Archive for the New South Wales category

Geoff

By Jove, aren’t those Enfields?

New South Wales No Comment
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It was a bittersweet feeling, waking up these last few mornings of the adventure: on the one hand looking forward to going home, to sleeping in my own bed and having all the old familiar things around me, and knowing that, as always, I would miss getting up every morning, putting all my stuff on a motorbike and riding off down the open road in the early morning sun, not having a clue what the day would bring.

As this morning proved, for we had been on the road a mere half an hour when we spotted three Royal Enfields parked by the side of the road, as Enfields often are, since I knew only too well from having ridden one back to the UK from India, where they are still made, that the vagaries of old British bikes combined with Indian quality control created a machine on which even a trip to the shops was an adventure, although disturbing trends like electric start and a unit construction engine have more recently given them a disturbing reputation for reliability.

These ones turned out to be owned by Ian, Charles and Russell, who were making their way back from the Hutt River 40th anniversary, having ridden all the way across the Nullarbor to get there.

Naturally, since you can take the Enfield out of India but not India out of the Enfield, Charles had spent several days in Perth while most of his engine was rebuilt.

In a way, they were following in the honourable tradition of Winifred Wells, who in 1950 at the age of 22 rode an Enfield 350 all the way from Sydney to Perth and back on dirt roads at the height of summer, arrived back and announced that her machine hadn’t missed a beat, and was still alive and well at the age of 82.

How strange and wonderful it was, though, to watch them kick-start the bikes into life, to drink in the familiar heartbeat of the single cylinder engine, like the purr of a lion after eating a particularly satisfying wildebeest, and then to ride with them for the rest of the day, feeling for all the world as if I was back crossing the burning sands of Persia with Paddy Minne the world-famous Franco-Belgian motorcycle mechanic on two Enfields painted pillar box red and lemon yellow, on my first motorcycle adventure 12 years before.

At Nundroo, after a day of featureless plains, came the first signs of civilisation: wheat fields, little windmills pumping water from the soaks below, then farms and houses. Well, only one, to be honest, but you have to start somewhere.

Geoff

Red Carpet Time – Film Premieres on May 18 at NW200

New South Wales No Comment

Roll up for your tickets to the Premiere screening of the ‘Oz – Around Australia on a Triumph’  Film at the Portrush Playhouse on May 18th, 8pm.

Yes we have produced a special edit of the documentary for the NW200 crowd and look forward to screening it at the Playhouse Cinema on Wed May 18 (8&10pm) and all day Sunday May 22 (12,2,4,6,8,10pm).  Tickets will be available on the door prior to screening and there may be drinks promos and giveaways from Coca-Cola or Relentless too. So if you are planning to visit NW200 come along and check it out.

oz_flyer_front1-212x300

All at Adelaide Adventures are pleased to announce the arrival of the DVD of the trip, HURRAH, three and a half hours of motorcycle travel adventure goodness on one dual layer dvd disc – why wait, order it now by clicking through from the link to the right of screen.

Feedback from Amazon.co.uk has been great and the first five star reviews are out –

Excellent show! Move

The launch of Geoff and Colin’s book – Oz Around Australia on a Triumph, will take place tomorrow Wednesday November 24th at Adelaide Insurance HQ in Belfast complete with barbeque and much fanfare.

There is a link below to the Blackstaff Press website where you can secure your very own copy in time for Xmas. We will post a video blog from the book launch in the next few… Continue reading

And so Geoff and Colin arrive back home to the sirens of the motorcycle police flanked by a band of bikers from the Quay Vipers Club and to the strains of Waltzing Matilda playing under the shade of the Adelaide inflatable finish line. A fitting end to a scorching adventure marked in true style by our friends from Adelaide Insurance Services. You can check out the speechifying here and stayed…Continue reading

Geoff

The Film and DVD have arrived (and about time too)

New South Wales No Comment

All at Adelaide Adventures are pleased to announce the arrival of the DVD of the trip, HURRAH, three and a half hours of motorcycle travel adventure goodness on one dual layer dvd disc – why wait, order it now by clicking through from the link to the right of screen.

