Well I had the most fabulous time in Australia, lots of photos and lovely memories to cherish. I was staying with my friend Diana and his wife Claudia at there home in Rosewood, Ipswich west of Brisbane Queensland. I would live as Stephanie for over 3 weeks full time. This is an account of my adventures and the lovely people I met. I can’t thank Diana and Claudia enough for the love and support and for there hospitality and for giving me this chance to visit & showing me there beautiful country & for giving me the chance to experience being Stephanie full time.
After celebrating Diana’s Birthday at Candy Girls in Sunbury, The next day we travelled to Heathrow airport. I was amazed at how much little attention I got dressed in girls clothes with little makeup and no wig. Everywhere I went people addressed me as madam which was cool. I had no trouble at all whenever I had to show my passport although at Dubai a young lady security officer was rather bemused but accepted it was me in my passport photo 🙂
I also had no trouble either when we landed in Melbourne. We were meant to land at Sydney but we got diverted because of the fog. Not the best of starts as it meant we had to queue up at the domestic airport with 400 other weary passengers. 2 hours in the queue and by my reckoning we would have been there for at least another 2 hours. But luck would have it and one of the Qantas staff came to our rescue. She led us to a check in desk and they were able to put us on a direct flight to Brisbane. On arriving at Brisbane we collected our luggage and caught the airport train to Brisbane Central. We would take another 2 trains before we reached Rosewood station some two hours later. While on the train I got my first sighting of Kangaroos in the wild.
When we arrived at Rosewood, Diana’s wife Claudia was waiting for us. About a five minute drive later we arrived at Diana’s place. After freshening up and a bite to eat we went out for a drive around Rosewood and the surrounding area. They took me to the top of a hill by Tellegalla Cemetery Where I got to view valleys and mountain ranges on either side. After taking a few photos we returned to Diana’s place and I turned in for the night.
The next day we travelled into Ipswich to look around the shops, I was now fully dressed and would be for the duration of my holiday. We crossed over a Bridge and some distance below us ran a river. Back in 2011 during the floods the river rose just below the bridge, but the railway bridge a little further down was submerged as was the station and shopping centre. Many homes were washed away and although a lot of re building had taken place there were still some signs of the disaster as well as a few abandoned buildings and homes.
The next day Diana escorted me in guy mode, as Claudia has some very conservative friends and does not want them to know about Diana. We travelled by train into central Brisbane where Diana showed me the sights. After doing the touristy bit we stopped for Lunch before returning back to Rosewood. I must of blended in because I had no problem passing and I had no problems for the whole time I was to be in Australia.
Diana took me to a dress shop in Rosewood to be fitted out in outfits for Lady’s day "Ipswich Cup" horse racing event to be held on the Saturday. I found a lovely red and black dress after trying on at least 8 other dresses. I also got a black feathery bolero and fascinator and clutch bag. Elle Ray the owner of the shop was very helpful, she thought the green dress looked good on me but it was just not me. But we all agreed that the red dress was a good choice after a lot of deliberation
The next day Claudia travelled with Diana and me by train into Brisbane to have a trip on the river. We caught one of the many City Cats "Catamarans" that travel up and down the river Brisbane. I got a great view of the city and the many bridges that span the river and I took lots of photos. It was so windy that my long hair was all over the place and by the time we got off I looked a right mess Giggles. Well after a good comb I was able to look more presentable before heading to the Breakfast creek hotel for Lunch. Apparently they are renowned for there steaks.
The next day was the day of the big horse racing event in Ipswich. Claudia had allowed Diana to dress for the event and after we had all dolled up we all took the train into town and Claudia even sat next to us. Which pleased Diana as Claudia had threatened to make Diana travel in the coach behind "Giggles". At the station near the racecourse we caught the free bus to the track. Lots of people had dressed up for the event and some of the dresses the woman and young girls were wearing were gorgeous, but there were a few tacky ones as well that I would not of been seen dead in "Giggles". Well we had tickets in the members section and we did not have to wait in the very long queue to get in. The only problem was that by the time we were in the club house it was packed and there was no where for Claudia to sit, she is 72 years young bless and the staff were not very helpful. I was eventually able to get her a chair and a table while Diana and I stood. We also could not take our drinks out to the stand which was a bit daft seeing as the main tent in the centre of the track people could. We left Claudia to bet on the horses while we watched some of the races from the stand.
