Sunday, 2 October 2022

Off to See the Wizard - Geraldton Part 2

Back to our travels and our day in Geraldton…..
After we collected the ute, we headed off to take part in a guided tour of the Catholic Cathedral.
We are lucky to have gone for the tour now, as in 2017-2018 the Cathedral underwent a complete restoration, inside and out, as well as the development of a lovely piazza, cafe and museum dedicated to Monsignor John Hawes.
The Cathedral of St Francis Xavier is another of Monsignor Hawes’ building.  Just to recap, John Hawes was born in the UK and trained as an architect.  He then became an Anglican minister before converting to Catholicism in the Franciscan order. He is depicted in bronze with his little fox terrier Dominic.
This was actually his first building in the area, as he had been brought to the diocese by Bishop Kelly.  The building commenced in 1916, with the Cathedral being opened in 1918, despite not being completed to the original design at that time.
Our guide was Linda, assisted by Peter, who is in training as a guide. They are both long term members of the congregation of the Cathedral.
In front of the entrance there is a labyrinth, which people regularly follow for meditation.  This was part of the new works in the last few years.
Father Hawes, as he was at the time, was very hands on with the building, as well as the design, having made the decorative mouldings on the pillars at the front door, as well as others throughout the Cathdral, himself.  
It is quite a surprise when you walk inside.  For a cathedral it is quite small and intimate, which was the wish of Bishop Kelly. 
The stripes are not what you expect.  They reminded me of the marble stripes in European cathedrals.  This was apparently intentional.  During his training as an architect, John Hawes travelled extensively in Europe and the inspiration for this building is from the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba in Spain.  It has very similar striping, columns and arches.  It was built as an Islamic Mosque and was converted to a Catholic Cathedral in 1236 following the city’s capture by Christian forces.
During the 1970s there was an attempt to “modernise” the building, with many of the painted features painted over in white.  After extensive research and paint scrapings, it has been returned to the original colours.  
Bishop Kelly is buried in the building.  No one was quite sure where, as the crypt had not been built.  His coffin was located during the restoration, under the floor and his remains have been transferred to a new casket, which is visible below the floor.  The likeness of him is nearby.

The bishop that succeeded Bishop Kelly did not like the style of the building at all, so no further work was carried out during his time.  The next bishop, Bishop O’Brien wasn more enthusiastic, so the next stage was completed.
The design included a crypt, which is accessed down stone spiral stairs.  You feel that you are descending underground, but you are actually still above ground, with the design taking advantage of the natural slope of the ground the Cathedral was built on.  The floor has been replaced in the restoration.  The boards next to this altar list all those men from the district that served during World War 1.  Congregation members made a donation to the church to have the names added and they were prayed for during services.
The receptacles set into the wall originally held religious relics, provided by the Vatican.  Sadly, some years ago they were stolen.
Our guide turned off the lights and a cross was illuminated by thin windows in the walls.  The lines of light are on the points of the compass and where they intersect is directly below the dome of the building.  Father Hawes, obviously had quite some architectural talent.
Back upstairs, we looked up at the dome.  No Michelangelo was available to paint it.  The original plans had the exterior clad in either copper or zinc, but due to the lack of suitable tradesmen and budgetary constraints, it was clad in asbestos.  As part of the restoration, the exterior is now clad in zinc.
The Latin text around the base of the dome had been replaced with the English translation in the 1970s, but has now been returned to the original.
Another little detail is the nativity scene.  It is only revealed during the Christmas season and on the tours. 
Father Hawes created the little grotto and some subtle directional natural lighting, including the star.  The figurines are also from that time.
The lead light windows were donated by various families. They are unique in Australia, as they are opening sash windows.  Rather useful in such a hot climate.  Behind them, the columns are each named after pastoral stations in the area, a clever way to gain funding for the building of the Cathedral.
I forgot to take a photo of the organ, which is fairly modern, but there are two sets of organ pipes.  They do not have an organist at the moment, but the organ has been set up to play by Bluetooth.  There is also now a full carillon of bells, each donated by a family.  For a fee, you can have the bells played for special occasions.  They are also played by Bluetooth.
The baptismal font had been removed from its original position, but has now been returned.  The ceiling of stars was an original feature.  The original flooring had been covered, but has now been revealed. This font is no longer used.
There is now a newer font, as well as an immersion font for those baptised at an older age.
This painting beside the original font, completed by Father Hawes, had been painted over.  However, at that time they had one of the parishioners trace it and make a copy.  That copy was an invaluable assistance in uncovering and restoring the original painting.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour.  Who’d have thought that a small regional town could have such a beautiful building.  