Feedback from Amazon.co.uk has been great and the first five star reviews are out –

Excellent show! Move over Palin and Mcgregor!,

This is a great purchase. I like motorcycle adventure programmes and
have always fancied a trip round Oz.
There was more history and culture about the country and interviews than
I expected but presented in a really informative way and enough about
bikes to keep me entertained. In fact the whole family ended up watching
it together.

The dvd is really good value for money and I look forward to checking out the book now though I suspect I may have seen the best bits already. Makes me want to emigrate to Oz (with my bike).

M. Ewings

Red Carpet Time – Film Premieres on May 18 at NW200

Roll up for your tickets to the Premiere screening of the ‘Oz – Around Australia on a Triumph’  Film at the Portrush Playhouse on May 18th, 8pm.

Yes we have produced a special edit of the documentary for the NW200 crowd and look forward to screening it at the Playhouse Cinema on Wed May 18 (8&10pm) and all day Sunday May 22 (12,2,4,6,8,10pm).  Tickets will be available on the… Continue reading

Hot off the Press…

The launch of Geoff and Colin’s book – Oz Around Australia on a Triumph, will take place tomorrow Wednesday November 24th at Adelaide Insurance HQ in Belfast complete with barbeque and much fanfare.

There is a link below to the Blackstaff Press website where you can secure your very own copy in time for Xmas. We will post a video blog from the book launch in the next few… Continue reading

The Homecoming

And so Geoff and Colin arrive back home to the sirens of the motorcycle police flanked by a band of bikers from the Quay Vipers Club and to the strains of Waltzing Matilda playing under the shade of the Adelaide inflatable finish line. A fitting end to a scorching adventure marked in true style by our friends from Adelaide Insurance Services. You can check out the speechifying here and stayed…Continue reading

Geoff

Hot off the Press…

New South Wales No Comment

The launch of Geoff and Colin’s book – Oz Around Australia on a Triumph, will take place tomorrow Wednesday November 24th at Adelaide Insurance HQ in Belfast complete with barbeque and much fanfare.

There is a link below to the Blackstaff Press website where you can secure your very own copy in time for Xmas. We will post a video blog from the book launch in the next few days.

http://www.blackstaffpress.com/ProductInfo.aspx?product=169

Roll up for your tickets to the Premiere screening of the ‘Oz – Around Australia on a Triumph’  Film at the Portrush Playhouse on May 18th, 8pm.

Yes we have produced a special edit of the documentary for the NW200 crowd and look forward to screening it at the Playhouse Cinema on Wed May 18 (8&10pm) and all day Sunday May 22 (12,2,4,6,8,10pm).  Tickets will be available on the… Continue reading

All at Adelaide Adventures are pleased to announce the arrival of the DVD of the trip, HURRAH, three and a half hours of motorcycle travel adventure goodness on one dual layer dvd disc – why wait, order it now by clicking through from the link to the right of screen.

Feedback from Amazon.co.uk has been great and the first five star reviews are out –

Excellent show! Move

And so Geoff and Colin arrive back home to the sirens of the motorcycle police flanked by a band of bikers from the Quay Vipers Club and to the strains of Waltzing Matilda playing under the shade of the Adelaide inflatable finish line. A fitting end to a scorching adventure marked in true style by our friends from Adelaide Insurance Services. You can check out the speechifying here and stayed…Continue reading

Geoff

The Homecoming

New South Wales No Comment

And so Geoff and Colin arrive back home to the sirens of the motorcycle police flanked by a band of bikers from the Quay Vipers Club and to the strains of Waltzing Matilda playing under the shade of the Adelaide inflatable finish line. A fitting end to a scorching adventure marked in true style by our friends from Adelaide Insurance Services. You can check out the speechifying here and stayed tuned for the book and the dvd coming out later this year, because you really haven’t heard the half of what went on — sign up for more updates by entering your email address on the homepage (if you haven’t already done so) and thanks so much for following Adelaide to Adelaide — the first of the Adelaide Adventures…A big thanks to all our sponsors and to everyone who helped us along the way.

The Adelaide Adventures Team.

Roll up for your tickets to the Premiere screening of the ‘Oz — Around Australia on a Triumph’  Film at the Portrush Playhouse on May 18th, 8pm.

