Posts Tagged ‘La Perouse’

484. Sunday 3rd April 2016. On the road again. Port Macquarie, Forster and La Perouse…

04/04/2016

Wednesday 30th March

Hmmm! I got myself tangled up in the plans we had made for this week. In my mind I thought we would leave home on 31st March which I thought was Friday. Not so. Thursday is 31st March and that is the day we travel south.

The i30 was booked in for a 15,000 Klm service. As well as the service the good people at the car yard washed the car and blackened the tyres.

We partially packed i30 before going to bed as we planned to be up early and on our way by no later than 8am.

Thursday 31st March.

Grrr!

As usual the departure time came and went and we were still madly packing the car with last minute stuff. We got away by 8.30 so considering we had been awake since 5.30 we were almost on time. We drove onto the M1 motorway and continued on the Pacific Highway once we crossed into New South Wales. We encountered some rain and for the most part the first half of the journey is on wonderful newly opened highway but dreaded roadworks slowed us somewhere north of Coffs Harbour. Roadworks continued off and on for the rest of our journey slowing our average speed and stretching the time of arrival at Tony and Dawns house at Port Macquarie.

Thank you, Tony & Dawn for your hospitality, dinner and wine. You know you always have somewhere to stay when you are in the Gold Coast area.

1st April – April Fools Day.

We had a relaxed breakfast with T&D then packed i3o followed by coffee and we were on our way by mid -morning. I had fuelled i30 before leaving the Gold Coast. Cost was 99.9 cents per litre. Petrol stations in NSW yesterday were between $1.14.9 to $1.18.9. Some fuel prices in Port Macquarie this morning were even higher, up to $1.22.9 per litre. We still had enough fuel to get to Forster, our next destination but past experience has shown fuel prices are higher on the coastal town which is off the Pacific Highway. After travelling over 500 Klms on the one tank of fuel we pulled off the highway a few Klms to a little town called Kundletown. Fuel here was $1.08.9, the cheapest we have seen in two days.

Arriving in Tuncurry, the sister town to Forster we bought a take away lunch and took it to the northern arm of the breakwater. After lunch Donnis took a swim in the enclosure formed by a break in the umm err breakwater. A net is placed across the gap and is intended to keep nasties out.

This is the swimming enclosure at Tuncurry breakwater wall.

This is the swimming enclosure at Tuncurry breakwater wall.

I wandered around enjoying the late summer sun knowing it is Autumn and a change in the weather will not be far away.

I believe this is a young Wandering Albatross. Can anybody positively identify it for me?

I believe this is a young Wandering Albatross. Can anybody positively identify it for me?

A natural feature at the southern end of Forster Beach is this natural rock pool.

A natural feature at the southern end of Forster Beach is this natural rock pool.

After arriving at Al and Raes house on a hill at Forster, we unpacked and Al and I went to nearby One Mile Beach to fly my stunt kite at the foot of Giant Sandhill. There was plenty of quirky wind to teach Al how to fly. I forgot the camera!

Forster (pronounced Foster) and its twin, Tuncurry are both situated on a spit of land bounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by Wallis Lake. The mouth of the Wallamba River splits the two towns. Both are popular holiday destinations and provided the sun is shining, which it does most of the year, the water always seems an impossible shade of Turquoise Blue and the sand whiter than white. Forster and Tuncurry are linked by a long straight bridge with humps at either end to allow larger boats to pass beneath.

The Forster Tuncurry long bridge with humps at each end to allow larger vessels to pass beneath.

The Forster Tuncurry long bridge with humps at each end to allow larger vessels to pass beneath.

To the south there are several more lakes, all picturesque and just waiting to be explored and exploited.

Saturday 2nd April

This morning we drove to Al & Rae’s son Brian and his wife Grid house on Forster Keys a canal type suburb on Wallis Lake. They own a pair of Hobie Mirage Revolution II canoes.

Getting our safety training and launch from Brian and Grid.

Getting our safety training and launch from Brian and Grid.

Getting ready to pedal the Hobie canoe.

Getting ready to pedal the Hobie canoe.

Allan on a Hobie practise pedal.

Allan on a Hobie practise pedal.

Aaaah.Alone at last.

Aaaah.Alone at last.

These canoes are propelled primarily by foot pedals connected to a pair of feathering fins. Many light years ago, in my surfing days, Hobie was known as a quality surfboard maker. Over the years through research and development, Hobie also makes a range of Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, sailcraft – single hull, catamarans and trimarans – all with innovative designs. After an hour of exploring a tiny part of the canals and lake we headed back. Both of us suffer from back problems and we both know our canoe and kayak days are long behind us.

The afternoon was devoted to resting.

In the evening Brian and Grid arrived for a barbecue and a promise of a breakfast treat tomorrow.

Sunday 3rd April

Brian collected us at 7am and soon we were driving along a sandy bush track to Tuncurry Beach.

Catamaran in early morning sunlight seaward of Tuncurry Beach

Catamaran in early morning sunlight seaward of Tuncurry Beach

Forster seen from Tuncurry Beach.

Forster seen from Tuncurry Beach.

After driving onto the beach a table and chairs were set up, a barbecue fired up and we were soon eating bacon and egg on breadrolls.

Brian cooking up bacon and egg rolls while Donnis waits for breakfast.

