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Travelog for: Manner

Orange, NSW, Australia - 31st October 2008

By: sararingham

Today we all went to the dog park... it was VERY warm today, it was around 95' degrees in Sydney but they have the wind from the ocean when there is any... we are more inland and no rain so it was very very hot outside... we decided to take the dog to the dog park and just let her run like crazy... here I am at the dog park...

...as you can see the dog, and Sara's husband Daniel were getting quite the workout... I'm not in the photos because Sara was zoomed in quite a distance... in the first picture you see that huge hill? They were up there when the photos were taken... pretty crazy the distance her camera can zoom in...

...and here's a picture of her 6-month old beagle puppy called Anni... isn't she cute?

* Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:04 pm Last edited Nov 1, 2008, 3:42 pm by sararingham [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, NSW, Australia - 31st October 2008

By: sararingham

Well after the long day at the dog park (even a few hours felt like much longer in that heat) we celebrated Halloween... Sara got some candy for her, Daniel and us to share... Halloween isn't as widely celebrated down here as - nothing like it is in America. We've never gotten trick-or-treaters... in the bigger cities and suburbs they do sometimes but nothing like in America so no worry about that here... we just sat down ate some nice candy, burned the jack-o-lantern and watched scary movies... :-)
...there was some pretty scary looking candy... there was gummy vampire tounges, gummi eye balls, that looked really realistic... freaky!... some skeleton lollipops and some marshmallow scary creatures like a witch, a vampire, a skeleton and a pumpkin... it was quite yummy! I hope you had a good Halloween mom! :-)

* Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:41 pm Last edited Nov 1, 2008, 3:43 pm by sararingham [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, NSW, Australia - 1st November 2008

By: sararingham

Today was a nice day, much cooler than the past days so Sara decided to take us all to the park... she went to a park that wasn't as full of people since they stopped off at Cook Park and it was packed because of a wedding so we went to a much smaller park called Memory Park... Sara swore it was called Moulder Park... but apparently not... it's really nice and green isn't it?

...we also got to see some strange looking beetles... they kind of look like they have a tribal shield thing on their back don't they? Well, they're harmless so we left them alone... :-)

I've only been here a few days but sorry for not really updating earlier, Sara's been trying to get over this cough she has so all of the toyvoyagers are staying together and just having a chat and resting a lot... it seems a bit too hot to do much else... but Sara says were going to be going to Dubbo next week, and then Sydney the week after... it's going to be a busy next few weeks... write again soon mom! Miss you!

* Posted Nov 1, 2008, 3:53 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Dubbo, NSW, Australia - 3rd November 2008

By: sararingham

As you may or may not have known Sara took us all to Dubbo today for a whole bunch of jobs she had to complete. She did it today instead of Friday, in which it was originally planned for... they decided after they got the jobs done to go to the Old Dubbo Gaol which she had never been to before... so this was totally new to her... it's quite a historic little piece of work right in the middle of town... so it's time to go and find out what this little (or not so little) museum is all about...

After Sara paid for our admittance into the museum (thankfully it didn't cost anything for all of us to come along - although we stayed in the bag most of the time... Sara will show you what we saw along the way... here I am with the map of the gaol and the self guided tour information was on the back... I'll read it out to you as we go through the gaol...

Once we entered the main gate we turned around and got a photo, it's called the "West Main Gate", this is what the self guided tour map and information told us about it...
This section was completed in 1887. The main timber gates are the original gates and many of the wooden pavers are original. Note the small gate within the iron gate. This is where prisoners and visitors would have entered the Gaol until 1929 when it was replaced by the Eastern entrance.

...The guy in the office told us to first go to what was called the "Infirmary" or the hospital of the old gaol, when we walked in we heard this voice... it was an old goast of the gaol he told us about the gaol and what we can find there... it was really interesting to learn about it... kind of freaky too..

When we turned we saw there were some paint scrapings... so what is the significance of that you may wonder? Well, they scraped away the paint to show the original paint, which was the orange/red colored paint, then through the years they painted it the other different colors than you can see... this is what that sign says next to it...
Paint Scrapings were carried out to identify previous colour schemeds used in the Gaol. Peeling back the paint has revealed the following sequence of colours and possible dates.
1970's Pale Green
1940/50's Pink
1930's Emerald green above and below a cream line
1880's Red and Orange with a stone color above a black line

Next stop off was the Vegetable and Food store, which was right next to the infirmary...
In 1885 the prison diet consisted of wheat bread, an overcooked mixture of maize meal, vegetables and meat juices, known as hominy. As a minor gaol, prisoners at Dubbo were allocated a different diet to those of the larger labour prisons with less meat (1/4lb on Wednesdays and Sundays served with rice). Prisoners also received a ration of salt, sugar and soap. Bread and water was considered a low diet and issued for punishment or when ill. From the late 1890's the produce from the vegetable garden was storedhere for use in the kitchen next door.

