Money Money Money

It occurred to me recently just how little our kids have to do with money. Everything is on card really.

“Come on, guys. Up you get. We’re going to hit the mint,” I said from our kitchen. If I’m up, you have to be too, I thought but didn’t add, instead saying, “I mean go to the mint. We’re not going to rob it.”

A head popped out the side of a bunk further up the bus.

“What’s a mint?” Miss7 asked.

“It’s where they make the money,” I told her, trying to sound excited.

I must have failed.

“Why do I have to got there?” she wanted to know.

Failure is not, you probably aren’t surprised to learn, a new experience for me. In fact, only minutes earlier Tracey had asked a similar question.

Trying not to sound whiny, I gave Miss7 the same answer I’d given my wife.

“Because it’s my birthday and I want to.”

Not trying even a little bit to not sound whiny, Miss7 shot back, “Can’t you want to do something else for your birthday?”


“We could go find some swings.”


“McDonalds has swings.”

“You’ll enjoy the mint,” I assured her.

“I don’t think so,” she assured me back.

Seeing this was getting nowhere fast, I changed tack and decided to try sell the idea on the one activity I’d heard was available at the mint to do.

I think,” I said, “you even get to make your own money.”

She was unmoved.

“I doubt that,” she said miserably. On the bright side, at least her voice wasn’t sounding whiny anymore.

“No really,” I pressed. “You get to make your own gold coin.”

That did it. Even I was surprised at just how big a turnaround in attitude I got because suddenly she was totally onboard with our planned day trip.

“I do?!” she exclaimed. In a flash she was out of her bunk and pulling on shoes and yelling excitedly. “Hey, everybody,” she went on, throwing open the bunk curtains of her siblings and shaking them awake. “We’re going to the mint to make chocolate mooney!”

I didn’t tell them. Would you have?

Miss7 working the vending machine at the Australian Mint
Don’t break a tooth now.
Kids designing money.
Making money.
This reminded me of a scene out of pretty much any James Bond movie where he’s snuck into the baddy’s lair.

The trucks are bringing in the equipment to fence off the grass on new Parliament House, so we made a point of being dicks on it while we still can.
We were pretty much dicks everywhere we went actually. If you’re wondering about Master12’s jacket, it’s Miss10’s. She didn’t want to carry it. I hung it on him.
The Queen and the Drama Queen.

“If this is the House of Representatives then the Senate must be across the other side, right?” I asked Tracey. She’s not much into politics. “I don’t care. Mentally, I went to sleep half an hour ago.” she mumbled.
She wasn’t alone. Some big days for Miss5. Assuming the polished floors reminded her of home. I carried her a bit after this.
Old Parliament House has been the surprise hit for the kids. They’re begging to go back.
Not because of the rooms on display.
Not because of the political cartoons around the walls.

It wasn’t the models. Scale unknown.
Not because you can wear a wig and sit in a chair like Miss5 here.

Not because I dressed up too (but do you think my shits of children would remind me of that when I went off to buy a coffee?)
Not because they’ve got books you can’t read.
Not because you can mock the King.
Because of this. Well, this is part of it. A section where you can play – they loved it. Me too. I went for coffee.

Not sure where American Indians come into our history, but Miss10 was won over.
I think all the space and comfortable seating was the big draw card here. Because neither of those are on our bus.

I wasn’t fussed on going to the War Memorial. I find this sort of thing depressing because war generally involves people putting other people – young people with their whole life ahead of them – in harm’s way while staying safe themselves.
My reservations were totally unfounded. It was one of the highlights of our time here. Beautifully done without glorifying war at all and the exhibits are awesome. Very respectful. Very inspiring. Very much worth doing.

This case reminded me of a line from Good Morning Vietnam about not wearing green. “You know, you go in the jungle, make a statement. If you’re going to fight, clash.” But also, guy second from the right is gonna be a bit cold.
This diorama is sensational. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
Best of all, they have lots of model planes. Scale 1:1
Not just plane models either.
Even managed to dump our kids with my cousins, Jenni and Jurek, for a while so we could research some family history in the centre here.

We’d been recommended to go to Cockington Green. Scale was generally 1:12 so not as impressive at the War Memorial. I can’t remember what the sign said but I think this was Oprah’s house.
Lots of models of places I didn’t recognise. Although I thought maybe this might have been in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Or maybe it was in The Princess Diaries. I definitely know it from somewhere. 
The only model town I know about was in Hot Fuzz and because of that I spent much of our hour here with a horrible image in my head. I kept an eye out for sharp steeples. 

“Worse maze ever,” I told my cousin, Jurek. “No entrance.” He explained it was a labyrinth. “Worst labyrinth ever,” I told him. “No Bowie.”

Found some gorgeous looking tiny models on this path.
Finally, something I recognised. The home of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Genuinely excited. 
Across the road is the Dinosaur Museum. Benefit being, no need to move the car.

Kids pretending to run away from dinosaurs in a never before attempted shot (everyone does it).
(Everyone does it multiple times)
I’d recommend this place over the tiny homes across the road. Not only is it more educational, the staff were awesome – answering questions and happily chatting about everything from rocks to fossils and displays.

We’ve got some of these at home which Poppy gave the kids. Sadly, they were the cheapest items behind the glass downstairs where you could buy beautiful fossils, like a fish in cream stone for $3500 which I’d really like if anyone is feeling generous.

Back in Bungendore playing at the showgrounds.

Getting up is easy. Getting down requires a bit brother’s help.
It’s been lovely here, but we’re moving on Monday. Next stop, The Dish at Parkes then, in no particular order I can remember, Bathurst and Mudgee and Orange. Tracey’s even dropping in to Wagga for a day. If you’re in any of these areas and want to chat to Tracey about family photos her number is 0407821071. Or tell a friend in the area a fabulous family photographer is passing through. Cheers. Adventure, baby!
Also took a look from the viewing deck on the needle, or Telstra Tower as it’s less popularly known, curtesy of our tour guides, Jenni & Jurek.
It changes colour at night. Gorgeous.
So is the view. Terrifyingly gorgeous. I took photos but they’re mainly black. 

Raising a family on little more than laughs


  • I’m glad you seem to have enjoyed our Nations Capital. Still so much more to see and do. Come again in spring! It is simply gorgeous.

  • In all the times I have been to the mint I have never actually seen them making money, when we were there the week before last Titan had put some blanks onto the conveyer belt and I thought beauty going to see it happening but no they were just counted and that was it 🙁 . But has been good to follow your trip visiting the tourist spots a day or so after I had. Think my highlight this trip is still “The Heart”, Sam and Connie and the other people I met don’t think anything will beat that for a while

  • I’m impressed by your choices in how to spend your special day Bruce! A very Happy Birthday to you.
    Thanks for sharing your adventures….food for thought when ever anyone visits our Capital. I lived there for several years back in the late 70’s and you have helped me remember how lovely winter is there. Still glorious colours of the leaves and the feeling that a frost had just lifted. Great photos Tracey….your family is a terrific subject and never boring.
    Take care and enjoy the next chapter ahead .

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