The Fleets in town. Aircraft Carrier U S S George Washington arrived in Australia after a month at sea. Six thousand sailors headed for The Gold Coast and Brisbane, ready to blow off steam and enjoy themselves. Forty buses packed with personnel left Port to start their five-day break in the Southeast before taking part in annual war games, Operation Talisman Sabre which involves 33,000 U.S. and Australian Personnel in operations near Darwin, Rockhampton, The Coral Sea, and Australian Ranges including Bradshaw, Shoalwater and Townsville. The nuclear powered aircraft carrier stands 744 metres from the keel to the mast, about the height of a 24-story building, and stretches 333 metres from bow to stern. The Flight Deck is 76.8 metres wide and equal to 18,210 square metres, 87,966 metric tonnes and top speed 56 kilometres per hour. Unfortunately there will be no public tours due to security concerns. However, the sailors dressed in civilian clobber, were out for a good time soaking up the sun and enjoying the relaxed life-style of Queensland. While here they are playing a rematch of a soccer game against local Police and also a basketball game and an Australian Rules football match. There are also a series of community events planned, including a visit to patients at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Queensland Maritime Museum, and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. S.S. George Washington is like a small town, with a library, fitness facilities, a general store, barber, medical facilities, fire department, and food services that prepare 18,000 meals a day. This is the second time the carrier has visited these shores and is a popular stop over for all concerned.

Australian surfer Owen Wright has surfed the seventh perfect heat score in world surfing tour history at the Fiji Pro. In a powerful swell at Cloudbreak, Wright took on two massive barrels in his round-five clash with compatriot Adam Melling. His performance earned him a spot in quarter-finals against Parkinson. He is now No. 3 in the World. Owen and his sister Tyler are both professional surfers, growing up at Culburra Beach N.S.W. they surf the world.

With a 1-0 victory against Brazil The Matildas became the first senior Australian Soccer team to win a game in the knockout stages of the World Cup. The next game is against Japan in the quarter-finals.   Good Luck Matildas.

The world’s largest cattle station is up for sale ‘Kidman & Co’, the company founded by Sir Sydney Kidman in 1899, has been in the hands of family members for over one hundred years. Eleven cattle stations which cover more than 100,000 square kilometres include Western Australia, The Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australia. Anna Creek station in South Australia’s outback is the largest at 23,000 square kilometres. The eleven properties have 155,000 branded cattle with 30,000 more calves to be marked this year and is valued at $364 million dollars. Sir Sydney Kidman known as “Cattle King” started out at thirteen years of age in 1871 with one horse and five shillings, to work as a sheep drover. This remarkable man fifth son of George and Elizabeth, who had migrated to South Australia from Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, in 1848, was destined to become Australia’s pastoral king. His story is legend as he earned enough to buy a bullock team and set himself up as a carrier; mixing with the aboriginal people he learnt much of their bushcraft which proved invaluable. His transport work in the outback extended to droving large mobs of cattle and horses to Adelaide, and when copper was discovered at Cobar, Kidman used his knowledge to establish a butcher’s shop. He then established a coaching business with a legacy from his Grandfather, and also supplied The British Army in India with horses. Purchasing station properties at strategic remote situations, he drought proofed his empire, so that he was never beaten by adverse environmental conditions. During the First World War he gave fighter planes to armed forces and in 1920 presented The Salvation Army with a half share in one of his cattle stations. His main home he gave to South Australia Government for the use of a High School. He was knighted in 1921.

Bidders for the property will need to spend a week flying across South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland to inspect the combined territory, which is said to be the “largest private, non-monarchical, non-state, land holding on earth”. A large piece of Australian history will be sold.

Justin Bieber is in Sydney for a week attending the yearly Hillsong Pentecostal Church gathering, with help the pop star has vowed to discard his hard-partying image. At the same time Hailey Baldwin arrived to launch Topshop’s new Spring/Summer denim line. The two declare they are old time good friends. Meanwhile Bieber fever rages as hordes of fans spot him around town during the school holidays.

Here at Shelly Beach it has been extremely cold and rather wet, excellent weather for reading “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, and The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain”. Available on Amazon or www.patriciasartworld.com the birds are fine with the arrival of a   small flock of crested pigeons as well as the lorikeets. I have two beautiful white Calla Lilies in the garden which are my favourites and more to come.

Cheers Patricia.