Monday 12th January
I should mention the dog Penny. After all she is the reason I am here, house sitting or more correctly dog sitting. The house pretty much looks after itself. Penny needs to be looked after. She has one main meal a day and medication twice a day. She should go for a walk every day but she has decided not to go for a walk. So be it. Penny also sits under my feet at meal times in the hope that maybe something will drop off the table which she can eat. The other day a cracker crumb dropped on the floor. Her superfine hearing heard the sound and she quickly hoovered up the tiny morsel of cracker. She also sits at my feet while I watch TV, otherwise she sleeps.
Bev n Pete arrived home in time for us to enjoy a fish n chips n salad dinner.
Tuesday 13th January
Bev and I went to Bundeena… again! I last wrote about Bundeena at post 402. Bev Pete and I went there for a picnic on a stinking hot Sunday. It was too hot to do any exploring other than a walk along the beach with a light breeze off the bay. This time Bev n I explored a walk through a reserve scrambling down steep overgrown hillsides/cliffs to Gunyah Beach. Once on the beach it was easy to see why this is such a private place. It is not easy to reach except by the track we took or a steep weathered staircase at the other end. At low tide you could walk around the cliff face from the ferry jetty. Steep sandstone cliffs have impressive houses built with long, usually sandstone, staircases leading to the rock above the waterline. Many had boathouses or entertaining area’s built with, sandstone. All the houses have spectacular views across Port Hacking Bay to Cronulla, Wanda, Greenhills and Kurnell with the skyline of Sydney in the far distance.
The houses in this area are all in the $1,000,000 plus class some being renovated to become even more impressive.
After climbing the timber staircase we walked back to the Bundeena RSL where we had a very nice lunch.
Once fed and refreshed we began part two and the most challenging of our adventure today. We parked (bad idea) at the top of a hill and walked through the bush along a little used track about 1.5Klms to Jibbons Beach.
Then along the length of the beach to another bush track and followed it along views of the hidden beaches beneath sandstone cliff ledges until we arrived at the Jibbon Point Aboriginal Rock Carvings. These carvings were intended as messages for current and future generations. The carvings were intended to depict the type of game to be found in the area including whale, shark, stingrays, kangaroo, wallaby and even dugong. Earlier in the day Bev and I had located an ancient shell midden at Gunyah Beach was somewhat overgrown but distinctly showing where molluscs and shellfish were plentiful. We had been told a shell midden was nearby and that we would have to look for it. It seems luck was on our side. The rock carvings were once maintained for thousands of years but after settlement it seems the area was all but deserted and the carvings as with the shell midden became overgrown. The carvings only came to light in 1956 when a local boy pushed through some bushes onto an overgrown rock ledge when he found the carvings. National Parks have now built a viewing platform to protect the site but without regular maintenance the carvings are beginning to fade.
Exactly how old the carvings are is hard to say but National Parks literature does say they are at least several thousands of years old. Sitting on a timber bench and overlooking the cliffs, rocks, sea and beach it was easy to imagine how life here would be reasonably good with a plentiful bounty of food from the sea, the shore and the land. Provided of course you knew what you were doing. We found what we believe was evidence of ancient freshwater springs and believe fresh water is still available with a bit of digging.
All in all a great and tiring day but worthwhile.
Wednesday 14th January
Today Bev and I drove south to Kiama which is about a further 40 Klms south of Wollongong. Bev went to join a gathering of husband Peter’s family. I went to re-explore Kiama.
After many years living nearby and travelling through here over the last four years it finally dawned on me the early houses and public buildings built around 1880 and earlier are made from distinctly different materials. Most of the public buildings seem to be built from sandstone which is a little short on supply in the area whereas further north in Wollongong and Sydney, sandstone was plentiful and easily and cheaply quarried thanks to convict labour. Kiama like much of Wollongong is of volcanic origin and the stone mostly quarried was basalt but the loose rock which scattered the hills around Kiama was basalt but given the local name of Kiama Tuff. The quarried basalt was crushed to become blue metal and shipped to Sydney for road building purposes. The loose rock “Tuff” on the hills was used to construct dry rock walls on the dairy farms in the steep hills above Kiama. Most of those rock walls remain intact today.