Imagine what a wonderful sight it would have been for the congregation when they enter the space for the first time after it being closed for two years, while undergoing the restoration.

Off to See the Wizard and Goals for October

We interrupt this program to advise that we have arrived home on Thursday 29 September, exactly twelve weeks after we left home.  I will continue to post the rest of the trip in the next few days.

In the mean time, it is time to set my goals for October.

This month I will resume working on the churn dash quilt.  I have everything ready to go, so my goal is to stitch all the blocks together into a top. I’m looking forward to seeing all together.

Last month the colour was light blue, so I have to make the blocks for that.  August was Orange.  I still have to make the 30s nine patches in that colour.  I”m not sure what the colour is this month, so will do those as well.  This is the last month of colours, so will then have to see where I am up to for putting together quilt tops.
EDIT: The colour for October is lime or light green. 

I don’t have any specific plans for this month, but I do hope to have something completed.

Hopefully, I’ll get to play this month.


No fixed plans, but I hope to make a few more EPP units.


I should get one book read.


This is an ongoing goal. I have something in mind.


Now that we are back home, we should find something fun do to one Friday.


This is something that we haven’t done for ages.  Now that the weather is warmer and we don’t have to go to work, we should be able to get out for a ride on one of the bikes.

That little lot should keep us busy.  Hopefully, I will be able to report back at the end of the month that all goals have been achieved.

Friday, 30 September 2022

September Goals Check In

As it is the last day of the month, I had better check in with the progress of my goals for the month, as little as they were.

My goal was to complete eight English Paper Piecing units for my Blue Quilt.  I’m happy to report that they were completed quite early in the month.  After that I cut out and glue basted the remaining units, but did not do any more stitching.  This will now become a long term project, to work on while travelling or during Zoom days.

That is the only stitching that I did all month.
The following weren’t goals for September, but continuing my usual theme, I was also happy to try a new recipe - the pizza base I shared recently.
I read one “real” book, the last of the Maeve Binchy ones. 
We listened to several audio books while driving along.  All murder mysteries, as they appeal to Mick.

Next month should be back to normal, as we will be home.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Off to See the Wizard - Geraldton Part 1

On the Monday, our plan was to drop the ute into the Mazda dealership for a service and wander around town taking in the many sites it has to offer……..What actually happened was a little different.

On Sunday night a weather front came through, and as my friend Lou would say, “it blew a hooley”.  It was still blowing a gale and raining on and off in the morning, to the extent that if we had been planning on being on the road, we would have stayed put for an extra day.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t go over and take a photo of the ocean, but it was just too horrible to go out if it could be avoided.  We called Mazda first thing and asked if there was any chance of getting a courtesy car, as the weather was so bad, and they readily agreed.  That was so nice of them.
Once we were in the courtesy car we headed off to play the tourist.  Firstly, to the lighthouse. It is at Point Moore, just on the edge of town.  This one looks more like a traditional lighthouse than those further north.  It was built 1878 in steel, from a prefabricated kit that was imported from Britain.  It is still in use.
Next we went for a drive around the port area, where we were able. There were a lot of boats out of the water, in yards.  The. Port appeared to be a large grain export facility, as well as iron ore.
Heading back into town, we noticed another Seafarers Mission building.  Now we actually knew what that was.
The red and white lighthouse is used as a theme throughout town, with a couple of roundabouts having little ones in the centre.
Between showers, we had a quick look at the statue in Batavia Park.  It is of Wiebbe Hayes, the Hero of the Batavia. I don’t know a lot of the story, so must read the book we have when we get home.  In the early 1600s the Batavia was sailing from the Netherlands to Batavia (Indonesia) when it was shipwrecked on an island off shore of here.  While some set off in a small boat to get help, some of the shipwrecked survivors became tyrants, to put it mildly.  Hayes and some others were dumped on another island and expected to die, but they didn’t.  Eventually, another survivor got word to them about what was happening and when rescuers arrived they were able to warn them and the bad guys were caught. I think that is how it goes.

