The Long remembered Pet collection by Margaret OToole

When I saw these pets Margaret had lovingly painted I was unperturbed. But on closer study of the paintings I realised that she had captured to essence of the pet she had painted.

Many of these pets she has painted are family pets of a son or friend and Margaret has known these animals for some time in some cases. Some of these pets have died since she painted them. Some are very old and you can see this in their eyes and posture.


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Hope you see these paintings throughout the eye of the artists.

Written by David Holland


Margaret O’Toole’s Cute and dangerous Australian Wildlife Collection

These are just a taste of the wonderful watercolours Margaret has been producing lately.

What a wonder of expressions.

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Margaret would like to acknowledge a Photograph by Vivien Jones that was in the Australian Geographic Magazine Issue 95 July- Sept 2009 which was the inspiration for the style of the grey faced flying fox water-colour.

These are some of just a few of the watercolours planed to be published in a book still in its planning and design stages where Margaret is co-author with Ray Rauscher.

The book will be called “Life lines” containing Margaret’s paintings accompanied by poetry from Ray Rauscher’s collection.

Some of Ray’s Poetry can be viewed at Habitat Association’s Poet’s Corner



Shore Thyme Art Exhibition

Margaret O’Toole has exhibited some of here watercolour work recently.

Following are some of her work that were exhibited at the Noah Head exhibition.

Gouldian Finches by Margaret O'Toole

Gouldian Finches by Margaret O’Toole

Kookaburra by Margaret O'Toole

Kookaburra by Margaret O’Toole

Margaret is a faithful contributor to this web page and vice president of the Habitat Association.


The Castle by Margaret O’Toole

Margaret has painted in water-colour one man’s dream not realised.

The Castle

The Castle Buff Point This is a photograph of the building, derelict, deserted and rejected by the building surveyors at the local council.

The story goes, that a young doctor wanted to build a house overlooking a beautiful lake. The plan was that house was to be perched on a high point overlooking the lake. So he purchased this land.

Over the years and with every spare moment, he would plan, and every weekend and holiday time bring building materials to the site.

This was at a time before any other houses were in the area and the story goes that he would bring these materials by wheel barrow from one of the local railway stations.

The thing is he chose to take the materials from Tuggerah station instead of the closer Wyong station. We can only speculate how he got the materials to the house.

There used to be a small fairy running the lakes many years ago and it used to take passengers from a small jetty on the lake about 1 kilometer from the Tuggerah station to the The Entrance, a rather original name for a town perched on the eastern and seaward side of the lakes near the entrance in the lakes to the sea.

We can only assume that this intrepid doctor would trundle the material to the jetty in his wheel barrow and hire the fairy boat to take these material up the large Tuggerah Lake to a smaller lake to the north, Budgewoi Lake, being the middle lake of the three lake system.

Once there the doctor would need to carry, several bricks at a time or bags of cement up the steep hill to the site of the house.

Year after year he must have worked to build this brick and concrete edifice.

But the story gets very sad. The dream house was for him to share with his wife, but she died, leaving him an elderly man with a half-finished house.

No-one is sure whether he is still alive in 2013 or whether there is an heir to the property. It just lays derelict. In recent years as the remote location has become a regular suburb or locality on the shores of the lake, school children have started to play on the site, so the local council has, in the interest of safety, erected potable fencing around the site, with an order that the house can never be completed because council standards have not been followed even though these standards were formulated years after the house was started.

The end result will be that if the property is ever to be developed this peace of the Central Coasts of New South Wales’ history will be pulled down and lost forever.


by David Holland

Margaret’s Green and Golden Bell Frog

Margaret has captured a profile of this majestic Australian native frog, the green and golden bell frog. Its taxonomic or scientific name is  Litoria  aurea. Litoria is a genus of frog in the region of Australia and the south pacific. Its latin meaning is green. Many green frogs are in this genus, but this frog, aurea simply means gold.

Green & Golden Bell Frog

Green & Golden Bell Frog

It is a frog that is normally averaging a length of 6 to 8 centimetre, making it a relatively large frog in the Australians southern environments where it is found. As a result it has a non discriminating diet, hunting down crickets, insects, slugs and even smaller frogs.

It is on the vulnerable list of species Australia wide, but in New South Wales, one of the States of Australia where it is mostly found, it is on the endangered list.

