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Maleny Dairies

Behind the concept of ‘From Paddock to Plate’

In putting pen to paper on the subject of “from Paddock to Plate” I have to confess that like Me Too, crowd funding, toxic masculinity, search engine optimisation, butler’s pantries and pelvic floors, I had only the vaguest idea of the concept behind the name of what “from Paddock to Plate” really means. We live in a digital society where we are bombarded through social media with the latest concepts, fashions and hip words. So often we lack the time to take on board any form of real understanding. It would seem we have achieved the intellectual vibrancy of day time television! We are transfixed on what sort of world will we leave to our children at the expense of what sort of children will we leave to our world. All of which brings me back to the concept of “from Paddock to Plate” and my ignorance of the thought behind the idea. Initially you could envisage someone with a shotgun from Goodna stomping across a field in pursuit of aeronautically challenged birds seeking to transform them into puffs of white feathers from which to extract a riddled carcass for consumption at home. A very basic if both noisy and messy concept of from paddock (to pot) to plate and unlikely to be broadly adopted. It then occurred to me that the essence of the concept might well be the simplicity of it. The idea of going forth at sunrise naked to stalk a lettuce in the kitchen garden, throw […]

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Mary Cairncross xylophone creates summer frog symphony

An ingenious new xylophone that utilises the sounds of the various frogs found at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, allowing visitors to play their own “summer frog symphony” has been opened at the reserve’s Discovery Centre.  When played like an everyday xylophone – or Gaya-Phone in honour of the traditional local Jinibara word for frog – it emits the sounds made by sixteen local frog species.  The Gaya-Phone has two key settings, utilising the sounds of eight of the frogs as they are resting and then the other eight as they sing. There is a third setting that utilises the sounds of the Tusked frog, which has been changed to different tones, so users can actually play it like a musical instrument.  The display includes photos of the frogs as well as phonetic spellings of the sounds they make – for example, the “pluck pluck pluck” of the tusked frog, “kraaaaaawk” of the Orange-eyed tree frog, the “tuk tuk tuk” of the Striped marsh frog and more.  The display complements an existing bird wall in the main Discovery Centre hall, which allows visitors to press different buttons to hear the calls of native birds at the reserve.  Another new attraction at the centre is two new telescopes, so visitors can get a closer look at the Glass House Mountains.  Both the telescopes and the Gaya-Phone were funded by the gold coin donations paid by visitors to the Discovery Centre.  Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve includes a wide array or attractions, from the tranquil and easy walks through the subtropical rainforest that is the centrepiece of the 55-hectare reserve, through to lovely picnic grounds – complete with barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, expansive lawn and play equipment […]

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Interior of Art on Cairncross 4

Fine Original Art

There is a strong history of fine original art on the Blackall Range. Inspired by the outstanding natural beauty, many professional artists have chosen to live in the area and so there is a wealth of art and galleries to be found in the region. ‘Art on Cairncross’ has a reputation for showing a remarkable diversity of visual art from professional artists with substantial careers. The exceptional quality is apparent, from the unique style of senior painter Rex Backhaus-Smith depicting the very essence of the outback to the exquisite porcelain works by internationally renowned ceramicist Johanna De Maine, many of which feature her interpretations of the Glasshouse Mountains. There are finely executed watercolours, delicate bronze bird sculptures, elegant marble sculptures by Fiona McCarron and breathtaking still life paintings by Ian Mastin. But the works become even more enthralling with Michael Taylor’s leather mask sculptures and Steve Thompson’s steampunk pieces. These are a few examples from the stable of 42 artists in the gallery, where each month finds a different feature or exhibition to be experienced in one room and the eclectic mix across the rest of the space.  The levels of creativity and craftsmanship make this a destination gallery, as many have discovered in their over 23 years in business, but directors Tony Gill and Jane Caraffi still pride themselves on ensuring that their service is of an equally high standard. “We believe strongly in our role as the artists’ representatives and love to share the stories behind each work of art…because that is another important aspect of every piece being individual” says Tony. […]

