|Valentine's Day Sandcastle|
In Brisbane I had some lovely roommates for my two nights there. Brisbane is on a river, and therefore do not have a beach, so they built a man-made one(sorta like Cairns and their lagoon) that’s very impressive and a bit like a waterpark; the way they have it all spread out with water features and a large kids play area and plenty of seating areas around – it’s quite nice. Anyway, I spent my first afternoon in Brisbane on the South Bank Street Beach reading, and finally finished the book about Miss Savidge. She really was a remarkable woman and if you can get your hands on the book, it’s a fascinating read. I spent the evening researching interesting (and free) things to do on my only full day in Brisbane and came up with a pretty good list (thanks to Pinterest). The next morning I enjoyed some free pancakes with my roommates Molly & Grainne (British) and Sharona (Belgian) before finally heading off around 11am (we were busy talking). My plan was to work my way around the city, basically making a big loop so I’d end up back at my hostel. My first stop was the Queensland Museum, which I quite enjoyed. They had some very neat exhibits including one about bicycles and their history in Australia. Another that I very much enjoyed was an exhibit on 3 recipients of the Victorian Cross (the pre-eminent award for gallantry. It is awarded for an act of outstanding courage or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy). I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the exhibit, but it reminded me of a quote I read once "Go through the list of Medal of Honor winners, Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force–it doesn’t matter. There are those who have earned that supreme honor by killing their enemies, and deservedly so. But most of the posthumous awards have gone to men who, above all, sacrificed their lives in order that others might live." Private Paddy Bugden was awarded the Victorian Cross for rescuing a captured comrade, Major Bair Anderson for “fearless leading and gallantry in attack, and without hesitation and regardless of personal risk dashed forward and silenced machine guns which were causing heavy casualties” (London Gazette - Dec. 26, 1918), and Private Robert Beatham for conduct remarkably similar to Andersons. I’ll admit that the short movie they put together of the lives and service of these three men made me tear up a bit. They had the words to Capt. James H. Knight-Adkin’s poem, “No Man’s Land” printed across the walls, hearing and seeing footage of the conditions those men fought under makes the poem really hit home. I’d have to do some digging (my quick Google search while writing this didn’t turn anything up), but the letter they send to the families of the recipients, they read it in the film, is quite moving and I would love to read it again.
After the Queensland Museum, I headed next door to the State Library for a little look-see. It’s a fascinating building and after wandering around for a bit I decided to sit down and read the newspaper. Molly had talked the night before of going to the movies to see the movie “American Sniper” and in that day’s “Courier Mail” was an article about the trial for the man charged with killing Chris Kyle, as well as the disturbing news of the Coptic Christians in Egypt killed by ISIS. After the library I headed next door to the Gallery of Modern Art. I didn’t stay long as modern art isn’t really my preference, but I did enjoy some Japanese exhibits and some Aboriginal artwork.
Leaving the museum I walked along the riverbank and then crossed over to head down Queen Street, one of the main shopping “malls” and then over to St. John’s Cathedral. It’s an interesting and beautiful church – it’s been in the process of being built since the early 1900’s and was only finally completed in 2009. The woman handing out pamphlets and greeting was incredibly nice, and when I asked if there were any photos of the progress over the years she went and found her copies of the 150th Anniversary service handout, which had photos showing the progress (there was no exhibit showing the before and after).