This area originally housed the Gaol's kitchen. There were two prisoners who worked as "Cooks Assistants" under lock and key. All meals were prepared here and then issued to prisoners in their cells.

Finally out of the first area of the gaol, it's time to move onto the more interesting areas of the gaol... we got to see the original gaol bell, which is located on the northern end of the building. When the gaol was closed in 1966 the bell was used at Newnes Prison Farm. It was returned in 1974, restored and re-erected in it's original place...

Next stop is the prisons well, this was used by on average 2-4 prisoners at a time that were responsible for pumping and distributing water throughout the gaol... this is what the plaque said right above the well...
In 1865, when the gaol was a 'holding lockup', consisting of a construction of some eight cells, the prisoners had no water supply in the existing gaol and were obligated to borrow water from a property close to Dubbo, hauling the barrels by bullock dray. However, due to severe drought, the property owner objected to supplying water as there was insufficent quantities for his own use. The then Member for Dubbo, Mr. George W. Lord, wrote to the Minister for Public Works, requesting a well be sunk in the gaol yard.

Now the next stop on the self guided tour was something that was originally not part of the Dubbo Gaol, but something that was used during the time that the Gaol was opened, and it is dated back to the early 1900's it's the portable cell...
Originally from the Pilliga region, this is a typical example of the portable cells that were commonly used across the state, particularly in the far western areas. This size is also similar to the original first lock up in Dubbo in 1848.

Right next to the portable cell was a washtub and a vegetable garden...
Prison reforms in the late 1890's resulted in the development of prison vegetable gardens and farms at most NSW prisons. They were part of an agriculture training program designed to give prisoners a specialised skill for later employment. This garden is a reconstruction of where it is believed once stood the original vegetable garden. There is also a suggestion that area outside of the walls was also converted for vegetable production.

A formal garden also existed outside the hospital block. Both were maintained by prisoners as part of their daily work.

Next were ready to get into the more interesting areas of the gaol, the actual cells and dark rooms, and all that interesting stuff... welcome to the male division...
The entrance of the cellblock is the oldest portion of the gaol. It was built in 1871 and initially housed the warden, his family and four cells. The building now comprises 14 cells of differing sizes and two dark cells, used for solitary confinement.

Next stop were the dark cells, or also known as the solitary confinement cells... they were totally black, even the walls were painted in black and there was a sound of some chains dragging along the ground when you walked in there... really quite eerie when you think about it... this is what it looked like by using the flash... Sara read a plaque that said that prisoners that were put in solitary confinement for as much as 21 days let out once a week for a nice meal before being put back into the dark cells. It also said that prisoners would tear off a button and throw it against a wall, and then search around in the pitch black cells to find it, and then throw it again as a game to keep themselves from going crazy...
The use of the solitary confinement in dark cells was officially discontinued in 1896. However, there is evidence that it, and the use of the mouth gag, was still practiced in 1900 in Goulburn Gaol despite being considered inhumane.

As you enter the long hallway with all the cells, the first cell on the right side was known as the Condemned cell...
In this cell there was an animatronic character that was called Thomas Moore, who was one of the prisoners that were convicted and put to death at this gaol. His death was actually one of the deaths that was quite memorable for the people witnessing, he was 67 when he was executed and it was said his head was "removed" from his body when he fell through the trap door of the gallows. Quite shocking.

There were three cells that showed normal prisoner conditions during the times that the gaol was opened, there were times that the gaol was so full that they had three or more prisoners in each cell...
...in this picture you only see one prisoner, but there were two others in the corner and three beds side by side. The beds were literally just wooden planks, and quite uncomfortable I'm sure...

In the next cell was something they commonly used as a punishment (one of the many forms) used mainly during the 1880's... the whipping stool... there was even a painting above it representing the times it was used...
The whipping stool was used in both regional and city gaols throughout the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. The prisoner lay across the stool and his wrists and ankles were manacled to the device. This prevented the prisoner from moving or resisting the punishment. Prisoners were then flogged using a leather tawse. Flogging could occur as part of the punishment issued by the courts or be inflicted for misbehaviour once inside the gaol.

