Posts Tagged ‘Mt Pleasant Coal and Coake Co’

485. Sunday 10th April 2016. Corrimal, Gymea, a wedding a big walk and Aunt Gwen…

15/04/2016

Lack of Internet facilities while we are travelling has delayed this weeks Post.

Monday 4th April

We woke to a dull overcast morning with just a chill in the air. By chill I mean the temperature was about 22°. After a summer and an autumn with 32°, 22° seems positively chilly.

The rain woke us several times. The rain was heavy. Geoff was amazed to find 100 mils of rain in the gauge overnight. On the news we were informed it was the heaviest rain for several years, achieving a month’s supply of rain overnight.

During the morning, rain fell in little drizzly gasps never really getting to the heavy falls experienced during the night.

We drove to Wollongong via the Princes Highway taking the infamous Bulli Pass from the top of the escarpment.

The pass looking much like it does now.

The pass looking much like it does now.

Bulli Pass was built by loggers in the 19th century in an effort to find an easier way to get their timber to Sydney.

Bulli Pass as it was almost 150 years ago.

Bulli Pass as it was almost 150 years ago.

Horse drawn cargo carriage in readiness to take on the trip down Bulli Pass.

Horse drawn cargo carriage in readiness to take on the trip down Bulli Pass.

The road has been improved by a fence.

The road has been improved by a fence.

The pass is now sealed and cyclone wire safety fencing has been installed.

The pass is now sealed and cyclone wire safety fencing has been installed.

The alternate routes were via the vagaries of ship or Mt Keira or Mt Kembla roads. Both were much longer and steeper. Bulli Pass is noted for car and truck accidents and land slip in prolonged heavy rain. It is still only two narrow lanes hugging the escarpment while the bulk of traffic to and from Wollongong travels via Mt Ousley a long and not so steep two lanes each way. (I recall as a boy when as a family we travelled to the south coast my parents speaking in awe about having to take the Bulli Pass – in those days there were no safety barriers on the edge of the road.) We arrived in Corrimal to spend a few days with Errol, Nicole, Amelia and Hannah. Errol was not well having caught a bug either at work or passed on to him by his daughters Amelia and Hannah. Nicole was not feeling 100% either.

Tuesday 5th April – Happy Birthday to my daughter Melissa.

Woke to a sunny morning. Yay!

Nicole is still in bed…sick. Boo Hoo!

In the afternoon we went to the beach to take Walter the dog for a run and to fly my kite.

Hannah, Errol and Amelia enjoying time on the beach. Oh and Walter the dog is too.

Hannah, Errol and Amelia enjoying time on the beach. Oh and Walter the dog is too.

A couple of Whippets on the loose on Bellambi Beach.

A couple of Whippets on the loose on Bellambi Beach.

FrankieG, Amelia and Hannah on the beach at Bellambi.

FrankieG, Amelia and Hannah on the beach at Bellambi.

Naturally Amelia wanted to fly the kite but the wind was quite strong and it was likely to pull her along the beach.

Errol and Amelia flying a kite.

Errol and Amelia flying a kite.

FrankieG flying kite.

FrankieG flying kite.

Errol concentrating hard on flying the kite in windy conditions.

Errol concentrating hard on flying the kite in windy conditions.

Several kite surfers were in the water, one, when walking past with his board and kite commented that it was about time I graduated to a bigger kite.

Wednesday 6th April

Hmmm. Errol & Nicole still not well, Amelia at school and Donnis wants to stay at the house to be useful.

Sooo. Today I have decided to get out and about to visit Wollongong Harbour (also known as Belmore Basin named in honour of The then NSW Governor, The Earl of Belmore in 1868) and take an historical walk around. Many years ago I worked in Wollongong and often at lunchtime would visit the harbour and daydream about sailing away – who doesn’t? I did end up with a yacht but most of my sailing was done around Mackay and The Whitsunday Islands.

The first item which caught my eye is the last remaining original timber bollard used to tie sail cargo ships to the harbour. If this was the U S of A the bollard would be preserved in glass and given due reverence.

The only remaining timber bollard at the harbour. It has not been treated in any way to preserve the timber.

The only remaining timber bollard at the harbour. It has not been treated in any way to preserve the timber.

Next came the stonework around the harbour, much of it rough dressed and built around existing rock features.