Diana the cheeky mare had entered me in to the "Fashion On The Track Event". So at 12-30 we went down to the stage area where all the other woman were gathering. I looked at some of there outfits then looked at mine and thought how the hell did I get talked in to this "Giggles". Well you could tell some of these woman meant business, they must have spent a small fortune on there outfits and hair. So there I was in the middle of all these lovely ladies waiting to be allocated with our numbers. By this time quite a large crowd had gathered in front of the stage. I was allocated number 35 out of 51. A pretty girl in a lovely green dress was so nervous that she came over to talk to me and asked me if she had gotten lipstick on her teeth. Of all the girls to ask but I felt accepted after that well except for one woman who looked me up and down then gave me that dismissive look. I just found it hilarious and just kept on smiling fortunately everyone else smiled back. Then the judging began, 14 girls at a time and I was due to go up in the 3rd group. Soon it was my turn to climb up on to the stage, so with back straight tits forward I glided on to the stage trying to be as elegant as possible with a big smile on my face. There were 4 judges and the compare, The compare got the crowd going and announced that this year was a bit different and that the rules had been relaxed, obviously referring to me not being a genetic woman. Then a few in the audience were Shouting for the judges to pick number 35, God knows what the other contestants thought about that as no one was shouting out there numbers "Giggles". Then we all trotted off stage to have are photo taken, which would be entered on some Facebook page and people could do a public vote. So somewhere out there is a mug shot of yours truly. Well the Judges would only pick 8 for the finale, not surprisingly I did not make the finale cut and came joint 9th with the other 42 woman ;-). It had been fun and I can’t believe I had the nerve to do it but I will have that wonderful memory to take with me to my grave. At least I have the title of first T-girl to enter the event and possibly the first Brit too :-). After the Races Diana And I went to Taboo and had an enjoyable evening watching about 6 drag queens perform. I herd later that a couple of them had a cat fight after we had left, dam missed out on that one. However once we reached Rosewood station we were the only ones who got of the train. Outside the train station was a police car waiting, apparently they were expecting someone else. Well it just so happened that Diana new the police woman and cheekily asked for a lift home. You should of seen the jaw drop and the total amazement from the other male officer. Diana explained that it was an old custom that guys dress up for the races hence the wig and dress. This seemed to be accepted and they said hop in. So I got to go back to Diana’s in an Aussie police car "Giggles" What a day I had !!!
On one of my next visit to Brisbane we went to a dress shop that sells 50’s style dresses and accessories. It did not take me long to find a lovely white halter neck dress with red roses on luckily for me it was my size and the only one they had. I tried on a green petticoat to go on underneath the dress, which Diana kindly bought for me. After we found a hotel that served lunch, which is sort of the equivalent of the pubs back home in the England. Except that they have licensed gambling machines on the establishment called Pokies. About everywhere I went to eat, beef Steak seemed to be the main fare and about the only thing that I liked. I think I went the whole of the first week eating different cuts of steak. Then we travelled back to Ipswich to visit the Ipswich railway workshop Museum, where I got to have a few photos taken of the trains and me. Well worth the visit if your in to old steam trains like me.
On another day Diana took me to a Market & car boot sale as we had orders from Claudia to get some vegetables for dinner. We also got some lovely fresh strawberries that were very sweet and juicy Yum Yum. Afterwards we drove to Wivenhoe Dam where I got some fantastic views of the lake and mountains it was truly breathtaking to see.
To celebrate Claudia’s birthday & Diana’s belated one. We went to the Queensland cricket ground affectionately known as the Gabba. We were to dine in the members club as Diana has been a member there for near on 45 years. We were seated by the window with a great view of the cricket pitch. The food and wine was excellent and my tummy after was very happy and full. After Lunch I got to having my photo taken with a signed cricket bat which was fun. I was trying to demonstrate to the Aussies how to play cricket as they have been rubbish of late " Giggles". Well they have !!!
Then Diana drove us to the Gold Coast to visit Sea World, Rather expensive to get in but when you think of all the up keep of the animals and marine life and the Dolphin & Sea Lion shows it was worth it. First port of call was the Penguin House, the Penguins were jumping in and out of the water and shuffling along on the ice so cute.
