SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J Dunkley

Website: patriciasartworld.com

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My books “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain.”  Available from Crowood Publishers, Amazon and Xlibris.

Greetings from down under at the end of a very eventful and full year, with lots of art and my new gallery completed.  Christmas comes at the beginning of summer holidays which last until February for schools.  Most people have public holidays and some take two weeks extra to celebrate the festive season.

The Flying Doctor Service has to work all throughout Christmas and on Christmas Day people who live in the outback send greetings to each other over the radio network.

SHELLY BEACH SURFER

Although it is hot people still decorate their homes with lights and bunches of “Christmas Bush” a native Australian tree which bears a pretty little flower and bright green leaves. It is extremely popular and a great favourite and considered lucky to have a bunch in the house at this time of year. Christmas trees are decorated in the traditional way with tinsel and baubles, and poinsettias, the gifts are left beneath.

Each state celebrates with a “Carols by Candlelight Service”, these occasions have a huge following, and they are all televised across Australia. There are also pageants, festivals and parades, followed by fireworks.

Most families try to be together on Christmas Day and the main meal is usually eaten at lunch time. Cold traditional food is served along with seafood such as prawns and lobster. Christmas puddings and mince pies are popular along with Pavlova with fresh fruit and cream.

Many families have a barbeque at the beach and swim in between meals and you quite often see a decorated tree at the beach also. Some families still cook a hot meal with turkey and all the trimmings. Much champagne and wine is consumed, making all merry.

WATER DRAGON BIG BOY

Santa uses kangaroos instead of reindeers while in Australia and changes into his summer suit.

Cruising around the Australian coast is extremely popular at this time of year, and an opportunity to relax and do nothing other than pamper you and look at the scenery. From Sydney to Eden on the South Coast, Burnie in Tasmania, Melbourne, Dunedin in New Zealand, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland back to Sydney.

You can also take an inland cruise on a Paddle Steamer along the mighty Murray River, Australia’s longest waterway. Travelling from the mountains of the Great Dividing Range in North-Eastern Victoria, to Adelaide in South Australia. The region is beautifully lined with magnificent forests of red gum and sandy beaches. It is also home to plentiful wildlife, supporting 350 varieties of birds, as well as many mammals, reptiles and fish.

Alternatively you can explore the river that runs through South Australia, and along the way take nature walks, visit the Barossa Valley Wine Region, and experience Australian Aboriginal Culture of the Ngarrindjeri People.

Melbourne, on Australia’s southern coast is the gateway to exploring the island state of Tasmania. The Great Ocean Road Coastline with its spectacular rock formations The Twelve Apostles, Adelaide City and Hobart.

Explore the Kimberley’s with a Cruise from Darwin or Broome in Australia’s north. The Kimberley’s abounds with natural scenic views and boasts some of the best coastline and coral reefs in the world. The pearls in Broome are simply beautiful.

All is well here at Shelly Beach with the festive season well and truly under way. The beach is beginning to get busy and it will not be long before school summer holidays commence. Princess Pixie is booked in for her annual needles and a nice special bath before Christmas. I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.  Enjoy the spectacular fireworks over Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve.

Cheers. Patricia