Patricia Newell Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.

Greetings and a Happy New Year from down-under where there is a heatwave raging in most states with the exception of Tasmania. Temperatures are set to soar with Central and Southern Queensland experiencing well over 40 Celsius and the outback of Birdsville and Bourke reaching 45 Celsius and bracing for more. Heatwaves are defined as three or more days of high temperatures, which has been the case for all states.

People are flocking to the beaches in a bid to beat the heat, and the ice rinks are extremely popular.  This time of year the Sydney Festival is on from the 7th to 29th January, with 150 events 46 venues over the 23 days, so there is plenty to do and a good time to visit.

Sydney Harbour turns spectacular with Ferrython, one of Australia’s most popular and iconic events, commencing on Australia Day the 26th January. Setting out from Circular Quay all kind of craft take to the water, including our much loved Ferries, they start out from Circular Quay to Shark Island and then back to finish at Sydney Harbour Bridge.



For the first time ever the Ferries are taking passengers with tickets, including morning tea, wine, beer, mineral drinks, a premium lunch box and a chance to take out the title.

Circular Quay is the epicentre of Sydney Harbour, made up of walkways, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants, situated at Sydney Cove, the founding site of Sydney and Australia. Circular Quay is the stepping off point for most attractions based around the harbour. A vibrant, bustling place and a focal point for community celebrations, the atmosphere is a landmark in itself.

National Park Shark Island is located at the mouth of Rose Bay on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour). It has picnic shelters, a gazebo, large grassed area and a wading pool. You can explore the island’s foreshore, go swimming or relax in front of amazing 360 degree harbour views, a perfect place to watch the water world go by.

A further favourite for Sydney-sides is Luna Park, renowned entertainment centre that has been offering locals and visitors enjoyment for over seventy years. First opening in 1935, Luna Park has become an outstanding and important feature of Sydney’s Harbour foreshore. Located near the northern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Face and Towers of Luna Park have become iconic to the people of Sydney and the park itself synonymous with fun.

Just about every resident of Sydney has their own fond memories of Luna Park, and since it’s reopened under new management in 2004, it has welcomed over one million people through its unique entrance each year.



Sydney Cove Settlement reflects on our country’s founding over 200 years ago. Led by Governor Arthur Phillip, the “First Fleet” consisting of nine transport ships and accompanied by two small warships arrived at Botany Bay in January of 1788. Finding the area unsuitable for settlement, they continued sailing until January 26th, when they found Sydney Cove, Sydney Harbour. The date is now celebrated nationally as “Australia Day” and a public holiday.

On this auspicious day “The Australian of the Year” award ceremony takes place, at Parliament House in Canberra. Tea with the Prime Minister and lunch with the Governor General for Australian of the Year, Senior Australian, Young Australian and Australia’s local hero. Australia Day in Sydney starts with the 7.30am raising of the Aboriginal and Australian Flags on Sydney Harbour Bridge. This dramatic event begins with the lighting of an honorary fire at Sydney Opera House, which is carried to the Tribal Warrior on an Aboriginal vessel. Bark Canoes are then despatched to meet the Tribal Warrior beneath the Harbour Bridge. Fire from each of the tribes rises like incense as the Aboriginal and Australian Flags are raised, paying tribute to the nation’s history.

All states celebrate in grand fashion with many Citizenship ceremonies taking place around the county.

Here at Shelly Beach we are inundated with visitors and school holidays continue till the end of the month.  The beaches around the Central Coast are favourites and the Pelicans at The Entrance are getting extra attention from all of the tourists.  In the garden I have had flocks of birds, lorikeets, pink and grey galahs, white cockatoos, beside my resident yellow wattle birds, currawongs, and butcher birds.  All are thirsty in the hot weather and enjoy the garden hose.  Princess Pixie the Pomeranian has taken to having a little ice cream every afternoon, to cool her down.

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

Cheers.  Patricia.