The next cell over was the one padded cell in the whole gaol, at least that's still as it was when the gaol was opened...
The padded cell was added in 1886 and was used to house violent and mentally ill inmates, known as lunatics. Records indicate that a 68-year-old labourer was imprisoned at Dubbo Gaol for over a year suffering from melancholia, an illness currently known as depression. By 1904 official documents noted that the "system of dealing with lunatics in goals was (still) unsatisfactory.

As were leaving the male division of the gaol you could almost miss the next exhibit, it was known as a watchman's telltale...
The small green metal Watchman's Telltale, located on the outside wall of the male cell block, was used as a security device. Wardens inserted a key into the aperture and wound up the spring within. If this procedure was not repeated on the hour, the spring unwound and set off an alarm bell, alarming the watch officer that either the warden had come to harm, or that he was not doing his duty. These were also located at the western end of the block, and the remand yards and outside the former library.

Throughout the museum if you look along the edges of the gaol, you can see statues of prisoners trying to escape over the walls of the prison...

...although that wasn't the best place to escape, as right near it was the Watchtower...
The watchtower dominates the north eastern corner of the Gaol. Wardens entered this tower from a flight of fifteen wooden steps outside the Gaol wall. Use of the tower was discontinued in the early part of the 20th century. Another watchtower existed in the southeast corner of the Gaol in the 1890's but all traces of this bulding have vanished.

...next stop is the much smaller female division...
The small female area comprised of an exercise yard, covered shelter, clothing store, ablution block (bathroom), kitchen and two cells. The display shows the maximum capactiy of the female prisoners.

Within the female division was an area where you heard about the hangman, who had no nose, and the 8 men that were condemned to death at the Dubbo gaol, it was quite intereseting to listen to... next were going into what is known as the gallery of the condemned. This is where they have information about the men that had died, age, date of death, date condemned to death and the date they were executed with information about their crime...

...and there was information about the gallows that were used...
Eight men were hanged for murder in Dubbo Gaol between 1977 and 1904. One or two appear to have been ruthless and calculating murders. Others claimed to have killed in self-defence or in passion. But under the law at that time, no mitigating circumstances were recognised; the penalty for murder was death.

But was the penalty applied equality to all? All the hanged men were poor and uneducated; most beloged to minority groups, and prehaps it is no coincidence that they were often those most generally disliked at the time - Irish Catholics, Aboriginal people and the Chinese. They struggled to survive on the harsh margins of an alien society, with no influential friends, no money and no resources. Some may have been mentally ill.

Would they be convicted of murder today? The evidence against many of these men was only circumstantial - one was found with a dead man's possessions, another was the last man to be seen with the victim. There were rarely any witnesses, and community feeling ran high against them. In one case the policeman chose to pursue the offender rather than seek medical assistance for the victim. As a consequence the victim died adn the offender was charged with murder. Interestingly, in at least two cases, the community at the time thought that the punishment was unfair, and sought to save the condemned man. Today men and women are still found on Death Row all over the world. Do you think their deaths serve a worthwhile purpose?

Going back outside again, we got to see the exercise yards that were mentioned earlier in the self guided tour...
Male prisoners only used these yards. They were rquired to complete 1 hour of exercise per day and were separated by classification of crime and sentence. From 1934 prisoners were required to do their own laundry in exercise yard 1.

Another part of the museum that was hard to see unless you were really looking, the roll call lines...
The two red lines painted onto the cement near the south eatern end of the male cellblock were used as the assembly point for the daily roll call of prisoners.

Now something a bit more eerie, but quite interesting to actually see... the Dubbo Gaol Gallows...
These were erected for each execution. When not in use they were stored under the courthouse. Like the hangman's kit, the gallows are unique to Old Dubbo Gaol. It is not known when the gallows were first erected or when they were dismantled, but they were in use over a period of more than 30 years - from the 1870's to the early part of this century. The gallows are approxmiately 16 feet high, with a base of 12 feet by 9 feet. The top bar is 10 feet wide and there are 13 steps up the platform from which the felons "took the drop".

Here's a plaque showing the names and dates of the men condemned to death, and the date they were executed...

Nearing the end of our tour, was some original artifacts from this time, from this gaol and from other gaols in the area at the time. This is known as the "hangman's kit"...
The hangman's kit displays the ropes, nooses, and other tools of the trade used by the State Executioner to preform his macabre duties. The items in this display are all original artefacts that were used by the hangman and his assistant.

Right near the area with the hangman kit was a covered area that was known as the prisoners labour area of the gaol...
Male prisoners were kept occupied with labour such as woodcutting, gardening, book binding, and tailoring. These tasks were also designed to retrain inmates with a more useful trade to take up upon their release.

