Sunday, March 27, 2011


We’ve been attempting to make it to the Gallery of Modern Art or, GOMA for short, for over three months.  It was something we had on our list of stuff to do over the never ending Christmas holidays.  It ticked all the boxes for a great school holiday activity. It was free and, oh yeah, it was free. 

And then,  well, Brisbane kind of had a bit of a crisis.  You know, just one of those one in a hundred year catastrophes, the 2011 Flood. So we gave it a miss.  Actually, we pretty much gave everything a miss due to the weather.  It was cabin fever central at Chez Morley with only so many games of Wii Bowling one can endure.  I digress...

So, today, finally, with Maddie off to a birthday party at Dreamworld, we thought it was a good day to tackle GOMA with the two boys. 

It was great.  Oh except we nearly got kicked out.  Three times. 

See, the kids are kind of lulled into a false sense of security when they enter the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art.  It’s very interactive at first.  There is a table a mile long solely laden with only white Lego.  They are not only allowed to play with the milky white bricks, they are actively encouraged to make a twenty storey skyscraper.

Lego A go go..

Next was the wall of wishes, kind of my fave.  Thousands of wishes printed on ribbons hang from the wall. You are allowed to take one in return for your wish written on a piece of paper and stuffed back into the ribbon vacating hole.  Some wishes were heartbreaking.  “I wish I had a friend at school”  “I wish I would live long enough to see grandchildren” and “I wish somebody loved me”.  I can’t tell you my wish.  If I did, it won’t come true.

The wish wall

So, off we went to the giant slides 

Which both boys promptly chickened out of the minute they got to top. 

So we wandered off, kind of just letting the kids run in a manner not okay with cultural centres of excellence.  Phil and I kind of got engrossed in this:

Rashid Rana | Pakistan b.1968 | Off shore accounts – II

In fact, so much so, we were standing in the “No Stand” zone and taking a very close look.  This was when Jack took a running jump and kicked Sam, who then, in turn fell into Rashid Rana’s photograph. Strike One. We were told we needed to leave the area - stat.

I won’t tell you about the sneaky pinch I gave Jack or the gritted teeth threat of being banished to his room for the rest of his life as we were leaving.  No, I won’t get the chance to because before we could even get through the door, he tripped and fell on to the sperm Elephant. The massive wooden elephant, which on close inspection, is painted in sperm.  Strike Two.

Sperm Elephant. Trust me on this one.

It's also notable to mention at this time, that I was wearing only one shoe.  See, as much as I tell my son to walk in a straight line, he finds this physcially impossible and in turn, kicked my thong and broke it.  I do recognise that we were, by this point, the most feral family in the vicinity.  So, we chose to leave and take our chaotic children with us to safer waters, The Plough in at South Bank.  But not before I got told off for using flash photography, trying to get this photo of the devil child.

Perhaps the horns aren't visible, but believe me, they are there

We did take in the normal museum and this little exhibition in particular moved me:

I remember lying in bed hearing the Premier say this. And then crying.

The 2011 floods will forever live in Brisbane’s history.  But I’ve got to tell you, South Bank is pumping.  The markets were on, the restaurants were packed and they could teach the Gold Coast a thing or two about design.  Seriously, get back to Brisbane people, it is stunning. 

The pool area of course is still out of action, but this time next year, wow, standing room only.

We finished our day with a lovely lunch at the Plough Inn with this guy for company

I think only one thing topped off our day. When Jack raised his glass of lemonade and yelled “Cheers Bitchears”.  Yeah.  Perfect.


Lucy said...

Dare I say he looks like Phil in the 'horns are not visible" pic?!


Cate Swannell said...

GOMA is the awesomest. Anna Bligh is the second awesomet. Bern Morley is Queen Awesome. I have a fever. That is all.

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

Maybe I should teach my kids that toast. My SIL is getting married in a few weeks, and I'm sure that the MC would appreciate the kids helping out with some of the official duties...

The GOMA looks awesome. If I ever manage that Queensland holiday the kids keep asking for we'll definitely have to include it on the list of must visit venues - provided it is still standing after your outing. :-)

be grateful that your boys chickened out before they actually got onto the slice. we were at Questacon last year and a boy in his early teens decided that he couldn't handle the drop/slide once he was actually hanging from the bar at the top of the slice. It didn't matter how much his parents were calling that his feet were only 20cm away from the slide, he had his feet braced against the sides and wouldn't budge. Poor boy.

edenland said...

You make me want to come visit Brisbane. My youngest has a wicked set of horns too, though.

And seriously - SPERM ELEPHANT?

