Brush up on your general knowledge so next time you’re on holiday with nothing to do, you can impress others with your trivia skills.

Explore dinosaur trails less travelled

Have you ever wanted to take a journey in the footsteps of giants? One that is less travelled by man, and full of prehistoric wonder!

Well, now’s your chance because Australia’s dinosaur trails have opened up in this amazing world.

But if you’re already a dedicated traveller, there may be none of the well-known trails left in your repertoire.

So why not invent one of your own? May I suggest a slightly different trail?

If you’re a grey nomad or any other southern self-contained gadabout and you’re heading north to sunny Queensland, start your trail at Lightning Ridge in far northern NSW.

If you’re already in North Queensland, simply start at the other end.


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Start at Lightning Ridge

Dinosaur Trails - Cretaceous Australia.

Cretaceous Australia. Photo: Creative Commons

Lightning Ridge is the source of some of Australia’s most spectacular dinosaur fossils; spectacular because they are opalised.

The district is a productive sight for Australian opals and that can add another dimension to your visit.

Most dinosaur discoveries at Lightning Ridge are from the Early to Mid Cretaceous periods, between 145mya and 110mya.

At this time central Australia was covered by a vast, relatively shallow, inland sea. Lightning Ridge would have been on the south-eastern shore of this sea.

These opal fields are the source of several important dinosaur fossil finds. Most recently, the small ornithopod dinosaur, Weewarrasaurus pobeni, was announced in 2019.

This dinosaur was small, approximately dog-sized and likely travelled in family groups or herds for protection. We know it from two fragments of a jawbone and some teeth.

Dinosaur fossils found in an opal mine

Prior to that, fossils of what appears to be a herd of larger ornithopod dinosaurs were found deep underground in an opal mine.

This dinosaur, Fostoria dhimbangunmal, is related to the well-known Muttaburrasaurus from North-western Queensland.

Over 60 bones have been discovered for this species representing four individuals.

The species name is a local Aboriginal word meaning ‘sheepyard’ from the locality where the fossils were found.

Numerous other fragments and bones of extinct dinosaurs remain to be identified in the district. Perhaps the most tantalising of these is ‘Lightning Claw’.

This dinosaur is known from very little evidence and none sufficient to flesh it out or officially give it a name.

It is assumed to be a large theropod, a Megaraptor, perhaps the largest of a type of dinosaur rarely found in the Australian fossil record.

Lightning claw

Lightning Claw. Photo: Creative Commons

Things to see and do at Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge has several caravan parks. Check out the fossicking heaps at the Tourist Information Centre.

The John Murray Gallery is a must, and a good meal can be had at the Lightning Ridge Bowls Club.

In particular, I’d recommend Piccolo Italian Restaurant. The food is superb but whatever you do, don’t ask for connolis.

This is a proud Roman restaurant and they don’t do that sort of Sicilian fare, as I discovered when I asked. They were polite but very definite.

Try the Car Door Tours; an economical, quaint way to see the sights.

When you get to Lightning Ridge, ask about the new Australian Opal Centre.

This is a proposed, state-of-the-art museum to be built into the earth at Lightning Ridge. Construction is due to start in 2022.

Lightning Ridge - Car Door Tours

The Car Door Tours at Lighting Ridge are a must-see attraction. Photo: Jocelyn Watts

Lightning Ridge - John Murray Gallery Mural

John Murray Gallery mural at Lightning Ridge. Photo: Jocelyn Watts

Explore Australia’s lesser-known dinosaur trails

So you’re looking for a destination that’s off the beaten path, why not explore some of Australia’s lesser-known dinosaur trails?

These areas are home to prehistoric creatures that once roamed the earth, and offer an unforgettable experience for travellers of all ages.

Lightning Ridge

Sunset at Lightning Ridge with a labyrinth. Photo: Shutterstock





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The story behind Maryborough’s coat of arms

Did you know that Maryborough, Queensland, has its own coat of arms? If you’re visiting the Heritage City, you can see its coat of arms on a wall facing the Town Hall Green. Titled ‘The Crest’, it is one of 40+ murals that make up the Maryborough Mural Trail. To learn more about this piece of local history, read on! Our contributor, PETER WOODLAND, shares some insights into the fascinating world of heraldry.