Brian cooking up bacon and egg rolls while Donnis waits for breakfast.

Just pull up anywhere on Tuncurry Beach put out tables and chairs and start cooking breakfast.

Just pull up anywhere on Tuncurry Beach put out tables and chairs and start cooking breakfast.

Brothers Frank and Allan.

Brothers Frank and Allan.

Rae and the Gillings, Brian, Frank and Allan hamming it up.

Rae and the Gillings, Brian, Frank and Allan hamming it up.

Back at Al & Raes we packed, had coffee and were on our way by mid- morning.

Thank you Al & Rae and Brian& Grid for your hospitality over the last two days. It was a great visit with you and we look forward to seeing you soon.

We continued on the Pacific Highway through to Sydney and joined the M2 into the Lane Cove Tunnel and the tunnel under the Harbour and Sydney Harbour Bridge. On arrival at La Perouse we took a little detour before arriving at Geoff and Margarets house. We took the road to what must be one of Australia’s premier golf courses, the NSW Golf Club.

Fairways and Greens at NSW Golf Club.

Fairways and Greens at NSW Golf Club.

On one side the course proper skirts the spectacular sandstone cliffs overlooking the ocean. The other side overlooks, LaPerouse, Congwong Bay, Bear Island, Kurnell, Botany Bay, Mascot Airport and the container ship terminal at Port Botany.

From the Golf Club can be seen La Perouse, Congwong Bay, Bear Island,Kurnell, container ship and beyond.

From the Golf Club can be seen La Perouse, Congwong Bay, Bear Island,Kurnell, container ship and beyond.

I have an affection nicely quarried sandstone blocks on many early houses, banks and Government buildings around Sydney. As well there are many many samples of quarried sandstone retaining walls around the suburb. This old club has used unquarried sandstone rocks for a retaining wall in the carpark. The wall appears to have been in place probably as long as the club. Although the wall has a haphazard appearance I still enjoy the use of rock in this wall.

Lovely old sandstone retaining wall at exclusive NSW Golf Club. Normally I like to see dressed sandstone in walls but this wall, probably 50 or more years old is eye catching.

Lovely old sandstone retaining wall at exclusive NSW Golf Club. Normally I like to see dressed sandstone in walls but this wall, probably 50 or more years old is eye catching.

Beside the gold course is a protected piece of land controlled by NSW Parks and Wildlife called the Botany Bay National Park. Inside the park is a cemetery with lots of old graves dating back more than 100 years.

National Park sign.

National Park sign.

Site of the cemetery within Botany Bay National Park

Site of the cemetery within Botany Bay National Park

Lack of maintenance shows in all the headstones.

Lack of maintenance shows in all the headstones.

A nice pair of side by side graves being slowly absorbed by the encroaching bush.

A nice pair of side by side graves being slowly absorbed by the encroaching bush.

The walk continues to and along the sandstone cliffs with breathtaking views across Little Bay, Long Bay and beyond.

Cliff views looking north to Little Bay, Long Bay and Henry's Head.

Cliff views looking north to Little Bay, Long Bay and Henry’s Head.

It is an easy walk and can be traversed all the way to Maroubra Beach at least 10 Klms to the north. The full walk from Bear Island off LaPerouse is now on our “to do” list for sometime in the future.

We finally arrived at Geoff and Margarets in time for happy hour followed by a walk to Frenchmans Bay

Frenchmans Bay at La Perouse.

Frenchmans Bay at La Perouse.

to watch the sunset and the gathering heavy rain clouds approaching from the south.

Fisherman Silhouted by setting sun beyond the Port Botany Fuel storage.

Fisherman Silhouted by setting sun beyond the Port Botany Fuel storage.

030416 ship

Sunset over Port Botany.

Sunset over Port Botany.

These girls are totally uncoordinated trying to paddle to friends waiting on a yacht in Frenchmans Bay.

These girls are totally uncoordinated trying to paddle to friends waiting on a yacht in Frenchmans Bay.

As always Geoff and Margaret looked after us. Thank you.

471. Sunday 20th December 2015. A Tipple at Tipplers and the flu arrives…

20/12/2015

Monday 14th December

A neighbour here in the village, Jim, kindly offered to take me to an appointment with the Pain Management Clinic. To use public transport would require four changes of bus and light rail and would be almost two hours travel time…both ways! Jim drove me there in less than 30 minutes. Thank you Jim.

My appointment lasted longer than 90 minutes and I came away with three prescriptions.

Two are for building up Zinc and other minerals needed by my body to build bone, muscle, tendons, blood vessels, NERVES etc.

A third prescription is an anti- inflamatory cream to quickly reduce swelling in the wrist and fingers. This cream is only available through a Compounding Pharmacy in Southport.

All three will help the healing process in respect of the nerve damage.

I also came away armed with the knowledge that the side effects from the Lyrica 300, drowsiness, unsteady on the feet, dry mouth, speech difficulties, memory loss AND a huge gain in weight, are all reversible.

Slowly.

Getting off the Lyrica will be as slow as the healing process.

Late in the afternoon I collected the first two prescriptions from the Compounding Pharmacy at Harbourtown across the street from our village.

