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His Highness Rajah Vyner of Sarawak (Charles Vyner de Windt Brooke)



Headhunter dressed up for death-dance & skulls kept as trophies



The Brooke clan in an earlier era


Authentic signature of Charles Brooke (2nd White Rajah) from 1876




Rajah Vyner Brooke 1927 Sarawak coin


Rajah Vyner Brooke Sarawak postage stamp


Sketch map of Sarawak



Prince Charles arrives at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh (New Year's Eve 1999)  [personal photo]


December 1946 newspaper report - Churchill To Move Censure Vote Over Sarawak


Anthony Brooke should have become the 4th White Rajah of Sarawak had it not been for his uncle Charles Vyner Brooke (the 3rd White Rajah), who disinherited him.  (Anthony Brooke passed away in New Zealand in March 2011 at the age of 98)



"Sarawak is not British and it would be an anachronism if it were reduced from the status of a sovereign independent State to a Crown colony," declared Anthony Brooke, Rajah Mudah (Crown Prince) of Sarawak (January 1946 newspaper report)



May 1949 newspaper report


Below: My ticket to the observation deck of the World Trade Center (September 5, 1999)

Below: Photos of the World Trade Center at ground level (open plaza with the "Sphere") and photos taken from the Observation Deck (September 5, 1999)

Below: Inside the World Trade Center - this scale model of the Manhattan skyline was an actual exhibit situated on the Observation Deck level (September 5, 1999)

Below: More views of the World Trade Center - from Ellis Island, World Financial Center, Brooklyn, and Statue of Liberty Ferry (September 8, 1999)



Churchill denigrated as "mischievous" in Indian newspaper


Nehru takes control of India


Katrina Leung with Chinese President Jiang Zemin  [photo from wikipedia]


Pope John Paul II makes public appearance in St Peters Square in the Vatican (June 1998)  [personal photo]







Queen Victoria was unwilling to recognize the Rajah of Sarawak (the above firsthand account is by a member of the Brooke dynasty in the 19th Century)

The Barclay TWINS' mansion (or "palace"), Brecqhou (in the Channel Islands)



A souvenir from Guernsey in the Channel Islands...


The White Rajah escaped to Australia when the Japanese invaded Sarawak (January 1942 newspaper report)


Newsflash - Mr Holt Vanishes in Sea


Delhi Durbar of 1911 [above photo from Wikipedia]

The good and great of the Indian Empire pay homage to the King Emperor, bejewelled and bedecked in regal splendour on the imperial dais




Above: "George VI King Emperor" 1947 Indian coin [from personal collection]

Below: Rare 1879 Indian coin with portrait of Queen Victoria [from personal collection]


India stamps (Gandhi, King George VI) [from personal collection]


Framed original invitation for Prime Minister Joseph Lyons to attend the coronation of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth [personal photo]


King George VI 1937 coronation stamp etc from Ceylon [personal collection]


The last Viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten, riding an open carriage in India, 1947


Mountbatten's wife, Edwina, mysteriously died during a visit to Borneo.  These photos show the casket with her remains being dropped into the sea.


Mountbatten, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, and uncle of Prince Philip, shown here with Queen Elizabeth II.  He was born as His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg, but German styles and titles were dropped in 1917.


Mountbatten's small sailing boat in Ireland, aboard which a bomb was detonated, killing him and several others.  The bomb was planted on August 27, 1979


Televised funeral of Mountbatten in London, with full military honours



The Duke of Windsor writes of his train derailing in Western Australia - "Our carriage and the one just ahead toppled over on their sides and slid down the embankment with a terrifying clatter...."


On 30th May 2009, the movie "Wallis & Edward" was shown on Australian TV -





 Newspaper article from the Argus newspaper (Melbourne), May 31, 1927


"Prix d'Amour" - the palatial mansion which mining magnate Lang Hancock built for his wife Rose and bequeathed to her on his death (it was demolished in 2006 as Rose wanted to downsize - the land alone was worth an estimated $40 million)


Lang and Rose celebrating Lang's birthday, June 10, 1987


Autographed copy of "A Rose by Any Other Name" - the autobiography of Rose Hancock.  Signed "Rose & Willie" (she married Willie Porteous after Lang's death)





Visit of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako of Japan to Sydney Children's Hospital (December 17, 2002) [personal photos]


 Prince Edward arriving at Government House, Sydney (November 23, 2002) [personal photo]




Emperor of Manchukuo (Pu Yi) with Emperor Hirohito of Japan, during 1935 State Visit to Japan


Anne Boleyn


The above passage is from the book "Marriage with my Kingdom - The Courtships of Queen Elizabeth I" (by Alison Plowden)





Limousine with US President Bill Clinton drives past Bellevue Presidential Palace in Berlin on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift (May 13, 1998)  [personal photo]




 R.O.C. President Chiang Kai Shek statue in Taipei, Taiwan  [personal photo]





Chiang Kai Shek Presidential Residence in Shilin (Taipei) [personal photos]





Zhongxing Guesthouse - Chiang Kai Shek's summer residence in Yangmingshan [personal photos]




Grand Hotel (Taipei) [personal photos]





State Visit of China's President Jiang Zemin to the United Kingdom - Queen Elizabeth II and President Jiang Zemin ride the Australian State Coach to Buckingham Palace (October 19, 1999)  [personal photos]


Princess Anne with China's Vice Premier Qian Qichen riding an open coach to Buckingham Palace (October 19, 1999)  [personal photo]




Arrival of the Queen at Perth Airport (Australia) (March 30, 2000) [personal photo]



Top: The Queen leaving Government House in Perth

Middle + bottom: The Queen in Kings Park, Perth

(April 1, 2000) [personal photos]



National Day Celebration in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (February 25, 2002) - The Sultan of Brunei arriving in his Rolls Royce [personal photo]




Palace of the Agong (King) of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur  [personal photos]



Putrajaya from the air  [personal photo]



"Queen of the Head Hunters", the autobiography of Sylvia Brooke, wife of White Rajah Vyner of Sarawak




Here's a photo of CHAI vegetarian restaurant





Sylvia Brooke writes about Rajah Vyner's death....






