Adelaide Convention Centre, detail Winged figure Sculpture mushrooms Mushrooming shadow Turtle skeleton in Museum of Southern Australia Opals Opalised plesiosaur Mock-up of plesiosaur in pursuit of lunch Knapped flints – exquisite Display Array of spear points Streetscape A king King and shadows War memorial Railway tracks, looking from my room south into sunset – conference centre roof, fountain and sea
Back this morning from a whistle-stop tour of Australia, mainly focusing on Adelaide, where I keynoted the annual sustainable development conference organised by the Minerals Council of Australia. My panel was chaired by Sue Sara of Xstrata, and was made up of Mike Rann, Southern Australia’s Premier, and John Strongman, ex-World Bank.
One thing I will long remember from the reception on the first night at the Museum of Southern Australia was the skeleton of a plesiosaur, where the calcium in the bones had been replaced in part by silica, turning them – in part, at least – into opals. Me next, please.
On the evening of my keynote there was a dinner at the National Wine Centre, where we were treated to a range of wines made by the d’Arenberg winery. Chester Osborn did a series of highly colourful introductions to the wines, which were great fun. My personal prize for the most elaborate wine name went to the 2006 Galvo Garage Cabernet Merlot Petit Verdot Cabernet Franc, though I confess I preferred the 2006 d’Arenberg ‘Dead Arm’ Shiraz. I also rather liked the 2008 Noble ‘Mudpie’ Viognier Pinot Gris Marsanne, so named, Chester explained, because the same ingredient s went into it as into a mudpie, mainly earth wand water.
Stopped off in Singapore briefly on the way, to meet up with Kevin Teo and Allen Tan of the Volans office based there, and Elim Chew, the well-known Singaporean entrepreneur. She gave Elaine and I a pair of chubby-bottomed cast angels, very much on the flying theme. There was a point to them. A highlight of the trip back was reading George Friedman’s extraordinary book, The Next 100 Years. Read it cover-to-cover. Amazingly provocative.