Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spring in Queensland, Australia My Last Spring Here

November 10, 2015

Australian Spring has arrived with the blooming of the Jacaranda trees.  The poinsettia’s have been blooming for several months.  The Plumeria trees are beginning to bloom.  I love the Plumeria flower is one of my favorite flowers.  The blossom is so beautiful and the smell is wonderful except here in Australia.  They do not seem to have any fragrance which was a real surprise.




We have not taken many day trips in the last couple of months as I have been busy delivering chairs and tables to the missionaries for their study areas and kitchen tables.  The wooden chairs just do not hold up with the elders.  They lean back in the wooden chairs and they break or the joints work loose making the chair unsafe.  Because the missionaries are transferred fairly often they have a tendency to live with whatever they have instead of calling the Mission Office to report a need.  They are wonderful young men and women but I have to remember they are between 18 and 25 years old.  Part of their mission is to learn life skills as well as teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have missionaries from 22 countries assigned to this mission.  Many from third world countries such as Micronesia, Tonga, Samoa, China, Taiwan , etc. where they may not even have a bed or a floor in their homes.  They have no concept of what or how to clean a flat.  It is a constant struggle to teach them these skills. 

Abbott Street Candelabra Trees 

Sister Parsons and I did visit Abbot Street here in Brisbane to see the candelabra trees which were planted on both sides of the street many years ago.  The residents of the area park between the trees.  They are amazing trees.

Stag Horn

I did go to the Toowoomba Flower Festival with three senior couples.  Sister Parson was not feeling well so she stayed at the office with Elder & Sister Mickelsen as he was unable to go because of a back injury which he has been dealing with for a couple of months. 

Toowoomba Public Garden

Oregon Grape Imposter

Ice Plants
Wisteria Tunnel

National Cash Register Posting Machine
We did take a day trip with Elder & Sister Mickelsen on October 3rd to visit the Caboolture Heritage Village which is a short drive north.  It has over 70 buildings all with historic backgrounds, decorated and preserved and fully fitted in the way they were originally intended.  They had a National Cash Register Posting Machine on display.  The first job I had was for Columbia Tractor Company in Northwest Portland operating a machine just like the one on display.  There was a computing scale on display with a history of this type of scale.  It was invented in 1885 in Ohio, sold in 1891, in 1895 the first computing scale was introduced, in 1911 the International Time Recording Co, the Computing Scale Company and The Tabulating Machine Company merged to form the Computing, Tabulating, Recording Company then in 1924 it became the international corporation we know as IBM.  How fascinating is that?

Computing Scale

Prisoner Art

There was a display of  art created by prisoners.  The art depicted Australia animals and indigenous people. 

Gas Station

A gas station with old cars inside.  I can remember seeing stations and pumps like this as a kid.

Giant Tree Stump

A giant tree stump which depicted the timber industry of Australia.  The stump weighs approximately 10 tons and was felled in 1952 with an ax and cross-cut saw.  The tree was 5 meters tall and ten meters at the base.  How amazing are our ancestors.  They did not have the tools we have but they created beautiful buildings, built amazing bridges, roads, etc. with hard work and hand tools. 


We were able to walk through a typical Queen slander house which was interesting as it had a hall from the front door to the back of the house with all rooms off that hall.  It had a beautiful wrap around porch. 

Two grey haired ladies delivering chairs to the missionaries in the Australia Brisbane Mission.  Sister Parsons is taking the picture.  Fun Road Trip!

Elder Pu left this mission in October.  He is from
Elder Pu
mainland China.  He served as an Assistant to the President and was in the Mission Office for a couple of months.  He worked with me on housing for the missionaries.  He has a fascinating story.  His father was a high ranking official in the Chinese government.  They had a daughter and she found she was pregnant so the response was to have an abortion based on the one child rule in China.  They went to the clinic.  The mother went into the room for the procedure and his father was I the waiting room when he heard a sound beside him.  There was a covered bucket next to him so he lifted the cover to discover aborted fetus in the bucket.  He immediately went into the room where his wife was and told her they were leaving.  The baby that was born is Elder Pu.  His family currently live in the country and his father farms as he had to leave the government job.  His sister is a student at BYU Hawaii and he has applied to attend next spring.  He will become an amazing leader in China some day.

Old Brisbane Town
When Lieutenant Henry Miller, the First Commandant of the Moreton Bay Penal settlement, sailed down the Brisbane River in May 1825 and founded the town of Brisbane, he could never have imagined the changes that would occur over the next 190 years.  Life in “Brisbane Town”, which was deemed a suitable location or relocate the worst convicts from Sydney, was far removed from today’s comfort and convenience. 

Dean Prangley explains that life was hard and full of risks.  “If you cut yourself and it became infected, you probably died.  Malaria, dysentery, typhoid and other diseases were common and life expectancy was much less than today.  The water was brackish and bad to drink unless boiled.  Toilets were dep pits out back and you walked everywhere unless you could afford a horse.  With no refrigeration, you ate what you grew and bought meat from the butcher as soon as he killed the animal otherwise it would decay quickly in our climate.

Clearing and cultivating dense scrub in order to facilitate development was back-breaking work.  Medical help was hard to come by so childbirth often meant loss of life for mother and baby.  Despite these adversities our early settlers kept arriving and persevered, like the Mayes family. 

Historical home - Mayes Cottage
Mayes todayIn 1871 John and Emily Mayes arrived from England with their two small children and took 321 acres of land in the area know as Scrubby Creek, which would eventually become Kingston.  The family build a slab hut no larger than a modern-day bedroom, which would be their home for 1 years.  Emily cooked for her family of nine on an open fire and used a hollowed-out anthill for an oven.  The family’s hard work paid off and they began selling a range of fruits including mangoes, pineapple and citrus.  By 1887 they were able to construct a larger home, known today as Mayes Cottage. 

Down Under Signage

 Went to the Saturday Market at New Farm Park on Halloween.  Purchased fresh veggies and fruit.

Halloween Witch

Banyan Tree Downtown
The first week of November was a busy, busy week.  Monday 15 missionaries came to the Mission home for their final day in Australia.  They spent the day with President and Sister Henderson and then left early Tuesday morning for various destinations throughout the world.  Tuesday was transfer day when the missionaries are transferred to another area and a new companion.  On Wednesday 11 new missionaries came into the mission.  They began arriving about 9:00 AM to complete all the paperwork required for the Mission, then to the Mission home to meet their missionary trainer.  I attend this meeting and give out a bag of bedding to each of the new arrivals with instructions to the Trainer to help their new companion make their bed.  Many come from countries where they do not have beds with mattress protectors, sheets, pillowcases and blankets. 
Wednesday we began our Senor Missionary Conference with a dinner at the Kangaroo Point Chapel.  Thursday began with a morning of training then free time in the afternoon to visit the sites in the city and dinner at a Thai. restaurant.  Friday another morning of training, a visit to the Mt. Coot tha Botanical Garden, and a dinner cruise down the Brisbane River on the Kookaburra Paddle Wheeler.  The day had been warm and it was a beautiful evening on the river.  More on the Senior Conference in the next post...  President and Sister Henderson are in the middle of the front row.  I am next to Sister Henderson.  Pretty good looking group, I think....

Australia Brisbane Mission Senior Missionaries

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