On 7th November 2008, I took these photos.  The first is a sign that mentions FRENCHMANs Cap.  In the second photo you catch a fleeting glimpse of FRENCHMANs Cap (photo taken from moving car on the Lyell Highway).  It is the snow-capped peak in the background that you can just make out behind the tallest tree.  FRENCHMANS Cap is a mountain in Tasmania.



DEJA VU - driving through Queenstown in Tasmania I snapped this photo of a hair salon called "Deja Vu"





Cyprien Katsaris autographed the above CD for me




Photo of Jay Heifetz Photography taken by me on April 16, 2009




Here is Brooks Smith as he appeared in a rare promotional video for the RCA CD box set "Heifetz Collection" -



Heifetz in rehearsal with his accompanist BROOKS SMITH:-



Some views of ZION National Park in Utah, USA from September 30, 1999 [personal photos]



Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (September 1999) [personal photo]


Devils Tower, Wyoming - souvenir passport stamp [Sep 25, 1999]



Sears Tower, Chicago - views from the observation deck (September 1999) [personal photos]




Newport, Rhode Island (September 1999) [personal photos]



The Thousand Islands, N.Y. - Boldt Castle (September 1999) [personal photos]



Blue Angels Airshow over San Francisco (October 1999) [personal photos]





Miscellaneous receipts (Yellowstone, Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Butchart Gardens etc)




Waimea Canyon (Kauai, Hawaii) [personal photo]


Frolicking with colourful fishies (Hanauma Bay, Honolulu) [personal photos]



Doris Duke's mansion "Shangri La" (Honolulu) [personal photo]



"Paradise" at Mt Rainier National Park - under heavy snow [personal photos]





Smith Tower, Seattle - views from the observation deck [personal photos]




Calgary from the air (above) & Banff National Park in winter (below) [personal photos]




Red Deer River - completely frozen over - near Drumheller, Alberta [personal photo]




Winnipeg [personal photos of February 2012]


One of their warmest winters on record



Winnipeg's French heritage - Fort Whyte (French immersion school group) - Saint-Boniface - French TV (personal videos of February 2012)



Swiss Alps from the village of Gimmelwald [personal photo of June 1998]



Official passport stamp of Liechtenstein! [23rd June 1998]


Liechtenstein postage stamps



Schloss Linderhof in Bavaria [personal photo of May 1998]



Schloss Linderhof miniature replica (Miniatures Museum of Taiwan) [personal photos of October 2011]




Venice (left) & Siena (right) [personal photos of May-June 1998]





Pompeii [personal photos]



Sagrada Família (Barcelona) [personal photos of April 1998]



Château de Chantilly (France) [personal photos of June 1998]




Burg Eltz (Germany, near Koblenz) [personal photo of June 1998]



Zwinger Palace (Dresden) [personal photos of January 2000]



Neues Palais & Sanssouci Palace (Potsdam) [personal photos of January 2000]



Souvenir from Satyam vegetarian restaurant (Berlin)



Berlin Cathedral, TV Tower & Palace of the Republic (since demolished) [personal photos of May 1998]



Warwick Castle (England) [personal photos of October 1999]




Blenheim Palace (England) [personal photos of October 1999]



Lake District & Castlerigg stone circle (England) [personal photos of October 1999]



Isle of Skye (Scotland) [personal photos of November 1999]



Eilean Donan Castle (Scotland) [personal photos of November 1999]



Powerscourt Mansion (Ireland) [personal photos of November 1999]




Malahide Castle, Castletown House & Ardgillan Castle (Ireland) [personal photos of November 1999]




Leeds Castle (England) [personal photos of December 1999]



The Royal Pavilion at Brighton (England) [personal photo of December 1999]



Castle Howard (England) [personal photos of October 1999]



Millennium Dome & Millennium Show (Greenwich, London) [personal photos of 5th January 2000]



Ticket stub for "Crown Jewels of the Millennium Exhibition" (Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, December 1999)

Showcasing amazing replicas of all the major crown jewels of Europe.  Unfortunately photography was not permitted.


Greenwich 1999 attractions (TimeOut article)


Speaking of replicas, check this out!  Buckingham Palace dollhouse (Miniatures Museum of Taiwan) [personal photos of October 2011]




Assorted tickets to various attractions in Europe & U.K.




Beethoven-House & Schumann's grave in Bonn [personal photos]



Dvorak's tomb in Prague [personal photo]


Chopin's grave at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris [personal photo]


Louis XIV sealed card set from Air France Concorde 1989 New York-London route [from personal collection]




Humble Administrator's Garden (Suzhou, China) [personal photos]



Grand Buddha at Mt Lingshan (Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China) [personal photos]






Qingdao (Shandong Province, China) - visit to the old quarter and one of many European-style mansions that sprung up in the fledgling German colony [personal photos]



Watch documentary on Qingdao as a German colony



 Tomb of Confucius (Qufu, China) [personal photos]



 The Confucius Palace (residence of Duke Yansheng / Kong Family Mansion) (Qufu, China) - 2nd largest palace in China after the Forbidden City [personal photos]




Mt Taishan (Shandong Province, China) - the foremost of the "Five Great Mountains of China" [personal photos]




Mt Laoshan (Shandong Province, China) [personal photos]




Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (Nanjing) [personal photo of May 1999]



Forbidden City (Beijing) [personal photo of July 1998]



Taj Mahal [personal photo of 10th April 2008]