The surprising number of Australian cities with coats of arms

According to the Heraldry of the World wiki 108 Australian cities have coats of arms.

There are, in fact, at least 394 Australian cities with a population of more than 10,000 people and there are another 88 towns with a population of more than 5000.

Perhaps, in your travels, keep your eye out for municipal coats of arms. It could be just one more enjoyable pastime, as you while away the kilometers.

Who can have a coat of arms?

In Australia, anyone can adopt a coat of arms of their own design. However, there are some limitations to that process.

The said coat of arms is not theirs exclusively. It can be used and copied by anyone unless some copyright applies.

If the coat of arms they adopt is the same as one borne by an armiger whose coat of arms was granted by the College of Arms in London or by some other official body in other parts of the world, then its use is illegal.

It may come as a surprise to many that family coats of arms are very rare in the British domain.

Just because your name is Fortesque-Smythe, for example, it does not follow that you can use the coat of arms of someone else called Fortesque-Smythe.

You have to be able to trace a direct line through the eldest child, usually male, in each generation, back to the original “owner” of the arms.

In the British world, arms are granted to an individual, an enterprise or an institution, not to families.

That is just one of many “rules’ one has to get used to in the world of heraldry.

What is heraldry?

Heraldry began as the use of a distinctive shield or, perhaps, coat to identify a combatant on a battlefield.

They were simple and brightly or unusually coloured so that your side knew who you were.

The best coats of arms to this day follow that custom of simplicity.

Perhaps the aspect of heraldry most difficult to understand is the blazon.

This is words written in a particular style to describe the coat of arms.

It includes old and foreign words and follows an order of precedent.

This is one such blazon:

Quarterly, 1 and 4 Gules three Pallets Argent and 2 and 3 Azure, three Bars wavy Argent a Cross embattled counter embattled throughout Or and overall a Maltese Cross Azure

That is the blazon for the shield from the coat of arms of the City of Maryborough, in Queensland, Australia. It means:

A shield divided into quarters. The first and fourth quarters are red and silver (white) alternating vertical stripes. The second and third quarters are blue and silver (white) alternating horizontal wavy stripes. The quarters are divided by a gold cross that is embattled. That is, its edges are “jagged” as in the top of a traditional castle wall. Over the top of all this is a blue Maltese cross.

This is Maryborough’s coat of arms:

Coat of Arms - Maryborough, Qld


As you can see there are several other elements to Maryborough’s coat of arms. These elements are part of the original grant.

Some of them such as the two supporters on either side and the “ground” or compartment, they are standing on are rare in an individual’s coats of arms. They have to be granted by the sovereign.

Another element is a helmet and there are rules about what sort of helmet individuals can use. On the other hand, it does not have to be a medieval “knights” helmet. It could be a miner’s hard-hat, for instance, if appropriate.

Above the helmet is a torse or twisted piece of cloth or some other cloth buffer. On the torse sits the crest.

I bet you wondered when I was going to use that word because many of us talk about the crest as being the whole thing.

The crest can be almost anything, if appropriate and is often used as a badge by the armiger (owner of the arms).

It might serve as a monogram on clothing, a signet ring, a logo on personal stationery or anything you desire.

In the case of Maryborough, it is the schooner “Blue Jacket”, at sea, on a circle of spiky (embattled) gold circles, with two sticks of sugar cane.

Lastly, there is the motto, beneath the shield. The motto can say almost anything and can be in any language, Klingon, if you wish.

Mottos can be tricky though because it is supposedly a statement of deeply held views and character.

Don’t give yourself a motto about bravery, if, in reality, you ascribe to the view that “He who runs away lives to fight another day.”

Maryborough’s motto is Latin and it means: Faith, Strength and Courage



Maryborough received a badge when these arms were granted and this is it:

coat of arms - maryborough badge

The badge repeats the colours and symbols of the arms.


Granted, I hear you ask. Yes, granted!

In Australia “official” coats of arms are granted by a British College of Arms.