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Maleny Botanic Gardens

Explore boutique shops, markets, galleries and so much more 

One of the attractions of a getaway in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland is the opportunity for some unique shopping experiences. Come on up for a day or stay for a week and you will fill your days with ease.   Montville is famous for the many artisan shops and the ideal place to find a huge range of unique handcrafted goods.    There is something for everyone, from admiring and choosing clothing from some beautiful boutiques owned and managed by creative designers, browsing in wonderful galleries showcasing stunning works of art, to discovering cute and quirky specialty shops for gifts and souvenirs.   Wood and glass feature strongly in the work of Hinterland artists and retail outlets offer a beautiful range of work.  Here we are spoilt for choice and both local and overseas visitors are sure to find a gift or memento that reminds them of their visit to the Hinterland.  Antique lovers and those seeking unique and special home wares will also find they have much to entertain them.  Those who shop with a social conscience will find stores that support local craftspeople and growers as well as overseas orphanages.   Maleny is a great place for shopping in its many boutique gift and craft shops. Home to many authors and book shops, the town is an interesting place to pick up the latest copy of your favourite author, or something from one of the locals and sit in a café and watch the world go by.  The Hinterland has a wealth of […]

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The Hand Crafters of the Hinterland

When someone mentions “handcrafted” my mind immediately springs to the imagined character of those involved. “Handmade” or “handcrafted” has a real sense of individual contribution. In my imagination I conjure up dedicated artisans in remote cottages hunched over peat fires in the Hebrides with outside toilets, horizontal driving rain, subsisting on dried fish and whiskey, with questionable standards of personnel hygiene and an unhealthy attraction to stocky damp hairy cattle with horns.  The Hinterland has an enviable reputation for handmade and handcrafted items which correctly reflects its artistic heritage. Alas there are to my knowledge no peat fires here. The food is just brilliant, we wash frequently and drink our fine wine and handcrafted beer even more frequently.   I have always hoped that the crafts person of yore, the “hand maker” of fiction, might just be still lurking in the bowels of Booloumba or the wilderness of Witta. Take for example the Woodcarver. I picture a shingle clad cottage with ageing timber slabs against the wall. Moss covered apple trees, a stone hearth and an old man with a profusion of white hair, wispy beard, leather apron and hands like ancient tree roots endlessly whittling with pipe in mouth. He wears a yellow waist coat to match the colour of his teeth. On his shoulders it is sawdust not dandruff and there is a strong smell of linseed oil and French polish. He sits knee deep in wood shavings carving cuckoo clock cases.  Then there’s the visual Artists. To be an acceptable visual Artist in the “Handcrafted” idiom you need a garret and we don’t seem to have plentiful garrets in the Hinterland. Also you need a paint- besmirched smock and to be in the final stages of consumption. It is essential that you imbibe significant quantities of Absinthe, a 19th century drink of the ‘artistic set’ with an alcohol content that makes you lose arguments […]

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Holiday Ideas in the Hinterland

If you are stuck for ideas of how to keep the family entertained during the holiday season you may want to consider a couple of fantastic natural destinations located right here in the Hinterland.  Ewen Maddock Dam is located in the picturesque Mooloolah Valley and is only about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane.   To get there simply take the Landsborough Exit off the Bruce Highway and then turn onto Steve Irwin Way. Follow this road along and then take the Mooloolah Connection Road and in no time you have reached your destination.    Work on the dam began in 1976 and in 1982 the 660 metre-long dam was constructed across Addlington Creek. The dam was named after Ewen Maddock who was one of the first European settlers who pioneered the area.  Once at the dam, you can enjoy a raft of outdoor activities including fishing, swimming, bushwalking and kayaking, as well as a selection of excellent trails which are ideal for horse riding and mountain biking which are all located beneath the spectacular Glass House Mountains.  Ewen Maddock Dam is also a fantastic place for picnics and barbeques as well as being the perfect spot for birthday parties, weddings and family get togethers.  After you have explored all that Ewen Maddock Dam has to offer you could drive up the range towards Maleny and visit Gardner’s Falls.  To get to Gardener’s Falls, turn off of Landsborough-Maleny Road onto Obi Creek Road. Follow Obi Creek Road to the car parking area. From here, there is a sealed path that follows the Obi Obi river and leads you right to the falls.  When you get to […]