Yes we have produced a special edit of the documentary for the NW200 crowd and look forward to screening it at the Playhouse Cinema on Wed May 18 (8&10pm) and all day Sunday May 22 (12,2,4,6,8,10pm).  Tickets will be available on the… Continue reading

All at Adelaide Adventures are pleased to announce the arrival of the DVD of the trip, HURRAH, three and a half hours of motorcycle travel adventure goodness on one dual layer dvd disc — why wait, order it now by clicking through from the link to the right of screen.

Feedback from Amazon.co.uk has been great and the first five star reviews are out —

Excellent show! Move

The launch of Geoff and Colin’s book — Oz Around Australia on a Triumph, will take place tomorrow Wednesday November 24th at Adelaide Insurance HQ in Belfast complete with barbeque and much fanfare.

There is a link below to the Blackstaff Press website where you can secure your very own copy in time for Xmas. We will post a video blog from the book launch in the next few… Continue reading

Geoff

It’s been the strangest of adventures, but next stop, the movie!

New South Wales No Comment

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It had, I thought that evening as we sat down in a pub in Clare to bangers and mash washed down with pints of foaming ale, been the strangest of adventures.

The previous ones, from Delhi to Belfast on an Enfield, Chicago to Los Angeles on Route 66 riding a Harley, and Chile to Alaska on a Triumph, had all involved a destination, but this time the destination had been exactly where we had started.

On the previous ones, too, I had written and filed a story and pictures every single day, whereas this time it had been a mere once a week to the Mirror and the Irish Times.

But to replace that pressure had been the pressure of filming, blogging, juggling a diminishing budget and dealing with the logistics and management of a larger team than before, including all the personality problems that involved. Like when we all had to sit down and have a good talk about staying positive.

Or when Paul the cameraman had arrived for the second half of the trip and found it almost impossible to cope with the demands of filming and driving all day in intense heat and humidity, yet gone on to overcome them in admirable fashion.

Or, indeed, coping with my own problems from being so far away from home for so long, struggling to keep my temper and patience at times, and struggling even harder with the daily battle we all face, that act of will to keep hope one step ahead of despair.

At lunchtime the next day, we finally rolled past the Adelaide city limits, and parked in exactly the same spot outside the same apartments we had left from.

There was even the same girl on reception, to add to the surreal sense that it had all been a dream.

Except for the fact that all afternoon I wandered around with my mouth open at sights I had not seen for the past three months.

Delicatessens! Day spas! Fashion shops! People wearing suits! Restaurants! And not just restaurants, but Thai, Mexican, Indian, Tibetan, Kashmiri and Nepalese ones.

Geoff

The tragic tale of Harry the psychotic camel

New South Wales No Comment

dsc00441-225x300At Nundroo, after the featureless plains of the Nullarbor, came the first signs of civilisation: wheat fields, little windmills pumping water from the soaks below, then farms and houses. Well, only one, to be honest, but you have to start somewhere.

Suddenly, late in the golden afternoon, we crested a rise to be smacked in the face by a cool sea breeze, and 20 minutes later had descended to the coast at Ceduna, the first town we had seen in the five days it had taken us to cross the Nullarbor.

Edward John Eyre, the first man to cross this desolate plain in 1840 and 1841 from east to west, had taken five months in a trek which saw the deaths of three of his party and left Eyre and his native tracker Wylie cresting a similar rise at the other side of the Nullarbor to see the little settlement of Albany, where they had long been given up for dead.

As they stood looking down at the houses of the town in howling wind and rain, Eyre wept as he looked back on the horrendous crossing, and wrote later in his diary: “The contrast between the circumstances under which I had commenced and terminated my labours stood in strong relief before me.

“The gay and gallant cavalcade that accompanied me on my way at starting, the goodly array of horses and drays, with all their well-ordered appointments and equipment, were conjured up in all their circumstances of pride and pleasure; and I could not restrain a tear as I called to mind the…sad disasters that had broken up my party, and left myself and Wylie the two sole wanderers remaining at the close of an undertaking entered upon under such hopeful auspices.”

Compared to Eyre, and even Winifred, our troubles had been paltry, but he was not the explorer I wanted to pay homage to before we arrived in Adelaide.

No, that was John Ainswsorth Horrocks, whose grave lies in Penwortham, a smattering of houses huddled around a church for comfort..

On the way there is Wirrulla, which was preceded for miles by signs saying Wirrulla: The Town With a Secret.