Rashtrapati Bhavan (India's Presidential Palace and former Viceroy's House) [personal photo of 19th March 2008]



Qutb Minar in New Delhi (tallest brick minaret in the world) [personal photos of 18th March 2008]




Tughluqabad Fort (built 1321 by the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate) [personal photos of 20th March 2008]




Mehrangarh Fort & Umaid Bhawan Palace (Jodhpur, India) [personal photos of 1st April 2008]




Golkonda Fort (Hyderabad, India) [personal photos of 14th April 2008]






INTERFET parade in Sydney [personal photo of April 2000]


The Dalai Lama in Melbourne [personal photos of May 2002]



Werribee Park Mansion [personal photo of July 2002]



Thredbo - view from chairlift & hiking to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko (New South Wales) [personal photos of August 2002]





Carrick Hill [souvenir postcard from visit of mid-2003]


Wild scenery of Tasmania's Southwest National Park (personal photos of November 2008)

Photos in original quality

Southwest National Park Tasmania topographic map              Welcome to Malaleuca hut - Southwest National Park Tasmania            Southwest National Park Tasmania aerial view  Aerial view of Hobart



Video stills




Fraser Island (personal photos of November 2008)

            Lake Birrabeen at Fraser Island (purest freshwater in the world)


Fraser Island map         




Langkawi Island (personal photos of October 2010)





Ipoh in Malaysia (personal photos of October 2010)





At the summit of Hehuan Mountain in Taiwan (3416 metres) (personal photo of 2011)


Taroko Gorge in Taiwan (personal photos of 2011)



Taipei 101 (personal photos of 2011)




Mt Kinabalu in Borneo (4095 metres) (personal photos of 2011)




World's largest flower - Rafflesia arnoldii (personal photo of 2011)


Kintamani Volcano in Bali (personal photo of October 2011)


Let sleeping lions lie... (Bali Safari & Marine Park) (personal photo of January 2011)




Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda (600 years old) (above) & Nan Lian Garden (below) in Hong Kong (personal photos of January 2011)



Lippo Centre in Hong Kong (built by Alan Bond of Perth and originally the "Bond Centre") (personal photo of January 2011)


The Peak Tram in Hong Kong (personal photo of January 2011)


Views from The Peak and Hong Kong skyscrapers (Bank of China - Two IFC - ICC) | Wetland Park (weird amphibians!) | Harbour Light Show (personal video of 2011)


H.K. Chief Executive interviewed on Singaporean TV (ca. Nov 2009)


 Guangzhou (personal photos of January 2011)




"Mainland Travel Permit" for H.K & Macao Residents - looks like this (at least the older version)...


Holders of this rather unusual card can travel to Mainland China whenever they wish - no need even for a passport!  I applied for one in 1999 but mainly as a souvenir (expired 2009).




 Pioneer KEH-P8250-W detachable face plate & remote control 

 for car audio head deck (W = woodgrain finish)


Newly purchased in Australia in late 1995, this stellar Pioneer KEH-P8250-W formed the centrepiece of my car audio system

...the rest being made up of a Pioneer 12CD stacker CDX-P1210 (under the passenger seat), subwoofer & amplifier, Alpine tweeters & front speakers, etc.

I'm sorry to say, the car suffered a catastrophic trauma around 2005.  Only the face plate and remote control were saved...


This was one of Pioneer's very high-end head decks (this specific model was also sold in Asia, Middle East etc).  Here's a 1995 French brochure for a similar European model KEH-P8200RDS-W

As you can see, when fitted to the dash of a car, a matching rectangular rim frames the detachable face plate


 Mating my Pioneer KEH-P8250-W face plate to an American model KEH-P8200 head deck 

 Pioneer KEH-P8200 car audio head unit with cables but missing face plate & remote control


I purchased this KEH-P8200 head unit from eBay (USA) in February 2017

Will it be compatible with my KEH-P8250-W face plate?

See below for the correct face plate for a KEH-P8200 [photo courtesy eBay]

 Button layout and connector are same as for KEH-P8250.  So presumably they are interchangeable - any differences being only cosmetic.


 SAD Technic helped me wire up the Pioneer KEH-P8200 for in-home use, tapping the 12V output of an old IBM AT power supply I had lying around


 Power supply is an early IBM type which doesn't require any "ON" signal (i.e. short) from the motherboard - flip the switch and it gets going right away.  We plugged a hard disk into one of the ATX molex connectors (drawing 12V & 5V) to serve as a load for proper voltage regulation of the PSU.  Without this load, the 12V line may only achieve 9V which is too low.  We have the 12V output wired to the battery, accessory and illumination lines of the Pioneer KEH-P8200.  Power is drawn on the battery line.  The accessory and illumination lines have resistors in them and only pass low-voltage control signals to the head deck.  So this arrangement mimics the situation in a car with the ignition key in the "accessory" position (thus allowing the radio to be turned on), and headlights on (so buttons will light up).


Cable to adapt Pioneer's antenna input to a regular TV wall socket - for good quality FM tuner reception with a rooftop aerial


Front L&R audio outputs of the Pioneer KEH-P8200 connected to my Pioneer VSX-AX5Ai receiver

A pair of Krix Euphonix floorstanders serve as my front speakers


NB: The Pioneer VSX-AX5Ai is equivalent to the American model Pioneer VSX-56TXi

It's quite feasible to use the multi-channel inputs of the receiver to take both front and rear audio outputs of the head deck - so as to be able to fade the sound front-back like in a car fitted with speakers front and rear.  Pioneer car DSP units might also take advantage of rear speakers for ambient effects.  As the Pioneer receiver can generate a surround mix using just the front audio, I won't go to all that trouble...