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Discover untamed beauty in the Hinterland

If you enjoy breathtaking maintain scenery, clean air and hiking in unspoilt wilderness, your next trip to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland would not be complete without a visit to the Glass House Mountains.  The Glass House Mountains is a group of eleven hills that rise majestically from the coastal plain on the Sunshine Coast.  The highest mountain is Mount Beerwah which is 556 meters above sea level but the most notable peak is Mount Tibrogargan which faces in an easterly direction looking out to sea.   Located about 70km north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway, take the Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive exit and follow the signs to the Glass House Mountains.  The area was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 whilst sailing north up Australia’s east coast and it’s believed that Cook gave the area the name of Glass House, because the mountains reminded him of glass-making furnaces in England.   The Glass House Mountains area was a special meeting place where local Aboriginal people gathered for ceremonies and trading.   This place is considered spiritually significant with many ceremonial sites still present and protected today.  The area around the mountains produces many tropical fruits such as avocados, pineapples and papaws as well as strawberries, vegetables and nuts but eco tourism is the area’s largest industry.  Whilst planning your journey, you can get all the information you need from the Glass House Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre.   This accredited Visitor Information Centre offers a one stop shop for travel information including maps, brochures, and itineraries.   The Centre is staffed by local volunteers who have […]

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The art of living well

Google “the art of living well” and you will end up with all manner of unhelpful philosophical quotes from the like of Aristotle and Epicurus. The statues of these antiquarians tell a tale of a life without prunes or basic roughage.   For example “The greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to obtain a state of tranquillity” which is fine if you are into “modest” and “tranquillity”.   For those of us seeking a bit of immodesty and self-indulgence the answer does not lie with the philosophers of old. Today’s world is all about pressure.   Let’s assume you have a partner and possibly a ‘noise with dirt’ (a boy) and a ‘sulk with an iPhone’ (girl). You have both done the heavy lifting to build a home and raise the family. Painfully you have come to realise you are not an LBGT, green, indigenous, muslin, minority refugee with a stuffed boat now working for the ABC and thus have little standing in Australia today.  For you discretionary time is at a premium. The weekends are an unpaid Uber blur of children’s sporting activities where you are probably paying for them to aspire to the standards of behaviour of a Nick Kyrgios.   If you plan to survive into dotage you need to schedule some down time. I can hear you saying that the family/job/pets would not survive without you. The reality is of course that the sun will continue to set, the moon will rise and Trump’s comb over will still be the biggest cover-up in the Whitehouse since Watergate.   So if you really want to embark on the discovery of “the art of living well” turn your mind to a calculated escape and discover that there is some sanity […]

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Great Walk Flaxton to Mapleton Falls

The Great Walk between Kondalilla Falls at Flaxton and the Mapleton Falls National Park could be described as the most challenging and also the most beautiful of all four sections of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s Great Walk.  This section of the Great Walk extends around 10.6 kilometres in total, which includes around 3.5km along mainly bitumen and concrete roadways and footpaths at the Kondalilla Falls carpark, along  Montville-Mapleton Road at Flaxton and 1.7km walking along Flaxton Mill Road until the track goes bush.  It’s also possible to park at the bottom of Flaxton Mill Road so as to skip the first “urban” section of the walk.  The 4.3km section of the walk from Flaxton Mill Road, down into Baxter Creek Valley and then back up toward Obi Obi Road at Mapleton, is perhaps the toughest physically of all sections of the Great Walk.  It includes a gradual-but-relentless zig-zagging descent as the track makes its way down toward Baxter Creek, before walkers cross a suspension bridge across the creek and then begin the journey back out of the valley and towards Mapleton.  It’s not hard to argue with the signage that suggests experienced walkers only should venture along the walk. While the tracks are very good, in some parts they are narrow, they include quite a number of steps, and can be slippery when wet. It’s a great workout for the lungs and thighs.  Walkers of moderate fitness should allocate around 2.5 hours to complete this 4.3km section, one way.    The walk is perhaps less popular that other more-publicised sections of the Great Walk like the section from Baroon Pocket Dam to Kondalilla Falls, as well as the shortest section that encompasses Mapleton […]

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