Year of the Horse 4

Hong Kong Wong Tai Sin 1

Today is Chinese New Year 2014 – the date changes each year since it is based on the lunar calendar. This is the Year of the Horse, which is generally taken to be a Good Thing.

We were in Hong Kong at this time last year and visited Wong Tai Sin temple, on the northern side of Kowloon. This popular Taoist temple has impressive statues of the different animals in the Chinese zodiac. That’s the Horse in the middle of the photo below, with the Snake (2013) on the right and the Sheep/Goat (2015) or the left.

Hong Kong Wong Tai Sin 2

Standing Stones

Swan River Rocks

Here is another mystery location in Perth. Where would you go to see this unusual stone formation? Yes, it looks rather like the iconic Pinnacles, but they are about 240km north of Perth. This rock formation is only about 10km from the city centre.

Got it? The stones are beside the Swan River in Claremont. We saw them recently while walking along the water’s edge from Point Resolution to Freshwater Bay. Along the way, we saw this impressive White-faced Heron fishing in the shallows.

Swan River Heron

Fly in, Fly out

Catalina Memorial 1

Here is a mystery memorial for all those who live in Perth. What does the memorial above commemorate, and where will you find it? As a hint, it is a reminder that Perth was a FIFO (fly in, fly out) city long before the minerals boom.

It is on the walking/cycling path beside the Swan River near Pelican Point in Nedlands. And it is a memorial to the Catalina flying boats that used to land on the Swan River during World War 2. They flew non-stop from Perth to Sri Lanka – the world’s longest regular non-stop service at that time.

Catalina Memorial 2

Under the Southern Cross 3

Southern Cross flower

You don’t just find the Southern Cross in the night sky and on flags. This remarkable flower is known as a Southern Cross (Xanthosia rotundiflora), since its petals are oddly reminiscent of the constellation. It grows in the area around Albany, on the south coast of Western Australia, and reportedly flowers from August to December – though we saw this one in February.

Under the Southern Cross 2

Eureka Ballarat

It’s not only the official Australian flags that include a representation of the Southern Cross. In Ballarat you can see the revolutionary Eureka Flag, which was flown at the Eureka Stockade – the miners’ uprising against heavy-handed officialdom in 1854. The original is in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, and you can see a replica flying above the “Eureka Circle” sculpture in Eureka Stockade Memorial Park, Ballarat. You can also see it printed on T-shirts and flying at building sites.

Under the Southern Cross

Australian Flag

It’s Australia Day, so there will be plenty of flag-waving Down Under today.

Like most Australians, we have a soft spot for the Southern Cross – those five stars on the right side of the flag. It is a bit of an Aussie icon and turns up in many places around the country. We spotted these two flags – the Australian national flag above and the Australian Red Ensign below – on sailing ships in Fremantle harbour last year.

Australian Red Ensign