FM tuner of the Pioneer KEH-P8200 in action


 The tuner defaults to "ID Logic" - an American system to permit easy tuning to local stations when driving long-distance.  The KEH-P8200 seems to think I am in Washington D.C. and shows unfamiliar radio call signs for local Perth FM stations whose frequencies happen to coincide (e.g. WSHC = 89.7FM Community Radio,  WRQX = 107.3 Heritage FM).  For usage outside the USA, best to switch "ID Logic" off from the front panel!  Otherwise it won't let you seek across the entire FM band.  (NB: The KEH-P8250 never had "ID Logic" but it seems the P8250 panel button marked "LOUD" now acts as toggle for "ID Logic" mode.  "LOUD" function is retained on the KEH-P8200, just buried in the fader-balance-EQ menu accessible from the remote control)



Cassette playback on the KEH-P8200

Identical to KEH-P8250 in every way

More advanced than most standalone cassette players with features like auto track seek, track repeat, auto blank skip, selectable tape direction, radio/CD playback during FF/REW, Dolby B/C noise reduction, FLEX EQ for poor tapes





 Pioneer CDX-P1210 12-disc multi-CD player 

With original box and manual!




I purchased this boxed Pioneer CDX-P1210 from eBay (USA) in February 2017

 This is the exact same model I had back in 1995

An IP-BUS cable connects this to the Pioneer head deck.  Pressing button 1 thru 12 on the face plate selects the corresponding CD for playback.

Unfortunately, the player's mechanism has jammed up (head unit reports error codes 50 & 70) I took it down to an authorized Pioneer service agent and was informed the parts needed to repair it were no longer available....


Luckily they had one of these on hand....

 Pioneer CDX-P1280 12-disc multi-CD player 

Refurbished unit acquired from Perth authorized Pioneer service agent in May 2017


This is the Pioneer CDX-P1280 - a functionally equivalent but later model than the CDX-P1210

Tested out good!


It does have this new feature where it automatically detects and displays the CD-TEXT for CDs encoded with this information

CD-TEXT readout for a commercial Sony CD recording of "Arcadi Volodos"



For CDs lacking CD-TEXT, you can manually program the title of the disc - which is then permanently stored so long as the "battery" stays connected (memory will be retained for 24 hrs if power source is cut)

The disc will be remembered even if removed and put back in another position later on...

 Older stackers like the CDX-P1210 had this ability as well.  And they all feature auto-resume - commencing CD playback from the exact point when the CD player was last used.



Watch my live demonstration video of the Pioneer KEH-P8200/8250 & CDX-P1280


NB: Tuner demonstration at 06:47 is MUTED to avoid copyright claim in some countries!

Full version with audio is available here, if you want to try your luck:- 


Xindak DAC-5 upgraded with Audio-gd OPA-Earth discrete opamps


The operation to upgrade my Xindak DAC-5...

  (photos courtesy James Kunz / SAD Technic - August 2009)



Xindak DAC-5 official description & original specs


C-Media CM6631A USB to SPDIF coaxial optical 24-bit 192kHz sound card (from China)



Best of both worlds...

ABC Classic FM on Humax HDR-1003S VAST satellite receiver & Audiolab 8200T FM/DAB+ tuner

   Oppo DV-980H playing VCD "The Final Test"

(my versatile Oppo DV-980H player shown at bottom and playback of "The Final Test" VCD on the right)


Azure Shine satellite dish prior to installation (Aug 2013)


ABC Classic FM on Humax HDR-1003S VAST satellite receiver - screenshots (June 2017)



ABC Classic FM on VAST satellite seem to have upgraded the quality of their transmissions (sometime early 2017?)

Frequency cut-off now at a more uniform 16kHz - the former situation was anywhere between 12-16kHz for music, and 16kHz for spoken commentary

A cut-off as low as 14kHz may still apply for live concerts which ABC Classic FM themselves recorded.  Music sourced from CD, foreign networks and spoken dialogue are now generally at 16kHz.


Pioneer DV-S969AVi (DVD / DVD-Audio / SACD player with i.Link) & Denon LA-2500 (LaserDisc player)

(Pioneer DV-S969AVi is known as DV-59AVi Elite in some markets)


Denon DVD-3930 (DVD / DVD-Audio / SACD player)



 Cambridge Audio azur 751BD region-free Blu-ray 3D / DVD / DVD-Audio / SACD Player



M-Audio Revolution 5.1 - E-MU 1212M PCIe - Echo Audiofire2 - iZotope RX4 - original boxes



E-MU 1212M PCIe sound card - Windows control panel


Gigabyte X99-UD5 WIFI motherboard & Intel Core i7-5930K 6-core CPU - first setup & tests (personal photos of October 2014)

    Plextor M6e SSD    Phanteks PH-TC14PE CPU cooler

Game Demon Tiger Shark Jaws case  Game Demon Tiger Shark Jaws case  Game Demon Tiger Shark Jaws case  Game Demon Tiger Shark Jaws case    Gainward GeForce GTX 780Ti Phantom etc     


Sturdy and capacious JAWS Tiger Shark computer case by Game Demon - available in white or black


  Download 10-page brochure for the JAWS Tiger Shark computer case


CrystalDiskMark benchmarks Plextor M6e 512GB & Samsung 850 Pro 1TB solid state drives (SSD)

Plextor M6e 512GB CrystalDiskMark (Z partition)  Samsung 850 Pro 1TB CrystalDiskMark  8GB usable in 32-bit Win 7 with PAE patch


CPU core temps - TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5 full HD video encode

i7 5930K CPU (near maximum load) + hardware acceleration Gainward GeForce 780 Ti Phantom (2880 CUDA cores)

Phanteks PH-TC14PE CPU cooler




Sim Lim Square in Singapore (personal photos of November 2009)



Haw Par Villa in Singapore (personal photos of March 2011)