Next it was the Polar bear enclosure sadly the new baby cub and mother were not there just the male bear. Instead of being white he was brown, I did not know they changed colours and he was in his summer coat. Then we went to the aquarium to watch the many different species of fish and sharks. Then I watched a show staring 3 seal lions which was quite funny and entertaining. But the highlight of the visit was the Dolphin show absolutely wonderful and I was able to get quite a few good photos of the dolphins jumping and somersaulting out of the water. After we left sea world we went in search of the hotel, we knew were it was but just could not find away to get to it. It took near on 45 minutes before we could find away to get to it. A lot of roads were closed or made one way as they were building a new tram link. the hotel was very nice and the view from the 32 floor was breathtaking. Diana had a shave while I freshened up and a few beers later Diana was ready. First we would call in on Diana’s friend who runs a dressing service as Diana wanted a quick makeover. We were going out to the casino for dinner and Diana’s friend Tracey would be joining us. So after a few photo opportunities Tracey drove us to the casino, where we enjoyed a lovely meal. I had soup first which was rather filling and when I got served with my meat combo & rice stir fry it came in a rather large bowl filled to the rim. There was just to much so I took a doggy bag back to the hotel with me, as we had a fridge to store it in. After we returned to the hotel Tracey joined us for a drink and a good natter. Next day we travelled back home via the mountains and tropical rain forests. I got some fantastic views of the Gold Coast in the distance and surrounding valleys and mountains.
My next excursion was a sightseeing trip with Claudia & Diana to Toowoomba.
First port of call was The Pioneer Village museum where I saw lots of stuff from times gone by. I pretended to be a teacher then a school girl in the old school room as Diana took my photo. It was really interesting seeing how they lived and worked back then. We then travelled up into the mountain to Picnic point where I got a fantastic view of the mountains and the valleys below. I also had a cup of tea with a scone, cream and jam very yummy and very British 🙂 . While enjoying my tea I saw a Kookaburra sitting in a tree branch which was at eyelevel to me and about 5 yards away. The cheeky little thing was quite happy to pose for photos, a bit like someone else "Giggles". We then continued are journey on to Toowoomba and then on to Mount Gowrie. Diana wanted to show me the vast grain fields that went on for miles. On the way back we stopped at the Parkland hotel wear Paula joined us for lunch.
On the Saturday
I had a relatively quiet day but did go to the local country show in Rosewood. Apart from the various horse events they had lots of different animals & birds being judged. I have never seen so many kinds of birds of many different colours and sizes in one place. There were lots of crafts and food competition and some of the craft work was amazing. You could see that many hours of hard work had gone in to making the exhibits.
We took a trip in to Brisbane to attend church in the morning and Aussie rules football match in the afternoon. So we had an early start as we had a two hour journey in to the city via Ipswich. The church was beautifully adorned with religious art works and stained glass windows. The service was carried out in Latin, but I was able to follow most of it as my pamphlet was also written in English. I was able to join in the hymns and prayers at least. The Priest sermon was informative and the service was nice, but it will not change my views on religious faiths. But I respect people who wish to follow a faith if they wish to believe in them. After church we were invited for tea and cake in the church centre were I got to chat with three of the Priests. I seemed to get there approval and Diana did mention I was in Transition to one of the members. They had been none the wiser and was surprised, so I guess I must be getting it right 🙂
After we left we went in to the city centre to grab a bite to eat before catching a bus to the Queensland cricket ground "The Gabba" for the football. Once again I got to go to the members club, were I spent the rest of the afternoon before the game having snacks & drinks and watching another match on the TV. We had seats reserved looking out on to the pitch as well as seats in the stand. I had a great view and was able to watch the build up to the match as lots of ground staff and TV crews prepared.