Part of wall at Wollongong Harbour,

Part of wall at Wollongong Harbour,

Although giving the appearance of sandstone it is definitely not. I cannot find any records on what rock was used. Most of the coastline from around Coledale to the north to Gerringong in the south is volcanic in origin. I believe the rock is from a volcanic source quarry. The nearby escarpment is definitely sandstone and is quite different to the rock in the harbour wall. (I believe it could be basalt latite over sandstone found around Kiama / Minnamurra) Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can pass on the information. Many of the boats in harbour are old fishing trawlers and I do mean old. One with a for sale sign is lucky to still be afloat.

Old and rotting fishing trawler listed for sale.

Old and rotting fishing trawler listed for sale.

Fishing trawler being prepared for going to sea.

Fishing trawler being prepared for going to sea.

I love seeing dinghy's and canoes line up at Wollongong Harbour (Belmore Basin)

I love seeing dinghy’s and canoes line up at Wollongong Harbour (Belmore Basin)

Wollongong is the only harbour I am aware of which has two lighthouses. (Both of which are de-commissioned) One sits on the edge of the harbour wall

Entrance to Wollongong Harbour secondary lighthouse.

Entrance to Wollongong Harbour secondary lighthouse.

while the other was more for ships at sea and sits atop Flagstaff Hill. Just below the Flagstaff Hill lighthouse are the two 68 pound muzzle loading cannons installed in 1879.

Main lighthouse on Flagstaff Hill.

Main lighthouse on Flagstaff Hill.

The lighthouse on the harbour mouth was used as a symbol of safety icon by the Illawarra Mutual Building Society (a safe place to borrow or invest savings)  for many years.

On the western hill above the harbour is a gun emplacement which was called Smith’s Hill Fort, comprising two 36Kg muzzle loading cannons.

Gun emplacement on Smiths Hill.

Gun emplacement on Smiths Hill.

Built in 1891 in response to feared attack from Russia, the guns are still in place but the underground bunkers and magazines are sealed off to the public. Original timber is beginning to rot.

Below the fort are two salt water rock pools. One was known as the men’s bathing pool (the women’s bathing pool was at the base of cliffs below Flagstaff Hill and was accessed by a steep pathway).

The original Men's Pool between North Wollongong Beach and Belmore Basin. The water is replaced at least twice a day by incoming tides and wave action. Excess water is drained via an overflow valve on the seaward side of the pool. The Women's Pool is located approximately 500 metres away at the base of cliffs below Flagstaff Hill. It could only be accessed by entry through a timber dressing shed and timber staircase. Further around the cliffs via steep steps cut into the cliff are the remains of what was known as The Nuns Pool.

The original Men’s Pool between North Wollongong Beach and Belmore Basin. The water is replaced at least twice a day by incoming tides and wave action. Excess water is drained via an overflow valve on the seaward side of the pool. The Women’s Pool is located approximately 500 metres away at the base of cliffs below Flagstaff Hill. It could only be accessed by entry through a timber dressing shed and timber staircase. Further around the cliffs via steep steps cut into the cliff are the remains of what was known as The Nuns Pool.

The other rock pool is in fact two Olympic sized pools side by side. Saltwater is pumped into the pools unless big seas pound over the concrete wall faster than any pump.

The later pools (Continental Pools) have been in use for 90 years. First opened in 1926. These pools  have water continually replenished either by a pump or the action of tide and waves. They also have overflow valves.

The later pools (Continental Pools) have been in use for 90 years. First opened in 1926. These pools have water continually replenished either by a pump or the action of tide and waves. They also have overflow valves.

A cutting through the cliffs once was used as a railway line by Mt Pleasant Coal and Coke Company to bring their product to the harbour for shipping to Sydney. The railway lines have been removed and the path is now a walking and cycling track.

Cutting through the hillside originally created to allow train lines to be laid and coal and coke trains had access to the harbour.

Cutting through the hillside originally created to allow train lines to be laid and coal and coke trains had access to the harbour.

Phew!!! What a day. The temperature was about 32°

Thursday 7th April

Today we drove the 50 or so Klms from Corrimal to Gymea where we will spend the next few days with sister Bev and husband Pete. In the afternoon sister Sandra arrived from Mackay and sister Enid arrived from Brisbane while her husband Ken flew in from the Sunshine coast. We are all attending the wedding of Bev’s eldest son David, an IT guru, to Jacqui.