Terracotta Warriors of China exhibited in Singapore (personal photos of October 2011)



 Tokyo Imperial Palace (personal photos of 10th March 2011)




2011 Tōhoku earthquake (personal photos of 11th March 2011)




Heijō Palace, Nara (modern reconstruction of 8th century A.D. imperial palace) (personal photos of 20th March 2011)



Hiroshima (personal photos of 21st March 2011)






Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto (personal photos of 23rd March 2011)




Kyoto Imperial Palace (personal photos of 25th March 2011)





Other "restricted" imperial palaces I was lucky to visit in Kyoto were Shugakuin Imperial Villa (23rd March 2011) and Sento Imperial Palace (24th March 2011)


Summit of Mt Fuji as viewed from halfway up (personal photos of 15 March 2011)



Mt Fuji from bullet train (personal photo of 20 March 2011)


Participating in the "Spring Cycle" event in Sydney - cycling across road deck of Sydney Harbour Bridge (personal photos of 21 October 2012)





Sydney Tramway Museum (personal photos of October 2012)




Melbourne from Brighton Beach (personal photo of May 2010)


Bundoora Homestead (personal photos of July 2013)



Rippon Lea House (personal photos of 21 July 2013)

Darryl Coote & Timothy Reynolds performed Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin in the ballroom of Rippon Lea



Labassa (personal photo of 28 July 2013)

A concert was held in the intimate drawing room of Labassa with Stefan Cassomenos et al in Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 31, Mendelssohn's Trio etc.


Aerial shot of Melbourne (personal photo of August 2014)



An endangered Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle swooped down on my car somewhere in Northwestern Tasmania - it is Australia's largest bird of prey  [personal photos of 17 August 2014]




Ben Lomond National Park, Tasmania [personal photos & video of August 2014]





Approach to Devils Gullet, Tasmania [personal photo of August 2014]




Frozen pond at Tarn Shelf, Mt Field National Park, Tasmania [personal photo of August 2014]




 Cradle Mountain at sunset (Tasmania) [personal photo of August 2014]



 Cradle Mountain from Marion's Lookout [personal photo of August 2014]




Tasmanian pademelon snacks on an almond [personal photo & video of August 2014]




Red Knoll Lookout - view of Lake Pedder in Tasmania [personal photo of August 2014]




Mt Anne, Lake Pedder & Gordon Dam in Tasmania [personal photos of August 2014]





Site where the last Tasmanian Tiger was shot in Mawbanna [personal photo of August 2014]




Tasmanian Tiger murals in Sheffield [personal photos of August 2014]





Clarendon House [personal photo of August 2014]



Mt Taranaki in New Zealand's North Island  [personal photo of May 2014]


Volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, New Zealand  [personal photos of May 2014]



Mid-point of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing  [personal photos of May 2014]



Piha Beach  [personal photos]



View from Te Mata Peak near Napier  [personal photo]


Orakei Korako & the boiling lake at Waimangu Volcanic Valley  [personal photos]



Forgotten World Highway  [personal photos]




Hobbiton  [personal photos]



TranzAlpine scenic train trip (New Zealand South Island)  [personal photos of May 2000]


Fox Glacier  [personal photos of May 2000]


Milford Sound  [personal photos of May 2000]




Queenstown  [personal photos of May 2000]



Dunedin  [personal photos of May 2000]


Mt Cook - New Zealand's highest mountain  [personal photo of May 2000]


Low-level snow in Akaroa near Christchurch [personal slideshow of June 2010]



Hanmer Springs [personal photos of June 2010]




Maleny Botanic Gardens & Glass House Mountains in Queensland [personal photos of November 2014]



Rainbow lorikeets of Bribie Island [personal photos of November 2014]



Whitsunday Island [personal photos of November 2013]




Australian marine life stamps  (Great Barrier Reef / Venomous)




Kangaroo Island in South Australia [personal photos of September 2016]





Phi Phi Island & Phang Nga Bay in Thailand (2010)






The Philippines, Bangkok & Macau (2011)




 Taal Volcano in The Philippines [personal photos of March 2011]



Manila [personal photos of March 2011]

Incredibly, that chandeliered dome vaults the tomb of just one person buried in Manila's Chinese Cemetery (aptly dubbed "The Beverly Hills of the Dead")




Bangkok during the mammoth floods [personal photos of November 2011]




 Macau [personal photos of November 2011]




 The Venetian Macao - casino hotel [personal photos of November 2011]







Some close-up views of

The Astana (Palace) in Kuching

[personal photos]


The imposing palace (Astana / Istana) on the north bank of the Sarawak River opposite the Kuching Waterfront, built in 1870 by the White Rajah of Sarawak as a bridal gift to his wife Margaret.  It retains its importance as the official residence of the present-day Governor of Sarawak.


[click on any photo to enlarge]

Astana Palace - river frontage


Main gate of the Astana Palace


Astana Palace in the distance with the colourful buildings of Kuching's Chinatown in the foreground



Astana Palace lit up at night



G20 Summit in Brisbane 2014 - some views of US & Chinese government airplanes on tarmac of Brisbane Airport

 US government plane as viewed from the seat of my plane (personal photos)

Chinese President's plane at Brisbane Airport (personal photo)


Gandhi statue unveiled in Brisbane during the G20 Summit by India's Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (personal photos)


Attending concert of Denis Matsuev with London Symphony Orchestra & Valery Gergiev in Brisbane QPAC 22 November 2014 (personal photos)

  Denis Matsuev plays Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 Mvt 1 (excerpt) in  Brisbane QPAC (22nd November 2014) :-



 Some personal souvenirs from earlier years... 