“Here, what’s Wirrulla’s secret?” I said to a large and cheery woman emerging from the grocery store with a melon and a leg of pig.

“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?” she grinned, getting into a dusty white ute and driving off.

The next morning, after a night at the venerable Flinders Hotel in Port Agusta, we rode south, frozen solid by the rain and wind of the approaching winter.

On our left rose the sullen lump of Mount Remarkable, presumably named with the same sense of irony with which redheads in Australia are invariably called Blue. Alongside the road, meanwhile, ran a pipeline which I naturally assumed was transporting pies from the great pie mines of central Australia, but which sadly turned out to contain only gas.

On the stroke of noon, we dismounted in Penwortham, walked up a grassy path past the little church, and found ourselves standing before the grave of Horrocks, who set forth from these parts in July 1846 to find good pastoral land.

From the very start, his expedition was prescient proof of W C Fields’ later adage that you should never work with children or animals.

Particularly animals: first the goats took great delight in leaping on the tent and eating it. Then Harry, a psychotic camel who was the first of his species to be used on an Australian expedition, tried to eat one of the goats, bit Garlick the tent-keeper, who was presumably wandering around redundant since he had no tent to keep, and chewed to bits the precious bags of flour.

As if that wasn’t enough, one evening as Horrocks was dismounting, Harry lurched to one side and discharged Horrocks’ gun, which was rather unfortunately pointing at Horrocks at the time.

Harry was subsequently shot, although it took two bullets to kill him and he bit a stockman on the head before succumbing, Horrocks died of his wounds two weeks later, and 164 years later, we stood in mute homage before the plain grey cross and matching slab which marks the last resting place of the only explorer in history to be shot by his own camel.

I had half hoped that alongside it would be a grassy hump marking the spot where Harry had been buried standing up next to his arch enemy, bit it was not to be, so we got back on the bikes and rode the few miles into Clare, a pleasant little town where the contrasts of Australia yet again surprised me.

Half an hour north of here, we had been riding through endless grassy plains with no sign of life in any direction, and yet here we were ensconced in a little pub, with rooms upstairs, a roaring fire against the late autumn chill, and a bottle of Black Bush beckoning from behind the bar.

Truly, this country is a land of wilderness interrupted by tiny outposts of civilisation, and after so much of the former, today we were most glad of the latter.

Geoff

As golfers go, we make great bikers

New South Wales No Comment

dscf1251-300x225The Nullarbor Desert creeps up on you.

From Albany through Esperance and on to Norseman, the landscape changes from forest and vine to woodland and scrub, then to wheat fields so vast that after five of them I stopped saying: “Wow, that would make a good spot for a flying club”.

They are punctuated from time to time by farm entrances invariably marked by a pair of white tractor tyres or wagon wheels buried in the earth, below a sign saying Green Acres: Bob and Gayle Hunnicutt and Sons, or somesuch, and from time to time also by circular salt flats glittering in the sun.

I got off the bike and walked out to the middle of one, marvelling that until 80 years this land had been a dustbowl covered in these flats, until the Government rescued it from the dead, planting salt-friendly mulga trees to bind the soil, then gum, until at least it could be turned into wheat farms so productive that they not only supply all of Australia’s daily bread, but keep Asia topped up with its daily noodle as well.

Down a long road lined with plain trees which could have doubled for an avenue in Provence, we rolled into Norseman, named after the horse whose hoof turned up a nugget and sparked a gold rush, and before long were ensconced in the Railway Hotel, a magnificent art-deco gem which at the height of the gold rush would have charged a week’s wages for a room.

Today, it was owned by a Perth environmental scientist called Therese Wade, who had come out here to study the temperate forests, fallen in love with the building instead, bought it with her brother and was now painstakingly restoring it to its former glory with the help of a heap of optimism and a baffled Alsatian called Audrey.

Even better, it had become a magnet for adventurers, in the past month alone attracting two brothers walking across the country, and a microlight pilot who in attempting to fly the same route had come a cropper while trying to land on the salt flats.

We threw our bags in our rooms and went out to play golf for the afternoon on the world’s longest course: the Nullarbor Links, dreamed up by local businessman Alf Caputo and stretching for 800 miles across the desert, with one hole at each participating town or roadhouse along the way.