The gentlemen responsible for the design and grant of the arms to Maryborough were:

Sir Alexander Colin Cole, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, upon whom has been conferred the Territorial Decoration, Garter Principal King of Arms, Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Clarenceux King of Arms and John Philip Brooke Brooke-Little, Esquire, Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Norroy and Ulster, King of Arms.

Make your own coat of arms

Municipal coats of arms can be fun to look for, and they can also be a great way to learn more about the places you visit.

If you’re feeling creative, there’s no reason why you can’t come up with your own arms for yourself or your town or city.

Just make sure you follow all the “rules”. After all, you wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the arms authorities!




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Crocodiles were prehistoric but they’re not dinosaurs

Crocodiles are in the news again, for all the wrong reasons.

They are reptiles like lizards, turtles and snakes and they have a very ancient lineage.

Crocodiles belong to the clade Archosaur. A clade is a group of organisms that have a common ancestor.

Interestingly, Archosaurs also include dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The earliest fossil crocodile known lived more than 300 million years ago and the crocodilians developed alongside the dinosaurs.

Like birds, which are now considered dinosaur descendants, crocodilians survived the K-T extinction, 66 million years ago.

Why aren’t crocodiles considered dinosaurs?

There are a number of reasons particularly surrounding the Archosaur “family tree” and when crocodiles branched off. For you and me, the answer is fairly simple.

A key aspect of dinosaur morphology, or shape, if you like, is that their hind legs are positioned directly under their body. This is true for birds, for instance, but not for crocodiles.

For this reason, also, pterosaurs, flying reptiles from the time of dinosaurs and prehistoric marine reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs, pliosaurs and plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs.

In recent years, crocodiles have appeared in our news as the culprits in attacks on humans. This shouldn’t surprise us and, in fact, they are fairly easy to avoid.

Those who’ve been attacked took unnecessary risks either through bravado or ignorance. In Australia, the warnings are clear and simple.


On a bank of the Annan River near Cooktown is Blackie, the five-metre male croc that is said to rule the area.

Where are crocodiles found in Australia?

You can expect they are in any watercourse or basin from Fraser Island, across the northern coastline, to Shark Bay in WA.

Don’t go in or on the water, even in small boats or skis and kayaks. Don’t develop habits such as fishing, cleaning fish or dumping fish or meat scraps in the same place regularly.

Crocodiles are smart and they learn.

Crocodiles are common in Australian tropical waters and the largest grow to at least five metres. You are not going to survive a meeting with an animal that size.

How big are crocodiles?

The largest measured crocodile was Lolong, which was captured and measured at 6.17 metres.

Lolong was captured in the Philippines. He was suspected of the deaths of several people in his vicinity.

There have been claims of bigger specimens, including Krys. He was shot in 1958 near Normanton in Far North Queensland and was claimed to be 8.64 metres long.

The accuracy of this measurement is contested though.

There is a skull in the Paris Museum that is 76cm long. Lolong’s skull was only 70cm.

Returning to prehistoric crocodilians, the largest known was Sarcosuchus imperator which may have grown to 12 metres.


Crocodiles are some of the oldest reptiles on Earth and have been around for hundreds of millions of years.

They’ve managed to survive mass extinctions, including one that killed off the dinosaurs, and they’re still going strong today.

What can we learn from these impressive creatures? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Crocodiles are an important part of their ecosystems and play a crucial role in keeping everything in balance.

As humans continue to encroach on their habitats, it’s more important than ever to learn how to live alongside crocodiles peacefully.

We hope you enjoyed learning about crocodiles as much as we enjoyed writing this post!





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Queensland Boulder Opal: What makes it so special?

Queensland Boulder Opal is treasured throughout the world because people love its unique beauty and deep colouration.

As the name ‘Boulder’ suggests, the colourful opal forms inside cracks and fissures within ironstone boulders.

The opal forms over millions of years from water containing silica-rich minerals having seeped from river currents or streams, resulting in a gemstone with “playful” colours that last forever.

To prepare these beautiful gemstones for jewellery, cutters divide the ironstone boulder, leaving the opal sitting on top of either side or just one side, before cutting and polishing.


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Why is it so valuable?

