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Perspectives, Issue #019--Yasi has gone!
February 14, 2011

"Perspectives" - Yasi Has Gone!

Tropical cyclone Yasi came and went last week. This much anticipated and willful low-pressure weather system was tracked, over the course of five days or so, from Fiji as it headed in its purposeful yet erratic fashion towards the North Queensland coast.

Having experienced many tropical cyclones in North Queensland and the North-West of Western Australia I knew the ‘drill’ and made the necessary preparations as Yasi approached, heading straight for Port Douglas.

However, media reports of huge tidal surges made one wonder how to prepare for a cyclone, when families ‘bunker down’ in the strongest, smallest room on the ground floor, as well as up to seven metres of tidal surge, when the only way to clamber is up.

But cyclones are notoriously unpredictable so, when it changed its mind and tracked south before crossing the coast near Mission Beach in the middle of the night last Wednesday, nobody was surprised.

Some locals who were forced to evacuate, because of their position close to the beach or in low-lying areas, chose to spend the night in resorts, where they were treated like royalty. Nothing was too much trouble for helpful staff, who themselves may well have been worrying about families at home. In many cases they were also charged less than half price; one would think that those businesses have gained life-long customers through their consideration and generosity.

Although greatly relieved that we had experienced only minimal damage and inconvenience, everybody feels for those at Tully, Cardwell, Dunk Island, Mission Beach and Innisfail, many of whom have lost their homes and businesses in very traumatic circumstances.

Website Updates

I am now in the process of changing the website to three columns. Have a look – and see what you think? Suggestions are very welcome. Old pages will either be deleted or archived, depending on past interest shown in them. Which do you think should be ‘retired’? Suggestions for new pages?

I am also improving and extending some artists’ pages, if they wish, to include extra information and images as well as a contact form that will go direct to them. So why not send them a friendly ‘hello’, ask them about their work – or even arrange to buy it if you just can’t resist!

At the very least if you like the work and the way that the web designer (me!) has written and arranged it, please click the Facebook ‘like’ button at the top of the page.

Here are new pages so far –

Judith Bohm-Parr’s glass workshops
Mary Ann Runciman’s oil paintings
Hoglunds Art Glass – collectors’ pieces and gifts
Anthony Henjel – oil paintings

These artists have already had some responses via the forms but it would be great if you could also help to ‘get the ball rolling’ by sending them a greeting.

Judith has recently returned from a round-Australia trip, and, having recovered from that, is looking forward to running her glass workshops, similar to the very successful ones that she held last year.

Marie and Ola Hoglund are still in New Zealand at their studio/gallery but will be back at their North Queensland gallery in late May. They are world leaders in their chosen craft and we are fortunate to have them as members of the art community here.

Mary Ann is currently in Adelaide but will be back in her Port Douglas studio soon – that is if she’s not off to Paris – can’t keep up with that girl!

Tony works quietly away in his Port Douglas studio – and has no travel plans that I know of! He has started portraits of some of the characters who frequent the marina and yacht club here and they will probably be exhibited at the marina later in the year.

Beautiful Art Spaces

In last month’s newsletter I mentioned that Port Douglas Artists, a group of four artists, whose work is quite diverse, had set up a studio/gallery in the Meridien Marina, as part of Cairns Regional Council’s Beautiful Art Spaces project.

All twelve shops are now occupied and displaying a great variety of wares, from photography, original clothing, hand-made jewellery and ‘objets d’art’ to paintings and prints, so if you are in the area, drop in for a look and a chat.

Michael Edwards is a recent addition to the Port Douglas Artists studio and has just returned from a trip to Emerald in Central Queensland to check on his gemstone mine and cottage there, after the recent floods. Michael makes elegant and classic, yet modern, silver or gold necklaces, earrings and bangles, some of which incorporate the gemstones which he mines, then cuts and polishes before setting. How special is that?

Yoshiko Kirby will open her new exhibition, 'Shuffling Cards on a Full Moon Night' at the Tablelands Gallery in Atherton on Friday March 4. The exhibition runs until April 3. Keep an eye on this insightful and prolific painter.


Having resisted and dismissed much personal social media as being trivial and time-wasting I have now seen the error of my ways and joined in!

At a professional level I have used Linked In for a while and find it interesting, interactive (of course, Silly Jilly) and informative.

But in the last few weeks I have learnt more about Facebook and see how well it works for networking at all levels. Here is my website facebook address if you would like to check it out or contribute –

If you become a friend of Art-Tropical on Facebook you will get up-to-the-minute info about mostly art related matters and you can tell us all about your activities (been to any great exhibitions, seen a fantastic show or film?).

I have also joined Twitter but am unsure about how relevant it could be. Perhaps if you are an experienced tweeter you could give me your opinion?

Your Pages

These pages, built especially for you, appear to be very popular, especially amongst artists and galleries wishing to publicise coming exhibitions and shows.

It’s free and you are very welcome to use any of the sections to show off recent artwork, write an article, share your painting tips, photographs or even haikus etc. You may even comment on others’ contributions, thus building a strong on-line arts community. Don’t be shy!

Tourism in North Queensland

Finally a word about the sensational, on-going media reports of natural disasters that have hit Queensland this year and their effect on our main industry, Tourism.

Cyclones are terrible, yes. But the resilience of people is such that, within a very short time, they have cleaned up and re-grouped, ready for the future.

There are exceptions, of course, such as the small towns of Tully and Mission Beach and Dunk Island where, I hear, the resorts will have to largely be re-built. But visitors can still enjoy day trips there or camp overnight. Communities desperately need the income that comes from Tourism.

It’s so strange, but the minute that adverse weather conditions, the sighting of a crocodile on a beach somewhere, a boating accident or even the mention of venomous snakes or mosquito borne diseases, are reported on television - bang! The cancellations roll in.

It is particularly frustrating for local operators when the reported disaster may be hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away! I am writing this in the marina studio so I thought that I would ask the throngs of people from a cruise ship, that arrived this morning, about their trip so far.

They have come from Sydney and are en route to Beijing. Only ten percent of their 2,700+ passengers are Australian, the majority having come from US or Europe. They have enjoyed four days smooth sailing to Port Douglas and are having a brilliant time – so there’s a ‘good news’ story!

Australia day Awards

Communities all over Australia work together for the common good. They help each other in good times and bad, with no thought of personal reward. So I am delighted to tell you of artist, Terry Johnson's recent Australia Day Award for his contribution to the Arts and to Youth. Well done, Terry!

A local Port Douglas identity, who has also been honoured for his community service, is James Watson. James is well known for his gardening efforts to beautify Council land and for his accounting help to not-for-profit groups. He also enjoys painting the flowers that he nurtures, so is making excellent use of his retirement years. We’re proud of you, James!

With good wishes to you all


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