“Be careful of your balls, gentlemen,” said Evelyn at the tourist office when we picked up our clubs. “There’s a crow at one of the holes, and a dingo at another, who keep running off with them.”

Colin, being an anarchist by nature, had decided to spurn clubs and use a boomerang with a golf ball gaffer-taped to it; only to regret his decision when his gimcrack device turned out to have a range of about 30 yards, as a result of which I thrashed him at the first hole by a resounding nine  shots to 15.

Still, at least we both beat the hole’s par five by a healthy margin.

Geoff

Never mind Venus, she’s armless

New South Wales No Comment

dscf1224-300x225Frenchman’s Bay on the south west coast of Australia, like Esperance and the Archipelago of the Recherche east of there, is named after the Frenchmen and their ships whose presence in the area in the late 18thand early 19th Centuries forced the nervous British to hastily colonize the southwest in a bid to keep their hands on it.

One of those Frenchmen, funny enough, was the man who lost the arms of the Venus de Milo.

When Jules Dumont D’Urville bought the statue from a Greek peasant in 1810, she was in full possession of the limbs in question, only for them to be snapped off in the ensuing tussle over ownership between French and Turkish soldiers.

Where they ended up remains a mystery, but D’Urville ended up in these parts six years later and went on to explore much of the southern hemisphere, only to perish in a train crash in Versailles in 1842.

As for the Albany station, it has gone from being an Auschwitz for whales to a museum where you can follow the grim process of turning several hundred tons of live mammal with a heart the size of a car into several thousand dollars worth of blubber, oil, ivory, corsets, horsewhips, umbrella struts, animal feed and fertiliser.

Not to mention the aforementioned well-known perfume, Barf for Women. Because you’re worth it.

It was so gruesome that I had to ride like the clappers to the nearest new age shop, buy a CD of whales farting, and listen to it for an hour in a darkened room before I could face a beer. That’s how bad it was.

Anyway, I needed the beer, for we had been pampered too long by the soft life of the southwest, and were just about to make up for it by tackling the last and most horrendous stretch of Australia yet: the Nullarbor Desert.

Geoff

What a karri on

New South Wales, Western Australia No Comment

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Leaving Margaret River with sadness, we struck out for Pemberton and more amazing scenery among the giant karri trees, which rear hundreds of feet into the air.

Geoff and I stopped in the forest where the light filtering through the trees was amazing. We stood and listened to the silence which was almost total apart from the occasional bird announcing its presence, and then we ruined it all by acting the maggot by taking pictures of us hugging the monsters.

We passed through a hamlet called Karridale, where for some reason it appeared to still be Christmas, with life-size Santas decorating people’s driveways and tinsel draped over roadsigns.

One wag had named their house ‘Karri On’ but it seems the forests are still under some threat as we passed a makeshift camp of environmental protesters, known locally as ‘Greenies’ who were trying to stop part of the area being logged.

Halting in a little picturesque town called Nannup, we met a group of bikers from Albany out for a run.

They told us about some good rides and we swapped yarns about being out on the road before we headed back into the forests planning to stop for the night in a logging town called Pemberton.

Yet another old biker sitting at a café warned us about the giant ‘roos that also inhabit the forests.

‘There was one on my front lawn this morning, he was about six feet tall and he just looked back at me as if to say ‘Yeah – you want something?’. He didn’t even move so I just picked up my paper and left him to it.

‘Me and a mate saw one once that was even bigger than that – it was about six and a half feet. They are forest kangaroos and also live in the swamps, but move around to where there is fresh growth. They have a domed head so they can crash through the bush and you don’t want to run into one of those on the road.’

Pemberton turned out to be a charming little place, quiet now the Anzac Day holiday was over and Aussies batten down the hatches for the winter, as it is the last break until a long weekend in June and signals the real end to summer and its frivolities.

It had an almost alpine feel, and we scored a great little house which is let out by the local youth hostel to travellers as the main backpackers is reserved for workers doing their three months agricultural employment as part of the government requirement to gain their resident visas.

We had the place to ourselves apart from Mike, a gardener from Perth who was on a three-week solo walking holiday through the forests.

Originally from London, he’d lived in WA since his late teens and had now been an Aussie for around 30 years.