Tuesday 15th December

In the morning I walked to the Hand Therapist and was rewarded with the news I have made huge gains in getting full use of my hand ahead of expectations. Regardless, my hand exercises will continue for a long time.

At midday I attended a village Christmas Lunch with a traditional Christmas dinner provided by a mobile caterer. I went dressed in a big red T-shirt painted with a beard and a red coat and bulging belly with a big black belt. Just the right piece of camouflage to hid a bulging belly. I wore a Christmas stocking type cap adorned with flashing lights.

In the afternoon I caught a bus to Southport, collected my healing cream – Diclofenac – and returned home by bus. The entire trip took 80 minutes.

Hmmm! Sometimes public transport is quicker and cheaper. Parking around Southport is via parking meters.

Wednesday 16th December

Donnis and grandson Chris were due to fly bout of Sydney today. A freak tornado tore through La Perouse on the north side of Botany Bay (the Kingsford Smith Airport is located at Mascot on Botany Bay – most flights taxi and take off over Botany Bay along a runway extended over a main road and extended into the bay) across the bay and slammed into the quaint bayside suburb of Kurnell – (we visited Kurnell at Post 403)  –  (Lieutenant – later Captain – James Cook, first stepped ashore on Australian soil here in 1770) with winds up to 213 Kph – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/kurnell-the-worst-affected-as-tornado-strength-storm-hits-sydney/story-fni0cx12-1227647109421  and shredded about 20 houses before slowing to a storm and dumping rain, hail as big as golf balls, lightning and strong winds across Sydney. The airport was closed and all flights cancelled. When the storm passed, the airport was opened again but there was a huge backlog of flights to get through. Donnis chose to re-schedule for a flight on Friday morning. She and Chris took the train back to Wollongong for a couple of extra days holidays. Our friends Geoff and Margaret C live at La Perouse and video -taped the heavy rain.

Friday 18th December

Donnis arrived home today but she brought home a big dose of the FLU which she caught visiting the granddaughters. It seems Errol was the culprit.

Saturday 19th December

Today we joined friend Glenda B and jumped aboard the unusual passenger ferry, “RUM RUNNER” for a one hour cruise to South Stradbroke Island. On this occasion we visited Tipplers Resort a mid- range type of resort with some camping spots, some island tents and cabins. There is a bar and dining facilities which I would label as “pub food”. The resort is owned by Gold Coast City Council and three new jetties and pontoons have been installed.

Entry to Tipplers Resort.

Entry to Tipplers Resort.

Tipplers Resort

Tipplers Resort

One of dozens of jet skis.

One of dozens of jet skis.

Hmmm! None of them thought the inflatable was overloaded.

Hmmm! None of them thought the inflatable was overloaded.

The Ice Cream man cometh to visit all boats.

The Ice Cream man cometh to visit all boats.

That said we had an enjoyable day except for Donnis who slept most of it away on the beach. She is suffering from the flu.

I went for a walk along the beach to watch as a sea plane – Cloud 9 – taxied into the beach to drop off passengers at the Gold Coast Adventures, Island Adventure Camp.    http://goldcoastadventures.com.au/island-adventures/   Loud music, barbecue meals and lots of cold drinks. Everybody seemed to be having fun.

Gold Coast Adventures Cruise boat.

Gold Coast Adventures Cruise boat.

This is a private entrance to a private wedding location.

This is a private entrance to a private wedding location.

An older jetty.

An older jetty.

A pregnant woman finds a way to cool off.

A pregnant woman finds a way to cool off.

The goanna blends in amongst the forest floor debris.

The goanna blends in amongst the forest floor debris.

Seaplane taxiing to the Adventure Beach.

Seaplane taxiing to the Adventure Beach.

Passengers step ashore.

Passengers step ashore.

Last year we travelled on “RUM RUNNER” to Curran Cove Resort but this year was more fun.

Delightful view of a beach near Tipplers.

Delightful view of a beach near Tipplers.

The skipper and a couple of friends put on a guitar and ukulele show for passengers and resort patrons alike.

The lead ukelele player is also the skipper on RUM RUNNER and also leads the walks,.

The lead ukulele player is also the skipper on RUM RUNNER and also leads the walks,.

On the journey home our table was treated to impromptu ukulele lessons.

These new breed of ukulele are battery operated and tuning is a breeze

These new breed of ukulele are battery operated and tuning is a breeze

Donnis strums a few chords. Hmmm! How did that tune go again?

Donnis strums a few chords. Hmmm! How did that tune go again?

Sunday 20th December.

Not much happened today except a couple of personal achievements.

I drove the car out of the garage.

I washed the car.

I drove the car around the village and back to our driveway.

I am on large doses of Lyrica 300 and they make me wobbly, forgetful, and sleepy. As well I have trouble finding the strength to change gears and hold the steering wheel.

I am not permitted by medical instructions to drive.

So be it.

Donnis will have to drive us to any adventures including Christmas at Noosa.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Rewarding NEW YEAR.

451. Sunday 9th August 2015. An operation, pain, travel accompanied by pain…

13/08/2015

Monday 3rd August

Hmmm! For some reason I did not take any photos this week. I must have been distracted.

Today is the tomorrow I wrote about yesterday which will be next week when this is posted.