Last thing to see as your ready to exit the gaol and onto your way was the pillory...
The item was donated to the Gaol many years ago. Although this form of punishment was not standard practice for prisons, it makes for a great photo opportunity!

Well, we just had a really long day and we got to see and learn a lot of things about Australian prisons, especially back in the day, which was really interesting especially since that is what Australia is known for, when England sent their prisoners to Australia as a form of punishment... very interesting... I hope you enjoyed that mom! I'll write again soon, Monday were off to Sydney...

* Posted Nov 9, 2008, 8:45 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Bathurst, NSW, Australia - 10th November 2008

By: sararingham

Today we were taking another trip, this time to Sydney... we stopped off quite a bit to get some nice photos of whatever we could along the way... Sara decided first stop would be Bathurst, we would see if we could spot some kangaroos... and we did... sadly when I tried to get in front of the camera the kangaroos bounced off... they didn't seem to want any of that...
...as you can see they saw Sara get close with us, and got a bit spooked so moved on back... we'll try again on Wednesday when we're going to Bathurst for a longer trip... we'll see if we can get in the photo this time! :-) There is more to come... just hang tight! :-)

* Posted Nov 11, 2008, 8:37 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Lithgow, NSW, Australia - 10th November 2008

By: sararingham

Next stop was Lithgow, which was about an hours drive from Bathurst... honestly, there's not too much there, but Sara decided to show us something she's always liked for part of Lithgow, which is the Lithgow's Miner's Lamp... here I am in front of it...
...since this is the backside of it you can't see it all that well... it doesn't look much different, although this is what it looks like from the front...
...not much different as you can see... but you can see the windows at the bottom... there's a little bit of cloth thats is lit by an orange lamp and a little fan to make it look like a flame... kinda cool... :-) Otherwise Lithgow there isn't much to see... we're only at the half way point of Sydney now... watch for more updates. :-)

* Posted Nov 11, 2008, 8:59 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Katoomba, NSW, Australia - 10th November 2008

By: sararingham

Next stop was in Sydney's Blue Mountains... they're in the outskirts of Sydney, a lot of people don't really think much about the outskirts, let alone thinking there is a huge mountain range that goes through before you get to Orange, Bathurst and even Lithgow... well, welcome to the Blue Mountains... it was time to visit one of the big tourist spots for people visiting the Blue Mountains and Sydney... the Three Sisters... a huge rock formation...

...can you see it? It's behind some trees, but Sara had to take photos in an odd spot as it was quite full near the view point so she didn't want to loose any of us... so she then walked over and got a proper photo of it... isn't it pretty? Also you can tell in the distance why they call it the Blue Mountains... :-)

The Three Sisters comes with an old aboriginal legend... this is what it is:

Long ago in the Blue Mountains there lived three little Aboriginal sisters. They were Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, whose Witch Doctor father was called Tyawan.

Only one creature was feared by all the Bunyip who lived in a deep hole. When Tyawan had to pass the hole, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall. One day, waving goodbye to his daughters, he descended the cliff steps. On top of the cliff a big centipede suddenly appeared and frightened Meehni, who threw a stone at it. The stone rolled over the cliff and crashed into the valley.

Birds, animals and fairies stopped till as the rocks behind the three sisters split open, leaving them on a thin ledge.

The angry Bunyip emerged to see the terrified sisters. In the valley, Tyawan saw the Bunyip close to his daughters, so he pointed his magic bone at the girls and turned them to stone. The Bunyip then chased Tyawan, who found himself trapped, so he changed himself into a Lyre Bird. Everyone was safe, but Tyawan had dropped his magic bone. After the Bunyip had gone, Tyawan searched and searched for his bone and he is still searching.

The Three Sisters stand silently watching him from their ledge, hoping he will find the bone to turn them back to Aboriginal girls.

As you look at the Three Sisters, you can hear Tyawan the Lyre Bird calling his daughters as his search for the lost bone continues.

Here are some of the views around the Three Sisters... it's quite beautiful isn't it?
Well... were almost in Sydney now... just a bit longer... sadly we weren't able to see any of the big famous things like the Harbor Bridge or the Opera House but you can see what Sydney looks like at least... :-) Write again soon!

* Posted Nov 11, 2008, 9:20 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Camperdown, NSW, Australia - 10th November 2008

By: sararingham

Well... we were finally there... well no, not really Sydney is a HUGE city full of smaller suburbs, the actually city of Sydney is pretty small which is just the CBD, which is what everyone sees, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, all that fun stuff... lots of huge buildings and very expensive shops... :-) Kind of like Rodeo Drive in Hollywood... lots and lots of expensive shops and tourists...