Queensland Boulder Opal is the rarest and expensive type of this natural gemstone.

The reason why it’s so valuable? Well, how about an intense mystical fire inside that has really popularised this gemstone for thousands of years.

It’s found only in one country on earth where you have an intense fire inside– Australia!

Opal miners have many places to explore in their search for Queensland Boulder Opal.

The primary fields include Winton, Quilpie, Opalton, Yowah, Eromanga and Cunnamulla.

A fine example could be worth even more than diamonds because of their popularity with people who love these fiery stones or those looking for something unique.

 The natural iron base of Queensland Boulder Opal gives it stability and depth.

The varied shapes in which these gemstones occur make for interesting jewellery with vibrant, bold hues you can’t find anywhere else.

The value of Queensland Boulder Opal depends upon the colours in the gemstone.

A colourful specimen would be more expensive than a gem that has a few dull colours.

Likewise, a dark opal gem is more valuable than a light-shaded one.

The worth of the jewels follows an order. Red is the rarest and hence most valuable. It’s trailed by orange, green, blue, and purple.

Uses of opal

Many people believe all opal has magical powers. It is said that if you wear an opal on your neck or shoulders for protection from negative energy then nothing will go wrong that day.

Opal tends to have a calming effect on the inner soul; the varied colours in the stone represent changing emotions. It enhances personal actualisation and self-awareness.

Ancient Greeks and Romans particularly believed the stone to have special powers. They used it to improve their mental health and ward off evil spirits.

They also prized the gemstone because of its colourful display and variety of patterns, which range from fine lines to chic metropolitan “cityscapes”.

The stones themselves have been intricately carved into everything from jewellery pieces like earrings and necklaces to various household items such as kitchen tiles.

Boulder opal jewellery

Queensland Boulder Opal is a unique and beautiful gemstone that can make an excellent gift.

The contrasting colours add to the beauty of the jewellery piece, whether it’s a ring or a necklace— the play of colours in the stone expresses individuality.

Opal comes in all different colours, so you will find something perfect for anyone on your list, or to boost your own collection.

Here are some tips about caring for them:

  • Queensland Boulder Opal does not require much care, as the stone is relatively stable on its own. It remains unaffected by water.
  • It just needs cleaning with mild detergent and clean cloths to shine again once dry (or sometimes even polish).
  • Oils will also not damage these stones, but over time they may build-up, resulting in reduced clarity.
  • Opal jewellery shouldn’t be dropped onto a hard surface, for the gemstone might chip or crack. It is best to take off your rings before cleaning or any type of manual work.




  • Opal is a gemstone that symbolises innocence and purity. It is said to promote peace, love, and hope
  • The birthstone of October, opal is also the stone that celebrates 14 years of marriage
  • In ancient times this stone was considered sacred by Romans who believed it had magical powers for healing skin conditions such as leprosy
  • Queensland’s Boulder Opal gets its name from the fact it is found in boulders
  • Opal comes in a variety of colours and shapes. There’s black opal, white opal crystal-like in appearance and jelly; other types include firey varieties like hyaline or honeyed ones from Lightning Ridge
  • Boulder Opal is found only in Queensland. Other opals are found in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Ural Mountains (Russia), the United States, and India

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Learn how mysterious opal brings inner peace

Opal is a stone that has been revered for its healing properties for centuries.

It is said to encourage hope and optimism while promoting inner peace and harmony.

The mysterious stone is usually opaque but can also appear translucent when cut properly so that light gets through them – just like stained-glass windows!

If you are looking for a gemstone to wear in a piece of jewellery that can help promote overall good health, opal might be the right choice for you.


Disclosure: As an Amazon Australia Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Opal is the #1 gemstone for mental health

Opal is one of the most fascinating and mysterious gemstones.

Many people believe opal is beneficial in alleviating stress and anxiety, as well as curing various other ailments.

It brings peace and calmness to you and your environment, which is why people who struggle with anxiety or depression often choose to use wear opal jewellery.

Opal also promotes self-confidence and personal growth by enhancing creativity, imagination, intuition, wisdom, cheerfulness, love and beauty– all qualities that will help you feel more at home with yourself.