We visited the orthopaedic surgeon today and the first comment he made was the x-Rays did not show enough detail but from what he could see the damage is worse than indicated in the report. He wanted an MRI  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_imaging  for a better view of the break. The MRI people were just down the hall and within a half hour we were back with the specialist. “The MRI CD is blank”, he said. So it was back to the MRI people to get a CD with my data on it or a new scan. Luck was, for once, in our favour and we were back in 10 minutes. Hmmm! The break is worse than expected with cartilage totally broken and pieces of bone floating around. I need surgery, plates and screws and an arthroscopic clean-up. The op is set for Wednesday. In the meantime leave the cast on, do not get it wet and continue the Endone which “gum” up the works. Grrr!

On top of pain and discomfort will be added the annoyance of constipation.

Tuesday 4th August

Not much happened today. Just sitting around feeling sorry for myself and somehow getting the timing of pain relief out of step. Within two hours of missing my dose of Endone the pain made sure I quickly got back onto my dose.

Wednesday 5th August

Suddenly it is Wednesday, the day of the operation.

We arrived at Allamanda Hospital at the appointed hour and I joined a group of people sitting around in hospital gowns awaiting their turn. It seems all but two of us are day surgery.

All went well, apparently. From my misty pain shrouded perch it is hard to believe “all went well”. My wrist is wrapped tight as a drum and the oral pain relief is ineffectual. I was offered morphine to take the edge off the pain and to allow me to sleep. I have no idea how long I lay in the dark, considering chewing off my hand and wrist, anything, to stop the pain and be able to sleep. The nurse arrived and duly gave another morphine injection. Eventually the new day arrived.

Thursday 6th August

Breakfast arrived but alas, not sleep.

Soon, a practitioner from the Australian Hand Therapy Association   http://www.ahta.com.au/   arrived. Within minutes she was building my very own splint, attached it to my wrist and was gone. Then the surgeon arrived with great news.   (  http://goldcoastupperlimbcentre.com/) The break was much worse than expected. He used words like, shattered. I was waiting for the great news. The news was that those pieces able to be brought back together in line were kept in line with plates and screws. Those pieces unable to be repaired were removed. The gritty sharp pieces of bone have been smoothed so nothing rubs together. He told me it was a successful operation and it’s now over to me for a successful recovery.

Back home we had dinner and after loading up on pain killers realised I would not be able to sleep in bed so found my way to the recliner chair for comfort and sleep…two hours followed by pain killers then another two hours sleep.

So it was I passed the night.

Friday 7th August

Originally we planned to leave today to drive to Sydney. Too much pain, too much discomfort and too little sleep was enough for us to decide to rest for the day, review our situation in the morning and decide then if we will travel.

Blessed rest for the remainder of the day.

Another night sleeping, on and off, in the recliner.

Sigh!

Saturday 8th August.

We managed to leave Biggera Waters by mid-morning and before long were in New South Wales with our lunch stop at Coffs Harbour four hours later.

The Endone night time pain relief and the Panadene Forte day time pain relief has sustained me thus far, not without considerable discomfort I might add.

We arrived in Port Macquarie after 8 hours on the road driving for 500 Klms.

Our wonderful hosts, Tony & Dawn looked after us including a nice recliner in front of a heater and with TV to keep me company during the small hours. I have been sleeping in a recliner since I had my accident on 2nd August.

Temperatures have dropped by only 2 or 3 degrees but the coolness in the air is noticeable.

Sunday 9th August

After a hearty breakfast prepared by Dawn we were once again on the road to our next destination… La Perouse… a suburb of Sydney on Botany Bay, a trip of 410 Klms which we cruised leisurely in 6 hours.

Geoff & Margaret are our hosts and Geoff, latent chef that he is, prepared a wonderful dinner.  Tonight I slept on a lounge instead of a recliner. My sleep hours are directly linked to the pain killer cycle.

It is colder here in Sydney.

At least I am sleeping.

403. Sunday 11th January 2015. Nostalgia! It’s not what it used to be OR a bit of history for good measure…

11/01/2015

Lots of text and lots of photos for you to enjoy this week.

Monday 5th January

We were up early today. Bev n Pete left at 6 am for their flight to Adelaide.

After breakfast I drove to Wollongong to visit an old workmate and squash teammate Bob T and wife Sharon. Bob had a difficult 2014 having to go under the knife and endure chemotherapy for cancer of the stomach. He is confident he has beaten the big C and apart from losing some weight, which he could afford to lose. He looks well and has a positive attitude.

Next on my visit list was Wayne and Narelle M and their adult son Jarrod. We shot the breeze and enjoyed lunch and Wayne showed me his two story garage filled with boys toys. I enjoyed looking at his latest prize, a Bathurst 1,000 Race winning Holden Torana.

Bathurst winning Torana

Bathurst winning Torana

Gee, these cars had no frills, are uncomfortable to drive, no air conditioning and no power steering. They could however cling to the racetrack while achieving incredible speeds. They were once upon a time King of the Mountain at Mount Panorama near Bathurst. Also in his toy shed was a slot car race track

Slot car racetrack

Slot car racetrack

3,2,1 Goooo!

3,2,1 Goooo!

and a genuine pinball machine. I had fun alternating between the slot car and the pinball machine. It was great for Wayne and I to turn 18 again!