Recently re-discovered ticket for a violin recital of Sir Yehudi Menuhin which I had the good fortune of attending in the Perth Concert Hall (Australia) on the 19th July 1988:-



Sydney Opera House backstage tour ticket (26th January 1994)


Hearing Boris Berezovsky play Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev in Cologne (8th May 1998)


Attending Lazar Berman's solo recital and masterclass in Hong Kong City Hall on 5th & 6th May 1999:-


The great Spanish master pianist Joaquin Achucarro graced the stage of Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia (Perth), presenting two solo recitals on the 4th & 6th of March 1999.  At the first one he played Chopin's Barcarolle, Sonata No 3 and pieces by Granados, AIbeniz, Scriabin and Debussy. The second programme consisted of Debussy, Albeniz, De Falla and assorted Chopin.  I went along to one of these recitals - an unforgettable experience!


Hearing Joshua Bell play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in Perth Concert Hall (1999) - I don't have any souvenirs of that evening but here is a web reference:-

Other violinists I have been lucky to hear in the Perth Concert Hall (AU) include Nigel Kennedy, Ray Chen, Sarah Chang (got all of their autographs!), Baiba Skride, Michael Barenboim, Maxim Vengerov... and ca. 1989 a concert of Igor and Valery Oistrakh in the chapel of Christ Church Grammar School in Perth

The ABC broadcast Igor and Valery Oistrakh's performance in Adelaide (July 1989) of Mozart's Concertone in C major KV190 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under Muhai Tang:-



Rudolf Koelman (one of the last pupils of Heifetz), autographing CDs in Fremantle Town Hall on the 14th March 2010, following a performance of Glazunov's Violin Concerto with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra under Jessica Gethin:-


Mischa Maisky signed this programme for me at his concert of 28th March 2015 in the Perth Concert Hall


Martha Argerich with the London Philharmonia under Vladimir Ashkenazy in Mandurah (near Perth) on 26th January 2000

I attended this concert (part of the Perth International Arts Festival) - but Argerich cancelled and was replaced by Ashkenazy as soloist.  He didn't play the originally programmed Chopin 1st Piano Concerto, but rather a Mozart Piano Concerto (No 20 perhaps).



Ashkenazy autographed this CD in Sydney in November 2009

Programme for a solo recital given by Alicia de Larrocha in the Perth Concert Hall on 11th October 1977.  Larrocha also performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No 25 K503 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under Sir Alexander Gibson on 7th & 8th October 1977 at the same venue.  Of course I didn't attend any of these 1970's concerts!  This programme was something I found in the State Library of W.A.


Programme for Vladimir Ashkenazy with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under John Hopkins of 2nd December 1977 in the Perth Concert Hall, performing Chopin's 1st and Beethoven's 4th Piano Concertos.  Another find at the State Library...


Well, I copied a lot of other fascinating concert programmes from the W.A. State Library... Jorge Bolet, John Ogdon, Radu Lupu, Annie Fischer, Claudio Arrau, John Lill, Cecile Ousset, Michael Ponti, Michel Block, Stephen Bishop (Kovacevich), Lorin Hollander, Peter Frankl, Miriam Fried, Erick Friedman, Pinchas Zukerman, Kyung-Wha Chung... all played in Perth during the 1970s (the usual venue was Government House Ballroom until 1972, and from 1973 onwards the newly constructed Perth Concert Hall)

From earlier decades there are Perth programmes for Eileen Joyce, Shura Cherkassky (as early as 1928!), Claudio Arrau, William Kapell (1945 & 1953), Noel Mewton-Wood, Julius Katchen, Jascha Spivakovsky, Ruggiero Ricci, Isaac Stern, David Helfgott, etc.  Typical venues were the Capitol Theatre, His Majesty's Theatre, or the University of Western Australia (Octagon Theatre or Winthrop Hall)....


Claudio Arrau 1957 Australasian Tour LP


1957 Perth concert programs of Claudio Arrau - Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 (26 & 27 July 1957, Capitol Theatre) & solo recital (30 July 1957, Capitol Theatre)




State Concert to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - Jascha Spivakovsky performs Britten Piano Concerto etc. (6 June 1953, Capitol Theatre)


  Download the complete program for QEII Coronation Concert with Jascha Spivakovsky (1953 Perth)


 Royal Barge with Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip on the Swan River - Royal Visit to Perth (1954) 


1936 Perth concert programs of Eileen Joyce - solo works & Grieg Piano Concerto (April 1936, His Majesty's Theatre)

 "The Australian Broadcasting Commission has much pleasure in presenting to you Eileen Joyce, Australia's Genius of the Piano, who has created the most profound impression abroad." 


  Download the complete program for Eileen Joyce at His Majesty's Theatre (1936 Perth)


 Eileen Joyce plays Grieg's Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonia in the Royal Albert Hall, London (from 1951 movie "Wherever She Goes")



Roger Woodward performed the complete works of Chopin in the Sydney Town Hall during the 1983-84 seasons


  Relive the experience of Roger Woodward playing Chopin's Waltzes Op 69/1 & 64/2 in the  Sydney Town Hall (22nd April 1983) :-




The legendary Roger Woodward in an all-Chopin recital marking the bicentenary of Chopin's birth in Winthrop Hall, University of W.A. (26th November 2010)






Angela Hewitt autographed this masterclass programme in Sydney in May 2003.  Around the same time Olli Mustonen gave a masterclass in Sydney and signed my DVD of his Prokofiev 3rd Piano Concerto.


