Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday 26 January 2014

Celebrating Australia Day and Waltzing Matilda

Gidday mate - hows-ya-goin?   (how are you going?  ie - are you well?)

It is Australia Day and from Coral Bay on the west coast, across the outback, to Uluru in central Australia, to Sydney on the east coast and everywhere in between, Australians are celebrating in one way or another what we love about Australia, what makes us Aussies, our diverse multiculturalism and what makes Australia a great place to live.

Dorothea Mackellar is one of Australia's celebrated early poets. Her poem, "My Country", which talks about her love for Australia, was first published in 1908, and has been recited and sung by generations of Australian schoolchildren. 

To learn more about Dorothea and to read the full poem, please click on her website - dorotheamackellar website
Here is the most well known verse, actually the second verse....

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me

(yes I know, I have used this mosaic before - but I love it!)

On Australia Day will be the announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and the naming of the Australian of the Year.

There will be Citizenship ceremonies across Australia as we welcome new Australians.

Australia, the "land down-under", is a place of mateship, the fair-go, the "she'll be right mate" and have-a-go. Perhaps the distance from our European background in the early days of Colonisation contributed to the attitude of "making a go of it" and making do with what you had.

I don't know where the laconic image of the Aussie comes from - perhaps it is the heat and not wanting to open you mouth too much when you talk so that the flies fly in (in the summer in some parts at least!).

On Australia Day there will be BBQs (barbecues), and days at the beach or around the pool, cricket games, camping, water sports, yachting, canoeing or fishing in a river or off a jetty or a beach somewhere. Just about any outdoor activity you can think of (other than snow sports - it is summer after all!). Perhaps just sitting and watching the sunset. 

There will be prawns and sausages on the "barbi" (BBQ) at Australia Day breakfasts, Vegemite on toast, "true-blue" Aussie meat pies with tomato sauce in a paper bag, or fish and chips on the beach. Don't forget the "eski" (cold box) of cold beers!  

Perhaps there will be "man-projects" out in the backyard that require help from a female (can you come and hold this love...while I drill, cut, saw, hack, hammer, climb a ladder, use the rivet gun.....). My husband says, what can be more Australian than a bloke fixing up his shed on Australia Day!  So we hold what we are told to hold, don't offer too many suggestions, and sweep up afterwards. I am sure it will be "she'll be right love" in the end. Plants can hide a multitude of building projects that didn't quite go to plan!

Another thing that happens around our yard about this time of year is picking the grapes for the annual grape jam making.  We had to net our two vines to keep out the birds, but those little "greenies" still get in through the net. The greenies peck holes in the grapes and then the bees get in.  Along with a touch of mould we have had this year - our grape pick looks a bit dubious. But the grape jam has to be made (it's tradition in our family) so I spend a few hours sorting through and picking off the viable grapes for the pot.

You can read more about grape jam making in our family by clicking here - Grapes are not just for wine

 Oh and at the end of the day don't forget the fireworks!

 Curiously we celebrate our convict background and people are proud to include a convict in their ancestry. In those days our ancestors arrived in sailing ships from England. No doubt new Australians will one day celebrate their ancestors arriving on wooden boats from Asia in the current wave of "immigration". Anh Do has written about it in his childrens' book "The Little Refugee". All of these people both then and now, were and are, searching for a better life in the "land of opportunity".

This church you see below is a convict built church at Port Arthur in Tasmania - a convict built prison - now a tourist attraction and a lasting reminder of our convict past. 

One of Australia's most loved songs, Waltzing Matilda, celebrates a sheep stealing wanderer who escaped the police by drowning! Written by Banjo Paterson in 1895, at one stage Waltzing Matilda was even on the list being considered for our National Anthem. Advance Australia Fair is our National Anthem, but Waltzing Matilda is our unofficial national anthem. Perhaps it is something to do with Australians supporting the underdog.

You can see Australian icon Slim Dusty singing Waltzing Matlida at the closing of the Sydney Olympics 2000 by clicking here - YouTube-Slim Dusty

Here is the first two verses and chorus - 

 Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.


You can see the full lyrics by clicking here - waltzingmatilda

To go 'waltzing matilda" is to go walkabout (trekking) carrying your swag (pack)
A "jumbuck" is a sheep. A "swagman" is described as "an underclass of transient temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag (bedroll)" taking on part-time or transient work. A "billabong" is a pool of water.