In some cultures, opal is considered to be a stone with mystical powers.

Ancient Greeks and Romans particularly believed the stone to have special powers.

They used it to improve their mental health and ward off evil spirits.

Today, opals are still popular gemstones for jewellery.

People wear them for their beauty and because they believe that opals have healing properties.

Some of these include:

  • Improving mental health
  • Warding off evil spirits
  • Enhancing creativity and imagination
  • Helping with emotional problems

You too can wear opal jewellery to bring you happiness, improve your mental health or attract love.

Keeping an opal gemstone in your pocket when going through hard times, is believed to help ease your pain.

If you are interested in learning more about the mysterious opal gemstone, here are some books to help get you started:

Choosing the best opal jewellery for you

Here are some opal jewellery pieces that you can consider when shopping for an opal gemstone piece!

Opal necklace

This Blue Green Australian Fire Opal Triplet Necklace is simple and elegant. The gemstone is set in a gold-plated sterling silver setting on a delicate chain. This necklace is so versatile. It can be worn with anything from your favourite dress to more casual outfits.

Opal ring

This women’s opal ring is an eye-catcher for any occasion and makes the perfect gift for your wife or girlfriend. The opal gemstone adds an elegant and chic touch to the sterling silver setting.

Opal earrings

These minimalist white opal stud earrings for women are simple and classic at the same time – two words that also describe this gemstone perfectly. They feature a stunning opal gemstone in a sterling silver bezel setting. Add these light and dainty earrings to your outfit for a touch of elegance.

Opal pendant

This Blue Australian Opal Pendant is simple, yet stunning. It features a beautiful opal gemstone in a modern sterling silver pear shape classic setting and comes on a delicate chain. This pendant would be perfect for everyday wear or special occasions.

Opal bracelet

This opal bracelet is delicate and pretty. It features a beautiful round Cabochon White Ethiopian Opal in a sterling silver bracelet. It would be the perfect addition to any jewellery collection.

So, if you’re looking for a gemstone that has many healing properties, opal is definitely one to go for.


Want to hunt for your own mysterious opal?

Discover where and how the Outback Opal Hunters do it at the Winton Opal Festival.


  • ‘The Opal: A Study In Color And Light’ by G. Neri
  • ‘Opal: The gemstone of the gods’ by John H. Betts
  • ‘The gem and mineral guide: a field guide to over 1500 gems, minerals & gemstones’ by Jack Stormonth

Exchange your vows with a sand ceremony

Imagine exchanging your vows in sand, billions of years old and rock solid.

You can. A sand ceremony symbolises unity and is a popular choice for weddings as couples start their new journey together.

Rock-solid? Yes, because sand comes from rock, coral, shells – and the beginnings of time itself.

In early ceremonies, the couple tossed handfuls of sand together into the wind.

The grains combined and could not, of course, be separated, thus symbolising unity and eternity.

Many of today’s celebrations honour both families and the vases are kept as a treasured reminder of eternal togetherness.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Australia Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Sand ceremony: one way of tying the knot

Choose three beautiful glass vases. 

Place one coloured sand into one vase, and a second colour into another vase. These are designed to represent the couple.

At the right moment in the service, one partner pours a portion of his/her sand into the third vase. The other partner then pours a portion of her/his sand on top of the first.

Finally, the couple jointly pours the remainder into each of their vases and into the central vase. Two symbolically then become one.

You can create your own sand ceremony kit or buy one ready-made.


Here is an original selection of special words each and both can say at the ceremony

  • I wish for us these sands of time to unite, inspire, and heal.
  • I wish for us the continuity of the billions of years represented in these sands.
  • I wish for us the smoothness of these sands as we too move across the waters of life, together.
  • May our commitment, our love be as ever-lasting as these sands of endless time.

You can also include children in this beautiful ceremony by using more colours.

Why not engrave the vases with initials, names and the wedding date making them a moving keepsake for years to come?


Recommended Reading: Author and marriage celebrant Jennifer Cram gives a fresh look at unity ceremonies in Unity Candle and Sand Ceremony: A Definitive Guide to the Creative Use of Candle and Sand Rituals in Wedding and Commitment Ceremonies

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What do the cemetery symbols and emblems mean?