Attending Olli Mustonen's solo recital of March 2003 in Sydney


Another "autographic" encounter with Angela Hewitt, this time in Melbourne (September 2013)


The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Australian debut in the Perth Concert Hall under Sir Simon Rattle (14th November 2010)


Ticket for the Berlin Philharmonic in Perth


Konstantin Lifschitz solo piano recital in the Ballroom of Government House, Perth (27th February 2011)


Programme:  Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 110, Rachmaninov Corelli Variations Op 42, Liszt Sonata in B minor


Other pianists heard in this venue: Ingrid Fliter (26th June 2011), Nikolai Demidenko (11th September 2011), Denis Kozhukhin (17th June 2013)


Incidentally, my first live outing with Demidenko was his 2002 recital in Melba Hall, Melbourne with the Chopin 4 Scherzi & 4 Ballades.  For his Perth recital of 2011 he programmed the no less dramatic Liszt Ballades, Sonata in B minor, plus a selection of Chopin Nocturnes, and offered as an encore Gluck/Sgambati Mélodie d'Orphée.


Attending the solemn memorial concert of the Tokyo Symphony under Maestro Ken-ichiro Kobayashi honouring the victims of the earthquake & tsunami (Tokyo Suntory Hall, 26th March 2011)



Stefan Stroissnig recital of 11th May 2011 at the Callaway Music Auditorium, University of Western Australia


A possible worthy heir to Brendel?

Stroissnig's program consisted of Liszt Benediction & Schubert Sonata D850 (no encore but I managed to steal an autograph)



"Alfred Brendel Pianist" - rare 1973 Radio Bremen TV portrait (45 minutes)



Lang Lang autographed this CD after his concert of 8th June 2011 at the Sydney Opera House



Lang Lang's masterclass at the Sydney Opera House (9th June 2011)


Attending all three of Evgeny Kissin's concerts at the Sydney Opera House (September 2011)





Sydney sunset (September 2011)



Murray Perahia's solo piano recital in Taipei of 20th October 2011



 Gala concert in Hong Kong City Hall (2nd Nov 2011) - 4 piano concertos performed by 4 soloists - Cristina Ortiz, Tigran Alikhanov, Peter Frankl, Gary Graffman, all conducted by Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy


 BELOW: Chance sighting - Klaus Heymann of NAXOS in the foyer of Hong Kong City Hall on 2nd November 2011



 Concerts of Garrick Ohlsson, Denis Matsuev, Olga Kern and Mischa Maisky in Seattle (2012) (I didn't attend any of them, but just took these photos!)


Massey Hall in Toronto (February 2012)


  Relive the experience of Vladimir Horowitz playing Mozart's Sonata in C K330 in  Massey Hall, Toronto (October 16, 1977) :-


Own digitization from bootleg reel tape recording (the tape was kindly gifted by Dr B.N. of Germany) -  playback equipment: AKAI 4000DS MK II




Marc-Andre Hamelin signs CD for me after his performance of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto in Singapore (3rd March 2012)



 Hearing Yundi Li perform Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto in Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 8th September 2012 (HK Philharmonic season opener)



There were a lot of interesting concerts around this time...  another highlight was attending the world premiere of Carl Vine's Piano Concerto No 2 at the Sydney Opera House on 22nd August 2012 with Piers Lane the soloist conducted by Hugh Wolff.  Carl Vine was present and appeared on stage to much applause.  There were additional performances of this concerto in Sydney and shortly after in Hobart but this was the very first one.

Earlier, Piers Lane had presented a wonderful solo recital in the City Recital Hall, Sydney (on 20th August 2012) with the complete Chopin Waltzes, etc.  The pre-concert talk was delivered by pianist/composer Ian Munro (whom I've been lucky to hear many times in concert).



Ian Munro played Ravel's Piano Concerto in G at The Concourse, Chatswood in October 2012 under Nicholas Milton



Australia Ensemble at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW (October 2012)



 Ian Munro played Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (22nd February 2012)


(I couldn't attend this Music Bowl concert but somebody in the audience provided me with a "private souvenir" - from which the above images were extracted)


  DOWNLOAD MP3 - Ian Munro plays Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto with the Sydney Symphony/John Harding (May 1998, Sydney)

 [right click on link -> save as...] 


ABC recording courtesy of 'Mikey'


"Breakfast on Bondi" (14th October 2012) - the only beachside classical concert I've ever experienced!




Two LP records autographed by Garrick Ohlsson in November 2012



I snapped this photo of Philip Glass, Maki Namekawa & Sally Whitwell on stage in the Perth Concert Hall (16th February 2013) after their world premiere performance of Glass's Complete Piano Etudes


 Joyce Yang with Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto at the Sydney Opera House (16th March 2013)



Attending the solo recitals of Joyce Yang and Ingrid Fliter in the City Recital Hall, Angel Place (18th March 2013 & 23rd September 2013)


Ingrid Fliter played Haydn Sonata Hob XVI:34, Schubert Sonata D959, Chopin 24 Preludes Op 28 and encored us with a Chopin Nocturne



Tamara Anna Cislowska solo piano recital in Hunter's Hill Town Hall (17th March 2013)


A selection of CDs from the late, great Geoffrey Tozer


  Geoffrey Tozer (piano) & Hartmut Lindemann (viola) play Berlioz arr. Liszt Harold in Italy — live at the  Huntington Festival (Mudgee, NSW) :-


Audio recording © "Fine Music 102.5" (all rights reserved)



Ingrid Fliter autograph of September 2013 at the University of Western Australia


Maestro Zubin Mehta in Hamer Hall, Melbourne on the 2nd October 2013 (following the concert, he autographed my VHS edition of Horowitz's Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto in which he conducts the New York Philharmonic !!)



Bizarre premonition!?  Motorbike with "ZUBIN" number plate which I spotted in central Melbourne on 18th July 2013


Percy Grainger in "The American Vegetarian" (December 1946) - newspaper clipping on display at the Grainger Museum, Melbourne



Attending the birthday celebration of Vegetarian Victoria in Fitzroy on 27th July 2013



Snapped these pics of Lola Astanova at her solo recital in Brisbane (QSO Studio South Bank) on 13th October 2013. Also heard her play the Gershwin Rhapsody in Brisbane QPAC just days before with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz.  And earlier that year, I attended the Australian debut of "youtube star" Valentina Lisitsa - a solo recital at the Brisbane QPAC (8th June 2013), which absolutely surpassed my expectations.  Also very interesting were the Brisbane recitals of Sergio Tiempo (4th June) and Freddy Kempf (17th November)...