The reason seems to be simply urbanisation. Since just like people in our larger population centres, the frog enjoys the cooler but temperate climates of the coast. But there seems to be more to the reduction of the species habitat which once extended up to 50 or 100 kilometres west from the coastal regions of southeastern Australia. Now hugging the coast, it is unclear why it has lost this habitat since intense urbanisation is not a feature of the areas the frog has left behind.

Margaret O’Toole’s Watercolour Animal Collection

This is the slide show we have been waiting for. Margaret has put together her animal collection of water-color paintings for the Habitat Center for the Arts.

This is a vivid and exquisite interpretation of both native Australian animals and birds and some exotic animals from around the world.

Margaret’s depiction of the Bengal Tiger is one example of this. This is a vivid and intense painting of this beautiful animal.

The bird of Paradise shown in strong greens and blues is another non-indigenous creature to Australia, but is native to New Guinea just to the north of Australia.

Although the lama is not native to Australia, many can be found in the farming setting around Australia as it is a good producer of wool and other commodities. Many enjoy this animal as a domestic pet on their small country land holdings or small hobby farms.

Pelicans are very common on the Central Coast of New South Wales where Margaret lives. Other birds such as the magpie are also common.

A bird found on the Central Coast, the Sooty Owl, is one of our rare and endangered species. A smaller sooty owl is also found in North Queensland. It is unclear which owl Margaret has painted although one might guess that it is in fact the northern Queensland species.

Another bird found on the Central Coast is the secretive Tawny Frogmonth. A member of the owl family it hunts at night. If you are observant you may be lucky enough to see one in its day roost, however due to its grey mottled plumage it tends to blend into the foliage in its roost trees. It is called frogmouth because its beak and face plumage makes the bird look like it has the mouth of a frog.

Margaret has depicted cranes in one of her water-colors. This caricature is not of the Australian cranes which include the Sarus crane, one of the subspecies found in India and Asia, that can be found in far northern Queensland, nor is it of the Brolga found more widely only in Australia’s north and east. Margaret has specifically painted these cranes to depict the ancient Chinese and Japanese symbols of happiness and long life.

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The Tasmanian Devil, Echidna and Platypus are three iconic Australian species depicted in this collection. Much more known around the world as iconic Australian species are the Koala and the Red Kangaroo, both painted by Margaret in animated poses.

Other less iconic Australian animals and birds included are the brush tail possum and the lyre bird. Possums are relatively common in bushland settings at night on the Central Coast and the lyre bird Margaret took inspiration from lives in the bushland around one of the community meeting places where Habitat Association members often meet.

It is clear that Margaret also likes dogs. Included in the collection is a king Charles cavalier, German shepherd and bearded collie.

Lastly, Margaret has painted for the collection several birds commonly seen around the Central Coast of New South Wales during the spring and summer months. The galah, the sulphur crested cockatoo and the rainbow lorikeet.

The Rip Bridge by Margaret O’Toole

The Rip Bridge is an elegant looking bridge. It spans from the main land areas of the Central Coast to the Woy Woy Peninsula. This bridge, once completed provided the second link to the Peninsula.

Margaret has depicted this bridge in a unique western sunset light in watercolours.

Interestingly, I had met the engineer who designed the bridge. He explained that when he was designing and building the bridge he was allowing for a settling of the spans from each bank as they were coming together.  Gravity was expected to distort the reinforced concrete structure allowing the bridge to settle together in the middle. Unfortunately this did not happen and the bridge halves stayed true leaving an angle, however so slight, in the middle of the bridge. As a consequence the engineer had to redesign the centre part of the bridge so it would join smoothly. The retrofit gives the bridge a slight hump in the middle.

The water below is often fast flowing and the narrow waterway provides the entrance to the Brisbane Water which has a picturesque series of bays and inlets surrounded by the southern Central Coast towns of Gosford and Woy Woy.

The water below the bridge has two vast and deep hole, one each side of the bridge. They are more than 30 meter deep.

The Rip Bridge

This day looks serene on the waterway, but when the tide in running it is very turbulent.

The waterway of Brisbane Waters flows with the tide into Broken Bay and then into the Pacific Ocean.

Booker Bay

The above photo is of a unique locality called Booker Bay. Booker Bay is hidden away on the eastern side of the bridge and accessible from Ettalong. Ettalong is one of the three major shopping centres on the Woy Woy Peninsula.

These photos were taken from the local mountain, Black Mountain, prominently rising up on the eastern side of the peninsula.

The whole area is an amazing place to take a stroll.

Comments By David Holland

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