In my wanderings around Kiama Harbour or more correctly Robertson Basin I noticed the harbor walls were constructed of dressed basalt
while the nearby Court House, Police Station, Council Chambers and quarrymens quarters (now boutique shops) were constructed of dressed sandstone.
At the top of the hill which overlooks the basin is the Kiama Lighthouse and just below it The Blowhole.
The blowhole was first noticed by Europeans in 1797 when Naval surgeon George Bass recorded details in his log while the small whaleboat was anchored in a sheltered bay now known as Robertson Basin. Depending on surf, tide and wind conditions, waves push along a tunnel in the volcanic rock and erupt with a whoosh often send a spray of water up to 20 metres in the air. The blowhole was only working at less than 50% capacity today. I spent many minutes waiting for a small whoosh of spray. That was not the case at the Little Blowhole a few Klms further south which was working if not spectacularly at least well enough to put the main blowhole to shame.
I noticed an old weathered sandstone obelisk
in the main street. It was placed on a corner in 186, where in 1878 the Post Office was buil and was the point from which all measurements in the district were made. In 1959 a runaway truck collided with the obelisk so it was moved to a safer location in the park opposite the post office. A stainless steel barrier has been erected around the obelisk, presumably to discourage runaway trucks from hitting it.
I tried to visit an old friend Les B who lives on a family dairy farm on Saddleback Mountain which overlooks Kiama. Les was not home today but I took time to view a local dry rock wall and a small wind turbine.
Thursday 15th January
Bev drove me to Sydney airport for my flight home. As the Boing 737 800 Jet took off over Botany Bay it banked to starboard. I was in a window seat and was able to see the places I have visited this week. Tom Ugly’s Bridge, Captain Cook Bridge, Georges River, St George Motor Boat Club, Kurnell, Cronulla, Port Hacking, Bundeena , Wanda Beach and Greenhills Beach to name a few. I could also see roughly where Bev and Pete live. Thanks for the opportunity Bev n Pete to be able to house sit for you and spend some quality time as well.
I arrived home on the Gold Coast to a 36 degree heatwave and to a house which has been locked up for two weeks.
Friday 16th January
What a waste of a day.
It was another heatwave day so I got a few loads of washing sorted out and just stayed indoors after I had the wheels rotated on TERIOS.
Saturday 17th January.
Another heatwave today so it was a matter of staying indoors and keeping cool. I did spend a few hours tidying my email. Can you believe that around 75% of all the email is junk mail? It was a good chance to delete emails as far back as 2011!!! Maybe my email will load more quickly without so many old files.
Sunday 18th January
Another heat wave day. It was OK to keep windows and doors open until midday. Then the air conditioner was turned on.
Friends Glennis and Eric arrived with three granddaughters. They wre on their way to visit another of Glennis daughters on Mount Warning just over the border in NSW. Glennis and Eric live in extremes of remoteness. They have a house at Cape Tribulation on the other side of the Daintree River. They have no running water, no electricity and have to rely on their own resources. As Glennis is in her late seventies and Eric is in his late eighties they both still have to work hard at day to day living. Their other house is in remote Cockle Creek as far south as can be driven in Tasmania. Again they have no town water or electricity. Hats off to both of you for your strength and resourcefulness.
Tags: Bundeena RSL, Cockle Creek, Gunyah Beach, Jibbon Point, Jibbon Point Rock Carvings, Kiama, Kiama Anglican Church, Kiama Little Blowhole, Kiama Post Office, Kiama Presbyterian Church, Kiama Tuff, Kiama Wind Farm, Robertson Basin