Have you ever wondered about the symbols and emblems found on headstones and monuments at the cemetery?Cemetery Symbols

If you grew up in a religious family, there were no doubt some symbols that appeared frequently.

For me, it was the Celtic Cross. This is an interesting combination, including Celtic, Latin and Ancient Greek.

At the cemetery, you will find these and many more. The Maryborough Cemetery, or at least the monumental part of it, is quite old by Queensland standards. It was established in 1873, though there had been earlier cemeteries.

The first was at the site of the Old Maryborough Township near the intersection of Alice and Aldridge streets, and, later, at the site of the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens. There were also various burials scattered throughout the district.

If you wander through the monumental cemetery on Walker St, you will be in awe of the size, variety and beauty of the various headstones and monuments erected to honour the deceased. It should be noted that the cemetery is divided into portions assigned to various faiths.

If you enter from Walker St, through the main gate, you will note the abundance of Celtic Crosses on the left of the avenue.

This is one of the Catholic portions of the cemetery. Cemetery symbols

To your right is an Anglican section. Crosses predominate throughout the cemetery, as one would expect, historically.  There are two quaintly named “Non-Christian” portions which are quite small.

Amongst the larger and more spectacular monuments, several motifs stand out apart from the crosses.

Angels, of course, are common and of varying styles. Look out for the Archangels Michael, with a sword and Gabriel, with a horn or trumpet. Angels may fly, symbolizing the departure of the soul, or crying in grief. Cherubs are often used to show the deceased was a child.

There are many monuments that feature an obelisk or stele. This is a square spire tapering towards the top, with a distinctive pyramid shape at the point. They are quite ancient symbols of power and achievement.

Occasionally, the monument will be topped by a column that appears broken off. This is deliberate. The broken column, again, symbolizes a life cut short and is usually a sign that the deceased died quite young.

Cemetery Symbols

As you continue to ramble amongst the graves, note the number of monuments topped by urns. Maryborough Cemetery has quite a few of them.

Some argue the urn symbolizes immortality, but it is probable that the urn motif is a remembrance of an earlier time when cremation was more common than burial.

The word urn comes from the Latin “uro” which means “to burn”. The purpose of the urn was to hold the ashes, and which echo the Biblical reference in Genesis, to the dust we humans intrinsically are.

Many of the urns are draped with a cloth. This is the shroud, another ancient motif associated with death. From the earliest times and across many faiths, the body was wrapped in a cloth before interment.

The cemetery in Maryborough also contains at least one crypt and several raised tombs.

What would you like on your tombstone?

What’s with the pissoir in Clochemerle?

When I was a boy, I think my mother had a problem with toilets. Not the functions but the architecture.

Mum was quite “distressed” by the outhouse, which was situated some 10 metres from the house, out in the back yard.

Hence, the one horror story she recounted of my early childhood was that I would habitually knock on the outhouse door, while she was in there, and ask, rather loudly, “Mum, what are you doing?”

I was an otherwise perfect child if the lack of other or worse stories were any indication. I was inquisitive.

Equally, I remember her anguish and annoyance when a BBC production of a French story, Clochemerle, appeared on our television guide.

Clochemerle was a farce, originally political, which, I suspect, the BBC funded as a shot at the French.

It involved a small French town in the Beaujolais region, which put in a public urinal, a “pissoir”, in the town square, outside the Catholic Church.

Mum mumbled imprecations against the BBC for weeks.

They’re funny things toilets, aren’t they? More funny peculiar than funny Ha!Ha!; though not if you’re a little boy of a certain age or, sometimes, not so young.

In a way though, they define civilisation. The earliest sewer systems known were in the Indus Valley; a technology present in almost every house in the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro more than 8000 years ago. The Romans had them.

More than 5000 years ago the dwellings at Skara Brae, in the Orkney Islands, were all connected by a sewerage system.

All that c@%$

I would like to clear up one misconception before I sign off. It is an urban myth that the flushing toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper.

Though he held patents on numerous toilet-related inventions, Thomas did not invent the flushing toilet.

