Venice – a City of Boats and Bridges


The city of Venice is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piav Rivers. The city and the lagoon are listed as a World Heritage Site.


Many tourists arrive in gigantic tour ships towed through the shallows by tug boats




Gondalas are now mostly used for the tourist trade. We had an excellent look through many of the narrow canals and stopped to be serenaded and drink champagne to celebrate the occasion.





Only one Bridge is covered, the Bridge of Tears which leads to the court room where many a Ventian was sentence to death.






The local equivalent of a taxi took us for a cruise of the main canals.








The local garbage boats are limited in their pickup schedule by the tides as are some of the “buses”.  At high tide they cannot get under the low bridges and have wait for the water to drop.

BoatsandBridges07The Aquatic equivalent of a bus and yes it is just as crowded in peak hour.




BoatsandBridges05Behind the boat stop is Venice’s main link with the outside world is via the train station in the background which travels via bridge over the lagoon.

There are many other islands in the lagoon that are not part of Venice because they are not linked by bridge to the original 118 Islands.



Traffic jam in the main canal.



Deliveries by boat. The only artificial Island in the lagoon is a huge car park and docking area where daily hundreds of semi trailers are unload onto delivery boats like this one.



Another boatload of workers head home.



A wave from a taxi driver for our Tour Director Barbara.


The Last Post

Posted on REMEMBRANCE DAY @ 11 A.M.

The Last Post is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition that mark the phases of the day. While Reveille signals the start of a soldier’s day, the Last Post signals its end. (Australian War Memorial).

This iconic photograph by Australian war photographer, Frank Hurley

shows the battalion bugler of the 27th playing the Last Post at sun-down (Australian War Memorial)

Passing~Time is my travelling blog and my travels have finished for the moment, so this is the last posting for the moment. However, just as Reveille signals the start of a new day or the hope of resurrection at a military funeral it does not mean that I will not travel or blog again at this site. As my friend and Gold Medal winning blog commentator Paula has suggested I am somewhat addicted to blogging and here announce my new, non travelling blog site –  The Random Imaginarium –

The intent of this journal is to post randomly things that stimulate my imagination. No doubt it will evolve as time passes (or die as interest wanes!) but at the moment my plan is to indulge my passion for photography by occasionally sharing images, reviewing my reading and watching of movies and comment on things that tickle my fancy or raise my blood pressure. Please feel free to let me know when I cross the boundaries – I have no desire to become a ranter.

Please try the link, leave me a message and let me know of any things that really interest you and stir your passions


PS – one last entry from Tumbarumba!


Extreme Weather Events in Tumba


Don’t ever believe a blogger when he says the last post is playing! The day after Mal’s funeral it started raining and by Friday it was continual and torrential. Friday afternoon the main road out of Tumbarumba was cut with a car washed off the road. Lots of people trapped in town overnight. Getting in or out needed a four-wheel drive with water a metre deep flowing through the caravan park. A couple of very soggy vans were towed out and another car was under water where the second picture was later taken.

Standing at the foot of the steps behind the shops it’s a long swim to the toilets

This is the public memorial dedicated to all the timber men in the district which includes Malcolm’s name.

It usually stands high and dry by a long way but the Tumbarumba creek by now was 100 instead of 2 metres wide.


Less than 12 hours after taking those images the air temperature dropped to less than freezing and Tumbarumba got its biggest dump of snow in at least twenty years – it was 15 cm deep on the roof of my car and caravan, covering the streets, houses, trees and hillsides and lasted until after lunch before eventually thawing except for shady area and snowmen which remained icy until the next day.

A snow-covered Tumbarumba front garden

Snow covered hills behind the Tumbarumba townships


An uncommon sight, floodwaters in the foreground and snow-covered hills

Six days later the water still flows with a roar over the Paddy’s River Falls where sometimes over the past years it has been a mere trickle


An Early End – a New Plan

Farewell Mal

Mal’s red hair was gone but his spirit was strong ,back in June when we visited him before our trip.

On Monday 11th we farewelled our brother-in-law Malcolm Stuart at the Tumbarumba Presbyterian Church and the cemetery. The funeral filled the church and its hall to overflow – Mal was a big man, well-loved by his family and friends and widely respected within this rural community. In his life he had an enormous impact on so many people. As his son reported in the eulogy Mal loved to talk with people – wherever he was, whoever they were and about a wide range of interests. We will all miss him greatly.

Robyn Stuart with a small part of  Malcolm’s large family after the funeral when we had a chance to remember how Mal had influenced all our lives


Every trip, like a good story, needs a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s nice if the end has potential – hope.

The germination of our trip was long and slow. When we travelled through Central Australia more than thirty years ago, camping in tents with two very young children, we said on return that we wanted to see the West but it would need to wait. The actual planning probably took 2 years, gradually building momentum as departure got closer. This blog covered the month before we left until now.

The middle I think was our time after we left the Eastern States. We had previously travelled extensively in the East,  South Australia and the Northern Territory so it was Western Australia and the Kimberley that was so new, a landscape beautiful in an almost alien way, best described by Mary Durack.

If one were to paint this country in it’s true colours,I doubt it would ever be believed. It would be said at least that the artist exaggerated greatly,for never have I seen such richness and variety of hue as in these ranges.”

The distances were enormous, the populations scattered and small without the influx bought into the Pilbarra by the mining boom in minerals and oil and my favourite town of all would have to be Broome. As Ernie Dingo and Missy Higgins sing in Bran Nui Dai ” Soon I’ll be dreaming in Broome” “.