Sadly, we weren't able to visit that - Sara and Daniel had an appointment at a dietician and allergist for their son Andrew at the now famous hospital RPA (Royal Price Alfred Hospital) - why is it famous you might ask? Because it's got a TV show on every Thursday... Sara enjoys watching it... it's got some pretty crazy stuff from what I've seen of it... lol...

...that's mainly what a lot of Sydney looks like, very similar to Orange actually... very old looking buildings... Sydney is a mix of old and new buildings... as you can see...

...we were also very very close to the Sydney CBD, we got to see the Sydney skyline while we were driving but it was quite hectic driving around Sydney, especially this close to the CBD, you take one wrong turn and your in a different suburb and lost...

...now, you might wonder what that strange looking tower is in between the bigger buildings... it's called the AMP Tower, also known as the Centerpoint Tower, it's right in the middle of Sydney... you wouldn't have any idea, but people walk along the top of it, it's called the Sydney Skywalk... Sara honestly thinks people are crazy, there's a part with a walkway that's clear so you can look straight under you... so creepy! Then again, Sara's not fond of heights...

...but as you can probably imagine, Sara had a good time navigating their way to Camperdown, without one wrong turn (without using the map even)... then when we got there... we couldn't merge... so we drove into another suburb and got lost... so there was a lot of this:
If that doesn't look scary, I can guarantee you it is... haha... well, I'm back in Orange now, safe and sound it was quite a long day... we're going to Bathurst on Wednesday though for some mystery shopping, and some more kangaroo searching... and maybe a bit more, we shall see won't we? :-) I hope you enjoyed my trip to Sydney! :-)

* Posted Nov 11, 2008, 9:45 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Bathurst, NSW, Australia - 12th November 2008

By: sararingham

Today we took another trip to Bathurst, for of course more mystery shopping... and to show the other toyvoyagers that hadn't been here the Mount Panorama race track... we didn't get to really see it since we had already seen it so we just sat back for the ride... but here I am in front of the Mount Panorama sign anyways... :-)

...and since you couldn't really see it last time here's the big sign on the side of the "mountain"...

Well, after that we went and searched for some kangaroos, but it was so hot there were none to be found... we had a lot of really really hot days lately, and today it was EIGHT degrees above average for this time of year... man it's been crazy! I just wonder what this Summer is going to be like if it's this hot in the Spring! Write again soon mom! <3

* Posted Nov 13, 2008, 1:33 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Orange, NSW, Australia - 19th November 2008

By: sararingham

Well... my time in Orange has ended... I've moved onto bigger and better places... well maybe not better - hehe - I had quite a fun time here and I'm glad I got to spend a lot of time with Sara but it's time to move on and see more of the world! I'll update again when I get to my new host mom! Miss you! <3

* Posted Nov 19, 2008, 6:20 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Ipswich QLD, Australia - 1st December 2008

By: crizle

I arrived safely in Queensland and I am staying in Ipswich, a small city about 1 hour west of Brisbane.
My host has been ill but we Toy Voyagers have been having a great time meeting and getting to know each other.
Yesterday we all helped trim the tree and that was alot of fun.
I also got to eat some yummy chocolate, well, I was born in a chocolate factory so I love chocolate best.
At Christmas time, the children here love to get gold covered chocolate coins. Delicious!

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* Posted Dec 21, 2008, 4:08 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Ipswich QLD, Australia - 25th December 2008

By: crizle

What a funny hot Christmas I have had.
They eat cold Christmas Dinner here and eat icecream with their Plum Pudding, but I really enjoyed that.

I opened presents under the tree with my other Toy Voyager friends and I shared my bonbon with Kari.

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* Posted Dec 29, 2008, 7:47 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Gold Coast, Australia - 1st January 2009

By: crizle

Happy New Year to all.
I have celebrated the new year by going for a swim!
Yes, all New Years Day we stayed at a beach on the Gold Coast, just over 1 hours drive south.

Next day we had a teddybears picnic, and of course I got to eat my favourite...chocolates!

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* Posted Jan 13, 2009, 10:54 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Ipswich, Australia - 13th January 2009

By: crizle

On an overcast and dull, but still hot day, we decided to go for a walk through town (Ipswich).

I also went walking along the Bremer River at Riverlink which is on the other side of the river to where I am staying.

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* Posted Jan 13, 2009, 11:00 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Ipswich, Australia - 26th January 2009

By: crizle

It has been a long hot January but I have been having a great time with friends.
I went to Crizles birthday, went for a long walk in the Australian bushland and on Australia Day we all had a party and a farewell for Hartz before he left.

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* Posted Jan 31, 2009, 2:59 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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