The week and a half from July 28 to August 6 was so full of good things that Townsville’s arty-musical people could hardly keep up. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music alone was a full-time occupation for some, with three or four events per day. It coincided with the Strand Ephemera exhibition and, as if that wasn’t enough, PUNQ.
Pop Up North Queensland, coordinated by Umbrella Studio, coincided exactly with the two longer-established events and could also have been a full-time occupation, with exhibitions by about 40 artists in half a dozen venues around the CBD (map and list), workshops (puppet making, life drawing, petal couture, printmaking and more) and special events including the launch party, a ukestra performance and movie screenings. Wow! but also Phew!
I didn’t manage to get to any of it until the final morning. When I did, all the artists I chatted too were very happy indeed with the way it had all worked out and most of them expressed a hope that it could be repeated. I think that’s a great idea – but please, not in the same week as the AFCM and Ephemera. I know I’m not the only one who ran out of time and energy to see as much as I would have liked.
A Danish visitor, in Townsville for the recent Australian Festival of Chamber Music, provided us with the necessary extra incentive to visit Paluma, in the ranges an hour or so North of Townsville, for a walk in the rainforest and some birdwatching. The three of us had a lovely day, so thanks, Poul!
Townsville’s winter is a busy time for all sorts of open air events because the weather is so reliably beautiful. The fact that tourist numbers are up, as Southerners escape their own not-so-nice winter weather, doesn’t hurt either. Strand Ephemera, occurring in odd-numbered years since 2001, is one of the highlights. (I posted articles on the 2011 and 2013 events but missed out on 2015.)
This year’s event closed last Sunday. The ‘People’s Choice’ winner was also my own favourite because it ticked so many boxes – appropriate to the site and to the notion of ‘ephemera’, saying something important (i.e., ‘don’t trash our oceans’) without letting the message overwhelm the art, collaborative and local. Here it is:
This Jabiru was our bird of the day, without any doubt, on our trip with Wildlife Queensland to Jerona, in spite of stiff competition from raptors including numerous Black Kites, a Brahminy Kite, a Sea Eagle and a Wedge-tailed Eagle.
The Jabiru is Australia’s only stork and one of our tallest birds. It is very much the same size as the far more common Brolga but is heavier in the body and (very obviously) beak. I have seen them occasionally on the Town Common and elsewhere but never so close as this one, which was foraging in a water channel about 50 metres from the road.
We saw dragonfruit growing in a plot among mangoes down near Giru yesterday, the first we have seen growing here. There were far too many for domestic use or even a Cotters Market stall, so we assume the farmer supplies local greengrocers.