His greatest claim to fame is that he invented and patented the ball cock system that made flushing toilets more efficient and is still in use today.

The wily amongst you will no doubt have discerned another connection between Mr Crapper and toilets.

Yes, it does seem that a form of his name has come down to us in a colloquial term for the function one performs when using the toilet.

As with all things, there is some debate about this but let us leave the topic entirely, as, I’m sure, my mother would have wished.


Clochemerle, loos and all that … first published in the Maryborough Herald, 24 June 2020. 




















Mortuary chapel, the nucleus of M’boro Cemetery

Have you ever been to the Maryborough Cemetery; the Monumental Cemetery, south of Walker St?

Of course, you have! However, if you have visitors and you’re looking for something interesting on a balmy afternoon, there’s no better place to visit.

Apart from the forest of beautiful and interesting monuments and headstones, when you arrive, your eyes will be drawn to the Mortuary Chapel.

This is the handsome structure in the centre of the “old” cemetery.

Once again, a building in our midst boasts interesting and talented antecedents.

The Queensland Heritage Register describes the “chapel” building type as rare and the structure itself, with a tower and four entrances over a central axis as unique in Queensland.

Bravo! There’s a reason this piece of our heritage is so ­special.

Work of architect Willoughby Powell

As with the various buildings, mentioned in the Maryborough Herald on May 7, attributable to Francis Drummond Greville Stanley, the Mortuary Chapel is the work of ­another distinguished Queensland Colonial architect.

This time it is Willoughby Powell who arrived in Queensland in 1872, and by 1875, had won a competition for the ­design of the Toowoomba Grammar School.

In 1882, he moved to Maryborough and set up his own practice here.

Apart from his design for the cemetery chapel, he was the “genius” who gave us ­Baddow House; one of the classic heritage private homes of Queensland.

Alas, Powell moved back to Brisbane in 1885, but went on to design important buildings across the length of Queensland.

Among his other achievements are Gabbinbar Homestead, Toowoomba Town Hall, Warwick Town Hall and the Atkinson & Powell Building in Townsville.

For more details, visit the Queensland Heritage Register at

Mortuary Chapel story first published in the Maryborough Herald, 18 May 2020

Who was Francis Stanley?

Francis Drummond Greville Stanley. That’s a name to conjure. “Who was he?”, many of you may ask and yet you will all know his work.

Colonial architect Francis Stanley

Francis Drummond Greville Stanley

Francis Stanley was born in Edinburgh in 1839 and came to Queensland in 1860 or thereabouts.

He was an Edinburgh trained architect and began work with the Lands Department. He rose to be the chief colonial architect in 1871.

The recently refurbished and opened Maryborough Story Bank, the birthplace of Mary Poppins’ author, Pamela Travers, began life as the Australian Joint Stock Bank (AJS Bank) and was designed by Stanley.

St Mary's Catholic Church, Maryborough

He also designed the Maryborough Court House, St Paul’s Anglican Church, in Adelaide St and had a hand in completing the design and extension of St Mary’s Catholic Church (pictured).

He was a significant contributor to the heritage Maryborough now boasts. His role in the city’s local heritage is echoed throughout Queensland.

The AJS Bank commissioned him to design branch buildings in Gympie, Mackay, Ravenswood and Townsville. He also designed St Mary’s Convent, now the museum, in Cooktown, in Far North Queensland, and the Brisbane GPO and Fort Lytton, in Moreton Bay, as well.

Architect of lighthouses

Stanley’s skill and taste are not just to be found in his public buildings, though.

He designed the Capricorn Light on Curtis Island, north of Gladstone and others along the coast.

The original light was a prefab structure of wood and iron, built in Brisbane, and was only the fifth lighthouse built in Queensland.

As we celebrate the beauty of our heritage, it is worthwhile to remember the humble public servant who designed them for us.


First published in the Maryborough Herald, 7 May 2020. 

Maryborough Story Bank

Maryborough Story Bank, the birthplace of Mary Poppins author, P. L. Travers, was designed by Francis Stanley.















Maryborough Courthouse

Maryborough Courthouse, Queensland, designed by Francis Stanley.