Saturday, December 27, 2014

Last holidays in Australia

Last holidays in Australia


We can hardly believe that the year is almost over.  The holidays have flown by and now we are looking forward to a few days in Sydney and the new year.


For Thanksgiving, we had the camera gang to our house for dinner.  Lupe had gone to Sydney to be with her sister and daughter and grandson so we missed her, but the rest of the group was here.  We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal with everyone contributing to the dinner.  We even had turkey this year.  What a fun group to be with.  We couldn’t have asked for a more congenial group with which to serve the last six months of our mission.  We love them dearly.


Next came a Christmas party for the mission office staff (we were included since we live in the area) at the Sister Sister’s flat.  Dede Cox and Adriane Higginson are actually sisters (also Paul Cannon’s sisters) so everyone calls them Sister Sisters.  Their flat was beautifully decorated for Christmas.  We enjoyed dinner and charades.


The need to purchase gifts for the Senior’s Dinner kept us in town one evening.  After finding our prizes and a quick dinner at Victoria Marketplace, we headed to the decorated area of town.  Melbourne doesn’t decorate much with lights, but they have fun decorations.  Since we are on daylight savings time and it is almost summer, the nights stay light until almost 9 pm.  The Melbourne Town Hall had these huge soldiers standing outside and down one block was a small park which had the Christmas tree and other fun things for the children.


Over 300 missionaries here for the Missionary Christmas Conference.  What a fun day that was.  Talents were shared, then a movie (How to Train Your Dragon 2), lunch, then a Christmas program in the chapel.  Finally came passing out gifts sent from parents and family to the missionaries.  Almost every room in the stake center was used to organize the gifts.  During the movie, Marv was out talking to the kitchen staff and met the lady, Sis. Harkness, who started the digitizing of records at the Melbourne Archives.  How nice it was to meet her.

Getting ready for the talent show.

Setting up for lunch.

Sis. Madden and Cox

Elder Freeman and Sis. Pulu

All the camera operators and Sis. Harkness

We also have sang for the Heidelberg Stake Christmas program and the Gippsland Stake program at Narre Warren.


Mark Kelly, our boss from Sydney, came to Melbourne and took all of us to lunch as his Christmas gift to us.  We didn’t get a good picture.


Waiting on our door step one evening was a Christmas present from our son Keith.  It was a large arrangement and lots of fruit.  We have really enjoyed it.


Christmas Eve day and into the kitchen we went.  Marvin made two bubble wreaths, one to take to a dinner invitation that evening and one for Christmas day BBQ at the beach.  I learned how to cut, de-vein, and clean prawns.


Christmas day was spent in Torquay at the beach.  We found a park across the street from the beach which made BBQing and setting up very convenient.  All the camera operators were with us except Lupe who was having Christmas with her niece. The following pictures are of our Christmas experience, an Aussie Christmas BBQ.

Elder Jim Freeman

A nice walk on the beach

Elder and Sis Dillingham

Sis. Dillingham, Madden, and Freeman

When the BBQ doesn't work, move to the hot plate.


On the following day, Boxing Day, Marv and I decided to drive to Ballarat.  We didn’t have enough time to go through Sovereign Hill, a mining reconstruction area, ($40 each) so we went to the Botanical Gardens and Lake (free!) and enjoyed the gardens then had a light lunch/dinner in town. 

Inside the Conservatory

One big fat wierd tree

This has been an amazing year with accomplishing so much in Hobart and in Melbourne for FamilySearch.  We have seen and visited beautiful areas in Tasmania and Victoria. We have made wonderful friends whom we love dearly and will miss when it is time to return home.  We have grown in the gospel and have been amazed at the testimonies and abilities of these young missionaries.  We have enjoyed the miracles which are continuing to happen as the gospel is shared with so many.  Sadly, only 7% of Australians are actively involved in religion.  But there are many Chinese and other Asian people who are recognizing the truth and joining the Church.  Many Chinese families send their children to the universities here in AU, where the missionaries are teaching them.  We have six Chinese missionaries from the same branch in mainland China serving here.  We have learned that the Church is growing very quickly in India and Pakistan.  Truly the Lord is hastening His work and we are so glad to be a part of it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

First month in Melbourne

One nice thing about being in Melbourne is that there are other senior missionaries with whom we associate.  The six we work with at the archive celebrate birthdays and they had my work area decorated on my birthday.  We brought in a yummy cheesecake and shared it at lunch.