Faybian said...

Have to try that. We went to goma last year and saw the valentino exhibition, so cool. Then we had dinner at southbank, just my daughter and I. This year we went to moma (museum of modern art) in NYC, where we saw van gogh, picaso, Monet (sucha lovely surprise) and lots of other "interesting" art/sculptures. Eventually, I'll put it on my blog (when I work out how to).

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Sperm Elephant.

Penbleth said...

So fun, a sperm elephant. If it is ny consolation we took out our 18 and 16 today and they just pouted the whole time. Ugh.

4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle said...

I too am still pondering the Sperm Elephant...Why??

LOVE Brisbane, I agree South Bank is amazing and the city looks fantastic, we were there in July and it was mid 20's with sunshine and blue I type I'm wondering why aren't there 20 million people living there?

I'm so stealing cheers bitchears.

Jane said...

Sperm elephant?! WTF. And I am also stealing "cheers bitchears".

Cheers bitchears. x

Clarinda said...

Holy shit! Are we living parallel lives? My boys are just the same.

Green Mama said...

No words for how much I enjoyed that post... thank you. I actually snorted. I'm turning into my grandmother.

Little Miss Moi said...

Cheers bitchears. Classic.

I have never been to GoMA. Will have to make it a priority next time I visit Brisbane.

frogpondsrock said...


cjtato said...

Bwahahahahaha. Bitchears. That's Gold!!!

Oh and The Plough Inn. What a fabulous place, yeah? Went there for the first time with hubby a few weekends ago and loved it.

Ms Styling You said...

Cheers bitchears! Gold, I'm using that one next Friday night.

Benison said...

You deserve a medal, or alternatively to be committed to a mental institution, for taking two small boys to an art museum. However,the GOMA looks great. x

Meredith@thinkthinks said...

Was that elephant standing before all y'all got to him? ;)

alliecat said...

Sperm elephant, what the...?

Sounds like a great day all round, at least it made for a fun blog post!

bigwords is... said...

The GOMA looks fab. Need to get back to Brissie soon as I love it.

We got asked to leave somewhere once - we were on holiday and took our first born to the pool. She did a huge shit in her swimmer nappy and was bouncy up and down on the steps before we realised little bits of poop were floating everywhere. Never. Been. So. Mortified. I think our day ended with beer too! xx

Smudgeblurr said...

Hey Bern,
Another great Blog Post - you crack me up!
My friend and I were all organised to go to GOMA on the Monday of 'Flood week' so it never happened and we are planning a return visit! Are adults allowed on the slides as I so want a go!
Will be three women and two girls aged 4 and 6 so the odds will be better for us for crowd control..

Kylie L said...

Bern, are you sre that elephant was lying down BEFORE your kids got there?

Just askling. Love that Brisbane is getting back on its feet!

Sarah said...

I haven't yet attempted an art museum with small children. You've validated my decision not to. ;)

Naomi said...

I love that lego exhibition. I have a photo of Hubby and the kids building at it in Melb.
The NGV in Melb has some great security guards that quietly entertain the kids, I think they have special ops training to spot the feral look in the kids eyes just before they jump a sperm elephant.
Best to end days like that with beer. As for Jack's toast - I love that kid!

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear God look at that poor child!

Anonymous said...

bugger, I was going to say, you made him wear one of those daggy "People I know went to x place and all they got me was one of these t shirts"!

For shame mother!


So Now What? said...

Ha Michelle! I know, I did it. Can't believe I did it, but I ran out of time and Paddys Markets is just a haven for craptastic stuff. And, the boys want to wear them EVERYDAY. Weird.

Thanks for all the comments.

I should clear up the Sperm Elephant. If you got up close, there were a million little sperm traveling up his body.

Lot's of WTF moments to be had at GOMA

River said...

Only WHITE Lego? What a great idea. I love the wish wall too.

Thea said...

Bern, Bern, feral! LOL
(I only say that because my town is full of them so I know foreshore that you ain't one!)

Lego a go it!
My bestie 'Dancing Queen' was just telling me about GOMA on our girls' weekend. She had the ribbons on her handbag.

And that is one helluva lizard! Makes the blue tongue in my kitchen look like the dead skink in my washing machine.....long story!

Maxabella said...

Cheers Bitchears is my new catch-phrase... do you mind? No? Cheers Bitchears!!

That lego table made me want to hop on a flight to Brisneyland and I can't say I've ever said that before.

“I wish I had a friend at school”... dear god, woman, I'm at work and now I'm holding back the tears and desperate to see the school kids and give them a cuddle. Have mercy! x

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