These were taken at Sandy Camp Road Wetlands Reserve in Brisbane not far from where I live. I work in the city and often see ibises scavenging through bins so it was great to see them and other birds in their natural habitat.



The Jacaranda trees are in full bloom in Brisbane right now. It is Spring here and the city is bursting in purple blooms in tree-lined streets and dottings in and around the city. It is a magical time of year and the quintessential image of Brisbane. Adding to that magic is a lovely purple blanket of fallen blossoms. Traditionally signalling the beginning of the exam season, it is said that if you haven’t started studying by the time the trees are bursting then you are doomed.

The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is the site of Australia’s first grown Jacaranda tree and was depicted in the 1903 painting by Richard Godfrey Rivers titled “Under the Jacaranda Tree”. The painting is of the artist and his wife Selina taking tea under the tree. That tree was a Brisbane landmark until it was knocked over by a cyclone in 1980.

I am grateful to Walter Hill  who planted the first tree here in 1864. He was at the time the superintendent of Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and obtained the Jacaranda seed from Brazil via the Australian wheat ships that traded with South America. It has brought so much beauty to our city.

Here’s a poem I wrote a few years back:


September blooms of purple hues,
adorn the city street.
And in bright splendour praises Spring,
where limbs and feathers meet.

Amid soft purple hues I lay,
to rest my weary head.
In fantasies drifting away,
upon a sprinkled spread.

Copyright © October 2011 Norma Martiri

Under the Jacaranda Tree by Richard Godfrey Rivers 1903


The Barossa Valley is just 65km out of Adelaide in South Australia and is a a major wine-producing region producing 21% of Australia’s wines. It is a beautiful region filled with villages, valleys, vineyards, fabulous food and patchwork landscapes. There are acres of vineyards and around 150 wineries and cellar doors to experience.

The Barossa Valley has distinct German heritage that dates back to 1842 when many of the settlers fled from religious persecution in Prussia, thankfully taking their vine cuttings with them. Today the old-world charm remains as new generations carry on with the family business and German traditions.

It was autumn when we were there and these photos don’t do it justice but it was still very beautiful. At every turn there is a spectacular view and landscape to take in. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most romantic regions in Australia.

Our first stop was Seppeltsfield Winery. The Seppelt family settled in the Barossa Valley in 1851 and purchased the property now known as Seppelsfield. You can read more about the history here.

Be sure to visit The Barossa Valley if you are ever on this side of the world.
More to come in my next post.