And I made it to the concerts of Marc-André Hamelin in Melbourne (25th & 27th September 2013) and Adelaide (22nd September 2013)


  Marc-André Hamelin plays his arrangement of Chopin's Waltz No 6 Op 64/1 in  Hamer Hall, Melbourne (30th September 2013) :-


Rare chance to hear the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Mariss Jansons and Yefim Bronfman in Brisbane (24th November 2013)  (Maestro Jansons kindly autographed one of his CDs for me on this occasion)



LP record autographed for me by Pinchas Zukerman (November 2013)

This LP (not yet autographed) was originally a gift to me from D.S.


Behzod Abduraimov playing Beethoven's Emperor Concerto in Auckland (15th May 2014)



Abduraimov in Auckland Town Hall on 15th May 2014 - concert photos (below) from the live internet feed:-


Following this Auckland concert, I heard Abduraimov play Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto in the Adelaide Town Hall on 23rd May 2014 (which I suspect was his first public performance of this concerto anywhere - this has now been confirmed in an interview Abduraimov gave in Los Angeles, August 2017 - refer below).  Though my very first encounter with Abduraimov was in the Perth Concert Hall playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 on 9th March 2012. It was the stuff of legend, and yup, I got his autograph.


Photos taken by me of Abduraimov rehearsing the "Rach 3" with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins on 23rd May 2014 in the Adelaide Town Hall:-



Abduraimov soloist in the "Rach 3" with Valery Gergiev in the Royal Albert Hall, London on 18th July 2016 (BBC Proms)



  Behzod Abduraimov Hollywood Bowl concert interview snippet (August 2017, Los Angeles) - confirming he played "Rach 3" for the very first time in Adelaide:-



Alexei Volodin playing Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto in Adelaide (9th September 2016)


 Henley Beach Jetty (September 2016)


More memorable souvenirs from Adelaide...

Peter Jablonski performed Chopin's Piano Concerto No 2 at the Adelaide Festival Theatre on 21st May 2010 and signed this CD after the concert:-


Herbert Schuch autograph from July 2009 in Adelaide during the Beethoven Festival conducted by John Nelson



Jean-Efflam Bavouzet masterclass at Elder Hall, Adelaide on 23rd April 2012 (left) and autograph from his Debussy recital of 24th April 2012 in the same venue (right)



Yevgeny Sudbin solo piano recital in the Space Theatre, Adelaide of 6th May 2013.  A few days later (on the 9th) I also heard him play Beethoven's 2nd Piano Concerto in the Adelaide Town Hall.



  Lukas Vondracek plays Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto (Mvt III) under Alexander Lazarev in the  Perth Concert Hall (May 1, 2014) :-



 FLASHBACK   1978 Tchaikovsky Competition, Moscow - Alexander Lazarev with Mikhail Pletnev


  Alexander Gavrylyuk plays Schumann's Kinderszenen (I) as an encore in  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (November 6, 2016) :-





Laser Discs (remember those?!) - Ivo Pogorelich | Song Without End (The Story of Franz Liszt) with soundtrack by Jorge Bolet | Bernstein West Side Story





 Deutsche Grammophon video catalogue 1991-92

Top End etc.


Lake Eyre (26th April 2012)



Hot air ballooning in Alice Springs (28th April 2012)


 The Olgas (1st May 2012)


 Palm Valley in The Northern Territory (2nd May 2012)



 Ayers Rock aerial perspective (3rd May 2012)


Point Lookout and Guyra in New South Wales (19th August 2012)



Mother of Ducks Lagoon in Guyra - high altitude wetlands (19th August 2012)


Gold Coast, Sydney, Darwin (August 2012)



Mindil Beach sunset in Darwin (30th August 2012)


Kakadu National Park in The Northern Territory (28th August 2012)



 Western Australia


150th Anniversary Western Australia first day cover stamp (1979)


Castle Rock, Porongurup National Park (1980)


Me (on the right) standing at the summit of Bluff Knoll with my sister - Stirling Range National Park (1981)


Loch McNess, Yanchep National Park (December 2016)



Loch McNess (December 1992) - spot the difference?


Boating on Loch McNess (earlier in 1992)


My parents would take us down to Yanchep frequently from late 1970s onwards - the lake was always full of water and very deep all year round - boating activities were taken for granted (and plenty of boats for hire).  The lake was replenished from Perth's natural groundwater so its level didn't depend so much on rainfall.  But couple of decades on, Perth's groundwater has been depleted to such an extent that this former "lake" now consists of a few mud pools at the end of spring which evaporate over the summer...


The Pinnacles (January 2013)



Nature's Window at Murchison Gorge, Kalbarri National Park (January 2013)


Kalbarri coastal cliffs (January 2013)


Stromatolites of Lake Thetis (January 2013)



Thrombolites of Lake Clifton (January 2015)



Jewel Cave at Margaret River (April 2010)



Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse & Leeuwin Estate (April 2010)



Albany (April 2010)



Perth Tram 66 - restored to its former glory at Whiteman Park (February 2013)


Tram 66 made the very last tram journey in Perth - after its final run on 19th July 1958 it was withdrawn from service



A vintage Fremantle Tram at Whiteman Park


Galaxy Drive In  (January 2014)


The only remaining Drive In theatre in Perth...



Perth from the Swan River (February 2013)



Looking towards the Swan River and Perth from Fremantle


Wildflowers in bloom - urban bushland of Perth (September 2012)

Interesting links
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