Brisbane Lions V Geelong Cats "Australian Rules Football"
My first experience of Aussie rules football and I was not disappointed. The match started and the visitors were the first to score a goal, and very soon after they were two goals up. Each goal is worth 6 points, you can also score 1 point if the ball goes either side of the goal within the outer posts. The home fans seemed to be very subdued at this point, but the Lions did rally in the next ten minutes scoring 3 goals and taking the lead. It was short lived and by the end of the 1st quarter they were about 14 points down. The next quarter they faired even worse and were being outplayed by a team lying second in the league. The Lions were 5th from bottom and were not expected to give Geelong a hard test. So the Lions were 52 points down at half time and the match seemed way out of reach. They were going to need a miracle to get back in to this match and win it. What happened in the next half not even a fiction writer could have dreamed this one up. Geelong seemed to lose there composure and the Lions started to roar. By the end of the 3rd quarter the score was more respectable but they were still 40 odd points behind. The Lions would need 7 goals which was a tall order, but the last twenty five minutes were the most exciting and unbelievable I have ever witnessed. The Lions ran riot over the opposition and with about 3 minutes left the scores were level. The Cats woke up and had a chance at goal but to the delight of the home crowd they missed but still got the one point to edge in front. 2 minutes left and the crowd were willing the Lions to make one more last ditch effort to score. The ball was kicked down field a Lions player caught the ball and kicked on and to the screams and hoots of the fans, the ball was caught by another Lions player just before the siren sounded for the end of the game. The player within goal distance was aloud to kick for goal in front of the posts. The stadium was a mass of noise as the fans willed there player to score. The player composed himself and then launched the ball straight down the middle "Goal". The fans and players were delirious and could not believe what had happened. They would be celebrating well in to the night after this unbelievable result. They had caused one of the biggest upsets in the modern game and made history by coming back from such a big deficit. What a game to witness for my introduction to Aussie Rules football absolutely amazing. You had to feel sorry for the Geelong supporters and the players were absolutely shell shocked, they had been truly had been mauled by the Lions 🙂
We visited Lone Pine & the Koala sanctuary were I got to have my photo taken with a koala and also got to feed a Kangaroo. I also got to see many other critters as well as the Duck Bill Platypus could not believe how small they were. After we left the sanctuary we went up MT Coot Tha to get a fantastic view of Brisbane and the surrounding area. Then we drove in to Brisbane for lunch and visit the Botanical Gardens next to the River Brisbane. Another photo opportunity among the many varieties of beautiful trees, shrubs and river.
Another trip in to Brisbane to attend the Brisbane Playhouse to watch a ballet Performance of Giselle. My first experience of ballet and it was just beautiful and I marvelled at some of the dance moves and loved the dresses the woman were wearing. I was pleased also to see that quite a few people had made the effort to dress up to attend the ballet, especially some of the younger generation.
A day of rest after all the late nights and travelling around. I have also been able to extend my stay for a further 3 days, so will return on the 3rd of July instead of the 30th of June.
On another day Diana and I met up with Jessie & Jean for lunch. We had a lovely time The food was lovely and the company was even better. We took quite a few photos before we left and Jean gave Diana and me a lovely gift of a makeup bag & goodies each and a great big hug :-).
On my last Sunday we went to an antiques fair, Diana was able to purchase a Pullman railway carriage for her very large train set that she is planning to build. I found a lovely pendant on a silver chain which only cost me twenty ponds. There were lots of other beautiful jewellery and china as well as other interesting stuff on display. On the way home we stopped at the bakery and purchased a couple of pies for lunch.
Next day Diana took me in to Ipswich to take some photos of the church and the river.
I managed to take a few nice photos despite the rain.
Trip to Caloundra Air Museum
We took the back roads rather than the motorway so bypassing Brisbane We passed by 3 dams, the views of the lakes and mountains were beautiful despite the heavy rain. We eventually got to Caloundra despite Diana taking a wrong turning, Hmmm will not say another word Lol. When we arrived the heavens really did open and the rain was very heavy. We had to cross from one building to the main hanger, no umbrella & no raincoat and I only had my little ballet shoes on. The ground was waterlogged and muddy, but I was able to negotiate the puddles without getting my feet wet. The first plane Diana showed me was a plane that she actually flew many moons ago, that must of brought back some fond memories for her. I had a good look around the museum and took a few photos but could not venture out to the planes that were out in the open due to the boggy ground. On our way out Diana went to get the car and was going to pull up outside the entrance. One of the guides offered to walk me to the car with an umbrella which was so sweet of him. Then Diana returned with no car, guess who forgot to turn off the lights "Giggles" so 20 minutes later the mechanic turned up to restart the engine. Alas we were now very late to meet a friend in Redcliff and had to cancel unfortunately we were not able to let him know and we send are apologies. We travelled back via the city hoping to visit a 50’s style dress shop again, as I had my eye on a handbag but just my luck the place was closed. I then asked Diana if we could stop at one of the large shopping centres so I could get my boys a gift to take back with me. After visiting a number of stores I was able to find what I wanted. A couple of small boomerangs, packs of different pens with Australia inscribed on them and Two kangaroos soft toys with a baby in there pouches and a Koala bear on there back, All sorted shopping done then home.
