Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for December 2011

31 December: NEW YEARS EVE – Toowoomba

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Not Sydney but it’s all we’ve got (and we can walk home in 5 minutes!)

A great five course dinner with friends, the fireworks was course two, Champagne, exotic cheeses, home-grown baked veggies, Felicity’s rack-of-lamb and Beverley’s famous raspberry sauce!!

Fireworks in 'Frogs Hollow' Toowoomba 7.30pm December 3, 2011


26 December: Xmas Lunch with Ruby + Sandy

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A Christmas ritual is lunch with our Mothers – Vicky’s Mum passed away this year so Ruby and Sandy Barrie were our main connection on Boxing Day.

Sandy and Ruby preparing late Xmas lunch

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 26, 2011 at 6:03 am

25 December: Magic Revealed – Xmas Light Displays

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Clown shape - Christmas Wonderland

Have you ever been enthrawlled by the sight of those amazing Xmas light displays that become such a feature of the Yuletide season? Darkness hides the ‘how it’s done’ and all you see is the vibrant colours and the shapes formed.

 In my town of Toowoomba the local Lions club puts on a display entitled “Christmas Wonderland” – A section to the Toowoomba Botanic Gardens is converted by a team of volunteers, miles of cable and thousands of lights.
Visitors to the “Christmas Wonderland” pay an entry of a Gold coin to view the display and accompanying entertainment events. Around 60,000 visitors viewed the display this year.
On Christmas Day we went to the Gardens for a picnic lunch and I had a chance to check out the strange ‘behind the scenes’ of the display …



Two Angels

Spikey star

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 26, 2011 at 5:34 am

25 December: Lunch in the Park

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We Hope You All Had a Great One Too  ! !

Christmas lunch in Toowoomba’s Botanic Gardens

Toowoomba Botanic Gardens setting

Smoked trout, salad, fruits ad watermelon – A Christmas Dinner feast

A bull ant tucks in as well!

Lying back after lunch – looking skyward

Maybe Christmas is for the birds!

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

20+21 December: Heading Home

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It always rains when we turn for home. The Newell Highway, rain and big B-Double truck rattling along the flood tortured bitumen is an experience that is full of tension.

Drivin' down the highway - Photo: Vicky

Another thing – Don’t check into motels that are too close to the highway. Sometimes, in the dead of night, it feels as if the truck is coming through the room …

The sun did shine @ Forbes …

Outside the Forbes Courthouse

Santa up a pole

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

19 December: Milawa Bread, Cheese and Wines

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A Mt Buffalo snack - Olive breads, soft and hard cheeses and nuts

North-eastern Victoria is renown for fine foods and wines – While at Mt Buffalo we feasted on sour dough and olive breads made locally. The olive bread came from the Milawa Bakery and when we left the mountain we went in search of some more of the luscious bread. Milawa Bakery is situated in the Cheese Factory so we stocked up on some Christmas delicacies.

Just nearby Brown Brothers vineyards stretch across the landscape, and they have wine tastings at their cellar door – we went in …

Out the cellar door with a few bottles

For more on the Milawa foods:



Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

15~18 December: Mt Buffalo National Park

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Revisiting the mountain will require many posts. Here is a taster …

To see the FULL Mt Buffalo image package visit our ‘PLACES VISITED’ Blogalongthetrack.wordpress.com

Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart in the Mt Buffalo Chalet garden

Doug and Vicky at the Gorge lookout, Mt Buffalo National Park

Vicky photographing flowers at Mt Dunn, Mt Buffalo National Park

Doug photographing near The Horn, Mt Buffalo National Park

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

14 December: Hume Dam

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View of water from the dam wall

We’ve visited the Hume Dam that block the flow of the Murray River near Albury – After all the recent rains the dam has filled.

Looking towards the dam

The water height has varied from the last time we saw it te years ago …

A comparison of dam water levels @ Bell Bridge 2000 ~ 2011

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

14 December: Dining lunch @ the Niagara Cafe Gundagai

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Stepping back to the 1950s and 60s – Dining in a cafe with cubicles and the locals.

The phrase ‘when I was young’ is so cliché and yet as one grows older fragments of past memories emerge from everyday experience. The fragments trigger memories of simpler – less complex times and simple pleasures.

    The town of Gundagai is part way along the Hume highway between Sydney and Albury. We stopped in town looking for a place to get some lunch – a takeaway maybe, the simple staple of the Australian traveller – a meat pie, tomato sauce and a can of Coke. Bakeries in the town looked closed, swish fine dining cafes looked too predictably up-market.
   Mid way along the main street was situated the quaint facade of curved glass, tiled step and menu taped to the window of the Niagara Cafe. We walked in to a 1950s bench-styed dark stained seating area. At each table salt and pepper shakers sat astride red-capped dark sauce bottles and a menu. The table tops were a pea green and walls covered in newspaper reports, horse racing photo finish pictures, paired Australian and Greek flags, annotated photos and other ephemera.
   We checked out the menu …

Here are a few images – SEE THE BEHANCE FOLIO – Click Here

The front door of the Niagara Cafe

A couple of patrons

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

13 December: James Turrell – Skyspace ‘Within without’

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On three occasions we have visited the Turrell Skyspace artwork @ the National Gallery of Australia during our time in Canberra. Turrell states that:

My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire.

For us the Skyspace was like visiting a physical and visual phenomenon. The images that follow record our experience of the artwork – and some of the fun.

An external view of the Skyspace installation

Inside the Skyspace installation – standing before the stupa

Vicky looking up towards the sky opening

4 views of the Skyspace opening

Sitting in the sun spot – two separate views

A wedding photographed in Skyspace

Vicky photographs fellow visitor

Sun circle projection




Inside Turrell’s Skyspace with friends doing selfies

The two of us before the stupa at the end of our visit

A wedding photographed in Skyspace

A wedding photographed in Skyspace

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

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