Our trip really ended in Tumbarumba with Mal’s funeral.  We may not end up getting home for five or six weeks, but we have neither the time nor the heart to drive back across the Nullabor and complete what we had planned – Perth to Esperance through what is reputed to be some of the most beautiful countryside in our country.

We will be back, however. Maybe next year or the one after  …. there will be a gap but stay tuned for the next instalment


  • We travelled for 101 days – 14 weeks and 3 days
  • We travelled for 16, 600 km – mostly towing the caravan at an average speed of 75 km but attempting to cruise at 90 kph on country roads.
  • We used  about 1070 litres of fuel paying up to $1.80 per litre. When travelling it sometimes cost $150 per day
  • We made seventeen different tours starting with a winery tour in Mudgee  and ending with our sailing with Dugongs at Shark Bay. We found the tour guides to be always informative and passionate about where they live even if they had taken the same tour with similar tourists a thousand times before
  • We took advantage of volunteers wherever possible
  • We spoke to our fellow travellers regularly – they were better than any written travel guides. Through such conversations we decided to stay in Lake Argyll and Coral Bay which were highlights of our trip.
  • Australia is an amazing country – if you possibly can – get out there and see it!


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Trip from West to East

A Fast Trip Across a Large Continent

The illness to our brother-in-law Malcolm Stuart meant a dash from Perth to Tumbarumba in the Snowy Mountains in NSW a distance of nearly 3,600 km. We left at Dawn on Tuesday with the intent to drive during the daylight hours as far as possible each day, stay wherever we could and get to Tumbarumba by Saturday afternoon.

The first two nights we free camped on roadside stops at Fraser Range Area, 80 km past the Norseman turnoff (the first picture) and then at the 222 km Peg Camps Rest Area 222 km West of the Eucla border between Western Australia and South Australia (the second picture). Free camping meant that we could drive further and get away earlier in the morning. We will do more of this on any further trips. You can manage a couple of nights with a bucket wash instead of a shower!




At Eucla, fueling after the border quarantine post, we got a mobile call to tell us that Malcolm had died, in Tumbarumba Hospital, with his wife and children with him. This did not change our intention to continue to be there as soon as possible.



Considering how long we were driving, towing the van, the trip went very smoothly, with stops at the Beautiful Valley Caravan Park at Wilminton (just past Port Augusta, now in South Australia) and at Balranald the next night. Having used all our prepared meals we ate out both nights. On this trip we have travelled through every State and Territory on the Australia mainland – sorry Tasmania, left out again!

We arrived in Tumbarumba on Saturday at 3.30 pm, having travelled via the Hay Plains and Wagga Wagga – our shortest days driving at 550 km.



Perth is the hometown of my mother and I was looking forward to seeing it for the first time. Unfortunately, while in Geraldton, we heard that Julie’s brother-in-law, Malcolm Stuart, was in hospital and doing very badly in his battle with lymphatic cancer. Our projected nine days was shortened to three when we decided that it was too late in the season to fly back and forth and resume the trip and we should travel in haste to Tumbarumba.

On our first day, Sunday, after visiting the Allnations Presbyterian Church, we spent the afternoon in the famous Kings Park. The opening image shows the city skyline as seen from Kings Park. The city of Perth is certainly the first metropolis we have seen since Sydney with skyscaping builders everywhere.

Our other priority was to visit my mother’s friend, Doreen Walters and say hello. Doreen is my mother’s age – late 80’s – and has been in regular letter or phone contact with Mum since 1942. I find such a long distance friendship (Doreen worked all around the world before retiring to Perth) absolutely amazing. Speaking to Doreen the shared esteem, affection and shared experiences they have had for 68 years since they were both only 20 years old is obvious.

Doreen and Julie at Doreen’s home at Scarborough


Our next post will be on the way home.

Geraldton – Wind, Museum and War Memorial


Geraldton is the fourth biggest city in Western Australia and according to the lady in the caravan park, the third windiest city – not sure whether in Australia or on earth but we are quite prepared to believe it.


In the background is the Port and city of Geraldton  in the foreground the Chapman River flows through the reserve adjoining the caravan park.

The two highlights of our day in Geraldton were the visit to the museum where there was an amazing display on the shipwrecks along the disastrous coast  and our time with a volunteer guide at the Memorial to HMAS Sydney overlooking the harbour.


The mutual sinking of the Sydney and the German  auxiliary Cruiser Kormoran on the 19th November 1941 with the complete loss of the 645 crewman on the Sydney, while 318 of the 399 personnel from Kormoran survived to become prisoners of War in Australia. This was Australia’s greatest ever naval disaster.


The memorial is in four parts – the huge standing stele,  the size of the bow of the HMAS Sydney stands in front of  The “Dome of Souls” structure, comprising a stainless steel dome, made up of 645 silver gulfs, representing the sailors lost at sea, a polished bronze propeller altar in the centre of a granite ceremonial area and an “Eternal Flame” that hangs above the altar.


The memorial wall lists the names of all lost, alphabetically giving rank and state of origin. I know there were four civilians on board working in the ship canteen but I am intrigued by Percy Skewes, enlisted in the RAN from Queensland with the rank/position of School Master.


The most touching part of the memorial for us is the sculpture of the waiting woman, dressed in the style of the 1940’s and given an age where she could be either mother or wife watching and waiting for the return of the Sydney, lost nearly 3 km down and 150 km to the West of Geraldton, where it had berthed for recreational leave only four weeks previously.