“I went back once, as you are always curious about how it has changed and have fond memories, but when I got there it was dirty and overcrowded and a real rat race.

‘I’d never go back now, this is my home and I love it – there’s just so much space and I love walking in the bush – the peace and the quiet and when you are walking you just see so much as the animals aren’t that scared of you.’

Geoff and I cooked up a marvellous Spanish omelette for dinner which we shared with Mike, had a few beers, watched a bit of telly and climbed wearily into bed, luxuriating in this rare snatch of domesticity.

On the way out of town the next morning we decided to go and see the Bicentennial Tree right in the heart of the karri forests.

It is a fire-lookout tree with a platform perched 75 metres or 230 feet above the ground, where rangers would keep an eye out for smoke from bushfires and then direct firefighters to the outbreak.

The platform was built to celebrate Australia’s 200th anniversary of European settlement, and was also a practical step, as despite the use of aircraft to spot fires, the traditional use of the big trees has made a comeback as a less expensive and lower-tech way to do the same job just as accurately, if not more so.

The platform is reached by climbing a staircase made out of steel spikes driven into the trunk of the tree, with just some chicken wire acting as a balustrade and nothing beneath should you put a foot wrong.

Geoff and I eyed it warily.

‘I’m not climbing that’ he said bravely.

“I get vertigo when I stand up’.

I also demurred, pointing out that motorcycle boots were not designed for climbing trees, otherwise they would be called ‘climbing giant trees boots’, so it was left to Paul to rescue our reputation and off he went.

We lost sight of him about halfway up, but he made it to the top and climbed into the hut on top, which ways around two tonnes, showing the strength of these monsters, and which also moves around four feet from side to side in the wind.

It’s quite amazing that in this day and age of the nanny state and ridiculous health and safety rules that anyone can just turn up and take their life in their hands.

A typical blunt Aussie notice at the bottom warned people that when it was wet, the steel rods got slippery, and it was more difficult if it was howling a gale, and that was pretty much it, so go for your life, as they say over here. No ranger, no supervision, and nobody to hold your hand.

I wouldn’t have minded the climb up, it is the coming back down that bothers me as you can’t see where you are going, and despite having done many bungy jumps, abseiling and been suspended from helicopters, there is something about climbing things without a rope tied around me that plays into my primitive respect for heights.

As Paul finally made it down, we gave him a round of applause and were further humbled by the sight of a 10-year-old French girl and her mother scampering up the tree like Gallic monkeys, chattering away the whole time without a care in the world.

After faking a picture of me around four metres above the ground, we took our wounded pride and slunk away.

The launch of Geoff and Colin’s book – Oz Around Australia on a Triumph, will take place tomorrow Wednesday November 24th at Adelaide Insurance HQ in Belfast complete with barbeque and much fanfare.

There is a link below to the Blackstaff Press website where you can secure your very own copy in time for Xmas. We will post a video blog from the book launch in the next few… Continue reading

And so Geoff and Colin arrive back home to the sirens of the motorcycle police flanked by a band of bikers from the Quay Vipers Club and to the strains of Waltzing Matilda playing under the shade of the Adelaide inflatable finish line. A fitting end to a scorching adventure marked in true style by our friends from Adelaide Insurance Services. You can check out the speechifying here and stayed…Continue reading

helmets-1-300x225It had, I thought that evening as we sat down in a pub in Clare to bangers and mash washed down with pints of foaming ale, been the strangest of adventures.The previous ones, from Delhi to Belfast on an Enfield, Chicago to Los Angeles on Route 66 riding a Harley, and…Continue reading

At a place called Kimba in South Australia, we halted to take a picture of a giant galah, but then we managed to get Geoff out of shot so we could get a photo of the big parrot.
Our next break was at Iron Knob, as we just couldn’t resist.
It is the birthplace of the Aussie steel industry, as the knob itself was almost pure iron ore.
As mature… Continue reading

  • Welcome

Here you’ll find all the latest news from Geoff and Gary as they recreate the first around the world ride 100 years on, accompanied by Carl Stearns Clancy’s original boots on their second journey around the world 100 years after they did it the first time.
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Recreating Clancy’s entire round-the-world journey 100 years on. Click on the globe to view full size, or...
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