The Dillinghams attend the Caulfield ward and have become friends with an actress who was playing the part of Fantine in Les Miserables which is playing here in Melbourne.  She let them know about “rush” tickets, or tickets which have not been sold on the day of performance.  So, the Dillinghams and Sis. Madden and us decided to go downtown and see if we could get them for that evening.  We were able to get them for $45 each, regularly $110.  The performance was wonderful and we appreciated the fact that even in live professional performances, sometimes they forget to turn the mics on when actors are speaking.  While waiting in line to get our tickets, we talked to a lady standing in front of us and she recommended a Chinese place for dinner, The Golden Orchid, which was just around the corner.  We decided that was fine so we walked around the corner and were so surprised to see China Town.  We had one of the best Chinese dinners we have eaten.  We will definitely have to have a repeat performance of that meal.

And on the other end of the “good food”scale, there is McDonald’s, but in Australia, everyone calls it Macca’s.  I guess the owners decided to go along with the crowd and hung a Macca’s sign.

We are working on a huge project which is wills and probates.  All four cameras are working on this and have been since last February.  We found the “Rust” name in several places in Tasmania, but here was the first “Dockery” name we have found.  (Kay’s maiden name.)

A P-day in the Dandenong Mt. Range found us at Grant’s picnic grounds where you can feed the birds.  Last time we were here (2008) most of the birds were the colorful parrots.  This time, most were the cockatoos.  There is now a specific area to feed the birds.  You must pay for a dish of food and go into an enclosed area.  However, we found that if you stand outside the area and hold out your arms, the birds come to you anyway.  You are not allowed to feed them (penalties apply) but the birds don’t seem to notice if you have food or not.

We had to stop at Miss Marples for a late lunch and thoroughly enjoyed these delicious desserts.  No one went away hungry!

We came to Melbourne at the most beautiful time of year as roses are blooming everywhere.  These are in front of our house, and are only some of the roses around the front and side yards.

Marvin and I decided on a day in the city, and we wanted to see where we were in 2008.  We remembered we crossed the Yarra River and walked along the pedestrian area next to the river.  As we exited the Flinders Train Station, there was the river.  It was not the same area (we didn’t walk down that far), but we were in the general area.  We walked across the “love” bridge and saw the locks which lovers had locked onto the bridge.  What a nice tradition.

This week, two of the archive staff members came to our rooms to announce that the Victorian Archive Center had received the coveted community award for volunteers.  This is an award which is given each year to a company who uses volunteers to give service to the community.  The companies must apply for the recognition and there was stiff competition.  The archive uses about 150 volunteers, but we were told that about 90% of the service has come from our 3 rooms where we are digitizing records.  As a group, we are digitizing an average of 40,000 records each week.

  We are happy to be here and are glad to provide that service to the good people of Australia.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Transfer completed

We are now settled in Melbourne.  So this is how we spent the last two weeks.  Since we couldn't "strike the set" in Hobart until we received our audit report from Salt Lake, we decided to set off to the west coast of Tasmania.

This was our last file to digitize.  It almost felt like the last day of school, when there is no more to do.

So off we went to Ross where there is a historical town with a wool store and crafts (all homemade).  This is one of the beautiful churches made from stone, probably by the convicts.  They were "hired" to do many of the beautiful stone work in Tasmania.

The stone bridge over the river constructed by --you know who.

 In Campbell Town there is a park where a sculpturer carved these intrique sculptures from the existing tree trunks.  These are wonderful.  Sorry that the pictures don't do them justice.

An interesting sign above the public toilet.  I guess this is for visitors who aren't used to western toileting skills.

Our ward farewell party at the Blackwell's home.

Ward members singing to us.  They are a wonderful group of people who we have come to love very much.

Can't leave Hobart without visiting the Cadbury factory, especially since it is located in our hometown of Claremont.  They had a very interesting video of how chocolate is made.  And ofcourse we left with a bag full of samples.

Just a very small part of the Cadbury store.  Everything in here was chocolate.

