Patricia Newell Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.

Season’s Greetings from down-under where the weather is hotting up all over the country and everyone is gearing for a bumper Christmas. Still by far the most popular event on the Christmas Calendar is ‘The Carols by Candlelight’. Families come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas Carols outside. The stars shining above add to the sights and sounds of this special outdoor concert.

This tradition began somewhere around 1938, and was founded by Norman Banks. The story has it that Banks passed by a window lit by candlelight on his way home one Christmas Eve. This prompted him to wonder how many people spent their holidays alone and so he organised a public sing-a-long of Christmas Carols with participants holding a single candle. Now, multitudes gather in their respective towns and cities at public parks, music halls and stadiums to sing carols.



Christmas Church Services are held Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christianity is the largest Australian religion, congregations gather to pray and sing and hear the story of Jesus Christ, for Christians this is the true meaning of Christmas.

Australians love to be outdoors, to swim, surf, sail, ride bicycles, or just laze in the sunshine. Christmas Day is when families and close friends gather together from all over Australia and the world. The highlight of the day is the holiday midday feast. Some families enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set aflame before it is brought to the table.  While other families prefer a barbeque in the sunshine, cold turkey, ham, seafood and salads, Pavlova and ice cream. Most indulge in some form of alcohol to toast the day.

img_6158Boxing Day is now set aside as a “Sale Day” of grand proportions, with all of the large stores opening early in the morning when the rush begins to obtain the bargains of the year. While some families set off on their annual holidays, heading to the coast or the country.

Boxing Day also sees the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, setting off at 1.00 pm and Sydney Harbour is jam-packed with spectacular boats of every description. Onshore people are everywhere, looking for the best vantage points, covering every nook and cranny. The race has been sailed each year since 1945. From nine yachts in 1943, today over a hundred boats from all over the world participate in this magnificent and exciting event.

img_6335For those who would rather do no shopping, cleaning or cooking, cruising is the ideal way to go and what better than escaping on the stunning ‘Ovation of the Seas”. This glorious vessel is the third ship in the Quantum Class, which surpasses Royal Caribbean International earlier Freedom-class ships by over 14,000.  It has 16 guest decks and almost 5,000 passengers. Ovation will be based in Singapore, Tianjin China and Sydney.

Whilst in Sydney Ovation will visit popular South Pacific and New Zealand destinations.  She is the biggest and first-ever brand-new ship to sail from Australia and leaves Mid December. For those fortunate enough to be travelling with her are absolutely spoilt for choice with entertainment and bountiful banquets in the eighteen restaurants.

Skydiving at sea.

Cocktails and Robots

Amazing two 70 venue

Smart ship connectivity

New Era of Cruise Dining

Gigantic Adventures

Top form – stay fit

Shopping the brands

Incredible choice of State rooms.

Tap up “Ovation of the Seas” and marvel at this latest Ship.

At this time of the year Australian gardens are a riot of colour being full of Christmas Bush and Christmas Bellflowers, Nasturtiums, Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Hydrangeas, Gardenias, Poinsettias, and masses of native summer flowers.

Here at Shelly Beach my hydrangeas are positively huge, white, pink and blue, with sparkling lilac plumbago climbing the garden wall.  The surf is at its best and the beach is full of holidaymakers. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian has a parcel under the tree, and the birds are well stocked up for Christmas.

As this is my last Snippets for 2016 I would like to wish you all a Happy Festive Season and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

My books “Letters of a Travelling Lady” “Wallis the Woman I Love” and “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain” are available on Amazon, Xlibris and my website

Cheers. Patricia.