Tuesday 6th January

The Government has announced heightened terrorist alerts and has warned citizens about travelling to Indonesia. Both Australia and France have issued similar warnings.

Come and join me as I make a nostalgic journey through time and space. From the time when I was a young boy, a teenager, a father and now, as  a grandfather, I wanted to explore parts of the Sutherland Shire. It is affectionately known among the locals as “The Shire”. No, not the other famous “shire” in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings novels and movies.

Specifically today I started with the “Tom Ugly’s Bridge which spans the Georges River and links the suburbs of Blakehurst to the north and Sylvannia Waters (in the shire) to the south.

Tom Ugly's Bridge

Tom Ugly’s Bridge

You can see clear through all these bridge supports to the Sylvannia side of the river.

You can see clear through all these bridge supports to the Sylvannia side of the river.

I was always intrigued by the name and location of the bridge atop steep typical Sydney Sandstone cliffs. Years of travelling both ways and I had never stopped to have a look. Well, today I did. Originally opened in 1929 the three lane bridge began life as a toll bridge. At peak hour in the morning two north bound lanes were used. In afternoon peak hour two south bound lanes were used. A series of orange cones were used to designate lanes. The toll was discontinued in 1952. The bridge was the only link to The Shire and especially Cronulla Beach and Wollongong and the south coast apart from a car ferry operating from Sans Souci to Taren Point on the south side. This car ferry was a shorter option to Cronulla than Tom Ugly’s – if you could afford the ferry fee. Captain Cook Bridge replaced the ferry – eight lanes, no toll – was opened in 1965 in much the same location as the car ferry.

Today I took the time to stop under the Tom Ugly’s Bridge and take a walk around the area and note the detail in the sandstone buttresses.

A combination of weathering and lichen growth over 85 years has produced this strange effect. It does not occur on any of the other facets of the remaining pylons. Hmmm! Could this be the ghost of Tom Ugly?

A combination of weathering and lichen growth over 85 years has produced this strange effect. It does not occur on any of the other facets of the remaining pylons. Hmmm! Could this be the ghost of Tom Ugly?

North Wester pylon of the Tom Ugly's Bridge. Note the carving in the sandstone. The carving appears on all four sides of all four pylons.

North Wester pylon of the Tom Ugly’s Bridge. Note the carving in the sandstone. The carving appears on all four sides of all four pylons.

I have not been able to find a satisfactory reason for the name Tom Ugly’s and I guess like millions of other bridge users I will never know the origins of the name.

Sydney skyline seen from beneath Tom Ugly's Bridge.

Sydney skyline seen from beneath Tom Ugly’s Bridge.

Captain Cook Bridge spanning the Georges River from Sans Souci to Taren Point.

Captain Cook Bridge spanning the Georges River from Sans Souci to Taren Point.

This is the St George Motor Boat Club. It featured most weeks in the award winning Australian television series Packed To the Rafters with the ageless Rebecca Gibney as lead actress.

This is the St George Motor Boat Club. It featured most weeks in the award winning Australian television series Packed To the Rafters with the ageless Rebecca Gibney as lead actress.

While still in the shire I visited Wanda Beach and Greenhills Beach, both on the northern fringe of Cronulla Beach.

Cronulla Beach seen from the sandhills at Wanda Beach.

Cronulla Beach seen from the sandhills at Wanda Beach.

Extreme northern end of Greenhills Beach. A boat harbour is being built here and the operators charge $25 per vehicle per day to access the beach. Grrr!

Extreme northern end of Greenhills Beach. A boat harbour is being built here and the operators charge $25 per vehicle per day to access the beach. Grrr!

As a high school student and in my early teens I visited these beaches first to sand ski the tall and often very steep and very hot sandhills. Later I went with friends to surf the unpatrolled beach especially at Greenhills. The only access to these remote beaches was to trudge up and down and over several sandhills carrying a surfboard – without a hat!

Service access road to the Wanda Beach /Greenhills Beach sand dunes.

Service access road to the Wanda Beach /Greenhills Beach sand dunes.

Greenhills Beach tall sand dune.

Greenhills Beach tall sand dune.

Sadly progress has crept across the land and devoured much of the sandhills  leaving housing estates in its wake or shutting off access to the remaining sandhills or the beach. Now the sandhills and beach have been turned over to commercial ventures and a National Park. Standing atop one of the few  accessible sandhills I was struck by just how hot it was and wondered how we managed to trek these hills carrying a sand ski or surfboard and towel but no water. How did we survive and not collapse from dehydration?

The Charge of the Light Brigade scenes from the 1940 Black & White Australian movie, The 40,000 Horsemen  were filmed on the beaches and sandhills of Wanda and Greenhills. The sandhills were an ideal location to represent the Sinai Desert of World War I.

Finally I drove to the end of the road to far Kurnell and paid my respects to Captain Cooks landing place.

Just to the left of the plinth are the rocks where Lieutenant James Cook, later Captain landed on Australian soil, umm err rocks in 1770.

Just to the left of the plinth are the rocks where Lieutenant James Cook, later Captain landed on Australian soil, umm err rocks in 1770.

He was credited with discovering Australia in 1770 although local aboriginals had been here for around 40,000 years.

