hot air balloon (Small)

By Patricia Newell-Dunkley photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley

Greetings from down-under where lifeguards are investigating yet another shark sighting off Newcastle on the Central Coast of New South Wales, just days after the beaches were closed for ten straight days due to the presence of a 5metre great white shark.  Paddlers at Merewether, Dixon Park, reported a 3-3.5 metre shark “stalked” them as they headed in. Meanwhile the use of drones is being considered to patrol the beach and a good warning system which would be better than nets. Newcastle has a reputation for being one of the best surfing locations in Australia, with six surf clubs and annually holds a lifeguard challenge with Lake Macquarie in a three leg competition run, swim, and board.

South Australia’s outback comes to life as water floods into Kati-Thanda – Lake Eyre, breathing new life into the harsh outback landscape. Recent heavy rainfall has allowed dry desert rivers to run, causing the biggest influx of water into the lake since 2011. Instantly vegetation responds and the Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary has come to fruition as spectacular Waterbirds arrive in the middle of the desert, and small threatened animals are once again seen. The sky view is stunning as the filling of Kati-Thanda is one of Australia’s great natural spectacles. Tours offer excellent views of outback South Australia, with scenic flights over Wilpena Pound and Brachina Gorge, the township of Marree and awe-inspiring Lake Eyre. You can also visit Leigh Creek with its open-cut opal fields.



On the 26th January in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip, the First Governor of New South Wales arrived at Sydney Cove and Australia Day was born.  Today it is   a public holiday and celebrated to great acclaim across the country, as a time to commemorate the things most loved about the nation, lifestyle and culture, land and its beauty with special events in every state. Whip cracking, Lamington eating, Thong throwing, Air shows, Firework displays, Barbies galore. This year Sydneysiders got a soaking but the weather did not dampen spirits.  Thousands lined the harbour side and watched the annual ferry race and a flotilla of flag covered boats. More than 16,000 people from 118 countries became Australian Citizens. 824 people were honoured in the Australian Day Awards including Angus Houston and Prince Phillip, who were afforded the highest honour and named as Chief Knights of the Order of Australia.

On the Central Coast of New South Wales and just ten minutes from Shelly Beach, celebrations are in hand for the centenary of Long Jetty. The longest Jetty in New South Wales is about to turn 100 years old.  The iconic landmark aptly named Long Jetty reaches 351 m or 1152ft into the shallow waters of

Tuggerah Lakes and was built in 1915. In those days its purpose was to deliver passengers to a ferry service using the deeper part of the lake, but these days it is an interesting stop on a lakeside walk and a favoured haunt of photographers, fishermen, and holidaymakers. The Lakes are a great source of enjoyment both for residents and visitors, with a wonderful array of birdlife, fish and prawns.  Little wonder it is a popular tourist destination and a cultural hub for artists, with its beautiful sunsets and peaceful atmosphere.



The 2015 Australian Open Tennis Tournament is well under way starting on the 19th January to the 1st February. It features men’s and women’s events in singles and doubles as well as mixed doubles. Played on outdoor hard courts at Melbourne Park it is run by the International Tennis Federation. The Open attracts the biggest tennis fans from around the world along with star tennis players from across the continent. There is a lot of money in tennis each winner will pocket a cool $3 million dollars.

Recently I was introduced to The Australian Storytellers Guild of N.S.W. which was created in 1994 and has a branch in every state.  Here on The Central Coast the meetings are held at Kincumber monthly, and known as Cafe la Story or Long Story Short:  Both professional story tellers as well as enthusiastic amateurs tell their tales tall and true, myths, legends, historical and autobiographical. This is a fascinating experience as speakers share innermost tales, sometimes surprising, often funny, and inspirational, all from the heart. Storytelling is a living art form and the oldest oral art, in the past word of mouth was the only means of spreading the news, and even today can zip around quicker than twitter. There have always been storytellers, Aesop’s Fables, Anderson’s Fairy Tales, Arabian Nights, The Legend of King Arthur, Aboriginal Dreamtime which is the understanding of the universe and its great stories.  Storytelling festivals are held around the world and can be easily accessed by websites.

Sports roundup – Australian golfer Robert Allenby was abducted and assaulted while on tour in Hawaii.  U.S. Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident. The four times PG.A. Tour winner is now in Phoenix along with other Australian golfers.

Steve Smith won the Allan Border medal and Sean Abbott claimed the Bradman award in the prestigious cricket awards,

The Socceroos beat The United Arab Emirates 2 – 0 and moved closer to the Asian Cup.


Tuggerah Lake

Tuggerah Lake

Here at Shelly Beach Pixie is settling into her new home and putting on some much needed weight. She has been desexed and has had some teeth out, so hopefully she will not need anything else for a while. The birds are a delight as more visit daily, and our Spotted Night-Jar has reappeared, he is a very noisy bird and nests on the ground as he shuffles around.  My books ‘The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, Letters of A Travelling Lady, and Wallis The Woman I Love’ are available on Amazon and from my website

Cheers. Patricia.