Four fifths siblings. From left, Enid, FrankieG, Bev and Sandra. The painting on the wall are of Flamenco Dancers. This was mum's favourite paintings and now hangs on the wall at Bev's house.

Four fifths siblings. From left, Enid, FrankieG, Bev and Sandra. The painting on the wall are of Flamenco Dancers. This was mum’s favourite paintings and now hangs on the wall at Bev’s house.

Friday 8th April

With much manouvering for bathrooms and last minute wardrobe decisions we somehow managed to get seven of us away on time. Pete had hired a small bus for us to collect the youngest son Mitchell (an Air Traffic Control officer at Melbourne Airport) and his girlfriend Sam to arrive at Belgenney Farm at Camden for the wedding.

The youngest of three brothers, Mitchel with his long time girlfriend, Sam

The youngest of three brothers, Mitchel with his long time girlfriend, Sam

The farm is an historical estate, listed on the National Heritage Register, and is now owned by the NSW State Government. The land, of 5,000 acres was granted to John & Elizabeth MacArthur by Lord Camden in 1805. John MacArthur brought the first Merino Sheep to Australia and with specific breeding created a wool of superior quality and quantity. That stock spawned a world renowned  industry demanding this superior wool. The Australian climate also proved conducive to growing lamb for meat. Many of the original buildings, built by convict labour, are still in place today, some being used as originally intended. For example, the stables.

Eldest brother David with his bride, Jacqui.

Eldest brother David with his bride, Jacqui.

Flowergirl April.

Flowergirl April.

David with his groomsmen.

David with his groomsmen.

The four bridesmaids, three sisters on the left and best friend of Jacqui on the right.

The four bridesmaids, three sisters on the left and best friend of Jacqui on the right.

Proud Dad Pete, with brothers Mitch, Groom David and middle brother Chris and just as proud Mum, Bev.

Proud Dad Pete, with brothers Mitch, Groom David and middle brother Chris and just as proud Mum, Bev.

Bride Jacqui with her sister bridesmaids.

Bride Jacqui with her sister bridesmaids.

The wedding went well with about 80 guests and the reception was held within the old Grainery building. The historic buildings provided a great backdrop for wedding photos. Considering the wedding started at 4pm, with a wonderful buffet style meal, dancing and drinks. The last guests left at 11pm. Pete drove us all home and it was well past midnight when our tired heads hit the pillows.

 

Saturday 9th April

For a change of pace today we all walked to the nearby railway station and caught a train to Cronulla Beach then a ferry to Bundeena. Cronulla Ferries operate a small fleet of specialist vessels. The MV “CURRANULLA”operates an hourly return trip 365 days per year.

The delightful old timber ferry which took us from Cronulla to Bundeena.

The delightful old timber ferry which took us from Cronulla to Bundeena.

The delightful old timber ferry has been in constant use since 1939. Tickets are only issued on board and only one way tickets are available. The deckhand is also the ticket issuer. The leather conductor’s pouch he wears around his neck has also been in use since 1939.

On arrival we trudged to Jibbons Beach and followed the beach and track above the cliffs to arrive at Jibbon Point about 3.2 Klms return. We stopped to look at the Aboriginal Rock Carvings (reported in Post 405 January 2015) Today’s walk was every bit as taxing as the walk last year. This time there were seven of us to share the walk. This area of National Park is wild and the sandstone cliffs are open to the winds and waves. Looking around with nothing but steep cliffs, ocean to the horizon and thick bush it is hard to image there is a town less than a Klm away and a city of near five million people just across the bay.

Once we were back to Gymea and after a hot shower we just about had enough energy to enjoy dinner at a Thai Restaurant. Donnis was so tired she ordered soup. When it arrived the rest of us wished we had done so as well. Huuh! Too tired to eat? We were.

Sunday 10th April

Today we visited our 93 year old Aunt Gwen in the small flat she has lived in for the last 27 years.

Included from left to right sister Enid and husband Ken, sister Sandra, sister Bev sitting on husband Pete's knee, Aunt Gwen and FrankieG.

Included from left to right sister Enid and husband Ken, sister Sandra, sister Bev sitting on husband Pete’s knee, Aunt Gwen and FrankieG.

After lunch we drove Ken to the airport then headed back to Bev and Pete’s house for a relaxing afternoon.