sear in pan 5-8mins until cooked through. Once cooked, remove from pan; set aside. Melt 2tbs butter in cooking juices. Add 1 small, diced onion and 6 finely-diced garlic cloves; fry 1-2mins. Add 1/3c chicken stock (or dry white wine); reduce slightly. Add 1/2c chopped crispy bacon; fry1-2mins. Reduce heat to low; add 1-3/4c heavy cream; bring to gentle simmer;; lower heat to avoid sauce separation. Add 1tsp Italian seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste; add 3c spinach leaves; add 1/2c grated Parmesan. Simmer 1min until cheese melts. For thicker sauce add cornflour mix (1tsp cornflour plus 1tbs water).  Add the chicken to sauce; sprinkle with crushed chilli flakes (optional); serve over pasta or rice.

Creamy Tuscan Prawns: Sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves until golden and translucent. Add 700g peeled prawns; fry until pink and opaque. Don’t over-cook; remove prawns, leaving onion in pan; add 1-1/4c heavy cream, 3tbs dry white wine, 30g finely-chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and 1tbs Italian seasoning; add 85g shredded Parmesan; lower heat. Simmer until creamy consistency; add 2tbs chopped fresh parsley, 85g spinach and prawns; simmer just until everything is warm. 

Liquorice Bread: Combine 130g soft liquorice, chopped into small pieces and 3/4c water in saucepan; bring to a simmer; cook until liquorice is soft (about 10 mins). Blend to a smooth-ish puree; cool.  Preheat oven 160C; line base and sides of loaf tin. Beat together 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 100g caster sugar, and 165g brown sugar. Beat in 150g golden syrup, 100ml vegetable oil, liquorice puree and 2tsp activated charcoal powder. When combined, add 200g S.R. flour; mix until just combined. Pour into loaf tin; bake 70mins, or until centre is cooked through.