My recent visit to my homeland from my life here in Minneapolis took place in that window of time between the end of my working for TRUST Meals on Wheels and the start of my chaplain residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. It was a perfect time to return to Australia for six weeks and visit family and friends.
It was also the latest time in the year I've returned home since relocating to the U.S. in 1994. The last time I experienced an Australian winter was in 2006, when I returned in May of that year and stayed for eight months as I awaited the successful completion of my Green Card application.
That all seems a long time ago, I must say. And of course, since then, I've made many trips back and forth from the U.S. and Australia. (See, for instance, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
Above: My parents, Gordon and Margaret Bayly, at the kiosk on Town Beach, Port Macquarie – August 2017.
During this trip home I did a lot less traveling around the country visiting people. Most of my time was spent in Guruk (a.k.a. Port Macquarie) with my parents. This felt important to do this time back home. Hopefully next time back I'll catch up with my sister-in-law and nephews in Melbourne and my good friends in Queensland and in the Albury Wodonga region of New South Wales.
Above: Mum, enjoying the (winter) sun and sea at the south end of Town Beach.
Above: Also at the south end of Town Beach is the little rock platform I love so much! To find out why, click here and here.
Right: Cormorants, taking in the winter sunshine.
Above: Mum and Dad with my niece Layne and her boyfriend Jack.
Above: With Mum and Dad and their friends Bob and Daphne – Friday, August 18, 2017.
Above, right, and below: On my last evening in Guruk, August 19, I spent time on Shelly Beach.
Earlier that day I watched the sunrise on Town Beach.
Here's an interesting little something about Shelly Beach . . .
For decades, Harry Thompson was the self-appointed custodian of Shelly Beach. The well-known local identity lived in a caravan on the beachfront and was dubbed the unofficial mayor of Shelly Beach.
Harry died in 2000. Now a unique beach sculptural park at Shelly Beach is dedicated to Harry's memory.
Artist Sue Bell created the spiral pathway and Stephen Killick and Stephen King produced the sculptures as functional artworks in tribute to Harry. Mrs Bell believes Harry would be pleased with the result.
"The project says a lot about him and his character."
She says the large totem is "very much like Harry", while all of the works capture his character. Beachgoers are greeted by a large totem of Harry wearing "mayoral robes" carved by Stephen Killick and Stephen King.
The sculptural park also includes two seats, a spiral pathway and a sculptural interpretation of Harry's famous caravan, which doubles as a picnic table.
For more about the art tribute to Harry Thompson, click here.
Above: The view from my parents' back door in Guruk. Isn't that moon just beautiful?
Above: With my good friend Garth in Sydney. This photo was taken on Monday, August 21, the day before I returned to the U.S.
Left: Enjoying a great Aussie beer and some of the best potstickers in Sydney. Yes, without doubt, Garth is an excellent connoisseur of the very best in food and drink!
For the previous posts in my "Australian Sojourn – Winter 2017" series, see:
• A Visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales
• Overcast Skies
• Austen and Australia
• Donald Trump: A View from Australia
• Photo of the Day – July 23, 2017
• Return to Guruk
• The Neoliberal Economic Doctrine: A View from Australia
• Guruk Seascapes, from Dawn to Dusk
• Good Mr. Dawes
• A Visit to Sydney's Taronga Zoo
• Journey to the Southern Highlands: Exeter and Mt. Alexandra
• Journey to the Southern Highlands: Bundanoon & Sunnataram Forest Monastery
• Journey to the Southern Highlands: Goulburn and Canberra
• In Coogee, A Very Special Birthday Celebration
• Return to Sydney
• A Visit to Gunnedah
• Guruk Sunrise
Images: Michael J. Bayly.