My last full day in Australia
We had gone in to Ipswich in the morning as Diana needed a new Freezer as the old one had given up the ghost. As I past a clothes shop I saw a black lace top which I had been wanting to get for some time and it only cost me £10, so well happy. Diana cooked curry for Lunch washed down with an expensive bottle of plonk, yummy. Then we took some photos in the garden sadly half of them were to over exposed or blurred to post.
Going Home 🙁
I must of got up around 5 am I did not have a good nights sleep and was feeling a little off colour. I had my shave and shower hoping that this might perk me up, but not really. So I decided to travel home in girl mode seeing as I had no trouble on my journey out here and applied my makeup and dressed. Diana had cooked me a lovely breakfast but I struggled to do it justice and had to leave one of the rather large sausages. I then went to the bathroom as my tummy felt bad and then I spent the next five minutes being sick. Not the best of starts for my long journey home. Feeling a lot better we left for the station to catch the 08:05 train to Ipswich which connected with the 08:37 to Brisbane. Once we reached Brisbane the sun was out and it was a glorious day just typical after all the rain we had over the past three days. We took the airport train to the domestic airport as I would be flying to Sydney for my flight connection to London via Dubai. I went to check in my luggage but had a slight problem as I was just 1.7 kilos over my limit. So I was forced to cough up £50 as my hand luggage was at it’s maximum and unable to carry more. She gave me my receipt and boarding pass and was directed to the sales desk. The guy behind the counter checked the receipt and when we told him it was for only 1.7 k he tore the receipt up and adjusted my luggage allowance with nothing else to pay bless him. Then it was over to the body and hand luggage scan, so the usual rigmarole to take of shoes belts etc. Take out lap top and place in tray put other stuff in trays, ending up with about 6 trays disappearing in to the void. Then walking through the scanner hoping that you have remembered to remove coins and keys from pockets and watches from wrists. Phew no alarm bells ringing and I was then able to gather up all my belongings and sort myself out. Then up to the airport lounge to wait for the gate to be called. Diana bought me a soft drink while she had the amber nectar, we then chatted until the gate was called. It was a sombre moment when we had to say are goodbyes. a few little tears were spent as we hugged. Dianna took a few photos of me leaving and then I was on my way down the ramp to the plane. As I boarded the train I was greeted by one of the Air Hostesses and she commented that I looked pretty, I had a big smile on my face as I said thank you. I had been allocated a middle seat and was sandwich between to business type guys. Before we took of the guys began to talk to each other so I offered to change seats. But in unison they both said no. Neither wanted to sit next to the other and something was said that was quite amusing and I just smiled. We were seated by the emergency exit door, so we had a few extra safety rules to follow. So being a good girl I read the instructions but both the guys just put them in the seat pocket. Great I thought I am going to have to rely on them and they wont know what to do. As it happened the stewardess went through the procedure and made sure everyone was paying attention. On the flight we were offered a snack and a soft drink and a bag to place your rubbish in. On the bag it stated not to put cups & bottles in the bag as they would be recycled, yep you guessed it both of them ignored this. I thought typical guys they just don’t read instructions do they Lol. Well the flight was smooth and as we circled Sydney I tried to look out for the Sydney opera house but to no avail. After we landed I made my way to the transfer desk to catch the bus to the international airport. I did not have to wait long and the bus arrived and it took about 5 minutes to reach the terminal. Then it was on to the customs desk for passport checks. After walking around endless roped barriers I eventually got to the desk, this would be my first test. I told her I was Trans she looked at my passport then looked hard at me and said yep, smiled and waived me through. Then it was fun and games again with the body and luggage scanner. Silly me had left a bottle of water that I had been given to me on the plane in my handbag. The water was removed then not knowing my bag was put back in the scanner. A moments panic set in as I looked for it. I asked where’s my handbag and I was relieved to see it come out again. Then on to duty free to buy a bottle of Brandy as the prices were far better here than in Dubai or London. I made sure that the security bag and seal were intact otherwise I might of had a problems at Dubai as I had done on a previous flight a few years back.
