Soulmated ? !

Unlike the chess equivalent, the last move makes all players a winner.

Have you visited Fiji?  Even the new luxury resorts are contagious.

Isolated from the locals by fences and a socio-economic divide that can only be measured in light years, the infection they spread is jaw-numbing.

Fiji-36

The symptoms begin to appear before you even exit the airport.  They grow unrestrained.

Two days into my three-day visit my jaws ache, and my heart has swollen.

It’s inevitable …. this Fijian plague …. a direct consequence of the ever-present goodwill that comes with every utterance of the local greeting: Bula, Bula and the warmth of the grin that follows.

That’s right – smiling, laughing and being continuously overwhelmed with generosity takes it toll.

All the self-imposed barriers we erect around ourselves to survive our busy lives are rapidly stripped away and we stand naked. Exposed to genuine courteous social interaction with no purpose beyond …. genuine courteous social interaction.

Fiji-7

Beyond the decadence of our delectable resort, we visit old friends, Suli and her husband Amos – locals we first met over a quarter of a century ago.

They remain in the same cottage in the same coastal village living life the same way as their ancestors have for as long as history records.

Their son, an international jet-setting environmental advisor returns to village life after each trip and sheds his first-world self like a snake sheds its skin …  and steps into another world he contently shares with his family and his community.

Our friends, their daughter-in-law and grandchildren host a kava ceremony to welcome us and then treat us to fish caught only hours before, cassava, spinach and banana from their garden garnished with that wonderful Fiji dish of fresh coconut milk and greens.

Fiji-31

Fiji-17

Spoilt to the point of tears Margot and I savour every morsel to the sound of our friends sharing glimpses of Fijian history through song. We sit stunned,  the music hypnotising, the setting breathtaking in its simplicity, the physical and emotional generosity humbling.

Sitting on hand-woven flooring we talk hypnotising and international politics, families, the economy, climate change, the changing world that is Fiji.  Worldly people. Admirable.

Fiji-15

We left with gifts … unexpected and embarrassingly valuable. … unique handicraft created by Suli and presented to us to celebrate our 25 years of friendship. Pure and simple.

What we carried away however hypnotising a lot more …. a reminder of the power of human bonds, no matter how much time passes between touches.

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Their farewell serenade:

Life is a checkerboard of pieces, all part of the one game.

Fiji-27

Who am I ?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

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A Rock Solid Legacy

Have you visited that little known, secret hide away modestly called the Garden of Stones?

With two profession photographers from Fairfax Media, Tia McIntrye (the Clique Event Organiser), and 14 other wannabe photographers I visited the Garden of Stones last weekend.  Just 2 1/2 hours from Sydney it’s a geological wonderland on the edge of Lithgow and is at the centre of a battle between the coal industry and local conservation groups.

Natural Pagodas

Natural Pagodas

According to those with the money it is an area of no historical, geographic or other important significance ….. not much good for anything except digging up.

I don’t judge, but invite you to have a think about it.

Below are a few snaps I took in my short visit.  If you haven’t been there…… do so …. but quickly.  I’d hate you to miss it.

Keep an eye open for a photo exhibition featuring the Garden of Stones in the next few months in Sydney’s CBD – not sure where yet, possible at Customs House.

If you want to know more contact the: Colong Foungation Website

…. and then there is the future of the mine workers … where is it?  It’s certainly not with their current industry which has a used by date that’s looming fast.  What are we doing for them?  Like the Gardens of Stone,  they too need some love and protection … perhaps,  alternate job opportunities.  The alternate energy sector  is a viable option for them … oops, I forgot our Prime Minister is sun struck and has layered the industry with a thick coat of greasy sunshine screen to shield it from growth.

We all have a role to play in protecting all from extinction: The Garden of Stones, mine workers and the alternate energy sector.

I ASK:

What legacy should we leave future generations ?

The Garden of Stones0876 The Garden of Stones0846 The Garden of Stones0807 The Garden of Stones0743 The Garden of Stones0737 The Garden of Stones0708 The Garden of Stones0416WHO AM I?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


The secret of the ANZAC dawn service

 

Have you ever wondered how the ANZAC day dawn service started?  Did it occur spontaneously on the 1st anniversary of the landing?  Probably not.

So when did it commence as a national tradition, and how?

I’d never thought about it….that is until yesterday …. when I visited the historic mining village of Herberton.

Nestled amongst the rain-forests in the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns, the village is full of surprises.
possum valley-80

It was no surprise to discover an excellent mining
museum and mine-site tours celebrating the community’s tin and copper mining history….

 

 

….But, these things were surprises!

 

  • a spy camera museum ( the spy equipment is amazing, but it’s just a bait to lure you in – the museum collection across the history of photography is second to none)

    … and

  • the burial site of the man who conducted the first ANZAC day dawn service and first uttered the words

“as the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them”

              at an ANZAC service.

Canon Arthur Ernest (Padre) White was an Anglican Minister who served with the AIF.  He is credited with instigating the break of dawn service as the sun rose.

When?

The first time, in a small, private requiem mass at St John’s church in Albany in Western Australia on his return in 1918.

After he was appointed the Rector of St John’s church in 1929, he held  a  much larger commemoration as the sun awoke whilst overlooking King George Sound at Albany.

Albany was the last glimpse of Australia, Australian troops saw as they sailed off to war.

At the 1931 dawn service Padre White borrowed the famous line “as the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them” from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ …….and thus started a legacy to those who died… a legacy we share in growing numbers every year.

A humble man, Canon wished his tombstone to simply read ‘a Priest’ – it does.

"A Priest"

“A Priest”

 

Whether I’m on a pleasant holiday exploring old mining towns or working as a

Wills and Estates lawyer, I often think about the legacies people leave behind.

I wonder if Padre White ever thought how his first dawn service would swell into a national day of reflection and commemoration.

What a tribute to the fallen.

What a “gift” to the whole of Australia.

This ANZAC day I will also think of the legacy of this humble priest.

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Before They Pass Away – Photo essay on the Extinction of Indigenous Races

If you like travel / gob-smacking photographs / thoughtful insights / interesting stories …or any of these  – read on.
Photographer Jimmy Nelson set out to search for the world’s last indigenous cultures.
His goal  – to record rapidly disappearing communities for future generations.  Before They Pass Away.
As a keen photographer – much better critic than photo taker –  I believe that his photos are extraordinary.  His videos and TED talks are also incredible.  A must see.
Jimmy provides a window into the emotional and spiritual lives of the last indigenous peoples of the world with previews of the evocative portraits and stories.
These images may be the only legacy they leave behind – be a beneficiary.
Visit his website at this link:  Before They Die

LINKS TO EARLIER BLOGS 

1         How will you be remembered – Your Legacy ?

2        How many New Years Do You Have Left ?

3        The End is Nigh

4      My travel related website: Unconventional Conventions

Keep your eyes open for Part 3 of my Travel Series – Packing Checklists – coming soon.

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