To read more about Waltzing Matilda, including the original version written by Banjo Paterson, and the meaning of the words please click here - All Down Under

Below is a picture of my maternal Great grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day. Our family first came to Australia from England as pioneers in 1853 and travelled to Western Australia from Victoria in 1898.  I am proud to say that my grandsons are sixth generation on my grandmother's side. They are also proudly second generation Australian from a Eurasian background on their mother's mother's side. Their grandmother, Grandora, and her family came to Western Australia from war-ravaged Singapore.  What a wonderful mix my grandsons are. Australian, with a rich historical and multi-cultural background.

And yes, we have a convict on my Father's side! He was transported to Fremantle in Western Australia for steeling a gun, and was given his "ticket-of-leave" (pardon) on arrival.

Happy AUSTRALIA DAY!  Chuck another prawn on the barbi will yah, and see-ya-later.

ps - we are also called the "land of the long-weekend". Australia Day is Sunday 26 January - but we have a public holiday on Monday 27 January! Fair Dinkim! (that's correct) - can you believe it?)

Do you have Australia Day (or national day)  traditions in your family?

  Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

Sunday 19 January 2014

Return to Wedge - Indian Ocean Drive, Western Australia

It is summer here in Western Australia - and the beach is a big part of our culture for those who live near the coast. So I thought I would take you back a few years before taking you along the Indian Ocean Drive.

In the mid 1970s newly married and before children, we all climbed into our friend’s old Land Rover after work one Friday and headed north along a 4WD dirt track to Wedge Island relying on our mate’s memory of how to get there.  We arrived around 11 o’clock at night and stumbled around the squatters' and fishermens' shacks looking for ‘Mill’s Mansion’. 

 Typical of all the beach shacks it was made from whatever was at hand, washed up timber and corrugated iron. A water-tank, gas camp stove, camp stretchers, louvre windows, a bucket of water to throw down the outside loo, fishing nets strung up and everything covered with a thin layer of beach sand, completed the picture.  

It all looked better in the morning, and we felt like kings in our ‘mansion’ as we cooked bacon and eggs, sand boarded down the sand hills on bits of scavenged cardboard, caught fish off the beach, collected shells and went 4WD beach driving in the Landie. I remember sitting in the Landie’s back ‘seat’ when the seat came to an abrupt end when we hit a washaway on the beach. Those were the days. 

To keep reading, please click on "

Monday 13 January 2014

On the road again - Denmark weekend, Western Australia

Only just over a week into the New Year and we are on the road again. Just a short three day trip down to beautiful Denmark on our South Coast. I have family living in and around Denmark and so the main reason for our trip was to visit them. It is a stunningly beautiful area, and we have visited many times over the years. My cousin owns a farm bounded by State forest - so beautiful to walk those hills and paddocks.

We take the South Western Highway south through Balingup and Bridgetown. Just beyond Manjimup you enter the beautiful Karri forests region.
We took my Dad with us on this trip, so I was relegated to the back seat from where I took this pic.

Western Australia’s southern forests are dominated by Karri trees which grow only in WA’s wettest corner.  Belonging to the eucalypt family, many of the Karri trees are over 400 years old. Reaching a maximum height of about 90 metres they are one of the tallest forest trees in the world. Karri’s are easily identified. Their long straight trunk has a smooth bark which is shed every year, and changes colour as it matures. Interspersed with the Karri are Tingles, Jarrah, Marri, Bullich and Blackbutt and a stunning display of over 1500 wildflower species from September to November. 

The Karri is my favourite tree of the southern forests.  They are such a stately magestic tree, and I love the patterns and colours created by the shedding bark. 

To keep reading and see more pics, please click on "read more"

Sunday 5 January 2014

Summer and 2014 begins

Well here we are in 2014 already! The years are going far too quick for me. Are they for you? My life is zooming past! It feels like it was only last year that we were celebrating the new millennium - and it was odd to be saying 2000 and here we are 14 years into it!

I am not big on making new year resolutions. Plans yes - but not resolutions. I wonder what the 2014 will bring. 

Today was the last day of my holidays, so we took a drive down the coast to Dunsborough, Meelup and the coastline around Cape Naturaliste.  The ocean was at is sparkling summer best and there were families on summer holidays everywhere. There is a Cape to Cape walking track between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin with spectacular coastal views - but you wouldn't want to walk along it in summer. The 700 metres and return we did to get some of these shots was enough for me today!  Don't forget the hat and sunscreen!

 I have embarked on a plan to do a 365 project - one photo a day for a whole year. Many others have done it before me and say how much their photography improved over the year. I don't know if I can keep up the pace, but I carry my camera with me every day anyway, so will I start with the best intentions, and see what happens from there.

 Please click on "read more" to keeping reading and seeing more pics from the summer of 2014