Wednesday 7th January

Today, the Government issued a travel update to now include India as a location to be avoided in respect of terrorist attacks.

Sigh!!!

Today I drove to Wollongong to visit Errol, Nicole and the grandchildren.

On the highway on the escarpment which towers 1,182 m over Wollongong is the Bulli Lookout. Today, as is often the case in the early morning, the top of the escarpment is blanketed by cloud or fog.

Wollongong from Bulli Lookout which is blanketed in local cloud.

Wollongong from Bulli Lookout which is blanketed in local cloud.

On a clear day the view would look something like this.

On a clear day the view would look something like this.

At the lookout it was brilliant sunshine and on the coast below it was also brilliant sunshine. The band of cloud hovering just below the cliffs obscured all vision of Wollongong and the suburbs below.

First up was a visit with Errol and Nicole and grandchildren Amelia and Hannah. I spent a few hours with them before moving on to visit an old workmate Barry H and his wife Kathleen. Barry was a workmate with Bob T who I visited on Monday but Barry also knew Bob when he was in the Army. Barry was diagnosed with Duodenal cancer – within a day of Bob being diagnosed. Barry’s cancer is incurable and inoperative. He has been on Chemo for most of the year and the cancer has shrunk. Unfortunately he has to eat food which has been pureed. Yuck! I came away from my visit greatly impressed by Barry’s attitude and strength of character. He and Bob are both inspirational.

Thursday 8th January

A group of three terrorists stormed a magazine office in Paris, France and killed 12 employees, critically wounding another 5.

Visited Errol N Nicole again and used my time with them to tidy the installation of venetians requiring the removal of excess slats and reducing the length of adjusting cords so they do not become a child choking hazard.

Friday 9th January

Come with me on another nostalgic traipse through my memory lane.

I was born and spent the first 14 years of my life in the Sydney Harbourside suburb of Balmain. At the time I thought Balmain was the centre of the Universe. Of course I later learned that was not the case. The centre of the Universe is wherever I happen to be at that moment in time. Of course dear reader from your perspective the centre of the Universe is wherever YOU happen to be at that moment.

The house where I spent the first 14 years of my life. It looks smaller but better cared for than I remember. The streets and houses were built long before cars were invented so the houses do not have car storage space so cars are parked in the street causing congestion. Tenants receive a two car parking permit per household. Otherwise parking restrictions apply to everybody else.

The house where I spent the first 14 years of my life. It looks smaller but better cared for than I remember. The streets and houses were built long before cars were invented so the houses do not have car storage space so cars are parked in the street causing congestion. Tenants receive a two car parking permit per household. Otherwise parking restrictions apply to everybody else.

In 1800 a parcel of land of 550 acres on the shores of Sydney Harbour was given to William Balmain, New South Wales Surgeon General and also principal surgeon of the First Fleet. Somewhere along the line the parcel of land was given to somebody else – in payment of gambling debts – and eventually parceled up in smaller lots and yet still smaller lots and yet still smaller lots. The suburb became a working class area and developers built lots of terrace type houses on small plots of land to accommodate the workers . Of course the huge harbourside houses were owned by persons a bit further up the income scale, much as they are today.

First I visited my old terrace house which seems mighty small compared to when I lived there. In fact walking from the terrace house to the corner pub and on to my old school – Gladstone Park Public School or as it was known by the locals the Pigeon Ground Public School  – everything seems smaller and closer together than I remember.

My primary school. I spent three years in the classroom at the top left.

My primary school. I spent three years in the classroom at the top left.

I digress. My old school as I discovered this morning was really the girls school! It seems of the several buildings, one of which was built in 1861, in sandstone and the newer buildings in red clay brick, were built in 1917 was an infants school and girls school. At some point the sandstone building was given over to a boys school and boys and girls were segregated until we went to high school where the segregation was maintained. No more. All those schools are now Co-educational!

Walking around the nearby streets I was reminded of how many of the original houses were built from local sandstone and are still not only standing but still habitable. I also realised how narrow the streets are, some of which are barely wide enough to admit a small truck one way. The streets are a hodge podge of no planning and the houses often reflect that lack of overall planning. Many houses were built beside factories and shipyards and sawmills etc (or vice versa)and those businesses are now gone and the reclaimed land is now called public green open space and are delightful harbourside parks. Many places in Balmain can boast harbor views including Sydney skyline, Luna Park and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I saw the bridge every day at school and thought nothing of it.

As a building material sandstone is wonderful. It can be dressed or left rugged as is the case in the retaining wall. Balmain original houses are mostly built from sandstone.

As a building material sandstone is wonderful. It can be dressed or left rugged as is the case in the retaining wall. Balmain original houses are mostly built from sandstone.

These old sandstone stairs and cast iron railings were in place when I went to school. This was the view way back then. The bridge can see seen from most locations around Balmain.

These old sandstone stairs and cast iron railings were in place when I went to school. This was the view way back then. The bridge can see seen from most locations around Balmain.

Hmmm! When I was young, school taught us to look Right then left then right again before crossing the road. Now we need reminders painted on the roadway at every corner. What the!!!

Hmmm! When I was young, school taught us to look Right then left then right again before crossing the road. Now we need reminders painted on the roadway at every corner. What the!!!

