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  • Lone Pine Koala SanctuaryLone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane, Australia
    The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary can be found in the Brisbane, Australia suburb of Fig Tree Pocket and started in 1927, is now the oldest and biggest koala sanctuary in the world. The name of the sanctuary comes from the single hoop pine that was planted by the Clarkson family, the original owners of the 10 acre site. The first two koalas were called Jack and Jill and it became world renown in the second World War, when the Americans, especially Douglas MacArthur's wife who came to visit and see the native Australian animals. Other critters in the sanctuary include; kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils, as well as numerous types of reptiles. This is one of the few sanctuaries in the world where visitors can hold the koalas for a small fee, and their strict regulations make sure that the koalas are not held for more than half an hour each day. You can feed and pet the free roaming kangaroos in the five acre open kangaroo reserve, where over 130 of these marvelous animals roam free. You can see them occasionally carrying a joey in their pouches. Numerous parrots and cockatoos, emus, cassowarys and kookaburras can be see flying or walking around the preserve and the free flying rainbow lorikeets fly here for the specially prepared nectar meals that are made here. Visitors can feed the lorikeets twice a day if interested. The bird of prey shows are given twice a day, that allow the various raptors to show off their speed and agility for the crowds; and the Tasmanian devils are fed in the afternoons. Koala Forest is a huge enclosure that contains over 30 koalas that surround the visitors and these are fed mid-morning and mid-afternoon. If you arrive at the right time, you can see these adorable little creatures flitting from branch to branch in a hurry to find the freshest and best gum leaves. Besides being a wonderful wildlife sanctuary, a small farm is there with great sheep dog shows. 

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  • City HallBrisbane, Australia City Hall
    The Brisbane City in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is where the city council meets and it sits next to King George Square, by the main entrance of the rectangular city hall building. This structure is considered one of the city's best examples of architecture and was at one time, the tallest building in the city. The foundation stone was laid by Edward, Prince of Wales in 1920, using an opal encrusted 18 karat gold trowel, but was later discovered to be out of alignment and had to be replaced. That stone was then placed in the city council depot and was later found missing. The building has a tall imposing clock tower that rises up over 150 feet above the streets and is based on the designs of St. Mark's Campanile that is in Venice, Italy. The tower has Westminster chimes that sound off every quarter hour and can be heard from the mall and sometimes from nearby suburbs. Above the clocks, an observation platform is open to the public and can be reached by lift between 10 AM and 3 PM every day and is always free. For a long time, the views from this platform was stupendous, but when the height laws were relaxed in the 1960s, the view became a bit obstructed. The center of the hall contains a magnificent auditorium that sits in a big circular hall that can hold up to 2500 people and covered over by a huge copper dome. When the building was constructed, it was thought that all the council's administrative offices, the council chamber, public library, alderman's offices and numerous reception rooms would fill the building. But as the country grew, the local government grew in the 1950s and 1960s, causing the hallways, reception rooms and side vestibules were changed into offices.  Actually more offices were added onto the roof and in the basement.  City Hall opened in 1930 and is built of concrete, steel and brick, with the base being made of Camp Mountain granite. The inside includes two marble columns that hold up an arch above the ground marble staircase and the sculptured pediment that sits above the portico and entrance, called the tympanum was carved by Brisbane sculptor Daphne Mayo in the early 1930s. There is a unique 4600 pipe organ in the hall that was built in 1892 by Henry Willis & Sons builders in Liverpool, UK, and moved to the city hall in 1927. The first musical recital was held in 1929 and the last one was in November of 2009 that celebrated the 80th anniversary of the organ installation, and when it was finished, the organ was dismantled and taken from the city hall for storage and will be returned in three years. 

January 11, 2011