Three Sisters taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

The Three Sisters taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Fortunately the weather for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was absolutely perfect, glorious sunny days and crisp evenings, it can be said without doubt that their ten day trip down-under was a resounding success. The young Prince George was inundated with gifts; his favourite appeared to be a huge stuffed Wombat. There were crowds of enthusiastic people everywhere they visited, from the Opera House to Uluru, and a joyful time was had by everyone.

The spectacular Blue Mountains of N.S.W. with a backdrop of The Three Sisters started their tour.  Inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra People and the traditional owners of this magnificent setting, this vast table-land and valleys with its blue haze conjured by sunlight and drops of eucalyptus oil from the bush that blankets the territory.  Listening to the ‘Ping-Ping’ from the Bell-birds ringing out across the valley, it is no wonder this is a World Heritage Area.  The young Royals were there to meet victims caught up in recent devastating bushfires, as well as the Rural Fire service volunteers and Girl Guides.  A much needed boost to these citizens who lost everything in the fires.

Action boy on bike high in sky taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Action boy on bike high in sky taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

With the walkabout tour of Sydney well under way, the Royal Easter Show with its bountiful produce and livestock, plus the Arts and Crafts etc. proved popular. Manly Beach in blazing sunshine Surf Life Saving was featured. A handmade personalized Surf Board was presented to Prince George, in remembrance of the occasion. This celebrated beach named for “The confidence and manly behaviour” noticed in the local Aborigines by Captain Arthur Phillip is reached by ferry from Circular Quay in Sydney and a delightful day trip for visitors. In fact there is nothing more romantic than a pleasant cruise across the harbour, with the wind in your hair and sea spray on your face, the gleaming sails of the Opera House in the distance.  I thoroughly recommend it.

A visit for The Duchess of Cambridge to ‘Bear Cottage’, a hospice for children, wearing a pretty white dress created by Australian designers, she appeared as a true princess to the little ones. Lifting the hearts and bringing a ray of happiness to those she greeted with her smiling face, and encouraging words. It proved a memorable occasion to be cherished by all concerned.

Koala having his lunch taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Koala having his lunch taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Glamorous and gracious as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge certainly are, it has to be said that his Very Royal Highness Prince George, with his windmill arms and legs and Royal gurgle was the star attraction on the tour.  When the nine month old Prince visited Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and encountered a Bilby named in his honour, it was love at first sight for the young Prince who yearned to have “hands on” the cute little animal.  This captured everyone’s heart, and it is hoped that this marsupial endangered species will benefit from his now high profile.

The Bilby is a bandicoot with long ears and a pointed snout; they have a lovely silky blue-grey fur with a black and white bushy tail.  A pale pink nose and ears, black and white feet and are a firm favourite of the Aborigines who depict him in art beautifully.   With his rabbit-like features the Bilby is fast replacing the traditional Easter “bunny’ for confectionary celebrations.  They live in burrows in the desert area and eat whatever they can find in the ground, bulbs, seeds, grass, insects, they are shy creatures and surface mainly at night.  Once prolific the little Bilby is sadly now in low numbers.

Kaiser Ginger Jar with Koala - Handpainted by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

Kaiser Ginger Jar with Koala – Handpainted by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

On his other royal engagement in New Zealand Prince George joined a playgroup for a bit of rough and tumble. It was quite apparent that he enjoyed his freedom as he crawled around with the rest of the children.  Boy- like he honed in when he had his sight set on a certain toy, with his chubby face and determined nature he was a winner all round.

Brisbane gave the Duke and Duchess a sensational welcome in extremely hot weather, as they visited the R.A.A.F. at Amberley.  Adelaide put on a skate boarding display and a gift for the young Prince.  While at the Red Centre they enjoyed a guided tour around the base of Uluru, spending moments at the Mutitjulu Water Hole and Aborigine paintings, before watching the sunset over the iconic view of Ayers Rock.

Kaiser Ginger Jar with Sleeping Koala - Handpainted by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

Kaiser Ginger Jar with Sleeping Koala – Handpainted by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

Anzac Day is Australia’s most important occasion and the one day when everybody comes together. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.  It was the final day of their tour when The Duke and Duchess made an unexpected appearance at the dawn service at The Australian War Memorial in Canberra and duly noted.  Dawn Service started in 1928 and each year they grow in size and stature, marches are carried out all over the country rain, hail, or shine, and on this day it is officially allowed for the game of ‘two-up’ to be played.

The Anzac Diaries can now be accessed on line.  These fascinating writings are wonderful reading as the youth of Australia in 1914 prepared for War in Europe and wrote of their experiences.  It is easy to see why ANZAC Day is so significant.  Lest We Forget.

Handpainterd Poppy Plate by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

Handpainterd Poppy Plate by Patricia Newell-Dunkley

On a lighter note for those interested in Fine Arts who wish to try their hand at Porcelain Painting, my book “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain” was released in 2009 and is available on line.  At Amazon, on my website, also Robert Hale Publisher, plus E-Books.  This fascinating art form will keep you totally absorbed as Porcelain Painting is very addictive and once you get started you never want to stop.  There are many Porcelain painting societies around the world and a large group of followers for this art form.  I still have the very first plate I painted with Poppies and Cornflowers, and that was forty years ago. What could be more satisfying than your own hand painted gift for that special person.  Success to your artistic endeavours whatever they may be.  Let me know if you enjoy the porcelain I would love your comments.

The birds are still around especially the lorikeets who do not like the rain which has been rather heavy; they enjoy a good feed in the morning.  I am now hand feeding a Yellow Wattle Bird, he is very cheeky, but the Butcher Bird is a little more cautious as he sweetly serenades.

Cheers.  Patricia.

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