September News


Australian Technology Park

Australian Technology Park View from the cafe of the renovated industrial complex.

Australia Technology Park

ElectroneX was held at the Conference Centre of the Australian Technology Park, in Sydney, from the 12th—13th September. Last year it was held in Melbourne. Geared to electronic design and assembly, is not getting bigger as investment is attracted to Taiwan, China, Thailand, Vietnam and India.

We managed to visit folk in our area of interest and start preliminary discussions for manufacturing small quantity prototypes.

The technology park is close to the Redfern Station in the old Eveleigh Railway Yard. Although it does not look like the glass palaces of other technology parks from the outside, the interior has been converted to high-tech offices while preserving the character of the earlier industrial era. It was once Australia’s largest industrial complex according to the Australian Technology Park website.

Tales from the woods

Bamboo forest in Kyoto

Forest near Kyoto, Japan —  Photo courtesy of Bruce Clark

Not really related to our travels, but my brother recently returned from a trip to Japan and this provides a contrast to the endless gum trees that straddle the 100 meter strips along the interstate roads. Like South Africa, unfortunately the vast forests that used to cover Australia have been cleared.

September was kind to us. We took a trip (by car) from Adelaide to Canberra, then Sydney for ElectroneX, followed by a visit to my brother in Brisbane, and back inland over the Great Dividing Range to Adelaide. In all, about 5500 km through the Australian countryside.

The eastern coast is a little more exciting than the flat countryside beyond the Adelaide Hills and large parts of Victoria. The Murray River drops a few hundred meters over several hundred kilometers, supplying water to an incredible amount of agriculture along the way.

How does the drive compare to our past in South Africa? The flat road and speed limits makes it easy for trucks to drive on your tail. The number of dead kangaroos on the roads each morning shows it is unsafe to drive at night, but the trip was uneventful and enjoyable. Long distances between petrol stations or accommodation was a bit of a surprise, but this is a very big country where small rural towns fall into disrepair as folk move to the cities.

Nowhere did we feel unsafe. There are parallels to most of the scenery we recall back in South Africa, except the Drakensberg mountains. The Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane is getting a major upgrade, which can cause delays. The eastern coast rivers are impressive.

Well, that can now be crossed off the bucket list.

Australian Parliament Canberra

Australian Parliament —  Canberra, ACT


Canberra was visited on a Sunday so there were no politicians at Parliament House, just friendly staff. We are not sure what security is like during the week, but we were allowed to walk through most of the building and take photographs after going through airport-type screening. There is only one photo shown here, but the inside of Parliament is worth a visit. For more about parliament, visit the Parliament of Australia home page.

Pyrmont office block

Pyrmont, Sydney —  Upmarket office space


We spent a few days in Sydney; timed nicely to attend ElectroneX. The waterfront development along Circular Quays, Darling Harbour and Pyrmont are our favourite walks. The ground floor of the office block to the left had very nice restaurants, plus housed a large search-engine company. Obviously they make more money than the poorer electronics development companies nibbling away at the periphery of a city.

Santos GLNG City of Lights at the Brisbane Festival

Santos GLNG City of Lights —  Brisbane Festival


The laser and light show along the South Bank of the Brisbane River was sponsored by Santos.

After a few pleasant days in Brisbane, we headed back inland over the Great Dividing Range, via Dubbo and Hays to Adelaide across the Adelaide Hills.