On our way to Strahan, we stopped at Derwent Bridge to visit this museum call The Wall.  Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside of this amazing building, where the artist has these huge wooden sculptures.  We did buy the book which has pictures of his work, but even pictures won't depict the grandear of what he has accomplished.

A stop at Lake St. Clair and the visitors center and we parked across from this van.  These people must really be "greens".  The whole van was covered with fake grass.  Notice the "eye lashes" on the headlights.

One of the waterfalls and rivers on the way to Strahan.

Hogarth Falls after a short walk in the rain forest in Strahan.

A lovely dinner in Strahan (a very small community).  It is so small we waited about an hour to receive our food.  There weren't very many in the restaurant, but there was only two cooks.  Dinner was very good.

On our way up the Gordon River.  It was raining off and on, so we caught a quick pictures as the clouds parted.

Up on the River, we stopped for a nature walk.  If you notice on the tree truck, there is a horizontal fungus plate.  These grow on the tree trunks and we had seen them in other rainforest areas in Tasmania.

Part of the River tour, we stopped at Sarah Island.  This island is where the worst of the second offenders were send before Port Arthur was build to hold prisoners.  It was said to be the worst place anyone would want to be.

The entrance to the Macquarie Bay and Gordon River from the Southern Ocean.

Because the entrance had lots of silt, and was very shallow, "they" (whoever that was) dug a channel  at a depth that ships could get through.  They had to pass through the narrow area which is on the left of the little island in the picture.  Our tour boar took us through that area and out into the ocean for a look.

Cradle Mountain, a rainy day and quite cold, but a beautiful area.  We never really got a good look at the mountain since the clouds kept moving over it.  

The "strike down" begins.  Just the black fabric is removed in this picture.  It has been our home away from home away from home.  We will miss it.

Our sweet neighbors took us out to dinner to Mt. Nelson Signal Station, where there is now a restaurant.  A beautiful view of the bay and islands around Hobart.

Our dear neighbor, Jan, supervises our loading of the car which we switched with the Huon sisters.  The mission wanted that car back in Victoria.  We were loaded and very grateful for the racks on top of the car, as we would not have been able to bring most of the "stuff' from the flat to help supply the new house.

A quick stop at Catarack Gorge in Launceston.  That would have been a delightful place to picnic and spend a warm afternoon.

The lake at Catarack Gorge.

Sailing on the Spirit of Tasmania.  Our ship which we loaded at Devonport, Tasmania

Boarding the ship.

Through the rainy windscreen (not shield in AU), you may be able to see the cars that were loaded first and are lifted up on a rack so that more cars can be parked underneath.  We were lucky.  We ended up going to the right and being parked at the exit ramp, so we were the first car off the ship when we arrived in Melbourne at 6:30 am.

Our tiny state room.  The trip over was rough.  Weather was bad and we were awakened several times during the night by waved hitting the ship.  But atleast we were able to stretch out and get some sleep.

Our arrival at the mission office in Melbourne.

Almost one year ago to the day, we arrived in Melbourne from USA.  Elder and Sister Wolfinden took us to the Rododendrin Gardens, so here we are for our one year anniversary to Australia.  They were in their splender as was a year ago.

And as we did last year, we had lunch at Miss Marples Tea Room in Sassafras.  This is the cutest restaurant right out of the stories from Agatha Christy.

We had a light lunch so we could have dessert, but were overwhelmed when we saw what they brought us.  Marvin had bread pudding and I had chocolate cake with fudge and custard.  Ohhhhhh, they were good.

Miss Marples Tea Room.  We just loved it.

We stopped in a puppet shop across the street from the tea room.  It was filled with puppets hanging from the ceiling and toys.

Home sweet home.  Well, not yet.  Home yes, but there are plumbing issues which have not been addressed yet.  The plumber is coming next week to fix leaks in the kitchen sink and bathroom faucet and to replace the hot water faucet in the laundry room.  So we are doing cold water laundry.  But it is a nice house, 3 bedroom, 2 lounge areas (living room and family room), a really weird toilet area off the laundry room, lots of roses in the front and back yards.  It will be home for 5 more months.

We have a neighbor on the south of us who is taking the missionary lessons.  She met the Wardles, who are over the flats for the mission and she is a new Christian and is looking for the truth.  She is a single adult of about 30 years old.  Hopefully we will be good missionaries to her too.