Shelly Beach surfer

Patricia Newell- Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.

G’Day from down under where the main horse racing event of the year is fast approaching the Melbourne Cup Carnival,Tuesday November the 3rd when all of Australia stops work and watches this classic race. The Melbourne Cup is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world and one of the richest turf races. The first race was held in 1861 over two miles. In January 1788, Port Jackson, Victoria received the First Fleet and its cargo of a Stallion, Four mares, a Colt and a Filly. This landfall marked the beginning of horse history in Australia. In 1835 Melbourne settlers marked out a horse track soon after they set up their homes. Bullock carts were grandstands and a coat stand marked the winning post. Bets were made and paid with bottles of rum. Soon the venue moved from Bullock Carts to Flemington. A three day event in March 1840 sealed the beginning of official horse racing history in Melbourne. This momentous race was run by seventeen horses and won by a Bay Stallion named Archer. Legend has it that Archer walked over 500 miles from Terara near New South Wales to participate in the race. Archer won again the following year to a prize of 810 Gold Sovereigns and a Gold Watch. Archer went on to win the race the following year, making him one of the only five horses to win the event more than once.

Tuggerah Lake egret

Phar Lap is the most famous horse a thoroughbred born in New Zealand, whose achievements captured the public’s imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. A winner of 37 out of his 51 starts he is still an enduring symbol of the Australian Turf some seventy years after his death. The movie Phar Lap: Heart of a Nation was released in 1983 and remains one of the most popular Australian films. Drama, Controversy, Wickedness and Cruelty rode with the gentle giant chestnut. He suffered an agonising death in mysterious circumstances in California, USA in 1932 where it is thought he was poisoned. Phar Lap’s skin was preserved and is now exhibited as a Taxidermy Mount by Melbourne Museum. His heart is in the National Museum of Australia, and his Skeleton is in the New Zealand’s National Museum in Wellington.

Today the event is as much a fashion parade, with colourful hats and dresses, champagne, wine and gourmet finger food. A public holiday in Melbourne ensures a packed venue, with masses of money changing hands as fortunes are made and lost. The $6.2 Million Melbourne Cup is The Jewel in the Crown, a heady mix of revelry and dreamtime.

Water Dragon Big Boy

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be in Australia between the 10th and 15th November, visiting Adelaide, Tanunda, Canberra, Sydney, Albany and Perth. The couple start their tour in New Zealand Wellington on November 4th. The trip includes a birthday barbeque in Western Australia for the heir to the British throne, who is turning 67. It will be the Prince’s 15th visit to Australia and the ninth to New Zealand, his last visit was in 2012. Since 1867, there have been over fifty visits by a member of the Royal Family to Australia, though only 6 of those came before 1954. Queen Elizabeth 11 has visited 16 times.

Darwin man Liam Hale became the first fisho to reel in a Barramundi worth $10,000 as part of the Northern Territories Million Dollar Fish Competition, which runs from October 1st to February 29th 2016. There is still time to register on line and have a happy holiday in the Northern Territories with 75 tagged Barramundi still to be won including the million dollar fish.

The Wallabies won the quarter-final battle of the Rugby World Cup 2015, against Scotland in the last two minutes of the game, with a match winning penalty kick by Bernard Foley. Continuing with their winning streak they survived a semi-final battle with Argentina to run out 29-15 winners. They will now face old rivals New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final.

Craig Lowndes won his sixth title in Bathurst 1000, holding off a frantic chasing pack in a dramatic race at Mount Panorama. Following up from his previous triumphs, Holden’s Lowndes maintained a three-second lead after the safety car was called away with 19 laps to go, as he and team-mate Steve Richards finished ahead of second-placed Mark Winterbottom (Ford) and Garth Tander (Holden) third.

For those who want to get up close and personal to marine life Sea World in Queensland is the place to go. “Meet The Dolphins” is an exciting adventure programme that allows you your very own encounter with a dolphin. You can experience amazing interaction with these beautiful mammals while gaining an insight into their precious world. You will engage in dolphin patting and dolphin handshakes in ankle deep water, as well as a special photo so that you can relive this lifetime opportunity over and over again. Go behind-the-scenes with Polar Bears Shores and meet Hudson, Liya and Nelson, the only Polar bears in Australia, and the exhibit replicates the arctic summer. Explore the dens and play area and see their food prepared. Alternatively step onto the ice and into your own Antarctic Adventure in the amazing frozen world of Penguin encounter, meet King Penguins and the agile Gentoo Penguins. Visit the gorgeous Seals including New Zealand Fur Seal, Australian Sea Lion and Californian Sea Lion. Pat them in the water or experience a tow from a seal and even have a giant water fight. Put goggles on and watch these amazing animals swim underwater. You can even have a shark encounter; it is all there at Sea World and a wonderful lifetime experience.


Here at Shelly Beach my friend who lives right on the beach, with the aid of binoculars was privileged to watch Mumma Whale breach two Bubbas, they were as large as the flipper on Mumma. There may well have been more than two because of the activity but the sighting was awesome she assures me, and the little ones were like gymnasts jumping in unison.

The weather is warming up and the surfers are out in full flow, Pixie is back on her food and looking good. The birds are singing and the garden is coming to life with the promise of a beautiful array of hydrangeas.   My website has 4,536 visits a month so join in and view   “Letters of a Travelling Lady, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, and Wallis the Woman I love.” Are available on Amazon or Xlibris. Enjoy!

Cheers. Patricia.