Hi, Just dropping over another Australian update Have had a quiet couple of weeks really. Mainly chilling in Toowoomba (aboriginal word meaning Swamp Land) Seen here - http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=toowoomba1vk.jpg Getting to learn loads about Oz now. Went to the Australian job centre which was interesting. It was full of Aborigines who seem to be social outcasts here. Some by choice, others through historical racism and others through ignorance. I have noted that some 'white' Australians have little time for Aborigines which seems to be institutionalised racism, probably harking back to the fact that native Aborigines were not recognised as part of the population until 1967 which I find incredible. Eastern Australia was colonised under the Latin term 'Terra nullius' which meant 'An empty land, a vacant land,unpopulated, uninhabited' Which is something the British Empire did often despite the land being occupied for hundreds of years prior! That said, the Romans actually came up with the concept and saying of 'thank-you very much well take it now'. Anyway, likewise, some Aborigines are intolerant of white people which stands to reason. I suspect that coming from somewhere like Bristol, having lived in a multi-cultural society since birth has allowed me to be surprised by the former old school Australia which encouraged a 'whites' only policy on immigration, which perhaps now comes to rotten fruition in the alleged skills shortage here? Some interesting things to note is that Aboriginal children are encouraged to go to school and they actually get paid three dollars a day to do so. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the treatment of Aborigines here. By the same token there are locals who are quite happy and very nice though it seems the majority of indigenous folk are like ghosts. This seems to be common for all of Oz too. There is a German influence here too as twas the Germanians who brought Wine production to Southern Australia along with the Lutheran Church. http://www.barossa-region.org/ The Lutheran church is the oldest Protestant church. It dates back to the Reformation in the sixteenth century when Martin Luther challenged some of the teachings and practises of the church of his day. Luther insisted that the Bible is the authority that decides what the church should teach and do. The name 'Lutheran' was given to people who believed that Martin Luther was right in his interpretation of the Bible. Have met quite a few 4th generation Australians with German surnames such as Schmidt and so on. In all honesty, Australia is much like the rest of the world. One big melting pot of people - all be it on a much bigger scale though less people Anyway, have been down to a place called Victoria Point, just outside Brisbane, which is nice. Quit an expensive place to live with loads of water front houses and boats. Went to the Anzac museum which I found very interesting, especially as the Australian victory at Milne Bay (pronounced Mil en) on Papa New Guinea changed the course of the war in the pacific as technically, in battle, this was Japans first defeat of the war, which was critical after England scarpered from Singapore, thus abandoning the Aussies. http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=anzac3gc.jpg Went to a place where they restore aeroplanes which was fairly interesting despite me not being an aviation enthusiast. However, they had a plane there called a 'Stipa Caproni', an Italian World War 2 plane and fore-runner to the modern jet, laughed at by many but now a highly regarded piece of history. http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=plane3xg.jpg http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=plane24tl.jpg However, what amazed me is the fact that sat at the rear of this boiling hot aero-hanger in the middle of nowhere was a Douglas Motorcycles, which was made in Bristol of all places. Funny to find a bike made in my home city some 13,000 miles from its spiritual home and in great condition too.... http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=douglas4km.jpg http://www.douglasmotorcycles.co.uk/ The best thing over the last few couple of weeks had to be meeting and feeding a baby kangaroo, who for obvious reasons has been named Skippy. Friends here rescued him from a road traffic accident and are rearing him at home. He is like a little puppy who loves attention and loves cuddles. Call him and he hops over and jumps up into your lap. He is actually a wallaby so will grow to about three feet and never really be a danger to people, especially as he lives on a good ten acres of fenced land. Was an amazing experience!!! http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=skippy11xt.jpg http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=skippy22wp.jpg Anyway, that's about it. Plenty to do in the next few weeks. Heading up to Cairns in November, snorkeling and scuba diving on the great barrier reef all book and paid for. Also going to Steve Ir wins Zoo, Lone Pine Koala sanctuary, Byron Bay plus spend more time in Brisbane. In fact going down to Brisbane tomorrow to watch Queensland Roar soccer team play Steve McMahon's Perth Glory who currently employ that lumbering former Leeds striker Bryan Dean. http://www.qldroar.com.au/ The beautiful game is called 'Soccer' here as everything else here is football despite throwing a ball by hand. They call the table a 'ladder' and each week in the league is called a 'round'. Personally, I call it football, the table and the next game. Grrrrrrrrr Here are some pictures taken from Picnic Point in Toowoomba which is literally out of my door, turn right, left up the hill. Amazing. The flat hill in the back ground is called Table Top mountain and is an inactive Volcano. The road in picture 4 is Warrego highway, the main road from Toowoomba to Brisbane. It takes about 1 hour 10 Min's to get to Brisbane. http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tabletop0my.jpg http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=me0fu.jpg http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tree8vo.jpg http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=warregohighway2ve.jpg Finally have seen some of the most amazing electrical thunder and lightning storms here. Trying to get some lightning pictures as simply stunning. This little beauty ended up in the front garden the other night, he literally dropped out of the sky!!!! http://img461.imageshack.us/my.php?image=toad2na.jpg Love to all Pete.