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4 Jul 2010

Half A Day At South Bank

After 3 weeks of saying I would do it, I finally made it to South Bank yesterday. (Dean, are you listening?). We walked to QPAC and were about to head towards the man-made beach and the markets, when the husband pointed to me a building with a large butterfly on it. The Insectarium level of the Queensland Museum at South Bank. Off we went to check it out.

The Mutt, thanks to wikipedia
We started off on level 2, for that's where we were, with the usual museum-ish stuff like old coins, museum store, a large skeleton of the Muttaburrasaurus Langdoni. The name of this dinosaur comes from the place where it was first found 'Muttaburra' and the man who first found the partial skeleton Doug Langdon. I looked and it and though, "Boy, is it huge", for when I stood  near it, I barely reached up to his belly. Girl behind me is arguing with her boyfriend, "I don't think this is real, it can't be this small". Small? Alright, time to move on.

We walked further down into the world of absolutely beautiful, natural colours and combinations like we had never seen before! The Insectarium with the butterfly, moth and beetle collections of the Butterfly Man of Kuranda, Fredrick Parkhurst Dodd (popularly known as F P Dodd) and his son Alan P Dodd. The exhibition displays 28 beautifully arranged showcases of butterflies, moths and beetles, collection over a period of time from 1917 through to the 1960s. The butterflies are mounted with such perfection and in such a lovely arrangement that one must marvel not only at the patience with which Dodd and his children collected the species but the creativity and patience involved in preparing the showcases. It is no wonder that banker Dodd quit to focus fully on his love for these collections. Until I saw this exhibition (which, I later found out, was a temporary one and not always on display... lucky me), I had never known butterflies existed in so many varieties and most definitely not moths!! Moths in my head, until yesterday, conjured pictures of ugly brown butterfly-like insects. Not any more. The beetles! Jewels. That's what they looked like. There is even an exhibit with 4 beetles in a case, labelled after each of the musicians. 

One of the cases of the beetle collection, courtesy the museum's website
Then, there was the miscellaneous collection of items ranging from fire engines from various decades, bikinis, ceramics, air-planes and just about anything the Queenslanders feel proud of. Another floor up, an amazing number of animals, birds and sea creatures. I never even knew there were so many kinds of those. In Queensland alone? No joking! Then, the exhibits of artefacts created/used by the aboriginals. 

A good couple of hours later, our grumbling stomachs forced us to leave the museum and we left, having covered just level 2 and one of two wings on level 3. There is still levels 1, half of 3 and 4 to cover. Another day. Looking forward to it. 

We walked past QPAC, the Wheel and arrived at the weekend Lifestyle Market of South Bank. The walk-way is pleasant, made especially to protect us from the summer sun, it appears. Called The Arbour, it's touted as one of the attractions of South Bank. The streets were lined with stores, restaurants and fancy places - again, to visit another day. Today, we walked on the side with the food-court, watched the ibises by the flowing water. As we arrived at the man-made beach (Yes Dean, you're right, it is a joke), we hit a crowd of people waiting for a street-performer to being his show. 

The Arbour, courtesy the South Bank website
Steve from Adelaide, was one heck of a street-performer. Have not seen others, so I cannot tell whether his performance was out of the world but it was definitely engaging. He was a great speaker, simply fantastic at getting himself a reasonable sized crowd and making everyone laugh. We went there for a peek and ended up staying till the end. For once, my husband did not want to leave (his usual refrain at such events is, "I'm bored, let's get out of here"). He juggled 3 fire torches, then 4 and finally 5. My favourite was when he balanced on top of a tall ladder, without support, juggled a fire torch, a large knife and an apple, as he took bites out of the apple and talked to the crowd encouraging them to cheer. As if his cheeky comments and sarcastic sense of humour was not enough, he met his match in a little 6 yr old Tess who almost stole his show. "Shut up, it's my show", he said. 

Five dollars poorer after the show, we took a peek at the "man-made beach", and shot off to The Crepe Cafe for some beer and snacks. A beef & mushroom crepe and tomato-mushroom omelette later, we walked back home along the river. The lights reminded us of Clarke Quay in Singapore, only we liked this better. It was 11 degrees and awesome for a walk. Back to Queen Street Mall, the familiar crowd, past the painter beginning to set up his show, down the usual stores unusually open late on weekends, a pit stop at a couple of troopers... we arrived at home. A book, sandwich and cop show later, blissful sleep.

What's on for tomorrow?


  1. Steve was busking - just learned that it's what it's called.

  2. For a change buddy! I was getting worried if you have taken up philosophy these days... You have at least got something good to write now... Btw, you have posed a lot of questions in your previous blogs... I am confused :S