The suburb is no longer a working class domain and those houses are fetching prices well in excess of $1,000,000 (if you can find an old house for sale – one bedroom units with no car accommodation are around $900,000) and the suburb is now a trendy “IN” place with old buildings now an endless sea of bistro’s, wine shops and coffee houses with a few upmarket dress shops thrown in.

The clock tower on the old council chambers stands above all else.

The clock tower on the old council chambers stands above all else.

These old wharf timbers were saved from one of the original wharves dotting the shoreline throughout Balmain and Birchgrove.

These old wharf timbers were saved from one of the original wharves dotting the shoreline throughout Balmain and Birchgrove.

At the end of my street on the corner stood a horse watering trough. When I was young, horses were still used by bread delivery, milk delivery and ice delivery men. Rag and Bone men and other sales type people used horses. Watering troughs were needed. They have all been collected and some have been used at the end of a small mall.

At the end of my street on the corner stood a horse watering trough. When I was young, horses were still used by bread delivery, milk delivery and ice delivery men. Rag and Bone men and other sales type people used horses. Watering troughs were needed. They have all been collected and some have been used at the end of a small mall.

I visited the end of Darling street which is a bus and ferry terminus commanding grand views across the harbor and to Goat Island a once munitions storage facility.

Schooner open for tours at Goat Island.

Schooner open for tours at Goat Island.

Among its many uses was as a sandstone quarry and convict gaol and the first Sydney Water Police Headquarters to name a few. It is now taken over by National Parks who provide guided and self- guided tours.

The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge from Darling Street East Balmain.

The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge from Darling Street East Balmain.

Sydney skyline from Darling Street East Balmain.

Sydney skyline from Darling Street East Balmain.

Goat island. Was used in the television series The Water Rats a few years ago. It depicted daily life in the water Police. The Island was once the Water Police Headquarters.

Goat island. Was used in the television series The Water Rats a few years ago. It depicted daily life in the water Police. The Island was once the Water Police Headquarters.

A Sydney Harbour Ferry. From the age of about 10 I spent a great deal of time on these ferries travelling around Sydney Harbour. Fares were cheap and as long as you never got off the ferry the one ticket was good enough for a round trip.

A Sydney Harbour Ferry. From the age of about 10 I spent a great deal of time on these ferries travelling around Sydney Harbour. Fares were cheap and as long as you never got off the ferry the one ticket was good enough for a round trip.

From there I went to Morts Dock and nearby Thames Street Ferry Wharf. The Morts Dock which in the 1940’s built ships for the Navy. My uncle was a small sailboat builder in the area. The docks are now closed but the land and some of the docking facilities are converted to open green space and it is a welcome change to the dreary dockyards I knew. All this area was my playground but I concede it would be nicer to run around these days.

Nicholson Street East Balmain

Nicholson Street East Balmain

Harbour Bridge seen from the old Morts Dock area now given over to parkland but with some of the old structure retained for Heritage purposes.

Harbour Bridge seen from the old Morts Dock area now given over to parkland but with some of the old structure retained for Heritage purposes.

Worn sandstone steps at the old Morts Dock site.

Worn sandstone steps at the old Morts Dock site.

Adjacent to the docks is Thames Street Wharf. This was once my playground where I would scamble on and around the docks and could take a ferry ride around the Sydney harbourside for only a few cents.

Thames Street Wharf which has stood beside Morts Dock for the last century. Workers still use the ferry system t travel to work each day from as far away as Parramatta to the west and Many to the north on the other side of the harbour.

Thames Street Wharf which has stood beside Morts Dock for the last century. Workers still use the ferry system t travel to work each day from as far away as Parramatta to the west and Many to the north on the other side of the harbour.

Old weatherboard house squeezed between a hotel and other commercial premises. Note typically for Balmain. Narrow streets and no car storage facilities.

Old weatherboard house squeezed between a hotel and other commercial premises. Note typically for Balmain. Narrow streets and no car storage facilities.

The Dry Dock Hotel Balmain. The oldest pub in the suburb. Built 1857.

The Dry Dock Hotel Balmain. The oldest pub in the suburb. Built 1857.

Driving away from Balmain I felt it was a nicer, cleaner, greener and in some respects more open but more crowded than the industrial dusted suburb I left all those decades ago.

Saturday 10th January

I had planned to drive to Nowra today. The weather forecast last night was for showers/rain increasing to heavy at times and in fact flooding in some parts. Hmmm! Not a good forecast for driving for near 2 hours in the predicted rain. That plan was abandoned and I decided to stay home. Mid morning was overcast but in no way did it look like rain. In fact it looked more like a haze had settled across the city. It was dry and hot. Plan B was put into action. I decided to drive to La Perouse, Malabar, Maroubra and other beachside suburbs to Bondi and return. I had not counted on the volume of traffic and every other resident of this city, all 4.5 million of them would be on the road and going to the same places as me. At least that is the way it felt. I managed to find a parking space about half a kilometer from La Perouse and trudged my way back.

Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook  landed in Australia in 1770 at Botany Bay on the southern shore of what is now called Kurnell. The first fleet of settlers and convicts arrived in January 1788 and found Cooks original landing place as unsuitable for a new colony. They moved a short distance further north after finding an opening in the seemingly impenetrable sandstone cliffs to what is now known as Sydney Harbour and decided this was the best place in the whole world to begin a new colony. Botany Bay was abandoned. The land was claimed in the name of the British Empire and the settlement begun. A few days after landing a small boat was dispatched to Botany Bay to scout for flora and fauna and surprise, surprise, a French ship had sailed into Botany Bay with the intention of claiming this new south land in the name of France. A meeting was arranged between the two captains, Arthur Phillip for the Empire and La Perouse for France. It seems they came to a gentlemanly agreement that as the Empire had eleven ships and crew and marines and settlers and convicts totaling 1332 persons and had already claimed the land and documented such in their logbook, the land belonged to the Empire. La Perouse only had the one ship so agreed the English had first choice and after a short stay moved on. Due to the civilized manner in which the meeting was conducted, the English declared the area on the northern area of Botany Bay where the French had landed would be called La Perouse in the Captains honour.

My trudging took me passed the cliffs above Congwong a Little Congwong Beaches where La Perouse was reportedly anchored.

Little Congwong beach at La Perouse. When I was editing the photos to include in this blog I noticed something unusual. I did a Google search. The beach is an unofficial clothes optional "gay" beach. Double click on the image twice to enlarge to see what I saw. Hmmm! Families with little children are there as well. I am glade I never walked to the beach to take photos. Thank you telephoto lens.

Little Congwong beach at La Perouse. When I was editing the photos to include in this blog I noticed something unusual. I did a Google search. The beach is an unofficial clothes optional “gay” beach. Double click on the image twice to enlarge to see what I saw. Hmmm! Families with little children are there as well. I am glade I never walked to the beach to take photos. Thank you telephoto lens.

Then I walked to Bare Island which is accessible to the mainland via a short timber bridge.

Bare Island with walkway. Entry through the locked gated is via a guided tour on Sundays (must be booked in advance - it is so popular) or by prior arrangement for approved groups.

Bare Island with walkway. Entry through the locked gated is via a guided tour on Sundays (must be booked in advance – it is so popular) or by prior arrangement for approved groups.

Double click on this image to see some of the fortifications. Yep, those fortified walls are made from dressed sandstone.

Double click on this image to see some of the fortifications. Yep, those fortified walls are made from dressed sandstone.

The island became fortified when in 1885 a Russian invasion was expected. The fort was decommissioned in 1902 and became a retirement home for war veterans home until 1963. Since then it has become an historical site. The area around the reef is especially rich in sea life and is a busy fishing, snorkeling and diving location. In certain conditions a reef wave break known as a bombie attracts surfers as well.

The Barrack Tower at La Perouse. Built in 1820 and manned to look for smugglers (from where?) stray boats and invading fleets. ( Oz is a long long way from any nearby land mass so you have to wonder where the smugglers came from and what size an invading armada of ships would have to be. Not to mention having to spend 12 months at sea from places such as France, Spain or Russia.

The Barrack Tower at La Perouse. Built in 1820 and manned to look for smugglers (from where?) stray boats and invading fleets. ( Oz is a long long way from any nearby land mass so you have to wonder where the smugglers came from and what size an invading armada of ships would have to be. Not to mention having to spend 12 months at sea from places such as France, Spain or Russia.

Next stop was Malabar where the beach rarely has a surfable wave due to the deep water and faces the wrong direction for a swell to enter.

Malabar Beach has surf only when every other beach on the coast is closed due to huge storm swells

Malabar Beach has surf only when every other beach on the coast is closed due to huge storm swells

This is a popular launching ramp at Malabar Beach. Note the sandstone blocks in the retaining wall.

This is a popular launching ramp at Malabar Beach. Note the sandstone blocks in the retaining wall.

It is a popular location for professional and amateur fishermen to launch their boats. Malabar also has a sewerage treatment works a large garbage dump and a rifle range in the hills between Malabar and Maroubra. Despite the no surf and nearby unpleasant treatment works it was still difficult to find a parking spot. Next was Maroubra Beach and even the surrounding streets were choked with parked cars. ( as a teenager I lived at Maroubra and a short walk to the beach allowed me to learn to surf both board and body surf) At this point I decided to cut short the drive to even more popular Bondi and head home. Along the way I stopped at a dreary old shopping centre at Eastlakes. This shopping centre was one of the first in Australia and at the time was a role model. Today it is decided badly designed, poorly lit, archaic parking facilities, poor building construction and with many of the shops closed presented as a sad place to be. Shortly after arriving home the forecast rain began.

Sigh!!!

Sunday 11th January

What do you do on a rainy Sunday.

Nuthin!

Oh apart from watching a movie from the collection beside the TV.

I watched a movie called “The Descendants” starring George Clooney. In a way I am pleased I could not go anywhere in the rain. The movie was released in 2012 and of the many critical comments, some good, some not so good here is an example A thoroughly rewarding assembled-for-adults dramedy that benefits immensely from both its island locale and one of George Clooney’s finest performances.”

I tried to visit the Miranda Fair Shopping Centre and after spending near enough to 30 minutes trying to (a) find a parking space and (b) try to get out of there I managed to park in the street and walk back in the rain. The food court was bedlam. Everybody else had the same idea. I betcha it was the same 4.5 million people at the beaches yesterday were at the shopping centres today!

Grrr!