As the weather was still pretty feral, we visited the museum, which is rather impressive.  There was more information on the HMAS Sydney II tragedy, aboriginal history, settlement history and a section on the shipwrecks.
There was too much to take in, but this is how the early trading ships, such as Batavia, would have been packed, with the heavy ballast of stone, lead and cannons at the bottom, then barrels of goods and finally valuable textiles.
The wreck of the Batavia was discovered in 1963 and the ballast included the sandstone for the portal of a castle.
There were quite a few other artefacts retrieved from wrecks including a lot of silver coins from the Batavia. However, many valuable items were taken by individuals over the years.

Back outside, it was still fairly fine, if still windy, so we checked out some of the street art.
It certainly brightens us the town.
There was one whole ally of art.
Our next place to visit is the old Gaol, which is near this impressive building, which was the old hospital.  It has lots of adjoining stone buildings as well.  It is now known as Victoria House.
The Gaol is now a craft centre.
There is a small museum, giving details of some of the former inmates.  Some made good after release, becoming valuable members of the community, while others continued to lead a life of crime and subsequent incarceration.
The gaol only closed in 1984. We liked the game of prison darts in the exercise yard.  You stand behind the white line and throw a thong, trying to hit the centre of the white “dart board” painted on the ground.  Mick did not score well at all.
Once inside you walk down a long corridor, lined with prison cells.  Each cell houses a small individual craft shop.
Some were closed.
One cell was set up as it would have been, with a few relevant items on show.
A couple were open and trading.
This lady made every item in her store and was working away on more.
Poor little Mousey - stuck behind bars.

One store was in a larger room, which had been the kitchen and she had lots of wool for sale.  She had previously owned a yarn shop and this was what was left.  Balls of beautiful pure wool were for sale at $1 for a 50g ball.  Maybe some came away with me….. I was too absorbed in selecting wool to take a photo.
Our next spot to visit was the main HMAS Sydney II Memorial.  It stands high on a hill overlooking the city and out to sea.
All the flags were flying at half mast in honour of the Queen.  Notice the base of the flag poles.
The centrepiece is the beautiful dome.  It features 645 gulls, one for each crew member lost on the ship.
Sea gulls traditionally personify the souls of lost sailors.  During the playing of The Last Post during the dedication of the memorial site in 1998, a flock of silver gulls flew overhead, giving the inspiration to use the symbol of the gull in the memorial.
Underneath there is a compass.
It is such a beautiful place.  There is a huge flag pole.  Initially, you just think it is a concrete tower, but on closer inspection it is in the shape of the bow of the ship, complete with the numeric markings up the side.
There is a rather moving bronze sculpture of a woman looking out to sea “The Waiting Woman”.  
It was put in place before the wreck was found, and eerily, she is looking towards the exact position of the ship’s final resting place.
Look at the anguish on her face.
The final element, installed after the ship wreck was located, is a pool of remembrance, featuring 644 gulls engraved in a black granite circle, with the 645th in the centre, together with the co-ordinates of the location of the wreck.
Near the front wall of the memorial we came across a shingle back lizard.  Not what we expected to see.
I don’t think it was very happy to see us either.  He made a good show of being fierce.  Poor thing, I hope it found its way safely out.

While there, we received the call to say the ute was ready to collect.  There was more to see in our exploring, but it deserves its own post…..soon.