I did not have to wait to long to board my flight but once again I had been given a middle seat. This time I was seated with a young woman who kept to herself for most of the flight and a young guy who was pleasant enough and engaged in conversation with me. I did finally get a brief view of the Sydney opera house and can at least say I have now seen it. I decided I would try to stay awake for the first 6 hours of the 14 hour flight by watching some movies. I really loved the Guilt Trip with Barbara Streisand she is such a fabulous actress and singer. Then I watched a drama and action movie which I also enjoyed. The in flight meals were good more so than I can say about the London flight meals and the crew were very nice too. Well 14 hours later we finally touched down in Dubai. On the whole the flight had been smooth but we did encounter turbulence on a number of occasions. So we all had to get off the plane while they refuelled and cleaned it, Then for the 3rd time I had to queue up for another blooming body and luggage scan, some 20 minutes later all hot and bothered I went in search of a rest room. Only to find a long queue of woman waiting there turn. So I went in search of my flight gate lounge hoping that they would have one there. Next test to see if I would have any problems with my passport, The guy looked at my passport and I told him I was Transgender, He said it was fine and wished me a good flight. Well I was in luck they had a rest room so I was able use my electric shaver while in the cubicle. Then I freshened up and fixed my makeup and hair in front of a mirror, while a female attendant was watching me from the corner of her eye. Then on leaving the rest room she gave me the most beautiful smile I responded by smiling back at her. Not long after that they announced that we could board the plane, I had been expecting the girl & guy I had sat next too, as I still had the same seat number. But this time I had to new companions, An Arab lady who was already dozing and an elderly Australian lady. the Australian ladies name was Dorothy and we engaged in conversation throughout the flight, she was meeting up with family and would be visiting Cornwall first then flying out to Venice . Later in the flight I got talking to the Arab woman, I found out that she was a medical student on her way to London for a 4 day medical course. Poor girl had not long finished a 28 hour shift at the hospital, then had travelled straight to the airport without any sleep. She was going to do the course in her own time. We were due to land at 06.30 am and her course started at 3pm. There’s dedication for you, I do hope she managed to get a good sleep at the hotel and managed to stay awake during the course. Well eventually we touched down at Heathrow on time I bid my travelling companions a goodbye and headed off to passport control. Having the new chip and face recognition passport I queued up at the new scanner machines. As I drew near for my turn to use them the system went down. Shame I was looking forward to trying them out, so I was directed To a manned counter, Oh well nothing better than the personal touch of an actual Human being. Well after being scrutinized for a bit she was happy that it was me in the passport and waived me through. I asked her if the machine would of been able to scan my face properly. She replied she was not sure if it would of worked or not. Just goes to prove that machines are just as infallible as Human beings and we should not over rely on them. So I was well happy that travelling in girl mode on my male passport had not caused me any problems and no lectures about getting my passport changed either :-). By the time I got to the luggage collection point my case was already waiting for me. A quick breeze through customs I was on my way to catch the Heathrow express train to Paddington. The journey to Paddington took only took 15 minutes much better than taking the underground which would of taken over an hour in to London. At Paddington I took the District & Circle line but all trains were terminating at Edgware Rd. Just my bad luck that the train pulled in on the wrong platform. It meant negotiating two staircases to cross over to platform 4 for my connecting train to Baker Street. I had two bags plus my rather heavy suitcase to manage, but a knight in shinning armour came to my rescue in the guise of a gentleman who offered to carry my case for me. What a kind man he was, thank goodness there are still some around. After my sincere thanks I caught my train to Baker Street, Luckily for me the train to Wembley was departing shortly and I just caught it in time. Thank goodness Wembley Park station had lifts and my bus arrived as I walked out of the station. Ten minutes later I was home my kids were still sleeping but "She who can not be named" was about to leave for work and did not say one word to me. What a great welcome home lol. Well the kids eventually woke up and they were at least happy to see me :-).
Well my adventure was over, I had the most wonderful holiday ever and on a personal note I now know that I will have no problems when I do eventually live my life full time. It has put all my fears and concerns and doubts to bed and I feel 100% sure that I am on the right path to living as a woman.